Electricity from wind energy is one of the fastest growing methods of electrical generation in the world. Kinetic energy from moving air is converted into electricity by wind turbines that are mounted in locations where there are favourable weather patterns. Wind turbines may be employed individually, but are often installed in groups to form “wind farms” or “wind power plants.” Electricity generated by wind farms may be used locally, or placed on the electric grid to power homes and businesses farther away. Energy derived from wind may also be converted to hydrogen and used as a form of fuel for transportation or stored for subsequent power generation. Using wind energy reduces the environmental impact of generating electricity because it requires no fuel and does not produce pollution or greenhouse gases.
CanmetENERGY encourages research in wind energy technology by providing financial support and technical expertise to our partners, such as the Wind Energy Institute of Canada (WEICan) . Our current research areas include: innovative designs for wind turbine components such as generators, foundations and towers; deployment of test equipment for offshore wind applications; performance evaluation of wind turbines and instrumentation under harsh winter conditions; as well as the impacts of integrating wind energy into the current electrical grid. We also oversee pilot studies, such as the deployment of standalone wind-hydrogen-diesel technology for remote locations where shipment of diesel fuel is costly and subject to disruption.
When wind energy can be used and stored to reduce reliance on diesel generation, communities that are not connected to the electricity grid can achieve lower costs and greater independence.
Canada’s geography makes it ideally suited to capitalize on large amounts of wind energy. The benefits of increased deployment of wind energy include grid-wide energy savings and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and air contaminants (including SOX, NOX and mercury). For example, a single installation of six 65 kW wind turbines in Newfoundland is expected to produce approximately 1 million kWh of electricity a year and reduce CO2 emissions by approximately 750 tonnes. However, incorporating a large amount of wind energy requires continued innovation to improve efficiencies, extend turbine lifetimes, and mitigate interconnection problems. Our collaboration with international agencies fosters an exchange of research and development expertise from all over the world in order to tackle some of these issues. By encouraging the growth of domestic wind energy expertise and the development of wind energy technology specifically relevant to the Canadian environment, Canada can realize many business, economic, energy, societal and environmental benefits.