No “wind” in Speech from the Throne: Go figure

by Michael Den Tandt, Post Media News
The Ontario government’s Speech from the Throne contains 2,737 words. Not one of those words is ‘wind.’ And only one of them is ‘green.’ Extraordinary, isn’t it? In all that expanse of rhetoric, messaging, massaging, visioning and stroking, ululation and pontification, there is not one mention of Premier Dalton McGuinty’s signature energy goal – turning the Ontario countryside into an endless thicket of 500-foot wind turbines.  Perhaps McGuinty has belatedly gotten the message?

Perhaps the election just past – which reduced his government to a minority, cost him what little rural foothold he had and torched the Liberal Party’s hopes outside Toronto for at least another election cycle – finally drove home what farmers and landowners, by their simple requests for a hearing, could not.

(One needs to undertake a hunger strike apparently, as raw-milk activist Michael Schmidt recently did, to get a hearing from this premier.)

It’s a pity, the Liberals must feel as they contemplate their small, populous urban islands of power surrounded by vast acreages of Conservative blue, that they didn’t listen better, sooner.

It now seems that, in the absence of any official concession from McGuinty that he badly underestimated and misjudged rural Ontarians, the wind-power revolution may die a slow death.

The Feedin Tariff (FIT) program is under review. That means subsidies for so-called green energy are headed sharply lower. Given the economic gloom, reflected in the throne speech, we can expect this to happen quickly. The new pricing structure is due in mid-December.

Falling prices will mean a collapse in demand for green energy gear of all kinds – including turbines. The turbines will become more expensive to build and buy, because of reduced economies of scale. That and reduced profit prospects will lead to a flight of capital. Investors looking for easy money will go elsewhere.

Energy Minister Chris Bentley has already said the province now intends to pay more attention to local concerns – without returning control over the location of wind farms to local control.

That’s a first step. Bentley will find that, far from having been either discouraged or mollified by their partial victory in the election, anti-wind activists have been emboldened. The local political action committees aren’t going away.

Two thousand more wind turbines are reportedly planned, for Ontario: I would bet money that the vast majority of them never get built.

Here’s what McGuinty would do, if he wanted to make amends to his rural citizenry and create at least a window for country comeback, sometime in the future:

First, he’d apologize, for being a lousy listener, so wrapped up in the certitude of his own sanctity that he became deaf to all opinions but his own. He’d apologize for shunting rural people aside as though their voices don’t matter.

Second, he’s say the Green Energy Act needs to be revised, in substantive ways. He’d return planning control to local councils.

Third, he’d order wind farms, wherever there is significant local opposition, scrapped – or have these projects moved to areas where local people want them, or where there are no people.

Fourth, he’d commit his government to helping farmers and small landowners acquire, build and maintain small eco-energy projects designed to provide energy to a household, or a group of households in a neighbourhood.

That could include small wind mills, as have existed in the Netherlands and Belgium for centuries. Twitter@mdtmobile

32 thoughts on “No “wind” in Speech from the Throne: Go figure

  1. 2000 people need to show up at Queen’s Park, one for each turbine. No… we need more people. Why not?

  2. yes and sit on the steps …not eating until the ambulances take us away.. If only…………..

  3. Well even when municipalities had what the liberals called control if the wind industry didn’t like the regulations they had, they went to the OMB and got their behinds kissed. The municipality then had to pay the bill. It got so all the wind guys said was” well we could go to the OMB” and councils caved. So what is the real answer?

    • Getting IWTs into Ontario was a set up from the get-go. All that was needed was to get the right people on the OMB and anyother boards & agencies as well.

      • Hey Brenda,
        Like in – Kabuki Theatre!
        positions everyone – the show is about to begin.
        Sit back – relax – and enjoy the show!

        Ontario on display to the world!

        Actually – most situations are settled – before the OMB
        has an opportunity to weigh in, and make a decision – odd – very odd!

    • further to my comment.
      Brenda – you pose an interesting question
      “So what is the real answer”?

      We should be asking ourselves –
      after finding a clearing in the fog –
      What is the role of our local council?

      • Role of local council is to approve road
        vouchers and to implement sustainable
        development ala Local Agenda 21.

      • Hey madasabat,
        Wait –
        you forgot – ‘on a voluntary basis’
        Well – there go ‘traditional values’ –
        as we have known them.

        Have we missed anything?

      • Yes, always remember:
        Those who are too smart to engage in politics are
        punished by being governed by those who are
        dumber – Plato.

      • madasabat,
        Thank you!
        I think I’ll head back up –
        to the roof –
        and play my ‘fiddle’.

      • I feel sick!

        The World watches!

        Charlotteville – Ontario, Canada

        ‘Mayor Dennis Travale and Coun. Jim Oliver’

        Tensions over wind turbines boiled over briefly at town hall Tuesday night after an aboriginal from Six Nations interrupted a councillor in mid-speech and told him to “lower your voice.”

        Wearing a traditional headdress and holding a feather, the aboriginal was standing next to Stephana Johnston of Clear Creek to support her while she asked elected officials to study the health impact a wind farm has had on people living in the far west end of the county.

        Johnston has been at the forefront of public opposition to wind turbines for many months. She insists she can no longer live in her Clear Creek home and that her neighbours have been sickened and in some cases forced to move due to the infrasound waves produced from the spinning blades. One person, she said, committed suicide.

        “I hope you have the courage to do in your power what you can do,” Johnston told council. “You have the power to create this study and send it to the province and the minister of health. Why not do that on our behalf?”

        The survey, she added, would be a “pilot project” and could spur other town halls to order similar studies.

        p.s. Unbelievable!
        p.p.s. I want to help – but, I can’t even help myself.

      • A helath survey could be done by only asking say 2 or 3 simple questions. Why should this have to be so complicated? A way to avoid this issue?

  4. Great article by Peter Foster in the Financial Post about ‘peak green’:

    “The notion that government can beneficially insert itself into the R&D process simply will not die, despite the ever-higher mountain of contradictory evidence. That governments can pursue only follow-the-leader, drunk-under-the-lamppost policies is obvious from the comprehensive failure of high-cost, scandal-ridden green industrial strategy. It is proving a particular burden in debt-laden Europe, but Dalton McGuinty’s Ontario is heading for a sectoral crash too, as feed-in tariffs produce more and more fed-up consumers.”

  5. If McGuinty wanted to make amends to his rural
    citizenry, he should admit that he has been duped
    by the wind industry, cancel the FIT program and
    decommission the useless IWT’s already in existence.
    Wishful thinking.

  6. Perhaps the Liberals could stop the holier-than-thou attitude and quit with the delusion we’ll all be so grateful for their Industrial Wind Turbine development. Who but themselves are they convincing?

    Protests do not work. It is time to take control be proactive and not reactive in protests and hold the Liberal Governments feet to the fire,

    It Is time to take charge of our electricity in Ontario from McGuinty


    Our future and livelihood depend on it

    As Quebec, Newfoundland Labrador and Manitoba bask in the cleanest none polluting and lowest cost electricity in the world WITHOUT WINDMILLS AND SOLAR, Ontario is faced with a broken economic mess being worsened by unaffordable wind turbines.

    Low cost energy has been at the very heart of our enjoying the highest life style in the world. Companies depend on cheap energy to compete and survive? Do our Ontario Government Liberals not understand as they pay foreign companies billions of dollars to stick us with solar and wind power contraptions, how they harm everyone and especially struggling low income earners and seniors they purport to assist? TORONTO AND OTHER CITY ELECTORS DO NOT UNDERSTAND AND NEED TO BE EDUCATED HOW HIGH ELECTRIC RATES REDUCE LIFE STYLES. AND GET THEM INVOLVED IN SEEING THE BROADER ISSUE ABOUT MCGUINTY’S ENERGY FAILED POLICIES

    Do you believe Premier McGuinty, when he stated, “Our electricity rates will rise by 50% in the next 5 years”? Experts warn that his wind and solar energy policies will cost about 40 per cent more. University expert’s state that electricity prices without different directions will be 4 times higher in a decade. They blame Ontario’s soaring cost [inflation] of things mainly on much higher energy costs.

    Our prosperity depends on everyone having money in pocket to spend and thus create jobs? –What will happen with less money? People cut back. Jobs depend on sales. Thus unemployment rises.


    Why are Quebec’s electricity rates 5.45¢/kWh while Ontario’s are already up to 8.3 cents/kWh? Its hydro units produce electricity at 3 cents per kwh. Our windmills cost 20 cents.

    With sixty hydroelectric and one nuclear generating station, Hydro-Quebec is the largest hydroelectric producer in the world. It has developed these stations on rivers in northern Quebec and Labrador. Newfoundland is expanding its stations on the Churchill River.

    Why? They sell electricity at huge profits to the United States.

    In 2009, Hydro-Quebec paid $2.168 billion dollars in dividends to its sole shareholder, the Government of Quebec and so its people. Our government sucks that amount from us for windmills.

    Look at a map. Ontario has some 2,000 river mega sites wasting falling water north of the Great Lakes. There is no cleaner way to secure energy. Falling water is free .Especially with electric cars, there an ever growing electric energy market in the USA.


    Why In the past election did McGuinty hide and not explain his policies? These windmill protests have not stopped this government. More is needed.


    Especially bring in Hydro Quebec and other experts in northern hydro production. Demand the government,knowing it is wrong, finally come and explain the cost of its policies. Let us develop our own energy policy for the government. Let us have the meetings taped and broadcast on cable TV especially to inform city folk.

    This challenge is to our municipal leaders, , our media, everyone, to organize. I to lead the way to get the truth. Let us get a CHARGE out of showing them we are smarter. Let’s talk

    If not, we will also have a people power failure.

  8. Forward from my first response re take charge of our hydro.’
    Unfortunately, this site dies not include the diagrams and other Quebec hydro documentation. look it up on the search engine for hydro Quebec in thge large blanks below,,
    BACK UP MATERIAL FROM HYDRO QUEBEC”S WEB SITE look it up on the internet

    . Hydro-Québec can rely on 16 interconnections with systems in neighboring provinces and states. It can import power from Newfoundland and Labrador, and carry out interchanges with New Brunswick and Ontario, as well as with states in the U.S. Northeast.

    Energy interchanges with Ontario TO ENABLE EXPORT TO THE USA

    In 2009, Hydro-Québec increased its interchange capacity with the Ontario market (export and import) to 2,545 MW following the inauguration of a new, 1,250-MW interconnection.

    The company’s commercial subsidiaries can also use this interconnection capacity with Ontario to increase the volume of exports to New York State and the U.S. Midwest, where most electricity is generated by conventional thermal power plants.

    Exports to New England and New York

    Hydro-Québec has been selling electricity to New England since the 1980s. This U.S. region accounts for about half the company’s exports. In the early 1990s, Hydro-Québec inaugurated the Radisson-Nicolet-Des Cantons line, a 450-kV DC line that connects the La Grande complex in the Baie-James area with Sandy Pond substation, near Boston. This line has already transmitted more than 100 billion kWh.

    In collaboration with Northeast Utilities and NSTAR, Hydro-Québec is currently studying a project for a direct-current interconnection with New Hampshire. In May 2009, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved the commercial structure of the U.S. portion of the project. Subject to the necessary authorizations, the 1,200-MW interconnection could be commissioned by 2015.

    Electricity supply in New York State (open to competition since 1999) is affected by congestion on the transmission lines that connect the generating sites with the load centres. Although this supply is primarily intended for the Greater New York area, most of it comes either from western New York (Niagara and Oswego) or from the north, and from Hydro-Québec in particular. The power consequently flows mainly from west to east, with resulting congestion on the transmission grid. By regulation, the line that carries Hydro-Québec electricity to New York State is limited to 1,200 MW.

    However, Hydro-Québec can supply western New York by wheeling power through Ontario. In this way, it can help New York State reach its objectives in terms of developing renewable energies and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

    In August 2010, H.Q. Energy Services (U.S.) Inc., a subsidiary of Hydro-Québec, signed an agreement with the two largest power utilities in Vermont to provide low-emission, renewable energy at competitive rates for Vermont customers. The 26-year contract includes the sale of electric power to other Vermont utilities.

    Between 2008 and 2010, Hydro-Québec’s net exports have avoided the emission of 41 million metric tons of GHGs in North America, the equivalent of the annual emissions from about 10 million vehicles.

    FOLOWING Shows connection from James Bay units to USA as well as eastern Canada

    Hydro-Quebec’s Green Power Export Plans
    Hydro-Quebec’s move last month to boost its power exports to the United States by acquiring New Brunswick Power‘s transmission lines has raised eyebrows in New England, where renewable energy ventures would face stiff competition from low-cost hydro generated north of the border.

    According to the terms of the $4.4 billion deal, Hydro-Quebec — Canada’s largest electricity generator — will acquire the assets of New Brunswick Power, including the Pointe Lepreau nuclear generating station and large transmission lines with links to the United States electric grid.

    After the transaction closes in March, Hydro-Quebec’s chief executive, Thierry Vandal, told Green Inc., there will be “more renewable, clean power flowing into New England from Quebec.”

    The New Brunswick inter-ties will add at least another 10 percent, or 500 megawatts, Mr. Vandal predicts, although that figure is likely to grow with renewed investment in transmission grids.

    Immediately after the acquisition was unveiled, Angie O’Connor, president of the New England Power Generators Association, warned that the deal could harm smaller American utilities looking to develop windmill renewable energy projects.

    New Brunswick Power traditionally relied on heavy-oil generating facilities, but Mr. Vandal says these are being phased out as the province moves to cleaner power from Quebec and other source




    • As an aside, to illustrate how mismanaged our entire
      electrical program is, there are two existing dams in my
      area (Madawaska River which feeds into the Ottawa
      River) that could be, but aren’t, harnessed to produce

      • Many environmentalists do not believe that hydro power is “green” energy so they are opposed to hydro power projects. But run-of-the river is “green” power.

  9. Thank you Norm for your excellent points like why isn’t Ontario partnering with Hydro Quebec. Back in the early days of hydro, the long transmissions lines from generator to load results in lagging power factor and instability of the line. That problem is resolved with static inverters to create DC links and solve the problem of stability. Why the Ontario Gov’t hasn’t done this is because McGuinty is being lead by the nose by the wind developers making 9 to 10 % rate of return ar 13.5 cents per KWhour, a rate set by the government. This is criminal, this is treason as far as I’m concerned. The bottom line is competitive bidding. The days of flat rate FIT needs to be stopped ASAP because, nobody from the public can make 9% ROI on any GIC, Savings Bond, or bluechip equities. It is criminal for the government to be using the GEA as a tool to allow wind developers to rape the public.

  10. Ontario is using Demand-Side Energy Management to reduce the suppy & consumption of electricity here. Supply-side energy mangement is out in Ontario. What you are explainig is supply-side management which seeks to increase the supply of energy.
    According to many sustainability of planet earth can’t be achieved without reducing the supply & consumption of energy and this is also the Ontario energy policy.

  11. This is a thought provoking article by Den Tandt, one not usually appearing in Postmedia papers, and therein lies the problem. This article is on his blog, but does not appear in the printed edition of Ottawa Citizen, or the National Post.
    Editorially the Citizen remains in the bag for the GEA and development of renewable energy sources. Untill urban papers seriously cover wind development, it will be a chore to move public opinion, or even to interest it in the issue.

    • Money is I think the biggest motivator. On the one side are the wind developers earning, or potential to earn ~9% ROI on every installation over 20 yr contract.
      On the other hand is the fact that this is paid for by the ratepayers, and taxpayers. The Toronto Star wrote some time ago that the incremental increase in cost of electricity from renewables was $20 per household per year. This has put the public to sleep, howver this is just not true, given the overall plan is some 10,000 IWT’s or possibly more. I have to shake my head listening to a fellow speak at OSEA about how the whole province should be run off wind. If that is the case, then figure on electricity at 20 to 25 cents per KWh, ie 3x at least increase with hummungus profits for a select few companies. Criminal is the word.
      I think one way to get through to the city folks is to point out their real vulnerabilities, and the rip-off exploitation of everybody being forced to pay into this.

      • The major MSM has painted themselves into a corner over IWT issues and they don’t know how to get out and save face at the same time.

  12. That is correct. Individual columnists like Den Tandt get the picture, they do not set editorial content, ot even decide what get printed.

  13. Two points should be made:
    1. Not all big-city papers are the same. Both the Globe and Mail and the Star have generally supported Liberal policies and the Green Energy Act in particular. The National Post and
    The Toronto Sun have regularly published lots of articles critical of the Liberal agenda. Moreover,
    national columnists are bound to write mostly on national issues. If the issue is strictly provincial,
    the item may only appear provincially, perhaps in fewer papers or in a blog.
    2. Northern Ontario and Northern Quebec are geographically very different. Ontario is a flat slab gently sloping to the North, with slow rivers and few chances to build the high dams that would be required for the massive quantity of electricity required. Quebec has all the opposite features in spades, uses these resources extensively, and has some left to exploit. Ontario is pretty well tapped out. Lets be thankful we have Niagara Falls, or half of it anyway

  14. I had to rub my eyes and re-read this article. The truth is coming out:

    “‘Unstable’ renewable energy sources increase the risk of ‘supra-regional’ electricity blackouts with multi-billion pound consequences, insurance giant Allianz has warned. Solar panels and wind turbines are a “volatile” source of power with fluctuations in the electricity supply risking “grid instabilities” and triggering wide-scale blackouts.”

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