Prince Edward Island Sets RPS

Wind power is set to fill a large section of the Energy Framework and Renewable Energy Strategy for Prince Edward Island. Government officials and staff started working on the strategy in June of 2004, which includes a plan to enhance the role of renewable energy.

Jamie Ballem, who is the minister of Environment, Energy and Forestry, said the Renewable Energy Act requires utilities to purchase or generate at least 15 percent of their electrical energy from renewables by 2010. The act will also allow for net metering for small renewable energy systems, and a guaranteed feed-in tariff for community, wind cooperative and large systems. Large-scale wind developments will be restricted to specific development areas. There are 13 wind-monitoring towers active in the province already, and Minister Ballem said the target of 15 percent of electricity generated from renewables by 2010 will be reached primarily through expansion in wind energy. In addition to the research work that is ongoing at North Cape through the Atlantic Wind Test Site, the Province now has 13 towers monitoring wind speed and direction. “We will soon have 12 months of monitoring data at the eastern tip of the province, and all indications are that the wind resource in that area compares very favorably with the average winds of 8.3 meters per second that we see at North Cape,” said Minister Ballem. He added that the Prince Edward Island (PEI) Energy Corporation expects to issue a request for proposals for 30 MW of wind in the spring of 2005, with the development to be in place the following year. Islanders will have an opportunity to invest in the development and share in its ownership. Updating progress on biofuels, Minister Ballem said the Province expects results in the near future on a feasibility study on generating biogas from meat-packing waste; and a preliminary analysis on the feasibility of producing biodiesel from energy crops, such as canola. “This initial work looked at the acreage that would be required to support a plant, the income opportunity for Island farmers, as well as issues such as capital construction costs, and estimated operating costs,” said Ballem. “We know from this work that a more detailed assessment is warranted and we will be entering into contracts for that work before the end of the fiscal year.” Additional strategy actions in the works for the PEI government are transportation efficiency standards for new or replacement vehicles in the Government fleet, and the potential to convert some Environment, Energy and Forestry trucks to gas-electric hybrids. An energy audit of government facilities has been completed as well, and a comprehensive energy audit will follow to identify areas for potential energy savings. Ballem stressed that the Renewable Energy Strategy is only one component of the Energy Framework. He said work continues on several fronts to develop the overall provincial energy strategy.

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