Friday, April 25, 2008

Timmins may become site for solar power

Old mining properties in Timmins may be able to produce a profitable new kind of gold - - energy from golden sunshine.
Goldcorp Porcupine Gold Mines has been approached by consultants looking for vast spaces of empty land that could be set up as solar-panel farms to produce electricity to be sold to the Ontario Power Authority.
It was discussed this week at the meeting of Porcupine Watchful Eye (PWE) that old tailings plots might be considered ideal sites for setting up thousands of solar collector panels that would convert sunshine into electricity.
The concept was revealed by Goldcorp Strategic Development Manager Dave Bucar Wednesday.
“I was approached by a consultant, looking on behalf of various clients, asking where could we put solar panels in Timmins,” Bucar told the meeting.
“For whatever reason, Timmins is apparently a hotbed for solar activity,” Bucar said he was told by the consulting firm.
“I got a second phone call, from out of the blue, from TEDC (Timmins Economic Development Corporation) and they were approached by some contingent from out of the country. And I got a call and they were asking about opportunities we have for solar panels on our tailings dams,” Bucar continued.
Bucar went on to explain that the consultants said they were looking for 100-acre plots of clear flat land where row upon row upon row of solar panels could be installed for a ten megawatt electrical generation plant.
The Environment Canada website lists cities across Canada that have the most sunshine annually. Timmins is in the top 100, but it is ranked at 89th. Sudbury is listed as 45th. North Bay is listed at 53rd. Sault is listed as 58th.
PWE chair Bill Russell suggested that Timmins may have been approached because of it’s obvious lack of smog, which could enhance the efficiency of solar panels.
The criteria outlined that the100-acre plots of land that would need to be located within a few kilometres of the power grid. While looking at a map of Goldcorp properties in the city, Bucar conceded there are local properties that meet the criteria.
Russell suggested the concept could breathe some new life into old mining properties. Bucar suggested the concept had “very interesting potential” but wondered how such a development would affect the mine closure process where any activity involving tailings is strictly controlled by the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines.

No comments: