A total of 1,000 large wind turbines in Saskatchewan would generate 20 percent of our province's electricity. Over an operational life of 25 years, and with 500 of those turbines being community owned, the following local benefits would be achieved.
FINANCIAL AND ECONOMIC
Of which: $1.7-billion will be spent with local and/or Saskatchewan companies on such things as wind tower manufacturing, haulage, construction, civil engineering/foundations, consulting and legal services.
EMPLOYMENT: 19,000 PYEs
(Person Year of Employment): the equivalent of 19,000 people having a job for a full year. Almost all of this employment will be in such activities as foundation construction, haulage, wind turbine tower manufacturing, planning, consultancy, legal and grid connections. (additional info. + references).
DURING OPERATIONS (25 years)
EMPLOYMENT: 6,500 PYEs
The bulk of employment during operations will be in wind farm maintenance. This involves regular and unforeseen, maintenance on the turbines themselves as well general site upkeep + related management and administration. (additional info. + references).
PAYMENTS TO SASKATCHEWAN INVESTORS: $4.2-billion
A large proportion of total project cash flows (typically 60 percent) are paid to providers of project capital (debt and equity). By ensuring that half of all turbines are community-owned, it will be possible to retain $4.2-billion in Saskatchewan. (reference and calculations).
PAYMENTS TO SASKPOWER: $2.2-billion
SaskPower levies a one-off connection fee as well as various ongoing connection charges, to any generator connected to Saskatchewan's electricity network. The total amount paid out will be $2.2-billion.
OPERATIONS & MAINTENANCE (0&M): $1.5-billion
These funds will be spent on labour, parts and equipment during the operational life. As noted above, this will involve maintenance on the turbines themselves as well general site upkeep + related management and administration.
This figure is an estimate since local and provincial taxes will vary depending on site specific data.
LEASE PAYMENTS TO LANDOWNERS: $350-million
These funds will be paid to landowners who are hosting wind turbines on their land. The actual amount depends on site specific negotiations.
CARBON CHARGING: $1-billion (avoided!)
It is looking ever more likely that carbon charging will be introduced and it seems reasonable to expect a price of $10 per tonne of emitted carbon. In this situation $1-billion will be saved in avoided carbon charges (see below for details on avoided carbon).
HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENT
Wind energy is an inexhaustible resource that generates no pollution or hazardous waste, does not deplete fresh water resources, and requires no mining, transportation, or refining of a feedstock or fuel. Further, electricity produced by wind farms displaces electricity from other sources, usually the oldest, dirtiest, and least efficient power plants on our electricity system (in other words - coal).
Wind power thus directly and immediately, reduces the negative health impacts associated with air pollution arising from the burning of coal to generate electricity.
The health and environmental benefits are summarized as follows;
REDUCED DEATHS: 1,000 people
Less coal burned means fewer mortalities from such things as asthma, emphysema and bronchitis.
MERCURY OUT OF THE ATMOSPHERE: 3,700 kilograms
Mercury is a bioaccumulative neurotoxin which causes brain damage in humans and which is especially dangerous for children and pregnant or nursing mothers.
TOXIC TRACE ELEMENTS NOT RELEASED
Arsenic 12,000 kilograms
Lead 9,000 kilograms
Cadmium 1,000 kilograms
Coal contains significant amounts of all these toxic elements (and a number of others). These materials are released into the atmosphere when coal is burned. And when it is not burned (because it is replaced by wind!) these toxins are not released which means that we can call breathe a bit easier.
COAL NOT BURNED: 60 million tonnes
This amount of coal would fill a line of rail cars stretching from Vancouver to Halifax and back again - 10,000 kilometres.
WATER NOT LOST FROM POWER STATION COOLING TOWERS: 140 million cubic metres
Coal and gas turbines need lots of water to keep them cool. Wind turbines don't need any. The volume of water saved (140 million cubic metres) is equivalent to the amount which would be contained in a 250 kilometre stretch of the South Saskatchewan river.
GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS AVOIDED: 100 million tonnes
This is equivalent to taking 900,000 cars off the road.
For more information check out our 'Wind Turbines and Human Health' FAQ.