Roping the Wind: 30-storey wind turbine touted for Ogden Point
At the urging of Coun. Rob Fleming, city council voted Thursday to give an "indication of support" for a temporary-use permit for wind energy testing there.
"What an incredible thing it would be for Victoria," said Fleming, referring to it as a potential icon that would convey a "green city" image to the hundreds of thousands of cruise ship passengers who visit the capital each year.
Wind turbines and solar panels on the roofs of warehouses at Ogden Point could generate enough electricity to power cruise ships that dock there, he said. Fleming added that it would reduce local air pollution by eliminating the need for ships to burn bunker oil for their electrical needs while tied up.
The idea, he said, is modelled on Canada's first urban wind turbine built in 2002 at Toronto's Canadian National Exhibition site. The 94-metre
A similar structure would be taller than any office or condo tower in Victoria or the capital region.
Fleming said he didn't want to get hung up on the size of the turbine. Testing, which would take 12 months, may suggest a different kind of generator altogether, he said.
Other councillors sounded supportive of the proposal which is just one of several ideas being considered for redevelopment of the Ogden Point site. Council referred it to planning staff for a report.
Coun. Pamela Madoff said she thought of wind turbines as "public art," while Coun. Helen Hughes said they can be "visually pleasing."
Tim Van Alstine, chairman of the James Bay Neighbourhood Environment Association, also welcomed the idea. A wind turbine would fit into the sustainable redevelopment of Ogden Point, he said.
"Obviously there's an esthetic concern," he said, but a wind turbine could be a city symbol, "a way of saying welcome to Victoria."
TJ Schur, of Sidney-based Aeolis Wind Power, cautioned that extensive testing remains to be done.
Wind speed, wind direction and temperature -- "cooler air is denser and holds more energy" -- are the key factors in determining feasibility of the Ogden Point site, Schur said. She did not know enough about the requirements of cruise ships to say whether a wind turbine could power cruise ships.
Ogden Point is owned and managed by the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority, whose chairman Stewart Johnston is supportive of the wind testing.
"It's something that we intend to go ahead with," Johnston said. He wasn't previously aware of the potential size of the turbine but added it's "early on" in the process.
The idea initially emerged from a meeting held last November on the future of Ogden Point, transferred to the authority by Transport Canada in 2002.
"We've got 26 acres of fallow blacktop," said Johnston, referring to the mostly paved area next to the docks. "We always want to use it as a port but we also want to put it to other uses too."
The authority has hired a consultant to develop options that could be explored in a future meeting with developers from outside Victoria, including some from outside the country, Johnston said.
Ideas under consideration include a shopping complex, an attraction such as a federal marine observatory, a possible new location for the Maritime Museum of B.C., expanded marine repair facilities and some kind of presence for First Nations.Posted by Arthur Caldicott on 15 Apr 2005