UNDERWOOD / Bruce County, Apr. 3. 2009 – Concerned citizens from across Ontario stood in the rain today to protest the grand opening of the Enbridge Ontario Cruickshank Wind Project. They want to identify reasons why the celebration was misplaced. They pointed out that people will be hurt by this and future industrial wind developments championed in the hastily developed, inadequate Green Energy Act.
The sign up of leaseholders failed to identify the true risks that the industrial wind turbines would pose on the hosts and their neighbours. Neighbors with unanswered questions were subsequently pitted against those who hoped to supplement their income by hosting a turbine.
The original planning process failed to address citizen concerns due to a wish by some that Kincardine would become the “Powerhouse of Ontario.” However, those who know the environment of an industrial powerhouse wonder if this is not unlike trying to champion a textile sweatshop that takes away individual rights and freedoms for paltry stipends.
Appeal of the faulty decision of the municipal council to the Ontario Municipal Board identified documented evidence of adverse health effects, and evidence that setbacks proposed were inadequate. The OMB Chair heard the evidence, and concurred that the Ministry of the Environment had not been responsive in addressing concerns in other municipalities, so required the establishment of a complaint protocol, but deferred decision on the technical matters to the Ontario Ministry of the Environment.
The Ontario Ministry of the Environment issued a Certificate of Approval for the development in contravention to its own guidelines for wind turbines, while failing to address the citizens concerns.
Hydro One System Networks identified that a setback of wind turbines from 500 kV transmission lines should be 500 metres, well above the current setbacks permitted to highways and lot lines. The new transmission lines required for these turbines are causing further hardship and concern to landowners along the transmission corridor – formerly 8 generating units at Bruce Power could be accommodated by the existing corridor, but that is no longer possible with the intermittent wind contribution. The turbines adjacent to the power corridor will pose a significant new risk to the loss of the corridor and the entire Northeast North America power system.
The cost of the power generated by this and other industrial wind developments has been about 2.5 times higher than power generated by other means. Planned feed in tariffs for wind generators proposed for the Green Energy Act will increase the difference even more. With more expensive power, Ontario will suffer a net loss of jobs, not an increase suggested by the Green Energy Act.
Wind generated power is not available on demand. On the majority of days in the summer, wind turbine output has been less than 10 to15% during peak demand hour, yet, last weekend, when Ontario had a surplus of generation and legitimate generators which can be available when needed were being shed off line or were paying a penalty of over $50 a MWh to stay on line, the wind generators were being paid over $100 a MWh to produce unneeded surplus power compounding the problem.
Claims that industrial wind power developments will alleviate climate change concerns are without basis. Actual evidence shows that even if Canada had 25,000 MW of industrial wind turbines, backed up by natural gas generators to produce power when the wind does not blow, the reduction in green house gas emissions will be about 2%, which will not even be detectable as Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions are projected to rise more than that in the same time period.