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Researchers create N.S. wind map

The Nova Scotia government has mapped the province’s wind potential and is hoping to lure investors to what it says are some of the most promising wind sources in the world.

Energy Minister Bill Dooks presented a wind atlas Tuesday that highlights hot red areas from the northern tip of Cape Breton to the southern coast of Yarmouth where winds are at their highest.

“By 2013, nearly 20 per cent of all Nova Scotia’s electricity will come from green sources like wind,” he told an environmental conference in Halifax.

“Now we have an online map to show us that opportunity in detail.”

The atlas shows how much wind is available to producers and where, with a heavy concentration in Cape Breton, while the coastline is dotted with areas showing high wind gusts.

Mr. Dooks said the map – developed with a $78,000 provincial grant – will give developers information and incentives to set up wind farms much like those that have become popular sources of energy in Europe.

“Nova Scotia has an exceptional wind regime – one of the best wind regimes in the world,” said Yves Gagnon, a researcher at the University of Moncton who created the wind atlas. “And therefore wind energy should be developed to generate electricity from renewable sources.”

The map is touted as a tool to set future policy and planning, and as a help for smaller developers without the resources to do their own mapping for potential projects.

The maps show wind speeds at three different heights including 30, 50 and 80 metres above ground.

To spur wind-turbine development, the Energy Department is working with the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities to establish policies for zoning and locations.

Brendan Haley of the Ecology Action Centre praised the initiative and said it could lead to a reliance on renewable resources while providing ownership to communities that erect turbines.

“What’s wonderful about a wind-energy map is that it provides information for lots of communities across the province to become renewable energy producers themselves,” he said.

“That needs to be backed up by other policies that allow communities to finance renewable energy projects.”

It is not clear how officials will go about setting up the turbines in communities that might not want them, but Mr. Dooks said a call has been issued for proposals to establish best-practices guidelines and bylaws.

New Brunswick released an updated, high-resolution wind map last May that includes more detail about land features and wind velocity.

The province has said it wants New Brunswick to produce 300 megawatts of electricity from wind energy.

Canadian Press


18 September 2007