Rural residents want wind turbines

ST. LEON, MANITOBA - Manitoba is home to one of the largest wind farms in Canada. The province is harvesting Manitoba winds to generate electricity in St. Leon - and now some rural property owners are considering doing the same thing on a smaller scale.

Rene Ritchot owns a farm in the R.M. of Morris. Every year he uses 50,000 megawatts of electricity. Instead of relying on Manitoba Hydro for that power, Ritchot would like to harvest the wind and generate it himself.

"I'm already convinced that it's the right thing to do for the planet," he said. "And it could allow Manitoba Hydro to sell so much more hydro."

Recently his rural municipality created a bylaw making it easier for people to place wind towers on their property. Ritchot and two other people have expressed interest.

But while Ritchot likes the idea - the price for a turbine is still a little too high.

"If I was to get a wind turbine, it would be for 50,000 kilowatts," he told CTV News. "That would cost up to $100,000, and that would take quite a few years to repay."

Ritchot would like to see the province give incentives to lessen the cost of being environmentally friendly.

The province says it already gives incentives to people who generate more power than they use. It's called the Net Metering Policy. Manitoba Hydro pays anyone who generates extra electricity. However - the province says it won't help property owners pay start-up costs for wind turbines.


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