April has been a very busy month for the wind energy industry in the western part of P.E.I.
A German company, NewEn Canada, has announced plans to build a 100-megawatt wind farm in Anglo Tignish – the largest private-sector wind development in the province to date.
Meanwhile, the federal government has ended the uncertainty regarding the future of the Canadian Wind Energy Institute by announcing long-term funding. As well, plans have been unveiled for a new course at Holland College that will train people specifically for the industry.
NewEn Canada now has enough landowners under contract to proceed with the development and is in the process of erecting wind measuring equipment and is beginning the environmental approval process.
“P.E.I. has fantastic wind conditions and we are pleased to continue the tradition of wind generation close to North Cape,” said company president Svend Karstedt.
“We will be using the latest state-of-the-art equipment available on the market. Our target is to install the lowest number of turbines, combined with the highest efficiency.”
NewEn Canada was established in January 2008 and is a subsidiary of NewEn Germany. The parent company is a family-owned business with experience developing over 25 wind farms, primarily in Germany.
For the P.E.I. project, Mr Karstedt said he has already assembled an experienced Island team, led by Jamie Ballem. Mr. Ballem was minister of environment, energy and forestry in the previous Conservative government of Pat Binns and one of the main architects of the province’s expansion into wind energy.
Currently, P.E.I. has provincially owned wind farms on the eastern and western tips of the province. Ventus Energy is in the second stage of building a wind farm in West Cape and the City of Summerside is also looking at wind power to run its electric utility.
“We anticipate that construction will start in 2010 and commissioning of the turbines will follow,” said Mr. Karstedt. “The development stage will take about one year. With the exceptionally strong worldwide demand for wind turbines, we believe we must be aggressive and get this project up and running as soon as we possible.”
During a whirwind visit to P.E.I. late last week, ACOA Minister Peter MacKay announced $2 million over the next three year for the Wind Energy Institute. The North Cape facility conducts wind research for both government and the private sector. The P.E.I. government is also investing $855,000 over the same time period.
The new course at Holland College is designed to increase the number of qualified turbine technicians available to meet the growing needs of the wind energy industry. ACOA will invest $480,000 in the project and the provincial government will contribute $450,000, while the Wind Energy Institute of Canada will provide $155,000 and Holland College will invest $148,000.
By Andy Walker
29 April 2008
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