SooToday commenter tells it like it is

Following an article in SooToday on the appeal of the Goulais Wind project is an assortment of comments. This one by correspondent “TRJ” is a nice summary of wind power on the industrial scale, doesn’t work.

Thanks to Gillan Richards of SOAR for sending this along.

trj 10/22/2013 7:25:16 PM Report

Where you guys getting your info? A little long but worth reading.

:Forget about the fact that some people can’t sleep because of them. Or that they cause property devaluations by up to 50%. Or that they’re a blight on the rural landscape.

Forget about the fact that they make life unlivable for many autistic children. Or that many countries in the world are in the process of abandoning them. Or that they only operate less than 30% of the time and often when they’re not needed. Forget about the fact that they create virtually no jobs. Or that they seriously affect tourism. Or that they kill birds, bats and other wildlife.

Forget about the fact that they’re causing the destruction of valuable land. Or that much of their profits go to U.S.-based corporations. Or that they cause tinnitus and other hearing disorders for many people. Forget about the fact that it will likely cost us hundreds of millions of dollars to tear them down in two decades or whenever they need to be decommissioned. Or that they’re driving a wedge between rural neighbours. Or that many people suffer headaches, dizziness, vertigo, nausea and other health disorders because of them.

Forget about the fact that they’re so unreliable they require other traditional forms of energy production just to supplement the meager amount of power they produce. Forget all of it. Just remember this. Industrial wind turbines make absolutely zero economic sense. And, finally, the reality is starting to sink in across the province.

Don’t listen to me. Don’t listen to all the propaganda and rhetoric and hyperbole that get tossed around regularly by both sides of the wind energy debate. Listen to the Auditor General of Ontario whose damning 2011 report on Renewable Energy Initiatives, including industrial wind turbines, paints a bleak picture of Ontario’s energy future.The AG’s report also notes that, instead of sticking with a Renewable Energy Standard Offer Program that included competitive bidding, the Ontario government introduced the Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) program in 2009 that added about $4.4 billion in costs through extremely generous incentives to energy providers.

Because a large portion of wind energy is produced when we don’t need it (at night or in lower-use seasons), it has to be dumped or it’s lost forever. As the AG’s report notes, “Ontario deals with surplus-power situations mainly by exporting electricity to other jurisdictions at a price that is lower than the cost of generating that power.” That’s great news for the U.S. states that buy the cheap electricity from us, but not so much for the people here in Ontario who pay for it.

And for what? The Ontario Power Authority says both average and peak demand for electricity will drop between now and 2025 and that both our installed and effective capacity is already more than enough to meet that demand. However, we’ll still be paying handsomely. As the AG’s report notes, “Renewable energy generators who have contracts with the OPA will get paid even though Ontario does not need their electricity.” Those contracts last 20 years.

And that’s just the tip of the ice-encrusted, 40-ton, 180-foot turbine blade. From whatever economic perspective you look at them, industrial wind turbines are a financial disaster that we’ll be paying for long after they’ve stopped generating even a trickle of power.

At long last, the media in larger centres are starting to catch on. Rather than assuming it’s just some scattered grassroots complaints , people in urban areas are beginning to see the big picture, that we’re all headed down an economic sinkhole from which we’ll never recover. It’s about time they realized the truth in what people from rural areas have been saying for years. This delusional, wind-powered flimflam scam must end. The Ontario government got us into this mess. Now it’s time for them to get us out, whatever the cost, before it takes down the entire province.:

Get informed and ask anybody in Prince Township what they think about it. But wait there’s’ more. The Bow Lake project will be another huge disaster and there goes our pristine Heritage Coastline. You want this?

Citizens of Prince Edward County fight on for the environment

Here, from The Wellington Times, is Rick Conroy’s update on the fight to save the environment at Ostrander Point in Prince Edward County.

 

Reloading

Gellespie-Standing

Eric Gillespie speaks to a gathering of the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists last week in Bloomfield.

PECFN readies for courtroom battle to defend Ostrander Point from MOE and developer

It was an evening to celebrate—to recognize a most improbable win against two powerful adversaries. It was also time to begin preparations for the next battle to save Ostrander Point from the development of industrial wind turbines.

The Prince Edward County Field Naturalists (PECFN) gathered last week at a hall in Bloomfield for a feast of homemade casseroles, salads and squares to rejoice in the Environmental Review Tribunal decision to revoke the approval of a nine industrial wind turbine project on Ostrander Point on south shore of Prince Edward County. The Tribunal ruled that the impact of the project and the roadway necessary to access each 500-foot structure would cause ‘serious and irreversible harm’ to the Blanding’s turtle

“We won,” proclaimed Myrna Wood, PECFN chair. “We knew we could win. We knew that if anyone took an objective look at the sensitive nature on our south shore they would not allow this kind of development to happen here.”

PECFN was joined in their celebratory supper by their lawyer, Eric Gillespie, and associate lawyer, Natalie Smith. Gillespie told the jubilant gathering that their victory has inspired hope across the province for those working to protect their homes, communities and natural ecosystems from the harmful impact of industrial wind turbines.

“You have shown you can change what seemed inevitable,” said Gillespie. “No doubt in my mind there would be turbines on Ostrander Point right now if not for you.”

GIRDING FOR BATTLE
Gillespie reported that the next stage in this struggle was now set for January. It is then that the Ontario Divisional Court will, over four days, hear an appeal to the Tribunal’s ruling to revoke the approval given to Gilead Power Corporation by the Ministry of Environment.

Both the Ministry and the developer are challenging the Tribunal’s ruling. They are expected to argue the Tribunal panel overstepped its authority— that it was up to the Ministry of Natural Resources to determine how best to deal with the Blanding’s turtle, not the Tribunal.

They will argue that it was inappropriate for the Tribunal to hear new evidence on matters they contend were settled in the Renewables Energy Approval (REA). They will argue the Tribunal extended its reach beyond that of an appeal mechanism to that of a secondary review— and that if it ruling is upheld, it will fundamentally alter the REA process.

But Gillespie says it’s too late to rewind the clock.

“The time to raise this issue was over a year ago,” said Gillespie. “It is a little late now. Why did we sit there day after day listening to expert testimony?

He will argue that the MOE and the developer each understood that new evidence would be presented. In fact, both produced its own experts who testified in the many days of Tribunal hearings. Gillespie says that they can’t now challenge the Tribunal authority after they participated in the process without objection.

Myrna Woods believes the developer considered the Tribunal review a slam dunk. But now, with millions and millions invested in this project, Gilead had no option but to appeal.

For the Ministry of Environment the motivation is less clear. During the Tribunal, its lawyers were in the awkward position of arguing against an array of conservancy groups to allow a developer to devastate the ecosystem of endangered species. Now it must argue that its own review mechanism, the Tribunal, is faulty and broken.

In the wake of the notoriety around the fight to keep industrial wind turbines from Ostrander Point, and the Ministry of Natural Resources role in its approval, the provincial agency has quietly changed the name of its permit to harm, harass and kill and endangered species. According to Gillespie, Ministry officials didn’t like how it sounded in media reports, so they now refer to it as the overall benefit provision.

REACHING FURTHER
Gillespie will also argue in January that while the Tribunal’s decision was correct as it affects the Blanding’s turtle—it did not go far enough. PECFN will ask the Divisional Court to reconsider the Tribunal’s ruling regarding birds and the alvar habitat. The Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County will appeal its conclusion on the impact of industrial wind turbines on human health.

“If the Tribunal’s same principles are applied to other aspects of the evidence,” said Gillespie, “you could reach the same conclusion about harm in relation to birds, the alvar habitat and human health. The appellants are not disagreeing with the Tribunals findings—just that they be extended a bit.”

Gillespie says the evidence given by bird experts, alvar experts and human health officials was compelling.

PECFN will ask the court to look at these aspects again, and come to another conclusion.

But it is a seemingly contradictory exercise to defend the Tribunal’s decision while simultaneously challenging it before appeal court.

“The decision is 140 pages long,” Gillespie told the Times. “It would be surprising for anyone to read a book and agree with every word the author wrote. There were a number of very complex issues before the Tribunal. We believe their premise was correct—there should not be industrial wind turbines on that site. We are building on the Tribunal’s foundation—not undermining it in any way.

SHIFTING GROUND
Gillespie noted that the success on the legal front is being matched by a shifting political tone coming from the provincial government.

“Queen’s Park knows that something is wrong with these projects,” said Gillespie. “They have learned that from you. The decision made here in the County is the precedent. This Tribunal decision will be looked at and relied upon in every other such appeal.”

He suggests new renewable energy approvals now come with greater and greater risk.

“It was a historical and legal landmark,” said Gillespie. “The approval wasn’t modified. It wasn’t restricted. It was revoked. It is, we believe, the first time in North America that a approval for a wind turbine project has been taken away.”

PECFN used the celebratory dinner to make the final payment in Gillespie’s Tribunal appeal bill. So far the Field Naturalists have raised $111,617 much of that used toward the Tribunal appeal. But more will be needed to fund the January appeal. PECFN has estimated this will cost about $50,000. For more information about how you can contribute to this struggle go to saveostranderpoint.org

THE FINISH LINE?
Gillespie was asked if the decision of the Divisional Court, expected next spring, would be the final word on the fate of the Ostrander Point industrial wind turbine project.

“It might be,” said Gillespie acknowledging it wasn’t the answer the room wanted to hear. “Technically it could also go to the Ontario Court of Appeal and then the Supreme Court of Canada. But they would have to get leave to do so—and only a very small percentage of cases are permitted to do so. The odds and statistics are against it.”