About nine months ago I wrote an op ed piece for the Hamilton Spectator pointing out the great potential of Hamilton’s north end industrial lands to site windmill manufacturing and assembly. It looks like that potential may soon be tapped.
Earlier this week, it was announced that a number of Hamilton companies were chosen to manufacture, assemble, transport and install windmills as part of 300 megawatt (MW) Wolfe Island Shoals offshore wind power project planned for Lake Ontario. The Hamilton Port Authority is also partnering on the project, and the assembled windmills will be barged from Hamilton to the site, which is about 20 kilometres south of Kingston.
This is a real boon for Hamilton; the project is estimated to create 1,900 jobs, the majority of which will be in Hamilton.
And this project is really just the beginning. At present, Wolfe Island Shoals is the only off-shore wind power project to receive a contact under the Feed-in Tariff. But there is vast potential for off-shore wind power and it is likely the first in a very long and lucrative series of contracts.
Before we get too excited though, it’s important to note that the project doesn’t exactly have the green light. There is currently a moratorium on off-shore wind development, while the Ministry of Energy is studying the environmental impacts. But in all likelihood, it’s just a matter of time before offshore wind gets the go ahead. And Hamilton is now positioned to lead the charge.
Personally, I’m proud of the role I played as Blue Green Canada’s point person in Hamilton. And it’s an honour to work with excellent partners like Environment Hamilton, Green Venture, the Hamilton Labour Council, The United Steelworkers, and the Congress of Union Retirees, all of whom came together to support this initiative.
I don’t like smart-alecks who say I told you so, but in this case, I find it hard to restrain myself. Granted, it didn’t take a genius to see that we have the land, the port and the people. But I’m glad that others are seeing it now, too.