I’m going to go through this article by Tyler Hamilton and critique it. I’ll include some of my experiences and thoughts as well. My critique will be added in italics. Having spent over two years studying wind farms, having read and studied thousands of pages of documents from around the world, attending many council meetings and an OMB hearing, I believe I’m qualified to discuss the subject in an objective manner.
Wind farm opponents turn up heat
Province wary of small but effective groups as it aims to beef up renewable energy plan.
Oct 30, 2008 04:30 AM
Energy Reporter Toronto Star
( Shill for the wind industry – I say that because of his absolute lack of objectivity)
Opponents to wind farms in Ontario, at the best of times a local thorn in the side of wind-energy developers, have suddenly realized the benefit of getting organized.( see what I mean
)Earlier this week a new anti-wind group called Wind Concerns Ontario, a coalition of 22 small rural groups each fighting their own community battles, announced its creation as a “strong, unified voice of opposition” to provincial plans that would see thousands of industrial wind turbines “tearing apart the very fabric of rural Ontario.”
They emphasize the “industrial” nature of wind turbines and their danger to birds and bats. They say the machines are noisy, make some people sick, kill local tourism and cause the real estate values of surrounding properties to fall. (All true statements, backed by facts)
When those complaints don’t stick, they attack the technology as being a fraud. “It does not in reality produce `green’ energy, does not reduce CO2 emissions significantly and is inefficient,” said Beth Harrington, spokesperson for the new coalition and head of the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County, where several onshore and offshore wind projects are being planned.
(True – Wind energy has been promoted as being able to significantly reduce emissions, even though there is no evidence to support the claim.)
The increasingly vocal opposition, however small compared to those who more quietly support wind power in Ontario, isn’t lost on the Liberal government, which is counting on new renewable-energy projects as part of a plan to wean the province from coal-fired power generation by 2014.
(The so-called “quiet support” comes from people who got sucked in by the propaganda machine or never did any research on the subject)
In September, Energy and Infrastructure Minister George Smitherman directed the power authority to beef up an already ambitious renewable-energy plan, much of it dependent on massive new wind farms being erected across the province and on the Great Lakes.
(George Smitherman just recently took over the Ministry of Energy. So the question that needs to be asked is – What does Smitherman actually know about the energy needs of Ont. From his actions so far I feel safe in saying – not much. As Health Minister he thought it was prudent to have our seniors sit in dirty diaper until they were 70% full)
Smitherman, who will be in Shelburne today opening Canada’s largest wind farm, told the Star he’s committed to engaging the public in meaningful discussions as the plan moves forward. “But we also recognize that work needs to be done to ensure that momentum on the goal of a cleaner and green energy future isn’t diminished.”
(Meaningful discussions should be read as – drink the Kool-Aid or we’ll call you names ie: Nimby’s. That does not constitute meaningful discussions. He also forgot to mention the people already forced to move as a result of the first phase of the project)
This will require a streamlining of rules and regulations so they better balance community concerns with the need to move projects forward, industry observers say. A practical start, some suggest, is to establish environmental pre-screening of projects to weed out the good from the bad.
(This should read – The govt. and wind industry will decide where wind farms go and local councils will be bypassed.)
Behind the scenes the government is working on such improvements, sources say, including the creation of a Green Energy Act that would give priority to renewable energy and conservation as the province updates and expands its electricity system.
(Read – end of local democratic rights)
Some have grown impatient. EPCOR Utilities Inc. earlier this month canceled a $300-million wind farm in Goderich. After years of delay, the company said it couldn’t wait any longer for provincial and municipal approvals, which in some cases had been slowed by a handful of protesters.
( I attended many council meetings concerning the Epcor-Kingsbridge ll wind farm near Goderich and I never saw a protester. I did meet people who were lied to in order to construct Kingsbridge l . People who suffered from health, noise and stray voltage problems. I saw Epcor walk out of council meetings twice and say they were done. Why? Because people wanted answers to questions that the wind company couldn’t or refused to answer.
They should have left, but the govt. kept saying they would fix things. I saw junk engineering reports – anything to try and ram the project through. I believe there has been a formal complaint lodged because of those engineering reports.
We, a small group of dedicated citizens, farmers and landowners, including one dedicated councilor held up Kingsbridge ll for over a year. In that time I witnessed what can only be described as total and complete disrespect for people, their rights, their health, their property and the truth.
In the end a 450 meter setback was adopted – the same setback that was put forward over a year earlier, even though the people suffering ill effects from Kingsbridge l were all outside the 450 meter setback. The councilor who stood up for his constituents said “I was told by lawyers that any setback over 450 meters would prompt an OMB hearing at a cost to the township of $100.000 and that we would lose.”
Epcor recently released a statement stating they were withdrawing from the Kinsbridge ll wind farm because they would be unable to have the project up and operational by Oct.31st. of this year. They had to know that at least a year ago – so what gives?
This is speculation on my part, but I believe the Epcor withdrawal will be used as the excuse the govt. has been looking for to bypass local councils.
So much for democracy!)
Closer to home, Toronto Hydro got a taste of things to come this week as it considers construction of an offshore wind farm off the Scarborough Bluffs. It was forced on Monday evening to cancel its first community information meeting because more than 400 people showed up – twice as many as the church hall could hold.
Nearly 200 people lined up outside were greeted by someone from a group called SOS Windfarms Toronto (the SOS stands for Stop Offshore) who was handing out business cards that promote a website.
Along with some valid concerns, the site also contains misleading or wrong information, such as claims that the wind farm is being promoted as the only green solution for Toronto and that 80 years of aviation data show the site is inappropriate for wind generation.
(If you want misleading or wrong information go to the CanWEA site or the Govt. of Ont. site,or read the writing of Tyler Hamilton. They are masters of the art.)
“I think a lot of people are making judgments based on information that I would say is incorrect,” said Keith Stewart, an energy expert with WWF-Canada. “Rational argument can win over the majority, but it can’t win over everyone.”
(There goes Tyler Hamilton again – describing Keith Stewart of the WWF as an energy expert. Keith Stewart has a PhD in political science from York University, where he studied environmental politics. I see nothing that would suggest he is an energy expert.
I thought the focus of the WWF was trying to save the ‘not endangered polar bear’. Maybe Mr. Stewart would be of more use in the high arctic.
I want to hear from the engineers – the people who understand and build electrical systems, not politicians and lobby groups)
Stewart said some ecologically sensitive locations are clearly not appropriate for wind farms, and that’s part of the reason why government has to create guidelines.
Full article at Toronto Star
(It was CanWEA that requested the govt. not impose setbacks and the govt. agreed to the request.)
First, the relatively small size of private land parcels in Ontario will present a challenge for developers due to the number of stakeholders that may perceive impacts. Windpark development may become uneconomical if municipal setbacks created to address these “perceived” concerns reduce the usable land area, thus eliminating the economics of scale necessary to develop a project.*
*14c) The Industry does not recommend that a set of standard bylaws be adopted with respect to setbacks or other municipal zoning issues.*
(*”The above can be understood to mean, that if “safe setbacks” are mandated, it will make it uneconomical to site wind farms in Southern Ontario”)
(If Tyler Hamilton, the Govt. or CanWEA think they can subdue the rising state of awareness concerning the reality of wind farms, they are mistaken in their misguided belief, just as they are being dishonest when telling the public that wind farms will significantly cut CO2 emissions or are capable replacing a fossil fuel plant.
During a conversation I had with the senior policy adviser for the Ministry of Energy, I mentioned that my research suggested the best plan for Ontario’ s electrical needs was to put the scrubbers on the coal plants and build a nuke. He agreed with my assessment. Cost -10 billion for a system that is both environmentally sound and cost effective. McGuinty has continually refused to put the scrubbers on the coal plants, putting the health of thousands at risk)
McGuinty’s plan – 60+ billion for an unstable, overly expensive and is no healthier than the one proposed by myself and accepted as sound by the policy adviser.
When I asked why this was happening, he answered “politics” – try heating your home with politics.)
Premier, Dalton McGuinty Talks About Renewable Energy For Ontario
Premier, Dalton McGuinty powers a press conference with wind energy