New renewables mandate for Prince Edward Island

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Prince Edward Island's energy minister Jamie Ballem has introduced a Renewable Energy Act in the province's legislature that will require utilities to acquire at least 15% of their electricity from renewables by 2010. Ballem also says the government-owned PEI Energy Corporation will take a big step towards meeting that target in the spring, when it expects to issue a request for proposals for 30 MW of wind to be in place in 2006. Residents of Prince Edward Island (PEI), he says, will have an opportunity to invest in the development and share in its ownership. Meeting the 15% target will require the installation of about 40 MW of wind on top of the 13.5 MW already in place. The act, and the regulations that will be developed once it passes, will also allow small renewables systems to use their own generation to offset their purchases of power from the grid -- and it will set a guaranteed purchase rate for wind plant owned by local communities and co-operatives. Large-scale wind development will be restricted to designated areas, says Ballem. Wind development on the picturesque east coast island, the smallest province in Canada with an area of 5660 square kilometres and a population of about 138,000, has already run into some opposition from land owners concerned about the visual impact. PEI's installed wind capacity is concentrated in the north, but the province has 13 monitoring towers at various locations. "We will soon have 12 months of monitoring data at the eastern tip of the province and all indications are that the wind resource in that area compares very favourably with the average winds of 8.3 metres per second that we see at North Cape," says Ballem.

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