General and Canada
To question the wisdom of wind power in Canada these days is to risk winding up impaled on a rotor blade. Environmentalists, politicians and investment bankers all seem to agree that wind energy is the next big thing. Unfortunately, few seem to have consulted Mother Nature on this...............Wind power may be today’s “it” energy. But eventually, the hype — like that unreliable northern gust itself — must die down.
Last week, when questioned about the Electricity Marketplace Governance Committee recommendations intended to allow large consumers (such as HRM) to purchase electricity directly from independent power producers, EnergyMinister Bill Dooks was less than enthusiastic.
First, the minister stated that he supported NSPI’s monopoly on the distribution of electricity, since he had to protect Nova Scotians.
Second, he said, "If someone depends totally on wind energy, what happens if the wind stops blowing?"
Taken together, these two statements leave the reader with the impression that the minister wants to protect Nova Scotians from interruptible and potentially unreliable sources of energy. This is reassuring, as energy security should be the focus of any government.
Statements made by Derek Tennant on wind power were incorrect. The wind industry is drawing a lot of attention and promoters who have very little knowledge of wind or the electricity industries.
And although the government talks bravely about having 5 per cent of the generating capacity coming from new wind plants and other forms of renewable energy, one need look no further than the current situation in Amaranth Township to realize that little of the needed new capacity will be ready by 2009.
And even if it were, the wind plants are hardly a reliable source of power during the hottest summer weather, when all too often there's little wind apart from that generated by thunderstorms, which also routinely shut down the wind plants through lightning strikes.
Perhaps it is a commentary on the standards of contemporary journalism that it was difficult to distinguish between Keller's article (How useful are wind-energy plants? 8/4/06) and a wind developer's marketing brochure. The short answer is not very.
Comparing wind power to conventional hydro power is specious. Hydro power is available when it isn't raining. That's what dams are for. Wind energy isn't controllable. More to the point: wind energy's achilles' heel-its intermittency- limits its capacity value and its impact on emissions.
To suggest that the approval process be streamlined and that these huge projects be "fast-tracked" displays his [Tyler Hamilton] lack of understanding regarding the significant environmental impacts associated with industrial wind power.
Deep down in this green cauldron of deception and delusion, bubbles a government and corporate feeding frenzy. The only “green” in this cauldron, however, is money and the hands stained in its passing.
If P.E.I. has any future in the generation of wind energy, it needs the cable to export it. One way or another, Premier Binns has to drive home this point to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his government.
Now we wonder what it would be like with the threat of construction of huge wind turbines with the constant noise and the strobe lights, which would mean that never again would we see the beauty of the sunset.
The challenge for renewables like sunshine and wind is that they are less energy-dense than fossil fuels and intermittent in supply. Advocates get excited about these alternatives, but we do need to estimate the extra capital and energy costs for concentrating low-density energy such as ethanol and storing intermittent energy like wind power.
Aside from the dubious origins of the Climate 90 letter, it certainly supports the Skeptic 60 claim that there is major disagreement among scientists.
An open letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper
This thing smells of resources from the Gaspé being used with the majority of profits heading out of the region at the speed of, in this case, electricity. It happened with the fish. It happened with the copper. It happened with the pulp and paper. Now it will happen with the wind.
Opinion on health hazards of wind powered electricity generating turbines of the commercial variety being proposed in PEC is moving from the anecdotal domain to a deeper understanding of causality. However, it should be stated that many conclusions are disputed. There is however a significant and growing trend towards caution.