The P.E.I. government is developing a long-range policy on wind energy development.
Environment, Energy and Forestry Minister George Webster said Tuesday the Liberal administration remains committed to the efforts of its Conservative predecessor to reduce the dependence on the fossil fuels.
Currently, 60 per cent of the province’s energy comes from fossil fuel sources and his department’s immediate goal is to head toward 50 per cent.
While wind energy is a major component of that plan, he said orderly development is needed.
“We just don’t want a turbine thrown here, another thrown there, helter-skelter power lines in places where they should not be,” Mr. Webster said.
He said his department is working with Maritime Electric and the wind industry to “decide where we should be in five or 10 or even 15 years’ time.”
One person who plans to take a keen interest in those talks is Bruce Craig. He runs a construction and plumbing and heating company in Northam, about a half-hour west of Summerside.
Mr. Craig recently purchased five 20-kilowatt windmills from a supplier in Europe. He has installed two at his business, another at his house and the fourth at his partner’s residence. He plans to sell the other machine, hoping that will be the first sale in a new business line for his firm.
While the technology is new to this region, Mr. Craig said it is already proven in Europe, where the cost of energy is considerably higher. He said the Chinese-made machine would allow the average homeowner to be self-sufficient in energy and would pay for itself within five to 10 years, depending on the consumption level.
“That is without making any change whatsoever in lifestyle,” he said.
Mr. Craig said he required a building permit before he could erect any of the windmills and added there are already regulations governing where such structures can be placed. He said the machines do not require a large transmission system and the power could be shared by more than one house.
By Andy Walker
6 February 2008
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