More community involvement needed in energy planning says Ontario gas plant report

When I say 'engage communities,' I didn't mean YOU, rural Ontario...
When I say ‘engage communities,’ I didn’t mean YOU, rural Ontario…

Recommendations from the recent Committee Report on the cancellation (and billion-dollar expense) of two natural gas power generation plants contains some interesting recommendations, as Parker Gallant points out in a recent post on the Energy Probe website.

The government, however, is continuing on its course of installing power plants in communities regardless of whether they want (or need them).

Here are the recommendations as they relate to wind power projects in Ontario:

Energy Planning
1.Communities across Ontario should be engaged in energy planning,
which can no longer be left exclusively to provincial agencies and
proponents. Regional energy plans should be mandatory and cover the whole province.
2.The Ontario Government and agencies must consult with local authorities on large-scale energy planning matters.
3.Engagement should begin at the earliest stages of planning processes
and include official representation of municipalities, First Nations and
Métis communities.
4.Multiple opportunities for engagement should be encouraged to ensure awareness of and involvement with planning for our energy future

A lot of talk about “community engagement” and “consultation” but the fact is, draft content of the new Large Renewable Procurement Request for Proposal process shows that nothing has changed: if the government and Big Wind decided you are going to get a huge wind power generation project, then you’re going to get one.

“Consult with” local municipalities does not mean the municipalities get to say “no.”

“Multiple opportunities for engagement”–the new process allowed for several public meetings but then Big Wind complained—now the requirement for public meetings pertaining to utility-scale wind power projects is down to ONE.

The report also includes this quote from Premier Kathleen Wynne (our emphasis):

The Committee agrees with Premier Kathleen Wynne’s testimony that a new siting process is needed. On April 30, 2013, the Premier stated: The siting of these two plants failed to take into account the views of the community. Despite expert advice, despite an open procurement process and all the decision points along the way, the overall process failed. I have been very clear that I regret that we didn’t have a different process in place.

A new siting process is needed, alright—but we’re not going to get one, as Ontario launches its new procurement process on March 2, for high-impact, low-benefit, invasive, utility-scale wind power and power Ontario doesn’t need. And for which no cost-benefit analysis has ever been done.

Wind Concerns Ontario



Greg Latiak

As observed in the article, community consultation and engagement are at best cruel hoaxes when the target community has no right to say no. Back door incentives must be really impressive if one is to gauge by the enthusiasm of the government to persist in this destructive and costly program. They sure don’t bother to explain to the public (who are we?) the rational and justifications. Let them eat cake, indeed.


“The siting of these two plants failed to take into account the views of the community”, according to Kathleen Wynne. I wonder if she’s heard about being’delphied’?

Check out this brief explanation of what it means to be ‘delphied’.

Greg Latiak

The technique developed by the RAND corporation was a forecasting method that queried panels of experts — as in ‘Oracle of Delphi’ and iteratively developed predictions. It is still widely used. Being ‘delphied’ is more of a modern perversion, like astroturfing, where a meeting that pretends to be gathering input is doing no such thing. Much like the surveys that claim wide support for some (likely unpopular) initiative. Worth watching the BBC docs ‘Century of the Self’ on the use of advertising and psychology to manipulate and deceive the citizenry. And yes, these public ‘consultations’ definitely ‘fit’.


The Conservatives and the NDP also favoured the scrapping of the plants.

Leave a comment


email* (not published)