Is Ontario’s push for huge wind farms killing the real green energy movement?

Wind is green, wind is good: photo shows blasting for access roads and turbine foundations in Algoma Highlands Photo: Gord Benner
Wind is green, wind is good: photo shows blasting for access roads and turbine foundations in Algoma Highlands Photo: Gord Benner
TORONTO, CAN, September 2, 2015
Ontario’s stance as an environmental activist province in Canada and would-be leader in climate change action is taking a beating after the government approved two controversial wind power projects, and continues to fight environmental groups and citizens on a third.
Last week, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change approved a 75-megawatt power project on tiny Amherst Island in Lake Ontario. The island is home to several species of wildlife declared endangered or at-risk by the same government, and is also a resting place for migrating birds. The birds attract eco-tourists from all over the world.
The threat of the wind power project to the heritage environment is so great that Heritage Canada’s National Trust named the island one of Canada’s Top Ten Endangered Places.
“There are some places where wind power projects shouldn’t go,” says Michele LeLay, spokesperson for the community group the Association to Protect Amherst Island. “This is one of them.”
Also on Lake Ontario, is Prince Edward County where the province recently approved another large wind power generation project for the South Shore. The environmental danger is undeniable, says Cheryl Anderson, of the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists: “Data gathered over 20 years confirms the South Shore is a major migratory pathway for an astonishing diversity and abundance of birds. This unique blend of ecosystems supports numerous varieties of rare plants, eight species of at-risk turtles, Monarch butterflies and many amphibian species.  Because of its unique biodiversity, the value of Prince Edward County’s South Shore is unparalleled as an ecotourism venue.”
The Ontario government heads back to the quasi-judicial Environmental Review Tribunal in September, to hear the appeal of a wind power project at Ostrander Point, also in Prince Edward County, halted by the Tribunal in 2013 due to the danger to a rare species of turtle. After several sessions in court, the decision has been returned to the Tribunal where community groups are in the unusual position of spending hundreds of thousands to protect the environment from the Ministry of the Environment.
Prince Edward County Mayor Robert Quaiff is outraged at the approvals and has been trying to see the Premier of Ontario, so far with no luck. In a letter to her he said “efforts to implement the Green Energy Act [legislation pushing wind power] are becoming counter-productive through resulting negative impacts to endangered species, as well as the prosperity and well-being of rural Ontario Communities.” 
The concern about Ontario’s pro-wind agenda and resulting environmental damage is not limited to the southern parts of the province. Canada is known around the world for its iconic landscapes in the Algoma region around Lake Superior, now also the site for unbridled wind power development. Hills and valleys made famous by Canada’s Group of Seven artists are now scarred by clear-cutting of trees, flattening of ridges, and the construction of roads and turbine foundations.
George Browne of Lake Superior Action Research Conservation (LSARC) says the devastation to the wilderness is immense. Wilderness, he says,is a rare and unique feature, understood by many to represent the grandeur of nature; vastness is an essential part of the aesthetic appeal of the landscape. It is worthy of conservation. 
Nature groups believe that Ontario’s inappropriate choices for wind power development will actually harm the green energy movement. Ontario Nature and Nature Canada jointly stated: We sincerely believe [approval of the Amherst Island project] will further tarnish Ontario’s green energy industry, and ultimately undermine future projects in less controversial areas. The opposition of this project in the naturalist community is palpable. The risks of killing large numbers of raptors, swallows and bobolinks is high. Approval will further alienate a segment of Ontario’s population from the green energy agenda and tip an already fragile balance.”
Ontario is guilty of hypocrisy says Ontario’s premier community coalition, Wind Concerns Ontario.
“The government’s recent decisions show they have lost their way,” says President Jane Wilson. “Killing birds and despoiling wilderness is not the way to save the environment.”


Contact: Wind Concerns Ontario
Email us here.

Second wind power project approved for Pince Edward County while the first one is still before the Environmental Review Tribunal [Photo courtesy Point2Point Foundation]
Second wind power project approved for Pince Edward County while the first one is still before the Environmental Review Tribunal [Photo courtesy Point2Point Foundation]
What's your reaction?


  • Ron Hartlen
    Posted September 3, 2015 7:58 am 0Likes

    Ho Hum…
    blah, blah, blah…
    Sure, all the various downsides to Ontario’s Wind Power, including, power costs, health effects, depressing real estate, despoiling of natural beauty, killing wildlife etc are 100% valid issues.
    But the big main point remains buried and lost in the public dialogue: wind power does virtually nothing toward reducing Ontario’s CO2 emissions, for those who have been misinformed into believing that’s important.

  • Khris
    Posted September 3, 2015 10:13 am 0Likes

    It is time to name the companys and owners of this green programe as they are only in it for the GREEN that is being skimmed out of the tax payers pockets. It is like the SUNSHINE LIST. OUR MONEY WE HAVE TO KNOW . Call it the GREEN SKIM LIST.
    Take the number of turbines in place Devide this into the $ payed out and you will see the size of this monster waste every month.

  • Barbara
    Posted September 3, 2015 11:07 am 0Likes

    Energy Matters, Aug.4, 2015
    ‘How Much Wind And solar Can Norway’s Reservoirs Balance’
    Germany and its renewable energy storage challenged neighbours get to store intermittent wind and solar power they could not otherwise use in Norwegian reservoirs and Norway makes money selling it back to them.
    Smart way of doing business isn’t it!
    Sustainability and climate change have become big business money makers.

  • Bert Zegers
    Posted September 3, 2015 11:34 am 0Likes

    Ontario has one of the cleanest electricity generation in the world!
    Now this Ontario government is replacing this clean generation with wind turbines, and in this process they destroy our environment. How “green” is this?
    The GEA is a failure, and we all know it.

    • Barbara
      Posted September 3, 2015 12:38 pm 0Likes

      This is the biggest thing since the Gold Rush and the present government is fully backing this.
      The issue is how are rural Ontarian going to protect themselves from this?
      Appealing to the Ontario government is a waste of time. No amount of evidence/information presented to them will matter in this situation.
      If evidence/information mattered this would have been evident by now and after all of these years nothing has changed except move the peas around under the shells.

  • Andre Lauzon
    Posted September 3, 2015 2:05 pm 0Likes

    It is clear that corruption is prevalent in this Province. We need a public inquiry to look into all those contracts …………….. and so much more.
    It means we need a change of Gov’t. Pity Canada if the Liberals also take power in Ottawa.

    Posted September 3, 2015 7:45 pm 0Likes

    ‘[excerpt] “There are some places where wind power projects shouldn’t go,” says Michele LeLay, spokesperson for the community group the Association to Protect Amherst Island. “This is one of them.”’
    Pardon me, but this statement implies there are some places that industrial wind energy projects SHOULD go. Where [in hell] would those be?
    “Not In My Back Yard!”

    • NIABY
      Posted September 5, 2015 10:39 am 0Likes

      Ok, ok, everyone let’s just settle
      down. I’ve spoken with the writer,
      and she confirms this a slight flaw,
      but nevertheless, the message is
      on the right track.
      Yes– it is true, IWTs are wasteful;
      they do not belong on Amherst Island
      nor anywhere else, except, maybe in locations
      where there is no other source of electricity
      generation possible.
      But if we only fight for our own backyards
      who’s going to protect the places where
      not very many people live?
      Have you ever seen the damage caused
      by the Prince Wind Farm near
      Sault Ste. Marie?

  • R Budd
    Posted September 5, 2015 9:39 am 0Likes

    Absolutely right Ron and Bert. As I write this Ontario’s grid is only producing 27grams CO2/kwh. Germany and Denmarks coal/RE systems won’t be that clean in 2050..
    Wind is actually having a pretty good day for summer here but still producing only 3% of that generation. Our public owned nuclear is doing almost 70% of the work with only a tiny fraction of the wind/solar impacts, yet we’re giving it up so the Liberals can reward its stable of corporate RE grifters.

  • Barbara
    Posted September 9, 2015 2:38 pm 0Likes

    Climate Change in Canada – Statistics Canada
    Scroll down to : Water Vapor
    “It is widely accepted that global warming will increase cloud cover over the planet.”
    Solar panels can’t be relied on either for electricity production. Clouds reduce the amount of sun available to produce electricity.
    Isn’t this the conclusion that can be drawn from this information?

    • Barbara
      Posted September 9, 2015 3:18 pm 0Likes

      National Weather Service Forecast Office
      ‘Average annual Daytime Cloud Coverage’
      Has a map of the’ Mean Sky Cover, Sunrise to Sunset, Annual’
      Note the Great Lakes region its the high percentage of cloud cover.

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