Saturday, January 15, 2005

Prince Edward Island Going 100% Wind/Hydro

Province moving to wind/hydrogen
Last Updated Jan 14 2004 04:20 PM AST
CHARLOTTETOWN – The province appears to be turning its back on natural gas in favour of hydrogen and wind energy.

Jamie BallemLast year the provincial government developed ambitious plans to build a $100-million natural gas pipeline to the Island, and use it to fire a 200-megawatt electrical generation plant. In December, with gas supplies and prices less certain, government began to back away from those plans.
From December 5, 2003: Ballem dims Island's energy plan
This week, the province seems to be walking away from natural gas entirely, and replacing those plans with equally ambitious ones for wind and hydrogen energy.

"We're using more wind, we're building more wind capacity now," says Premier Pat Binns. "That will continue into the future. It will become a bigger part of the picture."
Jamie Ballem takes cabinet responsibility for the energy plan. He's meeting with Atlantic energy ministers next week, where he'll try to launch a cooperative regional approach to developing more generating capacity. Much of the Island's contribution, he says, could come from wind.
"It's such a renewable, and it's so clean," says Ballem. It's our oil. It's our opportunity because it's one thing we do have here. We have good wind conditions. Maybe we should be maximizing it. If we can get Maritime cooperation then it makes it a lot easier for us to look at. Instead of 15 per cent of our energy coming from wind, can we make it 50 per cent, can we make it 100 per cent?"
Cooperation is important, because P.E.I. would have to draw electricity from the region when it wasn't generating its own wind energy, and feed energy to the region when it was generating an excess.
The North Cape Wind Farm currently generates over 100 megawatts, but the province would have to generate a lot more to implement such a plan.
"How to convince small businesses or a farm or a cluster of houses to say I want to put a small turbine up to produce our own energy," wonders Ballem. "How much potential is there for that? We don't know that answer right now. We look at a country like Germany that's producing over 13,000 megawatts of power from wind. If we've got the wind to power one turbine, we've got the wind to power a whole lot more."
The province is also looking into the potential of using wind power to create hydrogen, and plans to create a hydrogen village in western P.E.I. to explore different uses for the fuel.
"Our proposal is to do applied research with every possible use of hydrogen as a fuel," says Ballem. "What we want to do is combine it with the wind farm in North Cape so we're producing hydrogen with the wind energy. How can we convert a fishing boat, and have a container of fuel so the boat is powered by hydrogen? We'll hopefully have some farm equipment – tractors or trucks. Our intention is to work at every application of hydrogen."
From (June 10, 2003): Fuel cell products ready for sale soon
The goal is a working field project in five years where companies can come and see wind and hydrogen energy in use, and possibly buy any new technology developed.
The government is working with three Maritime universities and several private companies on the project, and is looking for Ottawa to pay half the $15 million price tag. If the application is approved the project would start later this year.
Ballem says the government is just a few months away from making some major decisions which will set energy policy in the province for the forseeable future.