GE Energy awarded wind turbine contracts

GE Energy announced yesterday that it has been selected as turbine supplier for the 30-megawatt Magrath Wind Power Project in southern Alberta, Canada.

GE will provide 20 of its 1.5-megawatt wind turbines for the project, which is being co-developed by Suncor Energy Inc of Calgary, Alberta and EHN Windpower Canada, Inc, a subsidiary of Corporacion Energia Hidroelectrica de Navarra, (EHN) of Spain.

The project has been approved by the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board. Installation of the GE wind turbines is expected to begin in May 2004 with completion anticipated for August 2004. The project’s estimated generation, 90,000 megawatt-hours, is said to be enough to meet the annual demands of approximately 13,000 Canadian homes.

Believed to be the largest wind facility in Canada to be developed solely on a merchant basis, the Magrath project’s clean, wind-fuelled electricity will be sold to the Alberta Power Pool, which was the first spot electricity market in North America.

“This project is unique and reflects both the world’s growing commitment toward environmental stewardship as well as wind power’s growing acceptance worldwide,” said Steve Zwolinski, CEO of GE Energy’s wind operations. “The project is being built without a long-term power contract, solely to deliver to consumers and utilities electricity generated from clean, renewable sources.”

The Magrath project will benefit from the Canadian government’s 10-year Wind Power Production Incentive (WPPI), which provides one Canadian cent per kilowatt hour of additional project revenue. The WPPI, announced in 2001, was designed to help establish wind energy as a full-fledged competitor in Canada’s electricity market.

“This project marks the first installation of our wind turbine technology in Canada, a country with a huge potential for wind power,” said Zwolinski. “The Canadian Wind Energy Association has predicted the country could produce up to 20% of its electricity from the wind, and has called upon federal and provincial governments to adopt a goal of 10,000 megawatts of wind power by 2010.”

The wind turbines for the Magrath project will be assembled at GE Energy’s facilities in Tehachapi, California.

Separately, GE Energy has also been selected to supply 30 wind turbines for two projects in France.

GE will provide 25 of its 1.5-megawatt wind turbines at the La Haute Lys project. This project, one of the first large French installations of wind turbines, is located in four municipal areas in northern France: Fauquembergues, Renty-Audincthun, Reclinghem and Vincly.

For the second project, Sortosville-Les Beaumont, GE is supplying five 1.5-megawatt wind turbines. The project is located in the Cotentin area on the west coast of France.

Both of the new projects will provide power to Electricite de France (EDF), the French national electricity supplier.