world of wind now part of power grid ontario's first wind farm
officially opened near Kincardine Phil
Owen Sound Sun Times
A cold but steady wind turned the giant turbine blades high
overhead in a steady, throbbing beat as provincial Energy
Minister John Baird and other key players on Ontario’s troubled
electrical energy landscape cut the ribbon to officially
open the province’s first commercial wind farm.
The five new 1.8-megawatt wind turbines at the Huron Wind
site beside the Bruce nuclear plant are capable of generating
enough “certified green electricity” to power up to 3,000
homes a year, Huron Wind officials said.
That’s just a tiny fraction of the electrical energy Ontario
needs. But Baird and a gathering of other VIPs at the Bruce
Power Information Centre appeared ready in a series of speeches
to embrace wind energy as a sign of better times ahead and
a step in the right direction.
Baird called it “really an exciting occasion” and credited
the Ontario government’s opening up of the electrical market
to competition with creating the opportunity for such new
energy initiatives to get off the ground.
Baird said wind and solar power “can do much” for the future
of electrical energy in Ontario. And he hoped the new wind
farm was just the beginning of more such projects. “We must
continue to support clean energy production to ensure there
is a sufficient supply of electricity to meet our needs
now and into the future,” he said.
The provincial government freed the electrical market and
electrical rates to rise and fall in response to supply
and demand last May. But it recently capped retail electrical
rates at 4.3 cents per kilowatt hour until 2006 after a
public outcry over skyrocketing electrical bills.
Largely because of relatively high capital costs, wind energy
is more expensive than nuclear and fossil fuel power. Baird
was asked later in an interview if capping electrical rates
could be a disincentive for wind energy investment.
He said he didn’t think so. Wind energy generators can still
get higher rates for the electricity they put on the power
grid because wholesale prices are not capped. Meanwhile,
the province has added new incentives, like tax breaks,
for renewable energy projects. And other, new renewable
energy policies are in the works, Baird added.
He said the government became concerned about the financial
impact rising electrical rates were having on families,
businesses and farmers, so the cap was aimed at providing
stability to “smooth out some of the bumps along the road”
in the opening up of the market to competition.
Huron Wind is a partnership of Ontario Power Generation
(OPG), formerly part of Ontario Hydro, and British Energy
Canada. The partners will share the wind energy output and
sell the green power to commercial and industrial customers
Wind energy is considered “green” because it doesn’t produce
air-polluting emissions like coal and other fossil fuel-fired
energy plants and is derived from a renewable source — the
Ron Osborne, OPG’s chief executive officer, took the opportunity
to plug nuclear energy. “I think about nuclear power as
clean power, if not green,” he said, referring to the symbolism
of having a wind farm next to a nuclear plant.
Osborne said wind energy will likely remain “relatively
small” for many years as a percentage of Ontario’s electrical
generating capacity, “but it will be an increasingly larger
portion of the new generation brought on stream.”
In a joint Huron Wind partners statement, Osborne said OPG
wanted to develop Ontario’s first commercial wind farm and
were pleased British Energy (Canada) “agreed to join us
in making this historic wind farm a reality.”
“Clean electricity produced at Huron Wind is a good, solid
investment for the future,” said Duncan Hawthorne, British
Energy’s executive director of North American operations
and head of Bruce Power, which runs the Bruce nuclear plant.
“It will complement the clean electricity produced at the
Bruce Power nuclear facilities. Neither source contributes
to climate change or global warming,” Hawthorne added.
Helen Johns, Ontario’s Agriculture Minister and MPP for
Huron-Bruce, also called the opening of the wind farm an
Philip Andres, a local resident and general manager of Vestas
Canada Wind Technology, the company that provided the made-in-Denmark
turbines, said the winds that come off Lake Huron hold the
potential for more wind-energy development.
But he stressed more changes in government policy are needed
to provide more incentives.
This information is posted
for nonprofit educational purposes, in accordance with U.S.
Code Title 17, Chapter 1,Sec. 107 copyright laws.
For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml.
If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for
purposes of your own that go beyond "fair use," you
must obtain permission from the copyright owner.