Together our renewable and alternative energy projects represent nearly 2,800 megawatts (gross) of green power generation capacity. Of this total, we own about 1,900 megawatts (MW) of net generating capacity. We plan to double this capacity by 2019.
Based on gross generation figures, our portfolio of green power projects has the potential to meet the electricity needs of more than one million homes.
Since 2002, we have spent nearly $5 billion to grow our green power generation portfolio. Of this total, we have invested about $2.2 billion (or 40 percent) in the last three years.
Grow our Renewable Energy Platform
In 2015, we invested approximately $500 million in our renewable energy portfolio. We consider government incentives when investing in renewable energy projects. Several programs in Canada, the U.S. and the UK have provided us with the ability to meet investment criteria, including the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS), the renewable energy Production Tax Credit (PTC) and Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs).
Transition to Operational Self-Performance
As certain contracts with key service providers begin to expire, we will hire industry professionals and develop rigorous procedures for safely operating and maintaining our wind project assets ourselves. This step will help us to transition our business to operational self-performance, which will involve scheduled and unscheduled inspections, repairs and maintenance of wind turbines, monitoring performance of wind turbines and managing balance-of-plant infrastructure, including electrical inspections, testing and repairs. This step will also increase our familiarity with the assets and provide greater opportunities for optimizing financial performance.
Investments in Wind Energy
Wind energy is the fastest-growing electricity source in the world, as substantial technological advances, cost reductions, government incentives and policies, renewable portfolio standards and the availability of long-term PPAs have enabled wind projects to become economically attractive investments. In 2015, we continued to acquire new wind power capacity through the following:
Entry into the European Offshore Wind Market - In November 2015, we announced the acquisition of a 24.9 percent stake in the 400-MW Rampion Offshore Wind Farm in the UK.
Given our well-established renewable energy business and growing efficiency in wind power technology, the Rampion project is a timely and effective entry point for us, as it further develops our expertise in the business and supports our objective of developing new platforms that extend and diversify our industry-leading growth. Our $750-million commitment represents our first venture into the offshore renewable energy market and our first move into power generation outside Canada and the U.S.
Located 13 kilometers (eight miles) south of Brighton in the English Channel, the project is being developed and built by E.ON Climate & Renewables UK Limited, a subsidiary of E.ON SE. The project is backed by revenues from the UK’s fixed-price ROCs program and a 15-year PPA. Consisting of 116 Vestas turbines producing 3.45 MW each, construction of the wind farm began in September 2015. The facility is expected to be fully operational in 2018.
Investment in New Creek Wind Project - In November 2015, we added to our existing U.S. wind energy portfolio, with the acquisition of a 100 percent interest in the 103-MW New Creek wind project in Grant County, West Virginia. Our total commitment is approximately US$200 million. With the addition of this facility, we now own five wind assets in the U.S. with a combined generating capacity of nearly 900 MW (gross).
The project provides an attractive opportunity for us to move into earlier-stage development, allowing our company to play a larger role earlier in the process, and increasing our competitiveness in the renewable energy market. Ownership in the project provides access to the PJM power market, which serves electricity consumers in the east-central U.S., and which is one of the world’s largest competitive wholesale electricity markets.
New Creek will consist of 49 turbines and is targeted to be in service in December 2016. The project, which is backed by RECs and offtake agreements with fixed pricing through mid- and long-term contracts, was developed by EverPower Wind Holdings, an independent U.S. renewable energy developer.