The Department of Energy is helping individuals and small organizations determine whether wind power is a good option for them. An online wind atlas is part of the department’s website upgrade and is making wind data easier to understand. “We expect the number of wind turbines in Nova Scotia will grow from 40 to more than 300 by the year 2013 as a result of our green regulations,” said Energy Minister Richard Hurlburt. “Wind power is a huge opportunity to generate electricity from a clean, renewable resource.” The maps show wind speeds, colour-coded based on velocity, at three different heights — 30, 50 and 80 metres above ground. Users can zoom in as close as 200 metres to a specific location. David Colville, Nova Scotia Community College’s lead researcher on the project, said: “Wind speeds are generally faster at greater heights, and this online atlas lets you interactively explore the great wind power potential that exists in Nova Scotia.” Supported by a $78,000 grant from the province, researchers from Université de Moncton and the Applied Geomatics Research Group at the NSCC developed the wind data last year. Since then, staff in the research group transferred the data to online maps. The information is kept on the province’s gateway to geographic data, GeoNOVA. “The wind atlas shows us how much wind is available, and where to find it,” said Université de Moncton project lead Yves Gagnon. “It’s a great resource for local entrepreneurs, small businesses, community groups, co-operatives and individuals who might not have the resources to do this kind of mapping on their own.” Tapping clean, renewable energy sources will make Nova Scotia more energy self-sufficient while reducing greenhouse gases. The wind atlas is available on the department’s website at www.gov.ns.ca/energy .