Ontario’s ill wind: Throwing billions of dollars at wind and solar factories isn’t going to lower greenhouse emissions effectively or efficiently
Originally published in the Toronto Sun on April 16, 2016 by Jim McPherson.
On March 23, Lorrie Goldstein’s “Burn our money” column in the Toronto Sun criticized Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for budgeting about $10 billion (including overseas spending) by 2020 on what Trudeau claims are climate change initiatives.
Last month, despite continuing objections from hosting municipalities and numerous concerns expressed by the office of the Auditor General of Ontario, Premier Kathleen Wynne’s provincial government approved more renewable energy projects.
Last week, a wind power developer began legally clearing vegetation from a vast area of pristine wildlife in Prince Edward County, even though the Enviromental Review Tribunal (ERT) had ruled the project would cause serious and irreversible harm to endangered Blandings Turtles and Little Brown Bats.
On April 8, photographs of habitat destruction apparently prompted the ERT to order an “interim stay” on construction and a “remedial measures” hearing will now be scheduled.
Federal and provincial Liberal governments are on a “green energy” spending spree.
They recklessly tilt at climate change by funding unwanted and unneeded wind and solar projects that kill wildlife and harm humans.
They generate super-expensive, intermittent, electricity that is exported at huge losses.
A comparison to Florida is a sobering story.
In the past decade, while Ontario electricity rates nearly doubled, Florida’s rates declined by 10%.
There are no industrial wind farms in Florida, where the electricity utility is owned by the same corporation that destroyed an Ontario eagle’s nest for its wind energy project in that province.
Most of Florida is only a few meters above sea level, but wind turbines can’t save Florida from man-made global warming.
Industrial lobbyists perpetrate the global hoax that wind and solar “farms” are justified by our need to fight anthropogenic global warming. It’s just not true.
The Ontario Society of Professional Engineers reports that, “adding wind and solar to Ontario’s grid drives CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions higher”, because they need backup from carbon-emitting gas plants.
Trudeau’s $10 billion climate change initiatives cannot change that fact.
Our governments have been duped by a global industry that wants our money now; even though there’s no way to store unneeded electricity.
Terrified by the global warming threat, citizens allow our governments to believe that wind energy can save us. But it can’t.
In desperation, Ontario keeps approving “renewable energy“ projects, while our federal government just sends money. Meanwhile the Trudeau Liberals ignore their responsibility to protect human health, endangered species, migrating wildlife and human rights.
Health Canada admits wind turbine noise creates community annoyance that can be harmful to health but refuses to regulate acoustic radiations from wind turbines.
Trudeau’s $10 billion climate change initiatives will not change that.
Ontario’s Auditor-General and municipal governments know “renewable” wind and solar energy is not affordable for taxpayers and ratepayers — we subsidize it through feed-in tariff contracts, federal grants, and now by Trudeau’s budgeted climate change initiatives.
Municipalities fear wind turbines will devastate tourism-dependent economies and devalue tax-generating properties. Trudeau’s $10 billion climate change initiatives cannot change that.
Two years ago, 90 Ontario municipalities declared themselves “not a willing host” for wind turbines.
This year, most of them called on the Wynne government not to publicly subsidize any more renewable energy projects.
Municipalities know turbines are not safe for human communities, just as they were not safe for millions of deceased wildlife.
We must reject the foolish fantasy of getting reliable, safe and affordable energy from unreliable, unsafe, and unaffordable wind and solar factories.
Trudeau should not give our money to the provinces for carbon pricing subsidies.
The provinces will waste it on schemes that drive electricity prices still higher, without reducing greenhouse gases.
Instead, Trudeau should challenge industry to develop affordable energy storage by 2020, just as John Kennedy challenged America to land on the moon by the end of his decade.
It would be better to invest $10 billion in the development of energy storage, so that our children might then be able to afford the intermittent energy available from the wind and the sun.
Our first priority must be to make energy storage affordable. Until then, we must stop devastating our wildlife habitat and our rural communities with expensive “green energy” factories that can’t reduce greenhouse gasses.
When energy storage is made affordable, Canada’s municipalities (not provinces) should decide where future wind and solar factories might be located in rural communities.
* McPherson is is a retired professional engineer, living in Tweed