The Letters page in The National Post is ablaze today with the “wind fight” as letters from both Wind Concerns Ontario president Jane Wilson and wind power lobbyist Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) president Robert Hornung appear, toe-to-toe.
Re: The Ontario Liberals Don’t Deserve Another Term, letters to the editor, June 10.
The rising cost of electricity and its impact, is a key topic of discussion in the Ontario election campaign. All parties are committed to ensuring Ontario’s power supply is reliable and priced to support business growth and economic priorities, but their plans to meet that objective differ. One example of this is in the province’s approach to wind energy development.
The key driver of rising electricity bills in Ontario is not wind energy. Independent analysis by Power Advisory LLC indicates that wind energy accounted for only 5% of the increase in our electricity bills between 2009 and 2012, with the bulk of rising rates due to necessary upgrades to aging power plants and transmission systems.
A key economic driver for Ontario is a responsive, competitive electrical system that respects the environment. A steady stream of new wind energy complements energy conservation, and provides Ontario with the much-needed flexibility to align electricity supply needs with changing economic and environmental circumstances.
Today, wind energy is cheaper than building new nuclear power plants, and can compete with new hydroelectric development, as well. It is also not subject to the risks of rising costs, that could result from rising commodity prices or any future price on carbon emissions. Any political party that advocates a shift away from wind energy needs to demonstrate how their proposals for new electricity generation will be cheaper. It will be challenging to do so.
Robert Hornung, president, Canadian Wind Energy Association, Ottawa.
Re: The Republic Of Whiners And Blamers, Robert Fulford, June 7.
As the president of the coalition of individuals and community groups that have been fighting the Ontario Green Energy Act since its inception in 2009, and the invasion of Ontario’s rural communities by huge power development corporations seeking government subsidies as they despoil and bankrupt the province, I take issue with Robert Fulford’s assertion that not many people have expressed “unease” about this situation.
At present, we have over 30 community groups and thousands of individual members, who have all been fighting the Ontario government with heart and passion, as we defend our communities. Although the legislation put in place by the wind industry allows the public to appeals wind power projects, this has turned out to be an illusion. But this has not stopped Ontarians from trying. To date, hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent on the appeals, and on private litigation.
The citizens of Prince Edward County have raised over half a million dollars in their fight to save the environment against Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment. Others have already spent hundreds of thousands on legal fees to invoke a Charter challenge based on human rights.
The sad truth is that Mr. Fulford is right: No matter how high the stakes for all Ontarians, the people of the province’s cities, especially Toronto, have sat by and let this happen. In the meantime, we refuse to give up the fight.
Jane Wilson, president, Wind Concerns Ontario, Toronto.
See the letters page here.
As for Mr Hornung’s assertion about the costs of wind power, please see this post by energy economist Robert Lyman.