Westman Wind plans eight projects worth $1.5B in Manitoba
Westman Wind Power has announced plans to develop eight wind power projects, worth a total of $1.5 billion, at locations throughout Manitoba. The eight projects have an initial capacity of approximately 700 MW and a potential maximum capacity of more than 1,400 MW.
The Winnipeg-based wind power developer was formed in 2004 to develop wind projects within the province and maximize their economic, environmental and social benefits. The company's principals include Winnipeg lawyers Paul Edwards and Neil Duboff; David Martin, a Winnipeg businessman who has been working with Manitoba farmers for more than 20 years; and Dave Courtney, a renewable energy expert based in Kenora, Ontario.
"Wind is the fastest growing source of power generation in the world, and we think Manitoba can be a world leader in the development of wind power," said Edwards. He added that, "with our strong connection to both the Winnipeg business community and farmers across Manitoba, we think Westman can play a significant part in the development o wind power in the province."
Westman is developing the projects with technical support and assistance from Wardrop Engineering, one of the largest engineering firms based in Manitoba, and two wind farm developers, Gale Force Energy (GFE), of Toronto, and Padoma Wind Power, based in La Jolla, California.
"We are thrilled that Wardrop, one of the premier engineering firms in Canada, has agreed to contribute their technical and wind power expertise to our projects," said Westman partner David Martin. "We also benefit greatly by having Padoma and GFE as part of our team. Our vision is for Manitoba to become a centre of excellence in wind power, so other provinces and countries can look to us for expertise," he added.
GFE, also formed in 2004, has more than 30 wind farm projects under various stages of development across Canada. Padoma Wind Power's principals each have more than 20 years of experience in the wind power industry and have developed, financed and built more than 40 wind power projects in North America and Europe, including more than 500 MW of projects in the past four years. More information on these companies is available on their respective Web sites, www.galeforceenergy.com, www.padoma.com.
In selecting site locations, the Westman team relied on Helimax Energy, a leading wind energy consultant in Canada. Helimax used historical weather data and computer-based modeling to determine the windiest spots in the province. Five of Westman's projects are located on private land, and the company has already negotiated land use agreements for more than 50,000 acres of land.
Wind monitoring programs (which measure the wind resource) have begun on all of the sites and will continue for at least 18 months. Westman has also filed applications to use more than 20,000 acres of Crown Land for two additional projects and negotiations are in progress for the final project, located in the Churchill area.
"The interest in our company and our projects has been exceptional," noted Martin, who leads the site acquisition team for Westman. "Landowners are excited to get construction under way and to start earning new sustainable income. This new income is especially important for many of the farmers in our group who are looking to diversify their farm income."
CFI Group (CFI), a company owned jointly by Westman management and Canada Life, a subsidiary of Great-West Life, has been engaged to arrange financing to develop the wind farm projects. CFI specializes in providing customized medium and long-term structured and infrastructure debt and equity financing solutions for private and public corporations.