Demonstrators marched down Main Street Sunday chanting and waving signage in hopes of sending a message to the Ontario Liberal government. They don’t want industrial wind turbines in their community and they’re tired of being subjected to the ideology of the Green Energy Act, which offers little say for municipalities to make plans that suit the best interest of the people living in them.
Long ago, their community declared itself not a willing host for this type of development and its residents have spent more than $1 million fighting through every legal avenue available to them.
Sadly, many on social media and elsewhere have suggested their concern is a product of “nimbyism,” even as the advocacy group Wind Concerns Ontario recently received through Freedom of Information requests some 3,200 complaints from Ontario alone dealing with medical annoyance and sleep deprivation from those living near a turbine project.
Others, including some in government, would criticize these citizens for having the gall to question “green energy” even if the construction of that energy slices endangered species habitat and the towers, at least in this region, sit directly in one of the most travelled migratory bird paths in the Americas on Lake Ontario’s north shore.
Never mind that, the truth is these turbines aren’t really that green when one considers the policy structure Ontario has in place requires renewables to have priority access to the grid despite relying on intermittent forces like the wind. It means cheap, renewable energy from hydro-electric dams is spilled, it means nuclear power is steamed off and gas plants are ramped up and down — not exactly saving the burning of fossil fuels as one might expect.
That file leads to an economic equation that should have all Ontario residents up in arms about the province’s continued insistence on adding wind procurement. Ontario pays between 11 cents and 13.5 cents per kilowatt hour for wind procurement and when the wind is blowing, it must take the power regardless of demand — this past weekend, that meant a lot of power. Often, excesses are sold at a loss to American states. It pays significantly less for other forms of procurement. That practice is costing every electricity user in the province money.
It’s time all Ontario residents take up this fight and urge the government to put politics aside and put its people first. It can cancel further procurement, save money, and allow rural people to have a say over their own land. That all should add up to a no-brainer for Premier Kathleen Wynne as she hopes to be re-elected, but one wonders if she’ll ever get the message.