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NB Power gets ready for renewables

New Brunswick Power says it’s taking a "prudent" approach to adding wind power to its energy mix but expects to meet the province’s target of having one-third of its energy come from renewable sources.

Bruce Duplessis, the vice-president of corporate communications, said the utility wants to make sure wind farms can maximize their efficiency and that they get the best price for consumers. He said the utility will soon issue requests for proposals to nine companies narrowed down from 16 that expressed interest last December in developing wind generation.

NB Power expects to have more than one company build, own and operate wind farms capable of producing 400 megawatts of wind energy annually in the next 10 years.

"When we put out expressions of interest we wanted to find out the level of interest to do various sizes of projects, at various periods of time and in various parts of the province," Mr. Duplessis said Wednesday.

The utility hopes that by developing wind farms in different parts of the province, it will be able to improve on the 30 to 35 per cent efficiency rate that wind farms typically generate.

"There’s always a concern that if you have all your wind farms in one area and the wind’s not blowing, you have a problem," Mr. Duplessis said. "The wind will be blowing somewhere in the province or multiple places in the province at the same time." The province wants one-third of the energy used... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Bruce Duplessis, the vice-president of corporate communications, said the utility wants to make sure wind farms can maximize their efficiency and that they get the best price for consumers. He said the utility will soon issue requests for proposals to nine companies narrowed down from 16 that expressed interest last December in developing wind generation.

NB Power expects to have more than one company build, own and operate wind farms capable of producing 400 megawatts of wind energy annually in the next 10 years.

"When we put out expressions of interest we wanted to find out the level of interest to do various sizes of projects, at various periods of time and in various parts of the province," Mr. Duplessis said Wednesday.

The utility hopes that by developing wind farms in different parts of the province, it will be able to improve on the 30 to 35 per cent efficiency rate that wind farms typically generate.

"There’s always a concern that if you have all your wind farms in one area and the wind’s not blowing, you have a problem," Mr. Duplessis said. "The wind will be blowing somewhere in the province or multiple places in the province at the same time." The province wants one-third of the energy used by consumers to come from renewable sources by 2016, with nuclear energy and fossil fuels making up one-third each. Hydroelectric plants are already producing 23 per cent of the renewable total, Mr. Duplessis said.

"By adding 400 (megawatts) of wind (and) looking at some renewables, whether it’s methane gas from landfill sites or biomass fuel projects, it’s very clear we’ll reach that 30 per cent by 2016," he said.

Wind power is generally more expensive than other forms of energy but is becoming more competitive as the price of fossil fuel increases, Mr. Duplessis said. But because no one knows whether the cost of oil will decline again, as it has in the past, he said the utility wants to be cautious in signing 20- to 25-year power purchase agreements when New Brunswick isn’t faced with the demand for energy that other provinces like Ontario are.

"We don’t need the wind capacity to (meet new demand)," he said. "We need it to meet the renewable portfolio standards. It’s environmentally the right thing to do, and it continues to improve our mix."

The Canadian Wind Energy Association says New Brunswick has been active in terms of exploring wind energy.

"It sounds to me like there’s been quite a bit of homework done, that they haven’t just been saying ‘Yep, let’s site them here,’ " said Sandra Schwartz, the director of policy for government relations.

( plaunt@herald.ca)


Source: http://thechronicleherald.c...

JUL 27 2006
https://www.windaction.org/posts/3684-nb-power-gets-ready-for-renewables
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