St. Leon, Manitoba [RenewableEnergyAccess.com] Premier Gary Doer joined the community of St. Leon to officially start harvesting Manitoba’s newest crop, wind harnessed through the commissioning of the province’s first wind-turbine generator. The first of 12 test wind turbines is now operational under the federal government’s Canadian Renewable and Conservation Expense program which will be used to verify wind resources.Following a successful test phase, AirSource Power Fund will oversee the construction of a total of 63 wind-turbine generators, making up the 99 MW project covering two municipalities in southern Manitoba. “This is truly a historic moment for not only this region but also for the entire province,” said Doer, who stood beside the 80-metre structure. “I commend the town of St. Leon, all the farmers, along with Air Source Power and its partners for their hard work and enthusiasm to make this clean-energy project a reality.” Testing the rotation of the three 41-metre-long rotor blades is the final step in the construction of the first 1.65-MW wind-turbine generator. It is estimated that approximately $57 million of the total capital and operating expenditures are local to Manitoba. Over the life of the project, further benefits include over $30 million in provincial and municipal taxes, and over $9 million in local landholder payments. “The St. Leon Wind Energy Facility is a very strong asset for the region and represents further progress in Canada’s goal to encourage investment in wind energy,” stated Dave Kerr, director of AirSource Power Fund. “With petroleum prices at high levels and the world focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, wind power will play an increasing role as a price-competitive, clean supply of electrical energy.” To date, three turbines have been constructed by a 450-tonne crane. It is one of North America’s largest and will travel between turbine locations to lift the final tower section and turbine blade assembly to its final position. The $210-million project is the result of Manitoba’s world-class wind regime which was confirmed through extensive wind monitoring in the southwest portion of the province. Manitoba Hydro is purchasing the output of the St. Leon wind farm. “We expect to integrate this additional form of renewable energy with our existing hydroelectric resource and to export this wind energy to customers in other markets. We are excited to learn more about the technology and how it will fit into our operations,” said Bob Brennan, president and CEO of Manitoba Hydro. Doer noted that, along with current energy conservation programs, the province needs to take advantage of renewable energy initiatives. “The injection of wind-generated electricity will diversify our energy mix and bring us that one step closer to meeting our Kyoto targets,” Doer added. Phase 1 of construction will see 12 turbines scheduled to be assembled within the next eight weeks with the additional 51 turbines to start going up in October.