Coinciding with pressures on the federal government to respect the Kyoto Accord, and with ongoing Ontario Municipal Board hearings into a proposed 132- megawatt wind project in Dufferin, a new study shows that Canada is 12th among industrialized nations in its tapping of wind resources.
The same study shows that Canada is in seventh place among the same nations in new wind-energy capacity installed during 2006.
A further study showed that Canadian releases of greenhouse gases have been steadily rising since the previous federal government’s signing of the Accord on December 17, 2002, requiring it to reduce emissions to 6 per cent below 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012.
By some estimates, Canadians are now releasing more than 600,000 metric tons of those gases yearly, or something in the order of a 35 per cent rise since 1997, the year in which the Kyoto protocol was drafted.
The position of the present federal government is that the emissions have to be stabilized – increases halted – before they can be reduced. Much of this can be achieved by reducing or eliminating reliance on fossil fuels. Wind energy is among the renewable resources cited as a vital factor in attaining the initial goal.
Among the four major wind farms in Ontario, the current 45-turbine installation in Melancthon is almost consistently out-performing those on the shore of Lake Erie, near Sault Ste. Marie and elsewhere, according to the hourly statistics on the Independent Electrical Supply Organization’s (IESO) website.
This might indicate that the Dufferin wind blows stronger and is more reliable as an energy source than the ones blowing elsewhere. If so, it would explain why turbine proponents have turned their attention to the centre of Dufferin.
But the influx of proponents might have evoked more rabid opposition to turbines from the anti-windenergy faction locally.
One proponent, Winton Dahlstrom of Helix Synergy, says Canada must meet its renewable-energy targets. He adds that he “would place the turbines on the moon if I could,” but you have to go where the wind is.
At the end of 2006, Canada had just 1,460 megawatts of installed wind-energy capacity, including 776 megawatts that had been installed that year.
The installed capacity was well below that of Germany, which had 20,622 MW, and of Spain and the United States, with 11,615 and 11,603 MW respectively.
As well, Canada was lagging behind India (6,270), Denmark (3,136), China (2,604), Italy (2,123), the United Kingdom (1,963), Portugal (1,716), France (1,567), and Netherlands (1,560).
In 2006, Canada’s 776 MW installation of windenergy capacity was a far distance behind the U.S., Germany, India, Spain and China.
The U.S. and Germany in that year had installed, respectively, 2,454 and 2,233 MW.
Early in 2007, federal Energy Minister John Baird announced renewal of incentives aimed at expediting development of Canadian wind energy. (That program pays an incentive of one cent per kilowatt hour for 10 years for new projects. By comparison, the federal program in the U.S. pays 1.9 cents.)
Meantime, CHD’s 132- MW wind-energy project in Melancthon and Amaranth had been scheduled for completion in 2006. Now, with Ontario Municipal Board hearing scheduled to run into October 2007, chances are completion of the project will be delayed until at least 2009.
Because of the unusual situation of that project spanning two municipalities, construction would not begin in either one until both have approved.
Outside the OMB hearing at Amaranth, CHD Ontario Project Manager Geoff Carnegie said when asked whether Melancthon construction could begin without approval in Amaranth: “Regarding the completion of the approvals for the Melancthon II Wind Project, we intend to build all elements of the project, as in the documentation, in both Amaranth and Melancthon townships.
“At this time, we are working our way through approvals processes for Melancthon II, and it would not be appropriate for us to speculate on any other regulatory alternatives as we work through these processes.”
By Wes Keller
22 February 2007
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