December 4, 2010

The “green collapse”

Energy Probe Executive Director Lawrence Solomon writes in today’s National Post that countries arround the world are turning their backs on expensive and unproductive wind and solar power generation. And, he says, Ontario is next.

Countries that adopted an “extreme green” outlook are now realizing that so-called “renewable” power is leading to financial disaster. They have “recently swallowed their pride, slashed their subsidies and backstabbed their renewables industries.” He cites Spain, German, France and Australia as all taking dramatic steps to avoid financial ruin.

As for Ontario, the province will have no choice but to follow suit. Right now, Ontario electricity consumers are experiencing rate hikes “50 times greater than those countenanced in some U.S. jursidictions.” The provincial regulator was “neutered” by the Ontario government, he says and is now unable to protect consumers.

“Following public protests, and in advance of an election in which power prices are expected to loom large, one major natural gas plant–needed to back up wind turbines– was recently cancelled. Other natural gas plants, again opposed by the public, may likewise fall. The wind farms that require such backups, and which are themselves opposed by dozens of community groups and their local governments, could be next in this house of cards.”

Well, we hope so. It is bad enough to watch our communities be industrialized and destroyed, the health of our residents threatened, but it is quite another to watch once strong and wealthy Ontario being sent over a waterfall in this very rickety boat.

It’s time for the truth about wind. The corporate wind developers, at whose hands financial crisis is being meted out all over the world, won’t tell the truth, but thank goodness there are many commentators like Solomon who will.

The whole article may be found here:

November 25, 2010

Opinions, opinions

Ever since the Ontario government announced its 10 percent “discount” on electricity bills (which within minutes was denounced as trying to buy taxpayers’ confidence back with their own money, while putting the province deeper into debt) and then the announcement of the Long-Term Energy Plan (they claim it’s new, but really, the former Plan was highjacked by former Energy Minister George Smitherman and so we haven’t even had a plan for quite some time), opinions have been overflowing in the media.

Here are a few that grabbed our attention.

“The Ontario government’s clever Clean Energy Benefit–a 10% rebate on the rapidly escalating power bills of Ontario voters–is a win-win-win proposition. A win for the Liberal government, which needs to blunt a consumer revolt before next year’s election. A wind for the power companies it ownes, which now have a go-ahead to continue to escalate their rates. And a win for renewable energy supplers and their environmental group allies, who had feared the Ontario government would curb the lavish solar and wind contracts that have been clobbering consumers.

… [it’s] also a lose-lose-lose proposition. Two losers are the opposition NDP ad Conservatives, who had called for the Liberals to reverse their position ad exempt power sales from the HST. Had the Liberals reversed the HST explicitly, they would have seemed weak and desperate, giving their political opponents a club to beat them with while forever losing a large source of tax revenue. Instead, the Liberals bested their opponents by calling their HST bid, which was worth 8%, and raising it to 10% under a different name. The political opponents cam across as pikers and the Liberals are heroes for the day.

..under the Ontario scheme, all consumers become losers. Rates, by the government’s own accounting, will be climbing another 46% over the next five years, and then rates will jolt up another 10% as the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit expires. By then, the new power system may also have expired. It took Ontario Hydro, running as a government-owned non-profit 90 years to go bankrupt. Hydro’s government-owned for-profit successors will be far quicker at reaching bankruptcy.”

–Lawrence Solomon, executive director, Energy Probe, in The Financial Post

“Dwight Duncan, now Ontario’s Finance Minister. told the legislature in 2004″ ‘It would be irresponsible for the province and taxpayers to contine to subsidize electricity consumption, because it jeopardizes our ability to invest in health care and education. This is simply not sustainable, nor is it acceptable. The people of this province deserve better.’ He committed to ‘take politics out’ of electricity pricing.

Where is the Dwight Duncan of 2004?… Today, with the deficit at $18.7 billion, he engineers techniques to split the bill for the McGuinty government’s careless, profiligate electricity policies between the staggering power rate increases today and the enuring pain for tomorrow’s taxpayers. … On glimmer of truthfulness in the Economic Statement is the admission that renewable power generation is the main driver for rate increases. ”

–Tom Adams, The Financial Post, November 23, 2010

And so we don’t think this is all new, here is a repeat of what Professor Michael Trebilcock of the University of Toronto wrote in The Financial Post March 6, 2010:

“The potential contributions of renewable energy to the creation of jobs in the province require a heavy dose of skepticism. While the government has claimed that it plans to create 50,000 new green jobs in the province over the coming years, the additional burdens on industrial, commercial, and household consumers from higher electricity costs associated with renewable energy will kill existing jobs. Recent studies in Denmark and Germany find that very few net new jobs have been created as a result of renewable energy policies. In the case of Denmark, they have cost between US$90,000 to US$140,000 per job per year in public subsidies, and in the case of Germany, up to US$240,000 per job per year. According to a column by Randall Denley in the Ottawa Citizen of Jan. 24, 2010, the new manufacturing jobs entailed in the massive Samsung renewable project recently announced by the Ontario government will cost $300,000 each in public subsidies.

“In an SNL Financial news wire report of Oct. 23, 2009, the Ontario Minister of Natural Resources was reported as stating that the agency had temporarily stopped accepting applications for proposed wind energy projects because it had already received 500 such applications and needed to make sure that it had appropriate processes in place before taking any more. Obviously, the massive public subsidies being offered have provoked a corporate feeding frenzy.

“But corporate enthusiasm for subsidized wind power should not be confused with the longer-term public interest.

” In terms of cost, CO2 and jobs, wind power attracts a failing grade. It gets worse, with poor marks for localized impacts on flora and fauna, for potentially adverse health effects on local residents from persistent exposure to low intensity turbine noise, for potentially adverse impacts on local property values and for an environmental review process which the Ontario Environmental Commissioner describes as ‘broken.’ All render renewable energy policy, at least as currently conceived by the Ontario government, one of the least compelling options in the challenging economic environment in which the province finds itself now. ”

And these commentators are just talking about the power supply and its politicization; there is no mention of the effects of the Ontario government’s drive toward wind and solar on property values, the environment, or, in the case of industrial wind turbine projects, the effect of the noise and infrasound on human health.

With the Green Energy Act in place, all people can do is gather and protest, which is what they are doing throughout Ontario, with increasing frequency.

October 13, 2010

The truth about politics in Ontario: they’re all to blame

In today’s Financial Post, pundit and now, as it turns out, wag, Lawrence Solomon creates the speech that Tim Hudak should give today to the Energy Association. But won’t. Because the truth is, all parties in Ontario have contributed to the current situation regarding electricity, the Conservatives no less than anyone. We have already recommended reading Hydro: the decline and fall of Ontario’s electric empire (up until the last chapter when the authors fall hard for the false economy of “green” energy) for a background of the politics of power in this province, but Solomon’s fake speech for Hudak sums it all up.

The link to the full article is below but here are some delicious bits:

“…that Oakville power plant should never have been ordered in the first place–it was the result of another political decision, a grand-standing decision to replace the province’s entire fleet of coal plants in favour of windmills and other forms of renewable energy. The windmills not only cost several times as much as coal, they are also unavailable most of the time, because the wind doesn’t blow on demand. To provide backup when the wind doesn’t blow, the citizens of Oakville were told they would need to live with a power plant for a neighbour.”

“…until today, I have failed to vigorously defend our province’s coal-generating stations–some of which are among the cleanest on the continent–and I have failed to vigorously attack the entirely unjustified wind and solar projects that are bankrupting our province.”

-[On Europe] “Europe has other lessons for us, too. The more countries went green, the harder they fell. In Spain, the biggest green subsidizer of all, every green job that the government created cost more than two jobs elsewhere in the economy. Spain’s unemployment rate is now 20%, the highest in the developed world. To rescue its economy, it is slashing green subsidies, leading to a wave of green companies filing for bankruptcy. Other European countries are also bailing out of this so-called green economy, in good part because their governments are finding out that industrial wind farms aren’t necessarily environmental. They gobble up farmland, destroy birds by the thousands, and pollute communities with noise. Because of community opposition, the largest grass-roots movement in the western world is no longer anti-nuclear, but anti-wind.”

Wow. Don’t you wish that’s really what Hudak was going to say?

Lawrence Solomon is executive director of Energy Probe.

September 18, 2010

“Are you frying your eggs at 4 am yet?”

Lawrence Solomon, executive director at Energy Probe asks that question and a few more in his column today in The Financial Post. Noting that Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty is under fire for the smart meter program (which is supposed to cost $2 billion but is more like $ 10 billion) which, critics say, makes no economic sense for consumers. We can’t win in other words.

“Mr McGuinty isn’t in this for the money–if he was, he wouldn’t be closing economical coal plants while sinking cash into money-losing nuclear plants and money-losing long-distance transmission lines to carry power from money-losing industrial wind farms. These and his other money-losing initiatives will causeOntario’s power prices to double or triple should he get his way.”

Unfortunately, as Mr Solomon points out, the technologies are going against Mr McGuinty’s grand plans: “…power from wind turbines can’t be dispatched to customers when customers need it–the wind has a mind of its own. To make matters worse, the wind tends to blow best overnight when it’s least needed [Ed.: and when the turbines’ involuntary neighbours are trying to SLEEP].”

So, what he’s doing instead is using time-related power rates to “punish people and businesses,” says Solomon. But the punishment isn’t enough. “Too few people are frying their eggs before 7 a.m.–the time at which the punishment starts–and too many are cooking their dinners at 7 pm, smack dab during peak punishment period.”

Remember what ENRON stands for: Electricity Nightmare Ripoff Ontario Next.

Not added into this scenario at all is what the cost of declining property values will mean for communities throughout Ontario.

See the entire article here.

March 23, 2010

The mythology persists

Our horoscope for the day said we should maybe take a day off from trying to get other people to see clear on issues…but how can you when people—well-meaning and otherwise educated and informed people—have been so misled.

Chatting with a health care professional today we told him about the North Gower-south Richmond proposal for wind turbines and he paused for a moment and said, “Well, I suppose they’re not nice to live near, but these are the things we have to do if we are to have clean energy, aren’t they?”

Most decidedly NOT. As Lawrence Solomon of Energy Probe put it, writing in The Financial Post last March, “Ontario’s Green Energy Act should more accurately be called Ontario’s Gangreen Act.
No piece of legislation in memory will do more to simultaneously undermine Ontario’s economy and environment. This one act rolls back decades of environmental gains in the energy sphere and opens the door to a future of environmental outrages.”

Studies from Denmark and Spain show that CO2 is not reduced, not one single fossil-fuel-burning energy plant has closed because of wind development, and there are NO new jobs, just jobs stolen from other sectors which results in no net gain in productivity or economic development. And, once the government subsidies stop, so does wind development, because that’s really what it’s all about.

Oh, and the air pollution question? Now that’s even in doubt, based on a study out of the University of Guelph, released last week. Pollution in Ontario comes from the United States and from CARS (the Ontario Power Authority’s VP of Communications Ben Chin has said that.)

The mythology of wind persists: the people in Ontario, New York State and other locations where they are now suffering the effects of wind turbines will tell you, they used to believe, too … until the turbines started up.

Such madness on a scale never before seen. Leslie Frost, John Robarts, Frank Miller—the great premiers of Ontario are spinning in their graves.

To get in touch with the North Gower Wind Action Group (this is not it) email them at or visit

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