Will energy plans change our area forever?

Toby Barrett, MPP

By Toby Barrett, Tillsonburg News

This year’s Jarvis Symposium on Energy and Our Environment pulled together companies, unions, engineers, activists and others to discuss everything from wind, solar and coal generation to natural gas and nuclear – just about everything except hydro dam turbines, something that was discussed the week before at Port Dover’s Save Silver Lake meeting.

Exhibits ranged from solar, to carbon sequestration, to energy conservation, and climate change.  The audience included all sides of the energy debate, area media, plus Councillors Jim Oliver, John Wells, Leroy Bartlett, Fred Morrison, and Rob Shirton.

Rick Prudil of the Power Workers Union kicked things off with their support for “recycling” Ontario coal plants to natural gas and biofuel. He noted that their plans to convert Nanticoke would cost less than the proposed and now shelved Oakville natural gas plant. They have requested the province do an in depth study of the feasibility of using biomass at Nanticoke, Atikokan, Thunder Bay and Lambton. Further details can be accessed at www.pwu.ca.

Jim Elve from Energy Quest for Nanticoke summarized the local Bruce Power saga and sounded warning on the shipping of radioactive waste on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence. More information can be found at www.energyquest4nanticoke.ca.

OPG Nanticoke plant manager Craig Wardrop described “repowering” opportunities for conversion of some of the coal fired units to fill provincial energy needs. He noted the low cost benefit of conversion from coal to natural gas, and the potential of

Ontario-sourced-and-processed biomass at Nanticoke to provide economic benefit for agriculture and forestry. For more information and OPG Nanticoke contacts: http://www.opg.com/power/fossil/nanticoke.asp

Samsung was up next, with spokesperson Marnie Dawson providing a big picture overview of the $7.9 billion deal that will bring 140 MW of wind generation, and 100 MW ground mount solar over 15,000 acres of Haldimand County. Following the presentation, questions ran from impacts on neighbours, to depletion of farmland, job creation and how to fight project locations in the wake of the Green Energy Act. I was happy to field the final question explaining I voted against the Green Energy Act and its power to neuter municipal input on energy planning decisions. Samsung is planning a meeting in the new year. For more, www.samsungrenewableenergy.ca.

Keeping with the theme of local power proposals, Duncan McEachern gave a brief synopsis of Competitive Power Venture’s natural gas plans for property just north of Nanticoke, adding that he hopes to hold another meeting in January to provide more on the possible development of a natural gas pipeline and power plant. Check out www.cpvnanticoke.ca/ for more.

Cayuga’s Grant Church presented, Climate Change – A Cloud of Deception. He concluded, “I don’t think we have anything to worry about. The only thing we can say for sure is that if CO2 increases, plants will grow better.”

Paul Serruys of the Clean and Affordable Energy Alliance did the final presentation of the evening focussing on rising energy costs driving business and jobs out of province. He noted that, “Misguided energy policies are causing the worst financial crisis in the history of Ontario.”

Upcoming Open Houses include Next Era – a project area ranging from Rainham Centre to Marburg – at the Jarvis Community Centre December 7th , 5 to 8pm, and Samsung in early 2011.

There is a real potential for significant energy plans to change our area forever. There’s much to discuss – let’s all stay plugged in.

17 thoughts on “Will energy plans change our area forever?

  1. Thanks to Toby Barrett for keeping the discussion about energy needs, health and safety of energy production, energy subsidies, inefficient vs efficient energy generation going these past 3 years.

    And thanks, too, for voting AGAINST the Green Energy scam. You are to be commended for doing the due diligence all the other MPP’s SHOULD be doing.

    While no one person can have all the expertise needed to make sound decisions, by having the kind of civil discussion you foster, and taking into account the interests of all your constituents, not just the greediest, the wealthiest or the loudest, we will come to a sane and sustainable solution.

  2. It is unfortunate in this age of information that our elected officials choose to be so misinformed.

    One cannot replace the energy content in coal with biofuel. Nanticoke can, at full power, consume
    1,600 tonnes of coal PER HOUR! Were that to be replaced with say, wood and/or agricultural wastes,
    one would have to consume 3,200 tonnes per hour to extract the same energy.

    Suffice it to say, the retail market for biofuels would evaporate over night. Too bad for all those
    with bio-pellet burners in their homes!

    As I have said times innumerable; the energy density of “alternative” energy sources like wind, solar and
    biomass is insufficient to be deployed on an industrial scale. I don’t know how many times this must be proven beyond shadow of doubt before it is believed. This foolishness MUST STOP!

    As for this: “Jim Elve from Energy Quest for Nanticoke summarized the local Bruce Power saga and sounded warning on the shipping of on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence.”
    Apparently the courts didn’t believe these “lightly” contaminated steam turbines posed any threat
    whatsoever to man or beast, hardly “radioactive waste”.

    If Toby Barrett is representative of the quality of people we have representing us, we’re DOOMED!


  3. Breaking Wind,

    Farting on other people’s attempts to bring positive solutions to the energy issue is NOT helpful.

    “I don’t know how many times this must be proven beyond shadow of doubt before it is believed.” Well, the latest news from psychologists is that a message has to be repeated fully, in context, SEVEN times. It might turn out to be 70 or 700 times. Be prepared to do whatever it takes if you’re serious about reaching a positive solution.

  4. Johanna:

    BW is right. Replacing a bad solution with a worse solution is no cure.

    Even if the proposed solution to the original problem is no worse… what have you achieved?

    The need for more generation is likely a perceived problem. It would be nice to have an answer.

    We should likely be keeping coal technology and ensuring only that the plant has scrubbers.

    It ain’t easy being green. And Dudley Do-good proves it every day!

    See our exchange in another threads.

  5. My apologies Johana, but nowhere in the article did I see anything that would indicate Toby Barrett was doing anything “to bring positive solutions to the energy issue”

    However, as I have already eluded, the article was full of untruths and misinformation. How any of these bring about positive solutions to anything is a mystery. Maybe I missed something. Perhaps you can enlighten us.

    Much to my chagrin, I’m sure David will be quick to correct anything I may have said in error…


  6. BW:

    Clearly I had no issues.

    I believe that any foray into bio-fuels could create a disaster of biblical proportions..

    Remember “The Great Tortilla Crisis” in Latin America? I was there…

    Yes the poor did go hungry.

    “U.S. Biofuels eating into Mexican Tortillas?

    Posted January 18th, 2007 by admin

    The problems that ensue from the expansion of our corporate-dominated food systems usually show up first among the poor—at home and abroad. The U.S. media has finally begun reporting on the explosion of tortilla prices in Mexico (“Nothing Flat about Tortilla Prices, San Francisco Chronicle, 1/13/07). Not only is this a serious political problem for the Mexican government, whose citizens eat an average of 10 tortillas a day, the United States is implicated. How? Let’s step back a moment. ”


  7. Here is another issue most people will not think of — at least not not easily…

    Think Wood Chips and saw dust — lumber will waste…

    What does Bio-fuel have to do with house prices?



    Look at the price spikes of Structural Panels. A lot of wood chips are now being turned into bio-fuel. We use wood chips in OSB, MDF and Particle Board.

    OSB= Oriented Strand Board — used for House sheathing.

    MDF = Medium Density Fibre Board — used for Furniture and cabinetry.

    PB = Particle Board — used for furniture and cabinetry.

    The bio-fuel industry is now competing for access to lumber mill waste.

  8. Yes, I caught on to that too rather quickly David.
    If the new mantra for farming means “energy production”, then how long before the headlines “Food Crisis” escalate? I wonder how many families could be fed to produce a single barrel of Ethanol, a ground-top solar array, or if let’s say 5% of Ontario’s farmland was covered with windmills. Yes, a major crisis is in the making on many fronts.

  9. I know I’ve posted this before but I’ll post it again…

    Ted Cowan of the OFA stated in 2007: “The 3rd world can feed itself now…the future of farming in Ontario is Energy production!”

    A rip-roaring, hat tossing cheer went up from the crowd at the Chatham-Kent gathering of farmers. It was truly sad to see.

  10. I found a paper by Richard S. Courtney which has a terrific summary comment…

    “Filling the 25-gallon tank of an
    SUV with pure ethanol requires over
    450 pounds of corn — which contains
    enough calories to feed one person for a

    I follow his comments on Joanne Nova’s blog and have found him to be a clear concise thinker.


    Biofuels: a solution worse than the problem they
    try to address?
    Richard S Courtney

    This paper reviews effects of large use of biofuels that I predicted in a paper published in
    August 2006 prior to the USA legislating to enforce displacement of crude oil products by
    biofuels. The review indicates that policies (such as that in the EU), subsidies and legislation
    (such as that in the USA) to promote use of biofuels should be reconsidered. The use of biofuels is causing significant problems but providing no benefits except to farmers. Biofuel usage is a hidden subsidy to farmers, and if this subsidy is the intended purpose of biofuel usage then more direct subsidies would be more efficient. But the problems of biofuel usage are serious.

    Biofuel usage is:

    * damaging energy security,
    * reducing biodiversity,
    * inducing excessively high food prices, and
    * inducing excessively high fuel prices, while
    * providing negligible reduction to greenhouse gas emissions.

    All these effects were predicted in my paper on the use of biofuels that was published in August
    2006 and can be seen at…


    Article available in full here. So, like the problem with wind turbines this information has been available well before the GEA was enacted.

    Link to the PDF version of the report is here.


  11. Thanks Noisy, I need to file that one.
    We need new leaders on many fronts, and the OFA being one.

  12. I mentioned one evening at a meeting that we ended our membership in the OFA over their support of wind energy. Several other people indicated that they had also left the organization over the same issue. One wonders how much support the OFA has lost over this?

  13. In the corn growing states in the U.S. support for biofuels gets people elected to Congress and keeps them there.

    Just keep the money flowing from Washington no matter how much this affects food prices for others throughout the rest of the U.S.

  14. So 140 MW could provide 10 jobs if the PraireWinds Development figures are applied to the Samsung wind turbine deal at this location.

    Praire Winds 1 job for every 14 MW at Minot,N.D.

    Figures for solar jobs produced is unknown at this time?

  15. As has been so eloquently posted, the facts concerning energy from biological sources on an industrial scale prove it to be a non-starter. It boils down to simply this: Either we feed ourselves and the rest of life on this planet or we feed our machines. The planet’s bio-diversity cannot do both.

    There are energy resources that contain mind boggling energy densities about which I have already posted. We do not need fossil, bio, wind, solar, hydro, hydrogen or conventional nuclear.

    Sadly, the technology of which I speak has been well understood now for almost three decades!
    Again sadly, we are such a selfish race generally; I am not likely to see this technology widely deployed in my lifetime. I’m 48.

    Below are two links where you can have the technology explained by the very individuals that worked on it. Few pictures, charts or graphs – sorry.





  16. It won’t change your area at all if you continue to protest and complain. If you remain silent, you don’t stand a chance. Dump McGuinty would be a great place to start.

  17. Dump Dalton, Dump Dalton, Dump Dalton, Dump Dalton, Dump Dalton, Dump Dalton!

    Although, “Dump McGuinty” works equally well!

    We gotta start putting this stuff up on billboards!


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