February 10, 2011
Letters, Ontario

Green energy comes with a price

Chatham Daily News, www.chathamdailynews.ca 10 February 2011

I was once the editor of a newspaper, the Stoney Creek News, that was nominated for the 1998 Michener Award for work done by reporter Richard Leitner on a toxic dump. It wasn’t my work that brought this about, for Richard has won several awards for his environmental journalism.

When I recently moved to Chatham, I was really impressed by the number of wind turbines we have in these gusty plains of southwestern Ontario. This, I thought, makes sense. After the mess left following the closure of Ontario Hydro in 1999, I really believed new thoughts and new ideas were revolutionizing the production of electricity.

Now, however, stories in The Chatham Daily News have opened my eyes about new problems that concern the wind turbines of which I had been so proud. Originally my only concern had been to watch that planners were making sure the wind turbines were not intruding within a birds’ off shore migratory corridor. I felt that while wind power is an important natural resource to be encouraged, it is also vitally important to maintain biodiversity and protect wildlife and intact ecosystems.

Now, through The Daily News, I am realizing something is wrong with the system, thanks to the McGuinty government. It is, I understand, paying wind farm operators 13.5¢ a kilowatt hour (kwh) to generate electricity. Naively, I had always figured the wind was free, a gift from God, and I didn’t realize so much money was involved in harvesting it. Nor did I realize the McGuinty government forces the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) to take all the electricity produced by these turbines, even if it’s not needed. And if they do have too much, they cut back on the cheaper sources of power, such as the Beck hydro plant at Niagara Falls (which costs about 2.5¢ a kwh ) or the nuclear power stations (which cost about 2.5¢ a kwh).

And if there is still too much electricity being produced, we pay thousands and thousands of dollars to Quebec and some U.S. states to take the expensive stuff off our hands. It seems you can’t store electricity in a silo or a barn until you need it.

If these figures are accurate, and they seem to be, then McGuinty’s Green Energy Plan is badly flawed.

And now there are legal concerens about health problems caused by wind turbines.

Stephen J. Beecroft

URL to article:  https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2011/02/10/green-energy-comes-with-a-price/