Wind Power at Work

TECHNOLOGY - There's nothing men love more (with the exception of their love of women) than a great piece of engineering.

Between fast cars, airplanes, ships, rockets, architecture, computers, bicycles, motorcycles or anything else we can build with our hands there is a lot to admire. I think it comes down to a male drive to build and create. We can't make babies like women can, so we satisfy our creative urges with something else.

And our desire to build and create isn't limited to just what we can build ourselves, we also recognize and respect the things other people build and say "Hey, thats a really big engine you got there! How many horsepower does it have?"

Typical men, we love things that are bigger, stronger, more powerful.

This fascination also extends to gadgets for some men, whom have an obsession with their BlackBerries, their iPhones and whatever other gizmos they can afford and brag about.

Its a bit like having a supermodel trophy wife. Men love to brag in general.

But how do we fuel all of this technology? Electricity usually. With the exception of automotives that run on gasoline, diesel/bio-diesel or hydrogen power, everything else with so much as an electric switch needs an ample supply of electrical power... but how we produce that electricity is limited...

COAL POWER - About 40% of the electricity produced in North America comes from burning coal. It is the cheapest source of energy, but accounts for 35% of the greenhouse gas emissions.

NUCLEAR POWER - The cleaner alternative to coal, but the price of building nuclear power plants is always way more than originally predicted and ends up costing significantly more than anticipated (so much so that nuclear power has NEVER even been profitable and has always resulted in local governments being burdened with the financial cost). Nuclear also has waste left over which has to be dumped somewhere, regularly in war-torn and piracy-infected Somalia, resulting in skyrocketing cancer rates in that country.

SOLAR POWER - Suffers from a reputation of low reliability, but is technically cheaper than nuclear power. See Solar Power becoming Profitable.

HYDROGEN POWER - If there were more rivers that we could build dams on we would, but the ecological effects on the fish limits the number of dams that can be built. Dam construction has reached a plateau.

WIND POWER - More reliable and more efficient than solar power, wind power is old technology that has been upgraded with new lightweight materials and more efficient designs. So much so that wind turbines have become the darling of the energy industry...

In January 2010 Samsung announced a $7 billion deal to build wind turbines in Ontario. See: 16,000 new Samsung jobs in Ontario for more details.

Now the Danish company Vestas, the world's largest maker of wind turbines, is also thinking of setting up shop in Ontario. Officials from Vestas are currently in Ontario looking for land in Hamilton, Niagara, Kingston and Belleville to purchase, both for manufacturing and also to house the wind turbines they plan to build. Toronto-based Trillium Power Co. is currently bidding to become the exclusive supplier from the 740 wind turbines Vestas currently plans to build, and hopefully gives them the inside track to hundreds of more turbines in the future.

"Without a doubt the future of electricity in Ontario will be wind power," says one industry insider.

The Ontario government is also pushing hard to attract more green jobs to the province, and has become a mecca for wind power companies in North America. One third of Canadians live in the province, one sixth in the Toronto region alone. That is a lot of consumers who need electricity and Ontarians have made it clear they want to get rid of the old coal plants, but without building any nuclear plants which always go billions of dollars over budget.

But here's the thing... despite what naysayers say about wind power, I actually admire wind turbines for their technological achievement. I think its a brilliant piece of engineering. True, it may not have the zing and radioactive kewlness that nuclear power has...

If I was a finance or business consultant in Toronto I'd be really tempted to tell my customers to invest in Vestas, Samsung and any other wind turbine company. I think there's unlimited money to be made in the wind power industry.


Cash for Cars Indianapolis said...

Windmills are totally fascinating.

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