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Ontario’s Misguided Reliance on Renewable ‘Green’ Energy

Letters to the Editor — The Chronicle Journal — July 13, 2013

Ontario’s misguided reliance on renwable ‘green’ energy

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Re Move to More Renewable Energy Will Save Lives — Viewpoint, July 6:
The Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE) congratulates the Ontario government for committing to add 900 megawatts of renewable energy to the grid by 2014.
They call for even more taxpayer-subsidized spending on renewable energy. They also trashed electricity generated by nuclear power, claiming nuclear power is “hogging” the grid and “preventing renewables expansion.”
CAPE further claimed the half-dozen Ontario coal-fired electric stations, in 2010 alone, killed over 300 people and caused 158,000 illnesses.
Living here in Northwestern Ontario, I tried to understand what it might mean to me and Ontario residents in general, if CAPE’s advice is followed in Ontario’s Long-Term Energy Plan Review.
With our decimated industrial user base, power demand the week before the Canada Day weekend in the Northwest was so low, the “old” green power from OPG’s largest regional hydro-electric station on the Nipigon River was caused to shut down and power was purchased instead from politically-in-favour “new” generators at twice the cost.
In Northwestern Ontario, hydro-electric generators, bought and paid for by Ontario taxpayers and electricity consumers decades ago, that can sell power to the grid for 50 per cent of the “new” green generators, are shut. So in future, if more green power is legislated into the grid, will more “old” hydro green energy be curtailed in our region?
CAPE also petitioned the Ontario government to be more aggressive in reducing Ontario’s dependence on nuclear, and even natural gas, to “save lives.”
After the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, Germany, a recognized leader in renewables like solar and wind power, declared nuclear generation verboten. But Germany knows renewables need back-up when the wind don’t blow and the sun don’t shine. So with nuclear being phased out, two new coal-fired plants opened in Germany and six more will in 2013 for a combined capacity of 5,800 MW! And 27 gas-fired plants are in the works.
If CAPE’s statistics on Ontario deaths are correct, then Germany has just condemned hundreds of its people to die and hundreds of thousands to new illnesses.
CAPE should be careful what they ask for when calling for the end of nuclear, because with nuclear gone, southern Ontarians will need to put up with a lot more fossil fuel plants in their back yards, not less. Or buy “dirty” coal-generated power from across the river in Michigan.
What we need here in Northwestern Ontario is inexpensive, reliable power to attract manufacturing and industry to our region.
The early paper mills, for example, in towns like Kapuskasing, Iroquois Falls, Smooth Rock Falls, Espanola, Kenora, Fort Frances, Dryden and Terrace Bay were attracted here not only by the trees, but also cheap hydro-electric power.
We can only hope that in its review of the Long-Term Energy Plan, the Ontario government will also keep in mind that ordinary consumers — not professional environmental lobby groups — pay the electric bills, and while renewables in proper context are fine, we still want power we can afford.
Armas West, P.Eng.
Thunder Bay

One of these days, some in Ontario’s environmental movement will wake up and realize how badly they have been hoodwinked by the global wind power developer lobbyists.
In the opinion piece on the need for more power from renewable energy sources (July 5), doctors Colby and Pellizzari and communications pro Gideon Forman claim that Ontario needs more wind and solar power in order to preserve health.
Here’s what they don’t get: coal-fired power generation is not being replaced by wind power, it is being replaced by natural gas. A quick look at the Ontario Independent System Operator website for power output shows that. Wind power is produced out of phase with demand, and is purchased at a premium that analysts say Ontario can’t afford.
While the authors claim power from renewable sources will prevent health problems such as respiratory illnesses, they ignore the fact that those millions of cars are still on the road in Ontario, no matter where we get our power from, while millions of taxpayer and ratepayer dollars are going to power developers in subsidies, instead of for transit initiatives.
Worse, Ontario’s skyrocketing power rates are already causing “energy poverty” as seen in Europe and the U.K., with profound effects on the economy. Poverty is a critical social determinant of health, as the authors surely know.
The rural and small urban communities on whom giant wind power projects have been forced are dealing with property value loss on the order of 20-50 per cent. What effect will that have on Ontario’s economy, and personal finances?
Last, the authors’ claim that there are no health effects from the environmental noise produced by large-scale wind power projects is in turn misleading: countless papers have been produced to say that there are health effects, including an editorial in the British Medical Journal, and Health Canada is currently conducting an investigation.
Ontario’s 550-metre setbacks were not based on any scientific data. Denmark has also just announced it is launching a health study as a significant number of people are reporting illness from exposure to the wind turbine noise.
When Big Wind has reaped its rewards with the help of well-meaning but misled people like the authors, Ontario will be left with an unsustainable power system, a damaged economy and a lot of people shaking their head and saying, “How could this happen?”
Jane Wilson, RN
President, Wind Concerns Ontario
North Gower, Ont.

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  1. Ontario’s Misguided Reliance on Renewable ‘Green’ Energy | ajmarciniak - July 14, 2013

    […] Ontario’s Misguided Reliance on Renewable ‘Green’ Energy. […]

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