Only in Kathleen Wynne’s Ontario would we still be spending money we don’t have, to build wind farms few people want, to generate electricity we don’t need.
And yet that’s exactly what’s happening six months after the government halted its green energy policy. Planning for five new wind turbine developments continues despite admission from the Wynne government that Ontario won’t use the electricity these turbines will generate.
Indeed, if history is any indication, the excess electricity generated from turbines yet to be built will be sold at a steep discount, probably to American states that already offer electricity cheaper than Ontario’s, states that in some cases are using cheap electricity to lure away Ontario business.
The Ontario government says it’s contractually obligated to allow the last of these wind turbine developers to bring their plans to fruition. A sensible response would be to cancel the contracts and pay whatever legal penalties might follow. But no, the Wynne government will stoically follow through.
Never mind that her predecessor, Dalton McGuinty, had no such qualms about cancelling natural gas-generation plants in Mississauga and Oakville, a move Ontario’s auditor-general said cost taxpayers approximately $1 billion. That cancellation came after the residents of those cities levied concerns about the gas plant’s location.
It’s interesting how they listened so carefully in 2011 to the concerns of Mississauga and Oakville, yet have been deaf to the pleas of rural communities where wind turbines are being developed.
Consider Dutton Dunwich. As with approximately 100 other municipalities in the province, the Elgin County community is an “unwilling host” to wind turbines. To further buttress its opposition Dutton Dunwich in 2014 became the first Ontario municipality to hold a referendum on the issue. Over half of its voters participated, with 84 percent voting against wind farms.
At a March 22 demonstration, at an open house held by the wind company that wants to build upwards of 19 turbines in Dutton Dunwich, a representative of a group opposed to the project said: “As a democratic society we voted in opposition to this (project) and yet here we are still fighting them . . . it doesn’t seem to matter that we don’t want (the turbines).”
Wynne would do well to heed that comment. But the green energy policy has from the beginning specifically ignored local councils and residents. The arrogance of that position remains on display even as these last turbines are prepared to be built.