October 1, 2010

Experts on TVO: green energy act a concern

To watch the entire podcast of last night’s show “So Green we’re in the red” go to

There were three people who made sense: Tom Adams of Tom Adams Energy (and ex of Energy Probe), Economics professor at U of T Don Dewess, and the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters Tom Clipshaw. On the not so informed or maybe politcally influenced side, the CEO of Toronto Hydro Joyce Maclean (who actually had the temerity to mention that total failure, the wind turbine at Exhibition Place) and Ontario’s so-called Environment Commissioner Gordon Miller.

Key quotes:

Dewess–“government’s don’t create jobs, they just move them around”

Adams– some jobs are being created in the green energy sector but they could disappear as fast as they appeared.

All in all some good comments but no mention of the economic effect of widespread property value decline, or the effect on tourism of the proliferation of ugly industrial wind turbine projects (they’re NOT pretty and no one will be having picnics underneath them), or the potential effects on other aspects of the economy such as the commercial fisheries in Ontario’s Great Lakes.

For more news daily, go to and for the North Gower Wind Action Group blog

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.

April 6, 2010

More wind power really means more natural gas

The former CEO of the Ontario Power Authority, Jan Carr, has published a paper entitled “A rational framework for electricity policy,” in this month’s edition of The Journal of Policy Engagement. Its dry, academic title belies its true message: the push to developing wind power in Ontario has been done without full consideration of the ramifications and is in fact, a shallow policy (or lack of same) to heal Ontario’s energy problems.

“Wind power,” Dr. Carr writes, “has been given priority and a price premium, while nuclear is arbitrarily capped at its historical capacity and required to compete on the basis of price.”

A little easier to understand than Dr. Carr’s 12-page paper is an analysis appearing in today’s Toronto Star. We reprint it in its entirety here.

Back to Rush to renewables could increase electricity costs

Rush to renewables could increase electricity costs

April 06, 2010 


{{GA_Article.Images.Alttext$}} Ex-Ontario Power Authority head Jan Carr, standing on the upper mezzanine of the 100-year-old William Rankin Generating Station, takes issue with the province’s ad hoc approach to choosing generating systems. 


The rush to plug green energy sources into Ontario’s electricity system has produced an ad hoc approach to choosing generating systems “that will unnecessarily increase the cost of electricity,” says the former head of the province’s power planning agency.Jan Carr was chief executive of the Ontario Power Authority from its inception in 2005 until September 2008.

 In an article in this month’s Journal of Policy Engagement, Carr questions whether the province’s push for green technology such as wind turbines will really produce cleaner energy at a cost that makes sense. Instead, he says, Ontario should be assigning a price to carbon emissions.

 Carr says the current system of rewarding “green” technologies with high prices is inconsistent, pointing to the different treatment of wind-powered and nuclear generation.

 Both, Carr argues, are emissions-free. (Nuclear opponents argue there are hidden emissions in mining and refining uranium and that it produces radioactive waste).

 But current policy pays wind producers a higher price than nuclear generators.

 The system further interferes with the normal system of deciding which generators get to supply power to the grid, Carr says.

Normally, generating stations submit bids, indicating the price at which they’re willing to supply power. The agency that operates the electricity system accepts the lowest bids first. As demand increases, it accepts higher and higher-priced bids.

 But the current system may put a priority on feeding high-priced wind power into the system, even when lower-priced nuclear generation is available.

 “The result is a higher cost of electricity with no commensurate benefit such as a reduction in emissions,” Carr says.

 There’s a second impact, he notes. Because wind power varies as the wind gusts and slackens, it has to be supplemented by other types of generation to keep a steady stream of power flowing. Nuclear power can’t fill this role – it can’t be adjusted up and down quickly. The available hydro-electric generation in the province is already factored into the existing system.

“The only remaining realistic option for keeping new electricity supply in moment-by-moment balance with customer requirements is natural-gas-fired generation,” Carr writes.

 In other words, more wind power means more gas-fired generators.

 If the objective of boosting renewable energy supplies is to decrease emissions, Carr says, Ontario must figure out the correct proportions of wind, gas and nuclear generation. That’s a complicated issue in itself; factoring in cost considerations makes it more complicated.

 “These questions cannot be answered when technology and investment decisions result from lobbying efforts by advocacy groups or are guided by public popularity,” he writes.

 In fact, he says electric utilities, regulators and investors face “a bewildering and often contradictory mixture of economic, business and regulatory objectives.”

 Carr says economics has governed the development of the current power system and should continue to do so.

 But that doesn’t mean concern for climate change should be abandoned. Instead, he says, Ontario should work at assigning a price for carbon emissions.  Pricing carbon would take the arbitrary guesswork out of picking technologies, he said.

 It would put the electicity industry – which produces only 20 per cent of Ontario’s carbon emissions – on the same economic footing as the transportation industry, the biggest user of fossil fuels in the province.

 “A switch from fossil fuel to electricity will reduce our carbon footprint and we should be doing all we can to expand its supply and use,” says Carr.  The best way to do that, he argues, is to “put a price on carbon and refrain from policy initiatives that pick winning and losing technologies.”

March 26, 2010

Smog deaths: more mythology

One of our thoughts about wind turbines and the health effects in particular is, Where are the doctors? Well, one spoke up by writing to The Financial Post; his letter appears today.

In it, Dr Paul Cary of Cambridge, Ontario, refers to the recently released study by Ross McKitrick at the University of Guelph which has exposed “more than statistical fiddling” regarding the number of smog-related deaths, specifically that declared by the Ontario Medical Association.

Cary goes on to say that the OMA statement was based on a “simplistic epidemiological comparison of death rates and air pollution.” The OMA then stated that air pollution contributes to deaths in Ontario. However, as Cary says, “as any experienced physician is aware, what kills the frail elderly and the severe heart and lung patients on hot days is dehydration and heat stroke.”

He concludes: “I would hope that Dr. McKitrick or another researcher will lift the rocks necessary to expose the original Ontario Medical Association paper to scientific light before Premier Dalton McGuinty ruins the Ontario economy with his alternative energy policy.”

Hear, hear!

And to you, Bart Geleynse of Prowind, we don’t anymore want to hear your CanWEA-directed bleat, “Coal is killing people!” It isn’t true, never was.

Dr Cary’s letter is 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

March 8, 2010

“This could be game-changing”–the Sierra Club

Wind energy development is frequently labelled as “clean” and “green” and an exciting new technology when the truth is, it is none of those things. Certainly, improvements are being made to industrial wind turbine technology and the manufacturing of the turbine components, but the turbine technology itself is not new.

What is new is an exciting breakthrough in boosting the efficiency of fuel-using processes. A company called Calera has developed a process that captures carbon and fuel emissions, and promises to improve efficiency by 100%. They say they can do that with processes that use coal.

Here is their description of how they believe they can help. More information is available at

Calera’s unique services and products can benefit a variety of sectors in many ways. Capturing carbon cost effectively and creating carbon negative building materials can help government policy makers at the local, national, and international levels, as well as environmental groups tasked with addressing the thorny issue of global climate change.  

Calera can help providers of coal and other fuels, as well as companies that use fuel to produce electricity and products. Since our process is applicable at any major source of carbon dioxide, Calera can capture emissions from the manufacture of cement, steel and other materials as well as oil refiners.  

Our carbon-negative products can help architects, builders, municipalities, building material suppliers, home owners, and other groups interested in creating a future in which buildings and paved surfaces contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, rather than increasing them.

Because Calera’s process strips minerals and alkalinity from dirty, mineralized, and caustic water, it acts as a water freshening system. The production of fresh water can be a significant benefit of Calera’s process, particularly in parts of the world that lack clean drinking water.  

We don’t pretend to understand what they’re doing or how they do it, but some pretty important people seem to think it’s a great idea. “This could be a game-changer,” says the Sierra Club’s president, Carl Pope. And, in the New York Times, Thomas Friedman says the process might make the idea of “clean coal” a reality. Read his entire opinion, here.

So why, Ontario, with all this talk of innovation and leadership, are we ravaging Ontario with expensive, unreliable, inefficient and old technology, when we can achieve power generation more efficiently and cleanly, in other ways?

For more information on the North Gower Wind Action Group and their work, go to or email them at

January 5, 2010

“People are dying from coal!!” The battle cry of the wind developers, but is it true?

News today of a report by environmental chemistry prof. Jennifer Murphy who published a report on Ontario air quality in the journal Atmospheric Environment, based on her study of air quality in the Toronto area. The conclusion? “Smog is odd,” says Professor Murphy. It isn’t just the simple sum of its parts.

A single smog wave in Ontario begins in Ohio and Michigan, drifts across Windsor, Toronto and Muskoka…and reaches Ottawa. Because of a quirk in the chemistry of the air, reductions in emissions from automobiles and industry haven’t yet translated to big changes in the ozone levels. However, due to measures like the DriveClean program and improvements to industrial processes, we have far less carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and other harmful gases today.

Murphy adds that some ingredients in smog actually comes from plants, specifically trees.

Ben Chin, the OPA VP for Communications got it right: most of our air pollution comes from cars in Ontario, and from the elements of smog produced south of the border. So WHY are we rushing into horrendously expensive wind turbine developments which are supposed to be “clean” and “green” when the elements of air pollution are clearly very complex, and linked more to human uses such as driving cars. Sure the coal plants need remediation, so let’s do that by switching to natural gas. And retooling hydro for better efficiency.

The upshot for little North Gower is that, once again, a rural village is being made to pay the price for how people live elsewhere. And we’re being told to “make adjustments” as Ontario ushers in this new era of energy production.

It is based on myths … and money.

To get in touch with the North Gower Wind Action Group executive, email

The full news story from the Ottawa Citizen is here:

Thousands more on the way

In light of the economic situation extant in many European countries and where the countries that have had wind turbine developments for decades are now coming to realize this was a very expensive and not very worthwhile experiment, all things considered (few jobs, unreliable power supply well below capacity), Ontario is plunging ahead, working hard to approve new “renewable” energy projects as quickly as possible.

Here is the current tally, according to the most recent newsletter from Willms & Shier, environmental law specialists. (OPA is the Ontario Power Authority. FIT means the Feed-in Tariff.)

As of December 1, 2009, OPA had

received 1,022 FIT applications

for projects over 10 kW and

another 1,193 microFIT

applications. Almost 80% of

applications are for wind energy

projects, 16% for solar and the

remainder for biogas, biomass,

landfill gas and water power

projects. OPA has redeployed

resources to review and verify the

applications and will give priority

to the most viable, “shovel-ready”

projects that can be in operation


In February 2010, OPA says it will

start offering FIT contracts,

beginning with Capacity

Allocation Exempt projects (those

500 kW or less), and will continue

through March with all of the rest

of the FIT projects. Economically

viable projects that do not receive

contracts will be considered when

more transmission connection

capacity is available or approved.

So, if there is a wind “farm” or “park” planned near you, i.e., VERY near and you are concerned about the effects on your environment, health and property values, we guess you can hope it’s not “shovel-ready”. On the other hand, if it isn’t, all is not lost for the wind developers and their pockets…they will be considered in the future.

In the meantime, the government is moving at a snail’s pace to establish a research chair for the long-called-for independent health study. At last look, they were creating a committee to look at which university might be best to take on this work. It will be 2012 before anything happens, if then, and by that time, there will be lots of shovels in the ground … and a lot of worried people.

If these developments were planned for Ontario’s North where there are few people and lots of wind, we would say, OK! But they are not: North Gower is a specific example of where the turbines will be within sight of almost everyone (you’d have to be living in a ravine not to see them, at 626 feet) and they will be heard by hundreds of people, including many children as there are many young families here.

Property values will decline (including farms), businesses will suffer, the spirit and fabric of the community will be changed forever…because the Ontario government is offering subsidies to foreign-owned wind developers who know full well where this industry is heading in their own countries. Canada is the land of fresh opportunity…to make buckets of money, with no accountability to its citizens.

For shame.

Put the wind turbines where the wind is, not where the people are.

To get in touch with the North Gower Wind Action Group executive directly, email

and to download and sign the petition calling for a health study, go to the documents page here. To donate funds for the awareness effort, mail to P O Box 485, North Gower ON K0A 2T0

December 13, 2009

The question is, WHY? (We know the answer)

A very disturbing news report out of the U.K. today, about the noise from industrial wind turbines and, worse, how noise limit recommendations were ignored…and now people are suffering from the noise and vibration.

The full article is here

and it can also be linked on

When you read the full article, take note of the distances that these people are living from the wind turbines and remember that in Ontario, the setback is now 550 meters from people’s homes. Not their property line, their homes. Homes that contain young children.

How can the Ontario government, our municipal government, our federal government, the wind developers and the people who let them use land for the operation of wind turbines allow this to go on?

-“it’s like having helicopters go over the top of you at times”

-“We abandoned our home …we couldn’t sleep. It is torture–my GP describes it as torture.”

-“Imagine a seven-ton lorry [truck] running on the drive all night and that’s what it’s like.”

Why are our governments ignoring this situation and the desperate situation of people with health effects from wind turbines ALL OVER THE WORLD now…it’s not about the climate or the environment, it’s about a different kind of green.

For shame.

November 17, 2009

Ben Chin vs the wind biz spin

Interesting story today about how the multi-millionaires in Oakville don’t want a natural gas plant built in their area. They are worried about pollution. OK, but when asked about that, Ontario Power Authority communications guy (and former CBC reporter) Ben Chin, said that the number one source of air pollution is “vehicular”. Oh, really? Well, we agree, but isn’t the wind biz’s usual story that it’s all the coal plants causing the hundreds of deaths each year?

So, once again, rural residents are being asked to put up with wind turbine developments because of the city residents idling their cars on clogged freeways? Doesn’t make sense.

Oh, and next May when the Smart Meters come in with rates up to 9.2 cents per kwh, you’re advised to do all your laundry on the weekends—not possible for people on well and septic. Rural residents take it in the ear again!

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