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Acciona and Suncor Energy Begin Construction on Ontario Wind Power Project

Acciona Wind Energy Canada Inc and Suncor Energy Products Inc today announced they have started full-scale construction on their 76-megawatt (MW) wind power project near Ripley, Ontario. The Ontario Energy Board recently granted regulatory approval for the wind farm's two substations and transmission line, completing the project's key regulatory requirements.

The Ripley Wind Power Project will include 38 two-megawatt Enercon wind turbines, a transmission line and two electrical substations. The wind farm is located on the eastern shores of Lake Huron in Huron-Kinloss Township, approximately 220 kilometres west of Toronto and 140 kilometres north of London.

The project is expected to have the capacity to generate enough zero-emission electricity to power 24,000 homes and offset approximately 66,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually. Project cost is estimated at approximately $176 million.

Foundations for the turbines are now being poured. Pending weather conditions, construction will take a brief break during the winter months. Construction is expected to be complete this summer, with wind farm commissioning anticipated for late 2007.

"The start of major construction on our Ripley wind power project is an exciting achievement for Suncor. It brings us one step closer to providing clean energy to Ontario consumers," said Dave Byler, Suncor's executive vice president of natural gas and renewable energy. "Our wind energy program is an important part of Suncor's journey to becoming a sustainable energy company. We welcome the steps being taken by government to encourage investment in renewable energy."

The project is the result of the Ontario government's request for proposals to supply approximately 1,000 MW of renewable energy. The Ontario government aims to produce 10 per cent of the province's electricity from renewable sources by 2010.

"Ripley is a significant part of our strategy to increase Acciona's presence in Canada, and to collaborate in the development of wind power in this country. We are excited to assist the Ontario government in meeting its renewable energy commitment," said Alberto de Miguel, Acciona's executive director of corporate development and strategy.

Suncor and Acciona will also submit an application for funding from the Canadian government's recently announced ecoEnergy Renewable Power Initiative, which supports wind power development in Canada.

Suncor and Acciona are equal partners in the Ripley Wind Power Project. They also jointly own and operate, along with Enbridge Inc., the 30-megawatt Magrath Wind Power Project and the 30-megawatt Chin Chute Wind Power Project, both in southern Alberta. Suncor and Enbridge own and operate the 11.2-megawatt SunBridge Wind Power Project near Gull Lake, Saskatchewan.

Suncor, which operates a Sarnia-based refinery and a network of Sunoco retail stations, is also supporting renewable energy in Ontario through a $120-million ethanol plant in the Sarnia-Lambton region. The St. Clair Ethanol Plant produces about 200 million litres of ethanol annually from approximately 20 million bushels of corn, making it the largest ethanol production facility in Canada. Since 1996, Suncor has been blending ethanol into its Sunoco gasolines. Ethanol-blended gasolines help reduce carbon monoxide emissions by up to 30 per cent.

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