Ontario takes double lead -- Canada's largest

Last month's commissioning of Brookfield Power Corporation's 189 MW Prince Wind Energy Project has given the province of Ontario the dual distinction of having the country's largest wind farm and highest installed capacity. The C$392 million project, overlooking Lake Superior northwest of Sault Ste Marie, was built in two phases.

The first, made up of 66 GE Energy 1.5 MW turbines, won a contract in Ontario's first renewable energy request for proposals (RFP) in 2004. Construction started in September 2005 and achieved commercial operation a year later. The just completed 90 MW second phase, which won a contract in Ontario's second renewables RFP in 2005, began construction in January.

"We just moved the contractors into the second phase and we had signed a turbine supply agreement with GE that was conditional on winning the second RFP, so it really became one large project," says Jim Deluzio, Brookfield's general manager of Ontario wind operations.

Brookfield holds interests in 137 hydroelectric generating stations, one pumped storage facility and two thermal plants totalling 3700 MW in North and South America. Prince is its first wind project and Deluzio says it is now moving forward with the development of a number of other wind sites in Ontario. "We've formally sat down and said: what have we learned from the Prince project that will help us with these other projects? So we are hoping they are much improved because of that." The key question, though, is the market for new wind in the province. "We're hoping the Ontario government will issue another RFP, perhaps in the new year," he says. "Unfortunately there is no real defined timeline. We wish there was."

Meanwhile, Ontario's Sky Generation completed commissioning of a 3.3 MW expansion to its Ferndale project in October. Two Vestas V82 1.65 MW turbines have been added to the 1.8 MW machine already at the site to bring the project's total capacity to 5.1 MW.

The completion of the two projects brings Ontario's installed wind capacity to 413.01 MW, surpassing Alberta, which has led the country since 2003. Alberta's installed capacity sits at 384.97 MW. Canada has built 657.65 MW of new wind capacity so far this year, bringing its total to 1341.58 MW.