Major conglomerate's proposal for 60-75 MW project on Prince Edward Island

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A major Atlantic Canada conglomerate is moving into the wind business with a proposal to build a 60-75 MW project on Prince Edward Island (PEI). JD Irving Limited, a family owned company involved in the forestry, petroleum refining and retailing, shipbuilding, transportation, and food processing industries, has erected a 50 metre meteorological tower to monitor winds near the community of Malpeque on PEI's north central coast. It plans to install two megawatt scale wind turbines at the site in the autumn of 2003 to confirm performance and collect data on energy production before completing the installation of up to 40 units a year later. Irving's Mary Keith says the company is looking at Vestas technology, though turbine size is not settled. Some of the power generated by the project would be used at nearby Cavendish Farms, an Irving company that operates two large French fry processing plants. Irving is also looking into the possibility of exporting wind energy off the island into broader regional markets. "It is more than we would need ourselves. So then the issue becomes access to the grid and whether it is a revenue opportunity for Maritime Electric and ourselves in terms of exporting the power for those who may be looking for green credits," explains Keith. Utility Maritime operates the province's transmission grid. Wind power production, admits Keith, is something of a departure from the "typical business operations" Irving is involved in, although it does operate cogeneration facilities at some of its manufacturing facilities. Canada's plan to ratify the Kyoto Protocol is a factor in the company's decision to venture into wind power. So, says Keith, is its view that wind has great potential to become a competitive source of energy supply. "The owners see this as what will be a very viable opportunity into the future."

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