Greenwashing confuses issue of industrial wind turbines
It amazes me the amount of green-washing the wind industry continues to unleash on the public to cloud the adverse effects of industrial wind turbines (IWTs).
If wind farms are good for the environment, then why do they have to destroy so much land and be placed in key habitat areas impacting entire ecosystems? Little regard is taken for adjacent landowners, vacant land, and non-participants. Ontario has the shortest setbacks of IWTs to fence lines in the world. Companies such as Northland Power say they follow process, but wind companies keep influencing government policy to change the rules in their favour.
On the health issue, the chief medical officer of health for Ontario, Dr. Arlene King, is continually misquoted as stating there are no health effects from IWTs. When her report was released she, in fact, admitted that people living near IWTs experience annoyance and sleep disturbance, although she found “there is no evidence available to date of a direct causal relationship between wind turbines and adverse health effects.” Furthermore, hers is an old
report by today’s standard and is not a peer-reviewed scientific study. The latest study from Maine is being independently analyzed for validity and will be submitted in the next few weeks to a peer-reviewed journal. This will show a strong relationship between the proximity of IWTs and ill health.
Wind companies also state that 550 people a year in Ontario die from coal-generated pollution. There is no evidence that directly relates Ontario coal emissions to respiratory-caused fatality. The air quality is, in fact, better now than it was 40 years ago.
The majority of coal-related emissions come to Ontario from the Ohio Valley. Ontario has two coal plants where one half of the units are outfitted with up-to-date scrubber technology. This further use of scrubbers was stopped to push the “green agenda” with excessive higher costs of electricity to everyone.
Another example of greenwash is the Renewable Energy Matters Campaign outline of October 18. The Sussex Strategy is a leaked document from a Liberal-connected PR firm subsidized by energy interest groups, whose admitted goal is to “confuse” the issue on renewable energy. This Sussex group targets specific communities to promote their greenwash product to mislead the public.
They admit that, “No significant job increases have been realized due to renewables, and electricity rates have increased 36 percent over the 2009 hydro bill.”
The Green Energy Act is all about corporate profit where the Feed In Tariff is hidden in the delivery charge on our hydro bills. IWTs produce when power is not necessarily needed and do not necessarily produce when it is required. However, wind companies continue to be paid when power produced is not utilized.
American journalist Robert Bryce states, “Since there is no technology for mass storage of electricity, the power produced from wind cannot contribute substantially to electricity supply let alone replace base load.”
I would like to comment on the greenwash our MPP, Mike Brown. At the recent Save Our Algoma Region meeting in Sault St. Marie, he said he was “not aware of any objections raised in his community with regard to wind projects.” Let me assure you, Mike Brown has been in receipt of all our mailings and has even responded to our members through regular mail. The countless letters of opposition to IWTs on Manitoulin outlined in articles in this paper, and the First Nations opposition to the Northland Power McLean’s Mountain Wind Project, shows just how out of
touch he is with this issue—or in complete denial.
Communities across Ontario are now considering declaring themselves a wind farm-free area, recognizing that there will be few places left in this province to enjoy peaceful, natural places. I am confident that Manitoulin residents will not be swayed by industry and government greenwash.
Raymond Beaudry, Manitoulin Coalition for Safe Energy Alternatives, McLean’s Mountain
Liberal government puts wind energy companies’ agendas first
A recent article from Bayshore Broadcasting reports, “He voted for the moratorium because opposition leader Tim Hudak indicated if he was elected, municipalities without a moratorium or resolution opposing wind turbines will be left powerless over future development.”
Why is it important for communities to educate themselves and to have a say in turbine siting?
Across the province, Ontarians are becoming increasingly aware of problems with wind energy slated to go next to families and schools.
The Green Energy Act, brought forward by wind-industry groups, among others, has lobbied this current Liberal government to put policy before people.
In turn, this government has produced Dr. Arlene King’s report, a desktop literature review, claiming no evidence of direct adverse health effects to date. The report was produced without speaking to the many people who are sick since the startup of turbines in proximity to their homes, some with turbines well beyond a 550-metre setback. Dr. King’s report is used over and over again by the industry and by a Liberal government hell-bent to put turbines all over this province.
There is no study by health professionals to tell us that turbines are safe to be anywhere near people at all. In fact, there is a growing body of evidence to the contrary. Dr. King, although invited, did not attend the first international symposium on the global wind industry and adverse health effects, held in October, to hear the latest data that says there are most definitely problems with turbines anywhere near our rural families.
The Green Energy Act leaves us with a meaningless ‘science fair’ of wind company meetings claiming to be public consultation. It leaves people doubting their own government and its official agencies, for good reason.
Wind industry’s first priority is to create profit. I get it. Industry is unlikely to discredit its own product. Turbine density and building close to existing grids equals a higher profit margin. I do, however, take issue with a government that is supposed to be there to look out for our best interests turning into a government that puts the wind-company agenda first.
Lorrie Gillis, Grey Highlands
Time-of-use hydro rates place unfair burden on families
Winter hydro rates are now in effect which means higher hydro bills are coming. Now you will pay for two more hours at peak price from summer hours. You will be paying the peak price of 9.9 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) just as you wake up and turn the lights on, as the on-peak winter rate kicks in between 7 am and 11 am. Your hydro cost will be double from when you were sleeping. From 11 am to 5 pm you will pay the mid-peak rate of 8.1 cents/kWh, so now lunch becomes more expensive to make. Then you have to make supper before 5 pm to avoid being charged
9.9 cents/kWh, or eat after 9 pm to avoid these charges, as peak prices kick back in from 5 pm- 9 pm. Then after you’ve got the kids fed, showered and put to bed at 9 pm, and your hydro usage goes down, Dalton McGuinty says he will give you a break at 5.1 cents/kWh between 9 pm and 7 am. If we want to save on hydro, Mr. McGuinty advises we do our laundry on weekends, as if we have nothing better to do, and he says he won’t apologize for the hydro increases.
The NDP brought in a motion to have the HST taken off hydro and the McGuinty government used their majority government to strike down this motion. The experts predict that by 2015 hydro will have increased to 21 cents/kWh under Mr. McGuinty ‘s plan, as he is paying producers of wind and solar power up to 80 cents/kWh in 20-year contracts and this cost gets passed back to the consumer. This is a far cry from when the Liberals took office seven years ago and we were paying 4.5 cents a kilowatt hour.
How is one able to run a functioning home under these conditions if they have kids? The system adds stress on parents who have to juggle when, and when not to, use hydro, and figure out when they can afford to eat or bath the kids or use anything requiring electricity. Plus there’s the stress of knowing that their furnace and fridge still have to run 24 hours a day, plus an electric water heater or electric heat in many cases.
What Mr. McGuinty has done here is to give the people of Ontario a choice: pay these outrageous prices and starve; or don’t pay them, eat after 9 pm, and do your laundry on weekends, so you can’t spend quality time with your family and you can listen to your kids cry because they’re hungry and can’t eat until late at night. How will the elderly and the sick cope with this vision of hydro for Ontario? There is only one solution here and that is that Mr. McGuinty must go.
Elections Ontario documents show local utilities, including Essex Power and Oakville Hydro, have donated thousands of dollars to the Ontario Liberal Party in the past few years. The documents show Oakville Hydro gave the Liberals $8,500 for a 2009 by-election in the Haliburton area, hundreds of kilometres away.
Newmarket-Tay Power Distribution, which is over 150 kilometres from Haliburton, gave the Liberals $1,350 for the same by-election and another $1,000 for the central party. Essex Power Corporation donated $1,700 to the governing Liberals to help them win a by-election this year in Toronto Centre, nearly 400 kilometres away from its base in southwestern Ontario.
Other public utilities donating to the Liberals included Thunder Bay Hydro, Greater Sudbury Hydro Plus, St. Catharines Power Generation and Niagara-on-the-Lake Hydro. Just remember it was in Oakville where a gas hydro plant was to be built before Mr. McGuinty cancelled this project without knowing what the cost of breaking the contract is to the people of Ontario. He stated the power was not needed, so why did he sign the contract to begin with? Or was it cancelled to protect a Liberal member’s seat, since there was opposition to building the plant from the local people? And he is still going ahead with solar and wind power up to 80 cents a kilowatt
hour in 20 contracts.
You can go to www.Hstoffhydro.com to sign a petition.
Ross Ayotte, Smiths Falls