Further wind power development not viable: Manitoba Hydro

Manitoba’s former energy minister is slamming Manitoba Hydro over their lack of investment in wind power.

Former minister of energy disappointed Manitoba Hydro not investing in wind power

Former Manitoba energy minister Tim Sale is panning Manitoba Hydro over what he says is a lack of investment in wind power. (CBC)

Manitoba’s former energy minister is slamming Manitoba Hydro over their lack of investment in wind power.

Former NDP energy minister Tim Sale appeared before the Public Utilities Board (PUB) on Friday to make the case for wind power.

Sale said Manitoba Hydro is making a huge mistake by writing off wind power as a viable alternate energy source.

“I think it's sad because I think Hydro is dead wrong in that regard,” said Sale. “They simply don't like wind. They don't want it, and they have made it virtually impossible to build wind here, unlike most other North American jurisdictions.”

"We have capacity factors here that Ontario would die for, but Hydro for some reason has what I consider an irrational dislike of wind power," said Sale.

But Manitoba Hydro officials say wind power isn’t a viable option for energy production in the province.

A hydro spokesperson told CBC it has evaluated additional wind development opportunities in the province, but further investment in wind power is just not economical.

The reeve for the RM of Thompson is disappointed there won't be a wind farm near Manitou.

For two and a half years, Jason Vanstone has been working with a wind power company in the U.S. to set up turbines in Thompson.

He said the company told him two days ago it is pulling out of the project.

Vanstone said the U.S. company told him they were backing out because of a lack of commitment from Manitoba Hydro and dwindling interest in imported power in the U.S.

“We drive past them all the time -- have lots of friends that have them on their properties and everything,” he said. “Our community was here with open arms for it."

There was little opposition to the planned wind farm construction by his constituents, said Vanstone.

“It would have put our revenues up approximately 40 per cent. It could have been huge,” said Vanstone. “A lot of the other surrounding RM's here, they have a lot of pipelines that go through so they get an incredible amount of resources. Yeah, it was disappointing.”

On Friday, Sale questioned Hydro’s plan to build two mega generating stations in Keeyask and Conawapa.

The PUB is studying Hydro's bid to build the two dams in the north and a new transmission line to the United States.

Hydro claims the projects will pay for themselves with increased exports.