Articles filed under Energy Policy from Canada

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

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

UN talks split on date for climate fight rules

A U.N. conference working to fix long-term rules to fight global warming beyond 2012 "as soon as possible" was split on Tuesday over whether that meant an accord should be struck in 2008, 2009 or even 2010. Industrial investors, weighing options ranging from coal-fired power plants to wind energy, are frustrated at the possibility of years of uncertainty about rules for fossil fuel emissions upon which carbon markets depend.
7 Nov 2006

Proposed wind farm rules OK, developer says

Nova Scotia’s first wind farm developer is a fan of the Tories’ proposed legislation on wind turbine taxation. “Wind energy has a lot of potential in Nova Scotia,” Charles Demond, president of Pubnico Point Wind Farm Inc., said Monday at Province House. “The bill provides certainty for wind developers and, in our view, a very healthy, . . . very attractive stream of revenue in the municipalities where they are developing . . . wind power.” He said his 30.6-megawatt operation was facing a $450,000 tax bill before this legislation. It had launched an appeal and, if successful, the bill would have been reduced to around $75,000.
7 Nov 2006

Re-wiring Ontario

A natural gas plant here. New nuclear reactors there. Massive wind farms in northern Ontario. Surplus hydroelectric power from projects in Manitoba and Labrador. Who says Ontario is facing an electricity shortage? On top of conservation efforts aimed at reducing how much electricity we all consume, the reality is there are plenty of opportunities — some cleaner than others — to generate the power this province needs over the next two decades. Even, it should be noted, with the shutdown of all coal-fired plants. But generation is only part of Ontario’s electricity equation. Under-appreciated in the power supply debate is the crucial role transmission plays in moving electricity around the province. Power generation, like a car, is useless if there are no roads on which to drive, or if the only route into a big city is limited to one lane during rush hour. “Transmission is undervalued; without transmission you can’t do anything,” says engineering consultant Frank Macedo, a 25-year veteran of the electricity sector who once oversaw Hydro One’s provincial transmission assets.
6 Nov 2006

How much wind power is too much?

Wind power has become a key part of Canada’s energy mix, with the number of installed wind turbines growing exponentially in recent months. But the fact the wind doesn’t blow all the time is creating a potential roadblock that could stall growth in the industry. Alberta and Ontario, the two provinces with the most wind turbines up and whirling, face concerns that there are limits on how much power can be generated from the breeze before their electricity systems are destabilized.
30 Oct 2006

Boisclair stiffs the wind

Andre Boisclair affirmed his leadership of the Parti Quebecois yesterday, rejecting a motion calling for the nationalization of wind power. Boisclair characterized the motion - adopted by a majority of delegates to a meeting of his party’s national council - as “expropriation” in his closing speech. And then he delivered his answer to the takeover call: “It’s no.”
30 Oct 2006

The future of wind power

Tench says with 5-thousand megawatts of potential, if every wind farm that could be built, actually is built, Ontario wind power could equal the output of all the nuclear reactors at Bruce Power. But Tench says the study does not break down where in the province the most wind potential is, adding some possible wind farms are not practical, being too far from existing power transmission lines.
27 Oct 2006

Ontario system could use up to 20% wind power, study says

A study released yesterday by Ontario’s electricity authorities says wind power could represent nearly 20 per cent of the province’s power-generation capacity with little compromise to system reliability. Critics say the numbers are suspiciously high. Ontario has four major wind farms in service now with a potential of producing 396 megawatts of emission-free electricity. About 1,300 megawatts are to be operating by 2010. The problem with wind energy is that another source of power generation, or “operating reserve,” is required to pick up the slack when the wind isn’t blowing. Add too much wind to the mix and the whole system can become unstable.
25 Oct 2006

Fuel versus food -Demand for alternative energy sources could lead to crop shortages environmentalist

OTTAWA — The grain needed to fill the fuel tank of a typical SUV could feed a person for a year, says a leading international environmentalist. Lester Brown, executive-director of the Washington, D.C.-based Earth Policy Institute, says a global rush to alternative fuels made from food crops is likely to increase hunger in the poorest countries.
24 Oct 2006

Protecting Nova Scotians with the wind

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.
22 Oct 2006

A heavy blow for wind power - Cap on generation ’stalls the business’

In May, citing a potential for reliability problems for the provincial network, the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) — which oversees the electricity market and transmission network in Alberta — surprised the industry by announcing that wind power generation in Alberta, currently at about 300 megawatts (MW) of capacity, would be capped indefinitely at 900 MW. However, there are proposals for about 3,000 MW of projects above and beyond the ones already lined up and paid up to meet the 900 MW mark.
21 Oct 2006

Kyoto linked to soaring power bills

Canadians would see their hydro and natural-gas bills spike dramatically should the three opposition parties succeed in forcing the government to comply with Kyoto, Environment Minister Rona Ambrose warned Thursday. Ms. Ambrose was appearing before the Commons environment committee for the first time since she was sworn in to Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s cabinet in February. Though she outlined the broad direction of her fall environmental plan and gave a few more hints as to where the government is headed, opposition MPs left frustrated that she did not provide any new information.
6 Oct 2006

Restless prairie winds power Alberta’s renewable future

It’s hard to square with the caricature of an oil-obsessed, red-neck land, but nearly 350 modern windmills — winged giants that look like children’s pinwheels on long, skinny, off-white sticks — have sprouted near here in southwestern Alberta within the last four or five years, mostly in close-ordered ranks on wind-swept ridges between this town of 3,666 and similar-sized Fort MacLeod a half hour east on Highway 3.
27 Sep 2006

Wind policy becalmed

Nova Scotia’s bracing physical winds are the best on the continent for making electricity. But the political winds here are a problem. In terms of public policy that allows eager renewable-energy entrepreneurs to do business, the Nova Scotia government is stuck in the doldrums. Wind developers have the investment and are confident they can line up willing retail customers. But the government can’t get its head around the idea of letting this market work.
22 Sep 2006
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