Committee to study merits of roof-mounted wind turbines

A city committee will look at whether roof-mounted wind turbines should be encouraged.

A city committee will look at whether roof-mounted wind turbines should be encouraged.

There has been growing interest in harnessing the wind to produce electricity. However, the city’s existing land use bylaws do not allow for wind turbines as a permitted or a discretionary use.

To determine whether it’s worthwhile changing the land use bylaw to create a set of regulations for wind turbines, Parkland Community Planning Services wants to undertake a pilot project to look at the latest wind technologies.

The municipal planning commission voted unanimously to endorse the idea, and planners will now form a steering committee to research roof-mounted wind turbines.

Planner Tara Lodewyk said they want to test a turbine in a residential area and at another site in a commercial or industrial area. A partnership with a wind turbine supplier will be sought and potential locations for a test run narrowed down. A budget will be drawn up and taken to city council, which must give the pilot project final approval before it can go ahead.

Lodewyk said part of the project will involve sifting through the often-conflicting information on the impacts of wind turbines. Some say they pose a threat to birds and bats; others say there is no problem. Opinions differ on how much noise they create as well.

“It’s really inconclusive — the information that’s out there.”

If given the green light, the steering committee hopes to have wind turbines in place long enough to see how they perform during all four seasons. At the end of the study period, a report will be prepared with recommendations on whether bylaws should be changed to allow the turbines.

Lodewyk said if approved by council, the project will be used to determine if there will be operational concerns, such as vibration in the building below. Planners will also gather public input on the appearance of the turbines, gauge support while at the same time educating people on wind power potential.

Commission member Doug Janssen wanted to see more “hard costs” for wind-powered systems laid out for residents to give them a sense of whether turbines are worth pursuing.

Paul Goranson, the city’s Development Services director, said it can be expected that people will ask if wind power is economically viable as a power source. “Right now, the answer is no.”

Commission member and city manager Craig Curtis said he also wants planners to look into the potential for pole-mounted wind turbines in industrial areas.

Turbines mounted on poles 10 to 20 metres are more common and have been allowed in industrial areas in some municipalities. Laebon Homes has received Red Deer County approval to install a 10-kilowatt turbine on a 12-metre pole next to its head office in Burnt Lake Industrial Park.

Curtis does not expect it to take as much work or require a year-long pilot project to review the feasibility of industrial park turbines.

The steering committee is expected to bring a proposal for council approval in time for budget deliberations early next year.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Candlelight vigil in Red Deer honours Sri Lanka Easter bombing victims

Dozens showed up to the event at City Hall Thursday night

Several Red Deer businesses’ phone/fax lines taken over by ‘spoofers’

Same ‘prank’ calls were made as happened with RedCliff RCMP

Red Deer apartment project opposed by some neighbours

Two buildings proposed for a site in Normandeau with existing four apartment complexes

Red Deer’s osprey cam celebrities are back

FortisAlberta has webcam set up at nest created as part of avian protection program

Red Deer PCN Women’s Fun Run introduces Community Diaper Dash

Central Albertans will make a dash in diapers to bring lunches to… Continue reading

Cast your votes for the Best of Red Deer

Nominations for the Best of Red Deer Readers’ Choice Awards are officially… Continue reading

Local Sports: Clayton Pottinger reaching for new heights

There are times in anyone’s life when they make a decision that… Continue reading

Seniors: Smarter living for older adults

One of the major life transitions characteristic of aging is leaving one’s… Continue reading

Opinion: Schools can’t be exempt from scrutiny

This weekend’s meeting of the Alberta School Councils’ Association promises to be… Continue reading

Bishop now the Stars goalie trying to beat Blues in playoffs

Ben Bishop grew up rooting for the St. Louis Blues before being… Continue reading

Nashville gets its chance to step up for NFL draft

NASHVILLE — Broadway in downtown Nashville is as lively a place as… Continue reading

The Cranberries, still in mourning, return for the last time

NEW YORK — Whether or not there would be a final Cranberries’… Continue reading

Dance studio owner in dispute with Burton Cummings fined for noise ticket

MOOSE JAW, Sask. — The owner of a dance fitness studio who… Continue reading

Most Read