Behind Ontario’s leading role in the national wind energy contribution are companies such as Gilead Power (Gilead), whose sound management team and project development model are increasing the country’s renewable energy profile.
Founded in 2004, Gilead Power is a renewable energy company proudly based in Ontario, and has developed into solely a wind energy company that boasts a profile of 650 MW of wind energy projects on crown and private land. Gilead leverages an exceptional team of expertise and experience with a proven track record of moving over 400 projects through provincial and municipal approval processes.
The current project, Ostrander Point Wind Energy Park, is located in Prince Edward County, Picton, Ont. The project, once operational, will be complete with nine wind turbines for a total nameplate capacity of 22.5W. Gilead was approved for a FIT contract up to 24 MW by the Ontario Power Authority under the new Green Energy Act. Once online, project will generate enough green energy to power 5,000 homes in the area. Currently, Gilead is currently moving through the renewable energy approval process, also known as the REA, and is being evaluated by the Ministry of the Environment. Following REA approval, Gilead has plans to begin construction and commercial operation is geared for 2012.
Creating renewable energy for Canada is innovative and ground breaking work, work that Gilead takes the greatest care and forethought to accomplish. “Project managers, engineers, communications professionals and financial professionals all align for us to reach our goals. Our unique project development model allows us to evaluate projects early on to determine their financial and technical feasibility,” says Mike Lord, Vice-President of Project Development, Gilead.
“It is very exciting, yes,” says Lord, “especially to do work that meets the intents and request of the province to enhance their renewable energy capacity. With the advent of the Green Energy and Economy act as well as the feed and tariff program, there is a lot of encouragement for investment and Gilead is the beneficiary of that.”
Gilead invests a significant amount of time and effort to ensure that they are selecting locations that are ideally suited for hosting renewable energy projects such as its proximity to transmissions lines and having an above average wind resource. Wind monitoring data indicates that the Ostrander Point project is a very viable resource; the wind Resource Assessment completed by Helimax Energy Inc. provides excellent results for capacity, long term projections and potential electricity generation.
Fundamentally a process company, Gilead emphasises a “3P” structure that prioritizes process, people and projects, says Lord, and notes Gilead’s proprietary Project Development Model captures all the activities required to develop a renewable energy project in Ontario. The model incorporates a defined and concise process that is applied to all Gilead projects on both public and private lands, is based on classical project management approaches and is well suited to continuous improvement.
Lord’s expertise in environmental regulation and sustainability prioritizes those elements in Gilead Power’s projects. With over 20 years’ experience as an environmental consultant, he has assisted companies like Gilead with their renewable energy projects as well as other types of projects. “We recognize the need to manage and develop our projects in an ecologically and socially responsible manner—identifying and developing projects that meet the needs of the present and with an eye on the future. In terms of now leading the project, it is very fulfilling,” says Lord.
Gilead has a long-term interest in the communities where they operate and puts efforts forward to build and maintain strong relationships with local residents by ensuring that they deploy a thorough, transparent and responsible Program Development Model.
Case in point, the Gilead group commissioned a four-year environmental study in the vicinity of the proposed Ostrander Point project and make every effort to ensure that the environment and safety would not be compromised in the slightest, in correlation with the principles of the company (and regulations). As a result of the study, as well as continued stakeholder engagement and community consultation on site work and stakeholder input, Gilead eliminated three turbines to accommodate some of the constraints and concerns that local residents had related to the project. Ultimately, the Ostrander Point project will operate at 22.5MW.
Gilead Power is an example of the progressive renewable energy companies in Ontario contributing to the province’s status as a leader in the nation in terms of total installed capacity and proposed projects. The company’s goal is to develop its portfolio, with plans to build a new project every Every 24 to 36 months, pending transmission availability.
According to Gilead, Ontario estimates that by 2025 the energy gap will have grown to approximately 10,000 MW. In addition, according to the Ontario Power Authority, between now and 2025, Ontario must refurbish or replace nearly 25,000 MW of the province’s current generating capacity. This provincial mandate calls for a higher contribution from renewable sources. By 2020, Ontario wants 15 per cent of its energy to come from wind which amounts to approximately 5,000 MW of generating capacity. This compares with the current contributions by wind of only 1.3 per cent. Currently, Ontarians spend just over $7 billion each year on electricity to power their homes. A 10 per cent efficiency saving would mean $700 million more in the pockets of homeowners across the province.
Gilead was founded to help fill this need and respond to the public’s demand for additional cleaner energy sources.