I’m going to Energy Matters for the next couple of days.
In haste: The Apples in Stereo – Lee’s Palace, Toronto – 20 February 2007
(now updated to include better MP3s)
I walked past a store that had replaced its hot table lights with compact fluorescents. It’d certainly save energy, but I have my doubts about its effectiveness.
Every few weeks someone contacts me with a proposal for what is, in effect, a perpetual motion machine. He (for it is always a he) can demonstrate to my satisfaction that, unlike all the quacks and cranks and mountebanks I have heard about, he really has solved the problem. He has a special catalyst, or a new equation, or a hotline to God, which demonstrates what all other physicists consider impossible: that energy can be created. … My only defence against these people is to ask them for an article in a peer-reviewed journal, whereupon I never hear from them again.
— from Heat, by George Monbiot.
Congratulations are due to Glen Estill, who got his two Vestas V82s on the Bruce Peninsula running today. Glen is a pioneer of wind energy in Ontario, and we’re all grateful to him for his tireless work for the industry.
I’m at the OEA conference. The energy industry is a strange little ecosystem.
Nice view of the falls, though.
Finding a source of “Unlimited free energy” would be the most unimaginably heinous crime possible against humanity. For it would inevitably turn the planet into a cinder. Hastening an isoentropic heat death. If you find a free energy source, you damn well better find a new free energy sink as well. Even then, the relative flux rates will still nail you.
— Don Lancaster, How to Bash Pseudoscience.
I see that Americas Wind Energy updated their website to replace the site I wrote for them a couple of years back. It’s purty, but:
- The page URL sometimes inexplicably switches to d3095932.ejt86.ejtechinternational.com from awe-wind.com.
- The product page for the AWE 52-750 shows a bunch of non-operational turbines.
- The AWE 52-900 page also has a picture of a parked turbine, and it looks a lot like Tallon Energy’s 52-750 at Pincher Creek.
- More parked turbines on the 54-900 page, and occasionally a completely different machine is shown.
Oh wait, I get it – it’s a random turbine image for each page. Hmm.
WindShare‘s having a special general meeting tonight to discuss the following resolution:
Moved that the Board of WindShare recommends to the WindShare I membership at their general meeting of June 7, 2006, the merger of WindShare I and WindShare II for the purpose of entering into the activities necessary for the development of the proposed Lakewind Proposal.
This is quite an important step, and since I’m still in Pittsburgh, I’d hoped to vote by proxy. I was informed by the WindShare administrator that this wasn’t possible; the Cooperative Corporations Act does not allow proxy voting.
I’m annoyed by this, as it looks like WindShare is going to merge its capital with a 10MW project being built on a site with a 6.5 m/s mean wind speed. I wouldn’t develop a project on a site with this low a wind speed, so I asked the following of the board:
Can you clarify, please, that the vote can only be carried if a majority of WindShare members are present at the meeting? It would be grossly unfair if an important vote like this one was carried by a minority.
I would also like to have questions brought to the board, and if possible, the meeting itself. The LakeWind information package states that Bervie has “an average wind speed of 6.5m/s … making this an excellent site for Ontario”. I would not consider a site having this wind resource to be excellent, and it would certainly not be one that would attract a commercial developer. So my questions are:
- Is it in the membership’s best interests to develop a relatively low wind site? WindShare made their political point with the ExPlace turbine, and now we must show that community wind is economically viable.
- Would either of the potential sites be forced to curtail output when/if the extra Bruce units come online? While LakeWind would be connecting to local distribution, any generation in that area might be subject to queueing limitations.
So far, I’ve heard nothing, which makes me uneasy.
I didn’t go to the AWEA banquet last night, but did sneak into the GE Wind event (to which I was semi-invited) at the Andy Warhol Museum, and then on to the Clipper event (to which I definitely wasn’t) at the insanely ornate Heinz Hall. I guess you could say that place amounted to a hill of beans.
Caught up with Norman & David Surplus of B9, whom I last saw more than a decade ago. As there was free drink, I am slightly fragile this morning.
And so to pack …
Our front garden seems to be mostly convolvulus; that sneaky bindweed that trails white or pink trumpet-shaped flowers. It grows so fast, I’m wondering if you could harvest it for biomass energy.
I really dislike gardening, except for growing sunflowers. There are a bunch coming up quite well. I wonder if anyone else would like to use the rest of the garden, or suggest things to do with it?
Canadians are remarkably profligate in their energy use, and I think I know why. It’s not to do with the oft-cited scale of the country, the size of our houses, our cold winters or our hot summers, it’s something simpler than that; it’s what we call our electricity.
Power here is generally known as hydro, and with it comes images of tree-lined rivers with bears happily fishing for salmon. Local electricity companies tend to have that watery thing in their name: Toronto Hydro, Hamilton Hydro, London Hydro (Crieff Hydro is something quite different, though). Some happy green images, eh?
I propose that we stop using the term hydro, and replace it with the snappier smog belching, nuke leaking, only fractionally hydro. It’d certainly make yer average Kathy or Doug drop their double-double (or donut, or dumaurier) when they got their smog belching, nuke leaking, only fractionally hydro bill in. Energy use would plummet, and at no cost to anyone!
Donna Cansfield, provincial energy minister, officially opened Kingsbridge Wind Farm today. We had cake.
Standard Offer Renewable Energy contracts were announced in Ontario today. I’m reserving my third cheer for when I see the pricing and terms.
… Third cheer is definitely go. I’ve been having a think about this, and some words with the folks at the OSEA reception, and I think it’s good. Very good. There are still some details to work out, but this is pretty much exactly what I could hope for.
So there’s a new report on wind integration in Canada, written by The Conference Board of Canada. People are picking up on it, and even the doughty Refocus quotes “… electricity from onshore wind is uneconomic in comparison with traditional alternatives“. Hmm.
So I read the report, and what do I find in the Preface?
As part of an ongoing initiative to investigate energy policy options and the future of the Canadian energy system, the Canadian Nuclear Association contracted The Conference Board of Canada to conduct a comparative study of various countries’ experiences with supporting and implementing large-scale wind projects.
So we’re expected to believe that the CNA would wish to have an objective and non-partisan report written on wind power, eh?
The moment we have all been waiting for has arrived! The Ministry of Energy, the Premier, David Suzuki and OSEA will be announcing the Standard Offer Program on March 21st. We are organizing a celebration and press event in partnership with the Ministry of Energy that will take place at 3 pm at Exhibition Place, Toronto, home to Ontario’s first community wind turbine.
Please mark this date in your calendar and watch for further notices (via email and at www.ontario-sea.org) on details regarding location, speakers and entertainment.
This is a celebratory event – please everyone, let us celebrate the positive role the Standard Offer Contract program will play in Ontario for renewables, for community power, for cost effective power, and for our air quality and health!
Thanks to everyone for their efforts!
If the province has got this right, we really will see a lot more wind power in Ontario.
The Energy Minister wants your thoughts on the Supply Mix. Quick, do you know what the supply mix is? Do you care?
I’m guessing that, as long as the lights are still on, that you can read my blog, the fuel bills aren’t too high, and acide rain hasn’t caused the cat to rust, you don’t really care about the Supply Mix.
But Donna Cansfield wants you to care. She’s sending everyone a brochure Our Energy, Our Future (online here) to make you think that they’d give a one before they go build nukes anyway. And since you were consulted, it’s your fault when the cost overruns roll in.