Big Wind’s “Ontario campaign”: prepare to be persuaded
The wind power development industry’s lobbyist the Canadian Wind Energy Association or CanWEA published an article in its fall edition of the quarterly magazine Windsight, which sets the stage for further activity in Ontario to persuade the voting, tax-paying, rate-paying populace that wind power is “green” and good. The article refers in specific to work done by Nik Nanos, chairman of Nanos Research, “retained by CanWEA to examine the views of consumers on a wide range of energy issues”.
This is very timely of course, with Ontario’s IESO set to open up its Large Renewable Procurement process for even more wind power, despite the billions lost on selling off surplus power.
What’s interesting, however, is that the “spin” in Mr. Nanos’ writing on popular support for wind is actually quite different from what one gleans from a thorough examination of Nanos Research’s 119-page report on the consumer survey.
No doubt the survey set CanWEA (a not-for profit association) back some serious cash as it goes into great detail, but the negative details are abandoned in the sugary article in CanWEA’s publication. Nanos states broadly that “our research found Canadians have some clear opinions on how electricity should be generated, including broad-based support for the development of more wind power”.
He also states “the survey data indicates a clear appetite for a diversification of electricity sources.” Mr. Nanos even cites “Quebecers, whose provincial identity is intertwined with hydropower, support continued development of wind energy”. Why he invokes Quebec is unclear as the survey’s goal is stated clearly in the preamble: “This resource document for the CanWEA Ontario Campaign includes quantitative and qualitative data, a segmentation analysis (to identify priority groups in Ontario for persuasion), and a prescriptive Ontario narrative.”
The message is, doubters in Ontario should get prepared to be persuaded! Mr. Nanos even manages to get a message in for the politicians by noting they should “embrace” the survey’s findings, despite the fact that the current government has already embraced them to the detriment of Ontario’s economy: “And for governments, the key takeaway should be to embrace environmentally responsible diversification of our energy supplies, and to see wind as a key part of the future mix”.
This is but another step in CanWEA’s campaign, which includes a slate of lobbyists. CanWEA, is registered with three lobbyists and another five from Sussex Strategy Group. If one does a keyword search on the registry using “wind,” 190 names pop up. CanWEA’s registration in addition to member’s dues, shows they have secured funding from the federal government as noted:
Has your organization received any government funding (federal, provincial and/or municipal) in its current fiscal year?
Name of Government or Government Agency Amount
Natural Resources Canada $663,000.00
So Canada’s taxpayers are supporting CanWEA in a significant way despite the fact that their members are worth billions. The money declared by CanWEA’s filing appears to be a part of a grant of $1,755,000 for a study to be conducted by CanWEA, referred to as the “Pan-Canadian Wind Integration Study”. The objective, as described on Natural Resources Canada’s website, is: to undertake a study to evaluate the technical aspects of high wind energy penetration on a national basis.”
It appears CanWEA wants coast-to-coast transmission towers also hooked up to the other grid networks in the U.S.A. skirting the Canada/U.S. border. The rationale is to counter the fact that wind power is intermittent by proving that “the wind is blowing somewhere.”
Back to the Nanos Survey: was there some bias in the selection of the responders? According to the report, 500 Ontarians took part with 250 from the GTA, where the only visible turbine is the demonstration Exhibition Place wind turbine. The other 250 respondents came from “the rest of Ontario,” whatever that means. In addition, the weighting given to the 18-29 age group was significant so the 50 respondents in that age group got a 20% weighting, rather than the 10% they actually represented. The 60+ demographic (people who are more likely to be homeowners and electricity ratepayers) was almost halved from 220 to 117!
Nanos held four focus groups with a total of 32 people, in two sessions in the GTA and the two in London—Ontario’s largest and sixth largest cities.
We will explore the “narratives” that stem from the Nanos report to CanWEA and the messages to be employed to persuade the people of Ontario that, yes, wind is good, and yes, we need more wind power generation in a province that already has a power surplus.
Part II tomorrow.