Monday, December 6, 2010

Supreme Court of Canada clarifies duty to consult First Nations on hydro project

The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that First Nations communities must show a causal relationship between a government action and a potentially adverse effect on their interests, for a duty to consult to arise.

The ruling, Rio Tinto Alcan v. Carrier Sekani Tribal Council, relates to a 2007 energy purchase agreement between BC Hydro and Rio Tinto Alcan - the long-time operator of the 60 year-old Kenney Dam project in the Nechako River, in north-west British Columbia.

Alcan (as it was then known) obtained approval to build the dam from the provincial government in the 1950s, so it could produce power for the smelting of aluminium.

Around 60 years after the dam was built, the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council, a group representing eight aboriginal communities in the province, claimed that it had never been consulted on the dam’s construction and asserted a right of consultation in regards to the 2007 agreement.

In its arguments, the tribal council said the dam had affected the amount and timing of water flows into the Nechako River, impacting on fisheries and lands now claimed by the communities it represents.

The British Columbia Utilities Commission considered the matter first. After establishing that it had the power to consider the adequacy of the Crown’s consultation process, the regulator ruled that the 2007 agreement would have no impact on existing water levels in the Nechako River and no new adverse impact on the aboriginal communities’ rights.

Upholding the regulator’s decision, the Supreme Court ruled that to trigger the duty of consultation, aboriginal groups must show “a causal relationship between the proposed government conduct or decision and a potential for adverse impacts on pending claims or rights.”

“Past wrongs, including breaches of the duty to consult, do not suffice,” the court clarified.

The court added that a past or continuing breach of a claim or right would only trigger a duty to consult if the decision at issue caused a “new adverse effect”.

The court agreed that the British Columbia Utilities Commission had jurisdiction to consider the adequacy of Crown consultation in the matters brought before it – but it did not have power under the Utilities Commission Act, to engage in consultations itself to carry out the duty.

Instead, BC Hydro, as a Crown corporation, was responsible for the duty to consult, according to the court.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Southwest Alberta transmission line in service

A new 90-kilometre transmission line between Pincher Creek and Lethbridge Alberta is now in service, providing transfer capacity for another 1000 MW of wind energy. "Albertans tells us that increasing access to more renewable energy is important, and we are proud to provide that connection," says Scott Thon, CEO of Altalink, which built and will operate the line.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Green energy park in Saskatoon continues to move forward

Saskatoon Light & Power, an electric utility in the City of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan stated at a public meeting last night that they hope to begin construction on a green energy park at the city Landfill in summer 2011.

Kevin Hudson, an engineer with Saskatoon Light & Power noted that the response was supportive overall.

The next step is to take a final report to City Council for approval which will happen in December 2010.

The plans include a methane gas recovery project, a turboexpander project, which takes energy from excess heat, and a tall wind turbine project which was launched last April.

Saskatoon Light & Power is in a unique position to become a renewable energy leader in a province otherwise controlled by SaskPower, the monopoly provincial utility and the green energy park is certainly an important project in this regard.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Solar PV projects moving forward in Saskatchewan

Today marked another step in Regina, Saskatchewan based Namerind Housing Corporation's quest to becoming a self-sustaining organization - this time in the area of environmental sustainability. By installing solar Photovoltaic (Pv) and solar thermal technology on all multi-dwelling units, Namerind will vastly reduce their reliance on fossil fuels over the 25 to 30 year life cycle of the systems.

"Though there is of course an initial cost to installing this new technology in our properties, the long term benefits - both environmental and financial - will far outweigh that investment," said Robert Byers, President and CEO of Namerind. "We are very excited to be announcing our use of this innovative technology as part of our continued commitment to bettering the community we serve."

The solar thermal technology will be installed from October through December 2010 and will immediately start providing solar power and heat energy. This project is the second largest of its kind ever to be undertaken in Saskatchewan.

"With the use of this technology, we are not only adding cost-efficient, clean power to the grid, we are also making a long-term investment in our multi-dwelling units, including our office and our mall," said Byers. "This project is one of many ways that Namerind has diversified in order to provide affordable housing in Regina within a self-sustained model."

The solar thermal technology makes use of otherwise unused space on the roof of each property and will provide an immediate, clean source of power and heat energy. For example, at the six properties with installation in 2010, the solar technology will replace an equivalent of 28,392 litres of gasoline annually, also providing 66.4 tons of Green House Gas (GHG) reduction.

Developers are now starting to realize the potential of solar in Southern Saskatchewan which receives more hours of sunshine annually than any part of Canada.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Newfoundland and Nova Scotia strike $6.2 billion CAD hydro deal

The premiers of Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia today announced a $6.2 billion CAD deal to develop the Lower Churchill hydroelectric megaproject.

The details of the deal for the Lower Churchill project follow below:

Development cost: $6.2 billion
Size: 834 megawatts
Jobs: 2,700 at peak; 120 permanently
Share of assets: Nalcor 51% and Emera 49%
Contract term: 35 years
Requiring: Ratification of Innu Nation land claim
Sought: Federal loan guarantee; $375 million toward subsea link
What Nalcor will pay for subsea link in 2045: $1

Emera (Nova Scotia) will receive about 20% of that energy for itself, and in return is paying for the construction of the underwater link. Nalcor (Newfoundland and Labrador), which is reserving 40% of the power for its own use, will raise $4.4 billion to pay for its share.

The deal still leaves undeveloped the 2,200 megawatt potential of the Gull Island site on the Churchill River, which has been on blueprints since the 1970s.

Monday, November 15, 2010

GE to supply 55 turbines for Suncor wind project in Alberta

GE Energy has received an order from Suncor Energy, Inc. for 55 units of GE’s advanced 1.6 MW wind turbines for installation at the Wintering Hills project in Alberta. The 88 MW Wintering Hills project is located near Drumheller, approximately 78 miles northeast of Calgary. GE will begin deliveries of the turbines to the site beginning in the second quarter of 2011. The project is owned jointly by Suncor (70%) and Teck Resources (30%).

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Canadian business leaders call for clean energy leadership from the government

The Canadian Council of Chief Executives, otherwise known as the CCCE, this week released Clean Growth 2.0: How Canada can be a Leader in Energy and Environmental Innovation, that propose turning Canada into an "environmental superpower" and "an energy and resource powerhouse."

The CCCE want a "road map that provides clarity and predictability," with key sectors of the economy -- government, industry, stakeholders -- all pulling in the same direction set by "smart" policy. Such policy would include a national energy strategy, a nationwide carbon tax, subsidized investment in technology, and mass government indoctrination to force lifestyle changes, including programs to "get more people out of their cars and using public transit, car-pooling, cycling and walking."

For Canada to get to "superpower status", the CCCE paper calls for a new Canada-US agreement on energy and climate. The paper says it is now time to build on what already exists by forging a new energy agreement that aims to ward off U.S. protectionism and bring Canada into some form of policy harmonization with the United States.

Copies of the paper are available on the CCCE’s website, at

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Nova Scotia announces community wind feed-in tariff

The provincial government of Nova Scotia, Canada has announced new regulations that will provide a fixed feed-in tariff for community-based wind and other renewable energy projects. Rates, to be set by the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board by next spring, will vary according to technology with different tariffs for wind projects larger than 50 kW and for micro-scale installations less than 50 kW. "These greener, local projects will help to create good jobs, provide a better future for Nova Scotians and reduce our overall dependence on imported carbon-based sources," says Premier Darrell Dexter.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Southern Africa renewables poised for "exponential growth"

Off-grid solar projects are likely to accelerate renewable energy's expansion in southern Africa to compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 10% between 2009 and 2015, finds Frost & Sullivan. But the research company's Annual Renewable Energy Project Tracker highlights feed-in tariffs – already announced in South Africa and Kenya – as key to this surge in renewables.

The Sub-Saharan renewable energy market is set to triple from 2010 to 2015, said the global research firm Frost and Sullivan in a new report this week. Small-scale generation is likely to take the lead, while sluggish regulatory reform and enduring state monopolies hold back larger projects.

"Many developmental agencies consider small-scale RE [renewable energy] projects as the most feasible solution for accelerated rural electrification and therefore are increasingly investing in medium-sized projects, especially wind and solar projects," said Cornelis van der Waal, Frost & Sullivan Energy and Power Systems programme manager.

But he called for a “revamp” to accelerate the search for energy diversification and security of supply, with incentives for the private sector to invest.

South Africa is expected to approve a feed-in tariff for solar this year, a move also under consideration in Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda, he said.

I am currently involved with a wind and PV development project in Namibia and would be happy to have a discussion with potential investors or senior developers.

Onshore wind farms profitable in 5 years time in Finland

Research indicates that onshore wind farms in Finland could be profitable sooner than thought, writes the newspaper Turun Sanomat. According to a survey carried out by Aalto University, wind farms in Finland could be profitable in approximately 5 years.

If the research proves to be correct, Finnish government subsidies for onshore greenfield wind farms could be reduced from next year onwards and be unnecessary by 2015.

Offshore wind farms would be not affected, according to researcher Jani Laine at the faculty of Energy Technology at Aalto University in Finland. The research indicates that Finnish government subsidies for wind farms could not be phased out before 2020 at the earliest.

Legislation on renewable energy is currently being discussed by parliamentary committees in Finland. The Finnish government has agreed to finance energy subsidies for wind farms up to a maximum of 12 years.

Friday, October 15, 2010

SK judge rules wind farms pose no credible danger to people

Supporters of a controversial wind farm project near Moosomin, Saskatchewan are breathing easier these days.

A Saskatoon judge has ruled that the courts will not stop the work that's being done on the $60 million Red Lily Wind Farm near Moosomin.

Area farmer David MacKinnon claimed the turbines at the 25 megawatt facility would be too close to homes.

He stopped work for six days this summer when he won a temporary injunction.

But a judge has since said there is no credible evidence to support the claims that the turbines would endanger people.

Work has since resumed on the site.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Finavera signs MOU with Halfway River First Nation

Vancouver-based Finavera Renewables has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Halfway River First Nation for the development of four wind projects the company has under contract to BC Hydro. "This is a good day for us. Our community is looking forward to the opportunities in working with Finavera and we sincerely support Green Energy. I believe this is a win-win situation for our community, Finavera, and the Peace River Country," says Chief Ed Whitford.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Eco-friendly data centre to be built in Northern Finland

CSC – IT Center for Science Ltd. is to establish one of the world’s most eco-efficient data centers in the Renforsin Ranta business park in Kajaani, Finland on the site of the former paper mill of UPM in northern Finland.

”Our aim is to create one of the world’s most eco-efficient data centers, to be operated using locally produced energy and with a minimal carbon footprint. All the alternatives we have considered contain a binding offer on energy from the business park’s own network. This will bring significant cost benefits in electricity transfer costs”, says Kimmo Koski, Managing Director of CSC.

The computer data center requires a lot of electricity, which is generated by hydroelectric power plants in Kajaani. The cooling water required comes from the nearby river.

Finland’s location is excellent for large and cost-effective IT data centers. Well-functioning data traffic, cool climate, industrial facilities, solid bedrock, and waterways create a competitive edge for building sustainable and ecologically-friendly computer facilities.

Canada shares many similarities with Finland including a developed forestry and pulp and paper industry and many unused or underutilized paper mills and of course a northerly climate. Those in the forestry industry in Canada looking for innovative projects to utilize their existing facilities would be wise to follow Finland's example.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Eagle nest puts Finnish wind power project on hold

Finnish broadcaster, YLE reported today that the discovery of a white-tailed sea eagle nest in Pyhäranta in the southwest of Finland has caused the Rihtniemi wind power project of Propel Voima to be put on hold

Propel Voima has been developing the wind power project for more than a year and a half, and wind measurements have been conducted for more than a year. The company is now assessing the situation and is collecting experiences of similar situations elsewhere in Finland.

There are a number areas in the southwest of Finland where the endangered white-tailed sea eagles thrive. This has been the primary reason to significantly limit the possibilities of wind power in this area of Finland.

Although many wind turbines in Europe are sited less than 400 meters from human homes, the WWF is recommending that wind turbines be situated at least 2000 meters from such nests. It is unclear on what basis the WWF recommendation has been made.

Turbine at Saskatoon landfill moves forward with study

A city of Saskatoon committee this week hired the University of Saskatchewan to conduct a study to determine the ability of the landfill's ground to support a wind turbine.

The site "presents unique challenges," said Saskatoon Light and Power's Kevin Hudson.

A 60-metre tall meteorological tower was installed at the landfill last week. It will monitor the wind at the site for one year and collect data to see if a turbine can be successful there.

Hudson said a turbine, which could be constructed as soon as 2012, would be 700 metres away, which exceeds any standard in place in Canada.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Red Lily Wind Farm could seek $450,000.00 from landowner for bringing unnecessary injunction

On August 25, 2010 the Court of Queen's Bench in Saskatoon granted an interim injunction restricting further construction on the Red Lily Wind Farm near Moosomin, Saskatchewan. David McKinnon, a landowner within proximity of the Red Lily Wind Farm, applied for the ex parte injunction and one week later, on September 1, 2010 the Court of Queen's Bench overturned the injunction after hearing from all parties.

In order to obtain the injunction, Mr. McKinnon had to undertake to pay damages if the injunction was found to be unnecessary and damages were caused. Red Lily Wind Farm ascertains that the cost of the construction delay was $74,000.00 per day for 6 days, totalling nearly $450,000.00.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Paul Gipe in Edmonton promoting feed-in-tariff in Alberta

Renowned wind power expert, Paul Gipe was in Edmonton today advocating hard for a feed-in-tariff (FIT) in Alberta.

As readers of this blog now, I am also a strong advocate for FITs and have been actively promoting and encouraging a FIT in my home province of Saskatchewan.

While Alberta adopted a free market for energy several years ago, with generators bidding their production into the provincial grid several times each hour, Ontario is doing the opposite by offering long-term contracts to renewable producers, Paul Gipe stated. Saskatchewan continues to have the crown utility, SaskPower mandate all programs but SaskPower currently has a competitive standing offer program and is procuring an additional 175 MW of generation to be built and operated by the private sector.

Using the example of a northern German state, Gipe said farmers and community groups there have installed 560 megawatts of wind power, about the same amount as produced by one of the coal-fired power plants near Wabamun Lake owned by TransAlta Utilities or Capital Power.

"They view the wind as their resource, and these are farmers in one country who have decided to make money from it."

Globally, about 75 per cent of all solar for electricity, 50 per cent of all wind and most biogas developments depend on feed-in-tariffs, which guarantee producers set rates upwards of 13.5 cents per kilowatt hour, much higher than current Alberta power rates but also not subject to the whims of rising fossil fuel prices.

"You could view this as an insurance policy, because the price consumers pay won't change for 20 years, but oil and natural gas will likely be higher than today," said Gipe, who has written extensively about wind power.

As I have mentioned in this blog, Nova Scotia is introducing their feed-in-tariff but only community-owned projects will qualify for the special rates.

Ontario's program has attracted utilities from around the world to build renewable projects. From Alberta, TransAlta and Capital Power are both big players, benefiting from a tariff system not available to them in their home province.

Alberta has 656 kW of installed wind energy out of Canada's 3,499 total, with some of the projects supported by earlier incentive programs. But even without the feed-in-tariffs offered in Ontario and green energy contracts being put out by B.C. Hydro, new projects are proceeding in the province.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Finland approves alternative energy subsidy

The Finnish government has endorsed a bill that guarantees a minimum price for producers of electricity using alternative sources. Under the system, producers of electricity using wind, biogas and wood fuel get a state subsidy that makes up the difference between the guaranteed price and the lower market price.

The law which is to take effect next year, will be in force for 12 years. The plan is expected to cost 55.35 million euros next year. The bill is set to go before Parliament and the state subsidies also require approval of the European Commission. Both parliamentary and EU approval is expected shortly.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Japan files WTO complaint regarding Ontario FIT

Japan has filed a complaint to the World Trade Organisation that the Ontario feed-in-tariff (FIT) violates WTO rules and is protectionist.

As many foreign renewable energy developers are aware, the Ontario FIT requires the use of Ontario-made products in manufacturing power-generating facilities.

"Japan considers that this requirement for the use of locally made products violates" the WTO's rules that ban discrimination against products made overseas, Japan's foreign ministry said.

The FIT requires that in order to receive payments under the FIT, companies must have a minimum percentage of their project costs come from Ontario goods and labour. The requirement currently starts at 25%, and increases to 50% by 2012 for wind projects. For larger solar PV projects, the minimum is 50%, which increases to 60% next year.

Japan has asked Canada to reconsider its decision. It will now undergo formal consultations under the WTO with the Canadian government.

Ottawa will defend Ontario and its green energy policy against a complaint from Japan that it violates Canada's trade obligations, International Trade Minister Peter Van Loan said Tuesday.

If the next round of negotiations fail, Japan will likely ask the WTO to set up a panel for dispute settlement, the Japanese foreign ministry said.

Japan has many companies in the solar energy space, including Sharp, Kyocera, Sanyo and Mitsubishi Electric, as well as major suppliers of components and wind systems.

Under the FIT, Ontario announced a $7-billion deal with Korean giant Samsung to build wind and solar farms, along with four plants to manufacture components for green energy projects.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Vancouver-based Magma Energy acquires 98.53% of Iceland’s HS Orka

Magma Energy Corp. (Vancouver, B.C.) announced that its wholly owned subsidiary Magma Energy Sweden A.B. has completed its acquisition of a 98.53% interest in Iceland geothermal energy developer HS Orka hf. The completion of the deal was executed through the acquisition of 14.32% of HS Orka’s outstanding shares from Geysir Green Energy ehf, a global geothermal company based in Iceland.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Enerkem breaks ground in Edmonton on waste-to-biofuels plant

Montreal-based Enerkem has broken ground on a $75 million USD waste-to-biofuels plant in Edmonton, Alberta, a facility that’s being described by industry analysts as the first industrial-scale biofuels project to use municipal solid waste (MSW) as a feedstock. Enerkem has signed a contract with the city of Edmonton to convert 100,000 tons of MSW into biofuels annually. According to Enerkem CEO Vincent Chornet, there are in excess of 500 municipalities that have sufficient MSW to make an Enerkem plant feasible, and the company has received “dozens of calls” from municipalities looking to investigate construction of an Enerkem facility, Biofuels Digest reported.

Ontario surpasses Florida in solar PV development with more projects in the pipeline

The state of California still ranks at the top of the North American solar PV market, with total installed capacity of 768 megawatts (MW), but Ontario is jockeying for the leading position as the top PV growth market, according to recent data compiled by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) and the Canadian Solar Industry Association (CanSIA). In 2009, Ontario surpassed Florida in terms of installed PV base—48 MW versus 46 MW—and trails only California, New Jersey (128 MW), and Colorado (59 MW) in North America. CanSIA estimates that as much as 200 MW of PV capacity could be installed in Ontario this year; nearly 100 MW of projects have already been completed, and several large projects are underway.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Sask. wind farm faces class action

This was just posted this morning on the Financial Post FPLegalPost website.

Sask. residents push courts for changes to $60 M wind farm.

Landowners in southeastern Saskatchewan have turned to the courts to press for significant changes to a $60-million wind farm project.

“We think we’re going to be successful in preventing them from building this close to people’s houses,” said Brad Jamieson, the Saskatoon lawyer representing some area residents who recently filed a class-action lawsuit.

His clients are concerned by the proximity of the turbines to be erected under the Red Lily Wind Farm Project, a 25-megawatt wind farm that will be located about five kilometres west of Moosomin, Sask.

Jamieson said his clients want the turbines located 2,000 metres from any home, up from the currently planned 550-metre distance.

An interim court order was made last week bringing “all construction-related activity” to a halt pending the outcome of an injunction application.

The wind farm was expected to be operational by late this year or early next year.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Privacy by Design: Achieving the Gold Standard in Data Protection for the Smart Grid

Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner, Ann Cavoukian, has completed a useful report which considers how to manage privacy protection in the context of electrical utilities and the new challenges posed by smart grid systems. The new publication, Privacy by Design: Achieving the Gold Standard in Data Protection for the Smart Grid, is available at

In Saskatchewan, SaskPower announced on August 20, 2010 a $190 million CAD plan to replace existing SaskPower meters with new electronic meters in 500,000 homes and businesses across Saskatchewan.

The "Advanced Metering Infrastructure" system will electronically send information about electrical utilization to SaskPower. Several other provinces, including Ontario, are at varying stages in their smart metering development projects.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Proposed Manitoba legislation encourages biomass power

New regulations proposed by the Manitoba government aim to improve air quality in the province while encouraging the use of natural biomass materials as fuel.

Manitoba Conservation Minister Bill Blaikie made the announcement August 23, 2010 emphasizing that the new rules would help make the air cleaner and also streamline the approval process for new clean energy systems such as biomass, as a heat and power source to replace fossil fuels.

Thermal treatment technologies included in the proposal are combustion, gasification and pyrolysis. Blaikie added that the proposed legislation would make biomass-based systems more attractive to industry by putting in place a simpler and faster permit system.

The regulations would also level the playing field for biomass thermal systems currently competing with fossil-fuel based incineration systems, by requiring additional air quality protection.

Manitoba Hydro Senior Bio Systems Engineer Dennis St. George agreed with Blaikie that the new incinerator rules will help promote the use of biomass and other wastes as fuels for heat and power generation in Manitoba.” I'm also sure that customers who are currently relying on incineration to dispose of their waste materials will appreciate having Manitoba Hydro's Power Smart Bioenergy Optimization Program available to add value to their business,” he said.

Monday, August 23, 2010

World's first "green highway" planned in Finland

Finland hopes to build a carbon-neutral “green highway” that would include charging stations and biofuel stations.

The project will focus on an 81-mile stretch of road that would link the cities of Turku and Vaalimaa near the Russian border. Authorities in the town of Loviisa, east of Helsinki and along the proposed highway, suggested the “green” approach and are leading the project.

“The aim is to create the model for an ecological highway that could be used even on an international level,” city official Aki Marjasvaara stated. “No other such project exists. This would set an example to the world.”

It is an incredibly ambitious idea. In addition to providing charging stations, the plan would use garbage and other renewable resources to produce biofuels and generate electricity. There also is some discussion of installing “smart” lighting that would turn itself off when there are no vehicles on the roadway. The road would of course include traditional gasoline and diesel fueling stations.

Officials are drafting a study examining the project’s feasibility and cost. They hope to finish the study in March and believe the project could be completed by 2016 at a cost of 700 million EUR. Marjasvaara stated that he expects the road to be at least partially financed through investments from large companies like Fortum, Neste Oil and Ensto.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Nexterra to install biomass system for UBC

Nexterra Systems Corp. (Vancouver, B.C.) has signed a multi-million dollar agreement with the University of British Columbia to supply and install a biomass-fired combined heat and power (CHP) system at the university’s Vancouver campus. Describing the installation as the first of its kind in North America, Nexterra said that the system will use urban wood waste to produce a synthetic gas, or “syngas,” that will be directly fired into a General Electric internal combustion engine to produce 2 MW of electricity. Waste heat will be recovered to produce 9,000 pounds per hour of low-pressure steam for campus heating. The installation is the result of three years of collaboration between Nexterra and GE’s Jenbacher gas engine division.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Energy Contracts conference in Calgary on September 20-21, 2010

The 8th annual Energy Contracts conference in Calgary is quickly approaching on September 20th and 21st, 2010 and is always a very worthwhile event for anyone involved in the contracting process in the energy industry (conventional or renewable).

I am particularly looking forward to the in-depth session on Carbon Credit Offset Project Origination and Monetization, which is very timely given that our new carbon credit trading legislation in Saskatchewan is just coming into effect.

If you are planning on attending the conference, drop me a line and we can meet for a coffee or drink.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Environmental Industries Mexico Pre-mission Outreach Webinar

DFAIT hosted an Environmental Industry Opportunities in Mexico webinar on Wedensday, July 28th, 2010 at 10:30AM (Saskatchewan time) in partnership with SEIMA, STEP, WED, and ES. The webinar was presented by Rosalba Cruz, the Environmental Industries Trade Commissioner from Mexico City and two in-market consultants (Mexico City and Monterrey) who highlighted trade opportunities within their respective region as well as provided information on how to do business in Mexico.

Of particular interest was that the maximum wholesale price of electricity in Mexico is 18 cents per kilowatt hour (for street lighting). It was clear that wind energy is the most important form of energy at the moment in Mexico but that there are opportunities for solar as well.

This was an interesting webinar and I am sure the trade mission to Mexico in fall will be very useful in helping companies establish contacts.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Feed-in-tariff for Finland

The "Law for Feed-in-Tariff for Wind Energy" is under preparation at the Finnish ministry of trade and industry. The law will be reviewed and voted on in September 2010 and is expected to come into force in January 2011. The proposed level of the tariff will be 83.5 €/MWh for 12 years. There is a bonus for those projects that will start producing energy during the first two years after the law comes into force. The level of the bonus tariff is 105.30 €/MWh for three years. After three years the project will receive the regular tariff level for nine years.

The target of the Finnish government is to have 6 TWh worth of wind energy installed by 2020. This means 2000 MW worth of installed capacity in near shore, offshore or onshore or 3000 MW worth of capacity inland.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Sky Harvest Reports SaskPower RFQ Decision

VANCOUVER, July 15, 2010 - SOURCE: PRNewswire-FirstCall/ - In October 2009 SaskPower announced the Green Options Plan, stating its intention to procure up to 175MW of wind power from independent power producers. A formal Request for Qualifications (RFQ) was issued in December 2009. Sky Harvest Windpower Corp. announces that the Company was not granted qualification by SaskPower in the RFQ. The reason given to the Company was that the balance sheets of the Company and the proposed Joint Venture Developer and Project Finance Guarantor submitted in the Company's response to the RFQ did not meet the financial requirement to qualify at this time. "We have a project with all the right components to deliver a responsible and clean source of energy to Saskatchewan and are very disappointed to not be participating in this year's Request For Proposals" says Chris Craddock, Sky Harvest's President and C.E.O. "Wind power is expected to contribute significantly to the future power generation capacity of Saskatchewan, and the Company intends to participate in any future procurement process which may be announced by SaskPower." The Company is continuing discussions with the proposed developer and is examining other strategic options.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Canada and India reach nuclear deal

On June 27, 2010, Canada and India signed The Agreement for Cooperation in Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy which provides for, among other things, cooperation in the mining and supply of uranium.

Cameco, the world's largest supplier of uranium, is located in the city of Saskatoon in the province of Saskatchewan which has some of the richest deposits of uranium in the world.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Macquarie to acquire 20 MW solar PV project in Ontario from SunPower

On June 23, 2010, Macquarie announced an agreement to acquire a 20 MW solar PV power project in Amherstburg, Ontario to be designed, built and operated on behalf of Macquarie by SunPower.

The approximate $130 million project will be primarily funded by a syndicate of international lenders with approximately $33 million of equity to be contributed by Macquarie upon the start of commercial operations, which is anticipated to be in June 2011. When completed, the Amherstburg Solar Park will be one of the largest solar power facilities in Canada and is expected to produce approximately 37,600 megawatt hours of electricity annually. Construction of the Amherstburg Solar Park is expected to start immediately using local resources and is expected to create up to 100 jobs in the County of Essex.

SunPower will complete the Amherstburg Solar Park under a fixed-price engineering, procurement and construction contract. SunPower will also provide operations and maintenance services for the facility under a 20-year contract. Electricity generated by the facility will be sold under the Province of Ontario's Renewable Energy Standard Offer Program to the Ontario Power Authority at a guaranteed price of $420 per MWh for the next 20 years. For the first two years of commercial operations, SunPower will financially support the performance of the facility at the expected production.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Finland quietly taking lead in implementing smart grid systems

It was announced yesterday that energy management form Landis+Gyr has just been awarded a contract to provide electricity, gas and district heat smart metering for the city of Lappeenranta in South-Eastern Finland.

The agreement with local energy company Lappeenrannan Energiaverkot will see the deployment of Landis+Gyr’s Gridstream solution for multi-energy smart meters, smart metering software and meter reading services.

Landis+Gyr will manage the entire project and work on the rollout with its partners beginning in April next year, which will see 54,000 smart meters installed in households by 2013.

On June 2, 2010 it was announced ABB will work on a joint development project with Helsingin Energia, the public utility Helsinki, and Nokia Siemens Networks to design and install a large-scale smart grid in the Kalasatama district of Helsinki.

The R&D project will test the concept of a flexible, low-emission power network in the district as part of a larger initiative to lift Helsinki's environmental profile with a focus on the sustainable and efficient distribution of power. ABB, Helsingin Energia and Nokia Siemens Networks will develop a variety of solutions based on modern communication, information and energy technologies.

These include solutions to ensure that excess power generated from renewable energy sources in the district itself, for instance from solar panels and wind turbines, can be fed into the power grid; to enable electric vehicles to draw electricity from the grid or feed it back; to store energy; to create easy-to-use services and to provide more flexibility and transparency in the distribution grid, helping to lower consumption and emissions.

The Kalasatama district in the heart of Helsinki will provide living space for 18,000 people and 10,000 work places, and incorporate an innovation center to showcase the latest technologies being tested and deployed.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Masdar making headway

Masdar, the organization in Abu Dhabi building what is touted as the world’s first carbon-free city, announced that it has formed a joint venture with France’s Total and Spain’s Abengoa Solar to build and operate the Shams 1 concentrating solar power (CSP) plant. The Shams 1 facility will be located on 2.5 square kilometers of land in Madinat Zayed, 120 miles southwest of Abu Dhabi, and will generate 100 MW of electric power from a field of 768 parabolic trough collectors supplied by Abengoa Solar. Masdar will have a 60% interest in the joint venture, while Total and Abengoa will each have a 20% interest. Construction is scheduled to begin during the third quarter of this year and take approximately two years.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Green Options Partners Program, winners announced in Saskatchewan

SaskPower announced this week that several IPPs have been selected to participate in the SaskPower Green Options Partners Program.

Six projects from five IPPs were chosen through a draw on May 19, 2010 adding another 33 megawatts (MW) of environmentally friendly power in Saskatchewan.

There was a total of 43 proposals from 11 different proponents. "The private sector is clearly interested in developing green power in the province," SaskPower said in a media release.

A lottery process was used to ensure fairness in the selection process. The first two selections were 10 MW wind power projects.

Despite room for only an additional five MW to meet the 25 MW threshold, the lottery rules dictated that the next application would be accepted in its entirety, so a third 10 MW wind power project was selected.

The other initiatives selected were a 0.5 MW small hydro project, a 0.112 MW heat recovery project and a three MW flare gas project -- the only non-wind power projects that met program requirements.

The next step is for SaskPower to design and price the power lines that will connect the projects to the Saskatchewan grid and sign PPAs with each supplier.

Applicants will have up to three years to start providing power to the grid. Developers of hydro projects have up to eight years due to the more extensive permitting and construction processes.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Nova Scotia Renewable Electricty Plan includes COMFIT

In April, 2010 Nova Scotia released its Renewable Electricity Plan. The Plan sets out the Province’s goal that 25% of electricity generated will come from renewable sources by 2015, and that 40% of electricity will come from renewable sources by 2020.

Among other significant provisions, the Plan establishes a community-based feed-in tariff ("COMFIT") for 100 MW of renewable energy projects connected to the grid at the distribution level. The Plan also includes programs to assist community groups in the development of these COMFIT projects.

The Plan will also continue to strengthen Nova Scotia's position in developing tidal energy and smart grid technologies.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Western Canadian cleantech companies ink deals in China and Iceland

Alter NRG Corp. based out of Calgary has signed a definitive agreement with Wuhan Kaidi Holding Investment Co., Ltd. to construct a demonstration biomass-to-energy facility in China, and it has signed a letter of intent with Wuhan Kaidi for the licensing and development of future biomass power plants serving the Chinese market. The initial facility will process 50 to 100 tons of various biomass materials per day; Alter NRG will receive approximately $1 billion Canadian (about $947,000 U.S.) in orders for plasma torches and engineering services in connection with the facility’s development. The plasma gasification technology was developed by Alter NRG’s subsidiary Westinghouse Plasma Corp. “Kaidi is a respected and leading company that is planning to do multiple projects using our technology in the future, and the initial capital investment into the small-scale facility is a critical step as the Chinese market adopts technology quickly upon successful demonstration within the country,” said Mark Montemurro, Alter NRG’s president and CEO.

Geothermal energy developer Magma Energy Corp. based out of Vancouver has signed an agreement with Iceland’s Geysir Green Energy ehf (GGE) under which Magma will acquire all of GGE’s stake in HS Orka hf, thereby increasing Magma’s stake in HS Orka to 98.53%. HS Orka currently produces 175 MW of geothermal power and 150 MW of thermal energy for district heating in Iceland, and has near-term expansion plans that would increase its power production to 405 MW by 2015. The transaction will increase Magma’s geothermal power production to 186 MW, its geothermal reserves to 193 MW, and its indicated and inferred geothermal resources to 1,161 MW. The remaining 1.5% stake in HS Orka is held by four Icelandic municipalities.

Carbon prices to average $26/ton in U.S. initially

The carbon emissions trading system to be set up under the proposed American Power Act (APA) in the United States would exchange allowances at an average price of $26 USD per metric ton of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) over the period from 2013 to 2020, according to a preliminary analysis of APA by Point Carbon (Copenhagen, Denmark). APA, a discussion draft of which was introduced in the U.S. Senate on May 12, 2010 would create a hybrid system to curtail greenhouse gases in the United States, with the electric power, industrial, and commercial sectors participating in a cap-and-trade program while the transportation sector—chiefly the petroleum industry—would pay a quarterly fee pegged to market prices for allowances, Point Carbon said. The volume of allowances capped would be 2.5 billion tons of CO2e in 2013 when only the power sector is covered, increasing to approximately 4 billion tons in 2016.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Mexico capitalizing on proximity to US

A Spanish wind turbine manufacturer and US wind farm developer are planning a 500 MW wind farm in Mexico to be operational by 2015.

Construction may begin in the next 12 months for the first 100 MW.

The site is c.a. 100 kilometres east of the US city of San Diego in the Baja region of Mexico.

The intent is to sell the power into the US. I anticipate that similar cross-border deals in both Mexico and Canada will come together in order to supply the huge US demand.

Friday, May 14, 2010

SaskPower pursuing 250 MW hydro project in Saskatchewan with First Nations & Brookfield

Below is an excerpt from a Government of Saskatchewan press release dated May 13, 2010:

SaskPower is working with three Saskatchewan First Nations to study the feasibility of developing a renewable energy project on the Saskatchewan River system.

The James Smith Cree Nation, Chakastaypasin Band of the Cree and the Peter Chapman Band - along with their development partners, Brookfield Renewable Power and Peter Kiewit Sons Co. - have reached an agreement with SaskPower to study the feasibility of developing a hydroelectric project that would provide approximately 250 megawatts (MW) of power to the provincial electrical grid. Known as the Pehonan Hydroelectric Project - a Cree word meaning ‘we're waiting by the creek' - the proposed location would be downstream from the forks where the South Saskatchewan River meets the North Saskatchewan River.

"Public-private partnerships provide many benefits to the people of Saskatchewan and our government is pleased with the potential of the Pehonan project," Minister responsible for SaskPower Bill Boyd said. "It allows First Nations like James Smith, Chakastaypasin and Peter Chapman to become active participants in Saskatchewan's growing economy, while leveraging the capital and expertise of development partners like Brookfield and Kiewit."

Under the terms of the agreement, new studies will take place to validate the results of previous site selection assessments. The studies will also determine the feasibility of the project from an environmental and economic perspective. This phase of the project could take up to four years.

Should the project prove to be an economical supply option, the First Nations-private developer partnership would develop the site, build the power plant and enter into a long-term power purchase agreement with SaskPower.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

50 MW run-of-river project moving forward with feasibility study

SaskPower and the Black Lake First Nation signed an agreement to carry out a feasibility study on a 50 MW run-of-river project at Elizabeth Falls near Fond du Lac, Saskatchewan which will allow for environmental and engineering studies to begin in May, 2010.

If the feasibility study indicates the project is viable, the Black Lake First Nation and SaskPower will need to negotiate the terms of a PPA.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Onkalo - Finland's ambitious nuclear waste disposal project

Having lived in Finland for almost 7 years, the nation is near and dear to my heart. I am particularly intrigued with Finland’s nuclear policy and their unwavering quest for energy independence. A new documentary film just released at the Tribeca Film Festival called “Into Eternity” by Michael Madsen highlighted the Finns resolute determination to manage their ambitious nuclear program.

The documentary chronicles a place called Onkalo (Finnish for “hidden”), on an island northwest of Helsinki, in the municipality of Eurajoki near the existing Olkiluoto nuclear facility where Finnish engineers are digging a very large tunnel. Finland has been preparing for final disposal of spent nuclear fuel for almost 25 years. When the Onkalo tunnel is complete 10 years from now, it will include 5 kilometres of access tunnels almost 500 meters down into solid bedrock. Onkalo is planned to last 20 times as long as the pyramids have so far and will include an encapsulation plant and final disposal repository.

Forward-looking legislation enacted in Finland requires nuclear waste generated in Finland to be processed, stored and finally disposed of in Finland. It is a common misconception that Finland “dumps” its nuclear waste in Russia, even though there have been numerous offers from Russian companies to store and dispose of Finnish nuclear waste. Finland intends to develop their own comprehensive energy management solution without the need to rely on any other jurisdiction, particular its Eastern neighbour.

Looking ahead to the future, under the current Finnish Nuclear Energy Act, funds for nuclear waste management are collected in advance in the price of nuclear electricity and paid into the State Nuclear Waste Management Fund to be used to cover the cost of decommissioning of nuclear plants.

The Finns have collaborated with many international organisations on this project, including Ontario Power Generation, and regularly invite researchers, scientists and others to share their experience in this ambitious project.

Finnish engineers are not precluding the possibility that the “waste” will be re-excavated in the future for further processing, but in the interim must be totally secure. Finns do not take safety lightly, and if anyone can come up with a workable solution to nuclear waste disposal, the Finns incredible drive to be self-sufficient just might be what it takes to do it.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Legislative policy in Mexico could boost renewable energy development

Proposed legislation in Mexico plans to boost renewable energy generation to 35% of supply by 2024, according to a national energy policy that should be approved by the Mexican congress this year, as Mexico looks to counter its declining oil production.

This is the first articulated renewable energy policy in Mexico. The energy policy is required under the 2008 Energy Reform Bill, which includes provisions to promote and regulate the development of renewable energy in Mexico.

Mexico does not presently offer subsidies or incentives for renewable energy. However, the Mexican state power company (CFE) continues to tender wind projects to independent power producers (IPPs) in 100 MW increments which operate under power purchase agreements (PPAs) with CFE for 20 years. It is anticipated that the new energy policy will help streamline the contracting and permitting process and bring more renewable energy generation online more efficiently.

The energy policy has been reviewed by the Mexican congress. After the energy policy is returned to the energy secretariat with questions, it is expected to be approved before Q3 2010.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Google makes first direct investment of $39 million USD in North Dakota wind farm

Google, the search engine and IT giant, has invested almost $39 million USD in two wind farms in North Dakota, already built by NextEra Energy Resources, reports the New York Times.

In February, 2010 the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved Google’s move into the energy market, enabling Google to sell energy, capacity and other services. It is believed that Google Energy intends to act as a power marketer by purchasing electricity and reselling it to wholesale customers.

The New York Times reported that the investment is a “tax equity investment”, allowing Google to earn a return based on the tax credits awarded by the government for renewable energy projects.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Vestas in control in Saskatchewan

The Coloradan Newspaper is reporting that Vestas just confirmed an order from the Red Lily Wind Energy Partnership for 16 V82-1.65 MW wind turbines for the Red Lily Wind Project to be developed by Algonquin Power in southeastern Saskatchewan.

By closing this deal, Vestas continues to control the very windy and booming Saskatchewan market, with all utility-scale turbines in the province being manufactured by Vestas.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Mr. Jeremy van Loon of the news service Bloomberg, reporting on a presentation by PNE Wind AG, CEO Martin Billhardt, from a wind industry event in Warsaw, Poland stated in an article on the Bloomberg website early this morning the following:

- PNE Wind AG wants to increase the number of projects it is developing in the U.S. and Canada to about 2,500 megawatts in the next three to five years from 600 megawatts now. PNE is currently developing wind farms in North Dakota and South Dakota as well as in Saskatchewan.
- Mr. Billhardt reiterated a target for annual earnings before interest and taxes of at least 14 million euros (c.a. $18.8 million CAD) to 18 million euros (c.a. $24 million CAD) on average for the next three years.
- PNE Wind AG’s shares have risen 24 percent this year in Germany.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

$6.6 billion CAD, 900 mW hydro project to proceed in British Columbia

On April 19, 2010 the British Columbia provincial government announced plans to move forward with the proposed $6.6 billion CAD 900 megawatt Site C dam project on the Peace River in the Canadian province of British Columbia.

The project is expected to generate 35,000 direct and indirect jobs, and is expected to come into service in 2020 — provided it passes independent environmental assessments by provincial and federal agencies, as well as gaining enough support from first nations to avert the risk of a protracted court challenge.

The project is of course subject to regulatory approvals and ensuring that the crown's constitutional duties to first nations are met. The regulatory reviews are expected to take about two years.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Saskatchewan government provides funding for wind energy storage project

The Government of Saskatchewan in a recent press release noted that they are providing Go Green funding for a multi-year agreement with the Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) to develop and demonstrate new wind energy storage technology.

"Through the Go Green Fund, we continue to support innovative approaches to environmental protection," Environment Minister Nancy Heppner said. "Investment in this technology will enhance Saskatchewan's leadership in renewable power technology development."

The project will harness wind energy at heights in the range of 70 to 90 metres above ground (turbines at SaskPower's existing wind farms are at heights of 65 metres). The potential benefits of high-level wind combined with the ability to store the energy and use it during low wind situations may significantly increase Saskatchewan's capacity to use wind resources.

"We're in the business of providing smart science solutions to meet industry's challenges and opportunities," SRC President and CEO Dr. Laurier Schramm said. "By working with the Cowessess First Nation and other partners to design, install and monitor a wind turbine and energy storage system, we will be helping a Saskatchewan community meet a current energy need while modelling a future wind energy solution."

The Ministry of Environment is contributing $1,394,000 through the Go Green Fund and the Cowessess First Nation will be matching that amount. The project will take place on land owned by the Cowessess First Nation, five kilometres southeast of Regina.

"Cowessess First Nation is committed to the development of green energy in the province," Cowessess First Nation Council Member Grady Lerat said. "As we all know the wind resource on the prairies, if harnessed, can become a viable alternative for the future. This initiative can resolve the variability of the wind resource in an efficient and cost-effective manner. Once proven, this development can be replicated in future wind farms."

The lack of cost-effective storage technologies for wind energy has been the biggest impediment for adoption of this renewable resource. The cost-effectiveness of wind energy storage technology is expected to be competitive with clean coal or clean natural gas technology.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Looking for financing for your renewable energy project?

CIBC is the first large Canadian bank to form an investment team focused solely on green energy and clean technology markets - a move that is likely to be followed by its rivals in Canada.

Industry followers note that CIBC's plan to aggressively pursue the market – including everything from solar and wind projects to water technologies to biochemical production – could strengthen the Canadian renewable energy and clean technology sector.

Assuming the rest of the big banks in Canada follow suit, they would be aligned with their American and European counterparts which already have such teams in place. Even though Canadian banks are late to the game, there are still incredible opportunities - Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates that global expenditure on renewable energy projects alone will reach $150 billion (USD) in 2020, up from $90 billion USD in 2009. By 2030, the market could reach $200 billion USD.

Progressive provincial policies in Canada, including Ontario's Green Energy Act and FIT, B.C.'s carbon tax and Saskatchewan's forthcoming Climate Change Act, are creating a long pipeline of bankable renewable energy projects in Canada that will need billions of dollars in financing.

CIBC's move is timely and will likely be received well by the markets - the TSX announced recently that it will create a new clean technology index.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Feed-in-tariff for Southern Africa

Eskom, the largest electrical utility company in Southern Africa, is preparing to roll out the first Renewable Energy Feed-In-Tariff (REFIT) on the African continent. The REFIT will guarantee a set price for renewable energy and is a very important policy tool in securing investment in a large scale wind or solar farm.

The National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) held a public hearing in Pretoria yesterday, Tuesday March 30, 2010 to get feedback from all stakeholders in order to define the rules for the selection criteria for renewable energy projects under the REFIT program.

The province of Ontario introduced the first REFIT in North America last year and it has been an incredible success in driving forward the development of new renewable energy projects and creating new jobs and opportunities. I suspect all Southern African countries will also benefit tremendously from this new REFIT.

The small (but very developed) country of Namibia which borders on South Africa is particularly interesting because it has an excellent wind resource, is much less densely populated than South Africa but has a huge demand for new generation, mostly from new mining developments and also has a good transmission system in place operated by NamPower. NamPower currently purchases almost all power from Eskom.

At this point, Eskom has said that they will consider cross-border projects as part of the REFIT. The timing seems good to move forward with a large wind or solar project involving a joint venture between a local renewable energy developer with a site locked up in Namibia and local connections, a large wind or solar developer with access to global capital and expertise and Eskom and NamPower. There may also be scope to involve some of the large mining companies operating in Namibia. Once the REFIT is in place, it will ensure certainty in pricing for all parties involved in such a joint venture project and I look forward to seeing who is going to be the first to capitalize on this opportunity.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Consultation session on climate change legislation in Saskatchewan

I attended the government consultations on Bill No. 126 - An Act respecting the Management and Reduction of Greenhouse Gases and Adaptation to Climate Change in Saskatoon today. The event was very well organized and MNP and the Ministry of Environment made the event worthwhile. The participants in the session were very knowledgeable, with a large experienced contingent from Alberta, which made the session all the more insightful. Predictably the price per tonne of carbon offsets was topical. Figures between $15 and $150 per tonne were raised. The concensus seemed to be somewhere around $30 per tonne. I found the information regarding the inclusion of Performance Agreements in the climate change legislation particularly useful and look forward to hearing more about Performance Agreements in the proposed climate change regulations in the future.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Hydro-Quebec and NB Power scrap power deal

Hydro-Quebec was negotiating with NB Power to acquire 10 generation facilities in New Brunswick and 670 megawatts of transmission rights to New England for $3.2 billion. The deal seems to be scuttled for the moment due largely to opposition in New Brunswick.

Monday, March 22, 2010

BC Hydro awards PPAs for 19 renewable energy projects

The B.C. government has the goal of becoming energy self-sufficient using renewable energy by 2016. The 5 wind and 14 run-of-river projects awarded PPAs will generate 2400 gigawatt hours of electricity per year.

BC Hydro says another 28 projects remain in its Clean Power Call and the utility expects to select more later this month.

In total, BC Hydro initially received 68 proposals from 43 bidders representing more than 17,000 gigawatt hours per year of electricity.

The winners in this phase include Finavera Renewables Inc., CP Renewable Energy Limited Partnership (formerly EPCOR), Cloudworks Energy Inc., Creek Power Inc., Plutonic Power Corp., Selkirk Power Co., Swift Power Corp., NI Hydro Holding Corp., C-Free Power Corp. and Kwagis Power Limited Partnership.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Red Lily wind farm receives municipal approval

Algonquin Power Inc. and Gaia Power received municipal approval yesterday to construct a 25 MW wind farm in southeast Saskatchewan.

I've heard this project had some challenges in the initial stages but hopefully all the kinks are worked out now and construction can begin this summer as planned.

It seems the Rural Municipality of Martin will be adopting the Ontario standard and requiring 550 meter setbacks from the WTGs - Germany only requires 300 meters.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

More details regarding Saskatchewan and Manitoba interconnection transmission upgrade

The Winnipeg Free Press just revealed a few more details from Manitoba Hydro regarding the proposed interconnection upgrade between the two provinces.

Most of you will already know that the two provinces plan to more than double their ability to transmit power to one another - both committing to add at least 150 megawatts of transmission capacity. Given our East-West interconnections are very weak in Canada, this is welcome news.

The Winnipeg Free Press also noted that:

"Rosann Wowchuk, minister responsible for Manitoba Hydro, signed an agreement with Saskatchewan Energy Minister Bill Boyd that will see the provinces work more closely on renewable energy development."

I have not been able to glean details of the agreement regarding renewable energy development, but I am hopeful it includes a long-term goal of connecting Manitoba's large hydro generation with Saskatchewan's huge wind generation potential.

As HydroQuebec has proven, wind and hydro are the perfect match to solve intermittency issues - when the wind is blowing, hold the water and when the wind dies down, ramp up hydro.

With Saskatchewan's wind resource and site availability far superior to that in Quebec and the potential for another 8785 MW of hydro generation in Manitoba, do SaskPower and Manitoba Hydro have long term plans of working together to oust HydroQuebec as the top seller of clean energy to the USA?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Others calling for a Feed in Tariff in Saskatchewan

Here is an interesting blog post also calling for a FIT in Saskatchewan:

It also highlights the huge differences in the Ontario FIT rates and the current rates offered by SaskPower in Saskatchewan.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Difference in solar tariff between Saskatchewan & Ontario

I published an article in SaskBusiness magzine in the March 2010 issue ( on the SaskPower Green Options Partners Program. As I mentioned in my article, this program is certainly a step in the right direction toward a feed in tariff for renewables.

However, it was quite disappointing to confirm the difference between purchase rates in Ontario and Saskatchewan. Ontario will pay 80.2 cents/KwH for solar PV generation and Saskatchewan is only offering to pay 9.6 cents/KwH - a substantial difference. The average price in the EU is around 75 cents/KwH for solar PV.

That is not to say that solar projects in Saskatchewan are not feasible - just that there is much more incentive to develop in Ontario instead of in Saskatchewan (where the solar resource is actually far superior).

That being said, I understand the SaskPower Green Options Partners Progam is just the first step in the right direction. Hopefully SaskPower is looking to follow Ontario's lead and move toward a feed in tariff based directly on the cost of generation. Those developers who graduate from the Green Options Partners Program will certainly be much better positioned to take advantage of the feed in tariff, should it come to fruition.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Deadline for submissions

As I am sure any party preparing a submission is aware, the closing date for submissions for SaskPower's Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to procure up to 175 megawatts (MW) of wind power is March 12, 2010 at 3:00pm (Central time zone).

Qualified proponents will be invited to respond to a formal Request for Proposals (RFP) in spring 2010.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Canadian Budget 2010

The Federal budget promised to "further improve the regulatory review process for large energy projects" to ensure procedures were timely and predictable.

Responsibility for carrying out environmental assessments will move from the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEEA) to the National Energy Board and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, which has more expertise in energy projects.

The Federal budget also promised $100 million over the next four years to support the development of advanced clean energy technologies in the forestry sector. Look for new biomass projects to be developed in the next four years.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Carbon Footprint Symposium and carbon credit trading

I attended the Carbon Footprint Symposium in Saskatoon yesterday and it was certainly a well-organized and useful event.

Dean Stinson O’Gorman from Environment Canada had a particularly interesting presentation on offset trading in Canada.

There were also numerous Saskatchewan farms in attendance interested in carbon credits generated from no-till agricultural practices on their land - which is a hot topic at the moment in the province with new legislation on GHG reduction similar to that in Alberta set to receive legislative assent in spring or summer 2010.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Renewable energy loan now available for farmers

The Farm Credit Corporation Energy Loan (FCC Energy Loan) is designed to assist producers and agribusiness owners who want to make the move towards producing their own renewable energy.

Available March 1, 2010 the FCC Energy Loan will help producers and agribusiness operators purchase and install on-farm energy sources like biogas, geo-thermal, wind or solar power.

The FCC Energy Loan offers an interest term of up to five years at variable or fixed rates and with monthly, quarterly, semi-annual and annual payments available.

This is yet another reason for farmers to start capitalizing on the exceptional energy resource in Saskatchewan and across Canada.

More information here:

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Solar in Malta

Having just arrived back from Malta, this M&A transaction was particularly interesting whereby California-based SunPower acquired Malta-based SunRay for $277 million USD:

Malta is a small island but being only 295 kilometers East of Tunisia has a large concentration of solar development companies due to the excellent solar resource and utilization in the country.

The wind regime is also very good and there was some talk about offshore potential but as far as I could tell no developer had yet made moves to develop - I assume it is only a matter of time...

Friday, January 22, 2010

Time for a FIT

Isn't it time other provinces started thinking about a renewable feed in tariff?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Green Options Partners Program was just released today by SaskPower

The Green Options Partners Program was just released today by SaskPower:

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Nuclear Liability: Amendments to Bill C-20

Bill C-20, the proposed legislation to replace the Nuclear Liability Act, has cleared another hurdle in the legislative process with the following key amendments proposed by the standing committee after review:

1. The Minister of Natural Resources must review the $650 million limitation on operator liability on a regular basis, and at least once every five years.

2. The Minister of Natural Resources must hold public consultations which include participation of both industry and non-industry stakeholders and any parliamentary committee that may be designated or established to review matters relating to the nuclear energy.

3. Nuclear operators must provide financial security for its $650 million liability obligation and this financial security must to be in the form of insurance with an approved insurer. Given that obtaining such coverage is unlikely, the Minister can enter into an agreement with an approved insurer under which Her Majesty in right of Canada reinsures some or all of the risk assumed by the insurer under the insurance required to form part of the financial security that an operator is required to maintain in connection with its liability limit.

4. The Governor in Council must establish a nuclear claims tribunal as soon as possible after its declaration that a tribunal is required to administer the claims from a nuclear incident which tribunal must notify the public, in a manner that it considers appropriate, of the details of the tribunal’s purpose and the means by which the public can obtain information on bringing forward a claim.