Thursday, December 01, 2005

Kyoto Daze Part III: A Mighty Wind

Welcome to Part III of my bumbling series on climate change. In "A Mighty Wind," I'll take a quick look at a not-so-new form of renewable energy. You guessed it: wind power. In Part I of my series on Canadian Policy & Politics, I alluded to the April amendments to the federal budget (Lib/NDP deals). You may have noticed this tidbit: "The federal government has also reserved $200 million to stimulate the use of wind power to generate electricity."

[click "Read on, MacDuff!" to continue reading]
I know it's only been 6+ months since that budget passed but something tells me that you've yet to be deafened by the massive expansion of wind-parks in your area. Ok, maybe in PEI. Those islanders are smart: they started in 2000! And now? PEI is working on exporting its wind power resources to the mainland. They've come a long way, baby :) Just 10 days ago our Fed. Min. of Environment (Dion) was in the province making promises to finance the cable needed for the wind-power export project:
Dion said Ottawa could put $30 million into the project. Dion used strong language to describe the province's plan to generate 350 megawatts of electricity by 2015. "I call it a radical change; I call it a revolution," he said.
But here's the rub: "Dion says the $30 million hasn't been approved by Treasury Board. He says he'll try to get that approval before a federal election is called, but he can't make any promises." Oy. Keep up the pressure, Islanders! Make sure whomever you elect commits to getting your cables! The rest of us should do likewise, of course.

And we're finally getting wind power in Ontario. Today the G & M reported that a Wind park will be built in Port Alma:
Forest company Kruger Inc. has been selected by the Ontario Ministry of Energy to build a 101.2-megawatt wind park valued at some $200-million. The park will be located in Port Alma, south of Chatham, on the shores of Lake Erie, Kruger said yesterday. The project, capable of supplying the equivalent electricity needs of 25,000 homes, is one of a batch of projects for renewable energy approved last week by the Ontario government. Under the contract, Kruger Energy Group, a division of the Quebec-based forest company, will sell the energy to the Ontario Power Authority for 20 years.
Well, that's something. But why is it taking us so long? The truth is that Canada is late to the game on wind power. During the last election campaign, the Sierra Club called-out the Liberals in their 'Report Card':
The Liberal promise to make Canada a “world leader” in wind energy is ambitious as Canada is far behind countries like Denmark and Germany. The actual Liberal target of 4,000 megawatts is less than half the NDP wind target.
It's true: we are behind. While Germany's made quite a name for themselves on wind power, Spain--whose emissions rose +41.7% from 1990-2003--is aiming to surpass Germany's use of wind-power by the end of this year:
Despite a temporary slowdown in 2005, Spain will see steady wind power growth through the end of the decade as it follows through on plans to reach 20,000 MW by 2010. Meanwhile, Germany continues to face market saturation, resulting in a steady decrease in onshore MW additions from 2005 to 2010, according to EER's European Wind Energy Country Forecast Data, released in November 2005.
[...] A group of smaller wind power markets are entering major growth phases for the first time: Italy, France and Portugal are all seeing MW added increases of over 80% in 2005. In 2005, France is expected to install 250 MW of new wind power capacity, while Italy and Portugal are each expected to add 450 MW by year end.
Wind power is literally sweeping Europe. And yes, I am just that corny :)

Well, that's all for my inexpert Kyoto Daze series. I might add more as our federal campaign lumbers along and each party reveals its enviro-policy. It will be interesting to see if & how the Greens, NDP & Grits retool their positions--and if Harper bothers to present an environmental policy this time! As always, please feel free to add your thoughts or admonish me for mine :) You can find Kyoto Daze Part I (Canadian Policy & Politics) and Part II (Car & Driver) just below this post (if you want to, that is!). Cheers!