Posts Tagged ‘Energy Probe’

There were many people cringing at the various TV and radio campaigns mounted by so-called environmental groups and citizens’ groups prior to the election on October 6th. Perhaps most egregious was Environmental Defence’s “Penelope” campaign in which an eight-year-old was trotted through the province, asking people to vote “for” the environment, when what was really meant was people should vote for the Liberals.

To engage in political activity is to go against federal regulations for organizations claiming charitable status. Here is an open letter on the subject from retired investment banker and Energy Probe board member Parker Gallant, who is a frequent contributor to The Financial Post. He is asking for a full investigation of these organizations’ pre-election activities.

October 11, 2011

Open Letter to:

Mr. Jonathan Batty, Director of Election Finances and General Counsel,

Elections Ontario,

51 Rolark Drive, Toronto, ON., M1R 3B1

Dear Mr. Batty:

The recent Ontario Provincial Election saw a record low number of voters exercising their rights to vote. In my personal opinion it is because many voters feel that the system has been compromised and the outcome is not within their ability to influence through their vote. One of the principal reasons why, is that many large organizations with biased and prejudicied views used their might to support or denigrate certain parties and do so using all of the media available to them. When the weight of these organizations either favour a party or denigrate another it overwhelmingly influences the outcome.

In the election just over, approximately 8.8 million Ontarians were eligible to vote yet only 4.3 million (49.2%) of them exercised their rights. This resulted in a party winning the election with only 18% (1.6 million) of the eligible votes. There is something wrong with this and perhaps Elections Ontario should examine itself and its mandate in a serious effort to engage the voting public. Should the public service sector union(s) of 1 million voters (who represent as much as 62 % of the votes cast for the Liberal Party) be allowed to interfere with the election process to the extent they did in this and prior elections? Should vested interest groups such as the environmental Non Government Organizations (ENGOs) or registered charities be allowed to do the same by utilizing the media (both direct and social)? As the below notes both of these groups were allowed to do so by Elections Ontario; and in my opinion to the detriment of the democratic process!

As evidence of the above it has come to my attention that the under-noted organizations appear to have engaged in third party election advertising via a variety of media activities and it is my personal opinion that they should be investigated for their activities under the Election Finances Act, which applies to third party election advertising. Several of them or their founding members have also lobbied the Ontario Legislature without the benefit of registration with the Lobbyist Registry and those are noted. In those cases I would kindly ask that Elections Ontario simply advise the Integrity Commissioner of those infractions.

1. ComeClean.ca : This website appears to have been created by Environmental Defence Canada as noted from this quote taken from their website; “So far, Come Clean is a project of Environmental Defence Canada, Ontario Sustainable Energy Association, CPAWS Wildlands League, Pembina Institute, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, and Sierra Club Ontario” and as noted the contact point is the Director of Communications, Environmental Defence. This name is not registered in the Ontario Lobbyist Registry. This group posted a letter that encouraged people to send to all parties but the message is clear in that it states; “I’m concerned that our new clean energy jobs, our greenspace, and our clean air and water could be taken away from us. Ontario’s elected officials are all over the place in talking about these things, leaving us confused about the direction we are heading in. Please let me know where you stand on these issues. Please come clean!” The only party that stated they would kill the FIT program are the PC Party so the message is obviously directed at them and the clear intent of the letter is for the reader to favour one of the other parties that would retain it.  

2. Working Families according to their website is a coalition of 13 Unions of whom at least 4 are from the public sector. They have run a series of TV ads also posted on their website that were blatant in telling the audience to NOT vote for the PC party and have also posted numerous “articles” on their website from union leaders reputedly highlighting the dangers of the PC Platform. Working Families is not registered on the Ontario Lobbyist Registry.

3. Environmental Defence according to their website (and posted on other websites) enlisted an 8-year old as “the youngest candidate to not run in a provincial election” as soon as the writ was dropped. ED’s push with Penelope was clearly to retain the current Green Energy Act that they were partially responsible for creating in the first place. Penelope’s “campaign manager”, Adam Scott, is an employee of Environmental Defence and the “project coordinator for green energy”. The founder of ED was Mr. Bruce Lourie who sits on the Board of the Ontario Power Authority and the Board of the Trillium Foundation (provincially owned). The latter have granted ED $943K since 2007. Rick Smith of ED sent the attached letter out in an attempt to convince people to vote for “unsustainable growth and global warming” as well as “supporting policies that limit pollution and invest in clean energy”. That he uses his “doctorate” degree as if to imply a medical degree is an obvious attempt to make the reader believe he is a medical doctor. The Penelope “report card” discloses what ED want from the parties. Did this 8-year-old come up with the questions posed on that report card? ED also joined up with the United Steelworkers (unable to find them or bluegreencanada.ca on the Ontario Lobbyists Registry) to launch a website that promotes a CanWEA report favourable to retaining the Green Energy Act and the Long Term Energy Plan, both products of the previous government.

4. Ontario Sustainable Energy Association (OSEA) is another ENGO that has received almost $900K from the Trillium Foundation. OSEA has received considerable publicity for running biased TV ads recently pushing renewable energy and the Green Energy Act they claim they helped create. OSEA also launched biased websites and held a video contest that coincidentally awarded prizes as voting day neared. The list of sponsors and partners of this “contest” includes many ENGOs and Charitable Foundations as well as Associations as you will note when you visit their site. OSEA claims that the money to pay for the TV ads came from their “members” but never disclosed the source. Their financial position as at March 31,  2010 indicated they had only enough money to pay their staff for a month yet they were able to pay for these TV ads! How? Their members includes many publicly owned institutions from both the provincial & municipal sector so did those members contribute?. You can also reference my article for further information.

5. Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) are yet another biased institution that launched an election bus to tour Ontario to tell people that they should vote for the NDP.

6. Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation has told it’s members to vote as this excerpt points out: “This means again concentrating on priority campaigns that offer the best chance to:• Prevent a Conservative candidate from winning a seat away from an incumbent Liberal or NDP MPP

• Stop a sitting Conservative MPP from being re-elected

• Help more pro-education and progressive Liberal and NDP voices get elected”

This is blatant partisan instructions to the Federation members and denigrates the democratic process in our Province. Even their video “Get out the vote” shows windmills and full day kindergarten which is obviously sending a clear message to teachers and students that you should support both and vote for the party that has them on their platform.

7. Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association’s (OECTA) “Who Speaks for Childrencampaign was launched on YouTube in March. It highlights the successes of Ontario students since 2003, when the Liberal government came to power. It lauds Ontario’s recent education successes and refers to the tumultuous period of the Mike Harris years when unions clashed constantly and bitterly with Harris’ Conservative government. This is an obvious bias against the Ontario PC Party. OECTA had this to say in their press release of September 6, 2011; “Of the various political party platforms that have been released to date, only the Liberal platform addresses these goals.” Talk about a partisan position!

8.Citizens Climate Lobby is another organization that is not on the Ontario Lobbyist Registry despite calling itself a “Lobby” group. It has connections to OSEA (see above) and York University, Faculty of Environmental Studies (home of one of the founders of the Green Energy Act-Professor Jose Etcheverry), MaRS Discovery District (see below), Citizens Climate Lobby (USA) and Climate Action Network (see below). It has no visible means of support yet it has issued a letter that clearly favours the Liberals platform and states it is “in support of the Green Energy Act and the FIT program”, products of the Liberal Government.

9.Sierra Club is another charity that is and continues to lobby extensively in favour of the Green Energy Act and has received about $500K from the Trillium Foundation. The Executive Director, John Bennett has taken lobbying to the people in rural Ontario by showing up at local council meetings asking them to rescind their requests to the Provincial Government to declare a moratorium on future industrial wind turbine installations until a health study on their effects has been completed. Sierra Club also supported green prosperity “a joint effort by 21 of Ontario’s leading environmental organizations including Environmental Defence, the David Suzuki Foundation, Sierra Club Ontario, Greenpeace, Ontario Clear Air Alliance and others”. Interestingly enough the “green prosperity” website has a similar report card to the Environmental Defence’s Penelope report card (see above)!

10.Pembina Institute’s Cherise Burda was upfront in her analysis of the Ontario party platforms of the four parties vying for election in Pembina’s analysis by stating; “Each party has plans in its platform to keep our lights on and build transportation infrastructure,” says Cherise Burda, director of Ontario policy for the Pembina Institute. “But when it comes to building a clean energy future for Ontario, the Liberals and NDP are far ahead of the Progressive Conservatives.” Pembina claims to be non-partisan however this obvious recommendation clearly favours the Liberals and the NDP while tossing the PC and Green parties under the bus. The CRA rules indicate charities are not allowed to display partisan politics during an election regardless of Elections Ontario.

11. MaRS Discovery District , a charity created with Federal, Provincial and Municipal taxpayer money is another of those that feigns non-partisan policies but where a senior member of their staff, T. Rand a blatant supporter of the Liberals Green Energy Act recently guest blogged on Tyler Hamilton’s blog (affiliated with the green living website) had this to say:“Results matter. Support the party that built the GEA, as they’re the only ones in a position to protect it.” MaRS Discovery District cannot be found on the Ontario Lobbyist Registry.

 12. David Suzuki Foundation was co-founded by David Suzuki and until recently he was listed on their Board of Directors and endorsed the Ontario Liberal Party. That he claims he has severed his relationship with the Foundation is of no material value to the general population as his name is synonymous with the Foundation and he still is focused on, in the Foundation’s website. The Liberals were using his endorsement on their website, in TV ads and presumably in printed material thereby allowing his bias to their policies on energy generation to benefit their campaign.

13. Climate Action Network is another ENGO whose members are dozens of similar NGOs and charities and focused on the Ontario Provincial Election by offering visitors to its website to utilize a “grassroots toolkit” which were directly aimed at influencing the provincial voters. Headquartered in Ottawa in the same building as the Sierra Club it is obvious that there is collusion among the ENGOs that interferes in elections and evidence that they were very involved in pushing their agenda and supported the Liberal Party.

As a director on a non-partisan, energy-related NGO I find the foregoing activities not in keeping with the process that Elections Ontario is charged with keeping. I would assume that all of the above have spent more then the allowable $500.00 and are in breach of the Ontario Elections Act. In view of the foregoing I would appreciate your investigating the above institutions to ensure their compliance with the laws and rules governing the election process in this province.

Yours truly,

Parker Gallant,

a concerned citizen

Parker Gallant is also Contributing Editor to Dirty Business, the reality of Ontario’s rush to wind power. Details at http://dirtybusinessbook.wordpress.com

E-mail us at northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

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We had hoped to meet Mr Robert Hornung, President of the Canadian Wind Energy Association or CanWEA at our showing of Windfall a few weeks ago, but despite a personal invitation sent by courier to his Ottawa office, he didn’t attend. Perhaps he was busy crafting this message which he sent out to candidates for the Ontario election. As you know, the topic of electricity bills and the cost of renewables is a hot topic leading up to the election, and Mr Hornung wants us al to be sure to understand that wind is good.

His letter is below. We follow with a critique from Parker Gallant, who is on the Board of Energy Probe, and who counters a few of CanWEA’s assertions.

Dear Ontario Election Candidate,

 I am pleased to provide you with a copy of a new report confirming that wind power is cost competitive in Ontario today and will play an important role in ensuring price stability for Ontarians over the long term.  Behind the Switch: Pricing Ontario Electricity Options, was prepared by the Pembina Institute, a leading Canadian energy policy research organization.  The report demonstrates that replacing new renewable energy sources like wind energy with conventional sources of electricity generation would likely increase Ontario’s electricity prices over the next 20 years relative to scenarios that make use of renewable energy.

 Ontario’s electricity generation fleet is aging.  The majority will reach the end of its service life over the next two decades and will need to be renewed or replaced.  Ontario’s electricity system capacity will also need to grow by nearly 30 per cent to keep pace with demand growth.  Almost 70 per cent of the province’s generation in 2030 will come from sources that are not currently in operation.  The decisions the province makes today will have far reaching consequences for decades to come.

 The current policy to invest in wind energy as a major component of Ontario’s future electricity mix– some 7,000 MW or more of wind power is targeted by 2018 – is a forward-thinking commitment to ensuring a clean and reliable electricity system will be available to Ontarians when it’s needed.

If the current commitments to renewables and wind power were removed, something would need to be built in its place. What that something would be, and how that change would affect electricity prices, are the two main questions the Pembina Institute set out to answer in Behind the Switch.

 Wind power is a cost effective electricity generation choice today in Ontario.  The Ontario Power Authority now offers Feed-in Tariff contracts for onshore wind energy development at a price of 13.5 cents per kWh.  This is cost competitive with new natural gas at 11 cents per kwh – in the ABSENCE of a carbon price – new hydroelectric power at 12.2-13.1 cents per kwh, and new nuclear (which is not cheaper than any of the above).  The cost to produce electricity from wind will continue to decrease over time, while the cost from thermal sources is likely to increase as fuel costs continue to rise.

 Wind power has had a very minor impact in contributing to electricity price increases in Ontario to date.  By the end of 2010, there were 1,447 MW of wind power generation capacity operating in the province, contributing about 2 per cent of the total electricity produced.  The Environmental Commissioner of Ontario concluded in March of this year, that electricity from renewable sources (wind, solar and bioenergy) contributed only 0.2 cents per kWh to the typical residential electricity bill last year. 

 Behind the Switch examines how scaling back Ontario’s plans to develop renewable energy would affect electricity prices, using an integrated energy system simulator to compare two main scenarios. The first scenario is based on Ontario’s current Long-Term Energy Plan (LTEP), in which a large part of new electricity generation comes from additional renewable capacity supported under the Green Energy Act; the second scenario tests the effect of eliminating the Act and largely expanding natural gas in place of future renewable resources.

The results found in Behind the Switch indicate that consumer electricity prices are set to continue rising sharply over the next decade under either scenario — with prices peaking around 2022, when Ontario’s nuclear fleet is currently scheduled to undergo significant upgrades.  Even if future contracts for renewable energy were ended in 2011, the model shows consumer prices would be virtually identical between the two scenarios as prices will rise in the near term as there are so many other factors and necessary investments in the overall system that are also affecting prices.  There would be very little change to projected electricity price increases under the LTEP — amounting to less than 2 per cent difference on the average household’s monthly electricity bill. 

 We hope you continue to find CanWEA’s website and publications useful sources of information and facts on wind energy when considering and reviewing proposals for wind energy developments in your area. You can access information about CanWEA and wind energy in general directly from our website at: http://www.canwea.ca/wind-energy/talkingaboutwind_e.php

 We would be pleased to meet or speak with you to discuss the economic and environmental benefits of wind energy in Ontario. For further information, please contact Justin Rangooni, Ontario Policy Manager, at 613-234-8716, extension 235.

 Yours sincerely,

 Robert Hornung


And here is Parker Gallant’s comments on CanWEAs assertions about wind power, as presented on the lobby group’s website. The original post may be viewed at: http://ep.probeinternational.org/

In Greek Mythology Aeolus was the “King of Wind” but in Canadian Mythology the King of Wind is CanWEA; a not-for-profit association of 420 members including public and private companies, legal firms, manufacturers, etc. and others who feed off of the largess of taxpayers and ratepayers to ensure they retain their mandated (Ontario’s Green Energy Act) place on the energy podium.

The claims made on CanWEA’s website are wide ranging and while Aeolus was associated with creating storms; CanWEA’s claims are principally associated with saving the world from catastrophic global warming. Let’s look at some of those claims:

The Balanced Diet

One of the claims made is; “Wind energy is part of a “balanced energy diet” and is a perfect complement to other conventional forms of electricity generation. One example is wind and hydroelectric. Over short time periods (days and weeks), hydro can be used to compensate for variations in wind power production. Over long time periods (years and decades), wind can be used to compensate for fluctuations in reservoir levels, an effect that will be increasingly felt through climate change.”

Wind-energy Storage

On the latter claim wind-energy may have some use in Quebec or BC for that purpose, but in Ontario we have limited reservoir capacity (140 MW) unless we wish to flood vast regions of the province. In point of fact Ontario is often forced to export power to Quebec during the Spring  at a loss.

On the former point in the above extract from CanWEA’s website the “perfect complement” is not perfect. Hydro’s peak production comes in the Spring season when the freshet can produce an abundance (almost to full capacity) of cheap clean hydro power which coincides with peak wind production that frequently reaches similar levels. Unfortunately Spring, and Fall are the lowest demand periods so the “complement” is a misnomer and wind power takes precedent over hydro power meaning we must often spill cheap, clean hydro to give wind-energy their first to the grid rights. The “complement” thereby becomes a burden that the ratepayers endure through higher electricity bills.

Wind-energy Variability Demand

This same webpage from CanWEA states “The variability of wind matches the variability of demand. Generally wind is strongest in cold-weather months when our demand for electricity is highest.”

Ontario’s peak demand for the past several decades occurs in the hot summer months not in the cold-weather months and the variability of wind doesn’t match this cycle. Wind-energy is highest in the shoulder months of our Spring & Fall and at night when demand is at its lowest. Wind production in the summer (on average) is less than 17% of it’s capacity and often falls to less then 5% and that is when our demand reaches it’s annual peak.

Wind-energy Reliability

The next CanWEA webpage claims “Wind Power is Reliable.” and goes on to state; “The wind turbines that you see today are the result of decades of research and development. Thanks to these efforts, modern turbines are highly efficient and a typical unit alone can generate enough electricity to power over 500 homes. The science of wind turbine placement has advanced a great deal, too – nowadays, the output of a wind farm can be predicted accurately well before a shovel hits the ground.”

To claim that a typical unit can generate enough electricity to power over 500 homes would require that unit to operate at a 33 % capacity level based on the standard household usage (800 kWh per month) claimed in submissions to the Ontario Energy Board by parties seeking rate increases. My view on the CanWEA statement is that it should state; “a typical unit can generate enough electricity to power 1500 homes for 33 % of the time.” This would ensure that we understand that some other power source would be required for the other 77 % of the time when that unit was producing nothing! The other misleading fact about this statement is that industrial wind turbines, on average, only produce power for approximately 27 % of the time and in the UK a recent report http://www.jmt.org/assets/pdf/wind-report.pdf indicated an average production level of only 21 % was achieved in 2010. The additional problem as highlighted in a recent Aegent study is that “excess output would exacerbate or create a number of undesirable outcomes, including:

  • surplus base load generation
  • dispatched-off situations
  • subsidized exports”

Wind-energy & Extreme Weather

This same webpage further claims: “As long as there is wind, there will be wind power.

With good placement, a modern wind turbine will typically produce electricity 70 percent of the time. Enhanced technology and design improvements have also played a part in increasing the reliability of wind power allowing turbines to generate electricity in all but the most extreme weather conditions.”

The foregoing reference to “extreme weather” is exactly what happened in the UK late last year as those extreme conditions took hold and the industrial wind turbines froze and actually were consuming power rather then producing it as the Institute of Energy Research noted.  A similar event occurred in New Brunswick as reported here.

So just when we need the power, wind fails to provide it. In those situations we require 100% back-up power. So if CanWEA achieve their goal of 20 % of Canada’s electricity capacity by 2025 we will need 20% of other more reliable and dispatchable power generation to ensure we avoid blackouts.

Wind-energy is always Producing somewhere

This same CanWEA page goes on to ask the question: “But what happens when the wind isn’t blowing? Here it is important to remember that the wind never stops blowing everywhere at once. Experience from around the world has shown that a large number of wind turbines spread over a wide geographic area will actually produce a consistent amount of power. And the use of advanced wind and weather forecasting tools helps to make wind energy more predictable and more reliable than ever before.”

That claim to reliability is no doubt something that the UK and New Brunswick grid operators would dispute. The assertion that a geographic spread of wind turbines “produce a consistent amount of power” has been disputed by many and in Ontario’s case an Energy Probe study going back to 2006 indicated that assertion was not backed up with facts. The study went on to state that wide geographic disbursement of wind turbines would cause considerable transmission and grid related problems and add to costs.

Wind-energy Adaptability

The next CanWEA webpage I wish to explore is this one: where they carry this message; “The modern wind turbine was built to adapt to all kinds of wind and weather conditions. Turbines can even be installed on water; they don’t need to be just on land.”

As noted above the first part of this claim is a stretch based on what happened in UK and New Brunswick and no doubt other areas of the world.

Wind-energy as a Cuisinart

The next part of this page is presumably meant to educate us and has this brief description; “Wind turbines generally consist of large blades mounted on tall towers attached to a horizontal shaft. As the wind blows, these blades cause the shaft to turn. The shaft is attached to a generator located inside the head, or “nacelle” of the turbine, which generates electricity. Cables carry this electrical current to transmission lines that then carry it to homes and businesses. Modern turbines rotate quite slowly, at an average speed of between 18 to 20 revolutions per minute.”

What this fails to tell us is that “revolutions per minute” do not tell us that the tips of the blades are travelling at a speed of as much as 200 kilometres and hour and they are very effective at chopping up birds and destroying bats as this webpage highlights for only one of the many industrial wind turbine sites spread throughout the province.

Wind-energy Availability

The next piece of this webpage carries this message; “Maintenance issues are also much smaller on a wind farm. At some conventional power plants, the entire plant may have to be shut down for repairs whereas at a wind farm, maintenance takes place one turbine at a time. This has led to availability factors (referring to the percent of time that a turbine is available to capture the wind) of 98% – much higher than conventional forms of energy production.”

I am not sure what CanWEA are trying to accomplish here beyond putting an impressive percentage on the page. Availability means absolutely nothing without wind to turn the blades and it is a fact that the actual production from the turbines is on average only 27%. If an educator was to mark CanWEA he/she would give them an “A+” for attendance but an “F” for their paper. I also find it interesting that when I enquired about the Wolfe Island industrial wind installation and why all of their units were producing absolutely no power over a three day period during a recent hot spell I received the following response; “We’re currently performing annual substation maintenance at the site (a scheduled 3-day outage) to ensure park and grid reliability. We perform this in low-wind seasons; however, we need to schedule months in advance. Hope this helps,”

What caught my eye about this reply was both the fact that they had shut down all of the turbines and also admitted that the summer was one of the “low-wind seasons”. So the claim to be able to provide maintenance “one turbine at a time” is a stretch and the disclosure of “low wind-seasons” by one of their members is an admission that they will be unreliable during the peak demand summer season.

Wind-energy to reduce Global Emissions

This CanWEA webpage had this bon mot; “Canada’s electricity system is at a crossroads. Demand is rising and many power plants are approaching retirement. We need more power, and concerns over climate change, air pollution and acid rain damage mean we have to look at cleaner ways to generate it.”

Well, I have a shock for CanWEA. Demand is not rising. In fact Ontario consumed 144 TWh in 2003 and in 2010 we consumed only 142 TWh. Demand has actually fallen, both as a result of the recession and as a result of the loss of major energy consuming industries. Even before the recession a report by the OFL in 2007 indicated Ontario had lost 150,000 manufacturing jobs in the prior 4 years.

Wind-energy to prevent Climate Change

CanWEA go on to state; “Wind is an obvious part of the solution. Wind is quick to install and produces no air pollution or greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. In fact, in light of the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which warns that in order to avoid the catastrophic impacts of climate change, we need to get global emissions to peak and start to decline before 2020, wind energy may well be the best solution right now. “In this critical period between now and the end of the next decade, we are really it on the supply side and that is a pretty large responsibility,” says Steve Sawyer, the secretary-general of the Global Wind Energy Council.”

This is at the heart of CanWEA’s principal argument-saving us from global warming because “wind energy” will get global emissions to decline. That premise was recently taken to task by a report from Bentek Energy which concluded that claims made on CO 2 and other noxious reductions by the wind industry are “vastly overstated” and wind energy is not “a cost-effective solution for reducing carbon dioxide if carbon is valued at less than $33 per ton.”

Wind-energy as a replacement for Nuclear power-Globally

This same webpage asks the question: ‘What are our choices? Nuclear power has no emissions, but for the technology just to maintain its current market share, 150-180 new plants will need to be built between now and 2020. The complexities around getting those facilities permitted and constructed make it unlikely.”

So CanWEA have gone global with the above statement unless there are proposal that haven’t yet hit the media about plans to construct these plants in Canada. Are they suggesting that industrial wind turbines could take the place of these 150-180 new plants being constructed around the globe or just the 16 in Ontario that have a rated capacity of about 12,000 MW? Aegent Energy in an April 2011 release estimated that just replacing the nuclear plants in Ontario with industrial wind turbines concluded “Given the operating characteristics of wind generation, 34,000 MW of wind capacity and 10,000 MW of natural gas-fired generation capacity would be required to replace Ontario’s nuclear.” and “That amount of wind capacity would require 14,200 km2 of land – the equivalent of a strip 14 km in width around the shorelines of southwestern Ontario.” The Aegent report estimates that 11,333 turbines would be required so if that assumption is applied to the 150-180 plants mentioned in the CanWEA website that would represent over 120,000 turbines and take up over 150,000 km2. .assuming the “150-180 new plants” are of a like output.

Wind-energy doesn’t have “long planning horizons”

This page goes on to say: “New large hydro is a possibility; it faces long planning horizons and fierce public opposition to the environmental devastation caused by flooding huge tracts of land. Small run-of-river hydro facilities have fewer impacts, but are becoming increasingly difficult to access.”

It is amusing that CanWEA would include the phrase “fierce public opposition” presumably inferring that industrial wind installations don’t face similar opposition. The difference between any new large hydro and industrial wind turbines in Ontario is that the GEA gives the wind developers a carte blanche on the “fierce public opposition” as it gives them an easy ride through the bureaucracy of the various ministries that bless their developments. Fierce public opposition does not carry the same weight with the authorities when wind development is being considered in Ontario!

Wind-energy will be cheaper then Natural Gas

Yet another statement on this page has the following; “Natural gas generating plants are easy to build, flexible to operate and produce fewer emissions than coal, but dwindling supplies and uncertainty over what fuel prices will be next year, much less 20 years down the road, make it a risky choice. Other renewable energy technologies, like solar power and ocean energy, are not yet mature enough to make a substantial contribution over the short term.”

Again the fact that natural gas supplies in North America are not dwindling but increasing seems to have escaped the attention of CanWEA and this has kept the price of natural gas at relatively low levels. For that reason new gas generating plants are the energy of choice in the US and are replacing old coal generation plants because they are more dependable and have ramping capability unlike wind. In 2010 new gas generation plants coming on stream were almost 50% more then wind in rated capacity and even new coal generation plants were higher then wind. If one factors in wind’s low delivery abilities at say; 27% they fall even further behind.

CanWEA’s Advertising Offensive

Criticism on the effects of industrial wind turbines are occurring globally and in Ontario the critics have been both vocal and organized. The criticism’s have universally been about;

  • human health,
  • economic costs,
  • wildlife deaths,
  • declining property values, and
  • esthetics/tourism.

As more turbines are erected more critics emerge and those critics now consist of the medical profession, engineers, nature groups, real estate agents, acoustical specialists, economists, and municipal and provincial politicians. On the issue of human health a recent peer reviewed paper by Carl V. Phillips published in the Bulletin of Science, Technology and Society indicates “There is overwhelming evidence that wind turbines cause serious health problems in nearby residents, usually stress-disorder type diseases, at a nontrivial rate.” which is in sharp contrast to the CanWEA claims.

In an effort to counter all of the negative media, CanWEA has embarked on an aggressive campaign which has included support from ENGOs, formal polls with leading questions, commissioned a noise study, an economic study and ran a series of ads on various radio stations and in regional newspapers.

Print Ads

In the latter case they have used several people to carry their message containing such catchy phrases as; “wind energy is about land stewardship”, “my family supports wind energy”, “the wind facility has also brought in some tourists who are curious to see what it’s all about.”, “wind energy is having an incredibly positive impact on our community.” and “ I would say the wind development has been a real boost for the whole community.”

What the ads fail to say is that hundreds of people have had their health affected in some manner, many have abandoned their homes and farms (5 in one small community alone), several have had their properties acquired and forced to sign gag orders and a number of them live in their basements to try and avoid the effect of the noise and vibrations from the turbines. The print ads also often describe a particular industrial wind development and claim it will produce “enough zero-emission electricity to power” a given number of homes.

When I do the math on the electricity they claim they will produce I found that the ads are saying the turbines will operate at a much higher efficiency level (34/36%) then other industrial wind sites in Ontario.

One of the individuals in the ads; Jutta Splettstoesser whose family farm hosts turbines, has embarked on a organized campaign as a “friend” of wind-energy and is being helped out (administratively) by CanWEA & OSEA. The latter was just awarded a $125,000 “education” grant by the Community Power Fund under the Community Energy Partnerships Program which is funded by the Ontario Power Authority and paid for by the ratepayers of this province. The fact that the Executive Director of the CFP worked with the Executive Director of OSEA in the past is simply a coincidence?

Amazingly enough Jutta’s husband was reputedly caught removing anti-wind signs. Another individual in one of the ads is the Mayor of Chatham-Kent and a former MPP when Bob Rae led the NDP to victory. I can only assume that he is still a supporter of the NDP and therefore favours wind turbines. Back in 2009 he was front and centre when CanWEA presented the Municipality with the 2009 National Group Leadership Award. That many people in his municipality suffer adverse health effects from wind turbines apparently is not his concern.


The claims by CanWEA published on their website and in their advertisements clearly border on unsupportable statements of fact and should be reviewed by the Competition Bureau and Advertising Standards Canada. Perhaps it is time for CanWEA to come clean!

Parker Gallant, July 31, 2011

E-mail us at northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

The North Gower Wind Action Group Inc. is a corporate member of Wind Concerns Ontario Inc.

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According to Energy Probe executive director Lawrence Solomon, writing in today’s Financial Post, “the largest grass roots movement in the western world today is no longer anti-nuclear, it is anti-wind.”

We’re proud to be part of it.

Read the reasons why at http://opinion.financialpost.com/2010/10/12/ontario-power-lesson/

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We received an email from someone in the area who wanted us to know, written all in capital letters so we would get the urgency, that she was in support of wind turbines and they are cleaner than gas or coal, and had been in operation for more than 100 years. The missive was finished with the advice to: “ASK A DUTCHMAN.”

Well, yes. And you could ask people from Denmark, Spain, France, and Germany too and you will get the same answer: the foray into wind energy development has been disappointing and not as promised.

The problem is, people have a romantic view of windmills turning gently in the wind. That’s not what is sprouting up all over Ontario; that’s definitely not what’s proposed for North Gower, rotors on extra-long masts in order to catch what wind we have here.

Better to ask the people of Melancthon and Amaranth in the Shelburne area of Ontario, or the people of Chatham-Kent, Wolfe Island, or Kincardine. A few turbines have become dozens (133 in Shelburne) with resulting health effects, declining property values and effects on the environment.

Our suggestion today is to learn more and not rely on one source for information about wind power, not even us. Get out there and read; better still, get in touch with the Wolfe Island wind action group and then go experience turbines for yourself. As one young man at a recent public meeting in North Gower said, “I can’t imagine living with that noise.”

So don’t imagine: learn more. Read. Experience. Listen to the people who will be coming a long way to speak with us on April 13th. Ask questions. Don’t just look back at a romantic illusion of windmills from the past: this is big business and it wants to come into your life, soon.

As for the Netherlands? Read this:


To contact the North Gower Wind Action Group Inc., email northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

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February 23rd, The Ottawa Citizen ran an editorial called “Seeing the wind” in which every popular notion about wind development is listed. Trouble is, none of them are correct.

Wind power is clean energy. No, it isn’t: the manufacturing and construction process for industrial wind turbines is significant, and huge amounts of fuel are required to transport the gigantic turbine parts. And, the turbines require power to run. In the “Wind Energy: the case of Denmark” study prepared by CEPOS in 2009, it was noted that in that country, which has had wind turbines for 20 years, ” wind power … saves neither fossil fuel consumption nor CO2 emissions.”

That’s a fact.

Ontario’s wind turbines are already in places where most people never see them. What? That would be nice if it were true, but it isn’t. In Melancthon there are over 100 turbines (soon to be almost 200) and the same for Amaranth. Turbines as far as the eye can see. Chatham-Kent? Hundreds and hundreds of turbines within kilometers of 6,000 people. North Gower? As many as 10 626-foot turbines within kilometers of hundeds of people and just over 3 km from a school. The turbines should be north of Superior where there is plenty of wind and no people but they’re not. Why? the transmission lines aren’t there but they are in the south of Ontario, which is also where all the people are.

That’s a fact.

New wind farms in Ontario will create long-term opportunities for manufacturers to supply them–and replace some of the jobs that the auto industry can no longer provide. Nonsense. The jobs created will be very few in number, and the subsidization means Ontario taxpayers are handing out more than $200,000 for each new job. Again from CEPOS in Denmark: “creating additional employment in one sector through subsidies will detract labor from other sectors, resulting in no increase in net employment.”

That’s a fact.

We’re unsure as to why the Citizen ran this editorial when their own columnist Randall Denley has gone on record with the truth about the wind development business in Ontario, which he says is more of the same “branch plant mentality” which does not foster innovation and long-term job or economic growth in Ontario.

For more information go to


and take special note of Michael Trebilcock’s column on wind development in Ontario.

Sorry to those who are only on dial-up: there is a binder of information at the North Gower Branch of the Ottawa Public Library, and the Library also has high-speed Internet (wireless, too!).

To get in touch with the North Gower Wind Action Group, email northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

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