Monday, March 05, 2007

Windy Natural Resources

Wind is a daily feature in our area on most days of the year. Today, strong northerly winds are causing havoc on the roads as blowing snow reduces visibility. Yesterday we spent several hours in downtown Toronto. A brisk wind blew off Lake Ontario and was funneled between the skyscrapers, making for a very cold walk.
On the Toronto lakefront, on the grounds of the Canadian National Exhibition, a single wind turbine stands, and at a height of 30 stories, is visible from all approaches to the city core. In comparison, the CN tower shown above stands at 182 storeys.
Here is a quote from the website of the Toronto Hydro Corporation. It is really interesting to follow this link and read the entire page.

This wind turbine was inspired by a group of Toronto residents who had a dream of cleaner energy and cleaner air. Their vision came alive through a joint venture partnership of Toronto Hydro Energy Services and the WindShare Co-operative, who jointly constructed the wind turbine on December 18, 2002. The turbine is a good example of how communities can work together to meet their electricity needs and address global issues of air pollution and climate change.
This is the first wind turbine erected in the City of Toronto and the first in a downtown urban setting in North America. It stands thirty stories tall and has the capacity to power up to 250 homes. Electricity from the wind yields no emissions, no waste, and is 100% green.The 750 kW turbine has displaced 815 tonnes of CO2 emissions since it was commissioned and generated 2,864,768 kWhrs.

There were many hurdles to overcome as this project was in the planning stages. Resistance was present from many detractors who felt it was an eyesore, was dangerous to shore birds, was too noisy, “not in my backyard”, etcetera, etcetera...

We do have knowledge and the technology to move ahead with many initiatives that would reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. On a windy day like this, I wonder why there are not more wind turbines on the horizon?


  1. Having done a fair bit of traveling in Europe, we have many wind turbines there. They are controversial partly because of "ruining the view" but they also are responsible for bird kills, and that is problematic.
    I agree we have the know-how to reduce carbon emissions; it seems it is the will we lack.

  2. On the link I provided, there is a link to a study that states wind turbines are not an increased risk to birds. It is so hard to determine the motivation and accuracy of such research. I do know the high buildings in urban centres are a real risk for birds as they fly into the windows. There is no 100% risk free alternative for power.

  3. I saw that turbine on your Flickr site today and wondered about it. Very interesting. I hear that Toronto is a beautiful city - one of the cleanest cities in the northern hemisphere! Thanks for the education, Ruth.

  4. I think the CN tower and other skyscrapers is as much of an eyesore as windmills, even more so perhaps... As for bird deaths I often wonder how many more creature are effected by oil spills and various other petrochemical pollutants.

    I think the reason there is less of a trend towards green energy, in the USA at least, is there is an overwhelming trend of reactionism. People are simply raised to be to lazy to be proactive and care. Also many seem to equate caring for our planet with "the liberals" even though it is an issue we all face. We all breathe the same (smog filled) air after all.

    Even in Spokane, which has been pretty green since Expo '74, the main power company has said they intend on moving away from water power and building more coal power plants! Other then a small group of us, no one seems to be raising a finger in wondering why...

    It is really good though to see there is a city in North America where the people are taking a proactive stance.

  5. Mary- Toronto is a lovely city. I know it well and feel safe on the streets. I enjoy visiting frequently, but am glad I live in a smaller centre.

    Jaspenelle- We are going to be forced to act to save the environment eventually. I sense there is a growing political will for this type of thing. The Green Party is really gaining support in Canada, especially with your generation.


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