The Winnipeg skyline may soon have a distinct feature that would stand as tall as the Richardson building.
The province and The Forks are considering building a wind turbine if community consultations and wind-monitoring tests prove successful.
“It’s really exciting,” said NDP Energy Minister Jim Rondeau. “There’s about 50 wind turbines around the province, and it would be very exciting to have one in Winnipeg.”
Rondeau said a wind turbine in the heart of Winnipeg would be a symbol of the province’s commitment to building clean-energy resources and protecting the environment.
TOWER GOING UP
A temporary meteorological tower will be erected at The Forks next week to monitor the wind and determine if it can produce enough power to be economically viable.
“It’s not the wind on the ground, it’s the wind 200 metres up (that counts),” said Rondeau.
Jim August, chief executive officer at The Forks North Portage Partnership, said preliminary information indicates there could be enough wind to power much of The Forks with clean energy.
“(It would) reduce the environmental footprint of Winnipeg’s No. 1 tourist attraction,” said August.
Public hearings will be held in conjunction with the six- or 12-month testing phase.
“We need to see if the public would support this,” said Rondeau.
An environmental licence would also be required prior to the project moving forward at The Forks, said Rondeau.
“It could be as early as about a year or two years from now (before the wind turbine is up and running),” he said.
Rondeau said the wind turbine could serve as a public education hub for schoolchildren and visitors.
There is already a 63-turbine, 99-megawatt wind farm in St. Leon, which generates enough wind energy to power approximately 35,000 homes.
The province and The Forks will share the cost of the $50,000 wind test tower.
The turbines emit very little noise so that would not be a factor, said Rondeau.
If the project gets the green light, it would be the first time since the 19th century that a windmill has stood at The Forks.
By Rochelle Squires
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