Posts Tagged ‘Estonia air quality’

Much has been made in Ontario about the need for cleaner air and indeed many of the non-governmental organizations such as Environmental Defence, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, the Clean Air Alliance and the Registered Nurses Association, to name only a few, have gotten on the bandwagon with pleas ranging from  please stop pollution to the claim that “coal is killing people.”


The facts are (and by checking on writings by Ross McKitrick elsewhere on this site you can read those, as well as Ontario’s own clean air report) that Ontario has relatively good air quality and that what pollution does exist comes from south of the border and from automobiles. Dr. McKitrick and others have said that closing Ontario’s coal-fired power plants will not make a difference to Ontario’s air quality. Not that we’re defending coal but we need perspective.

Here, then, from Parker Gallant, a view on the recent rankings of countries according to air quality, Canada among them.

Going for First Place

 The September 27th edition of the National Post carried what an editor would refer to as filler pieces. The first on Page A7 was headed; “Canada ties for third among 90 countries ranked for air pollution” and the second filler was found on FP4 in a sidebar with the headline “WIND POWER DOUBLES IN CANADA”.

The first headline was from the first “Air Quality” database complied by the World Health Organization which gave Canada a tie with Australia following Estonia and Mauritius. The report purportedly covered 1,100 cities in 91 countries but we were beat by Estonia and Mauritius, incredible!

Looking at the production of electricity in Estonia the “Government policy and objectives toward its energy sector can be summarized in two ways: to provide a reliable source of energy for the country, and to provide such energy at the lowest possible cost.” Further “Estonia is unique among nations in its heavy use of oil shale.”

To be fair, Estonia does have 149 MW of wind generation which supplies less than 1/2 of 1% of their electricity consumption but one should also bear in mind that Estonia’s objective is to “provide energy at the lowest possible cost.”

Now lets take a look at Mauritius; # 2 in the WHO report. In the case of Mauritius this is the situation: “The generation of electrical energy is also dependent on diesel engines (61.7 percent), in three power stations, all situated around Port Louis. They have a total effective capacity of 176 megawatts. A seasonal contribution of 54.2 megawatts comes from hydro-plants and 90.5 megawatts from Independent Power Producers supplement capacity.”

The second filler was a press release by CanWEA [the Canadian Wind Energy Association] telling us that by the end of 2011 Canada’s installed wind capacity will be beyond 5,300 MW or reputedly enough to power 1.5 million Canadian homes. CanWEA goes on to say that another 6,000 MW has been contracted to come online across Canada. This press release also said “Ontario is expected to lead with 500 MW of wind power to be brought on line by the end of the year.”

So our drive from the Liberal government in Ontario has been to clean up the air by adding more and more controversial wind generation yet the two countries that beat us use principally “oil shale” and “diesel engines” to supply their households with electricity. That doesn’t sound clean or green!

Parker Gallant

Editor’s note: We’re not sure how Estonia and Mauritius would stack up against Ontario for air quality–they don’t have the 3MM people of Toronto chugging around in cars and buses, but Ontario’s air quality has continued to improve dramatically over the 1960s due to automobile-related initiatives like the Drive Clean program. What’s important to know is that industrial-scale wind power generation requires some form of back-up because it is unreliable and intermittent; Ontario’s choice is to build new natural gas plants to go along with wind power development. What effect will that have on air quality in future?

E-mail us at northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

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