Eastern Agri-Business News, July 2015
FINCH — Wind Concerns Ontario President Jane Wilson has penned an open letter to OFA President Don McCabe chastising his “isolationism” during a public presentation on wind energy in Finch, May 6. The activist has also requested a meeting with the OFA board to discuss her organization’s concerns.
While praising the OFA president for repeatedly advising prospective wind farm participants to consult with a lawyer, Wilson challenges McCabe on a number of points made at the session, including his assertion that Ontario has no surplus of power and his suggestion that farmers make arrangements to draw power directly from the wind turbines on their land — in order to save on rising hydro rates OFA itself has complained about. (On the last point, Wilson says that sort of that “net metering” is not permitted on projects built under the Feed-In Tariff program.) She also counters some of his advice on thoughts related to turbine noise, community input, and farmers not happy with turbine contracts on their land.
She also expresses disappointment at the “overarching theme” of the OFA president’s remarks, “that if people are going to sign a lease for a wind turbine project they should make certain that they get concessions from the power developer that benefit them. There was not a single mention in your remarks of the need for responsible consideration of other members of one’s community, including fellow farm operators, and neighbours.”
She alleges of his comments “a very narrow view that demonstrates no balance and instead indicates an archaic, I can do whatever I want on my land’ view.” Contemporary and socially responsible farm operators don’t share that viewpoint, she also writes.
“Our concern with this isolationist view of farm ownership is that it will further divide Ontario’s rural and small-town communities.”
The Canadian Wind Energy Assocation’s Director of Technical and Utility Affairs, Tom Levy, also spoke at the public event organized by the Finch Lions Club in the Township of North Stormont. Although officially not a willing host to wind projects, the township is the proposed site for two similarly sized developments currently competing for the next allotment of renewable energy contracts.
Editor’s note: the OFA has not responded to Wind Concerns Ontario’s offer to meet.