Wind Farms – a “green” source of energy
There are more ways than one to create electricity.
For example, in places where there is a lot of fast running water, companies generate electricity by harnessing the energy of the moving water in hydroelectricity dams. In places where there is lots of coal, natural gas or oil in the ground, companies burn the fuel to make steam, which rotates a turbine. A nuclear reaction is another way to make the steam to turn the turbine. These are the standard means to electric power, and each places a burden on the environment.
But there is a way to get our power without a major environmental impact. If you travel through a windy region, such as Southern Alberta, you may see wind mills producing electricity. But these aren’t like the famous old mills that exist in Holland, more quaint than functional: Today’s wind mill stands 85 meters high, has a rotor diameter of 71 meters, and produces an impressive 2.2MW of electricity.Each mill houses a generator that can produce electricity. Within the generator is a giant magnet inside a ring wrapped with long wire. The wind spins the blades, causing the generator to turn and producing an electric current in the wire. This current is then introduced into a feed system that delivers it to the main supply grid.
Historically, power has been created in western Canada through the burning of fossil fuels and by harnessing waterways. However, power generation is changing in Alberta. Several years ago, the McBride Lake Wind Farm was constructed. It consists of 114 turbines and produces 75 Megawatts of electricity. And in 2006, ENMAX Corporation will build an 80-megawatt wind farm near Taber at a cost of approximately $140 million.
The Taber Wind Power generation facility will employ an advanced turbine design supplied by ENERCON, a German manufacturer. The 37 ENERCON turbines will generate enough power to meet the needs of more than 32,000 homes.
The City of Calgary is suitably impressed, so has committed to purchase all of this new power for its municipal facilities: “We are happy to work with ENMAX on this project and enhance our role as a leader in environmental stewardship in Canada,” said Dave Bronconnier, Mayor, City of Calgary. “By securing the output of the Taber wind power facility, the City of Calgary will have three-quarters of its electricity supplied from green power–more than any other major city in the country.”
Wind mills are considered expensive to install, but they are relatively cheap to operate–so far wind is still free! And because ENMAX is harvesting the wind, visitors to the mountain parks will be able to enjoy the benefits from having a clean source of power today and for generations to come.