August 2, 2004

Prince Edward Island

Another island destination for lovers of nature (see earlier post about Lewis) is threatened by wind developers. Yesterday's Boston Globe Magazine recommended getting away to the "beach heaven" of Prince Edward Island. You'd better go soon, however, because the provincial minister of environment and energy, Jamie Ballem, wants to see hundreds of giant wind turbines lining the shores to provide "100%" of PEI's electricity and plenty to sell to other provinces.

There are already a huge 3-MW turbine off the coast of Norway and a 16-tower (and likely to expand) facility on North Cape in operation. A 60-MW facility (40 turbines) is proposed near Malpeque. Jamie Ballem's plans would require at least 11 times more than these, in addition to miles of new transmission lines. They also plan a new high-capacity cable to the mainland to provide power when the wind isn't blowing enough or is blowing too hard, as well as to allow dumping the power when the wind is blowing just right but not when local demand is high.

They would simply outsource the "dirty" production of their electricity in exchange for desecrating the very beaches that make PEI attractive to visitors and many residents.