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Canada lagging in wind power, Wind Energy Association chief says

TORONTO (CP) - Canada has "probably the best wind resource in the world" but lags behind other developed countries in generating electricity from the air, the head of the wind industry's national organization told a Bay Street crowd Tuesday.

"Wind energy is increasingly cost-competitiveand will clearly become more so," said Robert Hornung, president of the Canadian Wind Energy Association, but development depends on a "stable policy environment."

He observed that nuclear power and energy projects in the oilsands and offshore wouldn't have been developed without government involvement, and cited wide public and political support for wind energy.

While wind power supplies 20 per cent of the electricity demand in Denmark and five per cent in Germany, Canada currently has 944 megawatts of wind power representing 0.4 per cent of demand, Hornung told an Economic Club of Toronto lunch.

That's expected to swell to at least 9,000 megawatts by 2015, or about three per cent of demand.

If this seems negligible, "natural gas today contributes four per cent of Canada's electricity, and people seem to think natural gas is an important player," Hornung said, adding that the wind might eventually generate one-fifth of the country's electricity.

"Canada's starting pretty far behind a lot of other countries, and even with the type of growth that I'm talking about Canada will move maybe to the middle of the pack," behind countries that regard wind power... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  
 "Wind energy is increasingly cost-competitive and will clearly become more so," said Robert Hornung, president of the Canadian Wind Energy Association, but development depends on a "stable policy environment."
 
He observed that nuclear power and energy projects in the oilsands and offshore wouldn't have been developed without government involvement, and cited wide public and political support for wind energy.
 
While wind power supplies 20 per cent of the electricity demand in Denmark and five per cent in Germany, Canada currently has 944 megawatts of wind power representing 0.4 per cent of demand, Hornung told an Economic Club of Toronto lunch.
 
That's expected to swell to at least 9,000 megawatts by 2015, or about three per cent of demand.
 
If this seems negligible, "natural gas today contributes four per cent of Canada's electricity, and people seem to think natural gas is an important player," Hornung said, adding that the wind might eventually generate one-fifth of the country's electricity.
 
"Canada's starting pretty far behind a lot of other countries, and even with the type of growth that I'm talking about Canada will move maybe to the middle of the pack," behind countries that regard wind power as "an industrial opportunity .?.?. a key technology for the 21st century," he said.
 
"China wants 30,000 megawatts of wind energy by 2020; the U.S. is putting in 10,000 megawatts of wind energy in the next three years."
 
In addition to its "very small" environmental impact, wind power is "a significant form of economic revitalization" for rural areas afflicted by feeble farm incomes and declines in other resource industries.
 
It also provides certainty about future costs, unlike other energy sources: "When you construct a wind farm, you have a really good sense of what that power's going to cost for the next 20 years."
 
It also complements hydroelectric generation, especially in the winter when winds are stronger but water supplies are lower, Hornung said. And although the wind is more variable from day to day, on an annual basis it's more consistent than water power, which is affected by dry years.
 
Large wind turbines have little effect on bird life and new models have little noise impact, Hornung added.
 
As for complaints that wind-power farms are eyesores, "different people have different opinions," he said.
 
"That's a subjective issue; the only way we can deal with that is on a project-by-project basis; you have to consult with communities and try and find solutions."
 
He said one of the association's 230-plus corporate members, which range from tiny start-ups to industrial giant General Electric (NYSE:GE), computed that its wind project required 77 approvals from various levels of government, ranging from municipal zoning to federal aircraft-safety requirements.
 
Ottawa currently provides a subsidy of about one cent per kilowatt-hour under the Wind Power Production Intitiative designed to help the the country's greenhouse-gas-reduction commitments under the Kyoto accord.
 
Asked about the attitude of the new federal government, Hornung responded that "we don't know yet," but "we do know that there's actually broad support for wind energy within the Conservative caucus" and wind energy accords with stated Conservative priorities in terms of clean air, rural development and innovative technology."
 
Meanwhile, he noted that the Quebec government has a target of 4,000 megawatts of wind-generated power by 2015, while Ontario aims for 2,700 megawatts by 2010 and Manitoba has a target of 1,000 megawatts by 2014.
 
Alberta currently leads the country with about 285 megawatts, according to association figures, ahead of Quebec with 212, Saskatchewan with 172 and Ontario with 122.



Source: http://www.news1130.com/new...

MAY 30 2006
https://www.windaction.org/posts/2867-canada-lagging-in-wind-power-wind-energy-association-chief-says
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