May 21, 2008
Editorials, Nova Scotia

Wind power still needs caution

Judging by the results of recent study on wind power it isn’t any wonder that Nova Scotia Power and the provincial government are putting a lot of emphasis on developing an industry that is still in relative infancy here.

In recent months, officials from both the power corporation and the Energy Department have crisscrossed the province announcing a series of wind energy projects, including ones in both Colchester County (Nuttby Mountain) and near Amherst in Cumberland County.

While there has been considerable debate about the merits of wind power versus the real and perceived inconvenience to those living nearby, there is little debate that this province needs to change its ways. We can no longer rely on expensive and dirty fossil fuels such as oil and coal to power our homes and businesses.

Still, as much as we debate the pros and cons of wind energy it’s pretty hard to discount its benefits and the fact, as the Nova Scotia Wind Integration Study says, we are going to be using more renewable energy over the next five years.

Energy Minister Richard Hurlburt said the study estimates this province’s green energy is expected to jump to 22 per cent from about 10 to 12 per cent with wind power expected to make up most of the increase. If all goes well, Nova Scotia should be in position to produce up to 581 megawatts of renewable energy by 2013 – the equivalent of powering 175,000 homes or taking 240,000 cars off the road.

With these figures it’s no surprise that governments and power producers are looking for cleaner ways of generating electricity and fuelling homes and businesses, still, despite the fanfare surrounding these announcements, we really need to take a long, hard look at what’s happened in Europe, where the industry is well developed. While wind power is cleaner than fossil fuels, power producers and the province need to be sure any benefits far outweigh any adverse effects that may come along.

The Amherst Daily News Editorial

20 May 2008

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