CHARLOTTETOWN – The government may have changed but the push toward wind power will continue unabated on Prince Edward Island.
During its decade in office, the Conservative administration of Pat Binns made wind power a key component of its alternative energy strategy. Wind farms were established on both the eastern and western tips of the Island.
The previous administration set a goal of having 15 per cent of its electricity generated by wind power by 2010 – a target that was actually met three years early.
In last week’s speech from the throne, the Liberal government of Robert Ghiz signalled its intention to build on that record by bringing up to 500 megawatts of wind generation power on stream within the next five years. (That would be enough power to meet the electrical needs of 150,000 homes for a year.)
This week, Maritime Electric is holding public hearings on developing a 200-megawatt transmission line between it’s substation in Sherbrooke (just outside Summerside) and its substation in O’Leary. The line would be fed by wind power from a private-sector wind development in nearby West Cape.
The wind farm, owned by Suez Renewable Energy North America, currently produces 20 megawatts of power, but plans to increase that to 100 megawatts by the end of the year.
Construction of the 60-kilo- metre line is scheduled to begin later this year. It will cost approximately $16 million to build and Maritime Electric engineers estimate it will last in the range of 40 years.
While the West Cape wind farm is the only private-sector client signed up to use the line at this point, the environmental impact assessment prepared for the project notes provision has been made for additional wind generating capacity to be added down the road.
The Island utility issued a request for proposals for private-sector wind development earlier this year. Kim Griffin, the company’s director of communications, said there was considerable interest and negotiations are taking place with a number of potential developers.
The throne speech also indicated the provincial is now working with the federal government and Holland College to develop a wind energy technician program.
By ANDY WALKER
Wed. Apr 9
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