Monday, 26 September 2011

Grouse Mountain Resort - Changing the Face of Sustainability

Look towards the North Shore of Vancouver from almost any vantage point in the city and you can see the wind turbine situated at the top. It might be turning, or it might not, but either way that turbine stands as a symbol of corporate sustainability and extends a challenge to other companies in British Columbia to put into action more bold renewable energy initiatives.

Set against the backdrop of the Coastal Mountains, the turbine, called “The Eye of the Wind”, is the most visually noticeable facet of Grouse Mountain’s Blue Grouse initiative. 

Blue Grouse is the corporate philosophy that is behind all operational decisions at Grouse. It is about balance and responsibility; in essence, what is good for the environment can be equally good for business.

Thus, the Eye of the Wind has the capacity to generate up to 25% of the annual energy usage for the mountain as well as having the world’s first elevator accessible public viewing pod, giving visitors an opportunity to get up close with renewable energy in a real sense.

When Grouse Mountain began to explore the possibility of implementing wind energy, they turned to the Canadian Wind Energy Association, a transparent comprehensive source of information on wind energy in Canada, to get their facts. The Association, as well as other consultations, gave Grouse Mountain the confidence to move forward with the project. Here are ten reasons why others should follow Grouse Mountain’s lead. 

  1. The Lower Mainland, with topography ranging from oceanic coastlines to steep-sided fjords to grasslands and rocky peaks, has an abundance of wind. There are many such micro-climates across Canada where there are wind currents conducive to energy generation.  
  2. Wind is an emission and waste free resource. There are no by-products and low environmental impact on the running of a wind turbine.
  3. Wind energy infrastructure leaves a small ecological footprint. In fact, it would take less than 5% of Canada’s land to generate enough wind power to fuel the nation.
  4. Wind turbines can be located close to the end-user, thus they do not require a massive transmission infrastructure such as power lines.
  5. The energy produced by wind turbines is greatest when the need is greatest. This is because wind speeds increase as the day unfolds, which generally follows the pattern of energy demand. Wind speeds also increase during seasonal storms, exactly when people need additional energy to heat their homes.
  6. Wind energy can stimulate the economy in rural areas that have seen steady declines in the agricultural or logging sectors by providing income to landowners who “host” wind farms.
  7. The low start-up cost of a wind turbine makes is the most cost effective source of renewable energy.
  8. The idea of marrying wind technology with tourism by introducing an elevator-accessible viewing pod is progressive and innovative for both the tourism and the energy sectors. The success of The Eye of the Wind will hopefully encourage the development of similar projects.
  9. Wind power is direct energy and requires no energy for generation.
  10. Wind capacity grew by 21% in 2004, 24% in 2005, and 29% in 2008, with growth rates now further increasing. China alone aims to raise its wind capacity to 100,000 MW by 2020.

The success of wind energy as an economically viable and sustainable source of energy is unmistakable. With Grouse Mountain demonstrating the success of wind energy in a tourism context as well, we will definitely see more turbines on the horizon.

Thank you for taking the time to learn more about renewable energy - Knowledge Is Power! If there is something else you'd like to know write to us at and we'll do our best to address it for you! For more information go to or write to us if you want to get involved. Have a green day!