U of W to consider wind energy partnership

Blackburnnews.com stock photo

Could the University of Windsor get itself into the wind energy game?

The school announced Monday that it is teaming up with Kruger Energy, and the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers (OGVG) to investigate the potential of supporting alternative energy in Windsor-Essex’s robust agribusiness sector.

The initiative, called Hydrogen Integrated Greenhouse Horticultural Energy, or the HIGH Energy Project, suggests using existing Windsor-Essex wind farms to provide heat and hydro for greenhouses across the region.

The university expects this partnership to be groundbreaking in alternative energy.

“We anticipate a lot of learning in both the engineering and policy spaces,” said U of W engineering professor Rupp Carriveau, director of the school’s Environmental Energy Institute. “The HIGH Energy project excites us. Using proven existing assets in a new way to improve things or solve a problem sounds practical and resourceful. We love solutions like that.”

Kruger already creates 200 megawatts of wind energy across southwestern Ontario, enough to power 60,000 homes, or up to thousands of greenhouses, depending on the crop grown and the amount. Thanks to its prime location along Lake Erie, the region is one of the most potent wind energy areas in North America, plus the highest concentration of agriculture businesses on the continent.

“We’re pleased at the prospect of an additional market for our energy solution,” said Kruger Energy General Manager of Canadian operations J.J. Davis. “Kruger is a leader in sustainability and strategic asset management which will enable us to reliably supply clean energy to the vegetable greenhouse sector with our long-established wind farms.”

This diagram shows a potential relationship between wind power and the Windsor-Essex agribusiness community. Image provided by the University of Windsor.

This diagram shows a potential relationship between wind power and the Windsor-Essex agribusiness community. Image provided by the University of Windsor.

Aaron Coristine, OGVG’s manager of science, regulatory affairs and government relations, said those working in the agribusiness industry are always looking for ways to be more efficient.

“Farmers are looking to expand operations and increase their access to low carbon energy solutions,” said Coristine. “This joint venture will construct pathways to achieve this with novel adaptations of clean, proven energy technologies.”

No timetable was given on how soon a partnership will create wind energy alliances locally, but the HIGH Energy Project will work with the federal, provincial, and municipal governments to ensure all food and energy needs are adequately covered.

Complete information on the Environmental Energy Institute can be found on the official U of W website.