Firm expands wind farm proposal.
This past summer, Brookfield Asset Management Inc., formerly known as Brascan Corp., was assessing an area 10 to 15 kilometres north of Marathon, located 320 kilometres east of Thunder Bay.
Geophysical testing is underway as Brookfield is undergoing environmental screening that could bring up to a 100-megawatt (MW) project to the town, Daryl Skworchinski, economic development officer for Marathon, says.
"Things look positive."
More information, including economic forecasts, energy models, electricity permitting and engineering studies will provide a comprehensive report for the investors.
Brookfield is coming in on the heels of a 20 MW wind initiative currently underway between the town and Marathon Pulp.
Like any forestry business these days, Marathon Pulp partners Tembec Inc. and Kruger Inc. were examining ways to reduce their energy costs. Approximately two years ago testing towers were erected to determine if there is enough wind to harness. Now in the advanced stages of the project the trio is planning to either utilize the captured energy for the plant or channel it back into the transmission grid.
Skworchinski says Marathon is a natural fit for a wind generation hub as the winds coming off Lake Superior are ever present.
About 400 km east of Marathon, located 20 km north of Sault Ste. Marie, is Northern Ontario's first wind farm. Brookfield is the process of developing the Prince Wind Energy Project. Phase One has been launched and construction has started on the 99 MW, 10,040-hectare wind farm.
Contractor MA Mortenson Co. is overseeing the civil aspects of the site preparation and erecting 66 General Electric turbines standing approximately 75-80 metres in height. Each turbine is expected to produce up to 1.5 MW.
A new substation is being constructed along with a 14-km transmission line that will connect energy to the existing 230 kilovolt, transmission line. An estimated 150 to 200 workers will be employed during the construction and approximately eight to 10 maintenance staff will be hired once the turbines are in operation, which is expected in the second half of 2006.
Brookfield has already completed soil, geological, seismicity and groundwater testing, acquatic, terrestrial, atmospheric and socio-economic studies as well.
By KELLY LOUISEIZE
Northern Ontario Business