Hydro to build largest wind farm in Canada

ST. JOSEPH, MANITOBA - Manitoba Hydro's board has accepted a proposal from Babcock & Brown Canada to build a 300-megawatt wind farm in south central Manitoba.

Greg Selinger, the provincial minister responsible for hydro, said the 130-turbine wind farm will be the largest wind generation project in Canada when it is completed.

The turbines will be installed in fields around St. Joseph, Man., located less than 20 km north of the U.S. border near Altona.

Construction is expected to begin next year, and the wind turbines are scheduled to start producing electricity in late 2010 or early 2011.

Manitoba Hydro CEO Bob Brennan said the Crown utility will buy the power from Babcock & Brown — at a rate yet to be established, as negotiations on a final power purchase agreement are still underway — then package the wind-generated electricity with more reliable hydro-generated power and sell it to "anybody that will buy it," including utilities in Saskatchewan, Ontario or the United States.

Manitoba Hydro had first tendered a request for proposals for a 300-megawatt wind project last year, and received more than 80 submissions. The company short-listed 10 potential projects earlier this year then selected the Babcock & Brown project in St. Joseph from that list.

The project is expected to see about $70 million paid to landowners in the area as compensation for allowing turbines to be installed.

The power purchase agreement is set to last 25 years.

Manitoba's other commercial wind farm is located near St. Leon and generates 99 megawatts of electricity.


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