Articles filed under Energy Policy from Canada
Mitchell made comments last week on FM 101.7 radio stating that the township is “dragging their feet” by not passing their wind turbine bylaw. She said “the township should move so the Kingsbridge II wind project can begin.” ...Van Diepenbeek said Mitchell should know that it is not the township “dragging their feet” but the Ministry of Environment (MOE). He said Mitchell was with council when they met the minister several months ago and they have been waiting for information since then so they could move forward.
To become carbon neutral, a company would either reduce its own emissions or offset the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) it creates by buying credits from a project that has lower emissions. At least one aspect of this proposal could translate into taxpayer savings. Starting in 2008, government organizations are supposed to reduce emissions on government business travel. ...Not only will carbon neutrality probably cost an arm and a leg, it provides no guarantee that man-made CO2 emissions will fall. Although CO2 reductions may result in welcome savings in a day and age when in- person meetings are seldom a technological necessity, offsets could have significant unintended consequences. Hospitals already have enough challenges, and now their bureaucrats are going to spend time and money trading CO2? Just a thought, but maybe reducing surgical wait times should be a higher priority. B.C. taxpayers will be paying big time for feel good messages that may have little or no benefit. This is very costly hot air.
Kingsville council agreed Monday to allow large-scale wind farms and create a wind farm zone. Council held a public meeting Monday night on changing its official plan and zoning bylaws in the former Gosfield North and Gosfield South townships to permit wind energy on farmlands. About 20 people attended and no residents asked to speak at the meeting. ...In April, Toronto-based Brookfield Power applied to the town to allow wind turbines in the former Gosfield North and Gosfield South townships. The company is proposing up to 151 turbines over 22,000 acres in Kingsville and Lakeshore. It would be a 250- megawatt project.
Contracts to build enough wind turbines to power 58,000 homes are expected to be inked by the end of the year, says Nova Scotia Power's top executive. Ralph Tedesco said it is entering final negotiations with six developers at eight different locations, including properties in Colchester, Cumberland and Pictou counties. The 20-year contracts are worth $1.5 billion and the construction is expected to be complete by the end of 2009. ..."We are nearly doubling the amount of green energy in Nova Scotia in the next six years," said Energy Minister Richard Hurlburt. "The Bay of Fundy may just be the best site for tidal power generated in all of North America." Tedesco said OpenHydro, an Ireland company, will be installing a marine turbine by 2009.
After 19 months of commercial wind power operating experience in Ontario, there is some good news. Our wind farms produce almost up to target levels. The companies delivering wind power are mostly established energy firms. All are installing state of the art technology. Wind-farm operators in Ontario are subject to stricter technical controls than in Germany where, last November, wind power contributed to a continental grid blackout. For all its strengths, we now have enough information to conclude that wind power in Ontario is a disaster for consumers. ...Wind power's lack of overall value has not prevented our politicians from embracing it. Mr. McGuinty's group has decreed that, by the end of 2010, wind capacity will triple and then almost triple again by 2025. By 2027, the government says wind will supply 12% of the province's power generation. McGuinty's rivals all complain that this is just not enough.
Producers of renewable energy, both big and small, say the province of Nova Scotia could be doing more to help speed the addition of green power projects to the grid. Barry Zwicker, president of Scotian Windfields, told the legislature's resource committee Tuesday that government needs to send out a strong message about its commitment to renewable energy. ..."It costs a lot of money to go through these processes and I think there's a more efficient way we can go through this together instead of doing it in an adversarial way." Zwicker said government could help overcome resistance in some communities to the construction of wind turbines by engaging in a broader education program.
Roxanne Notley, Executive Director of the Aurora Development Corporation feels no decision has been made on wind energy development on the south coast. "We are not totally convinced about wind energy. The reason is because we just don't have enough information to validate our argument. So we used a proactive approach to determine if wind diesel would provide enough wind energy for now and in the future." ..."I did hear some comments from people. Most thought, 'oh my goodness, we are not getting wind power are we.' They are very worried, and scared that this is something that is going to be our alternative," noted Mrs. Notley. The problem with wind and diesel powered generation is that it is not reliable for taking on huge energy loads.
NERC's "2007 Long-Term Reliability Assessment" report takes a measured tone, finding for example that long term capacity margins are still adequate. ...California, the Rocky Mountain states, New England, Texas, the Southwest and the Midwest could fall below their reserve margins in the next few years without added resources. Global warming took center stage in energy policy debates and that will likely lead to more emissions-free generation such as wind, solar and nuclear power. Wind and solar provide grid operators with some problems since they are intermittent and often placed far away from population centers. Wind power played a role in a recent reliability problem in Europe, he added, and boosting the amount of such generation could lead to similar problems here.
"It's time people grew up about this. You can't be afraid of technology," he said. "If this economic boom is going to continue in the province, if we're going to continue to be a low-cost jurisdiction for doing business, we're going to need more power." Growing cities, an expanded oil industry and diamond mining will all increase power demands, he said. "You can build all the wind turbines you want, but it won't be enough."
Although there were a few anti-wind energy proponents in the crowd, the majority of those who addressed the assembled crowd and the hearing panel, consisting of members of the MD Council and planners from the Oldman River Regional Services Commission, were wind power advocates. In fact, the influence of the pro wind power lobby was so substantial, that many of those in opposition left before the conclusion of the hearing.
Alberta will lift a cap on the amount of wind-generated electricity on the provincial grid, a move aimed at kick-starting about C$6.6 billion of planned projects, industry officials the western Canadian province said on Wednesday. Scrapping the limit of 900 megawatts will help the booming province achieve a long-term goal of boosting wind-power's percentage of generation to 10 percent to 15 percent from the year-end 2007 estimate of 4 percent, Energy Minister Mel Knight told reporters.
There has been some opposition to large-scale wind projects in areas like Yarmouth County, where residents living near wind farms have complained about noise. To address that and other concerns, the province is partnering with the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities on a call for proposals to do a $45,000 study to develop wind turbine bylaws and policies.
Quebec's stringent "local content" requirements for wind-farm developers do little for most Quebec wind-energy businesses, but will increase rates for all Hydro-Québec customers, several experts in the field say. Under the terms of the call for tender for 2,000 megawatts of wind-generated electricity, developers must guarantee the expenditure of at least 30 per cent of wind-turbine costs in the economically troubled Gaspé region and at least 60 per cent of total wind farm costs in Quebec. "This will make wind power more costly," Université Laval economist Jean-Thomas Bernard said.
It proves actions speak louder than words and the reality is no matter what the government says about coal-fuelled power stations, Ontario is in desperate need of the power they produce. The truth is, a huge power producer cannot be replaced by things like wind turbines even if they were installed downwind of Queen's Park.
Despite ascertations made in a recent report entitled "Renewable is Doable", Ontario cannot afford to underpin its energy future simply on what is "doable". Certainty is needed, and that's why nuclear and gas-fired power must be part of our future energy mix. And because even certainty requires insurance, don't put out the lights on the "c" word in electricity just yet. ...So can Ontarians look forward to counting solely on renewable energy sources and conservation to keep our system - and economy - unfalteringly humming? Absolutely not, at least anytime soon. Ontario needs not only clean power, but it needs enough electricity available at all hours of every day for boiling water in our kitchens and powering boilers in our factories.
Premier McGuinty no doubt has good political reasons to once again announce the retirement of Ontario's coal-fired power plants. Canadians may want the moral satisfaction of being able to say "Okay, so it's still warming, but at least, we're not contributing as much to the problem." But this moral satisfaction will come at a high price, as Ontarians see higher energy costs and reduced economic competitiveness, with no genuine compensating improvement in health or environmental quality.
Wind power advocates are unhappy with the Alberta government for suggesting that the current cap on wind energy in the province might be raised, rather than eliminated completely. Last year the province's energy operator set a "threshold" of 900 megawatts for wind power production, because of concerns that amounts above that level could destabilize the power grid. As wind is intermittent and requires backup, anything above that level could be a problem, the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) said. About 500 MW of wind power is generated in the province already, and many more projects in the planning stages would push past the 900 MW mark.
A new CIBC World Markets report supports what the Power Workers' Union (PWU) has been saying to the provincial government and the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) for years: the closure of Ontario's coal plants will lead to higher electricity prices for consumers and businesses. Since making the 2003 election campaign promise to close the coal plants, the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) and the OPA have continued to raise concerns about the significant risks to electricity reliability and price. Now another independent review has reached the same conclusion. "Successive IESO and OPA documents and recent speeches show these risks have not gone away but are actually worse," says Don MacKinnon, President of the PWU. Key risks include: uncertainties about load growth forecasts and what realistic contributions can be expected from conservation and demand management (CDM); how volatile natural gas prices will affect electricity prices; the need for more gas pipeline infrastructure to service new gas-fuelled generators; the costs of redesigning and building new transmission and distribution infrastructure to integrate natural gas and renewable generation from wind farms; and, the need to have a back-up plan if replacement generation is not in place.
Projects are picking up the most speed in Ontario, where the provincial government has embraced wind energy as a symbol of its green friendliness, and municipalities are signing on with a fervour because the province's above-market prices mean they can reap cash in land sales and tax revenues. But as Canada experiences a rapid rise in these developments, there is a growing opposition to wind power as a clean energy alternative, with complaints that it is high-cost, energy-inefficient, causes noise pollution and even wreaks havoc on birds' migratory patterns. After raising many of these concerns with the Ontario Municipal Board, residents of Wolfe Island, Ont., celebrated a victory this week when plans for an 86-turbine megaproject by Canadian Hydro Developers, Inc. was modified to place the turbines farther away from residential areas and wetlands.
The Stelmach government foresees nearly doubling the amount of wind-power generation allowed in Alberta, even as the province remains the only jurisdiction in Canada to cap the production of wind energy. "There is every possibility that (the cap) could move to, in the interim, someplace around 1,500 megawatts," said Energy Minister Mel Knight. "As we move along and Alberta's system becomes more robust, and we're able to integrate more wind, I can see it moving beyond that."