Testing the wind

Clayton Hunt
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Possible wind farm for Conne River

If everything goes according to plan, Conne River could be a part of Canada's ongoing effort to convert wind power into a useful source of energy in the near future.

For the past 15 months Gerard Joe, the director of economic development at Conne River, has been testing the potential of wind energy in the region for Wind Prospect, a leading international wind energy company with offices located around the world.

Some of the wind turbines at the wind farm at Fermeuse. - Photo courtesy of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro

Conne River -

If everything goes according to plan, Conne River could be a part of Canada's ongoing effort to convert wind power into a useful source of energy in the near future.

For the past 15 months Gerard Joe, the director of economic development at Conne River, has been testing the potential of wind energy in the region for Wind Prospect, a leading international wind energy company with offices located around the world.

Joe recently talked about how the testing project began and how it might develop in the future.

"A part of our economic mandate is to seek out and look for economic opportunities for our community," he said. "Following a meeting Chief Misel Joe had with a representative from Wind Prospect in Halifax, we had an opportunity to test the possibility of wind energy in this area for Wind Prospect.

"We completed a risk assessment and a business analysis of the project, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the company and here we are, 15 months later, into the test experiment."

According to Joe, the test experiment has proven that the development of wind energy in the Conne Rivera area is feasible.

"We know that this site (near the community of Conne River) is a good location for wind energy producing turbines. We have a constant supply of good wind velocity here, we have easy access to the site which is away from the built-up community and it's very close to Newfoundland Hydro's transmission line from Bay d'Espoir."

Joe said the project is ready to move from Phase 1, the testing phase, into Phase 2, where wind energy turbines would be set up to generate electricity that could be tapped into Hydro's transmission line. The company, in turn, could sell the excess power to its customers anywhere in the province.

He said that before Phase 2 begins, however, the Conne River Band Council and Wind Prospect would need a memorandum of understanding with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador.

"If the MOU with the province is reached, there are two options for further development with the project," Joe said.

"Wind Prospect, which has funded the project entirely up to now, could come in and set up their wind farm, and we would receive three to five per cent royalties from the sale of power to Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro.

"The second option is that our band council could help with the capital cost of the wind farm, with a higher percentage of the royalties in the end."

Ready to move

Keith Towse, the vice-president of business development for Wind Prospect out of Halifax, said, "We're looking at exploring a number of different options with Conne River, as we are very interested in supporting the community in its development of the renewable energy resource in the region.

"Subject to discussions with Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, we would be very pleased to move ahead with the current project in Conne River."

Nalcor Responds

Greg Jones, the manager of business development with Nalcor Energy, the parent company of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, said the company is not looking to complement its energy with any more wind power sources at this time.

"At the present time, we are not seeking any further utility-scaled wind power here on the island until we better understand how the current wind farms at St. Lawrence and Fermeuse are integrating with our hydroelectric reservoirs," Jones said.

"Once we have that understanding, we will reassess whether it's right to proceed with another wind farm or not."

Jones said that if Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro does look for another wind farm, the company would, in all likelihood, go through the request for proposal (RFP) route that it followed with the wind farms presently at St. Lawrence and Fermeuse.

"We're very pleased with the performance of the two privately owned wind farms in the province right now that came about as a result of our RFP several years ago. However, we're in a situation now where we don't know if we can accept more wind power on an economical basis.

"About a year or so ago, we were ready to go out to the private sector seeking proposals to construct a third 25-megawatt wind farm here in the province. What happened about the same time was that the paper mill in Grand Falls-Windsor closed down, which jeopardized the economic prospect for another wind farm in the province, as the closure meant less strain on our power system.

"When we add more wind power to our grid, we run the risk of spilling water over our reservoirs. At our hydro plants we have to have a minimum flow of water through some of our turbines for system stability, frequency levels and, in some cases, for fish habitat.

"So, right now we don't see the need to replace one source of green energy with another at the expense of one that is already developed.

"However, as noted, over the coming months we hope to obtain more data on both of the present wind farms and look at how they actually integrate with our hydro reservoirs. Once we understand that, we're going to be doing another assessment to see if there's an economic justification to proceed with another RFP for another wind farm in the province.

"If at that time Conne River proved to be competitive with other possible developments, we would certainly be more than happy to entertain the possibility of connecting to a new wind farm in that area."

Green subdivision

Joe said that, regardless of what happens with the MOU between the government and Conne River for future development, the test experiment with Wind Prospect will not have been for nothing.

"One of the things we have talked about for the future of Conne River is the establishment of a 'green subdivision' for the community.

"We envision that, within the next 15 years or so, a 'green village or subdivision' could be a part of the present community. This subdivision would be powered with electricity from the test site. The electricity for the houses, the septic system and the waste disposal system would all be generated by wind power."

Wind farms, which use wind-powered turbines to generate electricity, are used in about 80 countries in the world today to supplement their electrical power systems. Many countries, such as the United States, China, Germany, Spain and India, are making greats strides to develop wind power as a source of energy, as it is plentiful, renewable, widely distributed and clean, and produces no greenhouse gas emissions.

Denmark generates nearly 20 per cent of its electricity through wind farms. Canada hopes to supply 20 per cent of its energy needs via wind power by 2025.

Organizations: Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, Conne River Band Council, Nalcor Energy

Geographic location: Conne River, Canada, Halifax Conne Rivera Fermeuse Newfoundland and Labrador United States China Germany Spain India Denmark

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Comments

Comments

Recent comments

  • Nasty
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    Taxpayer, when was the last time you thanked the native population for stealing their property? Us whites were not invited here, but we sure seem to think we have all the rights to do as we please. Maybe the natives should walk over to your place and put you on a reserve, see how the shoe fits on the other foot for a change.

    Some peoples kids should be kept from the computer, and Taxdodger is a prime example of that.

  • George
    July 02, 2010 - 13:32

    WOW, and you call Alberta land of the red-necks. Newfoundland is Alabama north.
    There are wind generators in St. Lawrence and Fermeuse. Where they make-work projects as well?

  • Seumas
    July 02, 2010 - 13:32

    Careful Taxpayer, the colour of your neck is showing!

  • Funky
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    Taxpayer isn't racist. He just hates natives and bases his opinion on incorrect steroptypes. What's wrong with that? Who needs facts and intelligence to form an opinion? Goooooooooo Taxpayer!!!!

  • Jordan
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    Taxpayer from NL: You obviously have no clue about Conne River according to your idiotic racist comment. Their community is far more advanced then most rural communities in the province and they are considered a model aboriginal community across Canada. Creating wind energy for these communities is far from a make work project . While it will only create jobs for a short while but the community will be left with clean energy forever and by the way I am far from a treehugger

  • Mark
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    OK Taxpayer, you say you are not a racist, but these people may say otherwise. And why do people always claim to be saying what everyone else is thinking, but are too afraid to say? You are clearly saying what YOU are thinking and when its not that smart, you want to spread the blame on EVERYBODY? I'm not afraid to say what is on my mind.

  • David
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    Geez Taxpayer, I used to think you were just an ar$ehole, but now it turns out you're a RACIST ar$ehole. Either way, you're an ar$ehole.
    Given your comments, you should stop saying that you speak for most people and you should also stop using us to refer to whatever group you really mean(i.e. whites), because most of us don't want anything to do with you. As a final note, I hope you aren't too offended by me calling you a RACIST ar$ehole. I decided not to hold back, since I know how much you hate political correctness.
    To the folks of Conne River, I applaud your initiative and its success! Hopefully, you'll be able to build a production wind farm in the near future.

  • Jerome
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    Why go to Alabama to witness racism? It's alive and well here in our happy little province.

  • Taxpayer
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    Yeah, and these jobs will go to the indians in a make work project. How long will it be before they burn down the turbines. This is a waste of tax money to appease the treehuggers and the indians. What they want they get, at the expense of the hardworking taxpayers.

  • Jim
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    People you miss the point. Nalcor and the short vision is the problem. It doesn't matter where the wind farms are. More economic benefits in all of rural newfoundland if Nalcor will smartin' up. The excuse is the amount of water needs to flow. What a crock. Build the wind farms and slow down the Holyrood plant and its environmental hazard pollution in the air.

    We will use less oil and here is a new idea. Wind power is CHEAP...FREE after capital cost is recouped. Why is the rest of world doing it? It is CHEAPER and the costs can be passed to the residents.

    Time to invest in Newfoundland with capital projects as per this article and not giving our money to buying oil for Holyrood. Making the oil company richer.

    The rest of world is talking about the environment and we here from Nalcor they are thinking of the fish. Give me a break. $$$ is the bottom line with them.

  • I. P. Freely
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    Wind is great, but it is not always windy, so you need to supplement. What I don't get is why is Duffs going full out, burning bunker like there is no tomorrow, if we have over capacity with local hydro?

  • Frankie
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    If the energy crisis is areal and serious problem ... and I do mean if (it may in fact be a fabricated crisis to keep the price of oil high, but not so high so as to actually reduce our dependency on it thus maximizing profits for Big Oil) ... then the only viable solution in the long term is Nuclear Fusion ... and the World needs another Moon Shot or Manhattan Project type initiave, whereby the G8 countries make it Priority 1, mobilizing financial and intellectual resources to the development of a sustainable Fusion reactor within 10 years ... thereby enabling the world to have a clean, limitless source of inexpensive energy. This would reduce our dependency on Oil once and for all ...

  • A Real Taxpayer
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    He's not a racist, he just has a negative perception of people based on their skin color. He needs to get a job and stopping spending all day, everyday, patrolling the comments section.

  • Taxpayer
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    I'm not a racist, I'm just saying what most people are thinking but are afraid because of the politically correct thought police like you lot. We know how these people behave and the disrespect they show for us unless theyre getting handouts. Its not just Indians, its the whole welfare gimme gimme crowd.

  • Nasty
    July 01, 2010 - 20:23

    Taxpayer, when was the last time you thanked the native population for stealing their property? Us whites were not invited here, but we sure seem to think we have all the rights to do as we please. Maybe the natives should walk over to your place and put you on a reserve, see how the shoe fits on the other foot for a change.

    Some peoples kids should be kept from the computer, and Taxdodger is a prime example of that.

  • George
    July 01, 2010 - 20:21

    WOW, and you call Alberta land of the red-necks. Newfoundland is Alabama north.
    There are wind generators in St. Lawrence and Fermeuse. Where they make-work projects as well?

  • Seumas
    July 01, 2010 - 20:20

    Careful Taxpayer, the colour of your neck is showing!

  • Funky
    July 01, 2010 - 20:12

    Taxpayer isn't racist. He just hates natives and bases his opinion on incorrect steroptypes. What's wrong with that? Who needs facts and intelligence to form an opinion? Goooooooooo Taxpayer!!!!

  • Jordan
    July 01, 2010 - 20:08

    Taxpayer from NL: You obviously have no clue about Conne River according to your idiotic racist comment. Their community is far more advanced then most rural communities in the province and they are considered a model aboriginal community across Canada. Creating wind energy for these communities is far from a make work project . While it will only create jobs for a short while but the community will be left with clean energy forever and by the way I am far from a treehugger

  • Mark
    July 01, 2010 - 20:07

    OK Taxpayer, you say you are not a racist, but these people may say otherwise. And why do people always claim to be saying what everyone else is thinking, but are too afraid to say? You are clearly saying what YOU are thinking and when its not that smart, you want to spread the blame on EVERYBODY? I'm not afraid to say what is on my mind.

  • David
    July 01, 2010 - 20:04

    Geez Taxpayer, I used to think you were just an ar$ehole, but now it turns out you're a RACIST ar$ehole. Either way, you're an ar$ehole.
    Given your comments, you should stop saying that you speak for most people and you should also stop using us to refer to whatever group you really mean(i.e. whites), because most of us don't want anything to do with you. As a final note, I hope you aren't too offended by me calling you a RACIST ar$ehole. I decided not to hold back, since I know how much you hate political correctness.
    To the folks of Conne River, I applaud your initiative and its success! Hopefully, you'll be able to build a production wind farm in the near future.

  • Jerome
    July 01, 2010 - 20:03

    Why go to Alabama to witness racism? It's alive and well here in our happy little province.

  • Taxpayer
    July 01, 2010 - 20:02

    Yeah, and these jobs will go to the indians in a make work project. How long will it be before they burn down the turbines. This is a waste of tax money to appease the treehuggers and the indians. What they want they get, at the expense of the hardworking taxpayers.

  • Jim
    July 01, 2010 - 19:56

    People you miss the point. Nalcor and the short vision is the problem. It doesn't matter where the wind farms are. More economic benefits in all of rural newfoundland if Nalcor will smartin' up. The excuse is the amount of water needs to flow. What a crock. Build the wind farms and slow down the Holyrood plant and its environmental hazard pollution in the air.

    We will use less oil and here is a new idea. Wind power is CHEAP...FREE after capital cost is recouped. Why is the rest of world doing it? It is CHEAPER and the costs can be passed to the residents.

    Time to invest in Newfoundland with capital projects as per this article and not giving our money to buying oil for Holyrood. Making the oil company richer.

    The rest of world is talking about the environment and we here from Nalcor they are thinking of the fish. Give me a break. $$$ is the bottom line with them.

  • I. P. Freely
    July 01, 2010 - 19:51

    Wind is great, but it is not always windy, so you need to supplement. What I don't get is why is Duffs going full out, burning bunker like there is no tomorrow, if we have over capacity with local hydro?

  • Frankie
    July 01, 2010 - 19:50

    If the energy crisis is areal and serious problem ... and I do mean if (it may in fact be a fabricated crisis to keep the price of oil high, but not so high so as to actually reduce our dependency on it thus maximizing profits for Big Oil) ... then the only viable solution in the long term is Nuclear Fusion ... and the World needs another Moon Shot or Manhattan Project type initiave, whereby the G8 countries make it Priority 1, mobilizing financial and intellectual resources to the development of a sustainable Fusion reactor within 10 years ... thereby enabling the world to have a clean, limitless source of inexpensive energy. This would reduce our dependency on Oil once and for all ...

  • A Real Taxpayer
    July 01, 2010 - 19:45

    He's not a racist, he just has a negative perception of people based on their skin color. He needs to get a job and stopping spending all day, everyday, patrolling the comments section.

  • Taxpayer
    July 01, 2010 - 19:44

    I'm not a racist, I'm just saying what most people are thinking but are afraid because of the politically correct thought police like you lot. We know how these people behave and the disrespect they show for us unless theyre getting handouts. Its not just Indians, its the whole welfare gimme gimme crowd.