Spain

Spain

Oil giant moves further into wind -- Spanish-Canadian joint venture

Canadian oil giant Suncor Energy has joined forces with one of Europe's largest renewable energy and wind producers, Spain's Energia Hidroelectrica de Navarra (EHN), to develop wind projects in Canada. The joint venture between Suncor's alternative and renewable energy development division and EHN's North American Renewables Canada was announced last month.

The partnership, which will operate under the name of SunNar, could announce its first project by early next year, says Suncor's Patti Lewis. "There are several different projects being evaluated. We hope that we will make some firm decision on at least one of those projects in the near future." The joint venture, says Lewis, takes advantage of EHN's expertise in wind and Suncor's knowledge of the Canadian market. The partners hope it will be an unbeatable combination in Canada's growing wind industry. "We believe it will open lots of business doors for us," says Lewis. "We're hoping we will be viewed as the wind power developer for Canada."

EHN is Spain's largest wind power developer, operating more than one-third of the country's installed capacity of around 3000 MW. It is currently undertaking wind projects in Europe and Latin America. In North America, EHN has been commissioned to identify possible sites for wind power development in the state of New York. The Suncor deal, says EHN, is "a major step forward in our strategy of expansion in North America."

Last year, Suncor announced a five-year, EUR 100-million plan to build a renewable energy business. "We've been moving towards developing an alternative and renewable energy business for some time, and have, over the last several months, really focused our efforts on wind power as a development opportunity for us," says Lewis. Suncor, based in Calgary, is one of Canada's largest petroleum producers. It is completing its C$3.25 billion Project Millennium to boost output from its Alberta oilsands mine and refinery to 250,000 barrels a day and recently unveiled plans to double that production by 2012.

Meanwhile, the company is in the process of developing its first wind project, an 11 MW joint venture with Enbridge Pipelines in Saskatchewan, Canada. Earlier this year it bought a minority stake in Northern Power Systems, a US wind power developer based in Vermont.

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