Wind power slipping in popularity poll finds

Pollster tells Ottawa radio 1310 host Mark Sutcliffe today, the farther you are away from a wind ‘farm’ the more likely you are to support it.

People are getting it, says Wind Concerns Ontario president, Jane Wilson: “wind power is high impact for very little benefit.”

Most of those supporting wind power don't live anywhere near a wind power project, says pollster Mainstreet/PostMedia
Most of those supporting wind power don’t live anywhere near a wind power project, says pollster Mainstreet/PostMedia

London Free Press, June 8, 2016

By John Miner

Seven years after Ontario’s multi-billion-dollar, headlong plunge into wind energy, residents of the province are deeply divided on the project, a new Mainstreet/Postmedia poll has found.

The survey of 2,537 Ontarians, released Wednesday, found an even split on wind power, with 43 per cent of respondents having a positive opinion about it and 43 per cent a negative view.

But there was a big difference in the two opinion camps.

“The people who don’t like wind power right now really, really don’t like wind power, and the people who do like wind power are only somewhat okay with it,” said David Valentin, executive vice president of Mainstreet Research.

Out of those with a negative view, 28 per cent had a “very negative” opinion and another 15 per cent had a “somewhat negative opinion.”

For those with a favourable opinion, 18 per cent were “very positive” and 25 per cent “somewhat positive.”

Valentin said rising electricity bills are part of the reason for the weak support, but mishandling of contracts and reports of disputes involving wind energy developers and the Liberal government are also having an impact.

More than 60 per cent of respondents believed wind power has contributed to higher power bills and 59 per cent expect the charges will keep increasing over the next 12 months.

Other findings of the poll, conducted May 18, included differences in opinions based on age, gender and geography.

Younger people tended to be more supportive of wind energy than older Ontarians, and women were more favourable to it than men.

“There is a generational gap. The older you are, the less likely you are to be responsive to wind power right now,” Valentin said.

That’s potentially bad news for the Liberals, because it’s older people who tend to vote, he said.

The good news for the government is that wind energy has its highest support in vote-rich Toronto, where there’s a single industrial wind turbine. Torontonians show their attitude with people putting signs on their lawns to boast their electricity is supplied by Bullfrog Power, a green energy provider, he said.

“For a lot of people in Toronto, wind power fits their values,” Valentin said.

But the poll also suggests political trouble ahead with the potential for wind energy to be a greater albatross for the Liberals, he said.

“It is bad news if it continues along this trend. Wind energy is supposed to be a net positive for the Liberals, it is supposed to be about the fact they created a whole new green energy sector, shut down the coal plants, but it hasn’t turned out that way.”

Instead, people are reminded of the higher costs every month when they get their power bill.

“There is the potential for this to really rear its head during a general election,” Valentin said. “It is good news for them in Toronto, but it is bad news for them everywhere else.”

Opposition to wind farms

In Southwestern Ontario, home to the largest wind farms and more of the highrise-sized turbines than anywhere else in the province, rural divisions over wind energy have run high, including some communities declaring themselves “unwilling hosts” for the mega-projects.

A particular irritation to many communities is that the Liberal government took away local planning control over where wind turbines can be built.

Reaction: Jane Wilson, president of Wind Concerns Ontario, a coalition of groups opposed to wind energy, said attitudes have shifted more against utility-scale wind power as people learn about the impact on home electricity bills, Ontario’s business competitiveness and wildlife.

“There is also a better understanding of the fact that, because wind power is intermittent and needs backup by natural gas, it isn’t really getting us off fossil-fuel power generation, and it certainly doesn’t reduce greenhouse gas emissions. What people are realizing is that wind power is high-impact for very little benefit.”

Read the full story here.

 

Comments

Sommer
Reply

The problem we still face in getting the numbers to shift even more is systemic in urbanized post-agricultural ‘democratic’ society. People in urban areas outnumber rural people and have lost touch with rural Ontario. They prefer an urban lifestyle despite their alleged ‘love for nature’. This is why they can overlook such issues as the effects to birds and bats from these turbines, or the effects on all species…. including human beings… of noise, low level sound modulations and infrasound radiation. They can even overlook the visual ruination of the country side’s beauty.
Educating urban people to a level that would allow them to make correct ‘democratic’ decisions that would reflect a real concern for the ramifications for rural regions and rural people is what needs to happen.
At the same time as this has happened, we’ve built a society where people with degrees in politics or the arts, with very unrealistic ideas can gain positions of power and then presume to overrule engineers and financial analysts on their assessments.
We have a political class who think politics rules everything and obstacles are somehow not real or can be dismissed. These people are arrogant in their certainty. They cling to their ideology and won’t listen to people who try to tell them why their ideas won’t work. They only listen to people who tell them what they want to hear.

John Vincent
Reply

You hit the nail right on the head. re the single wind mill in Toronto. This is what urbamnites believe windmills like , “so whatt’s you rpoblem”. They have no idea these things are as big as the TD Center, and larger units are on the planning books. As you say, the rift between urban and rural is becoming wider and wider making rural Ontario the dumping ground for blind urbanites.

Barbara
Reply

Not surprised that women favour IWTs as the majority of women have very little scientific education. Including the Premier.

Perhaps the only thing that women understand about electricity production is what is my hydro bill going to be every month.

Barbara
Reply

May also help to explain why so many women are active in ENGOs as opposed to men.

At least, this is the impression I have from looking at the composition and followers of so many ENGOs.

Jane Hadden
Reply

If the residents of urban areas had to live with these industrialized wind farms, they would sure change their minds about them. Where I live they have even been approved to be built on the Oak Ridges Moraine where you can’t even build residential let alone industrial as per legislation in the early 2000’s by the Liberal |Government. They are ruining our beautiful landscape, beautiful wildlife and the environment. When they wanted to build gas plants in Oakville and Mississauga ON in Liberal riding’s and residents kicked up a stink and it cost us 1.2 Billion to get out of that. But they won’t back down on wind farms. Municipalities should have a say in what goes on.

Gary
Reply

I see it says random …but what geographical area was this poll conducted in?
Is there poll information on the location of respondents?

Bert
Reply

https://www.scribd.com/doc/315166526/Mainstreet-Ontario-Wind-Power

The poll concludes that the closer people are to wind turbines the more they dislike them.
The Dinky Toy turbine in Toronto is only one fifth of the capacity of the monsters they put in rural communities. The Toronto turbine is tuned back to a harmless 600 kW. The proposed project in Dutton Dunwich is 100 times as much!!

Scott Drysdale
Reply

I just returned to Canada from a 3 week vacation and fact finding mission in Germany. While visiting the Deutsche science museum in Munich we discovered that Wind turbines are prone to fire as a consequence of hidden damage caused by lightning strikes. Attempts are being made to try to identify lightning strikes by means of high speed optical sensors to be placed on all the new towers. These high speed fiberoptic sensor systems represent a somewhat meager attempt to ID lightning strikes but might help to some degree.

In the meantime the manufacturers strongly recommends wind turbines not to be located within forested regions as wind turbine fires will lead to forest fires.

Sommer
Reply

In Huron County, in Ashfield Colborne Wawanos, turbines are sited right next to a tract of Heritage Bush, 100’s of acres of trees along the Nine Mile River. This area is a flyway for large flocks of migrating birds. They rest in these trees.This is sheer stupidity.
Who made these siting decisions?

Barbara
Reply

Lightning strike studies have been posted before but the government will not listen.

Northern Europe is not one of the world’s lightning hot-spots like Ontario is.

Did you bring back any written information that could be posted?

notinduttondunwich
Reply

Read an article about people in toronto with the little bullfrog power signs all over the place…. I wonder of they think that ONE wind turbine In all of Toronto is powering all the homes!!??? Be interesting to talk to those folks and see what they think…

Pat Cusack
Reply

Crazy people in a crazy world!

Dunwich dude
Reply

I believe our new Environment Commissioner has ownership or was a founder of Bullshyte Power!

Barbara
Reply

Is/was a founding member. An internet search confirms this.

Lynda
Reply

It’s all bullshyte…..this exerpt about Dianne Saxe from the Nature Canada website…….

“Heartfelt congratulations go out to Dr. Dianne Saxe on her recent appointment as Environmental Commissioner for Ontario.

Dianne is also one of the founding Women for Nature — a unique partnership of motivated and influential women championing Nature Canada’s work to to save wildlife,protect nature and inspire young leaders for nature with their networks of colleagues and friends. Dianne exemplifies the passion and conviction that Women for Nature demonstrate for our environment.

As Environmental Commissioner, Dianne is Ontario’s watchdog for the natural environment, an independent officer of the Ontario legislature responsible for reviewing and reporting on the government’s compliance with the Environmental Bill of Rights.” …end of exerpt.

Saxe is a wind turbine lover. How does that tie in with “saving wildlife”? and why on earth would Nature Canada endorse her when two years ago they put out this press release:

“OTTAWA (May 14, 2014) – Ontario should refuse to authorize wind turbine development in the Important Bird and Biodiversity Area and other environmentally sensitive habitats in Prince Edward County, say Nature Canada and Ontario Nature in official comments to the Ontario Environmental Registry about the White Pines Wind Inc. project in Prince Edward County.
http://naturecanada.ca/news/press-releases/keep-white-pines-wind-turbines-out-of-important-bird-and-biodiversity-area-says-nature-canada/

It looks like Nature Canada’s mantra changes with the direction of the Wynned. Shame on them.

Wind Concerns Ontario
Reply

Taking a constructive, positive approach, we understand that Ms Saxe is hearing from so many organizations and people now, an epiphany is entirely possible. Wind Concerns Ontario was one of several groups and PCPO environment critic MPP Lisa THompson who met with the Commissioner a few months ago.

Lynda
Reply

Kudos to everyone who tried to make her see the light. I don’t know who ‘we’ is, but if the ‘epiphany’ has not dawned on her after a few months, I highly doubt it is on the horizon. I think all those conversations must have blown through the vacant lot.

notinduttondunwich
Reply

Exactly right Lynda!!!!! It’s all BS!!! But we’re just going to carry on hell or high water…. those turbines are going up….. ignore all the facts and make up the rest…. Ontarions like true Canadians are so passive that the liberals WILL just push aside bystanders just like justin treadeau did in the house last month….. here in DD we are all training… men…. women… children…. with pitchforks…. bend at the knees… thrust the fork forward…. twist… and pull back!!! Repeat…..

notinduttondunwich
Reply

Great info wendy…. post this again on current articles please so important to educate the masses on the evils of the grey energy act!!! Thanks again

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