Articles filed under Energy Policy from Canada
Despite its recent investment in wind energy, Ontario will periodically ask wind operators to turn off their turbines, leaving gas and nuclear operating, This Magazine has learned. Conservation efforts and more energy production have led to an occasional surplus of electricity in the province, requiring Ontario to power down some generators at certain times of the year. According to a source within Ontario's non-renewable generating sector, wind generators will be the first to be shut down during surplus periods.
The Ontario government has taken the highly unusual step of ordering the province's Crown-owned electricity utilities to cancel their requests for hydro rate increases, amid worries of a consumer backlash over soaring power costs. The government's 11th-hour intervention in a rate-setting process that is designed to take the politics out of electricity pricing follows revelations that residential customers in Ontario are already facing increases of $300 more a year on average to keep the lights on by the end of 2011.
Overall, wind turbines in the United States generated 52 billion kilowatt hours in 2008 ...But it isn't all good, according to Dr. Nina Pierpont, who has studied families living near wind turbines. Pierpont found that there are enough negative effects to warrant calling them "Wind Turbine Syndrome," because the symptoms form a consistent pattern from person to person, she says.A report by Quebec's environmental review agency slams a proposed wind project in central Quebec for shutting local residents out of the planning process. The 100-megawatt Érable wind farm is scheduled to go into production next year near St. Ferdinand, 200 kilometres east of Montreal.
Municipalities across Ontario have expressed economic and environmental concerns about wind farms being forced on them under the Green Energy Act. "If Dalton McGuinty's plan for placing industrial wind farms in the backyards of Ontario communities was as popular as he pretends it is, why is he so afraid of allowing Ontario municipalities and local citizens to have their say?"
Tim Hudak and the Ontario PC caucus will introduce a motion in the Ontario Legislature today calling on the McGuinty government restore planning authority to Ontario municipalities so that no industrial wind farm can be imposed on a community that does not want one.
Massachusetts renewable-energy firms, including the developer of the planned wind farm off of Cape Cod, could lose a key competitive edge if a lawsuit filed by a Canadian company prevails. TransCanada Power, an energy supplier that also owns a Maine wind farm, is challenging a state law that requires utilities to buy their future renewable energy from Massachusetts-based firms.
A Hantsport firm that wants to build a large wind farm is hopping mad that Nova Scotia Power has been given the responsibility for half of the new renewable energy projects that the Dexter government announced last week. Minas Basin Pulp and Power says the government's new electricity strategy closes the door to any new large wind-power developers.
We need to remember that we cannot simply eliminate coal and expect to replace its availability and reliability with renewable sources. We need a mix of electricity sources - with natural gas-fired power plants to operate during peak times or when the wind doesn't blow and the sun doesn't shine. In choosing a reliable energy source, the one that makes the most sense right now is unequivocally natural gas.
The availability of cheap hydropower has limited the demand for renewable-energy sources such as wind turbines, which are more expensive. But, in its 2007 B.C. Energy Plan, the Liberal government pledged the province would become energy self-sufficient by 2016, with 90 percent of power coming from clean or renewable sources. With B.C. Hydro paying higher rates to private companies for sustainable energy, there has been an economic incentive to develop new projects.
Ontario Natural Resources Minister Linda Jeffrey said Friday her ministry hasn't given final approval to any offshore wind turbine projects in any of the Great Lakes. She said the government would soon be clarifying the approval process for renewable energy projects given that several ministries have overlapping responsibility.
Kingston was approved for Ontario's first offshore wind power project last week, yet no regulations exist governing where turbines can be installed or how far they must be from shorelines. "The government is now working on establishing those standards. It's a very new field," said Ben Chin of the Ontario Power Authority, which granted the 300-megawatt project to Windstream Wolfe Island Shoals Inc. last week.
An 8 per cent increase in domestic electricity costs announced yesterday is the latest in a series of fees that will drive up costs, and that's before the subsidies, the Opposition said. "People in this province are seeing increases that are putting them at the point where they can no longer cope with the prices of energy, and we haven't seen them all," said Progressive Conservative energy critic John Yakabuski.
Fearing legal ramifications, city council chose to defer a proposed resolution calling for a report on Horizon Wind Inc.'s revised plan for 18 wind turbines on the Nor'Wester Mountains. The report, solely to give council information to vote for or against the location of the turbines, was originally scheduled to be delivered on May 17.
The Government of Ontario recently signed a $7-billion no-bid contract with two Korean companies to supply wind and solar power to the province. Officials claim the backroom deal will boost "green" industry and job creation. But it's hard to fathom how the additional employment can possibly be beneficial when each new manufacturing job will cost taxpayers a whopping $303,472. Nor do dramatic increases in electricity rates constitute much of a bargain.
The world is littered with cautionary tales about subsidized renewables and overblown promises. Spain went wild on solar, and set off a speculative boom. Inefficient, poorly designed plants popped up everywhere. The lavish subsidies inflated costs. When Spain plunged into recession, the subsidies were ratcheted back, and the industry collapsed. Wind economics are shaky, too.
The rush to plug green energy sources into Ontario's electricity system has produced an ad hoc approach to choosing generating systems "that will unnecessarily increase the cost of electricity," says the former head of the province's power planning agency. ...In an article in this month's Journal of Policy Engagement, Carr questions whether the province's push for green technology will really produce cleaner energy at a cost that makes sense.
The Liberal government's Green Energy Act and its "top-down" approval regulations for wind farms has been a "horrendous failure," says the leader of the Green Party of Ontario. Mike Schreiner, who took over the provincial party's top job in November, said he supports a community-based approach to wind turbine projects.
Ontario electricity customers will soon be slapped with an additional tax to cover $53 million of the Liberal government's new conservation and green energy programs, the Star has learned. The levy will appear on hydro bills just as the 13 per cent harmonized sales tax is about to be charged and as smart meters are being phased in, which one industry insider described as "a perfect storm" for consumers already rattled by rising energy costs.
The province's Green Energy Act has hamstrung residents ability to fight wind turbine proposals for lakes Erie and St. Clair by putting the financial onus on opponents to prove any harm to human health or the environment. Municipalities need to do hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of studies to fight 715 wind turbines proposed for the two lake, Gord Meuser, a member of Citizens Against Lake Erie Wind Turbines, told Leamington council Monday.
That eerie hissing you hear may well be the air beginning to seep out of the green energy bubble. The sound is similar to the pfffffft and sshhhhsssssp noises we heard in the early days of the dot.com bubble collapse or the subprime mortgage meltdown. If you can't hear it, you are not alone. While investment analysts are telling their clients to get out of solar power firms and warning about the continuing risks in wind and bioenergy schemes, Ottawa and the provinces are on a mad populist stampede to throw billions of dollars at the green energy monster.