by Dave Trumble, President Grey-Bruce Labour Council Shoreline Beacon
I have yet to understand why the wind power lobby sees the phasing out of nuclear and coal as integral to the energy future of Ontario and beyond. No responsible or informed discussion on wind or renewable energy sources in general gives the slightest bit of credibility to the position that the electricity needs of Ontario could ever be met by these sources alone. Even with any amount of anticipated conservation added into this the amount of electricity demand will always far exceed the available power from renewables and conservation. In fact, traditional methods of producing electricity produce thousands of megawatts more than renewables each and every day in Ontario. Today (Jan. 20), wind was responsible for 90 megawatts of supply to the grid while nuclear was producing well in excess of 10,000 megawatts without one gram of greenhouse gases as a by-product.
The simple mathematics of supply and demand underscore the minimal impact that wind has on the daily electricity needs and this does not even take into account the cost of wind energy at $140 plus per megawatt or solar at $400 plus per megawatt hour. Nuclear power is generally produced at a cost in the range of $40-60 per megawatt hour. Make no mistake that once the health effects of wind turbines are taken into effect and set backs are legislated many in the debate see wind and other renewables as having some role to play in the electricity mix in Ontario, but at no time will wind or renewables meet the base load needs of the province.
The health debate will never go away, but in simplest terms the production of electricity from nuclear energy is the most regulated industry in the world and year over year self regulates itself to less than 1 per cent of allowable emissions to the environment. I wonder if the hundreds of trucks hauling the offshore made parts for windmills ever keep to less than 1 per cent of their allowable emissions. CANDU Reactors and all their components are over 95 per cent sourced in Canada and have mitigated hundreds of millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases since they first came on line. Almost all parties understand the controversy over the use of coal, but to suggest that Ontario will follow a path of renewables, wind and gas instead of converting existing coal plants to the use of biomass is another form of irresponsible energy policy in Ontario. Thankfully the government of Ontario recognizes the need for Nuclear Power, but it is time make it clear that wind and renewables are not the answer and will only be a small contributor to Ontario’s energy future. Casually disposing of Nuclear and Coal without looking at alternative uses for existing coal plants and thinking that wind and renewables will take their place is a guarantee for an Ontario with no future economic prosperity.