At Cowan, we understand the importance of staying on top of industry related news. With ongoing development and investment in renewable energy resources, we’re paying attention.
With changes in turbine design and technology, wind energy is expected to become a major player in efficient energy output. In fact, industry researchers indicate that by 2025, wind energy will surpass total current day Hydro-Quebec output.
Wind Energy: Household Costs
Hydro Quebec is among one of North America’s largest electric utility providers with 97% of its output being from electrical power. Inflation and the intended expansion of wind farms across Quebec was the driving force in a recent application to increase electricity rates in the province.
Wind Energy: Output and Efficiency
Often criticized for being inefficient due to landscape requirements and low output, wind energy in Quebec and in Canada overall is still considered by some to be a relatively new source of renewable energy on the cusp of benefiting from years of R&D. According to The Canadian Wind Energy Association, new turbine design will make wind farms more reliable and efficient and competitively priced, even up against traditional energy resources such as fossil fuels. With new design and technology, Canada can achieve 55,000 megawatts (MW) of domestic wind power capacity by 2025. Today, Hydro-Quebec produces 35,650 MW of which 97% is produced by hydroelectric facilities.
The Future of Wind Turbine Technology
Aside from aesthetic reasons, much of the criticism on output is that wind turbine technology is limited to 20% to 25% efficiency and has an output of less than 6 MW: requiring significant space and land in order to generate output comparable to other forms of energy, such as nuclear. With new technology, wind turbines can look forward to a 25% increase in power generation capacity and the ability to stand-up to harsh Canadian winters and through the industrial Internet capabilities, can be operated, monitored and adjusted from anywhere in the world.
It is also important into the question, the regional benefits of wind farming. Using Hydro-Quebec’s wind farming expansion projects as an example, job creation and industry expertise will serve the area long term. Based on Hydro-Quebec distribution projections in wind farming activities, the benefits are the following:
-150 to 300 jobs during each year of wind farm construction
-300 jobs per year specializing in output transmission
-150 permanent jobs for wind farm operation and maintenance
-450 direct, permanent jobs in the Gaspésie region and the regional county municipality of Matane directly related to turbine manufacturing.
-430 additional direct, permanent jobs in future plants related to manufacturing
With changes in wind turbine technology and design that have led to increased efficiency, and employment opportunities in remote areas of Canada, is it possible that this renewable energy resource will be as competitive as fossil fuels? We’ll let you be the judge.