Times Colonist letters

Thursday May 6th, 2010

Sir, re: “We need power; Site C offers it”, May 2.

In your editorial you dismissed wind energy by saying that “because wind farms are entirely weather-dependent, they need five times the generating capacity of a hydro system to produce the same amount of power.”

A typical new wind farm has 35% generating capacity – it produces power 35% of the time. Site C dam’s generating capacity – if it’s built – will be 58%, so a wind farm needs 65% more capacity, not 500% more.

Site C will cost $6.6 billion for 900 MW of capacity, assuming no cost overruns. At current prices, wind farms in BC cost around $3 million per MW. For the same $6.6 billion investment, we could buy 2200 MW of wind power, and use the existing dams to firm it up.

Site C will produce 4,600 GWh a year of electricity. For the same investment, a wind farm could produce 6,700 GWh a year, without flooding any farmland. The area involved would be similar, but the actual land impacted would be 20 times less – around 220 hectares.

A wind farm could also be built more quickly, and produce power earlier than Site C. By these reckonings, Site C makes neither economic nor environmental sense.

Guy Dauncey

President, BC Sustainable Energy Association