August 13, 2007

Construction begins on Newfoundland & Labrador's first commercial wind farm

Construction has begun on Newfoundland and Labrador's first commercial wind farm. The 27-megawatt (MW) St Lawrence wind farm, being built on the Burin Peninsula near the town of St Lawrence, will generate approximately 100,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) per year. Its nine, three-megawatt wind turbines are expected to be in full operation by the end of 2008.

In January, Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro (NLH) signed a 20-year power purchase agreement with NeWind, a Canadian subsidiary of Enel North America. "The focus for wind power generated on the island is to supplement Hydro's existing energy supply and to help reduce our reliance on thermal generation," said NLH vice-president Jim Haynes. "This is significant to Newfoundland and Labrador's future energy needs and to Hydro's goal of environmental leadership."

Energy from the St Lawrence wind project has the potential to offset more than 165,000 barrels of fuel burned annually at the Holyrood thermal generating station. The island power system, which is isolated from the North American grid, has a generating capacity of just over 1,900 MW. About 65% of this comes from hydroelectric sources, the remaining 35% from fossil fuel combustion.

Newfoundland and Labrador has a world-class wind resource, and NLH's strategy for its development is focused on three distinct opportunities. On the island, NLH has awarded contracts for the development of over 50 MW of wind power, and has begun a five-year research and development project in the remote south coast community of Ramea for an isolated wind-hydrogen-diesel generation system. In Labrador, Hydro is monitoring the wind resource to evaluate its potential.

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