What drives the energy business? Economics of course. Check out where the world's largest solar photovoltaic is getting built...not, California, no, it is Ontario, Canada, up in the great white north. Are these corporate giants crazy?
Ontario welcomes the official opening of the world's largest solar photovoltaic (PV) farm and milestones for two new wind projects in South-West Ontario.
The province has attracted over $1 billion in private sector investment and created more than 1,400 construction jobs through three renewable energy projects that will produce enough electricity to power about 83,000 homes each year, replacing dirty, smog-producing coal with clean, renewable energy.
These projects will add almost 300 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy capacity to the more than 8,000 MW of new cleaner power that has been created since 2003. Ontario is building more clean energy to phase out dirty, smog-producing coal-fired generation and to keep the lights on for Ontario families' homes, businesses, hospitals and schools.
The three renewable energy projects celebrated today include:
The Sarnia Solar Project - 80 MW now online, represents approximately $400 million of investment and enough electricity each year to power more than 12,000 homes - or about 40 per cent of homes in the City of Sarnia. Construction of the project created about 800 jobs.
The Gosfield Wind Farm - 50 MW now online in Kingsville, represents enough electricity each year to power about 16,000 homes. Construction of the project created about 300 jobs.
The Comber Wind Project - 166 MW to come online next fall, in Lakeshore. Comber is expected to produce enough electricity each year to power 55,000 homes. Construction of the project is expected to create 300 or more jobs at peak.
The Gosfield and Comber Wind projects represent about $650 million of private sector investment and enough electricity each year to meet the needs of over 40 per cent of Essex County homes.
Renewable projects that generate negligible emissions support the McGuinty government's Open Ontario Plan to attract investment, build a clean energy economy and create jobs for Ontario families and helps provide clean air to breathe for our children and grandchildren
ONTARIO RENEWABLE ENERGY QUICK FACTS
Each of these projects has a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement with the Ontario Power Authority.
Ontario permanently closed four units of dirty coal-fired generation on October 1, 2010, four years ahead of schedule.
Ontario is Canada's leader in wind and solar capacity, home to the largest wind farms in Canada and now home of the largest solar PV farm in the entire world.
In 2009, more than 80 per cent of our generation came from emissions-free sources.
The citizens of Ontario, Canada have achieved commercial operation of the 80-megawatt (MW) Sarnia Solar Project, making it the largest operating photovoltaic facility in the world.
The project complements Enbridge's significant and growing portfolio of green energy assets that includes interests in seven wind farms, a geothermal project, four waste heat recovery facilities and a commercial application of integrated energy recovery and fuel cell technology.
"Our investments in green energy are an increasingly important part of Enbridge's business," said Al Monaco, Executive Vice President, Major Projects and Green Energy, Enbridge Inc. "Over the last year, we added four new projects totaling $1.5 billion, increasing our total green energy investment to $2 billion and establishing a solid platform for attractive and sustainable long-term growth with a risk-return profile consistent with our Liquids Pipelines and natural gas businesses."
"At the same time, our green energy assets deliver strong environmental benefits," added Mr. Monaco. "Enbridge intends to stabilize our environmental footprint at 2009 levels under a program that includes a commitment to generate a kilowatt of renewable energy for every kilowatt of power our operations consume. We will achieve this goal through projects like the Sarnia Solar Project."
The total generating capacity (in operation and under construction) of the green energy projects in which Enbridge has invested is almost 850 MW, which is enough energy to meet the needs of about 292,000 homes.
First Solar, a leading manufacturer of photovoltaic (PV) solar panels and provider of solar solutions, will operate and maintain the Sarnia Solar Project for Enbridge under a long-term contract. First Solar developed, engineered, and constructed the facility, using its advanced thin film solar panels.
"Completing the world's largest PV power plant demonstrates the migration of solar PV toward utility scale," said Frank De Rosa, First Solar's senior vice president of North American project development. "With this project, we expect to install 145 MW this year in North America."
In addition to generating about 120,000 MWh per year of emissions-free power, the Sarnia Solar Project produces no waste and uses PV technology that was designed to create the smallest carbon footprint of any PV technology available. Enbridge expects the facility to generate enough power to meet the needs of about 12,800 homes.
Enbridge will sell the power output of the facility to the Ontario Power Authority pursuant to 20-year Power Purchase Agreements under the terms of the Ontario government's Renewable Energy Standard Offer Program.
Development of the Sarnia Solar Project aligns not only with Enbridge's and First Solar's objectives, but with those of the Government of Ontario.
"The Sarnia Solar Project is an example of the kinds of renewable energy projects that have been developed under the Government of Ontario's Green Energy Act," said the Honourable Brad Duguid, Ontario Minister of Energy. "Ontario can now boast the largest solar farm in North America - it is projects like this one that are making us a leader in renewable energy and helping us all move towards a cleaner energy future."
"This is a significant project that not only helps power local homes and businesses with clean, renewable energy, but improves our air quality at the same time," said Maria Van Bommel, MPP for Lambton-Kent-Middlesex. "I'm proud that a McGuinty government policy is helping Sarnia-Lambton take the lead on solar power."
Sarnia Solar Energy at a glance:
Capacity peak: about 80 MW of emissions-free power
Power purchaser: Ontario Power Authority
Facility size: Located on 950 acres
Panel surface area: about 966,000 square metres, which is about 1.3 million
thin film panels (First Solar)
Annual yield: about 120,000 MWh
CO2 saving: over 39,000 tonnes per year
Jobs created: About 800 jobs created at construction peak, as well as
indirect benefits to dozens of businesses in the Sarnia area, including
engineering and design firms, construction subcontractors, suppliers and