Richard Blackwell, The Globe and Mail
The vast majority of Canadian wind power production is now controlled by a handful of large companies, many of them foreign owned, replacing community groups that were initially seen as the backbone of alternative energy production. The takeover of the business by large companies is one reason behind the backlash against the rapid installation of huge, looming turbines, particularly if they are near recreational property or agricultural communities. An analysis by The Globe and Mail shows that more than 90 per cent of the current 6,500 megawatts of wind power capacity in Canada is in the hands of large companies, and about 25 per cent is held by foreign interests.
The biggest Canadian players are large firms and utilities that also operate in other energy businesses – power utility TransAlta Corp., pipeline operators Enbridge Inc. and TransCanada Corp., oil sands developer Suncor Energy Inc. and energy conglomerate Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners LP, for example.
Indeed, Enbridge and EDF EN Canada Inc., a subsidiary of French power giant Électricité de France – already partners on big wind farms in Quebec – on Monday announced that together they have paid $600-million to purchase a huge 300 MW wind project north of Lethbridge, Alta. The Blackspring Ridge wind farm, taken through the development phase by Calgary based Greengate Power Corp., will see construction begin later this year. Read article