TILTING AT WINDMILLS AND THE CAPE SCOTT WIND PROJECT – A TURNABOUT, INDEED!

      As the story goes, Don Quixote comes into sight of 30 or 40 windmills: “Fortune,” he says,  “is arranging matters for us better than we could have hoped.”

IMG_1402

 

This blog post dates back to 2004, when I wrote an article for the local newspaper, as a proponent for what was then known as the Knob Hill Wind Proposal. This is a recycled and updated version of that story.

IMG_1226

 

Talk of the town is the “windmill guys”, bringing business opportunities, jobs, and hope for the future to Northern Vancouver Island. And, to the earths biosphere as a whole.

 

IMG_1069

 

The Cape Scott Wind Project, is an inspiring 300 million dollar project, located on a barren plateau near the Cape Scott Provincial Park on the northern tip of Vancouver Island. 

Construction of phase 1 began in 2012, which includes 55 Vestas Wind Turbines that will produce 99 Mega-Watts of electricity at peak output.

The installed capacity of the worlds wind energy is 282,482 Mega-Watts, way up from 31,180 Mega-Watts in 2002.

.

IMG_1346-2

Wind Energy is taking off world wide:

 

1) Today, wind turbines provide about 3% of the worlds electricity. Five years from now in 2018, this is anticipated to rise to 8% of global demand, according to the World Wind Association.

2) Global wind power installations have grown exponentially in the past few decades. Between 2005-2010, the average annual growth rate was 27.4%, despite the wind industry being affected by the international financial crisis.

3) Wind power has the potential to provide 20% of Canada’s energy supply, as estimated by the Canadian Wind Energy Association – (this link shows a list of about 150 Canadian wind farms.) 

4) 29% of Denmark’s electricity is wind powered, 19% for Portugal , !6% for Spain, 14% for Ireland, and 8% for Germany.

IMG_1419

 

Wind Power is not new – many societies were built upon harnessing wind for water pumping, milling, and sail power.

The nacelle of a modern wind turbine houses main components and is almost the size of a bus.

IMG_1083

 

As it goes, the power of wind is experiencing a renewal.

And although it blows intermittently, the wind stays at a constant price of zero. Meanwhile, oil prices are chaotic, with a general trend upwards.

 

Still, the cards are stacked –  fossil fuels received 523 Billion dollars in world-wide subsidies in 2011, which is 6 times more than for low carbon energy sources like wind and solar.

slides0092 (4)a

Canada’s Conservative Government, led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, subsidizes and promotes continued growth and overdependence of fossil fuels.

An example is the Alberta tar sands, which uses massive amounts of natural gas to melt out the bitumen, even further accentuating climate change.

And absurdly, the Harper government cuts or eliminates research and development of renewable energy and efficiency programs!

 

A  U.S. study titled “Brittle Power” prepared for the Pentagon in 1981 stated that “the foundation of a secure energy system is to need less energy in the first place, and then to get it form sources that are inherently invulnerable because they’re diverse, dispersed, renewable, and mainly local.”

Like the Cape Scott Wind farm on the supply side. And energy efficient goods and automobiles, on the demand side of things.

 

IMG_4275-2a

A power Smart or a bummer Hummer? More or less by 6 or 7 times, in space and fuel usage. 

 

The late visionary and economic scholar, E.F. Schumacher, once wrote: “Perhaps we cannot raise the winds. But each of us can put up the sail, so that when the wind comes we can catch it.”

IMG_1373

 

Throughout the world today, in many local communities, maybe the Quixotic Dream is not so impossible. And maybe tilting at windmills will be a turnabout indeed . . .

“At this moment a sea breeze sprang up, and in harmony, the great blades began to spin.”

IMG_1390

Wind power is on a bright road to the future. Can you see the new horizons?

 

 

IMG_1216Stay tuned in May for more posts on my wind series, WOWWW –

Watts of Wind-Web-Wednesday’s.

Cheers – Bruce.

 

Advertisements

15 thoughts on “TILTING AT WINDMILLS AND THE CAPE SCOTT WIND PROJECT – A TURNABOUT, INDEED!

  1. Pingback: WOW – More Mega Watts from Cape Scott on Global Wind Day! | through the luminary lens

  2. Pingback: COMMUNITY WIND POWER – It’s a Blowin’ in the Wind. | through the luminary lens

  3. Hi Bruce
    I visited BS in 2012 and fell in love with it. Your coast is also threatened by oil tankers traveling up into pristine wilderness. If you go to my earlier posts, you can read brief thoughts and will see pictures of where I was, and perhaps understand why I felt compelled to post – I wanted other people to care too.

    I hope I sound less crazy than people did 20 years ago but we just have to understand that what happens in British Columbia affects everyone on the planet, including the animals. I am happy to read about your windfarm, understand the concerns about the birds, and agree a solution can be found – I encourage you to keep posting.

    • Hello Jeanne – thanks for your thoughtful comment, and no, you don’t sound crazy. And even if you did, it’s the so-called ‘sane’ people that worry me more!

      I have followed and supported the The BC Mortorium on Oil Exploration for a long time – maybe 30 + years since it was put in place. About 10 years ago it came up for review, and within that process much of the grassroots community witnessed strongly to keep the moratorium in place.

      The tanker traffic issue is another more tenuous matter, especially today. David Anderson, a veteran retired liberal politician, has dedicated much of his life work to safeguard the BC coast. He has been Canada`s Minister of Environment as well as the Minister of Fisheries.

      I quoted the head of the American Wind Energy Association in the WOWW post – part 2. Also, the president of the National Wildlife Federation told members of the AWEA at their May 2013 annual convention, that “they (the wind people) represent an “insurgent industry” that is “taking on an incumbent (oil) industry that plays hardball.”

      Pretty strong words, eh? Big Oil playing hardball – and then us. We just can’t be in the grandstands as spectators anymore.

      I look forward to look at your blog posts with the many photos of our beautiful province of British Columbia – thanks for your gentle reminder to keep on working to keep this part of the earth from further abuse, especially by the fossil fuel industry.

      Best regards – Bruce

  4. Pingback: WOWWww–Wind Odyssey Wednesday – (continued) – with windpowered waterpumpers | through the luminary lens

  5. Pingback: WOWW-The Dalai Lama and Historic BC Election pre-empts Watts of Wind on Wednesday | through the luminary lens

  6. Pingback: WOWW: Part 2 – WATTS OF WIND on WEDENSDAY | through the luminary lens

  7. Encouraging. Your previous post was stunning, thank you for your work. I have family who live in Courtenay, BC, and also a brother who lives at Tatlayoko Lake, west of Williams Lake, on the mainland. He built a ranch there, similar to what you have done, and is now providing internet services to the Chilcotin Valley.

    • Thanks for the re-affirmation of my previous post in memorial of garment workers of Bangladesh. I haven`t travelled to Tatlayoko Lake of the Chilcotin area, though I`ve heard it is beautiful. In regards to Courtenay, I grew up there and still have siblings & nieces and nephews in the area . . . and with some of your family there, it really reinforces MLK`s words – how we`re all caught up in an inescapable network of mutuality. An amazing reality, isn`t it?

  8. I think wind energy is a good think and one way to solve our energy demands for the future. Here in Germany we have some problems with birds and bats getting killed by the wind turbines. I think scientists will find a solution for that problem soon.

    • Yes, thank you for pointing this out. . . . I have heard of similar issues with bats in Canada, and in the U.S. with raptors like the golden eagle, an endangered species. As you say, biologists are working with wind technologists to reduce this problem.

      Not to downplay it, I also understand that more birds are killed by a domestic cat, or one automobile, than by the average wind turbine. No doubt, it is imperative to be aware of the negative effects of any technology.

      We`re referring both to the precautionary pricnciple and due diligence. These highlight the importance and integrity of the environmental review process and the stringent enforcement of environmental regulations. They must be applied in all sectors of the energy field.

      This is why I so ardently believe, along with James Hansen, that carbon (either wasted or saved), must be measured and priced. In the changing climate of the 21st century, this is the earths new bottom line.

      Special cheers, for your leading by example and commitment to carbon neutral transportation, in the form of bicyling! And for caring about the bats!

      In solidarity . . . Bruce

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: