Public in the dark about wind turbine projects: Sault MP

Toby Martin, MP

By Frank Dobrovnik, The Sault Star, www.thesudburystar.com

A growing chorus of critics says the provincial government needs to be more up front about proposals for wind energy projects across Ontario.

Sault Ste. Marie MP Tony Martin will hold a press conference Friday calling for a public hearing into plans for wind turbines that could one day be planted in Lake Superior. Martin was contacted by a group of area residents last month about windmills rumoured for Alona Bay, and wrote to the local Ministry of Natural Resources office with their inquiries. What he heard back last Thursday made him “apoplectic,” he says.

“It’s quite alarming,” he said. “It blew me away that they are actually thinking of putting these things out on the water. What impact will that have on the lake? We have no idea until we do some significant research.”

On June 25, the Ministry of the Environment posted a policy proposal on its Environmental Registry seeking “to provide greater certainty and clarity on off-shore wind requirements,” as part of the Green Energy Act’s intent to expand Ontario’s transmission grid through clean and renewable sources. Kim Mihell, the MNR’s renewable energy planner for Algoma District, wrote Martin that the ministry has received applications for two projects in the Alona Bay area.

However, Mihell added that “no decision has been made with regard to the status of these applications, which are in the preliminary stages of the MNR’s Crown land windpower application process … (T)hese applications are not progressing at this time as no offshore windpower applications will be processed until the MOE and MNR policy reviews are complete.”

Once the policy reviews are complete, “there will be significant opportunity for public input and comment,” she wrote.

An initial 60-day comment period has been extended to 74 days, to next Tuesday. The public can view the policy proposal, formally called “Renewable Energy Approval Requirements for Off-Shore Wind Facilities — An Overview of the proposed Approach,” at www.ebr.gov.on.ca/ERS-WEB-External/   Enter the number 010-7895

But Martin says online comments aren’t good enough. People who live in the area have “not been given any opportunity to give any input, nor are they being communicated with very effectively with the powers that be as to what is being planned, and when, and how,” he said.

Further investigation into renewable energy has turned up further possible projects for Crown lands in this area.

The Ontario Power Authority has an interactive map on its website, powerauthority.on.ca,of all the projects for which it has offered contracts through its Feed-In Tariff Program, which pays project developers to put at least 10 megawatts (10,000 kilowatts) renewable energy into the provincial grid. In Algoma, contracts have been offered for at least two proposed projects:

* Bow Lake in the Montreal River Harbour, with a capacity of 20,000 kW; and

* the Goulais Wind Farm in Goulais River, with a capacity of 25,000kW of energy (developer Confederation Power Inc.). The project is expected to utilize 10 to 16 wind turbines and would be in service in 2013.

The projects are small compared to the 189-MW Prince Wind Farm just outside Sault Ste. Marie, but Martin says that’s not the point. People feel as though they’ve been kept in the dark about plans underfoot to alter their landscape, not to mention “environmental and health impacts,” he said.

“There are still a lot of unanswered questions out there … This is significant enough that there needs to be more sharing of public information, and a chance for people to hear each other and ask questions and have those questions answered.”

Confederation Power posted a small “notice of proposal” in The Sault Star last week about the Goulais Wind Farm.

They invite comments at : Confederation Power Inc., 1400-95 Wellington St. W., Toronto, ON M5J 2N7; online at www.confedpower.com/projects/goulais; by phone at (416) 640-5574; or e-mail goulais.info@ confedpower. co m.

A spokesperson with OPA did not respond to a call for comment Wednesday afternoon.

7 thoughts on “Public in the dark about wind turbine projects: Sault MP

  1. Suddenly politicians are publicly weighing in on the negative aspects of offshore wind. This is absolute bloody pain for the victims who have been pleading to them for help. Public hearing indeed! Why aren’t you calling for a full on public inquiry? Where have you been Mr. Martin?

  2. The Ontario Liberals Green Energy Act is based on the Management principle of “Mushroom Management”….Keep’em in the dark and feed them loads of crap”….

    Then you wake up one morning on your day off looking at 500 foot turbines in your backyard…

  3. But this is the only guy who counts — and this is what he says…

    http://www.ottawacitizen.com/technology/Rate+hikes+must+reliable+green+energy+says+energy+minister/3462167/story.html

    We gotta pay and pay and pay — cause we WANTED it — remember?

    I don’t remember — but I am sure that you do!

    Pearls of Wisdom from Comrade Do-Good!
    *******************************

    “If Ontarians want a clean and reliable supply of electricity, they’re going to have to pay for it, says the province’s minister of energy.

    “We recognize that energy rates are on the increase,” Brad Duguid said in an exclusive interview with the Citizen.

    But, he added, “Ontarians need to know that the investments that have been made on their behalf in the energy sector have been made to build a strong, more-reliable and cleaner system.

    *********************

    We do it all for you. Kinda sounds like a song? Right?

  4. As elections get closer at the Municipal level and elections next year come closer for Provincial rulers expect more and more “fake outrage” at what we have all been voicing for years now………..

    One “positive” note on all this………….at least this whole Wind Scam has revealed to the public how absolutely corrupt and dysfunctional all levels of our Government have become!

    Now it’s time to “throw the bums out!”

  5. The more MPPs and MPs that are willing to voice the concerns of their constituents the better.
    This Industrial Wind Turbine vision is a nightmare of gigantic financial loss and environmental damage.

  6. Scott:

    Why would either of us be offended?

    I think we can all have fun interpreting the Good Ministers remarks.

    I used to have a partner who would shake his head, look at me and say: “You give them/him/her credit for too much brains!” — now some people might say that in this case — but I would never say that to you — would I? rotflmao

    🙂

  7. David Robinson: “Wind Power has not made a significant contribution in the sense that every turbine could be disconnected today and it would not affect the energy market in anything but a positive sense.” Politicians most likely know this to be true and are starting to hide behind the idea that “We are doing what you wanted us to do”.
    Don’t remember anything that could be interpreted as support for wasting money on expensive, inefficient, useless developments. There were some published comments wanting “cheaper and reliable power” which I believe most in Ontario do want. If it could be cleaned up with a 1% increase most were willing to tough it up. Not quite what IWTs provide, but the media, with political help, spun IWTs to have a “free unlimited” source of power. The two comments seem to have been put together as meaning the same when there is no connection.

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