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Turbine Seeding To Begin At St. Joseph

Manitoba Hydro has announced construction will begin “immediately” on a 138-megawatt wind farm near St. Joseph.

The construction is moving forward following the successful negotiation of a 27-year power purchase agreement between Manitoba Hydro and Pattern Energy, Premier Greg Selinger said in a release Monday, calling the construction of Manitoba’s second major wind farm “an exciting and significant step.”

San Francisco-based Pattern Energy will invest $95 million into the project, while Manitoba Hydro will loan Pattern Energy up to $260 million to be repaid over 20 years.

The total cost of the wind farm, believed to be the largest going up in Canada this year, is estimated to be about $345 million, the province said.

The first of 60 wind turbines are expected to be producing up to 2.3 MW of electricity each by the end of 2010.

The project, covering an area of 125 square km in the rural municipalities of Montcalm and Rhineland, is expected to be completed in the spring of 2011, generating enough power to serve the needs of 50,000 homes.

Hydro CEO Bob Brennan described the St. Joseph project, chosen from among 84 bids, as “another renewable energy source for Manitoba at a price that is very favourable for Manitobans.”

Finance Minister Rosann Wowchuk, the provincial minister responsible for Hydro, said the project will provide “over $38 million alone in payments to landholders in the region over the life of the project.”

Wowchuk described the local spinoffs in terms of construction and long-term operational jobs as “significant,” noting the construction phase will employ up to 225 people.

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