March 30, 2008 - News

RM of Elton banks on windpower
It's more than just a little passing wind to this community. There's money in that wind -- the kind passing over farm fields -- and people here aim to collect it. "We want to catch the energy going over our land and sell it into the grid," explained Dan Mazier, head of non-profit Elton Energy Co-op. What's different about this wind project from others is profits wouldn't sail away to multinational head offices. Instead, monies would be windsocked back into the community, in this case the RM of Elton, just north of Brandon across the Trans-Canada Highway. "If this flies, it will be the first in North America," said Mazier, a grain and livestock farmer in the area. The idea of "keeping the profits at home" is as old as farmer grain co-ops, now blowing in the wind, and the Canadian Wheat Board -- three generations of relative farmer solidarity under threat now from the Harper government. The math for Elton Energy Co-op goes something like this: wind power plus people powerequals community benefits. The group hopes to build a single wind turbine for $5 million, capable of generating 2 megawatts of power. That's enough to power about 1,500 homes, Mazier said.