Canadian Geographic
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Extremes of weather

Wind power

Riding on air
Wind power is the world’s fastest growing power source. In 2000, the capacity of the world’s wind-power facilities grew by 32 percent to 17,700 megawatts (MW); two years later, capacity exceeded 31,000 MW. In Canada, wind-power capacity increased by about 20 percent in 2002 to about 250 MW, and is expected to surpass 3,000 MW in 2005. Canada lags in wind-power development because of the lack of subsidies and research grants given to other energy utilities such as oil and natural gas. Yet, experts estimate Canada’s wind-power potential is about 30,000 MW, sufficient for 15 percent of the country’s electricity needs. Canada’s winter winds are a plus factor. Winds are strongest in winter; in northern latitudes, they grow stronger, particularly during the day. So, Canada could expect wind power to meet demand at peak periods. Quebec, Alberta, and Saskatchewan are Canada’s windpower leaders; Ontario, Prince Edward Island, and the Yukon have entered the field with new plants. Canada’s largest wind-power producer is the Le Nordais project in the Gaspé Peninsula. Wind power In 2003, a 95-m-high direct-drive wind turbine went into operation at Toronto’s waterfront Exhibition Place. Its owners are the Toronto Renewable Energy Co-operative (TREC), a group of about 650 individuals, businesses, and organizations that sells the wind-powered output to Toronto Hydro Energy. Calgary Transit’s “Ride the Wind” program uses coaches run on power from wind farms at Pincher Creek, Alta.


Wind solar power This slide show, “Harnessing the power of weather,” has four images: two of wind farms, a solar collector panel and a windmill.


On the next page:

Solar power

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Quiz :

In 1971-72, the greatest annual snowfall in Canada of 2,446.5 cm was measured? Where did it fall?

Banff, Alberta
Québec City, Québec
Revelstoke, B.C.