Articles from Canada
For Ontario to blow $1 billion over seven years not delivering on electronic health (eHealth) records, as Auditor General Jim McCarter documented last week, is frightening. But here's something just as scary. Everything that went wrong with eHealth can just as easily go wrong with Premier Dalton McGuinty's similarly half-baked plan to make us a "renewable" energy giant. Right down to the fact the same cabinet minister in charge when most of the damage was done at eHealth, is now in charge of renewable energy.
Some independent energy producers in Nova Scotia were cheering Friday after the Dexter government announced a delay of the province's green energy plan that threatened them and Nova Scotia Power with potential fines. ...The change adds a year to the deadline that required Nova Scotia Power to obtain five per cent of its electricity from renewable sources by Dec. 31, 2010. The utility now has until Dec. 31, 2011, to meet that target.
Let me argue that the first test of an energy policy for the new age is not "alternative energy" at all - but rather conservation first, then energy efficiency and decentralization of the power structure. Renewables should serve these ends rather than be an end in themselves that may, in fact, be mostly useless. Wind power is especially troublesome in that regard. Even if NSP reaches 25 per cent renewables by 2015 based on wind, it will not have cut 25 per cent of greenhouse gases, which, after all, is the main goal. It may not have cut much greenhouse gas at all, in fact.
The province has turned down a request by Entegrity Wind Systems for an additional $350,000 loan. Jim Heath, the U.S. president of Entegrity, wanted the loan from P.E.I. Business Development so he could pay his employees the thousands of dollars they're owed in back pay. The troubled wind turbine company already owes P.E.I. taxpayers $370,000. The information came to light during a Supreme Court hearing Friday in Charlottetown.
Green energy is the only option for ending Ontario's reliance on coal plants, a spokeswoman for Energy and Infrastructure Minister George Smitherman said yesterday. While there may be unanswered health questions related to industrial wind turbines, there's no doubt about health risks associated with coal burning power plants, Smitherman's press secretary Amy Tang said. "We have to remember why we entered into renewable energy in the first place, which was our commitment to get off coal," she said.
Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Murdoch said he would call for a province-side moratorium on wind turbine projects later this month. Murdoch expects his resolution to be debated on Oct. 29 at Queen's Park. ...Murdoch said the Liberal government moved very quickly with the Green Energy agenda, that Bill 150 was passed into law within a short time, and as a result very many things got overlooked.
Mounting questions about how wind turbines affect people's health justify MPP Bill Murdoch's new call for a provincial moratorium, the region's top doctor said yesterday. "To me this is a real welcome move," said Dr. Hazel Lynn, the Grey Bruce medical officer of health. "When there's as much upset as there is, I think the politicians should be paying attention to it." Murdoch, the Conservative MPP for Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound, said late yesterday he will introduce a resolution Oct. 29.
Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Murdoch announced yesterday he will call for a provincewide moratorium on wind turbine projects later this month. Murdoch said in a news release yesterday he will introduce a resolution, which he expects to be debated on Oct. 29, that calls on the province and its chief medical doctor to state whether or not wind turbines cause health problems for people who live near them. Murdoch said the government has a responsibility as well as a mandate to investigate such claims.
It is often said there are always two sides to any story. And generally I believe this to be true. But after five years in this chair I continue to strain to hear or comprehend the argument for wind energy-I have failed to hear a persuasive argument that explains why we had to ruin Wolfe Island and why we must do the same to Prince Edward County. I am still waiting.
Potential health affects of the alternative-energy wind turbine farm were front and centre at an independent public meeting held Sept. 30 at the Uniondale Fire Hall. The hall was filled to capacity, and some residents had to be turned away due to lack of standing room. The meeting was organized by Stew Slater, who said that he "wanted to get the community together, to ask questions -- as a community." He explained that a meeting organized by Energy Farming Ontario (EFO) in July in St. Marys was too isolating, as conversations between residents and EFO representatives were one-on-one, rather than a group discussion.
MPP Leona Dombrowsky already knew opposition was growing to industrial wind turbines in Prince Edward County. But as she gazed upon the packed, standing-room-only community centre in Picton last week, the scene likely reinforced how difficult wind energy will be to sell in this community- particularly to those who earn their livelihood from the natural beauty of the rural, island landscape. Certainly since Wolfe Island has been transformed by 86 40-storey turbines, there has been a spike of concern in this community about the impact a similar alteration of the landscape might have on the health and prosperity of County residents.
Two Calgary, Alberta-based companies, TransAlta and Canadian Hydro Developers, appear to have made amends with a sweetened deal. The companies jointly said today they have entered into a definitive pre-acquisition agreement. TransAlta plans to amend its existing share offer to acquire all the issued and outstanding common shares of Canadian Hydro for C$5.25 per share in cash, for a total value of C$1.6 billion.
Energy Farming Ontario has blown into the City of Kawartha Lakes to trumpet wind farms, but the lack of details of the proposal has frustrated residents and the fact that the company has been quiet about itself. "They were very vague last night," Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock MPP Rick Johnson told The Lindsay Post regarding Energy Farming's answers at a public town hall held by Ward 16 Coun. Dave Marsh on Sept. 28.
When the wind blows, a massive amount of power flows to the grid and "any time you get that amount of power into the auction system of the power pool, it's going to crush price," said Rob Falconer, director of distributed generation for the utility. The push to buy carbon offsets in a carbon-constrained world plays a strong role in developers' estimating profit margins, but existing uncertainty over prices makes the debate over sinking billions of dollars into extensive transmission projects even more relevant, he said.
One of the most beautiful areas of the North American continent has become the target for wind turbine projects put up by giant international corporations that, if they have their way, plan to fill the entire Great Lakes basin with these industrial parks. ...In Ontario (and New York state), the control of wind energy has been put into the hands of large international corporations which has turned the whole "green" energy movement on its head.
I wish to express my grave concerns with the passing of Ontario's Green Energy Act. No matter where anyone buys a home, if it is near agricultural land, there is no guarantee that this land will not be used to erect industrial wind turbines more than 400 feet high, a mere 550 metres from the centre of your home, and residents are now powerless to prevent such an unwanted intrusion.
It's too late to stop the surge of wind-farm development in Ontario, even by arguing the turbines cause illness, says Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Murdoch. "As far as what they can do about it, there really isn't a heck of a lot," he said yesterday. ...Emotions ran high at Thursday's public meeting, which the health unit organized to provide wind turbine information to residents.
Canadian Hydro Developers Inc. acknowledged yesterday that it does not yet have the rights to build a large wind farm offshore in Lake Erie. The company has agreed to buy a Canadian subsidiary of Utah's Wasatch Wind Inc. that has applied for those rights, but they have not yet been granted.
With the very audible rapid whirring of two ceiling fans overhead a constant reminder of the issue, about 500 people jammed into the centre to learn more about proposed industrial wind turbines in the area. Ward 16 Coun. David Marsh told the audience he was holding the town hall meeting as a means to get clarification from the private company Energy Farming Ontario about its intention to build up to 30 of the turbines. He also raised concern that the provincial government's new Green Energy Act ...removes residents' and the city's right to appeal the towers going in to their neighbourhoods.
Medical officer of health Dr. Hazel Lynn told a crowd of angry citizens opposed to wind farms last night that she also has concerns about health effects of the giant turbines, but lacks the power to alter green-energy legislation. "I certainly appreciate the fact that people are suffering and I want to know why and what to do about it," she said during an information meeting at the Grey Bruce Health Unit. However Lynn told the crowd of about 120 that their anger and frustration is aimed at the wrong people.