There could soon be something else in the air at Barrie’s dump.
City councillors decided last night to study electricity generating by wind at the Sandy Hollow landfill site, by installing a meteorological tower with wind monitoring equipment.
Wind power is a clean, renewable resource and turbines reduce the need for electricity generated by fossil fuels, which most experts say contribute to global warming.
“I think this is a spectacular opportunity for the city of Barrie to get into a new source of power,” said Coun. Jeff Lehman.
Barry Thompson, the city’s energy and environmental officer, says the potential for this technology is impressive.
“We’re looking at something small here, but, obviously, it could get big,” he said.
“One turbine could do (power) about 250 households.” Since the study could involve two turbines, that could be 500 homes in Barrie that would be off the traditional electrical grid.
Each turbine can generate about two megawatts, Thompson said.
“When operating at full capacity, when the wind is blowing,” he explained.
The one-year study would cost $55,000, although some of that could be re-paid to the city.
Last year, a feasibility study determined there were five potential sites that could be used for installing a renewable power facility in Barrie.
Aside from the landfill site, off Ferndale Drive, the water pollution control centre, the future surface water treatment plant in Painswick, Georgian College and a private piece of industrial land were identified.
Sandy Hollow was chosen and public reaction was tested by The Barrie Windcatchers, a not-for-profit renewable energy co-op with 46 members formed last fall.
The Windcatchers surveyed 200 people, and none were opposed to using the landfill as a future site for wind power.
An open house was held on April 21 and was attended by more than 50 people. There were no objections then to the landfill project either.
Before the open house, members of The Windcatchers went door-to-door in the Benson Avenue/Browning Trail area, which is near Sandy Hollow, to tell them what is being proposed.
City staff have applied for 50 per cent of the project’s $55,000 cost from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities Green Funds program.
A decision on that funding should be known by the fall.
Barrie Hydro is also considering supporting this project with funding of $25,000 through its conservation and demand management funding programs.
Money for this project would come from a city council priority account.
It also fits in with a council strategic priority to position Barrie at the forefront of environmental issues.
By Bob Bruton
29 May 2007
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