Letter: Province had valid reasons to cancel wind project

I am compelled to respond to Jen Ackerman’s letter last week concerning the wpd White Pines project. I believe it is important to be factually correct in discussing the wind turbine issue. There are three simple fact-based reasons — environmental, economic, and green respectively — why the new provincial government decided to cancel the White Pines project:

– Wind turbines kill birds and bats in large numbers, have serious negative effects on ground water, wetlands, fragile Karst geology, the rare alvar features of the South Shore and more. Even the White Pines Environmental Review Tribunal report found that the South Shore is one of the worst possible places to site a wind project – not to mention that it was proven at the Tribunal the project would cause serious and irreversible harm to the County population of endangered Blanding’s turtles. Wind turbines also cause serious health effects in humans, even with the legal setbacks required. Wind Concerns Ontario has helped bring to light thousands of noise complaints made to the Ministry of the Environment and never acted upon; These noise issues and many polluted rural wells have forced people from their homes. The new government has recognized these health issues and is revising the wind turbine regulations to be stronger and provide some relief.

– In the Ontario electricity system, wind turbines produce costly electricity, mostly at times when the power is not needed, in which case it is sold off to other jurisdictions at highly discounted rates. The Green Energy Act provided excessive subsidies and guaranteed right of first access to the grid to attract projects which do not make economic sense on their own merits.

– Since wind is intermittent, incorporating wind turbines into the grid requires flexible backup power for the times when the wind isn’t blowing. Since it is not possible to quickly turn up or down generation by our major carbon-free sources – nuclear and hydro, it falls to gas generating plants to make up that flexible power so that our grid works smoothly. Burning fossil fuels in this way results in double the production of greenhouse gases than if the wind turbines had not been put in place. So wind energy in Ontario’s system just doesn’t make sense.

You don’t have to believe me. Read the report on this subject by the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers https://www.ospe.on.ca/public/documents/presentations/ontarios-electricity-dilemma.pdf.

With respect to Ackerman’s suggestion of commenting to the government, they are only accepting comments regarding how and when the project is to be closed and decommissioned. There is no opportunity to suggest restarting the project as it was cancelled by Bill 2 on July 25.

John Hirsch