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article imageSix Major Wind Farms Planned for Ontario

By Bob Ewing     Jan 24, 2009 in Environment
The Ontario government has signed contracts with six major wind farms. The deals boost the province’s wind power capacity by nearly 500 megawatts.
Alternative energy has considerable potential that has not yet been explored. In the province of Ontario, wind energy is getting a boost. The Ontario government has signed contracts with six major wind farms.
The deals boost the province’s wind power capacity by nearly 500 megawatts; despite this boost the industry is looking to the federal government for help in the upcoming federal budget.
In Quebec, last May, the province approved 15 bids for $5.5-billion in projects that will provide more than 2,000 MW in wind power to the province by 2015.
While, Manitoba Hydro, in November, signed a 25-year deal to buy power from a new 300-MW project, which will be the largest wind farm in Canada.
The Ontario Power Authority buys electricity over 20 years from wind farms to be built in eastern Ontario, the southwestern part of the province, and near Thunder Bay in the north.
There are five companies receiving the contract, they include Brookfield Renewable Power Inc. and SkyPower Corp.
The wind industry needs these long-term provincial contracts said John Keating, chief executive officer of Calgary-based Canadian Hydro Developers Inc.
Project financing is difficult to find, however, it is available if a wind developer can present investors with the security of a long-term contract for the power.
A power-purchase agreement with a provincial government “takes one major element of risk away for investors,” Keating said.
Canadian Hydro already owns hydro-electric and biomass plants as well as many wind farms, was not a winner of one of the new Ontario contracts (although the company already has contracts to sell power to the province from large wind farms it has running and under construction).
Keating feels the wind industry needs more than just provincial support if it is to become a force across the country and he is hoping for another shot in the arm in next week's federal budget.
What the wind industry is lobbying for is an expansion of Ottawa's EcoEnergy program. This program gives subsidies for power generated from clean sources such as wind. The existing program will run out of money some time this year, and proponents want it extended and expanded.
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