Monday, February 28, 2011

Wind power battery storage project in Saskatchewan gets federal funding

A wind turbine and battery storage system project located on the Cowessess First Nation in Saskatchewan is set to receive $2.79 million CAD as part of a $64 million CAD Canadian government investment from the Clean Energy Fund announced on Sunday February 27, 2011.

The wind turbine and a battery storage system will be installed on the Cowessess First Nation's land to demonstrate how intermittent wind power can be harnessed and stored to provide constant continuous energy.

Chief Lerat of Cowessess said they have a strong interest in preserving the environment and wind is a major natural resource on First Nations land. The hope is that other First Nations reserves in Saskatchewan will follow with wind farm developments if this program is successful.

Yesterday, the Canadian Federal government also announced a commitment of $9.2 million CAD for the Digby wind farm in Nova Scotia and $11.2 million CAD to the University of British Columbia to undertake a clean heat and power project as well as funding for an ethanol plant in Varennes, Quebec.

Gamesa 2010 financial information positive

Gamesa, the Spanish wind turbine manufacturer and developer released financial information noting the following:

- Gamesa generated 472 million euro in net free cash flow in 2010;
- The backlog for delivery in 2011 amounts to 1,414 MW (+25%) and covers 48% of the wind turbine sales guidance for the year;
- International markets (such as Canada) accounted for 93% of the MW sold in 2010;
- The wind farm development and sale business revived and contributed 10 million euro in EBIT in the second half of the year.

Gamesa has recently been moving aggressively into the Canadian market with an establishment of an office in Ontario.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Ontario FIT awards 2nd round of contracts for 872 MW

The Ontario feed-in-tariff (FIT) program yesterday announced new contracts which include 257 MW of solar/PV projects and 615 MW of wind projects, bringing the total amount awarded under the FIT program to 1,570 MW. There were 4 wind farm projects, 1 hydro project and 35 solar/PV projects. The complete list is available here:

TransAlta seeking to purchase renewable power assets

CEO Steve Snyder told Bloomberg that TransAlta has a strong interest in buying power assets in Canada and the U.S. and that TransAlta wants to add renewable power, including wind turbines, in Canada as well as power plants on the west coast of the U.S. and Canada. “We have a strong interest in expanding our fleet profitably,” Snyder was quoted as saying.

TransAlta Corp. is one of Canada’s largest wind power operators and added 189 MW of new wind power generation as well as a hydro plant in British Columbia in 2010.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

British Columbia feed-in-tariff (FIT) could be launched in autumn 2011

At the BC Hydro Standing Offer Program changes and process review webcast and telephone conference held on February 23, 2011, BC Hydro noted that the British Columbia (BC) provincial government is currently working on their feed-in-tariff (FIT) regulation which they anticipate to issue in spring 2011. The launch of the FIT program is expected within 6 months after the regulation is issued. According to this timeline the FIT could be introduced in fall 2011. BC Hydro notes that wind will be part of the FIT but it will be in "non-interconnected areas".

Yukon Energy seeking renewable energy for gold mine

Yukon Energy will need more renewable energy if it wants to supply electrcity to a proposed gold mine in the Yukon Territory of Northern Canada without relying on diesel generation.

Yukon Energy's President, David Morrison stated that the publicly owned utility is in the process of identifying more sources of renewable energy in time to support Victoria Gold Corp.’s Eagle Gold project north of Mayo at Dublin Gulch in the Yukon Territory.

Yukon Energy and Victoria Gold Corp. signed a letter of intent earlier this month committing themselves to negotiating a PPA to supply the Eagle project by early 2014 or sooner.

Yukon Energy is currently determining how much more renewable energy can be added into the grid, including a large wind project on Ferry Hill overlooking Stewart Crossing. There is also ongoing research into geothermal projects involving the use of underground water resources that may be hot enough to drive steam turbines.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

SaskPower disappoints stakeholders with renewable energy generation

"Stakeholders expressed a high level of dissatisfaction with SaskPower and what was described as a 'wait and see' approach to climate change. Stakeholders highlighted multiple examples of how SaskPower has fallen behind its peer group in renewable power generation. There is a strong desire from participants for SaskPower to pursue a new business model that accommodates new generation options."

- excerpts from the Summary of Stakeholder Consultations

The Saskatchewan government released their Summary of Stakeholder Consultations on the Saskatchewan Climate Change Regulations today. The Regulations will implement the new Management and Reduction of Greenhouse Gases and Adaptation to Climate Change Act in Saskatchewan.

Stakeholders provided examples of where SaskPower policies were a barrier to cogeneration opportunities that would lower emissions and support economic development.

Some of the noteworthy recommendations by stakeholders were:

- establishment of a renewable energy standard and strategy that would result in SaskPower adopting alternative energy options such as solar, biomass, wind, geothermal and others as a component of its base load generation capacity;
- pursuit of open and effective renewable energy sources and independent power generations would allow individuals and businesses to generate their own electricity and to sell the surplus power to SaskPower;
- engagement in cogeneration opportunities in rural and urban areas as a means to generate greener electricity and to support economic development. The consultation team was made aware of several cogeneration opportunities that had either been declined by SaskPower or "are outside of the existing SaskPower policies to be considered";
- restructuring of SaskPower policy frameworks to accommodate a wider range of large and small scale generation and co-generation options.

The full Summary is available at:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

BC Hydro Standing Offer Program revised in British Columbia

BC Hydro, the third largest utility in Canada, owned and operated by the provincial government in the Western Canadian province of British Columbia has revised its Standing Offer Program (BC SOP) for smaller-scale renewable energy projects, implementing all of the recommendations coming out of a review of the original rules.

Important changes in the BC SOP include increasing the maximum project size to 15 MW and increasing the program's fixed prices by 14-29%. The price increase varies from $12/MWh to $22/MWh depending on the region, with the price increases being greater for those regions further away from the Lower Mainland (greater Vancouver area). These regions benefit from a reduced cost estimate for transmitting energy to the Lower Mainland load centre.

Peak pricing is $103.69/MWh in the Lower Mainland area with a low of $94.86/MWh in the Peace Region.

There will be no differential pricing based on technology.

BC Hydro estimates that the new pricing will attract a cumulative total of approximately 1,000 gigawatt hours (GWh) per year of energy over two years under the BC SOP.

The BC SOP will continue with no quota or cap on development - start acquiring your sites for development in BC now before it's too late...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Ontario FIT suspends off-shore wind applications

In an anticipated move, the government in the Canadian province of Ontario suspended current off-shore wind applications under its FIT program to buy power generated by renewable sources.

The Ontario FIT offers North America's most comprehensive and lucrative rates for electricity generated from solar/PV, wind, water and biomass,

Only one off-shore wind project by developer Windstream Energy Inc. has been approved since the Ontario FIT came into effect in 2009. The FIT will accept no new applications for off-shore projects.

However, the moratorium will have no effect on applications for on-shore wind power projects.

Given the huge potential for utility-scale on-shore wind energy in provinces like Saskatchewan with a far superior wind regime to Ontario and much lower population densities, off-shore wind projects in the Great Lakes in Ontario made little financial sense. The Ontario provincial government has now recognized this and revised their FIT accordingly.

For off-shore wind developers, there are excellent opportunities for development in the Western Canadian province of British Columbia in the Pacific ocean and in the Eastern provinces of Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island in the Atlantic ocean.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Finland-based Talvivaara and Saskatoon-based Cameco sign uranium off-take agreeement

The agreement between Cameco and Talvivaara will certainly broaden the already significant relationship Cameco has with Finnish utilities, the Finnish government and regulators and private Finnish mining companies and electricty generators.

According to a February 8, 2011 Press Release Cameco is to provide an upfront investment of up to $60 million USD to cover the construction costs of a uranium extraction circuit in Finland. Talvivaara will repay the investment through deliveries of uranium concentrate during the initial years of the agreement. Once the capital sum has been repaid all uranium concentrate produced thereafter until December 31, 2027 will be bought by Cameco at a price based on market prices at the time of delivery. The annual uranium production is estimated at 350tU (ca. 770,000 pounds), corresponding to approximately 410t (900,000 pounds) of yellow cake (UO4).

Cameco is already very active in Finland and has been for a number of years. Cameco currently supplies uranium fuel to generate clean electricity for Finnish utilities and their customers. Finland produces approximately one-third of its domestic electricity through nuclear power. Finland has four existing reactors operated by two Finnish companies. A fifth reactor is currently under construction in Finland and two more are planned for the future.

Cameco will provide technical assistance to Talvivaara in the design, construction, commissioning and operation of the uranium extraction circuit to be constructed at the Sotkamo mine. Talvivaara plans to start construction of the uranium extraction circuit in the coming months and complete it in 2012.

Talvivaara is a Finland-based miner producing base metals with its primary focus on nickel and zinc deposits in Finland using a technology known as bioheapleaching to extract metals out of ore. Talvivaara is listed on the London Stock Exchange Main Market and NASDAQ OMX Helsinki and is included in the FTSE 250 Index.

Cameco Corporation is one of the world's largest suppliers of uranium and trades on the TSX and New York Stock Exchange.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

SaskEnergy announces waste heat recovery project in Saskatchewan

SaskEnergy, the provincially owned, natural gas distribution company in the province of Saskatchewan have partnered with Found Energy and Innovative Steam Technologies to capture the waste heat of compressor station engines and convert it to useable electricity. SaskEnergy's aim is to produce more renewable energy than it consumes by 2015.

The $5.7 million CAD waste heat recovery project at the Rosetown and Coleville compressor
stations will capture heat normally vented to the atmosphere through the compressor engines‟ exhaust and convert that energy into electricity which will then be sold back to the SaskPower grid.

Waste heat recovery technology is rapidly developing in Western Canada and it is expected this project will break new ground for gas distribution companies.

Friday, February 4, 2011

138 MW Manitoba wind farm comes online

The first group of WTGs in the Canadian province of Manitoba's $345 million, 138 MW St. Joseph wind farm have commenced feeding power to the grid.

"Together we are creating a local energy source that will benefit the St. Joseph area and its residents including the generation of millions of dollars of municipal revenues over the life of the project," states Mike Garland, CEO of Pattern Energy, owner of the project.

The total investment required for the St. Joseph wind farm is projected to $345 million CAD. Pattern Energy will also pay $38 million CAD in total to the landowners in the rural municipalities of Rhineland and Montcalm. The wind farm occupies agricultural land of 125 square kilometers owned by private parties in the two municipalities.