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.”

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.

March 6, 2010

Opposition to wind energy development heightens—but will McGuinty government listen?

Probably not. Because they think they’re smarter than we are and they also think that this utterly daft idea, which is being proven wrong across the oceans, is the way to get them elected again. Promises of closing coal-fired power plants and job creation will be answered by erecting enormous turbine towers throughout Ontario.

But. The more turbines are built, the louder the complaints, both from people who are the “involuntary neighbours” of wind turbine developments, and from right-thinking economic analysts, who see this for the boondoggle it is.

Menwhile, the Ontario Conservatives are meeting in Ottawa this weekend to determine their strategy for the next election, with particular emphasis on wooing the urban voters. In our view, wind turbines and the folly of wind energy development generally is the ideal issue for ALL voters. For more on that see the last article in the string listed below, by law and economics professor Michael Trebilcock.

Some news articles appearing this week:

October 29, 2009

MPP Lisa MacLeod speaks up


Monday 26 October 2009 Lundi 26 octobre 2009


Ms. Lisa MacLeod:  Thank you Mr. Speaker,

I stand before this Chamber today to support the private members resolution of my Progressive Conservative colleague, Bill Murdoch, the MPP for Bruce Grey Owen Sound.

 Mr. Murdoch is calling for a moratorium to be placed on wind farms throughout Ontario until more studies have been completed on the health affects wind turbines may cause.

 The residents in the Village of North Gower have contacted me regarding their concerns about a wind farm in our own community.

And, during the committee hearings on the Green Energy Act, MPPs, including me, heard from dozens of Ontarians who have warned us against potential health impacts of those whose homes are near a wind farm.

Perhaps the biggest failure in the Green Energy Act, and there are many, is that local planning is taken away from local communities in favour of a made in Toronto plan by the Minister of Energy and Infrastructure. 

 For the residents in my Nepean-Carleton riding, the only option left for them to have any public input on the wind farm this Liberal government wants to impose on them is Mr. Murdoch’s resolution for a moratorium.

 Nepean-Carleton is battling two battles right now, the wind farm in North Gower and also the doubling of the village in Manotick, all because provincial bureaucrats not local politicians are dictating our future.

 I’ve said in this chamber once before and I will say it again, we cannot take local planning decisions away from our rural communities.  Enough is enough.

October 12, 2009

Private member’s bill October 29

MPP Bill Murdoch, representative for Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound, plans to introduce a private member’s bill in the Ontario legislature later this month, asking the province to call a halt to any further industrial wind turbine developments until the Chief Medical Officer of Health has given the green light to such developments, and can assure Ontario residents there will be no harm to their health from the turbines.

Murdoch says that in the rush to pass the Green Energy Act, many safeguards were overlooked.

His motion is backed by Grey-Bruce Medical Officer of Health Dr Hazel Lynn, who says there are enough complaints about health effects that politicians should be listening.

For more on the bill, go to:

To encourage your MPP to vote for the bill, go to:

or if you are not in the Ottawa area, go to

and find your local MPP’s contact information.

September 20, 2009

Health Canada speaks on noise effects from wind turbines

Health Canada has sent a letter to the Environmental Assessment Officer in Nova Scotia pertaining to a proposed industrial wind turbine development in that province near (beautiful) Digby. The letter is a review of the addendum in the Digby Wind Power Project proposal with regard to health issues. It deals with Health Canada’s acceptable threshold value for noise of 45 dBA and notes that “noise monitoring [should] be undertaken under varying climatic conditions in order to ensure that noise levels do not exceed the acceptable level.” But a key paragraph is as follows:

“Appendix B (Addressing Concerns with wind Turbines [sic] and Human health) — The final sentence in Appendix B states that ‘there is no peer-reviewed scientific evidence that wind turbines have an adverse impact on human health.’ In fact, there are peer-reviewed scientific articles indicating that wind turbines may have an adverse impact on human health. For example, Keith et al. (2008) identified annoyance as an adverse impact on human health that can be related to high levels of wind turbine noise. In addition there are several articles by Pedersen (and others) related to wind turbine annoyance … The relationship between noise annoyance and adverse effects on human health is also investigated in the manuscript by Michaud et al. (2008).

Health Canada advises that this statement be revised to indicate that there are peer-reviewed scientific articles indicating that wind turbines may have an adverse impact on human health.” [Our emphasis]

The letter is signed by Allison Denning, Regional Environmental Assessment Coordinator for Atlantic Region, Health Canada.

That flies right in the face of proponents of wind who insist there are no “proper” i.e., peer-reviewed medical articles to support the anecdotal claims of many people in Ontario who are experiencing ill effects from proximity to industrial wind turbines.

Now, if you feel like another email about North Gower, you can let Pierre Poilievre, MP for Nepean-Carleton know about this, by emailing him at

or if you like paper (paper is good, it takes up space on desks), mail him (no postage required) at 433 West Block, House of Commons, Ottawa, ON   K1A 0A6.

And maybe your MPP Lisa MacLeod needs to know about Health Canada’s opinion on the existence of peer-reviewed evidence about the potential health effects of wind turbines, too.

Why the concern about North Gower? The proposed industrial turbine development has the potential to affect a great many people, wildlife, livestock and the environment, plus affect a rural landscape; North Gower is a location offering limited potential for wind power; and clearly, the cost-benefit ratios here indicate that the benefits of the project are to the developer and the landowner, not necessarily the citizens of North Gower, Ottawa or Ontario.

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