Library filed under Energy Policy from Canada
The letter to Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty articulates the frustration of many Canadians with the Ontario Provincial government's failure to consider the potential harmful effects of wind power development on the environment and human health and safety. Although written for a Canadian audience, the message applies in the United States and elsewhere in the world where turbine installations are aggressively being pursued.
It's green and mean. At least some say so. The Ontario government is introducing green legislation next week expected to strip the right of local councils to oppose wind farms and other green industry projects. Wind farms are a prime example of the type of green industry the province is trying to encourage to generate clean electricity and foster growth in new industries.
Premier Dalton McGuinty is poised to ram through legislation that could make it impossible for ordinary citizens to object to wind turbines, solar panel fields and biofuel plants on the grounds they're essential to Ontario. This is a disturbing turn and should give every civil libertarian pause. ...Despite the mom-and-apple-pie goodness invoked by its name, the Green Energy Act threatens to set a dangerous precedent.
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty is clearly floating a trial balloon through the wind-turbine community with his NIMBY message. 'Not in my backyard' isn't a reason for blocking new energy projects that will be tolerated by Queen's Park when its Green Energy Act is rolled out, the premier says. ...McGuinty and the Liberals can rail all they want about the NIMBY crowd, but there are many unknowns about new energy projects and what they will mean to our urban and rural communities. It's not fair to people who've lived in their homes for years to have their peace and quiet, or their sunlight or their fresh air adversely affected.
I am writing to express grave concern about the new Windmill law that will stop municipalities from controlling their own futures. This is particularly important to Prince Edward County. ...Lower property values and dropping tourism are things that we cannot afford and should not have to put up with. Why should the people of Prince Edward County have to sacrifice our new economy, our jobs, our lifestyle, for a provincial initiative that could place these turbines anywhere else in this huge province? The suggestion that this is "NIMBYism" is offensive.
Taking a swipe at those who oppose wind turbines off the Scarborough Bluffs, Premier Dalton McGuinty is signalling he won't hesitate to foist "green" energy projects on communities across Ontario. Only safety and environmental concerns will be legitimate objections to biofuel plants, solar panel fields and wind turbines under a green energy act to be proposed this month, the premier said yesterday in a speech on the economy.
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has run afoul of two fallacies which plague governments with his new "Green Energy Act." The Act, which does not have a defined price-tag, would supposedly create 50,000 new jobs, putting people to work building windmills, solar power plants ...But there are some hard realities that suggest Premier McGuinty's plan isn't the smartest way to do it. Let's review the reasons why governments cannot create jobs, and why labelling them "green" doesn't change the basic dynamics.
Some experts predict the $1.4 billion in the Canadian government’s main incentive program for wind farms and other renewable energy projects will dry up in ten months ...Since the government has signed incentive agreements worth an average of $82 million per month for the past three months, the remaining $862 million in the program would be allocated in 10 months, says Robert Hornung,
In Tuesday's blockbuster budget, Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty quietly cancelled the green energy subsidy that helps wind farms -- including the new one planned for St. Joseph -- stay viable. "That's a problem," acknowledged Manitoba Finance Minister Greg Selinger, who is also in charge of Manitoba Hydro. "It makes it harder, no question."
Here in Huron County we have municipalities struggling with how to regulate proposed wind farms. Those opposed to the turbines point to the potential of the health risks some have claimed are possible by living close to turbines. Others don't like the noise from the turbines. Others just don't like what they look like. Whatever the reason, it's clear the issue of wind farms is a controversy that won't go away soon.
Phyllis Hartwig is not happy with the resolution, passed by the municipality of Killaloe, Hagarty and Richards on Jan. 7, requesting that the Ontario government place a moratorium on wind farms until further research is done ..."You're saying it's all good, good, good and we have people that have researched and come back and said bad, bad, bad. That's what council is facing. What we need are facts." Visneskie asked council members if they wanted to rescind their original motion, but they voted to let it stand as it is.
But the fact is that most alternative power technologies aren't a true solution to the globe's energy problems. The best illustration of this is the long-time poster child of the alternative energy movement, wind power. ... German government uses a feed-in tariff system that requires utilities to buy wind power and pay generous subsidized rates for that electricity". What kind of business case can be made for New Brunswick? What's in it for NB taxpayers and customers of NB Power? For New Denmark?
Last month, the Crown corporation asked its regulators for the authority to reduce its call for green energy projects by 40 per cent, a move welcomed by industrial customers but attacked by proponents of electricity produced without carbon emissions. But on Jan. 12, a new letter arrived at the B.C. Utilities Commission from BC Hydro, noting that forecasting is a tough business these days. The amendment to BC Hydro's long-range energy plan, tabled in December, "may not necessarily capture all of the uncertainties inherent in possible future demand for electricity," the letter states.
"All of these contracts are basically being done on the back of Nova Scotia Power's balance sheet," Chris Huskilson, president of Emera Inc., told The Chronicle Herald's editorial board Tuesday in Halifax. "Anybody telling me they can't raise money on Nova Scotia Power's balance sheet . . . I have a little trouble with that."
A slowing provincial economy is getting the blame for BC Hydro's decision to slash by 40 per cent the amount of power it sought in its recent call for green energy. Tumbling demand for electricity in the forestry sector, an expected decline in sales of consumer goods, and a presumed drop in housing starts over the next two years are all cited by Hydro in a recent filing to the British Columbia Utilities Commission.
My column in the National Post about Ontario's irrational windpower policy has elicited an electric surge of very interesting responses.
Must we destroy the environment in order to save it? In the province of Ontario, the answer seems to be "yes." This month, the Liberal provincial government of Dalton McGuinty will finish drafting its proposed Green Energy Act. The Act's early drafts call for a big increase in renewable energy production in Ontario. Sounds nice! How do we get there? The plan contains two big elements: (1) a huge cash giveaway and (2) a brusque slap-down of local democracy.
The only certain thing about the battle shaping up on the edge of Algonquin Park is that the green side will win. The question, however, is which green side will be the victor? In a conflict suited to the times, the Ontario government is running into resistance from self-professed environmentalists over its plan to expand the use of wind turbines, which are the darling of other self-professed environmentalists.
Certainly, local farmers are entitled to earn a reasonable living. On the other hand, the rest of us are entitled to a quality of life and enjoyment of property. The underlying issue is that a small group of people formed met in secret to unilaterally decide that what is best for their own financial gain is best for the community. Her entreaty to "talk to the neighbours" is even more risible. The fact that this has been planned for two years and that the public is only now learning the detail and extent of this proposal is a case in point. To quote an old saying: "the fix is in".
The provincial government needs to be more considerate when entertaining new uses for Crown land in the Central Okanagan. That's the message the regional district board is delivering to the province's Integrated Land Management Bureau ...Case in point, the land bureau received an application for the installation of five, 60-metre meteorological towers in Lake Country's Beaver and Oyama Lakes watersheds, to test for wind energy.