ALGOMA – Consider the impact of wind turbines in Prince Township before similar farms go up north of Sault Ste. Marie, a New Democrat MP says.
Former energy critic Dennis Bevington met with leaders of Save Our Algoma Region (SOAR) in Goulais River and Batchewana this past weekend.
SOAR opposes planned wind projects in Montreal River and Goulais that would generate a total of 85 megawatts.
“Looking at what’s going on here, I’d say that there is need for critical assessment,” said Bevington in-between meetings Sunday afternoon.
“You’ve got a major wind project in place. Let’s look at the results of that. Let’s look at how well that’s working and put that in context of future developments.”
Brookfield began operating 126 towers in Prince Township in 2006.
“The lack of environmental assessments and the process that they’re entering into leaves them with a lot of unanswered questions,” said Bevington of concerns from SOAR members.
“They don’t have an opportunity to express their values on the landscape that they have.”
The Western Arctic MP is a former special advisor on energy to the premier of the Northwest Territories. He also served on the Green Funds Council of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities for five years.
The NDP wants a national energy strategy that will include the participation of the provinces and start with conservation efforts.
“There are real reasons why provinces should be working together here,” said Bevington, noting hydroelectric development in Quebec could help Ontario.
Businesses, he said, want to see a long-range plan from Ottawa. Without such a blueprint, “we’ll find that industry has more of a difficult time to invest.”
Earlier this month, Sault MPP David Orazietti said the Ontario government can’t wait for the rest of the country to catch up. The province wants to stop using coal-fired power plants by 2014, partly by boosting renewable energy capacity.
Maybe Premier Dalton McGuinty should watch how much his government pays companies such as Samsung, counters Bevington.
In January 2010, Ontario announced a consortium of South Korean firms led by the conglomerate would get a $437-million subsidy over 25 years to built 2,500 megawatts of renewable power generation and four factories.
“You can sometimes go too far in subsidizing a particular industry,” said Bevington.
“What we see here is large companies are taking advantage of a very, very favourable feed-in tariff to promote projects that might not be all that successful without that massive subsidy. With it, it’s a great opportunity for companies to make a real profit.”
Sault MP Tony Martin invited Bevington to the area to learn “what it was that we were concerned about.”
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