RE: NOT HERE, NOT NOW, NOT EVER!, SUMMER 2011

Letter: Mr. Miller’s letter is a shining example of how generally rational people have embraced the emotion and sensationalism of the “feel good green energy mantra” while pushing aside science and fundamental logic.

Statements such as…”No solutions or alternatives, and How would you propose we maintain a supply of clean energy to our Beloved Southern Georgian Bay area?” are clear examples of statements with the pure intention of creating a mindset that there is a crisis in Ontario that needs action. Solutions or alternatives…to what problem? According to the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) Ontario has been a net exporter of electricity for the past six years and 97.3% of Ontario’s electrical generation capacity is already provided by means other than coal. In addition, what about the energy supply to our region is not clean and how would it become ‘dirty’? Were the statements intended to state facts or incite emotion?

Here’s another wonderful example. “You could stop the phase-out of coal generation. I can’t see you being that cruel to our environment.”  Based on data from the IESO, coal made up only 2.7% of Ontario’s total electricity generation capacity at the end of 2011. That is capacity, not actual output. Ontario has done a great job shutting shutdown coal burning plants. While at the same time Ontario has allowed the erecting of hundreds of industrial wind turbines in people’s back yards. This has added 1,533MW of generation capacity since 2006. Over the same period, Ontario has decommissioned 2,980MW of coal fired generation. An admirable achievement until one realizes Ontario has also added 157MW of hydro generation and 4,646MW of gas generation over the same period. Yes, Ontario has decommissioned coal burning electrical generation and the government has made wonderful announcements about it.  However, at no time has the government connected the removal of a single megawatt of coal capacity generation to the addition of a single megawatt of wind capacity generation. Removal of the 1,533MW of wind generation capacity from the above and it’s still a good news story. Installing IWTs has not directly translated to decommissioning of coal electrical generation capacity in any way.

Making matters worse, at the time of this writing, Ontario’s industrial wind turbine output is 7% of the total installed wind generation capacity (information available from the IESO). So hundreds upon hundreds of invasive IWTs have been erected in communities across rural Ontario with hundreds more planned to achieve a whopping 107MW of actual generation? We are supposed to feel good about this because it has a ‘green label’ slapped on it? Rubbing salt into the financial wounds is that at the very same moment in time, Ontario is in a net electricity export position. So Ontario is exporting electricity and these IWTs sit there pretty much idle. What about this makes any sense?

Another wonderful point of view, “The creaky system currently in place is the result of woeful neglect by Tory Governments.” Apparently the political light shines through. Blaming the ‘purported’ state of our electrical system on past governments is a spin created by the current government. If the time has been taken to speak with any of the fine folks who work hard every day actually maintaining our electrical system, one will learn that there is nothing wrong with the system. It is designed to accommodate a centralized generation architecture. The electrical system requires reconfiguration to accommodate distributed generation from IWTs. The spin the government has put on it is intended to make people believe these are ‘upgrades due to neglect’ when in fact they are multi-billion dollar changes required to support the proliferation of IWTs. This is an age old political tactic; blame the cost on the other guy. If the current government advertised that we have to spend billions of dollars on electrical system upgrades and reconfiguration to accommodate IWTs there would be an outcry so they spin it to make it look like it’s somebody else’s fault. We’ve seen this game played by all governments, past and present. Who is getting fooled by this?

If people wish to bring political partisan components into this, here’s something that few people are likely aware of. Mike Crawley is the president of the Canadian Liberal party AND ALSO the CEO of Toronto-based wind energy giant AIM Power Gen Corporation. If one believes there are no political influences at play with the proliferation of IWTs across Ontario I have some swamp land for sale. By the way, the swamp land is ‘green’ therefore you need to buy it.

Additionally, concepts such as the creation of thousands upon thousands of green energy jobs has already been dispelled by governments in other parts of the world (Spain as an example), not to mention an assertion called out as highly exaggerated and unsubstantiated by the Ontario Auditor General in the December 2011 report. If people feel the Auditor General’s report was mis-informed or mis-guided, then perhaps they can march themselves down t to Queen’s Park and apply for the job so they can set the record straight.  People need to wonder and ask questions such as “Why do we need a Green Energy Act anyway?” If it is so wonderful, free and life saving as Mr. Miller portrays, why do we need all these laws? This should be a no-brainer in that context.

You want a solution, there’s one next door. Hydro Quebec has 34,490MW of hydroelectric generation capacity. That is more than Ontario’s electrical generation capacity from ALL sources combined. Hydro Quebec is in the business of selling its electricity. Instead of turning Ontario into a rotating pin cushion with IWTs and paying $0.145/kWh for wind generation, whether we need it or not, simply buy the ‘green’ hydroelectric generated power from Hydro Quebec at market rates (approximately $0.03/kWh) when we actually need to import electricity.

Bottom line, this letter could go on and on. Yes, we need better building practices, older homes need insulation upgrades and people need to better think about their energy consumption habits. Mr. Miller’s passion is appreciated and more people should have the same passion. However, pushing the feel good theory and ideology aside, IWTs and the general bulldozing of people and their living space needs to be exposed for the horse manure it is.

Steve Bovair

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