More and more utility companies are offering their customers the option to purchase green power - electricity generated by rapidly renewable resources like solar power, wind turbines, geothermal systems and biomass - to power their homes. Generally, green power adds a few a month to your utility bill while helping to combat global climate change and environmental impact. In Calgary, the city's entire Light Rail Transit system is run using electricity generated by wind power in the southwest corner of the province
Energy in different parts of Canada comes from different sources, depending on local resources (or lack therof). In BC, most power is hydro-electric, given the large rivers draining from the mountains, in Alberta most power is from coal mined in the province, in Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick, much of the power is Hydro-electric, with Ontario receiving a significant proportion from nuclear power. Nova Scotia and Newfoundland are a mix of hydro, coal and oil. PEI's electricity is imported from New Brunswick, and from 2 wind farms, and has 2 fossil-fuel powered generating stations on emergency standy.
Alberta already has significant wind farms in the foothills of the Rockies, and PEI has wind farms along the Gulf of St Lawrence, and Nova Scotia is experimenting with wind and tidal power. Alberta is also considering one or two nuclear reactors to power the extraction of heavy oil in the province's north.
We can help break our addiction to fossil fuels like coal and oil by switching to renewable energy which can also support a significant portion of our transportation needs, too.
Wind Power: PEI generates to 52 Megawatts (MW) of wind generation from Prince Edward Island's North Cape and Eastern Kings Wind Farms. Alberta's Vision Quest (owned by TransAlta Corporation) operates 220 wind turbine power plants generating 152 MW of total peak capacity.
Solar Thermal: Solar thermal power uses solar energy to turn water to steam and drive turbines. In the US, this produces enough electricity for about 100,000 homes, but several utilities have announced projects to provide enough power for 10 times that many homes in the next several years. And, because solar thermal power plants can store energy to produce electricity at night, they can be installed in place of new coal power plants. Just a small area of solar thermal in the Southwest could supply all of the US electricity needs.
Solar Photovoltaics: Some US states (California and New Jersey) have community incentives for installing solar panels in new homes, buildings, and even on parking lot roofs. Solar photovoltaics, which can now be integrated into roof tiles, have no moving parts and can even produce electricity on cloudy days. It will become more common as global installations of photovoltaics grow by an expected 800% in the next 10 years. Communities in the southern prairies have long hours of sunshine year-round, are good places to install solar voltaic generators.
Geothermal Power: Today, the United States and Iceland are leading producers of geothermal power, producing enough electricity from underground hot rocks for more than 2 million homes. Experts say that we could have 15-30 times as much power over the next few decades thanks to recent advances in geothermal technology.
By 2025, Canada could be generating almost half its electricity needs from Green Power sources:
Wind - onshore
Wind - offshore