Tuesday, December 6, 2011

"Facts" about wind energy

I just wanted to take this opportunity to address some of the “facts” presented by the Saskatoon Wind Turbine Association in regard to the proposed wind turbine at the landfill. Many of these "facts" are common misconceptions.

$5 million of your tax dollars (local, provincial, federal) are being spent on the Saskatoon Wind Turbine.

If we look at this from the point of view of environmental remediation this is a good deal for taxpayers. The turbine is being placed on a 35 meter high pile of garbage generated from residents of the City of Saskatoon which cannot be used for much other than as a source of garbage to be blown into Montgomery. I would estimate that the costs to remediate this land for something other than a renewable energy project would be 4 or 5 times the costs of the turbine. The US agrees – the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have jointly announced plans to evaluate the feasibility of siting solar, wind, biomass, and geothermal facilities on 26 Superfund sites and former landfill and mining sites citing one of the reasons being that it is much cheaper to build renewable energy projects on environmentally compromised land than remediate the land for other industrial, commercial or residential use.

Saskatchewan Resource Council classified the Saskatoon Tall Wind Turbine project as “marginal”.

I have never heard of the “Saskatchewan Resource Council” but the Saskatchewan Research Council classified the wind resource, not the project, as marginal.

The landfill location is rated as a 2 (second worst rating on a scale of 1 to 7).

The report noted that the power density at 50 meters is 202 W/m2 which puts the site in a wind power class of 2 (marginal). “Marginal” in this case means that development of a utility-scale is possible and in fact thousands of megawatts of wind energy have been built in class 2 wind resource areas. The report goes on to state that turbine output projections indicate that net capacity factors of 25% to 30%, or more, could be expected with the selection of the right turbine. Typical net capacity factors for existing wind farms range from 20% to 40%.

Saskatoon Light and Power has promised that this project will pay for itself in five years. Other installations across the world have demonstrated that this is only possible by raising your rates of electricity.

Rates for electricity are going up in any case largely based on increasing demand, aging infrastructure and climate change regulation not on expenses from investments in renewable energy generation.

The proposed wind turbine is only 780m from citizens while in Victoria, Australia wind turbines cannot be built within 5KM of a municipality. Why are they doing that and we are not?

As of August 2011 the Victorian Government was planning on putting rules in place enforcing a minimum 2 km distance between large utility-scale wind turbines and residences. This may or may not be legislated in Victoria.

1 comment:

  1. There's a chance you're qualified for a new government solar energy rebate program.
    Determine if you qualify now!