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Wind-power producers sign with TransCanada

A windmill produces green energy on the Gaspe peninsula in eastern Quebec.

Sean Kilpatrick/sean kilpatrick The Globe and Mail

TransCanada Corp. has completed an "open season" and signed agreements with wind-power producers for the transmission of 3,000 megawatts of green energy from Wyoming to markets in the U.S. Southwestern markets.

Signing onto the Zephyr Power Transmission project are Pathfinder Renewable Wind Energy LLC, Horizon Wind Energy LLC, and BP Wind Energy NA Inc.

"These precedent agreements are a clear indication of wind developer support for significant export transmission capacity for renewable energy out of Wyoming into the southwest markets," said Hal Kvisle, TransCanada's president and chief executive officer.

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He added that support from key markets and a "positive regulatory environment" are required before TransCanada chooses sites and seeks permits required to build the project.

TransCanada originated as a pipeline company and has expanded over the years into other energy infrastructure, including electrical power generation.

Zephyr is a $3-billion (U.S.) project that would move 3,000 megawatts of wind-generated electricity along a 1,600-kilometre, 500-kilovolt transmission line from Wyoming to Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix and Southwest energy markets.

An open season is six-month period of time to receive public comments and determine if a project has customers willing to make the required large financial commitments.

Should Zephyr proceed to construction, major capital spending would start in late 2013 with a commercial operations targeted to begin in late 2015 or early 2016.

TransCanada said Zephyr would significantly contribute to economic development in the western states, enhance resource diversity, reduce carbon emissions and help U.S. goals of building new renewable energy generation.

The Calgary-based company develops and operates North American energy infrastructure, including natural gas and oil pipelines, power generation and gas storage facilities. It owns or has interests in more than 11,7000 megawatts of power generation in Canada and the United States.

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