by Clare McCarthy, Orangeville Banner
The Ontario Liberal government’s program supplying electrical energy to hydro consumers in the province appears to be in tatters.
Premier Dalton McGuinty’s party is to be lauded for its aim to develop sources of green energy and eliminate polluting coal-fired plants, but it has come to my attention that during the last month of 2010, an excess of electrical power on the grid forced us to pay approximately $1.5 million to the United States and Quebec governments to take this excess off of our hands.
Even this fact did not reveal the true extent of this ludicrous problem, since for the complete year, our payment to the United States and Quebec actually totalled in excess of $6.5 million as a result of overproduction of power by of our electricity producers.
Wind turbines and solar panels might be major components of future green energy production, but this can only happen after several related problems are resolved.
I don’t believe that at present there is a policy controlling the shut-down of wind turbines and solar panels when their power is not required on the grid.
Since investors have sunk a good deal of cash into equipment for these two sources of power generation, there has to be a government policy that makes it fair to the investors by regulating which installation will shut down during times of an abundance of electrical power.
Whatever policy surfaces must also be fair to consumers in order that their electrical payments are not squandered. Wouldn’t a partial solution to the problem involve the development of suitable mass storage devices that could save excess energy for times of need? Perhaps more attention should be paid to research and development in this area?
Recent newspaper headlines such as, “Ontario solar projects put on hold” and “Offshore wind turbine farms scrapped,” attest to the present confused state of electrical energy production in Ontario.
There have been, ongoing questions of health concerns related to wind turbines as well. Until these questions of regulation, storage, and health effects are answered to the satisfaction of those concerned, wind power generators will not be the answer to our electrical energy woes.
In addition to the health and aesthetic issues related to wind turbines, there is also the added complication of insufficient transmission lines in Ontario. I would say Energy Minister Brad Duguid’s comment, “We need some time to review the science and we don’t have it yet,” is a major understatement.
I realize for Ontario consumers, simply flipping a switch to turn on electrical power is common practice, and that it is not quite as easy for those in charge of generating and regulating electrical power.
Fair regulations, efficiency, and a major upgrade are aspects of our electrical power that need to be resolved quickly if coal-fired plants are to be closed by 2014.
Taxpayers are used to seeing their tax dollars frittered away on so-called essential government projects, but can’t be happy that the present condition of The Ontario Power Authority’s long-term energy plan is being likened to a tattered Province of Ontario flag fluttering limply in the breeze.