Wind Power Incentives Increased in Ontario

Wind power production incentives in Canada were recently increased from 1,000 MW to 4,000 MW, and companies are working as quickly as they can to take advantage of the change. Under the wind power production incentives (WPPI), projects, such as the Melancthon Grey Wind Project, will be able to receive a payment of CAD 10 (US $8) per MWh of electricity produced from wind energy.

Melancthon is located near Shelburne near Toronto. It is among the first utility-scale wind projects to be developed in the province of Ontario, and will use 45 of GE Energy’s 1.5 MW wind turbines to add 67.5 MW of wind capacity to the country’s growing total. “Four thousand megawatts of wind energy in Canada would generate approximately CAD $6 billion in investment, and would create more than 40,000 direct and indirect person-years of employment,” said Robert Hornung, who is the president of the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA). The WPPI increase, according to Hornung, signals that the federal government is willing to partner with provincial governments to put wind projects into motion that are now under consideration or in the early stages. That would put in place “between 4,500 and 5,000 megawatts of wind energy capacity by 2012,” he said. As of September 2004, Canada’s installed wind energy capacity was 439 MW. Melancthon Grey is expected to generate 180,000 MWh of electricity annually, or enough to power 25,000 average Canadian households. The power purchaser will be the Ontario Electricity Finance Corporation, on behalf of the government of Ontario. The project owner and developer is Canadian Hydro Developers, which recently purchased the issued and outstanding shares of original project owner Canadian Renewable Energy Corporation (CREC). The purchase gave Canadian Hydro100 percent ownership of the Melancthon Grey project, which currently holds a 20 year Renewable Energy Sales Contract with the Ontario Electricity Financial Corporation (OEFC). Canadian Projects Limited of Calgary is the project manager and responsible for the overall construction. Groundbreaking for the project is expected to occur in the spring of 2005, with commercial operation expected no later than March 30, 2006. “Worldwide, wind remains the fastest growing energy technology,” said Steve Zwolinski, president of GE Energy’s wind operations. “In addition to being clean and sustainable, using wind as a fuel source can help to diversify the economies of rural communities, adding to the tax base and providing new types of income. It is apparent that the government of Canada recognizes wind energy’s many benefits and is strongly supporting the development of the country’s wind industry.”

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