Energy costs have doubled and will double again in the next five years.
That’s the prediction of Parker Gallant, vice president of Wind Concerns Ontario. Gallant, a former banker and noted writer and speaker on the subject of renewable energy told several hundred people at the Imperial Theatre in Sarnia “the province is screwing around with something it knows little about”.
Three anti wind turbine groups sponsored the town hall meeting; We’re Against Industrial Turbines – Plympton – Wyoming, Conservation of Rural Enniskillen and Middlesex Lambton Wind Action Group.
Gallant says the Green Energy Act introduced by former premier Dalton McGuinty is killing Ontario’s manufacturing economy by doubling energy costs and forcing wind turbines on rural municipalities.
“We see the impact everywhere” saying Gallant who told the audience he was “stunned” by the number of large empty industrial buildings along the 400 series highways between Toronto and Sarnia. And he blamed “shortsighted” energy policies of past and present Liberal governments in Ontario.
“We used to have one of the most competitive energy pricing policies in North America and in the decade of the McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne governments Ontario has become one of the most expensive places to do business”.
Just how expensive was cited in a report outlined by Ross McKitrick, a professor of Economics at the University of Guelph. McKitrick says the McGuinty government blindly awarded lucrative wind turbine contracts to NextEra, Suncor and others without considering economic and health impacts.
The Green Energy Act was supposed to create 50,000 renewable energy jobs in Ontario notes McKitrick but fails to take into account 300,000 lost jobs in other sectors like manufacturing. He describes the supposed health benefits from closing coal – fired generating stations as “a myth”. Green energy costs are 10 times higher than retrofitting the coal plants says McKitrick with only marginal improvements in ozone and particulates.
“Retrofitting would have provided the same air quality at a fraction of the cost”.
Wind power is unpredictable, costly and McKitrick says the province hasn’t done any analysis on the health impact of people forced to live near industrial turbines.
Gallant became an anti turbine activist after he analyzed his power bill and didn’t like what he saw. He spent 15 minutes reviewing what he described as “shocking costs” hidden in his power bill. In addition to debt retirement, smart meter, transfer, harmonized sales tax and an assortment of other charges Gallant says utilities have what they call “standard supply service” where they “bill you for billing you”.
Barb Ashbee of Mono Township near Orangeville told the crowd her family was forced to move after suffering negative health effects from wind turbine flicker and vibration. She says, “The province hasn’t any idea what it is doing to the health of people who suddenly find themselves living next to a wind turbines”.
Ashbee described the current 550-metre setback as “ridiculous” and suggested a more reasonable distance would be two to 10 kilometres.
MPP Bob Bailey who said he didn’t come to make a political speech made a political speech. If elected he promised a Conservative government would review every wind turbine contract and “in some cases abrogate them”.
Plympton Wyoming mayor Lonnie Napper says his municipality will continue to fight the proliferation of wind turbines despite threats of legal action from Suncor Energy. Suncor is planning a 46 - turbine Cedar Point Power project in Plympton Wyoming while NextEra, a Florida – based company is proposing 97 – turbines at it Jericho Wind farm in Lambton Shores and Warwick Township.
NextEra reported a second quarter profit of $620 million. Its subsidiary company is Florida Power and Light. Its Canadian headquarters opened in Burlington in 2006. The company operates 9600 wind turbines in 19 states and four provinces.