COMMUNITY WIND POWER – It’s a Blowin’ in the Wind.
Woww – ‘Watts of Wind Wednesday’ is totally blown away, cause’ it’s Friday. Could it be the intermittent nature of the wind? Anyways, better late than never for Community Wind Energy – an answer my friends, that’s a blowin’ in the wind . . . (Thank you Bob Dylan).
POWER TO THE PEOPLE
A few years ago while attending a Storying Our World, Narrative Matters Conference, in Toronto, Canada, my wife Francis and I discovered a community owned wind turbine at Exhibition Place.
This is WindShare, Canada’s first wind co-op – it became operational in 2002.
Image courtesy of Eco Walk the Talk
WHAT ARE CO-OPS?
“Co-operatives are an important part of Canada’s history and play a vital role in our economy. A co-op is a democratically controlled enterprise. Members work together to meet their needs and each member has a say in how the business is run. The Canadian Co-operative Association reports that there are 10,000 co-ops and credit unions in Canada, providing housing, financial services, insurance, agricultural products, child care and other services to over 10 million Canadians.”
WHAT IS WINDSHARE?
“Wind Share is the first wind co-operative in North America, and it owns 52% of this wind turbine. Wind Share is a community initiative whose mission is to provide clean renewable energy at cost to members. Wind Share members are individuals, families, and businesses. 420 members each purchased a minimum of $500.00 shares in the Co-op in order to fund half the capital cost of the wind turbine. Wind Share sells its share of the electricity, and members receive a dividend on net proceeds.”
The Toronto Renewable Energy Co-operative website shows the exact specifications and numerous benefits of the Wind Share turbine.
The Exhibition Place Wind Turbine has become an iconic symbol in the Toronto area, and a 21st century catalyst for growth of the Canadian wind industry.
Here is a quote from the Wind Share website. “Turbines are not often put into cities because buildings, zoning issues and dense residential areas tend to interrupt a “laminar” flow of wind required for wind speeds to generate power.”
Wind turbines are really much more suitable to the wide open spaces.
Great synergy is created utilizing farmland and wind energy in unison.
In Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands turbines are often co-operatively owned by local farmers and citizens alike. A story entitled “Inheriting the Wind” from the Breakthrough Institute reports that “over 80 percent of Denmark’s turbines are owned by more than 150,000 Danish families organized in cooperatives.”
The Danish owned company Vestas is a world leader in the wind industry. Click here for my previous post Tilting at Windmills and the Cape Scott Wind Project – A Turnabout, Indeed!
The Wind Share turbine stands fittingly next to the Shriners Peace Statue.
Image courtesy of The International Year of Co-operatives
Here is a partial list of Community and Co-operative Wind examples from around the world: (courtesy of Saskatoon Community Wind)
Cowesses First Nation, Cowessess, Saskatchewan (800 kilowatts – 2013)
Peace Energy Co-operative, Dawson Creek, British Columbia (8 megawatts – 2009)
Pukwis Energy Co-op, Lake Simcoe, Ontario (20 megawatts – Inactive
TREC Renewable Energy Co-operative – Windshare – The Lakewind Project, Bervie, Ontario (20 megawatts – in planning)
The City of Summerside, Summerside, Prince Edward Island (12 megawatts – 2009)
Basin Electric – Prairie Winds North Dakota and South Dakota (Crow Lake) & South Dakota Wind Partners (115.5 megawatts – 2010 & 162 megawatts – 2011)
Kodiak Electric Association, Kodiak, Alaska (4.5 megawatts – 2008 & 4.5 megawatts – 2012)
Middelgrunden Offshore Wind – Copenhagen, Denmark (20 megawatts – 2001)
Baywind Energy Co-op – UK (Harlock Hill 2.5 MW & Haverigg 2 – 600 KW)
Australia and New Zealand
West Wind, Wellington, New Zealand (143 megawatts – 2009)
Hepburn Wind Co-op, Australia (4.1 megawatts – 2011)
By the way – if you live in the Toronto area, don’t miss the 12th annual Windfall Ecology Festival happening this weekend June 8th and 9th at Fairy Lake Park in Newmarket, Ontario, Canada.
Image courtesy of Cooperatives Europe
Thumbs Up & Power to the People – From Our Home in the Country – Bruce