GUELPH – Members of the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario (CFFO) Provincial Council recently endorsed a resolution on Ontario’s FIT Program. According to the resolution, the CFFO will only support solar FIT and wind FIT projects that are approved by and are to the benefit of the community and the municipality. In addition, the organization asks that the approval of FIT projects be halted and then only resumed after a more equitable, transparent approach can be developed.
The CFFO believes that green energy needs to be part of the long-term energy mix in Ontario and it supports the development of programming that achieves sustainability on a triple bottom line basis – economic, social and environmental. However, the development and approval of FIT projects is proceeding at nearly triple the pace originally outlined in Ontario’s Long-Term Energy Plan. According to the CFFO, the current approach to developing the feed-in tariff projects under the Green Energy Act is showing to be socially unsustainable. Communities are being torn apart by wind turbine proposals, the Samsung deal disadvantages local production projects, gag orders as part of contracts are preventing transparency and in some areas solar FIT projects are proceeding on high quality land despite rules to the contrary.
“The current approach allows for some economic gains for a few people in this province and small environmental gains for all Ontarians, but this is not worth pursuing if the cost is the sacrifice of the social fabric of rural communities,” stated Gerald Poechman, CFFO Vice-President. “Considering the increasingly obvious stress the current approach has placed on our rural communities, there is ample cause for the Ontario government to stop the further placement of FIT projects until a better way to move forward is put in place.”
The organization also calls for the current land use considerations for the placement of FIT projects to be re-evaluated to reduce their placement on prime farmland. In addition, residents within two kilometers of a wind turbine should be entitled to profit sharing. Finally, the CFFO calls on the Ontario government to take firm control of the timetable for development and implementation of FIT projects to more closely conform to its long-term goals.
Visit the CFFO website www.christianfarmers.org to see the CFFO Resolution on the FIT Program