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Waterloo spends $50,000 on study of wind's potential

Waterloo is studying whether it wants a windmill park in the city.

As part of a $100,000 study on wind energy, researchers from the University of Waterloo are installing two 50-foot wind test towers at the regional landfill on Erb Street, near Erbsville Road, and at RIM Park.

Researchers will study data from the towers to determine if Waterloo is in a good location for a windmill park.

University researchers will also conduct public opinion surveys to gauge attitudes toward wind energy.

The university is already involved in developing new technology to boost energy production from windmills.

The study includes money from the region and a $50,000 grant from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

The grant is part of a $50 million federal fund to support municipal projects that invest in green technology for redeveloping brownfields, energy planning, transportation and waste and water.

In a report, the city said wind has the potential to provide significant amounts of clean and renewable energy to the city.

For instance, it takes about 900,000 kilograms of coal to power 200 homes, which releases 2,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. That could be replaced by 2,000,000 kilowatt hours of wind energy.

Coun. Jan d’Ailly was surprised private business wasn’t looking to lease land for Waterloo to build a wind park, if the city was such an ideal location.

“Why are we paying money to do what other people should be offering us to do?” he asked.

That may happen if tests determine the area is a good candidate for a wind park, said Simon Farbrother, the chief administrative officer.

Wind turbines signal the future of safe, clean and affordable energy, said Coun. Mark Whaley.

“It’s something we should embrace,” he said.

By Tamsin McMahon