Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Toronto's token windmill

The giant windmill at the Canadian National Exhibition Centre continues to attract favourable publicity. A flyer from Toronto Hydro Corporation tells us that the 'mill is jointly owned by Toronto Hydro and the Toronto Renewable Energy Co-Operative, is 30-stories high and "stands majestically on the grounds of Exhibition Place, near the foot of Dufferin Street."
The turbine:
- stands 94 metres tall;
- produces up to 1,800 megawatt hours of electrity annually (enough to supply the needs of 250 homes);
- spins about 21 times per minute in maximum wind conditions;
- displaces up to 380 tonnes of CO2 annually;
- is manufactured by Lagerwey based in the Netherlands.
An elderly couple riding the train from London, Ontario, were wondering why there was only one, having seen the wind farms out west. "Must be some kind of research project."
Well there will be another built on the grounds of the Ashbridges Bay Treatment Plant. However interest in investing in new windmills has been stopped in its tracks by the provincial government price cap. In subsidising consumer electricity prices the incentive to invest in new capacity has gone away it seems and with it the need to economise on electricity - cheap juice encourages waste. Oh the law of unintended consequences.

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