The Second Annual Conference on Gross National Happiness The Second International Conference on Gross National Happiness
Local Pathways to Global Wellbeing
St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada
June 20 to June 24, 2005

June 22 am Workshop Report 2201
Sustainable Energy Use: Harnessing The Wind

Paul Gipe,, USA
David Macleod, WindShare, Ontario, Canada

Rapporteur: Hillary Lindsay
Paul Gipe Advanced Renewable Tariffs in North America
PowerPoint (6.9MB)

Innovative Practice or Strategy:
A policy mechanism to achieve a switch to wind energy quickly.

Mainstream Practice:
  • Coal
  • Nuclear
  • Gas
Alternative Vision:
  • Community based wind energy.
  • Locally owned by farmers, rangers, first nations, cooperatives, communities.
Success Factors:
  • Studies show that Canadians want clean energy.
  • Peak Oil and Peak Gas are on their way
  • There is a need for new manufacturing jobs
  • Canada is being affected by climate change and therefore people are open to change.
Key Challenges:
  • Who will get the contracts? Will it be an elite few?
  • If not the elite few, who will pay for it?
  • Overcoming Challenges: the ways the speaker says that challenges have been overcome.
  • People pay a premium. You get what you pay for (like fair trade coffee).
  • There is a public will to pay for it.
  • You involve the public in the process and will receive greater acceptance.
Moving from the Fringe to the Mainstream:
  • Wind is growing rapidly in Europe and beginning to grow in North America.
  • People are more aware of environmental issues, peak oil and climate change and want clean and green energy.
  • The energy can be created at home which is important (for the US especially)
  • Wind turbines do not consume water which is becoming a scarce resource.
Lessons Learned:
  • There are impacts of wind (aesthetics, wildlife disruption, affecting the climate) that must be addressed but the benefits far out weigh the risks.
  • The process is slow: Bureaucrats fear the cost and politicians fear the bureaucrats.
David MacLeod Wind Share
Ex Place Turbine in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Innovative Practice or Strategy:
  • Local example of a Wind Turbine in Toronto
Mainstream Practice: - Nuclear - Coal - Hydro Alternative Vision:
  • Community based renewable energy
  • 2 High profile windturbines on the waterfront in Toronto
  • A wind cooperative
  • Locally owned
  • 1 member 1 vote: democratic
  • For Profit
Success Factors:
  • Local ownership of the project (locally sourced, endorsed by local groups, cooperatively run, lots of public engagement and support)
Key Challenges:
  • New Industry (no roadmap, no relevant policies)
  • New Ownership Model (not understood)
  • Scarce resources
  • High risk venture (lots of money needed upfront)
  • Myths to overcome (about noise and birds)
  • Safety concerns (1st urban turbine in North America).
Overcoming Challenges:
  • Education — sharing best practices
  • Collaboration — working with a variety of different groups and expertise
  • Inspire people and capture their imaginations
  • Partnership with Toronto Hydro was key financial support.
Moving from the Fringe to the Mainstream:
  • Was first urban turbine in North America and first green power coop in Canada.
  • Now there are over 20 communities looking into something similar
Lessons Learned:
  • Engage the community early on to avoid conflicts
  • Multiply your estimated timeline by 2 (it takes time!)
  • Find political champions and experts.
  Print PDF of original report (51K)
Next: next Workshop Report 2202: Sustainable Energy Use: Living off the Grid
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