Catching a breeze

Andrew
Andrew Robinson
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Energy Long-term prospect for central wind generation project

While it may be a distant opportunity, the possibility of wind energy turbines coming to Gander and the surrounding area may become a reality once Newfoundland becomes connected to the North American power grid in 2016.

Greg Jones, manager of business development with Nalcor Energy, an energy corporation founded by the provincial government, met with the Town of Gander's economic and social development committee on June 1 to discuss how wind energy might benefit Gander.

Wind turbines could come to central Newfoundland once the island connects to the North American power grid through a hydro link with Labrador. The link is expected to be finished in 2016. Photo courtesy of Nalcor Energy

Gander -

While it may be a distant opportunity, the possibility of wind energy turbines coming to Gander and the surrounding area may become a reality once Newfoundland becomes connected to the North American power grid in 2016.

Greg Jones, manager of business development with Nalcor Energy, an energy corporation founded by the provincial government, met with the Town of Gander's economic and social development committee on June 1 to discuss how wind energy might benefit Gander.

Currently, there are three wind farm developments in the province - an integrated wind/diesel energy project in Ramea set to go operational in the fall and two operational farms in St. Lawrence and Fermeuse.

Jones told The Beacon the province can only produce a limited amount of wind energy because it can cause water to spill from hydro dams if excessive amounts are produced. This roadblock will be eliminated with the introduction of a transmission link in 2016 for the Lower Churchill hydro project.

"That really becomes a game changer, because today when we develop wind energy on the island, it's largely about saving fuel and meeting some new load to a certain extent," he said.

"As that moves forward, once we're connected to the North American grid, wind development here on the island becomes about what's the right thing to do in the long-term both in terms of the island's needs, Labrador's needs, and what's the value of our wind power to the North America market as a whole."

The transmission link will allow wind energy from the island to be sold to energy markets in the Maritimes, Ontario, Quebec, and in the north eastern United States.

As a product, Jones said wind energy has come a long way, and is no longer considered an emerging technology. "The two projects we have here in St. Lawrence and Fermeuse are both cost effective. The installations reduce the overall cost to consumers," he said.

With growing concerns about the effects of global warming, wind energy has a competitive advantage as a renewable resource that produces no carbon emissions. Even in setting up wind farms, Jones said they leave a smaller environmental footprint than plants used in oil extraction.

Each of the operational wind farms produce 27 megawatts of energy, which reduces fuel consumption at the Holyrood power generating station by 330,000 barrels of oil per year - 15 per cent of its overall production. This keeps 900 tonnes of sulphur dioxide and 149,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere, and can power 14,000 homes.

Aside from requiring wind, the farms must have close access to a transmission grid, and adequate road infrastructure for transporting the huge pieces of equipment.

To determine good locations, experts consult the Canadian Wind Energy Atlas, which provides data on the strength of wind across the country. From there, investments are made to set up wind monitoring towers. These 50-60 metre devices record data on speed, wind direction, temperature and humidity at different height intervals.

While coastlines are known to have better conditions of wind power, Jones said good wind farms can be developed on interior regions. "The whole of the province has an excellent wind resource."

Organizations: North American, Canadian Wind Energy Atlas

Geographic location: Gander, Fermeuse, Newfoundland Ramea North America Ontario Quebec United States Holyrood

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Recent comments

  • DB
    July 02, 2010 - 13:35

    So g-man what do you suggest feed everone a big pile a cabbge and beans and collect the gas.

  • Tim
    July 02, 2010 - 13:32

    Time has come and gone for talking about doing this. We need to do this today. We have the location, we have the technology, yet all levels ov government lack the courage and the foresight to implement a proven system.

    Some may say that the initial costs are not recovered quick enough, or that (I) do not want to have to look at these in my area. Well are they willing to pay higher rates for energy, or leave the plane t in far worse shape for future generations? Maybe they need to stop worrying about what they can obtain or not obtain when alternative energy comes to town for a change.

    The offshore oil burp we see now will be a long gone memory soon, just as the fishery and forestry industry in the province, then what will they say and do?

    The time is now to demand governments become more involved. Force the utilities to implement net metering, and not just think about it. Newfoundland is one of the last holdouts for net metering, whats up with that? Makes you wonder if Danny Williams and NALCOR are more concerned about pocketing the cash like the oil companies, or looking out for the best interests of the people and province.

    Demand net metering, demand alternative energy for Newfoundland and Labrador today.

    If I can run a two story three bedroom home from wind power only, everyone can.

    • Brad
      April 13, 2013 - 13:53

      Excellent comment. I'd like to ad.. In 2011 I made contact with a rep from Newfoundland Power and I quote "We are currently putting together a proposal to submit and are still looking at ways to move forward with developing wind energy in NL". If a consumer would like to install solar/wind and have a Net Metering agreement, One way that's being proposed is for consumers to bank their usage. Non producing days are then subsidized by the usage you banked". I disagree. Consumers should be getting meaningful grants and initiatives from the government to install renewable energy systems and any electricity provided to the grid should be sold back to the consumer at current electricity rates. Canada's Action Plan gives rebates on home renovations to conserve energy. What is it, $20 or $50 bucks for a dual flush toilet you get back? How about this The Bank allows me to to borrow the total cost of a system to meet my specific needs. Assuming I can show I pay'd utilities for at least 2 years at my current residence and never missed a payment. Now, Instead of paying Newfoundland Power $380.00 a month, I pay the bank for the loan for my system. $380.00/month is a lot of money. Assuming I'm now selling electricity to the grid. Any money I earn on that sale, contributes to paying the bank back sooner. Only thing I need is a maintenance fund started that I would need to pay into. I think that fund should come from the bank payment. You will need repair and replacement in the system. Such a simple concept yet I'm stuck with a house that has electric heat, which is the least effective way of generating heat, paying out my A@# by a state owned energy company that earns profits. The top cats are making millions and I'm not allowed to borrow a few bucks form the bank so I can sell my own electricity. Whats there to look at is the big question. Its simple, lend me some money so I can save the planet. I wish I could sit in front of the House and state my mind. Such a shame.

  • Richard
    July 02, 2010 - 13:32

    ''Jones told The Beacon the province can only produce a limited amount of wind energy because it can cause water to spill from hydro dams if excessive amounts are produced.''

    Wow. Was anyone in the room gullible enough to swallow such nonsense?

  • Wm
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    I know the perfect place to put a few of those wind turbines: Confederation Hill while the House is in session. Lots of hot air then!

  • Jon
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    g-man..you make no sense. Do you realize how much more destruction lower churchill will do to the environment than putting up wind turbines? Do you know what destruction the upper churchill did to places in Labrador? What is wrong with communites wanting a stronger tax base? You really don't have a clue do you?

  • DB
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    I am agreeing with Tim on this one alternate energy is needed.I don't know about anyone else but I am sick of paying high energy bills when we have more wind blowing across this island then most places in Canada.Personally I think the government has a big stake in the energy sector now and are getting big returns on the current energy sources.

  • James
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    Right on Tim. And you should be hooked up to the grid - to gain credit or sell back power to Big Brother. Heck - If I resided next door to you I should be able to buy it from you - tax free.

  • g-man
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    this is gonna change the whole beauty of the island and turn it into nothing but fields of propellers..these turbines do nothing but destroy picture perfect landscapes..this is only desperation on behalf of local councils who are looking to grow there tax base in communties.time to put a stop to this source of electricity..please find other sources.i dont want this(turbines) in my back yard.there are no jobs for communities who put these stupid eyesores(wind turbines) on nl soil.i would rather wait for lower churchill.PLEASE STOP THIS DISTRUCTION NOW!!!!!!!

  • David
    July 02, 2010 - 13:08

    This will only happen if Danny Williams has someone he knows that will benefit from the big bucks involved. He has been forking over millions to his buddies since he became premier so why would he stop now. Will the corruption in the Williams Government ever end? Sad thing is that many of us have no problem with it.

  • DB
    July 01, 2010 - 20:25

    So g-man what do you suggest feed everone a big pile a cabbge and beans and collect the gas.

  • Tim
    July 01, 2010 - 20:21

    Time has come and gone for talking about doing this. We need to do this today. We have the location, we have the technology, yet all levels ov government lack the courage and the foresight to implement a proven system.

    Some may say that the initial costs are not recovered quick enough, or that (I) do not want to have to look at these in my area. Well are they willing to pay higher rates for energy, or leave the plane t in far worse shape for future generations? Maybe they need to stop worrying about what they can obtain or not obtain when alternative energy comes to town for a change.

    The offshore oil burp we see now will be a long gone memory soon, just as the fishery and forestry industry in the province, then what will they say and do?

    The time is now to demand governments become more involved. Force the utilities to implement net metering, and not just think about it. Newfoundland is one of the last holdouts for net metering, whats up with that? Makes you wonder if Danny Williams and NALCOR are more concerned about pocketing the cash like the oil companies, or looking out for the best interests of the people and province.

    Demand net metering, demand alternative energy for Newfoundland and Labrador today.

    If I can run a two story three bedroom home from wind power only, everyone can.

  • Richard
    July 01, 2010 - 20:20

    ''Jones told The Beacon the province can only produce a limited amount of wind energy because it can cause water to spill from hydro dams if excessive amounts are produced.''

    Wow. Was anyone in the room gullible enough to swallow such nonsense?

  • Wm
    July 01, 2010 - 20:19

    I know the perfect place to put a few of those wind turbines: Confederation Hill while the House is in session. Lots of hot air then!

  • Jon
    July 01, 2010 - 20:09

    g-man..you make no sense. Do you realize how much more destruction lower churchill will do to the environment than putting up wind turbines? Do you know what destruction the upper churchill did to places in Labrador? What is wrong with communites wanting a stronger tax base? You really don't have a clue do you?

  • DB
    July 01, 2010 - 20:04

    I am agreeing with Tim on this one alternate energy is needed.I don't know about anyone else but I am sick of paying high energy bills when we have more wind blowing across this island then most places in Canada.Personally I think the government has a big stake in the energy sector now and are getting big returns on the current energy sources.

  • James
    July 01, 2010 - 19:58

    Right on Tim. And you should be hooked up to the grid - to gain credit or sell back power to Big Brother. Heck - If I resided next door to you I should be able to buy it from you - tax free.

  • g-man
    July 01, 2010 - 19:45

    this is gonna change the whole beauty of the island and turn it into nothing but fields of propellers..these turbines do nothing but destroy picture perfect landscapes..this is only desperation on behalf of local councils who are looking to grow there tax base in communties.time to put a stop to this source of electricity..please find other sources.i dont want this(turbines) in my back yard.there are no jobs for communities who put these stupid eyesores(wind turbines) on nl soil.i would rather wait for lower churchill.PLEASE STOP THIS DISTRUCTION NOW!!!!!!!

  • David
    July 01, 2010 - 19:43

    This will only happen if Danny Williams has someone he knows that will benefit from the big bucks involved. He has been forking over millions to his buddies since he became premier so why would he stop now. Will the corruption in the Williams Government ever end? Sad thing is that many of us have no problem with it.