Colin's Journal

Colin's Journal: A place for thoughts about politics, software, and daily life.

January 27th, 2003

Our wind turbine

We were on our way to the airport, on a long and indirect series of flights back home for Christmas, when I first saw our neighbourhood wind turbine. The fact that up to then we had failed to notice a 94 meter tall wind turbine protruding out of the city scape indicates how far away from it we live. Upon return to Toronto I have spent the odd moment looking out over our deck to see whether or not we can see it from our flat, and thought several times that I maybe could see it, hiding behind a tree in the distance.

When I awoke this morning and glanced out over the deck I noticed, in the near distance, the turbine happily rotating away. It is indeed behind a tree some distance away, but quite visible when it’s turning. Apparently it cost approximately C$1.2M to build (it’s not clear if any maintenance is included in that figure) and will generate 1,800 MWh of electricity a year, which at market rates (now fixed by the government at 4.3c/kWh for most consumers) could bring in $77K per year.

As such it’s only a symbolic and public awareness development, but it seems that when a large site is developed the cost of wind generated electricity is pretty comparable to a new coal station and close to that or a modern gas fired station (see the excellent British wind energy site and this rather more independent FT article). Wind energy is only part of the answer (apparently only 10% of the UK electricities needs can be met this way before reliability becomes an issue), but it is still nice to have our own neighbourhood turbine, and even nicer to see how quickly wind power generation is being built.

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Copyright 2015 Colin Stewart

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