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January 23, 2009

Ontario wind power gets $1.3 billion

CANADA/ENVIRONMENT - The Ontario government announced today another $1.3 billion worth of renewable-energy projects, most of it wind, as part of its ongoing effort to "green" up the province's power mix and get rid of coal-based generation.

Ontario's coal-powered generators are getting old and either need to be replaced (at a cost of billions of tax dollars) or phased out while the province upgrades its renewable energy sources.

The Ontario Power Authority, will reveal this morning the results of a bidding process that began in October and aims to add at least another 500 megawatts of renewable electricity to the grid.

Winners chosen to invest in and develop the projects get a long-term power purchase agreement with the province.

The power authority was directed back in August 2007 to secure 2,000 megawatts of renewable supply, part of the government's goal of doubling renewable power in the province to 15,700 megawatts by 2025 (enough for 6 million homes) and bringing on 2,700 megawatts of that by 2010 (enough for over 1 million homes).

The previous two bidding rounds have resulted in seven wind farms capable of contributing 900 megawatts of power, though some projects remain in development.

Ontario expects to have 1,200 megawatts of wind power capacity in operation this summer.

The newest addition will likely be the 200-megawatt Wolf Island Wind Project near Kingston which, at a cost of $450 million, is expected to generate enough electricity over a year to power the equivalent of 75,000 homes.

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