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Wind Concerns Ontario backs protection of Ostrander Point

Wind Concerns Ontario President John Laforet, far right, acknowledged “the strong leadership coming from Prince Edward County” and cited Beth Harrington, (standing) for WCO communications, Dr. Robert McMurtry on health issues, and Ian Hanna for the judicial review case. Henri Garand photo

By Henri Garand
“Wind Concerns Ontario will stand with you to protect Ostrander Point,” said WCO president John Laforet.  “We will do everything possible to prevent a single industrial wind turbine from being approved on that site.”

Laforet was speaking at Waring House Friday morning as part of his province-wide “Truth about Turbines Tour.”  During six weeks and 6000 km of travel he is making 40 stops to draw attention to the economic, environmental and health facts about wind development. One of his engagements is before the Empire Club of Canada on June 2.

Wind Concerns Ontario President John Laforet. Henri Garand photo

In Picton, at a breakfast meeting, Laforet told 100 APPEC and CCSAGE supporters that the message to Bay Street is clear:  Every project will be appealed to the Environmental Review Tribunal.  Wind developers won’t have an easy ride even after the award of electricity contracts.

WCO has called for an end to Feed-in Tariffs with excessive subsidies, including those to Samsung. Laforet said that since Samsung’s deal was not just for incentives totalling $461 million but a contract that would pay out $1.1 billion each year for 20 years, it might be better to accept the short-term pain of a financial penalty for cancellation.

Turning to the environment, Laforet explained that wind projects will wreak incalculable damage across Ontario.  Near Thunder Bay, he reported, 150 acres of long-protected woodland will be clearcut, with a loss of 400 large sugar maples growing at their farthest northern range.  Amherst Island faces the same harm as on Wolfe Island.

“The MNR release on Gilead Power’s application for a permit to kill endangered species,” he said, “is yet one more example of the disregard the Ontario Liberals have for our natural environment even when it contributes to tourism and community vitality.”

Listeners applauded when Laforet said that MPP Leona Dombrowsky “needs to understand her job is to represent Prince Edward County and if devastation happens at Ostrander Point, she will not be re-elected in the fall.”

Laforet acknowledged “the strong leadership coming from Prince Edward County” and cited Beth Harrington for WCO communications, Dr. Robert McMurtry on health issues, and Ian Hanna for the judicial review case.  He noted that 80 municipalities representing two million Ontario citizens have passed motions for a moratorium until a health study is done.

Asked where people could get good information on the issues, Laforet suggested www.windconcernsontario.org for the facts on Ontario, www.windvigilance.com for health, and www.wind-watch.org for worldwide news.

After a few more questions the meeting ended, and the action moved to downtown Picton. Laforet joined more than 100 people carrying placards to march down Main Street to Leona Dombrowsky’s campaign office.

Filed Under: Local News

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  1. Lori Smith says:

    Douglas says:
    “I’ve noticed that nobody on this site has mentioned that renewable energy companies pay the full cost of energy production whereas most conventional forms of electricity do not. ”

    Because it’s not the case: On Feb 24th the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) announced contracts included 215 MW of solar and 615 MW of wind renewable, which the Ontario ratepayers will subsidize at a cost (over existing wholesale prices) of $3.3-billion over the next 20 years. [from FP Mar 3/11]

  2. Lori Smith says:

    Douglas, even though they say they will decommission the IWTs at the end of their usefulness, there are giving no guarantee, They should be required to post a bond or have some percentage of their earnings put aside for that day, if the company no longer here to honour that claim. Already many of IWT companies currently operating in Ontario have changed hands several times. If Gilead is really a front for an investment bank – bet your bottom dollar they won’t be there to clean up the run down turbine, they will be around only long enough to clean up the green for their investors. These IWTs are not about being Green as much as about raking in the Green, at everyone’s expense, including Mother Nature’s.

  3. Douglas says:

    Treat:
    I completely agree with you that conservation and efficiency should be the number one priority for meeting future energy needs. I also particularly like the Green Party point about improving transmission capabilities for importing hydro energy from Quebec.

    While I certainly understand your, and everyone else’s, concerns about provincial authority overriding the rights of municipalities regarding renewable development, any new energy project needs a place to go. Developing high voltage transmission lines over hundreds of kilometres will also impact many communities and have some environmental disturbance on previously untouched wilderness. Rural Ontario is a beautiful place and I love living in this province, but the fact of the matter is that I believe that if communities want to have stable energy networks in place then everybody should have to deal with the side effects of that, including having to look at a form of energy generation.

    I grew up near Pickering Nuclear so I think I have a pretty good idea of what it is like to constantly see an electricity generation station. Rural municipalities never want their skylines impacted or views disturbed, but they also want to ensure that local schools and hospitals have reliable power. Thus this province needs a wide mix of sources to ensure stability, while it is not always windy where we live, it is always windy somewhere in Ontario.

    Critics often point out that wind is unreliable, however evenly distributing this technology, across different areas of the province, does improve its reliability. Should the future of our energy needs be based only in wind? No, but internationally it has proven to be a very effective technology. While there have been critics of it in every country, this criticism is not nearly as extensive as that relating to any form of conventional energy.

    Treat, thank you for your well thought out and supported comment.

    Douglas

  4. Douglas says:

    Doris:
    Ontarians are some of the largest per/capita wasters of energy and water resources on the planet (this is not an exaggeration), both of which contribute to increased energy costs. Decades of not upgrading electricity generation systems and transmission capabilities are also causing waste and inefficiency, which also drive up cost.

    Whatever form of new energy chosen by the province will result in increasing electricity bills due to the huge deficit in infrastructure maintenance and expansion. Currently in Ontario wind and solar represent less than 3% of our energy generation, check out the IESO website for the hour-by-hour breakdown of energy sources in the province. Because of the dramatic need to develop our electricity system, costs are going to be going up regardless of the type of new energy selected.

    You seem to be convinced that increasing costs are the major reason behind stopping wind farms. Could you please provide me with your suggestion for a method of providing stable energy for the future that will not cause an increase in energy costs? Any research materials would be appreciated. Thank you for responding to my comment

  5. Treat Hull says:

    Douglas, you are on solid ground with your concerns about the hidden costs of nuclear power.

    On top of the hidden costs which you mentioned, two others stand out. Finding a permanent solution for spent fuel storage is a cost we have not confronted yet. In addition, nuclear plants are effectively exempt from carrying liability insurance in Canada under Federal law.

    These are good arguments for limiting our expensive dependence on nuclear, but they don’t provide a rationale for the McGuinty government’s forced imposition of industrial scale wind development on communities.

    I firmly believe that conservation/efficiency improvement should be our number one priority. To the extent that new sources of low-carbon generation are needed, we should start with the low-cost renewable solutions first before investing heavily in higher cost solutions.

    Specifically, the province has approximate 7,000 megawatts of economically viable water generation resources which it could develop. In addition, water-generated power could be imported from Quebec at approximately half the cost of wind generated power.

    There are no “perfect” solutions to our energy needs, but there are far better options than the current strategy of massive nuclear investment coupled with the imposition of relatively higher-cost types of renewables over the concerns of local communities.

    If you’re interested in a more in-depth discussion of the issues including model supply mix portfolios, you may want to have a look at the Energy Strategy paper published by the GPO earlier this week at http://www.give-em-hull.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/gpo_issues_paper_energy.pdf

    Treat Hull
    Green Party of Ontario
    Candidate, Prince Edward-Hastings
    Provincial Energy Critic

  6. Doris Lane says:

    Really Douglas the cost of electricity is going up monthly, The cost of wind and solar is very high indeed. It is rumoured that our electricity cost will go up 40% in future.
    Can you afford that? I can’t.

  7. Mark says:

    I bet most future generations would ask why did people just quietly sit by and allow mammoth turbines to be built on one of the most significant migratory bird routes in North America. What other answer could be provided to them other than, we just didn’t care.

  8. Douglas says:

    Take a look at electricity prices in Ontario compared to the rest of the world, or even just the United states. Ontario, and most of Canada, pay less on average than most developed countries. Hydro Quebec has an excellent publication on the average prices of electricity by region and county in North America.
    http://www.hydroquebec.com/publications/en/comparison_prices/pdf/comp_2010_en.pdf

    As well, I’ve noticed that nobody on this site has mentioned that renewable energy companies pay the full cost of energy production whereas most conventional forms of electricity do not. Nuclear does not pay for decommissioning costs, $5-10 billion per reactor, water costs or the damage caused to lakes by once-through cooling systems (which are increasingly being banned), nor does coal pay for its percentage of the health care costs associated with poor air quality.

    This province needs a mix of new energy, something which the conservative party never invested in. Last time they were in power the use of coal in this province went up by more than 100%. I bet if the people here who dislike wind had a new coal power plant located in their region then defeating that would quickly become their new cause.

  9. Killashandra Ree says:

    Was told by a Stantec Rep (consulting firm hired by Gilead to run their public meetings) that Gilead has a total of 6 employees. I could only find 5 online listed on their website – all have job descriptions except 2nd co-founder who is also an Executive Officer in two Ministries in Ontario, including Industry. These 5 employee/directors are also part of MGI Inc, a Boutique Investment Bank (according to Bloomberg). So the green they are interested in is the folding type that comes from the average Ontario citizen paying the outrages high cost of electricity.

    Ontario is forced to buy the wind generated power, whether it needs it or not, at 13%-20% over market costs because they have a 20-year contract that guarentees it. The past windy weekend, in addition to paying for the unneeded wind, we had to pay other provinces/states to take the excessout of the grid or risk damaging it. So wake up people and learn the truth about Industrial Wind Turbines – and the Greedy Energy Act that is forcing them on us with no thought to economic sustainability.

    Outrageously high electricity costs will cost us in jobs as industry & tourism goes elshewhere. We can count on some initial increase in tourism as they flock to see the environmental destruction, dead birds and bats and wonder how we could have let this happen to such a beautiful spot amid a migratory bird route in this day and age of envirolnmental enlightenment.

  10. Doris Lane says:

    The time has come for the government to stop giving away our money to large companies to develop wind energy. Samsung is an example of our money being thrown away to an off shore company. The jobs Dalton talks about are just not there. There may be a few jobs in the industry but not the numbers that are being quoted. Wind Concerns Ontario is a large organization and this march in Picton on Friday is just the beginning.

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