Major petroleum player Enbridge Inc enters wind

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A major player in Canada's petroleum industry is increasing its presence in the country's wind sector by taking a one-third share in a planned 30 MW project in southern Alberta. Enbridge Inc of Calgary, which operates the world's longest crude oil pipeline system and Canada's largest natural gas distribution company, has become an equal partner with Suncor Energy and EHN Wind Power Canada, a subsidiary of Spain's Acciona group, a major wind power owner, in the C$60 million Chin Chute Wind Power Project. Construction of the project was due to start last month with an in-service date of late 2006. The project, using 20 GE energy 1.5 MW turbines, is expected to generate about 90 GWh of electricity a year. The investment, says Enbridge's Stephen JJ Letwin "further positions the company to become a significant player as the wind energy industry develops." Enbridge already owns a half-share of the 11.2 MW SunBridge wind farm in Saskatchewan and one-third of the 30 MW Magrath project in Alberta. It has also signed share purchase agreements with Echo Power Generation, Twenty-Two Degree Energy Corp and Leader Wind Corp that call for Enbridge to jointly propose 600 MW worth of wind projects being developed by the companies into the Ontario government's current 1000 MW request for renewable energy proposals. If the bids are successful, Enbridge will acquire the companies and finance, construct, own and operate the wind farms. Enbridge "has a balance sheet strong enough to ensure" the projects can be implemented, says Echo Power's Joseph Fuda.

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