Federal government requests up to 90 GWh of green power

Canada's federal government has released a request for proposals (RFP) for up to 90 GWh of green power for its facilities in Ontario. Wind producers, however, are wondering whether the contracts it is offering will be good enough to get new capacity built. The government wants to begin buying power in April and is ready to commit to purchases through to the end of March 2008. But four years is not enough to finance projects, says Fred Gallagher of Vision Quest Windelectric, which is supplying wind power to federal buildings in Alberta under a ten year contract. When Public Works and Government Services Canada, the government department handling the purchase, issued a draft of its intended RFP for industry comment 11 months ago, it proposed a maximum contract term of three years because funding set aside for green power procurement was set to expire in 2006. The government's recent injection of C$1 billion into the budget to fight climate change added new money to the pot, but only until 2008. "While the new RFP is better than the previous draft, there is still a major disconnect between the intentions of the Crown -- to obtain green energy, and kick start an industry -- and the policy mechanism that is supposed accomplish it," says the Canadian Wind Energy Association's president Glen Estill. "I hope someone can find sufficient patient equity to put in reasonable bids, but it remains to be seen if they can." The deadline for bids is this month.