Articles filed under Energy Policy from Canada
It might surprise some people to hear a top government bureaucrat admit that Nova Scotia's electricity grid couldn't cope with the introduction of many wind energy projects, but it really shouldn't. ...Electricity generated by wind is too intermittent to be reliable and therefore needs a more secure source of energy as a backstop for times when the wind stops blowing.
Flemming Nissen, the head of development at West Danish generating company ELSAM (one of Denmark's largest energy utilities) tells us that "wind turbines do not reduce carbon dioxide emissions." The German experience is no different. Der Spiegel reports that "Germany's CO2 emissions haven't been reduced by even a single gram," and additional coal- and gas-fired plants have been constructed to ensure reliable delivery. Indeed, recent academic research shows that wind power may actually increase greenhouse gas emissions in some cases.
Wind energy is still a hot topic among many in the area. A recent meeting of residents at the Malden Community & Cultural Centre began with a presentation by Bill and Maureen Anderson, who outlined concerns from the Essex County Wind Action Group and the affiliated Wind Concerns Ontario. Specifically, they outlined problems they have with the provincial government's proposed Bill 150, the Green Energy Act. They believe the bill takes away rights away from rural residents.
While it expressed support for green power, Chatham-Kent council didn't like the idea of giving up control in the process. In a report Monday on the province's proposed Green Energy Act, administration said the municipality should lobby to retain authority on planning applications, particularly for wind turbine projects.
Innisfil's two top politicians lashed out at the province's new Green Act for usurping municipal powers. Mayor Brian Jackson and Deputy Mayor Gord Wauchope fear Bill 140 will take away local planning powers as it regulates alternative energy projects such as wind farms.
Saint John-based Irving Oil Ltd. is studying the potential construction of a 500- to 600-megawatt natural gas-fired power plant to sell into the energy-hungry New England market. The project was revealed as New Brunswick Premier Shawn Graham and Maine Gov. John Baldacci were in Saint John announcing their governments' intention to explore the development of an energy corridor to move electricity and natural gas between the Maritimes and New England.
We do need to invest in technologies that reduce our reliance on fossil fuels that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. But I believe we must do so with intelligence and not be seduced by vague or reckless promises that clearly do not stand up to scrutiny. Nor should we proceed with enormous public expenditures without appropriate due diligence and reasonable care, especially when it comes to the health and welfare of our fellow citizens and the future of our children.
Two major wind energy projects in New Brunswick have been put on hold indefinitely, putting a wrench in NB Power's plans to use significantly more wind energy by 2010. ..."It has made liquidity for capital projects scarce," said Eric Schneider, a spokesman for the company. Schneider said that it's "far more expensive to build and get financing in the market situation we're dealing with right now."
Grey Highlands councillors are so concerned about the province's proposed Green Energy Act that they are asking all Ontario municipalities to support a resolution that would make changes to the act. The primary issues of concern for Grey Highlands are that the act will remove local planning control over renewable energy projects as well as concerns over health issues and loss of property values.
It was with a great measure of trepidation that I watched George Smitherman introduce the much vaunted Green Energy Act (Bill 150) in the legislature last week. It only got worse. As I read the Bill, visions of Orwell's Big Brother danced in front of my eyes. The Liberal government has managed to take the same action we did - making it easier for private sector risk takers to invest in Ontario - and use that to completely undermine a competitive market for energy in Ontario.
Ontario's Green Energy Act should more accurately be called Ontario's Gangreen Act. No piece of legislation in memory will do more to simultaneously undermine Ontario's economy and environment. This one act rolls back decades of environmental gains in the energy sphere and opens the door to a future of environmental outrages. ...The Green Act undermines the advance of conservation by making renewable energy, particularly wind power, the enemy of conservation.
The objective of the GEA, which turns Ontario's electricity market from a low-cost system to a whatever-it-costs regime, is allegedly to reduce the province's carbon footprint. But no carbon-reduction targets have been set or will ever be set, no doubt because it is highly unlikely any significant reductions will occur. It is a myth that solar and wind power have no carbon emissions, as news reports often say. The main policy vehicle for renewable power is a massive subsidy regime.
The Green Energy Act seeks to do away with any need for proper environmental assessments for renewable energy projects, strip all planning decisions from municipalities, silence citizens and give more power to the energy companies with the help of a new Energy Czar. Rural Ontario will be wide open for exploitation and local government will be have absolutely no say. This is greenwashing with a gun to your head.
Premier Dalton McGuinty wasn't kidding earlier this year when he vowed that he wouldn't tolerate NIMBYism (Not In My Back Yard) when it comes to the province's green energy polices. His government's Green Energy Act, introduced last week, contains a section that would ...effectively place the burden of environmental assessment or proof on anyone who challenges a proposed "green" development. Environment assessments wouldn't be automatically required.
Mr. McGuinty warned last month that he won't tolerate NIMBYism when it comes to wind farms unless objections are based on safety issues and environmental standards. This doesn't solve anything, however, as a new report yesterday by Environment Commissioner Gord Miller illustrated. The main point of the report is that the 183 species facing extinction or endangerment could be further threatened if the government doesn't bolster its new Endangered Species Act.
Their responsibility is that they will listen to the discord and harmony of public discourse and determine the right direction for our public good. To emphasize, we expect them to listen. However, it appears they are failing to meet that expectation. When Mr. Smitherman hosts a town hall meeting and fails to reflect a basic level of empathy with his constituents, telling them the plant will be built regardless of what they have to say, he fails our expectations to listen.
On Tuesday, Progressive Conservative energy critic John Yakabuski proposed it be sent to committee for analysis - as a much less complicated piece of energy legislation had in the past - so second-reading debate could be more informed and productive. Predictably, even a reasonable request got a sneering slap-down from Smitherman. "I do apologize to the member if the matter at hand has caught him off guard and it's too complex for him to be able to participate in the legislative debate," he said.
Not surprisingly, wind companies from all over are lining up for a piece of the free money. Little citizens' groups have sprung up across the province to try to stop them from erecting 35-storey wind turbines in their backyards. But the Premier's energy minister, George Smitherman (a.k.a. The Enforcer), has declared that he will squash the NIMBYs like a bug. I have wind turbines coming to my backyard, too. I wouldn't mind - if only they made sense. If only they could really help us break our addiction to coal and oil, cut our emissions etc. But they can't.
"I think that if they want to get something going, they could do a partial lifting of the orange zone and allow the capacity that is available today to be produced by wind energy," Estill said in a recent interview. "If there's a problem with any of the nuclear units, as there often is, or if the refurbishment is started on another nuclear unit, to me, it's pretty darn good odds that not everything is going to be producing at the same time and they would be able to use the existing [transmission] capacity," Estill said.
Under the act, municipal governments would be stripped of their roles in approving power projects such as industrial wind turbine "farms." This would override moratoria on wind farm construction imposed in several Ontario municipalities, including South Algonquin and Killaloe, Hagarty and Richards townships in our area. It is hard to see the justification for such a hard-line measure, or for Premier Dalton McGuinty's wholesale labelling of those who have legitimate concerns about wind turbines in their areas as NIMBYS - the increasingly shopworn acronym for "not in my back yard."