A wind farm in northern Ontario that began generating power over the weekend is Canada's biggest and will eventually be able to power 40,000 homes, the province says.

Ontario Energy Minister Dwight Duncan said the Prince Wind project near Sault Ste. Marie willhelpcrown Ontario as the country's top wind energy producer.

"Alberta and Ontario will joust for that honour over the next twelve months, but when all is said and done, we'll be Number One,"said Duncan.

He said the project has begun generating up to 99 megawatts of power this week. Once both phases of the project are complete, it will have a capacity of 198 megawatts.

According to Brookfield Power, the company building the project, it will be able toproduce enough electricity to power 40,000 homes.

However, the actual volume of power produced will depend on how much wind is blowing.

The Prince Wind project consists of 126 wind turbines located on 50 hectares of Crown land and more than 7,500 hectares of private land near the north side of where Lake Superior meets Lake Huron.

The Ontario Power Authority has signed a 20-year agreement to purchase power generated by the project.

According to the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, the province's target is for renewable energy such as wind to make upfive per cent of its energy capacity— approximately 1,350 megawatts— by 2007.

Duncan said his government has already invested $2.5 billion in wind power and the province aims to have 1,300 megawatts available from that energy source by 2008.