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As I See It

So the summer is over, if not on the calendar, then in the weather reports. After a summer of tornados, monster hail, floods, and all the other extreme weather, I am almost not sad to see the season go.

So the summer is over, if not on the calendar, then in the weather reports.

After a summer of tornados, monster hail, floods, and all the other extreme weather, I am almost not sad to see the season go.

While summer is arguably my favourite of the seasons, weather like we experienced this year is a little much for me.

Out of pocket money myself thanks to the hail, I know that my few hundred bucks are a pale measure compared to many who faced much more significant damage to their property and crops thanks to the weather this year.

As the season moves on, the wetness is bringing extra strain on our area ag producers that, after a wet spring and a violent summer. I am certain they do not need it.

Therefore it was with great interest that I followed some of the developments back in my hometown of Windsor, when a bit of good news managed to break into the headlines.

With factories back home still closing, and the derelict buildings of former businesses creating wide swaths of industrial wasteland, a company that manufactures electricity-generating windmills is considering setting up shop.

With ample factory space available, and a large population of skilled tradesmen and -women, as well as tonnes of people with industrial line experience, the businesses attraction to Windsor is understandable.

Of course, what does this have to do with the south east of Saskatchewan you may ask. I'm sure you are all aware of my affection for Windsor (it is where I am from after all,) but what does a new factory there have to do with here?

The simple answer is wind.

"It's the prairies, the winds tend to blow," I've been told many times by many people when I have commented on a blustery day now and again.

After writing a column in June about a professor I had in geomorphology, and his explanations about how greater atmospheric moisture will affect weather conditions, we were treated to a summer of some pretty severe weather.

Now, before you stop reading and write me off as a global warming supporter, let me just say that I am sensitive to the belief that many hold that global warming is not in fact a fact.

While I do hold a contrary opinion, I support everyone's right to their opinion, so I won't burden you with my beliefs.

I will say however, that whether or not global warming is a myth, there has been a growing trend of extreme weather in the world.

When I climb into my car for a drive, I don't do so believing I am going to be in an accident.

Despite this, I put on my seat belt just in case.

Coming from auto-city Canada, I know that seatbelts add an additional expense onto vehicles, one that you pay for in the final sale price.

While I don't necessarily believe I need it, I pay the extra cost, because sometimes it is better just to be safe.

So why not start taking some small steps to reduce our carbon emissions, just to be safe?

Out here in Saskatchewan, the use and development of wind for electrical generation is a simple and effective step in doing just that.

The system as it stands right now does have some shortcomings. Chiefly amongst these, the inability for us to store excess power generated by windmills.

Battery technology is such that excess electricity that gets generated by windmills is wasted, because it is too expense to store effectively for use in higher usage periods.

But strides in battery technology are occurring all the time, as that is one area of science that, while unheralded in the media for the most part, is creating some mind-bogglingly amazing advances.

When the time comes that this excess of power can be stored, alternative power sources like solar, wind, tidal, and other creative methods will become far more practical in day-to-day usage.

But while we wait for that day, I still believe we would be doing a good thing for ourselves, our pocketbooks, our environment, and our future if we started some baby steps into clean, renewable energy generation. And wind, as this summer has proved, is something that we can almost always count on.