16 April 2009

Calgary rides the wind

Considering it's a conservative city and home of Canada's oil industry, Calgary is establishing an impressive independence from fossil fuels. The C-Train system already runs entirely on power generated by the wind, and the city is now committing $250-million over 25 years to have all of its operations run by green power. An agreement with city-owned utility Enmax Energy will ensure all municipal operations, from swimming pools to city hall, follow the C-Train lead and are powered by the wind. Enmax will use the $250 million to build more wind farms. "We will become the largest green power consumer of any municipal government in Canada," boasts Mayor Dave Bronconnier. Calgary expects to reduce corporate greenhouse gas emissions to 50 per cent of 1990 levels by 2012.

Environmentalists are quite naturally pleased. Alex Doukas of the Pembina Institute sees this as an example for the province as a whole. "Alberta could go from 70 per cent coal-fired electricity, which is what we have today, to 70 per cent clean electricity in 20 years," he observed.

If the oil capital of Canada can do it, any city can.

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