News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

November 24, 2004


Manitoba Harnesses Wind Power With First Wind Farm To Be Built Near St. Leon

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$187 Million Project Creates New Clean Energy Source, Provides Economic Opportunity for Manitoba: Premier

Premier Gary Doer announced today AirSource Power will invest $187 million to develop Manitoba's first wind farm near St. Leon, creating a new clean energy source and harvesting new economic opportunities for Manitoba.

"AirSource Power and its partners should be congratulated for investing in Manitoba's first wind farm and developing a project that makes good business and good environmental sense," the premier said. "This initiative will help our province build on its affordable, clean energy advantage while creating new economic opportunities for the community of St. Leon and for all Manitobans."

The 99-megawatt (MW) project, located in the rural municipalities of Lorne and Pembina near St. Leon, 150 kilometres southwest of Winnipeg, will make use of technology developed by Vestas Wind Systems. It will result in the installation of 63 wind turbine generators over two phases and on completion generate enough power to serve approximately 35,000 homes, or the total energy needs of Portage La Prairie and Morden combined.

"By using cutting-edge technology and having arguably the best wind resource in Canada, we will be building one of the largest wind farms in North America," said David Kerr, director, AirSource Power Fund GP. "Wind power is the fastest growing energy source in the world and we look forward to a long and productive relationship with Manitobans."

AirSource Power will sell wind-generated power to Manitoba Hydro as part of a 25-year agreement, providing the Crown corporation with an additional clean energy source to augment hydroelectric power.

"This is an exciting project for Manitoba Hydro," said Vic Schroeder, chair, Manitoba Hydroelectric Board. "Adding another source of renewable energy, wind power, to our existing clean energy portfolio is a good choice."

Construction of the wind farm, expected to be completed by the end of 2005, will result in the creation of about 280 direct and indirect jobs during construction and 25 direct and indirect operational jobs upon the project's completion.

Along with $187 million capital investment in the project, AirSource plans to invest an additional $100 million in operating funds. As well, landowners in the St. Leon area will be paid more than $9 million over the next 25 years, providing producers a new revenue source.

The province plans to develop up to 1,000 MW of wind over the next decade. The exact amount that will be integrated will depend on ongoing assessments. The province will also set aside approximately 50 MW to support the development of smaller wind projects.

"Projects such as the wind farm will help rural communities harvest the positive winds of economic change by diversification that helps smooth the inevitable peaks and valleys of the traditional agricultural economy," the premier said.

AirSource LP is managed by AirSource GP, a company owned jointly by Algonquin Power (St. Leon) Inc. and GreenWing Energy, Inc. through GreenWing-Algonquin Power Development Inc.

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Wind Facts

Global Perspective

  • The global wind industry increased by over 8,000 megawatts (MW) in 2003 and generating capacity is over 39,000 MW. Wind is the fastest growing source of electricity in the world, with growth averaging roughly 25 to 30 per cent over the past five years.
  • Most of the installed capacity is in Germany, Spain and Denmark but North America is expected to witness significant growth.
  • Canada has an installed base of 439 MW and has about 50,000 MW of developable wind resource —enough to supply 20 per cent of Canada's electricity supply.
  • The U.S. nearly doubled its capacity in the last two years and currently has 6,374 MW installed capacity or about 16 per cent of the global capacity.
  • Improvements in technology and larger turbines are driving costs down, allowing wind generation to penetrate new markets.

Why Wind in Manitoba?

Manitoba possesses a number of fundamentals that support large-scale wind farm development. These advantages include:

  • Southwest Manitoba has a world-class wind regime that makes wind projects commercially viable and competitive with hydrogeneration.
  • Virtually all of the province's electricity is generated by water. A hydraulic system can store energy in reservoirs when the wind is blowing and release water to generate electricity when the wind is calm.
  • Manitoba has accessible transmission so the power can be sent to markets when it is needed.
  • The land and terrain in southwestern Manitoba lend themselves to large-scale wind farm development. Turbines complement the farming community because they only occupy a small footprint of land.
  • Wind turbines provide landholders an additional source of income.
  • Wind turbines also provide municipalities an additional source of revenue.
  • Wind generated electricity provides diversity to our renewable energy mix.

St. Leon Project

The St. Leon Wind Energy Project site is located 150 kilometres southwest of the city of Winnipeg, near the town of St. Leon and within three kilometres of a 230-kilovolt Manitoba Hydro transmission line.

Bison Wind Inc. was the initial developer of the St. Leon Wind Energy Project. Bison Wind is a Winnipeg based joint venture between Sequoia Energy Inc., a Canadian wind developer and Global Renewable Energy Partners Inc. (GREP), a U.S. based wind developer. The St. Leon Wind Energy Project was acquired from Bison Wind by Airsource LP in October of 2004.

Airsource Power Fund 1 LP is a limited partnership created by Algonquin Power Income Fund and Greenwing Energy Inc. Algonquin Power Income Fund is an open-ended investment trust based in Oakville Ontario and is listed on the TSX (symbol APF.UN). The fund owns direct interest or equity in hydroelectric plants, cogeneration plants and alternative fuels plants and has arranged financing for the project.

The project will result in the following estimated economic impacts:

  • $187 million in new capital and $108 million in lifetime operating expenditures;
  • approximately $ 36 million (over the life of the project) in federal support through the Wind Power Production Incentive; and
  • approximately $15 million in property taxes, $14 million in provincial income tax, $5.4 million in capital tax and $12 million in provincial sales tax over 20 plus years.

Access rights to the land required to construct and operate the 99-MW project have been obtained from individual landowners and the average annual wind energy production is projected to be enough to power 35,000 homes or meet the total energy needs of the communities of Portage La Prairie and Morden combined.

The project will be built with 63 Vestas V82 wind turbine generators with 80-metre towers and will be one of the largest wind farms in North America and the largest to date in Canada. Vestas is undertaking the construction and construction management is being carried out by Algonquin Power Systems Inc. Once built, the facility will be operated by Vestas and Algonquin Power Systems.

Vestas began wind turbine manufacturing in 1979 and is the world leader in wind technology and market share. Vestas' core business comprises the development, manufacture, sale, marketing and maintenance of wind power systems that use wind energy to generate electricity. Vestas has about 35 per cent of the installed global capacity, has 12 plants worldwide and currently globally employs over 9,500 people.

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