Nov 23/10 - Pt 3: Wind Power

Google is pioneering a new plan for the Atlantic Ocean... it will lay a cable about six feet under the sea-bed and for about 550 kilometres along the coast of the United States. It could cost as much as 5-Billion-dollars. And some are asking if this signals a sea change for wind power.


Wind Power - Rick Needham

Google has been branching out beyond the search engine business for a while now. It's into web-mail and smart phones. It owns YouTube. And now, the company has taken a dramatically different turn.

Last month, Google invested heavily in something called the Atlantic Wind Connection ... not wind turbines but a proposed network of transmission lines that would connect them - along the U.S. east coast.

The Atlantic Wind Connection would be capable of carrying 6,000 megawatts of electricity ... enough to power nearly two million homes. When finished that could cost as much as 5-Billion-dollars. The move has some scratching their heads. But those pushing renewable energy think this could be a game-changer for wind power.

Rick Needham is spearheading Google's new investment. He's the company's Director of Green Business Operations. He was in Mountain View, California.

Wind Power - Guy Dauncey/Tom Adams

So Google thinks it can bank on wind power... But some wonder if it can be a feasible venture in this Country. Right now, Canadians only get about 1.5 per cent of their electricity from wind. Although some analysts think it could be 5 per cent within 5 years.

Provinces such as Ontario and Quebec have ambitious plans to add more wind mega-wattage. The hitch - the critics say - is that the growth in wind power in those two provinces is only happening because of government policy and financial incentives.

In Ontario for example, renewable energy producers -- including wind farms -- are paid premium rates that are guaranteed for 20 years. Because of that electricity prices keep rising and that has fueled a political backlash for Premier Dalton McGuinty. Today the Ontario government will release a document outlining how it will spread out its power ... whether it goes nuclear, wind, hydro.

For their thoughts on the viability of wind power in Canada, we were joined by Tom Adams. He's an independent energy researcher and consultant. He's in Toronto. And Guy Dauncey is the President of the British Columbia Sustainable Energy Association. He's also the author of The Climate Challenge: 101 Solutions to Global Warming. He was in Victoria.

Articles: Wind to generate 2 million jobs in ideal world *** Wind power outlook slows in Europe while Canada forecasts record year

Last Word - Cancer Biography

We ended the program with some thoughts from Siddhartha Mukherjee. He's a cancer physician and researcher, as well as a professor of medicine at Columbia University. And in an attempt to fully understand and appreciate his subject - cancer... he has taken a page from Simon Winchester and written a biography about it. We will talk to Siddhartha Mukherjee tomorrow on the program. And in the mean time, he got the last word today.

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