Library filed under Energy Policy from Canada

Blown over

High wind-power production in Germany one Saturday night helped extend a blackout across Europe. Last month, the Conservative government joined the long line of governments around the world subsidizing the production of wind power. Meanwhile, new information about wind power from Europe raises the spectre of unexpected blackout risks, high costs, unreliable production and even questionable environmental benefits. Concerns over wind power used to focus on whether enough wind would blow to keep wind generators busy and electric power grids supplied. Now, after a major power blackout in Europe in November that left 15 million households in the dark, concerns over wind power come from an entirely opposite direction – fear that wind power can unpredictably produce more power than a system can handle.
22 Feb 2007

End the chill: Answers concerning climate change will come more quickly in a climate less chill to scientific investigation

Who are the global warming deniers, those scientists who downplay the human cause of climate change, who claim that manmade climate change, if it's occurring at all, may have modest costs or even bring benefits, who claim that the science is not settled on climate change? To discover whether these deniers are crackpots from the fringes of academia, as their detractors so often claim, I decided to investigate scientists at odds with the UN's Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change, the official body organizing the great bulk of the climate research that dominates the public airwaves. After writing 10 columns on the subject, one for each "denier" and his theories, one fact is undeniable: The science is not settled. Not on man's role in causing the warming we've seen this century. Not on the consequences of this warming. Certainly not on the extent of warming –or cooling – to come.
11 Feb 2007

Duncan backs Huron turbines

Ontario’s energy minister pledged yesterday to do what he can to solve the issues that led an Alberta company to shelve a $300-million Huron County wind turbine project. “We were obviously disappointed to hear it is being shelved,” said Energy Minister Dwight Duncan. Citing uncertainties about government approvals, Edmonton-based Epcor Utilities Inc., announced last week it would indefinitely delay plans for Kingsbridge II, a project that would have seen construction of 69 wind turbines in Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh Township.
30 Jan 2007

The Wind Power Debate Continues to Produce Crosswinds of Controversy

From Barton, Vermont, to the German border with Denmark and from the shores of Lake Huron, to the Romney Marches of southern England, wind power advocates are fighting crosswinds from local residents. In Barton in mid-January, a referendum overwhelmingly rejected the wind power turbines that were planned near this upper Vermont community. ...In Germany, where one-third of the world's current wind power is generated, doubters have provoked a loud debate. The company that owns the grid that includes nearly half the wind-farms in Germany reported its wind farms generated only 11 percent of their capacity. The company said the winds vary so much the wind farm had to be backed 80 percent by the conventional power grid.
27 Jan 2007

PM to unveil wind, solar power plan; $300M budgeted for energy subsidies

The federal Conservative government is to announce today a subsidy for electricity generated by wind, solar and other forms of renewable energy. The aid – called the EcoEnergy Renewable Power Initiative – will amount to less than a similar Liberal plan the Conservatives scrapped nearly a year ago, the Toronto Star has learned. On Sunday, sources say, the federal government will unveil a revised version of the program that paid part of the cost when homeowners make their house more energy efficient. Today’s announcement on renewable energy is to be made in British Columbia by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn. The program will pay 1 cent per kilowatt-hour for electricity from large-scale renewable sources. A kilowatt-hour is enough to run ten 100-watt light bulbs for an hour. The subsidy will be available for generation that goes into operation during the next four years. The government is budgeting $300 million for that period – enough to support projects with a total generating capacity of 4,000 megawatts.
19 Jan 2007

Wind power faces gathering storm

Canada’s wind power business could face a tough year in 2007, with increasing doubts about this green energy source promising to buffet the industry. While a record amount of wind power is likely to come on-stream next year, with close to a dozen projects across the country set to be commissioned, questions about the safety of the turbines and the reliability of the power they generate are blowing across the landscape....... The fight against wind development from residents who live near planned projects has taken on a life beyond the usual NIMBY (not in my backyard) complaints. Wind opponents are now using broad arguments about wind reliability to bolster their other concerns over noise, bird safety, vibration and destruction of natural vistas. That’s going to accelerate in 2007, said Tom Adams, executive director of Toronto energy watchdog Energy Probe. “The NIMBYs are going to be more capable [and better able] to analyze and bring serious arguments, rather than just aesthetic concerns, into the discussions.”
2 Jan 2007

Catch the wind

Efforts to diversify Nova Scotia’s energy options saw some successes and failures this year. The province now has more wind turbines than ever, with 41 turbines producing electricity around the province. Nova Scotia ranks eighth out of nine provinces for the amount of wind generated electricity produced, according to the Canadian Wind Energy Association.
24 Dec 2006

Nova Scotia Power turns to private sector to supply renewable energy

Independent power producers looking to give Nova Scotia Power Inc. an extra boost can start proposing renewable energy options in January. The power company wants to supply 40,000 homes across the province with energy from sources such as wind, solar, hydro and biomass. The plan is to add 130 megawatts of renewable energy to transmission lines across the province by the end of 2009. Interested vendors will be invited to outline their project and how they plan to connect to the grid, said NSPI spokeperson Glennie Langille. “We suspect that most of that will be wind,” she said. “But we also expect to get some projects that would be biomass and small hydro.”
21 Dec 2006

Less For More: The Rube Goldberg Nature of Industrial Wind Development

Less_for_more_thumb Rube Goldberg would admire the utter purity of the pretensions of wind technology in pursuit of a safer modern world, claiming to be saving the environment while wreaking havoc upon it. But even he might be astonished by the spin of wind industry spokesmen. Consider the comments made by the American Wind Industry Association.s Christina Real de Azua in the wake of the virtual nonperformance of California.s more than 13,000 wind turbines in mitigating the electricity crisis precipitated by last July.s .heat storm.. .You really don.t count on wind energy as capacity,. she said. .It is different from other technologies because it can.t be dispatched.. (84) The press reported her comments solemnly without question, without even a risible chortle. Because they perceive time to be running out on fossil fuels, and the lure of non-polluting wind power is so seductive, otherwise sensible people are promoting it at any cost, without investigating potential negative consequences-- and with no apparent knowledge of even recent environmental history or grid operations. Eventually, the pedal of wishful thinking and political demagoguery will meet the renitent metal of reality in the form of the Second Law of Thermodynamics (85) and public resistance, as it has in Denmark and Germany. Ironically, support for industrial wind energy because of a desire for reductions in fossil-fueled power and their polluting emissions leads ineluctably to nuclear power, particularly under pressure of relentlessly increasing demand for reliable electricity. Environmentalists who demand dependable power generation at minimum environmental risk should take care about what they wish for, more aware that, with Rube Goldberg machines, the desired outcome is unlikely to be achieved. Subsidies given to industrial wind technology divert resources that could otherwise support effective measures, while uninformed rhetoric on its behalf distracts from the discourse.and political action-- necessary for achieving more enlightened policy.
20 Dec 2006

Warm weather brings back wind plant

An eight-day shutdown of Melancthon 1 wind turbines was undoubtedly costly but is being viewed by industry officials as among statistically and meteorologically predictable occurrences for any wind plant. The turbines were shut down when ice formed on the blades during the ice storm of Friday, Dec. 1, and came back online only after the ice had thawed from the blades at some point late Sunday.
14 Dec 2006

Wind talk turns out to be hot air

Wind power, and lots of it, is any government's energy fantasy. It is clean and renewable, and diversifies the energy supply. The green factor buys votes. There is even a stark architectural elegance to wind turbines, with their white blades lazily sweeping the horizon. What's not to like?.......If it all sounded too good to be true, it's because it was. ..........Lost in the hype was the fact that wind turbines are a notoriously unreliable source of power for the simple reason that the wind is highly erratic and unpredictable. A new report by Tom Adams of Energy Probe reveals some of the shortcomings. He studied wind data between May and October from three fairly large commercial Ontario wind farms. Their average "capacity factor," he found, was only 22.3 per cent.
30 Nov 2006

Putting power in motion - Three new NSP turbines being built atop Cumberland County peak

HIGGINS MOUNTAIN — The Nova Scotia government’s recently released targets for producing renewable energy are achievable, but incentives might be needed to make them a reality, says the president of Nova Scotia Power. Developers, some of whom are under-capitalized, must make an enormous investment, Ralph Tedesco said Tuesday. "I think it will take a variety of incentives," he said. "Ultimately it becomes a public policy issue."
23 Nov 2006

NSP calls renewable energy goal unrealistic

The price of bringing on “higher cost energy” could reach $83 million a year, NSP says. The power corporation also argues that gearing down coal-fired plants to make room for renewable energy will make them less efficient, and even increase greenhouse gas pollution. “Under these conditions,” NSP says, “the plants emit more emissions per unit of electricity … an increase in intensity of greenhouse gas emissions.” Power corporation CEO Ralph Tedesco says the pollution comes from burning fossil fuels needed when wind power hits lulls. “The reason for that is people expect the lights to be on,” Tedesco said Tuesday, at an event unveiling three wind turbines for the Wentworth valley.
22 Nov 2006

Windmills aren't the answer

It must be a harrowing time for those who once thought the cool breeze could save us all from the coming ecocide. The expectations of wind advocates have already had to be minimized as they realize there is nothing inherently virtuous about their pet piece of tech. Alas, like recycling fanatics, they are likely to end up praising wind power as a moral enterprise that "instills good habits" and signals "green consciousness," even if the honest cost-benefit analysis goes against them in the long run.
21 Nov 2006

Review of Wind Power Results in Ontario: May to October 2006

Epreviewofwindpowerresults_thumb The purpose of this study is to review the performance of wind power in Ontario, with particular attention to the period since the beginning of wind farm operations greater than 20 MW in the spring of 2006. This study comments on the GE Wind Power Integration Study released October 24, 2006 and hereafter referred to as the GE Study. Energy Probe’s study also provides recommendations arising from the observations of the performance results.
16 Nov 2006

Wind and solar power catch a stiff breeze

"There are two kinds of electricity supply. One is a firm supply where if you demand 100 megawatts, you get it at any time. Coal, gas-fired and nuclear plants can deliver that energy," Mr. Livet explains. "Then you have interrupted supply, because if the wind doesn't blow, you don't have any energy. So you need backup." The ideal clean energy mix of wind and water would work best in British Columbia, Manitoba and Quebec, which have developed hydro dam infrastructures and a large storage of water, Mr. Livet says. "It makes quite good sense for those provinces to actually build more wind energy, since if the wind blows, they can save water until it's needed."
13 Nov 2006

Wind power racing into the mainstream

Federal policy is one of the current challenges to the industry, says Hornung. Funds in the federal Wind Power Production Incentive program (WPPI), which has subsidized a portion of the cost of establishing wind farms since 2001, have been frozen since April as the Conservative government hammers out its energy and environmental policies. Developers across the country are committed to start projects after winning competitive power supply contracts based on bids in which the WPPI funds were calculated as part of projected revenues. "The economics of the projects change completely without those funds," says Hornung.
10 Nov 2006
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