Alberta Firm to Build B.C. Wind Project

The Canadian province of Alberta may be well-known for its oil and gas reserves, but it is also in the renewable energy business. On Thursday, Edmonton-based independent power producer Capital Power was chosen to supply a 142-MW wind farm for BC Hydro.

The Calgary Herald reported that BC Hydro will sign a 25-year power purchase agreement with developers for the Quality Wind Project. The cost of power from the project, which will be built in northeast British Columbia, has been estimated at 7.4 cents/kWh, about three cents above the current wholesale price for power in Alberta. The paper noted that there are no special rates for green energy in Alberta’s merchant power market; a federal green power subsidy program was dropped this month.

The Herald quoted Capital chief executive Brian Vaasjo as saying that "(The purchase agreement) has gone down a bit, but there are some escalation features and ratchet features on capacity. This is a long-term price, and in 25 years the price will look to be very inexpensive to B.C."

The Capital Power project was the largest approved by BC Hydro, the third-largest utility in Canada, as part of its 900-MW renewable power capacity goal.

Construction of the Quality Wind project, which will consist of 79 turbines, will be subject to regulatory approvals, including completion of the provincial environmental assessment process and approval of the energy purchase agreement by the B.C. Utilities Commission. Commercial operation is expected by spring 2013.

Among Capital Power’s other holdings is the 40-MW Kingsbridge Wind Power Project in Ontario, which consists of 22 1.8-MW Vestas turbines.

Sources: Calgary Herald, Capital Power

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