Sunday, February 19, 2006

Canada's Wind Power Industry Shatters Growth Records in 2005

Canada's Wind Power Industry Shatters Growth Records in 2005
February 15, 2006

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada [] Reflecting the brisk wind power business of its neighbor to the south, Canada's wind energy industry installed 239 MW of new wind energy capacity in 2005, shattering the previous annual installation record of 122 MW established in 2004, according to its main industry association, Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA).

"While the growth we are seeing in Canada is both rapid and significant, we cannot lose sight of the fact that wind energy continues to develop much more quickly in other countries. With Canada's unparalleled wind resource, we can still do more to maximize the environmental, economic and industrial development benefits associated with wind energy for Canada."

-- Robert Hornung, President of CanWEA As a result, Canada's total installed wind energy capacity grew by 54% in 2005 to 683 MW. This means that wind energy now produces enough electricity in Canada to power more than 240,000 homes. 2006 promises even more growth, with a minimum of 500 MW of new energy capacity slated to be installed across the country this year.

"While wind energy's environmental benefits are well known, its economic benefits are becoming more apparent with the rapid growth of the industry in Canada," said Robert Hornung, President of CanWEA. "Projects installed in 2005 represented more than $400 million worth of investment and we also saw investment in five new Canadian manufacturing facilities to produce wind turbine towers, blades and nacelles."

Wind energy projects installed in 2005 in Canada included the Pubnico Point Windfarm in Nova Scotia, the Mont Copper and Mont Miller Windfarms in Quebec, the St. Leon Windfarm in Manitoba and the Centennial Windfarm in Saskatchewan. The year 2006 will see wind energy projects being constructed in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. "With the vast majority of wind energy development taking place in rural areas, wind energy projects are also providing real and ongoing economic benefits to both rural landowners through lease payments and rural municipalities through increased tax revenues," said Hornung.

"2005 will be remembered as the start of Canada's wind energy boom as more than 3,000 MW of wind energy projects are now contracted and slated for construction in Canada over the next few years", says Hornung. "In fact, federal and provincial governments both put in place policies in 2005 that could facilitate the installation of a minimum of 8,000 MW of wind energy in Canada by 2015. This would make wind energy responsible for 16% of all electricity to be produced by new generating facilities to be constructed in Canada over the next decade."

Canada now ranks as the 14th largest producer of wind energy in the world, but it remains far behind global leaders such as Germany (18,100 MW), Spain (9,825 MW), the United States (8,957 MW), and India (4,225 MW), as well as smaller countries such as Denmark (3,129 MW), the Netherlands (1,219 MW), Portugal (1,000 MW), and Austria (716 MW).

"While the growth we are seeing in Canada is both rapid and significant, we cannot lose sight of the fact that wind energy continues to develop much more quickly in other countries," says Hornung. "With Canada's unparalleled wind resource, we can still do more to maximize the environmental, economic and industrial development benefits associated with wind energy for Canada."

Wind developers tout front range potential

Wind developers tout front range potential

By Acantha staff
The Rocky Mountain Front - home to spectacular wildlife habitat and rugged ranchland - may also be the perfect setting for wind farms of the future, a panel of speakers told the Golden Triangle Pachyderm Club in Choteau recently.

The U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory ranks Montana as fifth in the nation in wind power potential. The Laboratory's wind power resources map for the state shows a bright band of blue, red, purple and pink along the east slope of the Rockies from the Canadian border south.

The DOE classifies wind power potential for the front range anywhere from "fair to outstanding" with most of the front range in the "good to excellent" range. The eastern two-thirds of Teton County is rated as "good" with the western third as "excellent and outstanding," particularly in the north-western corner of the county.

With this economic development potential in mind, the Pachyderm Club invited as guest speakers David L. Dumon, managing partner of Great Plains Wind & Energy Inc. of Somers; Bob Williams, vice president for regulatory with Montana Alberta Tie Ltd., of Calgary; Edward A. Sundberg, managing partner, GPS Group, L.L.C., of Roswell, Ga.; Mark D. Jacobson, senior development manager for Invenergy, L.L.C., of Pewaukee, Wisc.; and Harold Koegler, managing director for Hyperion Energy L.L.C. of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

According to the DOE, wind energy is the fastest-growing energy generation technology in the nation, expanding by 30 percent to 40 percent annually. The cost of producing electricity from wind power has dropped from 80 cents per kilowatt-hour in 1980 (in current dollars) to 4 to 6 cents now.

The DOE says that wind energy systems are now installed in 27 states. In Montana, as of 2005, there were three wind farms on-line on the Blackfeet Reservation in Glacier County, on the Martinsdale Hutterite Colony and, most recently, at the Invenergy Wind Farm at Judith Gap, according to the American Wind Energy Association. The AWEA also says that wind farms are in the planning stages at Poplar and in the Glasgow area.

Introducing the speakers, Pachyderm Club President Llew Jones of Conrad said the program was intended to provide information on electricity transmission line capability and wind energy potential in northcentral Montana.

Sundberg, giving background on wind energy issues, said, "I think it's safe to say that we're facing, nationally and even globally, a perfect storm of a lot of issues."

Sundberg's company provides "global project solutions, management and capital" and has U.S. offices in Atlanta, Boston and New York City and abroad in Geneva, Switzerland.

Sundberg said the Kyoto Treaty protocols are pressuring countries to reduce carbon emissions and to look at cleaner energy sources. Secondly, he said, the United States is trying for security purposes to diversify its energy portfolio and reduce its reliance on foreign oil. Thirdly, the costs of production and acquisition for both crude oil and natural gas have spiked in recent months.

With that backdrop, Sundberg said, a number of large Wall Street firms have seen the potential for wind energy and are purchasing wind energy developments, and many utilities are looking to develop wind energy resources.

The renewed interest in wind energy comes at a time when the technology used to convert wind energy to electricity - wind turbines - has been greatly improved and is much more efficient, resulting in much lower wind energy production costs, Sundberg said.

"Wind is now becoming extremely competitive," he said. "Montana has a tremendous, tremendous amount of wind. And I'm not referring to the Pachyderms in this room."

Sundberg said GPS Group L.L.C. has invested in wind energy on the Blackfeet Reservation and is still working there.

One issue facing Montana, he said, is the lack of a large enough transmission system to get energy produced here into the national grid and available for sale to consumers.

Williams, however, said his entrepreneur-owned company, wants to provide that critical link. Montana Alberta Tie Ltd. is building a 200-mile transmission line from northeast of Lethbridge, Alta., south to Great Falls.

Utility companies have looked at installing such a line in the past, but the economics have not penciled out, Williams said. His merchant-developer owned company, however, believes that investing in a transmission line that can provide services to yet-to-be-built wind farms will be a profitable venture in the future. This transmission line will encourage large-scale wind developments, Williams said.

The Canadian wind energy atlas supports his contention, he said. "The message that this picture conveys is that this land passes through some of the best wind resource in north America," he said.

He said the transmission line is going through the regulatory permitting process now, and his company plans to have it built by the end of the first quarter of 2007.

Koegler, who has been in the wind energy arena since 1984, said, "The wind in Montana is strong and constant and it's cold. All of that means good power."

"Wind energy is now efficient, it's priced properly and its worthy of taking note of," he said. "It's a non-polluting, renewable resource."

Like Williams, Koegler also said that to take advantage of Montana's wind generating potential, the state will have to have a way to transport the electricity to the consumers and companies that need to purchase it. He said he and other wind developers are working with government officials and programs to foster transmission line production.

Local economies can benefit when commercial wind farms are installed through an infusion of wage and materials dollars into the economy and can see ongoing benefits from property taxes and employment, Koegler said. Building a commercial wind farm capable of generating 1,000 megawatts of electricity with about 500 wind turbines would cost about $1.5 billion, he said. Of that, 20 percent would stay in the local economy in labor, materials and services - a whopping $300 million. "As you can see, not only will you be exporting power and the state will be making money from that through their normal revenue procedures, but you'll also be bringing new jobs and new money," he said.

Jacobson's company, Inven-ergy, has invested in Montana's wind energy, building the Invenergy wind farm at Judith Gap. The facility has 90 1.5-megawatt turbines and produces 135 megawatts of power. Each turbine could provide electricity to 300 to 400 homes. The Judith Gap plant was the largest of three wind farms that Invenergy invested in the west last year. The other two were in Colorado and Idaho.

Jacobson said six to 12 full-time operators and maintenance workers are employed at the Judith Gap farm.

"The market is improving," Jacobson said. Utilities want to buy this power because it provides a nice predictable price, a hedge against volatile natural gas prices, Jacobson said, adding that the federal production tax credit is also encouraging investment in wind energy.

Dumon, who hails from the Conrad area, said his experience has come through developing 15 wind farms in Texas. He and his partners formed their new company in January 2005 and are now looking at developing wind farms in the Northwest.

The topography that Great Plains Wind & Energy Inc. is looking for, west of Interstate 15, is the buttes and tabletop mesas of the Front. "These are ideal places to build wind farms," Dumon said.

He said his company is looking at a 5,000-acre to 8,000-acre wind farm on private property in Pondera and Toole counties and has three other projects in Montana on the drawing board.

Dumon's company plans to take out 20-year leases with the landowners with the option to renew the leases every 10 years twice. He said the impact of the project to the local communities and the state will be significant.

The Montana Wind Working Group, made up of industry, consumer and government representatives promoting wind energy development in the state, has developed an informal guide for landowners considering leasing their property wind developers.

The manual says, "If you're interested in offering your property as a site for a wind farm, you need to think about how you'll make money from the project. If you're serious, after reading this [the guide], hire a professional to help you negotiate with wind developers."

The guide is available on the state Web site at:

30m ScottishPower wind deal

Fri 17 Feb 2006

£30m ScottishPower wind deal
SCOTTISHPOWER yesterday showed its long-term commitment to renewable energy by agreeing a £30 million, 15-year deal to buy electricity from a wind farm in Huntly.

The utility said it had agreed the deal with the Englefield Renewable Fund which owns the site. The farm is expected to be completed by February 2007.

The news cements the company's position as the UK's biggest provider of wind energy, bringing its total output to 271mW - enough to heat 150,000 homes. The group aims to have 1,000mW in operation by 2010 - when the government hopes to have 10 per cent of all UK energy coming from renewable resources. The group's strategy of investing in wind farms has been endorsed by new chief executive Philip Bowman, who joined the company following the sacking of Ian Russell in January. It emerged this week that Bowman - who last headed Allied Domecq - has been awarded nearly £700,000 worth of shares as an incentive to join the company.

The award is dependent on the meeting of certain performance targets, and will vest in three years. The conditions will be measured in relation to financial performance, customer service and returns for shareholders. Eight other senior employees were helped to top up their shareholdings yesterday, as part of the group's employee share-ownership plan.

The long-term award to Bowman is further evidence that ScottishPower believes it can cling on to its independence in the coming months, following the rejection of a 570p-a-share offer from German group E.ON last November. Many analysts had thought that Bowman had been employed to tout the business to prospective new owners, although he has strongly denied this is the case. E.ON will be free to bid again in May under Takeover Panel rules.

However, news that he is in line for a £700,000 bonus is unlikely to please customers, who were told last week that their gas bills will be hiked by 15 per cent from 1 March - their fifth rise since 2004. The latest rise takes the average gas bill for customers in central Scotland to £692 a year, meaning Bowman could decide to use his bonus to heat 1,000 homes.

Hydropower giant to invest in wind power

Hydropower giant to invest in wind power: "Hydropower giant to invest in wind power
Updated: 2006-02-18 16:42
China's hydropower giant, China Three Gorges Project Corporation, plans to develop wind power in Yancheng, East China's Jiangsu Province.
The project has been authorized by the National Development and Reform Commission. The corporation set up Yangtze New Energy Development Company to implement the 200,000-kW project. Preparation for the project is expected to be completed within the year.
China boasts rich wind energy, much more than the hydropower, said Li Yong'an, general manager of the cooperation. According to the company's statistics, China has a wind power reserve of 253 million kW onshore and 750 million kW offshore, as compared with a hydropower reserve of only 400 million kW.
The country's installed capacity of windmill generators, however, was estimated at 12 million kW at the end of 2005, leaving a great potential to yet be tapped, Li said.
The corporation thus mapped out a strategic plan to develop clean energy including wind power. By 2020, the corporation is expected to have 85 million kW of installed capacity including 4 million kW of wind power installed capacity, according to the corporation's strategy."