Thursday, April 29, 2010

Construction begins on St. Joseph wind farm

Not without hurdles, but it's underway:

Construction has started on the St. Joseph Wind Farm after Manitoba Hydro announced they would loan Pattern Energy $260 million towards the $345 million project.

After years of delays and changes to the original plan, Pattern Energy will have 60 Siemens SWT-2.3 MW turbines producing 138 MW in operation by Christmas of this year.

"These things don't generally take more than six to 12 months to build," Colin Edwards, senior developer Canada said.

The construction may be quick but getting there was not. In 2007 the call for submissions was put out by Manitoba Hydro. In November 2008, they announced they would go with a bid by Babcock and Brown Canada to build a 300 MW wind farm. That deal never materialized after their Australian parent company faced financial distress. The North American wind division was turned into Pattern Energy, with many of the same names that were involved in the first proposal.

From the Altona Red River Valley Echo. Not a moment too soon -- we're going to need a lot more of this soon, especially once the flow rates of the Assiniboine, Saskatchewan, and Churchill rivers start to decline as the glaciers on the Rockies vanish. The more wind and solar capacity we have the better, because when it's producing power it will be possible to reduce the flow rate through the control structure at Jenpeg, thus keeping Lake Winnipeg as full as possible.

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