Wind Energy Database Forecasts Industry Growth

Field-testing has entered the digital age for the Canadian wind industry. Scientists with Environment Canada’s Meteorological Service of Canada (MSC) have released the Canadian Wind Energy Atlas, which is a database of wind characteristics and statistics across the country.

This electronic “map” will aid in the growth of Canada’s wind power industry by helping developers deliver a supply of renewable energy sooner than traditional wind testing measures normally allow. “An efficient, reliable supply of clean, renewable energy is an essential part of addressing climate change and respecting our Kyoto commitment, and in assuring a competitive economy for the future,” said Minister of the Environment Stephane Dion. “The Canadian Wind Energy Atlas is an important step in that direction, and all Canadians can be extremely proud of the Canadian scientists and researchers who have developed the exciting and valuable technology that made the Atlas possible.” The Wind Atlas was created with the Wind Energy Simulation Toolkit (WEST), which is a computer based modeling program that was developed by scientists with the MSC in partnership with their colleagues at Natural Resources Canada. WEST allows planners of wind energy projects to look both backward and forward in time to generate a detailed picture of wind patterns for any location in Canada. A wind map should allow developers to site wind farms with greater precision, and should reduce the need for extensive field studies to verify wind conditions in a given area. It is hoped that this technology will move the development of new projects along quicker than before. “There is no question wind power will be an important part of Canada’s energy mix for the future, and the Government of Canada is determined to provide the conditions that will allow the industry to expand,” said Minister of Natural Resources R. John Efford. “We made a commitment to quadruple the Wind Power Production Incentive in the Speech from the Throne, and the release of the Wind Atlas and the availability of WEST will make investments in wind energy even more attractive. ” The Government of Canada has committed to purchase 20 percent of its electricity from emerging renewable power sources by 2006. As of September 2004 Canada had 439 MW of installed wind energy capacity.

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