NorthGowerWindTurbines

October 3, 2011

Graham Saul and Ecology Ottawa

Graham Saul, volunteer Executive Director of Ecology Ottawa, appeared on CBC radio this morning to–essentially–shill for the Ontario Liberal party, in the crucial countdown to election day Thursday. Mr. Saul also works as a staff member with Climate Action Network, which counts among its members Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, the David Suzuki Foundation, and the Sierra Club.

Sounds like an elegant group of environmentalists, doesn’t it? Or… Dr Suzuki recently had to step down from the Foundation that bears his name because his partisan activities could have affected the Foundation’s charitable organization status with Revenue Canada. The Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment is the Ontario group that continues to spout nonsense figures on thousands of deaths in Ontario from air pollution due to coal-fired power generation (what pollution Ontario does have –and Canada just rated number three in the WORLD for good air quality–is from cars, and pollution that comes from south of the border). The Sierra Club? Executive Director John Bennett has been waging a nasty campaign throughout Ontario and the organization says it supports saving wildlife but, curiously, would not come out in support of said wildlife at Ostrander Point in Prince Edward County, where a Toronto-based wind power developer proposes to put industrial wind turbines on Crown land in an important migratory bird area.

Today, Mr Saul praised to Liberal government saying sometimes a government will come out and do wonderful things, in this case, get us off our dependency on “dirty oil, coal and gas.”

Facts:

  1. Oil has NOTHING to do with electricity generation in Ontario.
  2. Coal-fired generation doesn’t make up much of Ontario’s capacity; what it does could have been made a lot cleaner but the Liberal government halted the implementation of cleaner technology, after millions of tax dollars had been spent on the program.
  3. Dirty natural gas? Well, maybe: but news for you, Mr Saul: Ontario is building MORE natural gas power generation facilities. Including the one Mr McGuinty said he halted but which is still under construction. In fact, industrial scale wind power is so intermittent and unreliable (i.e., NOT there when we need it) that more fossil-fuel power generation is needed to back it up.

Look at the names of some of the companies involved in industrial-scale wind power generation: Enbridge, TransAlta, NextEra (really Florida Power and Light), Suncor and the famous Mr T Boone Pickens of the U.S. Mr Pickens is honest: “it’s about natural gas,” he has said, also in a CBC interview many months ago.

The North Gower Wind Action Group asked Mr Saul if it was alright with his group if an entire community was affected by industrial scale wind power generation, which would turn the community into a factory and could cause negative health effects from environmental noise, for the (unattainable) goal of having wind power replace other forms of power generation. His answer was that everyone needs to look at the larger issue of climate change. So, in other words, yes.

The folks in North Gower don’t agree: we respect and honour the environment too and do everything we can to protect it. We just don’t think turning the land into sprawling wind power factories is the way to go.

September 2, 2011

Is wind power “green”? (No.)

An opinion on the environmental impact of industrial-scale wind power; note the “inputs” to the construction process.

Here is the link: http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/39973.

From a land use, economic, environmental or raw materials perspective,
wind is unsustainable

Our least sustainable energy option
  – Paul Driessen  Thursday, September 1, 2011 (2) Comments | Print
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President Obama and a chorus of environmentalists, politicians,
corporate executives and bureaucrats are perennially bullish on wind
power as the bellwether of our “clean energy economy of the future.”

In reality, wind energy may well be the least sustainable and least
eco-friendly of all electricity options. Its shortcomings are legion,
but the biggest ones can be grouped into eight categories.

Land

As American humorist and philosopher Will Rogers observed, “They ain’t
making any more of it.” Wind turbine installations impact vast amounts
of land, far more than traditional power plants.

Arizona’s Palo Verde nuclear plant generates 3,750 megwatts of
electricity from a 4,000-acre site. The 600-MW John Turk
ultra-supercritical coal-fired power plant in Arkansas covers part of
2,900 acres; two 600-MW coal-fired units in India use just 600 acres.
Gas-fired units like Calpine’s 560-MW Fox Energy Center in Wisconsin
require several hundred acres. All generate reliable power 90-95% of
the year.

By contrast, the 600-MW Fowler Ridge wind installation (355 turbines)
spans 50,000 acres of farm country along Indiana’s I-65 corridor. The
782-MW Roscoe project in Texas (627 turbines) sprawls across 100,000
acres. Oregon’s Shepherds Flat project (338 gigantic 2.5 MW turbines)
covers nearly 80,000 wildlife and scenic acres along the Columbia
River Gorge, for a “rated capacity” of 845 MW.

The Chokecherry-Sierra Madre project will blanket some 320,000 acres
of sage grouse habitat and BLM land in Wyoming with 1,000 monstrous
3-MW turbines, to generate zero to 3,000 MW of intermittent power.
That’s eight times the size of Washington, DC, to get an average
annual output one-fourth of what Palo Verde generates 90% of the time.
But C-SM has already received preliminary approval from BLM.

To replace just 20% of the United States’ 995,000 MW of total
installed generating capacity, we would need to blanket an area the
size of Kansas with wind turbines, and then add nearly a thousand
600-MW gas-fired backup generators … and thousands of miles of new
high voltage transmission lines.

Raw materials

Wind turbine installations require vast amounts of steel, copper, rare
earth metals, fiberglass, concrete, rebar and other materials for the
turbines, towers and bases.

A single 1.7 MW wind turbine, like 315 of the Fowler Ridge units,
involves some 365 tons of materials for the turbine assembly and
tower, plus nearly 1100 tons of concrete and rebar for the foundation.
Bigger units require substantially more materials. Grand total for the
entire Fowler wind installation: some 515,000 tons; for Roscoe,
752,000 tons; for Shepherds Flat, 575,000 tons; for Chokecherry,
perhaps 2,000,000 tons. Offshore installations need far more raw
materials.

To all that must be added millions of tons of steel, copper, concrete
and rebar for thousands of miles of transmission lines – and still
more for mostly gas-fired generators to back up every megawatt of wind
power and generate electricity the 17 hours of each average day that
the wind doesn’t blow.

Money

Taxpayers and consumers must provide perpetual subsidies to prop up
wind projects, which cannot survive without steady infusions of cash
via feed-in tariffs, tax breaks and direct payments.

Transmission lines cost $1.0 million to $2.5 million per mile.
Landowners get $5,000+ per turbine, plus royalties on all energy
produced from the turbine, plus payments for every foot of access road
and transmission lines. However, taxpayers pay more, while the
landowners’ neighbors suffer property devaluation, scenic disruption,
noise, health problems and interference with crop spraying, but no
monetary compensation. Direct federal wind energy subsidies to help
cover this totaled $5 billion in FY 2010; state support added billions
more; still more billions were added to consumers’ electric bills.

The Other People’s Money well is running dry. The “manmade
catastrophic climate change” thesis behind the wind energy campaign is
in shambles. Voters and consumers are understandably fed up.

Energy

Mining, quarrying, drilling, milling, refining, smelting and
manufacturing operations make the production of metals, concrete,
fiberglass and resins, turbines, and heavy equipment to do all of the
above very energy-intensive. Ditto for transporting and installing
turbines, towers, backups and transmission lines. That takes real
energy: abundant, reliable, affordable – not what comes from wind
turbines.

In fact, it probably requires more energy to manufacture, haul and
install these monstrous Cuisinarts of the air and their transmission
systems than they will generate in their lifetimes. However, no
cradle-to-grave analysis has ever been conducted, for the energy
inputs or pollution outputs. We need one now.

Health

Whereas environmentalists garner scary headlines over wildly
speculative claims about health dangers from hydraulic fracturing (to
extract abundant natural gas for wind turbine backup generators), they
ignore and dismiss a growing body of evidence that wind turbines cause
significant health problems.

Principal health issues are associated with noise – not just annoying
audible noise, but inaudible, low-frequency “infrasound” that causes
headache, dizziness, “deep nervous fatigue” and symptoms akin to
seasickness. “Wind turbine syndrome” also includes irritability,
depression, and concentration and sleep problems. Others include
“shadow flicker” or “strobe effect” from whirling blades, which can
trigger seizures in epileptics, “vibroacoustic” effects on the heart
and lungs, and non-lethal harm to animals. Serious lung, heart, cancer
and other problems have been documented from rare earth mining,
smelting and manufacturing in China, under its less rigorous health,
workplace and environmental regulations
.
To date, however, very few health assessments have been required or
conducted prior to permit approval, even for major wind turbine
installations. Perhaps the trial lawyers’ guild could redress that
oversight.

Environment

Raptors, bats and other beautiful flying creatures continue to be
sliced and diced by wind turbines. Thankfully, the Bureau of Land
Management has included an “avian radar system” to track the slaughter
within its 500-square-mile Chokecherry region – and banned mining
among the turbines.

Wind turbines are supposed to reduce pollution and carbon dioxide
emissions. But because backup generators must repeatedly surge to full
power and back to standby, as wind speed rises and falls, they operate
inefficiently, use more fuel and emit more – much like cars forced to
stop repeatedly on freeways.

Jobs

The myth of “green jobs” is hitting the brick wall of reality. While
the turbines are installed in the USA and EU, far more numerous mining
and manufacturing jobs are in China, where they are hardly “green.” As
Spanish and Scottish analysts have documented, the “green” installer
and maintenance jobs cost up to $750,000 apiece – and kill 2.2 to 3.7
traditional jobs for every “eco-friendly” job created.

Electricity costs and reliability

Even huge subsidies cannot cure wind power’s biggest defects: its
electricity costs far more than coal, gas or nuclear alternatives –
and its intermittent nature wreaks havoc on power grids and consumers.
The problem is worst on hot summer afternoons, when demand is highest
and breezes are minimal. Unable to compete against cheap Chinese and
Indian electricity and labor, energy-intensive industries increasingly
face the prospect of sending operations and jobs overseas. Bayer
Chemical’s warning that it may have to close its German facilities is
just the tip of the iceberg.

When it comes to wind, Nat King Cole might have sung: “Unsustainable
that’s what you are, unsustainable though near or far. Unsustainable
in every way, and forever more that’s how you’ll stay.” Maybe not
forever, but certainly for the foreseeable future, especially compared
to increasingly abundant natural gas.

So take a hint from Spoon’s lively tune and “cut out the middleman.”
Forge a direct relationship with energy you can afford, energy that
works nearly 24/7/365, energy that causes the least ecological damage
and is far more sustainable than wind power: the hydrocarbon,
hydroelectric and nuclear power that have sustained our society and
brought unprecedented health, prosperity and living standards to
billions.

Then help the planet’s least fortunate people to do likewise.

Paul Driessen

Paul Driessen is a senior fellow with the Committee For A Constructive
Tomorrow and Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise, nonprofit
public policy institutes that focus on energy, the environment,
economic development and international affairs. Paul Driessen is
author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power, Black death
Paul can be reached at: letters@canadafreepress.com

For news daily, go to http://windconcernsontario.wordpress.com and for local news http://northgowerwindactiongroup.wordpress.com and follow on Twitter @northgowerwind

June 16, 2011

Eaglewatch: corporations invading communities

This report from native news watch group Eaglewatch, June 16, 2011:

From the Eagle Watch #154

Mining the Wind:  Who Would’ve Thunk It??
Detailed Report
June 16, 2011

In the early days after Contact, we Indigenous were shocked when the Colonizers wanted to sell the land from under us.  We objected vigourously.  To us Real and Original People/Nishnaabe/Ongwehonweh, the land contains the bones and dust of our ancestors.  It is not to be sold but the Newcomers sold it anyway.  Then they wanted to sell the water.  We were shocked and we objected.  We continue to object but they are doing it anyway.  Now they want to sell the wind.  We were shocked and now we are objecting.  Who would’ve ever thought the wind would become such an issue?

Over the past few weeks, we at the Eagle Watch, have scoured the internet for information on industrial wind turbines.  There’s lots out there and quite a growing debate. 

We profiled two wind developers, Prowind and Horizon Wind Inc, both of whom want to set up wind “farms” in Ontario.  What a misnomer!  It’s more like mining with all the associated damage and pollution.

There are many other big wind developers but these two are typical.

TWO CORPORATIONS INVADE TWO COMMUNITIES

With growing opposition to wind turbines being placed near people’s dwellings, the promoters will be looking for more places to put them in the bush, that is on Indigenous communities.  Watch out for that term, “remote location”.  It usually means dumping their toxic and wasteful projects on our land, on our doorstep, in our face.  They don’t care how it harms us.  They presume to act with impunity because they get away with it all the time.

Two well known environmental organizations, Greenpeace and the Sierra Club SUPPORT the mega wind projects.  Some people are surprised and outraged about this.  We have long been aware of the self-serving hypocrites who shelter under the banner of Environmentalists.  Many environmentalists support depopulation.

How much space does one wind turbine need?

“The GE 1.5-MW turbine, with a 70.5-m rotor span, therefore requires at least 48 acres per tower in a single line perpendicular to the wind (32 acres/MW) or 123 acres per tower in an array (82 acres/MW). Each Vestas V90 1.8-MW turbine, with a 90-m rotor, requires 78-200 acres (43-111 acres/MW). Tom Gray of the American Wind Energy Association has written, “My rule of thumb is 60 acres per megawatt for wind farms on land.”

Horizon aka Horizon Legacy Energy Corporation aka Horizon Wind Inc. aka Horizon Wind Limited Partnership and Big Thunder Windpark Inc., aka Big Thunder Windpark Limited Partnershp
 vs
Fort William First Nations and the City of Thunder Bay

Toronto based, private firm, Horizon Legacy Energy Corp. wants to put up about 20 wind turbines on the Fort William First Nation Nishnaabe territory pristine wilderness outside Thunder Bay Ontario, not far from the US border.   

The Fort William First Nations community is home to about 1500 people.  The colonial puppet Band Council signed an agreement in 2007 with Horizon Wind.  The Nishnaabe people were not informed.  They were not consulted and did not give their consent.

Thunder Bay already signed some deal with Horizon who are now sueing the city for $126million for reasons that are not clear.  Many Thunder Bay residents now vigourously oppose the wind project.

Horizon president and CEO Anthony Zwig was in for a real surprise on May 30, 2011 when the Fort William Nishnaabe filled their community hall to oppose the destructive wind project.  They had a lot of questions for Tony and they had plenty to say to him.

On June 1, a letter written by a Fort William Nishnaabe appeared in the NetNewsLedger.  In part, it reads:
“We, the Anishinabek peoples of Fort William First Nation, have had most of our lands and much of our way of life taken from us by settler society. Indeed, more than 8,600 acres of land has been taken by settler society for settler projects since we established our reserve.  We are literally surrounded by lands that have been destroyed by settler projects. Because of this, we live with all the problems consistent with colonial oppression, including social, psychological, environmental and political pathologies. Due to this legacy, WE WILL NOT GIVE ANOTHER INCH.

“The proposed location for the Big Thunder Wind Park is in prime moose habitat. Our reliance on moose for physical and spiritual sustenance depends on healthy moose habitat surrounding Loch Lomond lake. We have seen time and again that settler projects that meet provincial and/or federal standards do little to protect our sacred relationship to moose and other animals. We gain our identity from relationships to our lands and our animal relatives; though this relationship is hard for settler society to understand, we are ready to protect it. We will not let another settler project compromise moose habitat in our traditional territory…”

Tony “Huff and Puff” Zwig is a prominent and affluent Toronto … philanthropist and patron of the arts just like Murray Koffler, founder of Shoppers Drug Mart and the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business CCAB.  Tony and Walter Zwig and Murray and Tom Koffler are lifetime members of the board of governors at the Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. 
 
The Nor’Wester Mountain Escarpment Protection Committee opposes Horizon’s Big Thunder wind project in and near Thunder Bay.  They will be hosting a screening of the film, Windfall on Thursday June 23, 2011 at the Community Auditorium in Thunder Bay.

Another concern to the Fort William Nishnaabe is a company called Sky Power putting in a 45,000 panel solar installation on Fort William territory.  The scale of such a project is also detrimental to wildlife and people who depend on our relations for survival.

Prowind vs North Gower, Carleton Place, Brinston, South Dundas Township, United Counties of Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry, Shanly, Township of Edwardsburg-Cardinal, United Counties of Leeds & Grenville.

These settler communities are all on Ongwehonweh territory between the Ottawa and St. Lawrence Rivers.  Once productive farmland for early settlers, the family farm today is an “endangered species”.  Farmers struggle to earn a living from the soil.

Prowind is a German company with a Canadian subsidiary now based in Hamilton, Ontario.  Prowind has 16 wind projects all over Germany and is now expanding into at least 8 other countries.  This includes England, Ireland, Italy, France, Australia and Romania. 

Johannes Busmann, a certified dairy farmer and lawyer, founded Prowind in 2000.  He knows how to talk to farmers.  Prowind Canada is run by money-loving Cathy Weston, president and Juan K. Anderson, project manager and aerospace engineer.  Prowind likes to start the project and then sell it to someone more willing to deal with the headaches.

A North Gower farmer agreed to rent his land to Prowind for some wind turbines.  Now, Prowind wants to sell the project to him.  Prowind is trying to develop other wind projects in the area.

The resistance to the Prowind wind turbine installations is organized under the name, North Gower Wind Action Group (NGWAG) which is related to Wind Concerns Ontario.  These people are concerned about quality of life and how wind turbines affect property values.  NGWAG is hosting the screening of Windfall on June 26 in North Gower, about 20 minutes outside Ottawa.

THE PROBLEM WITH WIND TURBINES
The big wind projects cause a number of problems.  Here’s our short list of things we learned and then some more details about the related health issues.

1.  Wind turbines are extremely ugly to look at.  We think that Beauty should be a part of our Lifestyle.  Wind turbines also cause strobing, flickering and reflection of sunlight that is a health issue for some people.  The wind turbines being built keep getting bigger and bigger.

2.  Wind turbines make hideous noise, often loud and steady like a speeding train that never arrives.  It’s hard on the nerves literally.  Wind turbines make infrasound which the human ear cannot hear but the body feels it.  People like airline pilots already get vibro-acoustic disease (VAD) from constant exposure to low frequency sound. Wind turbines emit electromagnetic radiation of various frequencies that can be harmful to health on a cellular level.

3.  As more and more farmland is being used for wind turbines, developers are turning to the bush.  They want to cut down trees and build more roads.  Wind turbines need regular maintenance so they must be easily accessible.  This is destructive to all the creatures and Life in the bush.  It is murderous to Indigenous people who get their livelihood from the bush.

4.  Wind turbines adversely affect birds, bats and other creatures.  The wind turbines on Wolfe Island and those proposed for nearby Amherst Island are located on the migratory routes of many threatened and endangered bird species including raptors like the Bald Eagle.  The presence of the turbines causes the birds to avoid these locations where they normally find food.  The Kingston Field Naturalists are studying this issue.

5.  There are potential dangers of chunks of ice falling from wind turbines or being flung great distances by the rotors.  Anyone could get hit.  Fires are also possible and have happened.  The wind turbines contain plastics, resins and other substances that are very toxic when burned.

6.  The promoters of wind turbines always tell you they can power so many homes and produce so many mega watts.  But do they?   Wind is not a constant so it is impossible to predict how much wind will occur during any given time frame.   Just how efficient are the turbines at harnessing the wind’s energy?  A simple fact of physics is that when electrictiy is produced in one place and transmitted to another place, it loses power in the transmission. 

7.  There are security and communications concerns that the wind turbines interfere with microwave transmission and radar including at airports.  Why then this big industrial wind turbine facility going up at Kingston Ontario, the east end of Lake Ontario near to the busy Canadian air force base and international airport, Trenton, less than an hour’s drive to the west???

8.  Proponents claim that industrial wind projects will provide jobs.  Beyond the construction, this does not appear to be true at all.  A minimal number of technicians and mechanics maintain the turbines once in place.

9.  In the end, the wind turbines with so many moving parts will break down into useless garbage in about 20 to 25 years.  The steel rubble will lie with the crumbling concrete pads, motionless and quiet at last.  The emboldened animals will creep forward to examine the debris.  Plants will pop up and vines will creep over the miles of wires, batteries, broken switches and plastic shards.  People will shake their heads, amazed at how foolish their fellow humans can be.

For news of North Gower-Richmond, please go to http://northgowerwindactiongroup.wordpress.com

June 10, 2011

Farmers Forum: solar and wind power reality bites

In this month’s edition of Eastern Ontario Farmers’ Forum, editor Patrick Meagher sums up the whole “green energy” picture, specifically the promises of jobs and money and a cleaner environment … and sticks a pin in the whole thing.

You can read the full article at http://www.farmersforum.com/JUNE2011/p6.htm  but here are some excerpts.

The Ontario feed-in tariff program .. offered seductive guaranteed prices way above market rates and indexed to inflation. You can earn 80 cents per kWh for your rooftop solar power. But a consumer buying electricity pays about 6.8 cents per kWh for usage up to 600 kWh and 9.9 cents after that. The catch is that we, the people, have to pay for it. The province has said that if you include the HST that started last July 1, you will be paying 42 per cent more in electricity fees by 2015. This is not all due to renewable fuels but you can bet they are low-balling.

Ontario’s experience as North America’s first green energy region is discouraging. We are now discovering other problems. The green energy revolution was supposed to generate jobs. According to the Vancouver-based think tank the Fraser Institute, renewable energy projects do create jobs but at the expense of other jobs. In Ontario, “the government has failed to take into account the jobs destroyed through higher electricity prices to small businesses and consumers,” noted a Fraser Institute commentary last month. “Several recent research studies on the European experience with feed-in tariffs have foudn that each job created by subsidized renewable energy comes at the expense of at least two or more jobs elsewhere in the economy.”

After 10 years of green energy in Spain and the U.K. independent studies found that for every renewable energy job created in Spain, 2.2 jobs were lost. Ouch. The Fraser Institute is thinking just as any good managers of a household would: if we can’t afford it, don’t buy it.

As for green energy cleaning up our air, what’s there to clean? The Fraser Institute notes that “75 per cent of Ontario’s electricity comes from nuclear and hydro power which do not generate emissions. Twenty-two per cent comes from coal and natural gas-fired power plants. Ontarians have paid hundreds of millions of dollars for installation of advanced emission control devices on those plants. [Blog editor note: a program the McGuinty goverment STOPPED.] As a result, Ontario air pollution levels have fallen dramatically since the 1970s and 1980s.

Solar and wind power are expensive job killers that offer few benefits other than making us feel goos about being environmentally friendly, even if they’re not.

There you have it: the lies and manipulation about air pollution, the environment, the economy—wind doesn’t work. Add to that the claim this week by the corporate wind developer proposing to build industrial wind turbine projects in Eastern Ontario, that wind power installations are “protecting against urbanization of rural areas.”  What does that even mean??? One thing: put turbines up and you sterilize your community against any kind of growth (and jobs) for the next 20 years.

E-mail the North Gower Wind Action Group at northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca check out local news at http://northgowerwindactiongroup.wordpress.com and follow on Twitter at northgowerwind

Community note: the award-winning documentary Windfall will be showing in North Gower on June 26 at 2 p.m., Alfred Taylor Centre. Admission $5 at the door; donations to cover costs gratefully received. To view the movie trailer, go to http://www.windfallthemovie.com

May 16, 2011

The outcry over Hudak’s FIT announcement

It was nothing if not predictable: following Ontario Conservative leader Tim Hudak’s pledge to cancel the $7-billion deal with Samsung for wind and solar manufacturing and installation of facilities (a contract that as yet has never been seen by the public) and to halt the Feed-in Tariff or FiT program which pays exorbitant prices for power to solar and wind generators (power from hydro and nuclear in Ontario cost 6 cents a kWh; FiT pays 13.5 cents for wind and up to 80 cents for solar), the people who stood to benefit the most are now protesting.

They say “thousands” of jobs will be lost.

Not true. As Kevin O’Leary said on the Lang-O’Leary Exchange last week on CBC, “they weren’t real jobs and they should be lost.” Anything built on subsidies, the fund manager explained, is not sustainable. In other words, if the subsidy goes, so goes the business; “real” business, O’Leary said, is built on profitability. That’s not the so-called “green” energy manufacturing business.

Last year, the Ottawa Citizen’s Randall Denley calculated that–if the government’s numbers about job creation were even true–the cost to taxpayers of the jobs created was over $300,000 PER JOB. That is crazy. And not sustainable.

But now, these people, like the band of solar and wind companies in Ottawa, and like the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association (in reality a government-funded lobby group) are claiming that we all must fight back and not lose Ontario’s green energy program.

The truth is, the number of jobs being created is a pipe dream, they won’t last, wind and solar can never do what the proponents say it will in terms of power supply, there are other costs in terms of the environment, lost property value etc., and–most important–everything that is being done is paid for by taxpayers and electricity ratepayers.

So, those people who claim YOU need the “green” energy business are really saying, “We want YOUR money.” You’re paying for their profits.

But don’t take our word for it: here’s what Nepean-Carleton MPP Lisa MacLeod said. “Dalton McGuinty is subsidizing these companies at the expense of people who pay for power, at the expense of families paying the bills…. There is nobody in town that thinks paying 80 cents for something that costs five cents is a good deal for taxpayers.”

April 20, 2011

Ontario’s Green Energy Act: Case for Repeal

It’s all here: the phoney economic forecasts, the effect on property values, the McGuinty government’s betrayal of democracy in this province. Take 14 minutes, and listen.

Ontario’s Green Energy Act: Case for Repeal.

April 7, 2011

A picture of the enemy

A few posts ago, we linked you up with a speech Prince Charles gave to the European Parliament in which he called for massive change to farming methods (today’s highly mechanized industrial farming is very dependent on huge amounts of fossil fuels) and on the world’s companies to look at how else they might change things such as packaging, to reduce waste and preserve the world’s fuel resources, while also not burning fossil fuels.

Here is one company’s answer:

Yup. Pre-cooked rice in a plastic cup, sealed with a plasticized aluminum foil cover, and then presented by two’s in a cardboard container. What is the matter with people? Rice cooks pretty much all by itself in 15-20 minutes for pennies…this must be for all those people living in 400 square foot condos in Toronto, who have maybe two-burner cooktops to prepare meals with.

It gets worse.

| Del Monted

Del Monte is now individually wrapping bananas! As Jon Stewart pointed out on The Daily Show, bananas already come in their own packaging!!!

Madness.

There’s more: in one of the current TV commercials for Chevrolet’s Cruze, the voiceover talks about the car being fuel-efficient and energy-conscious, while an array of some five to six industrial wind turbines stand in the background. The message to us? It’s OK to drive as much as you want because your car is energy-efficient and you’re plugging your cool electric car into the grid that is fed by “clean” green power sources. Use all you want! You’re “green”!

The result: urban dwellers keep on using up resources without guilt, and Ontario’s rural villages have to become resource plantations to keep them supplied.

…………….

To contact the North Gower Wind Action Group, email northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca and follow on Twitter at northgowerwind

March 25, 2011

Ottawa’s villages to become ghost towns? Does anybody care?

In today’s Ottawa Citizen, columnist and Osgoode resident Joe Banks writes that amalgamation has virtually killed Ottawa’s rural villages; he says the lack of local councils that used to work to encourage development, means there is none now, and the villages will be “ghost towns.” He thinks Ottawa should care about that.

We wish Ottawa cared about that. Or cared about anything in its villages, or the quality of life for village residents. If they did, they would almost certainly have some thoughts about having North Gower transformed into an industrial power plant, with huge industrial wind turbines proposed for just outside the village proper boundary, but still very close to homes and families in North Gower subdivisions. The same goes for south Richmond. (And, it must be stated, that the 10 turbines proposed could only be the beginning: Shelburne started with 20, they now have 150, and dozens more are planned.Haldimand/Norfolk already has dozens, and the province just annnounced another 176.) The same thing is happening right across Ontario, as rural communities are being used as “resource plantations” for industrial wind turbine developments, gravel quarries, and dumps.

Here is Joe Banks’ column from the Citizen:

Ottawa’s villages could become ghost towns

 
 
By Joe Banks, Ottawa CitizenMarch 25, 2011
 
 

{
http://www.ottawacitizen.com/columnists/Ottawa+villages+could+become+ghost+towns/4500800/story.html

The eight-foot-high for-sale sign adorning the former Main Street Café has been standing for so long, it is now less an ad than a part of the landscape. Across the street, the old bakery has been closed for a decade, converted to a home, and the once-bustling Sweet Peas Pantry and gift store is a more recent casualty, as is Julee’s craft and quilt shop, which closed last year.

The former brown Boyd-block food store beside the long-gone rail yards that will soon become a bike path, has been an empty shell for as long as anyone can remember, alternating as a storage for the amateur theatre group and some residential rentals. Mary’s Dollar Store, and even the Sundays-open flea market, both once operating out of the little mall, is largely forgotten by the villagers.

If we didn’t have an arena, the popular Red Dot Café, Raymond’s convenience, Pat’s gas and video and Ozzie’s Pizza, it’d look to a visitor as if Osgoode Village was up for sale -or on its way to becoming a ghost town.

It’s sad, yes, but Metcalfe, North Gower, Vernon, Kars, and Fitzroy Harbour, all have their own versions of village gentrification.

None of this happened overnight. It has happened over a decade, coincidentally since amalgamation.

That this is news to you is because it transpired like a slow dissolve at the end of a movie. Nobody noticed.

It’s not a reach to say that Ottawa’s smallest villages have become true bedroom communities in every sense of the word, attracting everyone who wants rural quiet within reach of urban amenities.

My fellow villagers blame amalgamation, and it’s tempting to agree with them.

Prior to that forced marriage, the former cities and townships that made up the Region of OttawaCarleton competed with each other. Each had a council and separate staffs that did what they could to attract residential, and consequently, business development, into their communities. The regional government kept on eye on the bigger picture, including the prospect of urban sprawl.

That competition, virtually overnight, disappeared, as the city was ordered by the province to become one big happy family. Since then, in our determination to halt development from the city’s inside, there has been a steady decline in the economic activity of the villages, even as their populations grew, and continued to become, like ours, highly attractive places to live. To urbanists, this is evidence of tough love, that development intensification inside the Greenbelt has worked, that the line has been held on sprawl, and contained to where existing services end.

But from the rural perspective, it’s a policy that is working a little too well, as a perception is reinforced that limiting growth here, in fact, means no growth at all.

That’s not the kind of signal to send to future small rural business owners. Who would want to chance a million-dollar mortgage on a village diner in Osgoode, for example, when they could get one for a ground floor condo in Hintonburg, or a new one in Carleton Place or Kemptville?

Investment dollars follow certainty. And right now, the city’s intensification policy doesn’t give rural entrepreneurs or their lenders that warm and fuzzy feeling that its villages will be anything more than bedrooms for the urban city’s living room.

Hence the rise of what I call PIMBYism -the Please In My Back Yard advocates. These are people who believe in some development, some growth, and some tinkering with the city’s plan. It was in play in Manotick when the silent supporters of the Minto subdivision proclaimed their support of that village’s growth, even as thousands of their neighbours rallied against it.

Our village’s PIMBYists have been rooting for a 90-unit development on the south side of Osgoode known as the Buckles subdivision, and the further progression of the 30-unit Fairfield Estates on the north side.

Buckles was approved 10 years ago, but hasn’t had a single house built on it yet for reasons only the developer knows. Fairfield is in its third phase but two-thirds of it remain empty.

But is true modest growth possible when we have been so fixated on containing it inside the Greenbelt? It’s a timely question as the city’s planners have embarked on the latest review of the official plan, and villages are on the agenda. Public consultations in the lead-up to the OP review, which will regulate the city’s growth over the next halfdecade, are already under way, to help planners learn whether villages should be allowed to grow, and if so, by how much.

Any at all would be a welcome relief from the sight of for sale signs that would, in any other neighbourhood in this city, be temporary.

Joe Banks is an Osgoode Village resident and a former Ottawa area community newspaper editor and publisher.

© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen

If you’d like to comment, email the Citizen at letters@ottawacitizen.com

March 10, 2011

North Gower resident writes a letter

One of the questions we are asked is, how do you know that your community group represents a wider view from the community? Well, aside from the several hundred people who signed the petition that went to the Ontario legislature via MPP Lisa MacLeod, and the 300+ families on our e-mail list, and the 125+ people who come to our information meetings, the countless volunteers working daily on this issue, I guess we don’t know what everyone is thinking.

In the Smith’s Falls EMC today is a letter to the editor from a North Gower resident. She writes:

Dear Editor:

I wish to volunteer my two cents into what is becoming an endlessly revolving argument about the wind turbine farms.

First off, not all of us in the North Gower area are against the Wind Turbine project being proposed for this area. I know from personal experience that wind turbines can perform well here. That being said, if viable scientific evidence can be established into the ill effects of this type of farm, then certainly additional precautions should be implemented – whether it be an increased setback from homes, or possibly smaller or fewer of the turbines.

The Ontario government has illustrated that it can change its mind if such evidence comes to light, as shown by the recent hold on the installation of off-shore wind turbines.

I certainly don’t think that this means that the whole concept or use of wind turbines should be scrapped – this would be extremely short sighted behaviour, given that we do need to stop relying on non-renewable resources for our hydro and energy.

Now is the time to be developing alternative energies to sustain our power requirements – when we can take the time to do it properly, and improve on them.

Debbie Gervais

North Gower

We’re not sure where this resident lives in relation to the proposed industrial wind development, and neither can we know how informed she is, but she has a few facts wrong:

-there is already valid scientific evidence that if the turbines are located too close to people’s homes, people can experience sleep deprivation and then ill health effects

-the Ontario government is standing firm that its 550-meter setback is “safe” despite evidence from around the world in countries that already have turbines, that a setback of 1-2 km is better (note that other countries such as Germany have setbacks between zones, not between the base of a turbine and the centre of a house, as Ontario does). The truth is, the 550-meters is more about geography than health: if we had a 1 km setback, there would be NO turbines in southern and eastern Ontario because of the way the roads and concessions are laid out.

-a proper scientific study is needed to have an evidence-based setback. Ontario now has such a research project ongoing, but it is headed by an expert in electrical engineering, and they plan to take 5 years to come to a conclusion. Ontario will be long done with populating its rural areas with turbines by then.

-industrial wind turbines are a flawed technology–they are intermittent and require fossil-fuel back-up; this is why Ontario is also building natural gas-fired power plants at the same time as it is encouraging wind power development.

-we’re not sure what the “personal experience” with wind turbines would be in this area, given that the Canada Wind Atlas states the area is “poor” to “marginal” for a wind resource. Since we don’t have any industrial-scale turbines here, her experience would have to be with a small wind mill. THAT, i.e., small scale, is an appropriate use of wind power development, NOT 626-foot industrial towers.

-this is industrialization of a rural community that, because of the Green Energy Act, is not getting to have its say. What it could do to property values is expropriation without compensation.

Last, of course everyone wants a clean and effective power system in Ontario. But wind doesn’t work. We don’t see why the people of North Gower have to participate in an experiment that will see no benefits to our community and which is really all about profits going to an offshore corporate developer. “Take the time and do it properly”? WE AGREE!!!!

And, we’re not alone: dozens of Ontario communities have now passed resolutions or motions objecting to industrial wind turbine projects and asking for their planning powers to be returned, AND for independent health studies.

northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

View of turbines at Melancthon, near Orangeville, Ontario.

March 5, 2011

Views from farm country

Not everyone gets to see the newspapers  that serve the agricultural community, and they rarely post their entire editions online, so, with thanks to a local farm-owner, we offer excerpts from some letters to the Editor of Ontario Farmer, which appeared recently.

Peak soil as imminent as peak oil

The provincial government has made a first right step by halting any off-shore wind projects until “further research is conducted.” While the government’s motivation is more likely political than science-based [blog editor: like this WHOLE THING!!!] the very admission that more study is needed refutes their own staunchly defended position throughout the life of the Green Energy Plan.

If the science is lacking to back off-shore industrial installations, it is entirely foolish to allow any more land-based installations as well. Dr. Robert McMurtry has eloquently outlined human health concerns and has reasonably called for a halt to more turbine installations until proper scientific studies are done. Yet Dr. McMurtry’s calls have been ignored by the government, even though our minister of environment claims to put human health and the natural environment as his top priority.

Furthermore, there is a fundamental insanity about a policy that would allow the vast diminishment of such a fragile and finte treasure as our prime, class-one farmland. Less than one-half of one percent of Canada is class one farmland (roughly 12 million acres). Of that total, 4.9 million acres is in souther Ontario (Science Council of Canada).

Food prices around the world are skyrocketing and food shortages combined with high prices are causing riots and misery, and dstabilizing national governments. … nergy analysts often refer to the impending tipping point of “peak oil.” e are already roughly at our point of “peak soil” on a global basis. The amount of land currently in production comprises almost all of the capable land without cutting more forests, taking over conservation set-asides, or entering into dubious irrigation schemes. To paraphrase David Suzuki, our land, our water, our air, are sacred. They are not merely there to create profits for global corporations.

…Prime farmland should grow food, not industrial towers. A policy that decimates our foodlands cannot legitimately be termed “green energy.”

It is time for the government to stand down, and do proper research into the health, environmental, economic and social impacts of these industrial schemes.

John Drummond, Greenbelt Farm, Mitchell, Ontario

Have an open mind on energy, yes, but have wind, solar been studied enough?

…Since the green energy proponents have been installing windmills and solar panels as quickly as they possibly can and have truned a deaf ear toward any dissenting views, it is time for common sense to prevail. At the very least, further installation of these devices should be halted immediately pending an objective view of their effects on human and animal health, the economy and the environment by a credible and impartial source. We should not accept anything less.

George W. Arnold, Bobcaygeon

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