Bioenergy, Hydropower, Solar, Wind Power

Major Canadian Utility Creates Renewable Energy Division

One of the larger electric utilities in the world has created a new division to become involved in renewable energy.

TORONTO, Ontario, CA, 2001-03-23 <SolarAccess.com> Ontario Power Generation has created OPG Evergreen Energy to combine the utility’s Small Hydroelectric Division and Green Power department. The new group will develop and supply power from wind, biomass, small hydro and solar technologies that will be marketed by OPG-Energy Markets. “By creating a distinct operating division, we’re demonstrating our commitment to being a leader in this market sector,” says chief operating officer Graham Brown. “We are going to increase our green energy portfolio to 500 megawatts by 2005.” OPG was formed when the former Ontario Hydro was restructured in advance of electricity deregulation in the province. OPG plans to develop a diverse, competitive and reliable green power pool that will give it a competitive edge in the new energy market, explains Brown. “Developing these types of projects is good for the environment, but it’s also smart business,” he adds. “Our customers are telling us they want a green power option and we will provide as much as they are willing to pay for.” In the United States, more than 80 utilities offer green power programs to 500,000 customers. The market in that country is valued at US$2 billion. The new division will complement the company’s existing green energy portfolio, which includes 138 MW from 29 small hydro plants that are certified as renewable energy sources. It also operates a 600 kW wind turbine near the Bruce nuclear facility. This week, OPG announced a joint venture with British Energy to build a wind farm near the same nuclear reactor. It also announced a new subsidiary, OPG Ventures Inc, which will invest in emerging energy and related energy technology companies. OPG currently purchases 6 MW of electricity generated from biomass. One project uses gas from a landfill site in Waterloo, while the other takes gas from a large-scale composting program in Newmarket. Both use methane, a greenhouse gas which would otherwise be released into the atmosphere. The company is also co-funding a $18 million project to build and operate the world’s largest pre-commercial solid oxide fuel cell power plant in the world.