Q: What is Samsung C&T's role in the wind energy portion of the project?
A: Samsung C&T will oversee the construction and operation of wind farms over a 20-year period that will generate up to 1000MW of energy. We will facilitate all project operations, procuring equipment and helping with financing. Together with KEPCO, we will support the development of local infrastructure and assist with developing a supply network of key components such as blades and wind towers.
Q: What are the objectives and potential challenges?
A: Ontario is the largest producer of wind energy in Canada, so it has an existing infrastructure that will help with both supply of components and transmission of energy. The province also has easy accessibility to the U.S. market, which bodes well for future export opportunities. These advantages combined with the collective know-how of all parties involved and a supportive government should help Ontario go a long way towards reaching its goals of phasing out all coal plants by 2014, decreasing greenhouse gases and increasing the province's clean energy output from the current 26% to 38%. In short, Ontario has given itself a good head start for when other provinces with inherently stronger wind and solar potential enter the market.
Q: How is wind energy generated?
A:Blades mounted on towers are blown by the wind, causing them to turn a shaft that's attached to a generator. This creates an electrical current that is carried by cables to the power grid, which, in turn, transmits electricity to your home.
Q: When was the first wind turbine built?
A: The first windmill was built in Persia in approximately 500 AD, used for grinding corn. The first large windmill used to generate electricity was invented in 1888 in Cleveland, Ohio.
Q: How much wind energy do we currently harness here in Canada?
A: Enough to power one million homes.
Q: Is this a lot?
A: It's a start. Because of Canada's vast landscape, three windy coastlines, our plains and mountains, we could generate a lot more. Just to put things in perspective, tiny Denmark creates enough wind energy to power 17,000,000 homes.
Q: Which province in Canada generates the most wind energy?
A: Ontario is at the forefront of wind energy capacity, generating almost 1100MW per year. It is also the leading province in alternative energy production.
Q: Which country generates the most wind energy?
A: Denmark generates the most wind energy (roughly 25-30% of its energy is sourced from wind turbines) followed closely by Germany and Spain.
Q: Do wind turbines require a lot of maintenance?
A: In a word, no. Even if a wind turbine is shut down for maintenance, it doesn't affect the other turbines in the cluster. Compare this to a conventional power plant that has to be shut down and removed from the grid entirely when under repair.
Q: What are some other advantages of wind energy?
A: The advantages are many. Turbines are relatively quick to install; they're low maintenance; they produce zero emissions and greenhouse gases; they don't spoil the surrounding land and water; and the obvious - wind is free and completely renewable.
Q: How fast is wind energy growing as a sector?
A: The adoption of wind energy worldwide has increased by 29% since 2008. Together with solar, green energy is the fastest growing energy source in the world.
Q: How do you set up a wind energy cluster of this magnitude?
A: There are six different stages to establishing a wind energy scheme. They are:
1. Wind Monitoring
Good selection of a wind energy cluster's location is critical to its success. We analyze both the wind speed and directions of a site to assess its viability for generating energy. This also gives us an idea of site conditions to help us determine which turbine style is most suitable.
Once we've determined whether a site is prime for generating wind energy, we undergo a comprehensive set of studies to evaluate the project's impact on the immediate environment. This entails assessing how it will affect the ecology, the landscape (visually and otherwise), noise, archaeology and the surrounding community.
If the outcome of the studies referenced above is deemed acceptable, then we progress to the planning application stage. A typical planning application may take six months or longer to achieve.
If planning consent is awarded, construction will begin and may take up to nine months. Most of this time is spent building the foundations and infrastructure. Erecting the turbine itself often takes less than a day.
Once the project is energized, the turbines are monitored around the clock via the operations team with inspectors sent to the site to periodically undertake routine maintenance.
So long as wind turbines receive quality maintenance and care, they can be expected to generate electricity for as many as 20 years. Following this, the wind energy scheme will be decommissioned and the site returned to its original use.