Ontario Power Generation has thrown the switch on what it claims is the tallest wind turbine in North America. The 1.8 MW Vestas turbine will generate enough electricity to supply 600 homes for a year and, similar to the utility’s other operating turbine, is located at the site of a nuclear reactor.PICKERING, Ontario, CA 2001-09-11 [SolarAccess.com] “We expect renewable energy will play a growing role in Ontario once the market opens and customers can choose their suppliers,” says chief operating office Graham Brown, but he noted renewable energy is not in a position to displace traditional forms of generation, such as nuclear. “The wind doesn’t always blow, the sun doesn’t always shine,” he says. “We expect this turbine will produce some power two days out of three, and should run flat out about 10 percent of the time.” The Pickering turbine is OPG’s second wind project. Since 1995, a 600 kW turbine has been operating near the Bruce nuclear reactor. The utility is a partner in Huron Wind, a planned 10 MW windfarm on the shores of Lake Huron, which is expected to be in service next summer. “Wind power is a zero-emission source of energy and we are pleased to see it become part of the generation mix for this province,” says environment minister Elizabeth Witmer. “New green technologies like wind turbines complement our government’s tough new air regulations.” “Two of the key principles guiding Ontario’s transition to a competitive electricity market are protecting our environment and encouraging new sources of power,” adds energy minister Jim Wilson. “I congratulate OPG for increasing the amount of green energy available in the province.” The Danish turbine is 384 feet high and is part of a US$33 million strategy by the provincially owned power company to develop new sources of renewable energy as it prepares for deregulation of the Ontario power sector next year. “We estimate that, by the end of 2010, there will be 10,000 MW of wind power across the country and we congratulate OPG on their pioneering role in developing wind power in Ontario,” says Jim Salmon of the Canadian Wind Energy Association. OPG wants to quadruple its supply from green energy by 2005, using a mix of wind, solar, small hydro and biogas. While the Pickering turbine will help reduce Ontario’s dependence on coal-fired power plants, Jack Gibbons of the Ontario Clean Air Alliance says the province’s “silly” emissions trading system make the installation of wind turbines lead to a new increase in pollution. The system allows power suppliers to increase certain emissions while reducing others. OPG has 77 generating stations with total capacity of 25,000 MW and generates 85 percent of electricity consumed in Canada’s largest province. Hydroelectric power accounts for one quarter of its capacity from 68 generating stations, ranging from 1 to 1,300 MW. It operates nuclear reactors at Pickering and Darlington, five coal-fired plants and one that is fuelled by oil and natural gas. In addition to the 10 MW Huron Wind facility, OPG recently installed a 4.8 kW PV system on its headquarters building in downtown Toronto, and says it will invest $50 million by 2005 to increase its renewable energy capacity to 500 MW.