Regional wind energy opportunity

 

I recently stumbled upon an interesting article in the Toronto Star (click here to read it) about the development of offshore wind turbines. Anyone that lives in the northeast United States or southern Ontario knows that the electricity grid in the region is sometimes not up to the task of meeting the energy needs that are required of it. Introducing additional power in to the grid is very important for the region and particularly energy that comes from clean sources.

Energy derived from wind turbines can be that source the region needs, but installing this type of equipment on land in this area is no easy task. This is the most populated region on the continent so finding a place where it’s acceptable to nearby residents which usually do not take kindly to massive wind turbines will be tough to find. However, this area is also home to the Great Lakes and this provides ample options for offshore wind turbines. As long as the wind turbines are at least a few kilometers from the shore (so that residents won’t complain about the eye sore) these turbines can be erected on the lakes and provide a steady source of energy.

The province of Ontario has the most potential to reap these rewards because it has the longest shoreline in the area. In fact, there are already a few companies that are either looking in to this potential or have already begun investing and preparing for such projects. On the U.S. side of the border, Ohio and New York are currently the most interested in wind energy. Both states, plus Ontario, see an opportunity here not only from the obvious energy perspective, but also because of the benefits to their economies. They are all interested in the fact that by erecting these wind turbines it will also generate related businesses in the area like maintenance, construction and supply companies. This can be meaningful in terms of jobs added to these three jurisdictions.

Although it will not be quick, as these large projects take a while to come to fruition, the impact can be very positive. There are some critics to this idea however, especially environmentalists. They fear that these wind turbines will harm the local wildlife, ecosystem and other problems. As I mentioned, residents that live near potential wind turbines would also be against it, so the locations need to be far enough away from land. In terms of environmental concerns, these obviously need to be thoroughly researched before hand to make sure the effects would be minimal. If this turns out to be the case however, then these projects need to commence.

Environmentalists need to understand that people will demand only more energy, not less. Moreover, if we do not get our energy from something like wind, then we will get it from other, potentially less clean sources. Therefore, even if these projects are not perfect from every perspective, they may be the best solution out there, so it must be pursued.