Tuesday, 20 November 2012 08:50

Prairie Rose School Division commits to wind power

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Prairie Rose School Division (PRSD) board trustees agreed to commit to signing a 25-year contract to be supplied electricity through a potential wind power project.

The proposed project, headed up by BluEarth Renewables Inc., and Alberta Schools Commodity Purchasing Consortium (CPC) was discussed at the Nov. 13 regular meeting.
Earlier this year in January, PRSD trustees agreed in principle to a 25-year contract, but at the most recent meeting, moved to do so if or when the time comes. This would only effect facilities which are not using electricity purchased from the City of Medicine Hat.
“The advantage is predictable power costs,” said Patricia Cocks, secretary-treasurer, at the Nov. 13 meeting. “The other advantage is it is green power.”
The wind power initiative is being undertaken by the CPC. About a decade ago when deregulation of the power industry came into play, school divisions in the province felt they could get a better price for electricity if there were more of them working together to purchase power.
The consortium was formed with about 40 of the 60 school districts in Alberta taking part.
The most recent agreement for electricity was completed three years ago at a fairly good price, but it expires Jan. 1, 2014, Brian Frey, maintenance supervisor with Prairie Rose, said in an earlier interview. He also sits on the management committee for the consortium.
Officials with CPC have partnered with Calgary’s BluEarth Renewables Inc.
Seven companies sent in proposals for wind power projects to the CPC and BluEarth was chosen as the best option.
That company will build the proposed 160 MW wind power project south of Lloydminster along the Saskatchewan border. The power created will be used by the school divisions in the consortium plus any additional divisions who want to take part.
There will be two opportunities for school divisions. The first is to simply sign on for a 25-year contract and purchase the electricity at a fixed rate. That is what division boards are now agreeing to.
A second option, which is still being studied and pursued, may include divisions having the opportunity to invest in the wind farm.
Board trustees were in favour of committing to a 25-year contract to receive power from a wind power project, if it moves forward.
“This looks very promising,” said Trustee Stuart Angle. “There is the potential here for some significant savings and it is sustainable. It’s a benefit to Prairie Rose.”

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Rose Sanchez

Assistant Managing Editor

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