Ventus Energy, which is building a new wind farm in West Cape near O’Leary, is trying to negotiate a longer-term share of green credits, but P.E.I. isn’t willing to give them up.
There’s no market for green credits yet, but when that market becomes a reality it could generate another $10 million a year for the West Cape wind farm.
“We’re just not giving up on benefits that help P.E. Islanders down the road build their roads, build their highways and build their schools and hospitals,” said Environment Minister George Webster Thursday.
“We’re just not giving that away.”
Prince Edward Island recognized the potential value of carbon offsets early on, and wrote ownership of wind-generated credits into the Renewable Energy Act, which was proclaimed in December 2005.
“Any environmental attributes [green credits] are appropriated and reserved to Her Majesty in right of the province,” the act reads.
The province hopes to use green credits to generate revenue from wind energy projects in the same way other provinces get royalties from oil and gas developments. P.E.I. is the only province to claim ownership of the wind in this way.
With no market in green credits yet operating, the former Pat Binns government gave Ventus the green credits from the project for four years. Ventus is now looking for an extension of that deal to 20 years. Eleven turbines are already operating at West Cape, and the company is pouring concrete for another 44. But it’s still not too late for Ventus to move its operation to another province.
“We don’t want to lose the deal for sure,” said Webster.
“We know we’re walking on a sword right now because it’s important for us to have that deal because of our landowners that have the turbines on their farms.”
Ventus general manager John Douglas was in Texas Thursday and unable to do an interview. Some business watchers say Douglas may need to increase revenues because the higher Canadian dollar cuts deeply into his profits selling in the U.S.
Webster said he is not going to give give on revenues that are so important for P.E.I. While other provinces, such as Alberta and Newfoundland and Labrador, make billions from oil and gas revenues, P.E.I. has to find ways to generate revenues from its only energy source: the wind.
24 August 2007
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