The Manitoba government plans to build enough wind towers over the next two years to quadruple its wind-generated power, Energy Minister Dave Chomiak announced Thursday.
The province, along with Manitoba Hydro, hopes to add 300 megawatts of wind power to the province’s energy grid – enough power for 100,000 homes.
That could mean up to 160 more windmills, although newer and evolving wind turbine technology could make that number smaller.
Chomiak said the province and Manitoba Hydro will request proposals for the wind tower projects in the winter. They anticipate construction to start as early as 2007 or 2008.
The strategy is expected to generate $2 billion in investments, $100 million in wind-rights payments to landowners and $150 million in property taxes to local municipalities, according to the province.
The proposed wind towers will be an addition to the 99-megawatt wind farm near St. Leon, which is in full operation.
A tourist attraction
The 63 giant windmills have attracted tourists to St. Leon the a small farming community, 150 kilometres southwest of Winnipeg, since the first tower was activated in April 2005.
“To date, wind development in Manitoba Hydro has emerged as both a new source of renewable energy for the province and “¦ as a tourist attraction as well, as many visitors have travelled to see it,” said Manitoba Hydro president Bob Brennan.
Chomiak said having more wind turbines will boost Manitoba’s profile as a “green” energy provider.
“Further wind development is in keeping with Manitoba’s green energy policy,” he said.
“We’re the leader in geothermal [energy], we’re the leading exporter in Canada of hydro, we’re becoming a leader in ethanol, biodiesel is going to see significant growth in Manitoba. It makes good economic and energy sense.”
The province will host the 22nd annual Canadian Wind Energy Association Conference in October in Winnipeg.
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