Wind power not worth the cost to Algoma?

D. Bevington, MP

By Carol Martin, SooToday.com

NDP Western Arctic MP Dennis Bevington thought long and hard about what would change if proposed industrial wind projects go ahead in the Algoma area.

He really started thinking after skiing around King Mountain with local environmentalist and Lake Superior champion Gary McGuffin.

Skiing over King Mountain and actually looking at the valley and seeing what was being proposed, said Bevington, he recognized there wasn’t proper environmental assessment for the huge wind-power project.

Bevington was disturbed when he realized that very little is actually known about how the area may be affected.

And it appeared that neither governments nor the companies proposing to develop the land were making any kind of significant effort to rectify that.

SooToday.com caught up with Bevington at a brunch with Sault MP Tony Martin and a few members of Save Ontario Algoma Region (SOAR) at the Voyageur Lodge, about 70 kilometres up Highway 17 north from Sault Ste. Marie.

A former mayor of Fort Smith, Northwest Territories with energy-sector business experience, Bevington said the process for building industrial wind projects should be subject to the same federal and provincial guidelines, regulations and legislation as other industrial developments.

Right now, especially in Ontario, they are not, he said.

The Ontario government has offered incentives that have resulted in projects that might have been borderline, at best, being rushed through with little or no community consultation or environmental assessment, he said.

Worse than that, no one is looking at the cumulative effects that could be wrought on the culture, heritage, wildlife and the economy of communities like the ones in Algoma that could be adversely affected by the growing number of development proposals.

At least no one in government, anyway.

Tony Martin said that members of SOAR have been preparing an inventory of local resources that might be affected by development.

Both Gary McGuffin and wife Joanie have been working to protect the Lake Superior coastline and watershed since their two-year, 6,000-mile paddle around the lake and up to the Beaufort Sea in the early 80s.

They’ve met and joined forces with many others along the way.

Together, people living along the lake from Thunder Bay to Sault Ste. Marie – and around the American side as well – have declared it an area that’s fast losing its wild spaces and is in need of protection.

Even the Ontario Government agreed, commissioning a $5 million study of the Great Lakes Heritage Coast, which it promptly shelved just in time for the trap-rock controversy of 2007.

A flurry of developments in trap-rock harvesting have been proposed along the north shore of Lake Superior, says Gary McGuffin.

And now, he says wind towers would add to the devastation along the heritage coastline and further cut off access to the lake.

Joanie McGuffin wonders how much longer people will come to the lake to find a nostalgic reconnection to unspoiled nature and history, with wind towers dotting the landscape as far as the eye can see.

Gary wonders how many animals, fish and plants will die because of the towers and the roads needed to build and access those towers.

Tony Martin wonders what will become of the stable, dependable jobs that have been created in the tourism industry in the area.

Bevington hopes that the people of the area will get involved and send a message to their elected members of Parliament, to say we can’t afford to go ahead with projects that would cause irreparable harm to this precious area.

Governments need to start looking at the cumulative effects of multiple projects and stop trying to look at each project in a bubble, he said.

The Western Arctic MP also questioned the sustainability and efficiency of the wind energy movement in general.

“Wind energy is a mature science,” he said. “Whatever can be done with it has been tried before.”

If wind energy was so efficient, especially on a larger scale, he argues, why hasn’t it been used on a wider scale when we’ve had access to it all this time?

Bevington said an effective national energy plan would place more emphasis on the growing solar energy industry, especially on small-scale opportunities for home owners.

This plan would encourage conservation and offer incentives for people to generate and use electricity in localized areas, rather than selling it into the grid, he said.

SOAR and Tony Martin will be hosting an information session at Alexander Henry High School in early March where they hope to have much more information to share about the proposed projects, impacts of industrial wind energy projects and be able to hear more concerns from area citizens.

7 thoughts on “Wind power not worth the cost to Algoma?

  1. Talking to people in Southern Ontario, it seems people would rather put wind turbines in Northern Ontario where they are “out of sight.”

    For anyone that has not been to the Shores of Lake Superior north of Sault St Marie, it is a picturesque example of the way this continent used to be. This is the longest wild fresh water coastline in the entire WORLD!!! The 100+ kms north of the Sault is absolutley breathtaking. We must do everything to keep it that way.

    I agree with the article, wind is an old science, hundreds of years old. Industry and business would have utilized this method of power generation long ago if it made sense.

    My many thanks to the people of Algoma who are taking a stand and dedicating there time to stop the 100’s of turbines planned for the Algom region.

  2. A good article, right to the point. Of course the Province of Ontario does not want to focus on the fact that these industrial projects despoiling our landscapes are an ECONOMIC disaster. In no way can it be argued that the detrimental costs of ruining landscape, rural farming, and wildlife areas are outweighed by any benefits as to sustainable energy and job benefits, not even to mention negative health effects now surfacing. Based on hard $ evidence alone IWT’s need to be scapped.

  3. IWT’s have absolutely NO redeeming value, economically or ecologically. It’s as simple as that.

  4. “Bevington said an effective national energy plan would place more emphasis on the growing solar energy industry, especially on small-scale opportunities for home owners.”

    Well Bevy-baby, I got some REALLY BAD NEWS for you!

    Solar is every bit as USELESS as wind for industrial energy production!
    At least in most places outside the tropics where people are!

    It just comes with far HIGHER COSTS! More wasted BILLIONS!

    But then Mr. Bevington IS a member of the NDP!

    No surprises there!

    B.B.W.

  5. ” This plan would encourage conservation and offer incentives for people to generate and use electricity in localized areas, rather than selling it into the grid, he said.”

    Read the fine print BBB the man seems NOT to be talking of “industrial” scale solar but rather individual energy independence or at least partial local self-sufficiency….

    The really bad news is that the north has such a history of selling it’s birthright to outside interests those who don’t deserve the privilege of living in proximity to the National Heritage Treasure of Lake Superior are positively gloating at the prospects of making a killing with “greed energy”.

    AND

    “Bevington hopes that the people of the area will get involved and send a message to their elected members of Parliament, to say we can’t afford to go ahead with projects that would cause irreparable harm to this precious area.”

    The other lamentable circumstance is that SOAR’s elitist MO is hardly conducive to such a grass-roots response.

  6. Transitional Living? That is amongst the newest propaganda in our area.
    Will it come down to our Northern Bruce Peninsula being powered by
    3? wind turbines, and a few solar panels? Yesterday the 3 turbines did not turn
    a blade that was not powered by nuclear power, as far as I could tell. No wind. Can see the the turbines from my house. Tomorrow, snow on solar panels. Need I say more.
    Tomorrow our Prime Minister goes to the USA to discuss “global warming”. Are
    we that north of the border to not know what is really going on behind this
    renewable energy scam? We do not have an energy problem, we have an energy production problem, thanks to our elected leaders. Let’s start using the abundance of fuels we have. Forget wind and solar.
    We have been living the dream of our ancestors. It has come to an end unless we are willing to stand up for our rights. I am Canadian. So are my children and grandchildren.

  7. ‘Gresham’s Law of Green Energy: ( Jonathan Lesser on Bad Energy Drives Out Good) by Eric Lowe, Feb.1,11

    http://www.masterresource.org/2011/02/greshams-law-of-green-energy/

    “Gresham’s Law of Green Energy: High Cost Subsidising Renewable Resources Destroy Jobs and Hurt Consumers”

    Commentary on subsidising alternative green energy and the costs that are passed onto consumers which drives up consumer prices.

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