The Europeans have always been in the lead when it comes to adopting the kind of green technology that includes the latest wind farm techniques and recent reports have them racing to place more clean wind energy off their coasts. In the last three years European wind energy efforts have more than doubled and plans to increase output continue to move forward.
Amid ever increasing fossil fuel prices and political pressure, more plans have recently been announced to bump up offshore wind energy capacity according to the European Wind Energy Association, or EWEA. Still called a niche industry, but one that’s rapidly growing, the offshore wind farm market will count for 8% of worldwide needs in 2016.
Not to be outdone, we’ve kept pace here in Canada. Currently we use only enough of what’s called our ‘massive’ wind energy potential to power 1 million of our homes, but there are hopes to harness the power of our three coastlines and windy mountains. The Canadian Wind Energy Association also advocates what they call a balanced energy diet whereby conventional electricity and the type generated by wind power compliment each other.
The proposed relationship between wind and hydroelectric is just one example of this suggested tag team. It’s proposed that over shorter time spans hydro can be used here in Canada to compensate for times when wind power isn’t as abundant. On the other hand, wind power is the clear choice to compensate when reservoir levels drop which is a forecast from the models derived from climate change.
There can be no mistake the push is on in Canada to make this sustainable resource one for the future in several provinces including Ontario. Consider the future plans for Canada’s biggest province when it comes to wind energy that encompasses:
· Plans to increase the province’s wind farm capacity by 2018. There’s a double-edged sword here when it comes to employment and revenue since the proposed 5,600 MW of new wind capacity will create 80,000 person years of employment. Good news for a province that has been ravaged by the hard times encountered by their manufacturing sector.
· Increased revenues in the forms of taxes and lease payments over the 20 year lifespan of the projects being proposed.
There are even those in the industry that are predicting bigger things than the current numbers support. In fact, one of the Canadian proponents of wind-based energy, CanWEA, is saying that this sustainable energy can support 25% of the nation’s electricity demands by the year 2025. A new way of thinking comes with any shift to clean energy and the problem has always been with detractors who say sustainable energy efforts don’t make room for job creation. Clearly that’s not the case here as the projections for 2025 are also including 52,000 new high quality jobs in the arena.
Across the globe, more and more countries are seeing the obvious benefits to looking into sustainable energy in general and wind energy specifically. From the wind farm techniques used off the coasts in Europe to our efforts at harnessing the power of this natural resource here at home, the benefits are becoming more and more clear.