Data provided by the Canadian Wind Energy Association would lead one to believe that wind energy is currently supplying Ontario with 963 MW of wind energy (Blowing Up A Storm – June 11). During the seven days from June 5 through June 11 the average hourly wind energy delivered to the grid was 161 MW, the maximum in any hour was 466 MW and the minimum in a single hour was only 8 MW. On June 10, obviously a calm day, the average over 24 hours was only 23 MW.
Wind-power installations are redundant capacity. Unless we are prepared to experience brownouts or blackouts when the wind drops, equivalent regular generating capacity must be available. The only option is energy storage, which is not in current plans. Contrary to press releases, wind energy will not provide energy to offset coal-fired generation should the remaining coal plants be shut down. So, somewhere in our future electricity bill we will cover the capital costs of both conventional generation and the wind farms.
In any case, China, Germany and the United States are constructing new coal-fired plants that will make any reduction in carbon emissions arising from our ineffective wind installations a mere drop in a bucket. My conclusion: Wind generation in Ontario is simply a feel-good project – some might kindly call it a classic boondoggle.
J.T. Reid, Oakville, Ont.