A Trip to the Wolfe Island Wind Farm

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

Do you have any lingering Fears, Uncertainties and Doubts (FUD) about wind farms?  If so, I suggest a visit with Mike Jablonicky at the TransAlta Wolfe Island Wind Farm. Carpooling with your friends is a great way to go.

Mike is featured on the cover of the Winter 2013 issue of the Voyageur (The Magazine for Alumni and Friends of St. Lawrence College).  He is one of five nominees from St. Lawrence College for the 2012 Premier’s Awards.

After receiving his electrician’s “ticket” at St. Lawrence College, Mike had a successful career as an industrial electrician in both the printing and automotive sectors. He saw an opportunity to move into a new exciting direction and he joined a small start-up company bidding on the province’s first commercial wind farm – Melancthon 1. The successes there lead him to join the TransAlta Wind Company where he oversaw the installation of both the Wolfe Island and Melancthon 2 Wind Farms. Mike moved permanently to Wolfe Island during construction of the wind farm and is now the Operations Supervisor. “He… is credited as not only the first person in the province to run a modern wind farm with in-house maintenance, but to garner global attention as one of the best-run wind farms in the world” (p.6 Voyageur/St. Lawrence College/Winter 2013).

Mike teaches a part-time course for St. Lawrence College to 32 wind technician students in the classroom at the wind farm facility. He donates all the proceeds for teaching this course to a scholarship fund. TransAlta matched his donation so now the Mike Jablonicky/TransAlta Wind Facility Scholarship at St. Lawrence College supports future students of wind technology.

Mike recognizes that public relations are an important part of his role on Wolfe Island.  He listens to people express their concerns and he answers many questions from first hand experience and knowledge. He has played host to local, national and international guests who want to learn about the business.

In 2012 The Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) awarded the Matt Holder Community Connection Award to Mike Jablonicky (TransAlta). This award recognizes “an organization or individual who embodies the mandate of responsible development through a commitment to understand and build meaningful relationships with host communities…. (Mike received the award) for his outstanding engagement with the community of Wolfe Island and his hard work and dedication to ensure the wind farm was a welcomed addition to the community.”

I highly recommend a visit to Wolfe Island to check for yourself what a well-run wind farm looks, feels and sounds like.  You can e-mail Mike’s administrative assistant, Trudy, at trudy_deruiter@transalta.com or phone (613) 385-2045 to arrange a visit. You can even get close enough to the base of a wind turbine to touch it but you must have permission first because the wind turbines are on privately owned property.

Submitted by Deb Hudson for County Sustainability Group http://www.countysustainability.ca/

Mike Jablonicky looking out from on top of a wind turbine