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Electrical Output Expected to Serve 50,000 Homes 

Construction of a 138-megawatt wind farm near St. Joseph will begin immediately, Premier Greg Selinger announced today.  The construction is moving forward following the successful negotiation of a 27-year power purchase agreement between Manitoba Hydro and Pattern Energy, the premier said.  

“The construction of the second major wind farm in this province is an exciting and significant step,” Selinger said. “It will provide clean, renewable electricity far into the future and help diversify our province’s energy resources.” 

Pattern will invest $95 million into the project. Manitoba Hydro will loan Pattern Energy up to $260 million to be repaid over 20 years. The total cost of the wind farm, which will be located about 100 kilometres south of Winnipeg, is estimated to be about $345 million. 

The first wind turbines are expected to be producing electricity by the end of this year.  When finished in the spring of 2011, there will be 60 wind turbines each producing up to 2.3 MW and covering an area of 125 square kilometres in the rural municipalities of Montcalm and Rhineland.

“We are pleased to support the addition of another renewable energy source for Manitoba at a price that is very favourable for Manitobans,” said Bob Brennan, president and CEO of Manitoba Hydro.

The project, believed to be the largest to be built in Canada this year, will generate enough power to serve the needs of 50,000 homes, the premier said. 

“Manitoba’s electricity supply is already 98 per cent renewable and this new wind farm will help ensure that we continue to build on that solid foundation,” said Selinger. “This wind farm will also provide a boost in the economy of southern Manitoba and create new opportunities and jobs.” 

“The project will provide over $38 million alone in payments to landholders in the region over the life of the project and employ up to 225 people during construction,” said Finance Minister Rosann Wowchuk, minister responsible for Manitoba Hydro.  

“The economic spinoffs to the local economy in terms of construction and long-term operational jobs, as well as financial benefits to landowners will be significant,” Wowchuk said.  “This will be a shot in the arm for the rural economy of southeast Manitoba and will benefit local First Nations communities.”

The St. Joseph proposal was selected from among 84 bids and will be the second wind farm in Manitoba. Manitoba’s first wind farm, located near St. Leon and producing 100 MW of electricity, became fully operational in 2006.  Manitoba is recognized as having a world-class wind energy resource, said Selinger. 

“We are pleased to announce the partnership with Manitoba Hydro and the start of construction of our St. Joseph wind farm,” said Mike Garland, chief executive officer of Pattern Energy.  “The St. Joseph wind farm will harness a terrific wind resource in Manitoba to produce clean, renewable energy for its citizens while also supporting the local economy with the creation of jobs and tax revenue.  We look forward to contributing to the community and thank Manitoba Hydro and the community for their support of this world-class project.”

The St. Joseph wind farm builds on the province’s commitment to developing renewable energy sources including hydro, geothermal, bio-fuels and hydrogen, the premier added.  Manitoba Hydro, in partnership with Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation, is currently constructing the 200 MW Wuskwatim project, a low-impact hydroelectric generating station on the Burntwood River, scheduled to be completed next year.