Justin Thompson, Liberal candidate for Calgary West, considers himself a prospector, but it isn’t gold he is seeking. Thompson is after a natural phenomenon that is virtually invisible, and something that the Liberal government is touting as a means towards achieving environmental sustainability and keeping Canada green.Calgary, Alberta – June 10, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] “I’m a wind prospector,” said Thompson. For the past four years, Thompson has worked in the wind industry in Alberta, where he has also worked closely with the Liberal government to make the use of this potential energy source a reality. Now, Thompson is running in the federal election campaign, with one of his goals being to spread information about the potential of wind energy. That goal took a step closer to reality with the release of the Liberal platform on June 3. Within a decade, 5% of Canada’s electricity will be generated by wind. In order to achieve this, the Liberal government has committed to quadruple the objectives of the existing Wind Power Production Incentive from the current megawatts target to a 4,000-megawatt target. “Canada is taking steps to get in the game,” Thompson said, “and the Prime Minister has always been a supporter of wind power.” Globally, wind energy is advancing quickly as a legitimate energy source. In fact, its use has been increasing by more than 30% annually for the past five years. The City of Calgary is one of Canada’s most advanced users of wind energy, becoming the first North American city to run its entire transit system on wind energy. “Wind energy potential is enormous. We’ve barely scratched the surface,” Thompson said. There are so many benefits to wind energy, says Thompson. Thompson said there are no emissions, it can be cheaper than fossil fuels, and many areas in Canada produce more than enough wind to power large areas. Also, Canada’s farmers win in the end because the government leases their land to build the turbines, giving them a source of revenue as they do in the United States. Thompson points out that in Germany, Denmark and some U.S. states, wind energy is a common source of power. In fact, the State of Texas produces more than twice the wind production of Canada, and Denmark produces five times more wind power than Ontario. Thompson has worked as a manager of development and land acquisition for Vision Quest Windelectric, Canada’s largest producer of wind energy. In addition to working towards the 5% goal, the Liberal government will embark on an education campaign in order to increase consumer demand, and it will promote research and development on clean energy sources. For example, the Liberals will create a National Wind Atlas, which will be an important data source for determining the best locations for wind farms.