Articles filed under Energy Policy from Canada
The debate continues on the U.S. side of Lake Erie over what the new energy mix should look like. In Canada, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty's administration has shown a strong preference for hydroelectric power and wind power. ...But Gail Krantzberg, a former Canadian chair of the International Joint Commission who's now director of McMaster University's Center for Engineering and Public Policy, said the McGuinty administration may have to buy dirty energy produced by coal-fired power plants in the Ohio Valley if it can't find enough viable ways to make up the difference. Wind, by its nature, can only be a supplemental source of power because it takes steady breezes to spin the turbine blades.
Federal Regional Minister Greg Thompson was swift to remind the provincial Liberal government yesterday that a carbon tax would take a "devastating" toll on New Brunswick. "Prices are high enough, and of course for a carbon tax to be effective, it has to be at least 50 cents a litre. Basically, it's just another form of tax," said the Conservative member of parliament, a day after New Brunswick's Finance Minister Victor Boudreau said the Liberal government will consider a implementing a carbon tax as part of its upcoming tax review. ...David Coon, policy director of the Conservation Council of New Brunswick, says a "revenue neutral" carbon tax will not help the environment or reduce carbon emissions. He says the only way a carbon tax can have a positive effect on the environment is if the resulting revenues are invested into environmental initiatives like renewable energy sources, construction efficiency programs, and public transportation.
Just about 300 people packed the Essex Civic Center to hear the latest proposal from Ray Duhamel and the Jones Consulting Group. Among their objectives are to increase the renewable energy supply and make sure it's done in appropriate areas. ...Only a few people were fully in favour of the wind turbines.
Members of Chatham-Kent council who have expressed some hesitation about the proliferation of wind turbines within the municipality are right to be worried. According to the municipality's planning consultant, Chatham-Kent could receive proposals to build as many as "650 to 700 additional turbines," although just 200 to 250 turbines in Chatham-Kent AND nearby Essex County can be supported right now by the electricity grid. Yet a land rush mentality appears to be sweeping through those companies ...But wind energy won't solve all of our energy challenges. Interest in their development was only launched by the McGuinty government four years ago, after the Liberals had won the election and had promised to close Ontario's coal-fired plants by 2007. It was a decision made entirely because of political idealism. It was a rash promise, but part of the public's imagination was piqued by the idea of harnessing the wind.
The number of proposed Alberta wind projects has dramatically increased since the province removed restrictions on the sale of wind power last fall. The Alberta Electric System Operator now has applications from companies hoping to generate 10,500 megawatts of wind power, said Neil Millar, vice-president of transmission. To put that into perspective, Alberta's record electricity demand, set one January evening earlier this year, was 9,710 megawatts. The electric system operator is forecasting a need for an additional 5,000 megawatts of capacity over the next 10 years. ...The rush was sparked in part by the province's decision to lift restrictions on how much wind-generated electricity could be sold. The cap had been 900 megawatts. Millar expects some proposed projects won't go ahead for competitive reasons. Everything from the price of land to technical choices could affect a project's viability, he said. But when he talks to individual developers, each of them thinks their project will be the one to succeed.
Manitoba Hydro says it has decided to go with the project and will now begin the process of negotiating a power purchase agreement with the developer, Bowark Energy. Bowark submitted three proposals that could provide 100, 200, or 300 megawatts of power. Hydro spokesman Glen Schneider says they have not determined which permutation they intend to go with. ...Reeve Archie Hunter says he's puzzled by Hydro's decision to go with one project to provide all 300 megawatts of power. He says the economic benefits that wind farms generate could have been spread over a multiple number of communities by selecting three different wind farm projects.
"We want to catch the energy going over our land and sell it into the grid," explained Dan Mazier, head of non-profit Elton Energy Co-op. What's different about this wind project from others is profits wouldn't sail away to multinational head offices. Instead, monies would be windsocked back into the community, in this case the RM of Elton, just north of Brandon across the Trans-Canada Highway. ..."It's ingrained in all of us that big business knows what it's doing. I think there's a lot more opportunity for rural Manitoba if we take control of renewable resources ourselves," Mazier said. Instead of a string of turbines, which can be eyesores and result in resident complaints, Elton Energy plans to put up just one. "Do we want 50-to-60 turbines? Or do we want just one or two?" said Mazier.
Yves Gagnon hopes to see the development of community-based wind power projects that will provide both a sustainable source of energy and economically benefit New Brunswickers. Gagnon, the K.C. Irving Chair in Sustainable Development at l'Unversité de Moncton, said the government's recent launch of a community wind energy initiative shows they recognize the importance of this potential source of energy. ...By community wind, Gagnon means smaller-based wind projects that are locally owned and operated by any number of different types of groups.
While officials were keeping mum about precise details surrounding the announcement, the Truro Daily News has learned the premier will confirm approval of a proposal put forth last fall by Cobequid Area Wind Farms Inc. Nova Scotia Power has called for proposals for alternative energy sources to meet a provincial objective to have nearly 20 per cent of the province's electricity come from green sources such as wind by 2013. Last year, Cobequid Area Wind Farm publicly introduced a proposal to construct up to 22, 120-metre tall turbines on Nuttby Mountain.
Canada has warned the US government that a narrow interpretation of new energy legislation would prohibit its neighbour buying fuel from Alberta's vast oil sands, with "unintended consequences for both countries". In a letter to Robert Gates, US defence secretary, Canada said that it "would not want to see an expansive interpretation" of the Energy Independence and Security Act 2007. ...Amy Myers Jaffe, energy expert at Rice University, said cutting out the oil sands as a source of fuel would also limit global supplies further, forcing up the price of oil: "$106 a barrel is going to look cheap." ..."The Canadians do, in fact, have something to worry about, particularly from a Democratic administration," Ms Jaffe said.
The province should scrap its new system for allocating wind power sites on Crown land, NDP Leader Howard Hampton says. "They should stop it now and start over with a process that's fair," Hampton said in an interview yesterday, after the Star reported the "winner-take-all" format might let Toronto-based SkyPower Corp. tie up the best remaining sites on provincial land, as well offshore sites in lakes Ontario, Huron and Erie. ...Most wind power sites should be kept in public hands to be developed on a not-for-profit basis, as the hydroelectric power resources were in the last century, he said. "If they're going to turn it over, the process must be one that doesn't result in the creation of a monopoly. You're not supposed to give public assets to one or two private companies to make them rich."
Nova Scotia municipalities grappling with questions about wind turbines near homes will not find a templated solution in a new report prepared for the group representing them. A consultants' report suggests the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities choose land-use bylaws or development agreements to make rules dealing with noise from wind turbines and the distance they should be from homes. Though the report makes some suggestions, there is no single prescription for municipalities that have to set their own rules.
Kingsville council has reaffirmed its opposition to offshore wind turbines. "We don't think it's a good idea putting it right offshore or right at the shoreline," Coun. Gord Queen said Tuesday, after council passed his motion the previous evening. The Ministry of Natural Resources ended a moratorium on offshore wind power projects earlier this month. When Queen originally put forward his motion opposing offshore wind turbines, he didn't know the moratorium had been lifted. But he said the motion "sets the tone as far as the town of Kingsville is concerned." He had concerns about the impact wind turbines would have on the commercial fishing industry, the Jack Miner Bird Sanctuary and the way the lakefront's appearance would change. He's worried about the impact on tourism.
Even though the Ontario government has lifted the moratorium on offshore wind development, one consultant predicts turbines won't be popping up in Lake Erie any time soon. Prior to AIM PowerGen starting to acquire options in 2001 to build what is now the Erie Shores Wind Farm, the company was looking at the possibility of commencing with an offshore development in Lake Erie between Elgin County and Long Point. AIM consultant Jim Wilgar explained the lakebed is already segmented and leased for natural gas development. At the time, AIM had identified sections that weren't leased yet and approached the ministry about the possibility of wind power development. "The ministry, at the time, hadn't given any real thought to wind power in any of the Great Lakes," Wilgar said. Around the same time, other developers were also looking at the possibility of offshore wind power generation. One such proposal was to build turbines in the Leamington area. "There was a tremendous public disagreement," Wilgar said of the Leamington proposal. "The ministry slapped a moratorium on any offshore wind development by anyone."
Established German wind energy companies see the nascent Quebec market as an opportunity to increase market share as well as work their way deep into the Americas, an industry networking session was told yesterday. Among the scores of companies - Canadian and international - that participated in Hydro-Québec's current call for tender of 2,000 megawatts of wind power was REpower Systems, a German-based giant that has yet to make its mark in Canada. "We see Canada as a premier wind market, one of the Top 10 globally within the not distant future," REpower's Matthias Schubert told a luncheon organized by the Canadian German Chamber of Industry and Commerce. And Quebec's call for tender - which closed in September - offered a "very interesting opportunity to start"
The provincial government of Ontario has lifted a ban enacted more than a year ago on offshore wind energy developments and will soon resume accepting applications for such proposals, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources announced. "This government is committed to developing clean, renewable sources of energy so Ontarians will have a sustainable supply of power now and in the future," Natural Resources Minister Donna Cansfield said in a statement Jan. 17. "Offshore applications we've received to date will be processed, and we are preparing to accept new applications for both onshore and offshore developments."
Legal action by the Saugeen Ojibwa could derail or delay major energy projects in Bruce County, Saugeen lawyer Arthur Pape warned an Ontario Energy Board hearing this week. Before anyone starts building new power lines to the Bruce nuclear power development site, Saugeen representatives want the province to have separate talks with affected First Nations governments, Pape said. ...Without adequate consultation, Pape said his clients could well pursue court action to disallow results of the power system plan review. Such legal action "might very well result in the plan being neither economically prudent nor cost-effective," he told the board. Proposed nuclear and wind power developments raise "environmental risks" crucial to First Nations people, Pape argued. That federal action "undermined the credibility and the stability" of public safety protections, Pape said.
Ontario is preparing to lift a controversial moratorium on the development of offshore wind projects in the Great Lakes that has been in place for nearly 14 months, the Toronto Star has learned. A Ministry of Natural Resources official says the department is "getting ready" to make an announcement and that new minister Donna Cansfield is "anxious to demonstrate leadership in the area." Jamie Rilett, a spokesperson in Cansfield's office, confirmed that the ministry is currently revisiting the moratorium. He said a decision would be made "shortly." Industry sources also confirmed the moratorium's end is imminent.
A petition has been formed by a group of concerned people who do not want wind turbines in Wentworth. Almost 100 signatures were gathered online as of Wednesday afternoon in protest of the proposed construction of an industrial wind power facility for Wentworth Valley. The Folly Lake-Wentworth Valley Environmental Preservation Society is calling on the provincial government to place a moratorium on the development of industrial wind power facilities until a comprehensive policy is in place and further study is done on the potential impacts industrial wind power plants can have on a region.
Manitoba Hydro received 84 submissions from various developers for locations in southern Manitoba. They have narrowed down their selection to 10, based on several criteria including the price of energy on a kilowatt per hour basis, meteorological wind research and ideal locations. "The best wind resource is able to produce electricity about 35 to 40 per cent of the time, so we are looking for locations in that range of specific wind speeds," said Glen Schneider, division manager of public affairs for Manitoba Hydro. "The success of whether a location is chosen depends on the quality of the wind resource if they are in an area which has strong, consistent winds." Manitoba Hydro expects to make a determination on the final proposals in late February or early March.