Natural Resources
July 26, 2007

Sod Turning for First Commercial Wind Farm in Newfoundland and Labrador

Construction on the province’s first commercial wind farm began today with a groundbreaking ceremony for the St. Lawrence wind project, a 27-megawatt wind farm that will have the potential to power 6,800 homes.

"Our province has significant renewable sources of energy and the St. Lawrence wind project is consistent with our objectives of strategically developing these resources to ensure optimal benefit for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador," said the Honourable Kathy Dunderdale, Minister of Natural Resources. "It’s very exciting to see this project moving forward."

Minister Dunderdale was joined for the groundbreaking ceremony by Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro Vice-President Jim Haynes, NeWind President Pascal Brun and St. Lawrence Mayor Wayde Rowsell.

In January, Hydro signed a 20-year power purchase agreement with NeWind, a Canadian subsidiary of Enel North America, that will see the installation of nine, three-megawatt wind turbines in the Town of St. Lawrence, on the Burin Peninsula. The wind farm is expected to be in full operation by the end of 2008 and generate approximately 100,000 megawatt-hours per year.

"Wind generation is a clean, cost-effective source of energy that offers many environmental benefits," said Mr. Haynes. "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. This is significant to Newfoundland and Labrador’s future energy needs and to Hydro’s goal of environmental leadership."

Wind power provides a clean, renewable and stable long-term source of energy for Newfoundland and Labrador with zero emissions. Energy from the St. Lawrence wind project has the potential to offset over 165,000 barrels of fuel burned annually at the Holyrood Thermal Generating Station.

"Enel North America has been active in green power generation in Newfoundland and Labrador since the start of its Star Lake hydropower project in 1998," said Mr. Brun. "Today, we are pleased to celebrate the start of the St. Lawrence wind project, which further demonstrates our commitment to the province and adds an important project to our global wind portfolio."

"The Town of St. Lawrence is delighted to be a partner in the emerging wind industry in Newfoundland and Labrador," said Mayor Rowsell. "The economic benefits this wind project will bring to the Town of St. Lawrence and the surrounding communities are significant, making this event today an important milestone for the area."

Newfoundland and Labrador has a world-class wind resource. The island power system, which is isolated from the North American grid, has a generating capacity of 1,919 megawatts provided by approximately 65 per cent hydroelectric and 35 per cent fossil fuel generation.

Hydro’s wind development strategy involves pursuing three distinct opportunities. On the island, Hydro has awarded contracts for the development of over 50 megawatts of wind power; in Labrador, Hydro is monitoring the wind resource to determine its potential; and in Ramea, a remote community on the south coast of Newfoundland, Hydro has begun a five-year research and development project for an isolated wind-hydrogen-diesel generation system.

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Media contacts:

Tracy Barron
Director of Communications
Department of Natural Resources
709-729-5282, 690-8241
tracybarron@gov.nl.ca
Dawn Dalley
Manager, Corporate Communications
Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro
709-737-1315, 727-7715
ddalley@nlh.nl.ca

2007 07 26                                                      1:20 p.m.
 


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