Canada adds to wind power total with new project launches

CANADA: Four new wind energy projects came online in Canada in December, boosting the country's installed capacity to just over 3318 MW.

Caribou Wind Park, Canada
Caribou Wind Park, Canada

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The output of GDF Suez’s C$200 million, 99 MW Caribou Wind Park, made up of 33 Vestas V90 3 MW turbines, is being sold to New Brunswick Power under a 20-year power purchase agreement.

The wind farm, located 70 kilometres northwest of Bathurst on 35 hectares of government-owned land in the northern part of the province, will provide enough electricity to supply about 2% of the electricity needs of New Brunswick.

Next door in Nova Scotia, RMSenergy’s C$125 million, 51 MW Dalhousie Mountain project was the only one of seven projects expected to be built in the province in 2009 that actually reached commercial operation by year’s end.

The financial crisis made it difficult for some developers to raise finance, but RMSenergy president Reuben Burge says Dalhousie Mountain was far enough along the development cycle to avoid this issue.

"I just think we were far enough ahead that it wasn’t as stoppable as some projects were, where they didn’t even have their head above the environmental stage," he says.

That doesn’t mean the project escaped unscathed, however. RMSenergy finalised a C$90 million debt financing package in February 2009 and was hit by a higher than expected cost for credit.

"Financially we paid for it. The bottom line suffered for me, but I wasn’t going to get greedy at that point, I just wanted the project to proceed," says Burge.
The Dalhousie project, made up of 34 GE Energy 1.5 MW turbines, is located in Pictou County, a region in the north of the province that lies along the Northumberland Strait.

The project site is 30 kilometres inland and 300 metres above sea level, providing what Burge calls "nice steady winds" that are expected to produce 190 GWh of electricity a year under a 25-year power purchase contract with Nova Scotia Power.

The City of Summerside in Prince Edward Island brought its C$30 million, 12 MW wind project, made up of four Vestas V90 3 MW turbines, on line just before Christmas.

Located on the site of a former landfill, the facility and has the potential to meet more than 25% of the energy needs of the community when the winds are favourable.

The fourth project is Sky Generation’s 6.6 MW Proof Line Wind Farm, located in Lambton Shores on Lake Huron. The project has an advanced renewable energy standard offer contract with the Ontario Power Authority that pays a fixed price tariff of C$0.121/kWh for 20 years.

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