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Investment, joint ventures to lead to new wind development

Feb. 16, 2001à‚–Agreements between wind power development companies and more traditional energy companies promise to bring large wind projects to Canada and England. Sunoco, Inc., is making an equity investment in Northern Power Systems and plans to form a joint venture with it in the future to develop large wind farms in Canada. On the other side of the Atlantic, British Energy announced plans to form a joint venture with Renewable Energy Systems to develop off-shore wind power plants in the U.K.

Sunoco, a subsidiary of Suncor Energy, announced plans to become a minority equity investor in Northern Power Systems with an infusion of C$3 million (U.S.$1.95 million). In addition to the equity investment, the two companies signed a letter of intent to form a joint venture to develop wind farms and other renewable energy plants in Canada. Northern Power Systems designs power systems for remote or distributed generation applications. The company also provides engineering services to wind power developers and designs wind turbines and control electronics. Northern has a 25-year history in the commercial application of wind, photovoltaic, and diesel hybrid power, having completed over 800 power installations on seven continents. Suncor is an integrated Canadian energy company, primarily developing oil and natural gas resources. As part of a new business initiative, Suncor announced plans last year to invest up to C$100 million (U.S.$ 65 million) by 2005 to develop an alternative and renewable energy business

In a separate announcement, British Energy made public plans to form a joint venture with Renewable Energy Systems to develop offshore wind power plants in the U.K. The new joint company, Offshore Wind Power, Ltd., has applied to the Crown Estate for a lease of an area of the seabed for its first project, which is the first step in a development process British Energy estimates could take up to four years.

Renewable Energy Systems is the largest U.K.-based wind energy developer with over 1,100 MW of wind power capacity in the U.S., Europe, Asia, and the Caribbean. Its plans this year include construction of the King Mountain Wind Ranch in Texas, which will combine three projects to have a capacity of 280 MW.

British Energy, the holding company of Nuclear Electric, Ltd., and Scottish Nuclear, Ltd., is one of the U.K.’s largest electricity companies with around 20% of the country_s generation market. In the U.S., British Energy has formed AmerGen, a joint venture with PECO to acquire a portfolio of nuclear assets.