Energy · Énergie · Mashkawiziiwin
Solar panels beside Black Road. Photo: NORDIK Institute, 2015
In 2008, Sault Ste. Marie declared itself “the alternative energy capital of North America.” But for this city, alternative energy is nothing new. Sault Ste. Marie has a long history of generating electricity using the natural forces of the area. The first major source of renewable electricity for Sault Ontario came from the St. Marys River in 1902. Newer developments are generating electricity from winds along Lake Superior and sunshine in the city. There are many other types of renewable energy generated in Sault Ste. Marie, such as waste-to-energy, cogeneration, and natural gas.
The Sault is becoming a place for people to become experts in this field. A Renewable Power Training Centre located at Sault College further establishes Sault Ste. Marie as a hub of green technology.
As early as 1875, the St. Marys River was recognized as an ideal place for generating hydroelectricity. It was this powerful source of clean, inexpensive electricity that allowed Francis H. Clergue to establish a pulp mill and steel plant in the City. The current hydroelectric power station, built in 1981, is named after Francis H. Clergue. The horizontal hydroelectric plant on the American side of the river was the building that started Clergue’s industrial empire. It is one of the last horizontal plants still standing.
The Sault Ste. Marie Solar Park was built in 2011. It is Canada’s second-largest photovoltaic plant, with 270,000 solar panels. That generates enough electricity to power 54,400 homes, or two cities the size of Sault Ste. Marie.
The Prince Township Wind Farm can power as many as 60,000 homes from the winds that travel across Lake Superior. 126 turbines are placed on a ridge high above the lake. The turbines stretch along 20,000 acres of shoreline, and can be seen for miles from the city and surrounding area. It is the third-largest wind farm in Canada.
Think about it…
How can you save energy at home?