First time for citizens in Canada

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For the first time in Canada, residential customers have the chance to buy electricity generated by wind power. Utility Enmax, owned by the city of Calgary in Alberta, has launched its "Greenmax" green pricing program, giving customers the option to pay a premium for wind power of either C$7.50 or $15.00 a month for 125 kW or 250 kW blocks of wind energy. Enmax will buy the wind energy from Vision Quest Windelectric Inc of Calgary over the Power Pool of Alberta via a ten year "contract for differences." Vision Quest is installing two Vestas 600 kW wind turbines this month to meet the contract, with an additional turbine slated for construction in the spring. Power from two other Vestas turbines installed last year is already being sold to Enmax and other companies in the form of commercial emissions credits (Windpower Monthly, November 1997).

Enmax is aggressively marketing the green pricing program in Calgary by means of a billboard campaign picturing wind turbines alongside a series of promotional texts. "I honestly would never have believed I would see such a thing," comments a delighted Jason Edworthy, Vision Quest director.

During the first year of Greenmax, Enmax hopes to enrol 3000 customers, just under 1% of its residential electricity accounts. Vision Quest promises to supply up to 6.9 GWh a year of wind energy, nearly the output of three 600 kW wind turbines. The company is ready to commission more turbines if the demand increases during the ten year contract, says the company's Fred Gallagher.

Enmax's green pricing program was created in response to customer demand. "Our customers asked us to create a situation where they could encourage the generation of electricity from renewable and environmentally sound sources -- and our Greenmax program allows them to make a statement about their choice for sustainable energy," says Ken Bosma of Enmax.

During Alberta's current electrical energy shortage, Enmax has been the first distributor to take on a newly developed supply. Vision Quest has in turn been the first company to connect new supply to the grid since deregulation in 1995.

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