TransAlta to expand Kent Hills wind farm (10/01/11)

NB 23

Jan. 11, 2010

FREDERICTON (CNB) - TransAlta has been awarded a 25-year power-purchase agreement to expand the Kent Hills wind farm by 54 megawatts (MW), Energy Minister Jack Keir announced today. Under the agreement, it will expand its existing 96 MW facility, which began operation in December 2008.

"Renewable energy is a cornerstone of our government's energy policy, including hydro, wind, biomass and the potential for tidal power," said Premier Shawn Graham. "This fact will remain as we continue to grow our energy hub. Today's announcement is a clear demonstration of our commitment to derive environmental and economic benefits from our province's world-class wind resource."

Keir said that this is just one of many positive future announcements relating to renewable energy.

"I am very pleased with the progress we are making on renewable energy, and also pleased to report that there is more good news to come," Keir said. "This announcement also speaks to the government's efforts to maximize the benefits of the energy sector for all New Brunswickers. TransAlta has a proven track record as a North American energy leader and has become a very strong partner in developing the New Brunswick energy hub."

Today's announcement follows an NB Power request for proposals (RFP) last June for the purchase of up to 100 MW of wind energy generation. The announcement is in keeping with the province's commitment to develop new renewable energy sources, and to secure 400 MW of wind energy generation capacity by 2010.

The RFP contained a number of new measures to maximize New Brunswick content in the design, construction and commissioning of new commercial wind farms. The RFP ensures that New Brunswick companies that provide products and services to the wind-energy industry will be able to compete in a fair and transparent process.

The departments of Energy and Business New Brunswick, in co-operation with the province's Enterprise network, will assist TransAlta in identifying New Brunswick companies that are capable of supplying the services they require. The RFP states that the developer will be held accountable for meeting project performance and local content commitments. TransAlta will host an open house for companies that want to learn more about opportunities to participate in the construction of the wind farm at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 28, at the Holiday Inn Express Hotel and Suites, 2515 Mountain Rd., Moncton.

TransAlta expects construction to start in early 2010, and for the facility to be in service by the end of the year, with 18 turbines providing up to 160,000 MW hours of electricity per year, enough power for about 9,000 homes. This is the second investment by the company in the New Brunswick energy hub.

"During the last couple of years we have developed a tremendous partnership with the TransAlta team," said David Hay, president and chief executive officer, NB Power. "With this announcement we move another step closer to our commitment to reduce our environmental footprint. This is good news for our customers."

Additional information about New Brunswick wind energy projects is available online.


MEDIA CONTACTS: Bonnie Doyle Creber, communications, Department of Energy, 506-658-2410; Michael Lawrence, manager, external relations, TransAlta, 403-471-6816.