About Erie Shores Wind Farm
Erie Shores Wind Farm commenced operations in 2006 following two years of development, including environmental assessments and permitting, and construction.
Erie Shores consists of 66 wind turbines manufactured and supplied by General Electric (GE) and General Electric Canada. The turbines are located along the north shore of Lake Erie between Copenhagen and Clear Creek, Ontario, extending inland about two to three kilometres.
Each turbine is about as tall as a 25-storey building. Together, the turbines at Erie Shores Wind Farm generate enough electricity to power about 23,000 households each year.
View the Location Map here.
How Do the Turbines Generate Electricity?
Wind is created through the sunís heating of the earthís surface. Wind accumulates energy as it crosses large, uninterrupted corridors called fetches. Wind turbines harvest that kinetic energy and convert it into electricity.
The wind turbines at Erie Shores are designed to adapt to all kinds of wind and environmental conditions to reliably operate under differing climatic conditions.
The blades of the turbines begin to turn when the wind reaches approximately three to five metres per second. Additional protection is built into the control system to stop the turbines from spinning if the wind is too strong, which can damage the equipment. This threshold is typically 25 metres per second. The control system can also rotate the blades of the turbine to face the direction of the wind so that the blades are always exposed to the highest velocities of wind.
How Much Electricity Does Erie Shores Generate Each Year?
In 2010, Erie Shores generated 227,778 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity. Over the long term, Erie Shores is expected to produce about 248,000 MWh of electricity per year. The amount of electricity produced fluctuates with the regionís natural wind speed and density, which are usually greater in the fall and winter than in the spring and summer.
Who Buys the Electricity Generated by Erie Shores?
Erie Shores has a long-term Power Purchase Agreement until 2026 with the Ontario Power Authority (OPA).
The energy generated by the turbines is collected and transported on 24 kilometres of 34.5 kilovolts (kV) underground cables and 28 kilometres of 34.5 overhead collector lines. The power is then increased to 115 kV at the Port Burwell substation and transmitted via a 30-kilometre transmission line to Hydro Oneís grid. This makes Erie Shores an important contributor to Ontarioís electricity supply infrastructure.
What are the Benefits of Wind Power?
Wind power is a clean, environmentally-friendly and sustainable energy source that has a number of attractive characteristics:
- Wind power helps to offset greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from conventional power sources such as gas or coal, making a positive contribution to the environment;
- Wind power diversifies Canadaís electricity supply mix and is not subject to fuel price volatility;
- Wind power developments create new income for rural landowners and generate tax revenues for local communities.
All wind power facilities undergo extensive environmental assessment prior to construction, which helps to minimize the impact of the turbines on land, birds and wildlife. In fact, it is currently estimated that for every 10,000 birds killed by all human activity, less than one death is caused by wind turbines. In addition, wind turbines are quiet --- typically making no more noise than the average household refrigerator.