Wind-power more than hot air

By Sara Hanson

The University of Calgary spends millions each year on energy, and although recent moves like the U of C’s partnership with Direct Energy promise to lower costs, some students want to see something more radical happen.

The U of C EcoClub is highlighting a sometimes overlooked source of energy: wind-power.

As part of their campaign, the EcoClub is showing three award-winning documentaries about the negative impacts of oil and gas on the environment. Although admission is free, the club will be asking for donations to support their main initiative–purchasing sustainable wind-power from the Pembina Institute, a non-profit environmental organization.

“The more wind-power that you support, the less fossil fuel you need to burn,” said EcoClub president Stephanie Ferguson. “We’re still pursuing dirty forms of energy, and we must emphasize alternative forms instead.”

While the wind energy would not be directly returned to the university, Ferguson noted the amount of energy required for the three hours of film will be transferred into wind power.

Pembina Institute development associate Tina Barzo said when organizations purchase wind-power from Pembina, the money is used to help purchase turbines that generate electricity on a nearby wind farm. The energy produced at the wind farm feeds into the main grid for the entire Calgary area, thus reducing the amount of fossil fuels used.

Barzo said there is some public concern about the ecological impact that these enormous windmills have, but stressed that any disturbances are minor compared with the damage done by oil and gas lines.

“While reactions to wind power may be controversial, in the long term we need to go with the renewables,” said Barzo.


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