September 07, 2006
Manitoba is taking a major stride forward in its wind power strategy with the development of another 300 megawatts of wind, or enough to power more than 100,000 homes, Energy, Science and Technology Minister Dave Chomiak announced today.
“This is the next significant step toward our commitment to harvest 1,000 megawatts of Manitoba wind power over the next decade,” Chomiak said. “Made-in-Manitoba wind power is not only environmentally sound, it diversifies our power supply and provides substantial economic benefits to the entire province.”
Today’s announcement follows a process that concluded in February in which the Manitoba government and Manitoba Hydro called for expressions of interest in Manitoba wind development. Over 40 responses were received from wind developers, First Nations, communities, turbine manufacturers and consultants – a strong signal that Manitoba will meet its 1,000-megawatt target, Chomiak said.
As the next step, Manitoba Hydro will issue a request for proposals this winter for new wind projects totalling 300 megawatts. Actual construction of new projects could begin as early as 2007-08.
“Manitoba Hydro can use its hydro system to help accommodate the intermittent nature of wind and use its interconnections to move it to customers in the export market,” said Bob Brennan, president and CEO of Manitoba Hydro. “This will add to the diversity of the Manitoba Hydro system, and landowners and municipalities will benefit through new revenues.”
In addition to the 300 megawatts announced today, three further allocations of 200 megawatts each are currently targeted for 2013-14, 2015-16, and 2017-18, based on economic viability. Manitoba’s 1,000-megawatt wind strategy is expected to generate $2 billion in investment, $100 million in wind-rights payments to landowners and $150 million in property taxes to local municipalities.
Future phases of Manitoba’s wind strategy will include smaller, community-based wind projects where individuals such as farm producers or other community groups can sell power back into the energy grid.
“We are committed to reaping the benefits of wind as a clean, locally-based, renewable-energy source for the entire province,” Chomiak said. “Developing wind energy in Manitoba creates economic opportunities for our rural communities, First Nations, construction firms and advanced manufacturing suppliers, as well as offering new and exciting employment opportunities for our young people. Like hydro-electricity, wind energy is renewable and helps to preserve the environment for future generations.”
Today’s announcement of the next steps in Manitoba’s wind strategy builds on the 99-megawatt wind farm at St. Leon which is now in full operation. The 63 wind turbines at St. Leon have become a Manitoba tourism hotspot, attracting visitors eager to see the giant towers that boast blades longer than the wingspan of a 747 aircraft. The $210-million project will result in $100 million in operational expenditures, $30 million in provincial and municipal taxes and $9 million in local landholder payments over the life of the project.
Next month, Manitoba will welcome more than 1,000 delegates to the national Canadian Wind Energy Association Conference, the largest event in the organization’s history. The conference will be held at the Winnipeg Convention Centre Oct. 22 to 25.
Manitoba’s wind strategy builds on the province’s commitment to developing renewable energy sources including new-generation hydro, ethanol, biodiesel, geo-thermal and hydrogen. Manitoba Hydro, in partnership with the Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation, recently began construction on the 200‑megawatt Wuskwatim hydroelectric project, a low-impact hydro generating station.
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