12 September 2009

Megamania: NL falls farther behind in wind energy development

While it has huge potential in wind energy, Newfoundland and Labrador currently has less than 60 megawatts in production or in development.

There are no plans for more and the province’s 2007 energy plan places tight restrictions on development of any additional wind energy.  The plan talks about potential but ensures that there is little chance the potential will be developed.

For electricity, the energy plan is focused on development of the Lower Churchill to the exclusion of all else.

As a rest of the political obsession with turf wars and 40 year old megaprojects, the province  - already well back in the pack - is falling farther and farther behind in a race where it should be leading.

1.  Hydro Quebec is pushing ahead with development of new energy technologies.  It’s looking for 500 new megawatts of wind energy.  That’s on top of existing projects and the ones in train.

Hydro-Québec has invited municipalities and native groups to compete for 500 megawatts of wind power contracts. Wind farms in the utility's third call for tenders must not exceed 25 megawatts.

The company’s strategic plan forecasts upwards of 4,000 megawatts of wind generation over the next four years.

2.  Wolfe Island wind farm official opened.  Canadian Hydro officially opened the Wolfe Island wind project this past week.  The project is the second largest wind farm in Canada and generates slightly less than 200 megawatts.

3.  Norway just installed the first floating turbine to harness offshore wind energy.

4.  Work on a $1.5 billion offshore wind farm in Rhode Island is continuing apace.