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Posts Tagged ‘Margaret Wente’

In the May edition of The AgriNews: “Prowind is also involved in a project planned for the North Gower area that is meeting with determined opposition from local residents, some of whom are concerned over what they maintain are health hazards posed by the giant turbines.”

“Determined opposition”? Yes, indeed.

And we don’t “maintain” there are health hazards, we know from the experience of other people in this province, in New York State, and in Europe that there ARE health hazards associated with sleep deprivation.

In the article, Prowind’s Bart Geleynse says the company (which has headquarters in Germany) is looking for local people to invest in the Brinston project, a 30 megawatt wind turbine installation. He said it “represents a much lower risk than regular development financing.” That is only because the province is paying such outrageous rates for the power; the minute the subsidies disappear, so does any reason for building wind turbine projects.

In her April 10 column in The Globe and Mail, Margaret Wente wrote: Welcome to the wacky world of green power, where misguided governments have sparked a massive corporate feeding frenzy (at taxpayers’ expense) to achieve little or nothing of any social benefit. …The heart of [the] strategy is to pay massive subsidies to wind, solar and other renewable energy producers–many of them large multinational corporations–for the next 20 years.”

She goes on to quote Britain’s George Monbiot who says, “The feed-in tariffs…are extortionate, useless and deeply regressive. The technologies the scheme will reward are comically inefficient.”

“Determined opposition”? Yes. For so many reasons.

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

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One of the comments made by someone interviewed by the media during the North Gower meeting April 13th, was that the turbine project will bring investment and particularly jobs to the area.

Let’s look into that.

Reports from areas in the United States indicate that the wind developers tend to have their own crews with the specialized skills they need, and that very little labour is hired locally. This is confirmed by documents from the Alberta Department of Human Resources which show that wind developers are hiring but once you are employed by them, you are an employee, travelling from one installation to another.

Important too is the fact that the jobs are not just “entry-level” jobs…the turbine construction and maintenance process requires special skills. According to a consultant’s report prepared for the wind developer lobby group, the Canadian Wind Energy Association or CanWEA,  “turbine manufacturing represents 70-75% of the job creation potential for wind projects. … Present Canadian manufacturing capacity is mainly in nacelle assembly and the manufacture of rotor blades, towers, nacelle covers and electrical components.”

In other words, the turbine components will be manufactured somewhere in Ontario–plants are already proposed for southern Ontario–and then shipped to wind turbine projects. No local employment seen there.

And the other jobs “created” by wind energy development? Most require college-level training in mechanical and electrical skills. For example, turbine maintenance will be carried out on an ongoing basis by Wind Turbine Technicians who should have college-level mechanical trade or technologist training; experience with aeronautical and gear box systems is an asset, the report states. Similarly, Wind Turbine Electrical and Systems Technicians will be required for maintenance and repair of turbines, for which college-level electrical or electronics technologist training is required. Power Technicians also will require college electrical power trade training.

Other jobs include Wind Project Engineers (university degree in mechanical engineering) Power Engineers (university degree in electrical engineering with a focus on power systems),  and Civil Engineers (university degree), Civil/Geological Engineers (university degree). Less training is required for construction jobs such as Construction Labour (college construction trade training required) and Transport and Installation Trades (heavy equipment certification and experience with large equipment assembly required). The forecast for this category is about 1,000 person-years over 10 years from 2005-2015.

The full consultants’ report may be viewed here:

http://selkirk.ca/media/departmentsandschools/renewableresources/renewableenergy/CANWEA-2015-Labour-Forecast—ENG.pdf

The experience of other countries is again instructive: in Denmark, Germany and Spain, it was found that there were no NEW jobs created; in fact, the jobs in the wind development industry simply moved over from other sectors, and there was no net gain in employment.

As for “investment” in North Gower, if there is any at all, it certainly won’t be for the long term, and is likely to benefit very few people indeed.

But don’t take our word for it. Margaret Wente in the Globe and Mail writes “The McGuinty government confidently predicts that its green scheme will create 50,000 [jobs]. Don’t believe it. Some will be temporary construction jobs. Some other jobs will disappear because higher electricity costs will make Ontario less competitive. And many of the new jobs will be extremely costly to create. In Denmark, the wind power darling of the world, subsidies per net job have amounted to $90,000 to $149,000 per year, according to one independent study. In Germany, job subsidies have cost as much as $249,000 per year.

“So who are the winners? The companies that harvest the subsidies … The government is trying to create a feel-good story by showcasing the little guys…But it’s the big guys who are the biggest winners.”

News daily at http://windconcernsontario.wordpress.com

Email the North Gower Wind Action Group at northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

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