The developer planning three wind farms in western P.E.I. has begun work to build investor backing for the $250- million construction effort.
Ventus Energy of Toronto is nearing completion of a nine-megawatt wind farm at Norway and is working on a 99-megawatt, two-phased, project that will see a total of 55 windmills built at West Cape.
Longer-term plans for Ventus include a possible development of another small scale wind farm at Kildare Capes.
John Douglas, president and chief executive officer of Ventus, said the company anticipates developing 5,000 megawatts of wind power in the six eastern provinces and hopes to have 951 megawatts commissioned or under construction by the end of 2009.
“Norway is our first project,” he said.
Douglas said P.E.I. has reached a point where it is a national leader in the development of wind power and the company wants to move in an environment that combines favourable regulation with a strong wind environment.
“We’ve seeded projects all over eastern Canada, including New Brunswick and Nova Scotia,” he said. “Right now our best projects are West Cape and Norway.”
Ventus spent some time Thursday sitting down with local brokers to talk about its plan to let investors join the project through a limited partnership plan that would let members of the public buy between $25 million and $55 million worth of West Cape shares. The shares will be sold through Scotia Capital.
He said the company has been touring with the share offering since the first prospectus was released last month.
“We’re on sort of a road show now,” he said.
Energy Minister Jamie Ballem said he’s happy to see private developers show up to make investments that will complement government’s own wind farm projects at North Cape and East Point.
“Not only is wind energy being produced here but it is going to be used here by Islanders,” he said.
Ventus has worked out its own sales plans for the wind power, combining exports with local sales. The company plans to sell production from its nine-megawatt Norway project to the provincial energy corporation, while nearly 10 megawatts from West Cape will be sold to Summerside’s power utility.
The remaining 90 megawatts are destined to be sold into New England using an export system that connects New Brunswick and Maine. Douglas said the current undersea cable between the Island and New Brunswick is heavy enough to carry their exports, but he would be pleased to see a second cable set in place.
“What we did like about it was the security of having a redundant cable,” he said. “If that idea is resurrected we would love to be a part of it.”
The announcement of a public offering of shares in private wind power comes just days after the provincial government announced that it would sell bonds allowing the general public to support the province’s wind farm at East Point.
Douglas wasn’t offering any comment on whether Ballem’s windmills or his would make the better investment.
“I think it’s great for Islanders to get involved with an energy project that’s on Prince Edward Island.”
By Ron Ryder
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding