SAINT JOHN – Saint John Energy will issue a Request for Proposal Friday inviting developers to build a $30-million wind energy project in the Spruce Lake Industrial Park on the city’s west side.
“We have been exploring options to diversify our electricity mix by providing more local, renewable energy to our customers for over a decade now,” said vice-president Ryan Mitchell in a release. “Feedback shows our customers want their energy to come from cleaner and more renewable sources at stable rates.”
Saint John Energy says developing renewable resources will help the company stabilize power rates and help lower greenhouse gas emissions. The energy utility says the Burchill Wind Project, as it’s being called, will only move ahead if it can derive significant savings from purchasing wind energy over the traditional supply. It says wind energy is currently the lowest-cost form of new energy in Canada, so the project will not have an adverse effect on customer rates.
The utility says it has five years of wind data from the site that support wind development in the area. The successful proponent will design, build, own, and operate the wind farm and Saint John Energy will buy the energy from the company. It will be owned and operated by a private company because Saint John Energy is prevented by legislation from owning a generation facility.
Ray Robinson, president and CEO of Saint John Energy, said it’s anticipated that the successful proponent will invest over $30-million in constructing five to 10 turbines that will generate between 20MW to 40MW of energy.
“This is an exciting time for our company and for our region,” said Robinson. “It provides us with opportunities to grow local renewable energy expertise, create jobs, and attract businesses looking for greener and more diverse energy options.”
Saint John Energy says the project will provide opportunities to grow local renewable energy expertise, create jobs, and attract businesses looking for greener and more diverse energy options.
The wind farm will be in Spruce Lake Industrial Park, so the utility does not anticipate it will be close enough to homes to cause problems commonly associated with wind farms.
However, the exact location and design of the project will happen during the environmental assessment and design phase, which will include ongoing community consultations.
Robinson said Saint John Energy hopes to have the developer selected by early next summer. They hope to begin construction in 2020 and bring it online early in 2022.