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Third power line in works for P.E.I.  

The P.E.I. government hopes to use a fund established by Ottawa to revive a project killed shortly after the federal Conservatives took office in 2006.

In the dying days of Paul Martin’s government, Stephane Dion, who was then the Liberal environment minister, visited P.E.I. to announce federal funding for a third electrical transmission line from the Island to New Brunswick.

The two current cables, which supply Islanders with power, are near capacity. Unlike those two cables, the third one was to be bidirectional.

The eventual goal was to sell surplus power generated by both public and private wind farms in the province to the New England market.

When the Harper government came to power, they claimed no money was budgeted for the development and it appeared dead.

Now Richard Brown, the province’s innovation minister, said his government is hoping to use a $1.5-billion federal fund announced earlier this year to encourage public-private partnerships to complete the project.

“The federal government wants to encourage . . . public-private (partnerships) and this is one of the projects we see that fits the criteria of that project,” Mr. Brown said Thursday.

“We will be submitting an application under that in order to bring transmission across our bridge to . . . New England.”

In the legislature Wednesday, Mr. Brown assured Opposition energy critic Michael Currie that the province intends to charge royalties for private companies harnessing Island wind.

The minister said “we have to recognize the wind is a resource and it is a resource that is owned by Islanders.”

Mr. Brown said the province wants “a portion of the green credits that are sold out of the United States.”

“Wind is going to be a major plank of our initiative and Islanders are going to benefit from it. We are not going to sell that resource for nothing.”

Meanwhile, a major component of the province’s wind infrastructure is down for repair.

The 30-megawatt East Point Wind Plant at Elmira has taken six of its 10 wind turbines off-line to avoid further damage to the gearboxes after discovery of problems with them during routine inspections.

Vestas-Canadian Wind Technology, supplier of the turbines, is in the process of correcting the problem and the work is expected to be done by the end of June. The supplier is picking up the tab for the repairs and must also pay for the purchase of replacement power.

“We are focusing our efforts on delivering the parts to the site to ensure the timely replacement of the gearboxes,” Jens Soby, president of Vestas Americas, said in a news release. “Our main objective is to get the turbines online again so that they can start generating clean renewable energy.”

The wind turbines are “the largest and most powerful turbine in commercial operation on the North American market. The technology is still new, and it is a key focus area of ours to continuously develop and improve the reliability of our products.”

Andy Walker

The ChronicleHerald

10 May 2008

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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