If you’ve driven through the rural lands surrounding the Region of Waterloo then you’ve undoubtedly noticed the increasing numbers of wind turbines churning out electrical power for their owners. Waterloo Region is not known for particularly high winds that are attractive to commercial wind developers, but there can be exceptions in treeless exposed areas.
Review the Get Started section for consideration of whether to site your own wind project or whether you’d rather pool your resources with others and invest in a windier site with larger scale turbines. If the latter is of interest, you may want to consider joining nearby community energy co-operatives such as Local Initiative for Future Energy, L.I.F.E.) or cedco-op. Before investing in a wind farm project, however, check whether the project has, or is likely to receive, a connection agreement from Hydro One.
There are several different types of “wind energy converters”, but they all operate on the same principle: when the wind blows, it pushes a rotating part (the blades), which turn a shaft. The turning shaft creates a rotating magnetic field, generating electricity. Some wind turbine shafts are horizontal (e.g. the more common type pictured in the media), and some are vertical. For any wind turbine, the power and energy output increases dramatically as the wind speed increases, therefore the most cost-effective wind turbines are located in the windiest areas. Wind speed is affected by the local terrain and increases with height above the ground, so wind turbines are usually mounted on tall towers. For more technical information on wind energy, visit Paul Gipe’s “Wind Works” website.
There are at least 5 wind turbines in Waterloo Region, including 2 older-style turbines just north of Waterloo that were purchased from California and refurbished and installed by WAM Energy. Others include a turbine sited at the YMCA Outdoor Education centre near Paradise Lake, a prototype vertical turbine sited on a farm near Ayr, and Jim Cappleman’s turbine.
Ontario’s FIT and microFIt program accept wind power projects. More information on FIT and microFIT programs can be found here. Wind projects can also be connected under the Net Metering regulation.
If you are interested in installing a wind turbine on your property contact our list of preferred installers.
Costs & Incentives
If you’re like most of the members of CREW, then one of the only things preventing you from having your own renewable energy system is money. In that case there’s some good news. Below is a summary of some of the financial incentives available that could help you finance your project:
Ontario’s net metering regulation allows you to send electricity generated from renewable sources to the electrical grid for a credit toward your energy costs. Your utility will subtract the value of electricity you supply to the grid from the value of what you take from the grid. What you’ll see on your bill is the “net” difference between those two amounts. If you supply power that is worth more than what you take from the grid over the billing period, you’ll receive a credit that can help lower future energy bills. Net Metering tends to be best suited to situations where you are confident that you’ll consume all the power you generate on site.
Ontario’s Feed-in Tariff (FIT and microFIT) Program
The Ontario Power Authority (OPA)’s Feed-In Tariff will pay a premium for electricity generated by renewable sources, for more information on the FIt and microFIT programs click here. There are costs and fees associated with connecting your system to the grid which will depend on your project and on which utility serves your project site.
ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentives
Home owners who are interested in saving energy prior to installing a renewable energy system should:
- Perform a home energy audit with the Residential Energy Efficiency Project
- REEP will provide you with a report that describes your opportunities to increase the energy efficiency of your home, and some opportunities to install renewable energy systems. They will also provide you with more detail on how the ecoENERGY program can be used, and what rebates you could earn on your property;
- choose your preferred upgrade options and do your retrofit project;
- have REEP perform your follow-up audit, and wait for your rebate cheque;
Refer to Natural Resource Canada’s ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentive page for more detail.
Capital Cost Allowances
Corporations who install renewable energy systems can write-off the purchase value (capital cost) of their systems as a (Federal) income tax deductible expense taken against the income they receive from generated electricity. For more information, ask your accountant about class 43.2 and class 43.3 of the Federal Income Tax Act.
THe best way to finance your wind project is with a home equity line of credit, talk to your bank about your particular needs.
For More Info
Check the CREW website regularly for all related news and developments in conservation and renewable energy as we work hard to help the Region of Waterloo and surrounding area GO GREEN.
CREW Preferred Solar Installers List
|Guelph Solar||guelphsolar.net||Steve Dyckfirstname.lastname@example.org||519-994-4749||Guelph||PV, Solar Thermal, Electrical, Heat Pumps, Lighting|
|Vigor Clean Tech||vigorcleantech.com||Jerry Ennsemail@example.com||519-279-4630||Petersburg||PV,Wind|
|Fritz Construction||fritzall.com||Murray Loganfirstname.lastname@example.org||800-960-4002||Shakespeare||PV,Wind|
|Green & Clean||greennclean.ca||Mark McNallyemail@example.com||519-763-795||Guelph||PV, Wind, Lighting|
|Infinitum Energy||infinitumenergy.ca||Saul Peraltafirstname.lastname@example.org||888-786-3814||Kitchener||PV, Solar Thermal, Lighting|
|Merlyn Power||merlynpower.ca||John Jardineemail@example.com||519-744-2217||Kitchener||PV, Solar Thermal|
|Saturn Power/Arcadian Project||sarcadianprojects.ca||Jeff Vidmarfirstname.lastname@example.org||519-804-9163||New Hamburg||PV,Wind|
|Solar Dynamics||solardynamics.ca||David Blakeemail@example.com||519-745-3426||Kitchener||PV|
|Waterloo Energy Products||waterlooenergy.com||Jason Griebfirstname.lastname@example.org||519-648-9977||Maryhill||PV, Solar Thermal, Geothermal, Lighting|
For More Information
Download and complete a CREW membership form, sign up for a free subscription to CREWzone, our quarterly e-newsletter or contribute ideas or questions to our discussion forum. For more information about wind energy in general, in Ontario or otherwise, we recommend the following websites:
- Canadian Wind Energy Association
- Ontario Sustainable Energy Association
- “Wind Works”, by Paul Gipe