Party positions on wind power in Ontario: ICI Radio-Canada
ICI Radio-Canada reviewed the positions of all four major Ontario political parties on wind power development, ahead of the Ontario election June 7
What future for wind energy? The position of the top four parties in Ontario
Colin Cote-Paulette, ICI Radio-Canada
Ontario has nearly 3,000 wind turbines on its territory in 2018. The facilities, especially the way they are “forced” in some communities, are generating heated debate in many parts of the province. In the middle of the election campaign, the leaders of the four major parties told CBC whether they intend to amend the Green Energy Act.
Ontario’s wind development has accelerated under the Liberals.
Since the introduction of the Green Energy Act in 2009, 2,446 wind turbines have been installed in the province, according to statistics provided by the Canadian Wind Energy Association at the end of 2017.
According to this legislation, the support of a community where the wind turbines are built is desirable, but it is not essential to go ahead with a project.
Originally seen as an ideal alternative to fossil energy, wind energy has gradually raised the resentment of residents who complain about the collateral effects of wind farms .
Some experts also said that Ontario does not need this surplus energy and that the growing number of wind turbines is contributing to the increase in residents’ electricity bills.
The next Ontario government will determine in what direction the wind will blow in the next few years.
Ontario Green Party leader Mike Schreiner is in favor of wind energy, but not how it has been implemented by the government in recent years.
“I understand that [residents opposed to wind power] are angry at the Liberals, but do not be angry at a technology that has been successfully implemented everywhere else in the world,” said the politician.
Mr. Schreiner believes that wind energy can create jobs and wealth in communities hosting this type of project, as long as certain measures are respected.
“We would have the same rule as in Denmark, that is to say that 20% of renewable energy projects belong to members of the community where they are located,” he says.
If elected, Schreiner also promises to amend the Green Energy Act .
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Progressive Conservative Party
Long before the election campaign began, Conservative leader Doug Ford decried the province’s wind farms during his public outings.
” Kathleen Wynne’s Green Energy Act is a disaster,” says the Conservative leader.
However, it must be mentioned that when the law was passed, it was Dalton McGuinty who was Premier of Ontario and not Ms. Wynne.
Mr. Ford promises to abolish the law.
Asked how he will do it, the politician remains elusive.
“We will have an energy policy that puts people who work hard before the Liberals’ friends,” answered Mr. Ford.
New Democratic Party
New Democrat Leader Andrea Horwath says she supports the Green Energy Act concept , but laments the fact that the Liberals have given Ontario’s green energy sector to private companies.
“Green energy should go hand in hand with the participation of municipalities, Aboriginal communities and cooperatives,” she says.
Without promising to amend the law to give more powers to municipalities, Horwath proposes to ease the tension around wind projects in order to restore their image.
“The wealth from these projects must go to municipalities and communities,” says the New Democrat.
The Liberal Party defends its record by saying that the province’s wind projects are all subject to environmental impact studies and public consultations.
If Kathleen Wynne is re-elected, it is not yet clear what will happen to future wind farms.
“We reached a point in 2016 when, after years of investing in clean energy, we did not need to go further. That’s why we have suspended our program of major renewable energy projects, “wrote a party spokesman.
In relation to rising bills that would be related to wind energy, the Liberals claim to have inherited a provincial electricity system neglected by previous Conservative governments, although the Liberal Party has been in power since 2003.
Three wind farm projects are still awaiting approval from the province: Otter Creek, LSRA Solar and Strong Breeze Wind.
According to the Wind Concern Ontario Citizens Group, these contracts are worth several million dollars.
The vote will be held on June 7th.
Wind Concerns Ontario note:
-the Liberal Party statement that they have halted wind power development is not quite complete — they have “suspended” the program because of a surplus of power. They had the option to not issue five contracts for 300 more megawatts of power in 2016, but they did not take that option. The five projects represent $1.3B, not “millions.”
-the Green Party statement that wind power has been implemented “successfully” around the world is not quite accurate. Many jurisdictions are now backing away from utility-scale wind, removing subsidies and halting procurement.
-the Progressive Conservative Party does have more details on their plans, including cancelling contracts where possible, renegotiating the costs in contracts where possible, and enforcing noise regulations in Ontario.
-the NDP position is not detailed as described here: by saying projects should go “hand-in-hand” do they mean that municipal approval would be critical for wind power projects as 116 Ontario municipalities have demanded?