Canadian Consulting Engineer

New tools help to locate wind projects

Canada now has tools to predict wind patterns and locate wind farms with greater precision. The Wind Energy Atlas w...

October 28, 2004   Canadian Consulting Engineer

Canada now has tools to predict wind patterns and locate wind farms with greater precision. The Wind Energy Atlas was unveiled October 18 by Stephane Dion, federal Minister of the Environment, and R. John Efford, Minister of Natural Resources, at the Canadian Wind Energy Association annual conference in Montreal.
Compiled with research help from the Meteorological Service of Canada and using a sophisticated computer modelling program called the Wind Energy Simulation Toolkit or “WEST,” the Atlas is a massive database of high resolution wind statistics for all Canada.
As well as helping choose the best places for new wind farms, the WEST program can be used to forecast wind conditions up to two weeks in advance, enabling electricity generators to predict when they need to bring auxiliary power sources on line.
The federal government subsidizes new wind power projects with its $260-million Wind Power Production Incentive. Under that program it covers approximately half the higher cost of wind energy compared to conventional power sources for the first 10 years of the project. The government has also committed to purchase 20% of its electricity from emerging renewable power sources by the year 2006.


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