City of Ottawa missing opportunity on real clean renewable energy: community group

Turbines and transformer substation near Crysler. Industrial use of the land. (Submitted photo)

City of Ottawa doomed to repeat Ontario’s failed experiment with intermittent wind and solar power

In the current edition of Ontario Farmer, is a story “Wind opponents claim Ottawa turbine plan disastrous” by Tom Van Dusen. An excerpt:

City council is ignoring the “disaster” wind power has been for Ontario in encouraging installation of industrial wind turbines in its rural areas as part of a Climate Change Master Plan.

So says the leader of an anti-turbine group Ottawa Wind Concerns (OWC) which for the past several years has been leading the charge in Eastern Ontario.

“While most of us were worrying about the pandemic, council accepted a document titled ‘Energy Evolution: Ottawa’s Community Energy Strategy’,” chair Jane Wilson stated. “What concerned us in the 101-page document is the strategy to achieve Net Zero emissions by 2050 by using industrial-scale wind power.”

The energy document calls for 20 megawatts of wind power by 2025 and 3,218 MW by 2050, the equivalent of 710 turbines…all part of a $57 billion energy transition plan.

Wilson accused the city of ignoring the role wind power played in creating energy poverty in the province “boosting electricity bills by 270 percent.” Turbines, she added, also have a high impact on the environment killing birds and bat, and produce disturbing noise emissions.

Rather, the city should adopt the current provincial position of pursuing “affordable and reliable” energy sources of which wind power isn’t one. Why not, Wilson said, take a serious look at incinerating waste into power and at modular nuclear reactors which the federal government already supports at the demonstration stage.

“Funding is supposed to come from the federal government–so every Canadian taxpayer–as Ottawa repeats the failed experiment with wind power.”

More wind power equals more natural gas.

“Higher electricity bills, more burden on taxpayers, less reliable power, industrialization of quiet communities and takeover of important food land: That’s what will happen if this goes ahead.”

 

The story is not online at ontariofarmer.com

Contact Ottawa Wind Concerns, a community group member of the Wind Concerns Ontario coalition, at ottawawindconcerns@gmail.com

 

Unaffordable: the cost of Ottawa’s climate plan

Forcing people out of the city is one way to reduce emissions [Shutterstock image
No analysis in the plan, no way of knowing what the real costs might be, says energy economist Robert Lyman

CITY OF OTTAWA CLIMATE PLAN- THE FINANCIAL CONSEQUENCES

By Robert Lyman

Introduction

The Climate Plan approved by the Ottawa City Council is based on the Energy Evolution documents prepared by its consultant, Sustainable Solutions, for attaining the goal of “net zero” carbon dioxide emissions by 2050. The Council’s approval of the plan does not mean that it has approved a budget. In fact, the document submitted to Council states explicitly that “all information presented represents high level estimates that are currently uncommitted and unfunded capital and operational needs.”

The Estimates

Nonetheless, the financial analysis in the plan offers an “order of magnitude” estimate of what implementing it would cost the City and its residents over the period from 2020 to 2050. The analysis projects that the cumulative community-wide expenditure from 2020 to 2050 will total $52.6 billion, with a present value of $29.7 billion. All of this is above and beyond the expenditures that are currently underway or planned. The analysis states that the returns from this investment will be $87.7 billion (unexplained) but only $12.4 billion when discounted to 2020 dollars. In other words, the net cost of the plan is estimated by the consultant to be $17.3 billion. In normal economic analysis of public policy measures, this would be a clear signal to not proceed with the plan.

There is no analysis of the costs per tonne of carbon dioxide emission avoided. In other words, there is no way based on the consultant’s analysis to know whether the proposed expenditures are cost effective compared to other options, or to make sense in terms of the alleged value of the emission reductions.

The plan foresees annual community-wide expenditures of approximately $1.6 billion per year net present value for the decade 2020-2030. Of this, $581 million per year net present value would be spent on transit and “active transportation” (bicycle and walking path) infrastructure and an additional $40 million per year net present value for municipal building retrofits, the zero-emission non-transit municipal vehicle fleet, and methane production from landfill and other sources.

Sources of Funds

The consultant acknowledges that Ottawa will not be able to meet expenditures of this size alone. It therefore assumes that a substantial (but unstated) amount of funding will come from the federal and provincial governments. This assumes, of course, that governments that support such high “climate emergency” expenditures will be in power for the next 29 years. Otherwise, the full funding obligations would have to be borne by city taxpayers.

The plan includes suggestions for several additional taxes and fees that could be imposed on city residents, the largest of which are road tolls ($1.6 billion) congestion charges ($388 million), development charges ($234 Million), road user fees ($188 million) and land transfer tax increase ($130 million). No doubt, the imposition of such charges will create some controversy.

Context

The City of Ottawa Budget for the 2021 fiscal year anticipates the spending of $4.3 billion. The proposed Climate Plan expenditures thus would increase that total by 37%. Even if the federal and provincial governments contributed half the Climate Plan funding, an extremely optimistic assumption, Ottawa taxpayers would be required to pay (one way or another) about $800 million per year, or 19% more than they now pay annually.

The magnitude of the spending anticipated over the 2020-2030 period is even more striking when compared to the city’s present sources of funds and current spending allocations.

Ottawa’s projected revenues from property taxes, the largest single source of funds, in 2021 is $1.85 billion. The Climate Plan expenditure of $1.6 billion per year would absorb 86% of that.

The largest spending item in the 2021 municipal budget is $746 million to be spent on community and social services. The Climate Plan expenditure would be equal to more than twice that.

The second largest spending item in the 2021 municipal budget is $647 million to be spent on transit. The Climate Plan expenditure would be equal to two and a half times that.

The main financial impact on an individual resident of Ottawa would be through a massive increase in the cost of owning and operating a vehicle; the plan marks an intensification of the City Council’s longstanding war on cars and car owners. If one could portray it in terms of a property tax increase, for each of the next ten years the owner of a house with an assessed value of $400,000 would see his or her property tax rise from $4,035 per year to $4,780 per year assuming senior government aid or to $5,528 per year without senior government aid.

If the costs of taxes and fees rise high enough, people will not be able to afford to live in Ottawa and they will simply move elsewhere, even if it means moving to communities just beyond the city’s boundaries.

Driving people out of Ottawa would, of course, help to reduce emissions.

Thanks to Robert Lyman for this articleOttawa Wind Concerns

ottawawindconcerns@gmail.com

This article is reposted from ottawawindconcerns.com