Wind turbine pilot project abandoned

  • Aug. 24, 2010 7:11 p.m.

The City of Red Deer has decided to abandon its wind turbine pilot project.

A presentation was made to the City’s Municipal Planning Commission on Monday recommending the City suspend the roof mount wind turbine pilot project because it has been determined Red Deer is not a good location for wind power production and wind turbines in residential areas are currently deemed more experimental than initially thought and it would not be a good investment.

“It’s not that we don’t think wind turbines aren’t a good idea for this area, it’s just that it’s not a good time for us,” said Tara Lodewyk, planner with Parkland Community Planning Services.

Last November, MPC passed a motion that supported the pilot project for roof mount wind turbines which could be installed in a residential and a commercial or industrial district.

A steering committee was formed with members from the City’s inspections and licensing department, electric light and power, environmental services, ATCO Gas, Red Deer College’s innovation and research department and Parkland Community Planning Services.

The committee sent out a request for proposal to wind turbine manufacturers inviting interested parties to submit proposals to design, supply, install and test two roof mounted wind turbines.

Lodewyk said one wind turbine would generate less than 3.5 kW and would be installed on the roof of a house or small commercial building in a residential neighbourhood. The other would generate less than 10 kW and would be installed on a large commercial building in a commercial area.

The steering committee received four proposals.

“After evaluating the wind turbine proposals we determined there is not enough wind in the Red Deer area for them to be efficient,” said Lodewyk. “The average wind speed in Red Deer is 6.7 miles per hour. At this speed, the wind turbines would only be 20 per cent efficient.

“We determined that the efficiency isn’t there and the investment is quite high for residential wind turbines. We also concluded that wind turbines are more experimental than we initially thought and one of the proposals actually said they would not be suitable for a residential area because they give off a humming noise.”

She added in a commercial area, the wind turbines could achieve varied performance but she’s not sure the efficiency would be there to be considered successful.

In the end, MPC agreed to suspend the wind turbine pilot project and file the report for information.