An agreement for Maritime Electric to buy electricity from the P.E.I. government’s new wind farm at East Point has been approved, putting the utility well ahead of schedule on plans for renewable energy use.
Provincial legislation requires that Maritime Electric have 15 per cent of its power output generated by renewable resources by 2010, but it’s now on track to hit that target next year.
The deal was in question. It had to be approved by the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission, and a private wind energy company intervened, complaining the province had given Maritime Electric preferential treatment. IRAC ruled Friday that the contract could stand.
“This is the really exciting part. We expect by probably April/May of next year we will actually have the ability to receive 15 per cent of our energy from wind generation and renewable energy,” Maritime Electric president Fred O’Brien told CBC News.
“I believe we’d be the first province in Canada to achieve that level.”
New transmission line being built
The wind farm at East Point is being built and will be owned by the province, but the utility is responsible for the delivery of the electricity. Next week Maritime Electric will start construction of a new 40-kilometre transmission line.
“This will be a new line. It has to operate at a higher voltage than the existing line,” said O’Brien.
“We tried to the extent possible to follow roads, so it’s not exactly a straight line from Dingwells Mills to North Lake.”
The province expects the turbines to go up this fall. Wind energy is expected to start moving from East Point through the new transmission lines in January.
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