With three months to go until this year’s provincial election on Oct. 6, the wind turbine wars appear to be intensifying.
As indicators, the provincial government Monday announced its intention to award 19 new Feed-in-Tariff (TIF) wind contracts, the Pembina Institute drafted a comparison to show that green energy isn’t really expensive, the Canadian Wind Energy Association lauded the provincial announcement, but a citizen group in Grey Highlands is seeking a judicial review of the awards to the Plateau industrial wind farms.
Current indications are that the Progressive Conservatives under Tim Hudak would oppose widespread development of more industrial wind farms, but the Liberals under now-Premier Dalton McGuinty would intend to stay the present course on Green energy.
The public perception of wind and solar energy is that those sources are too costly and are driving up the price consumers pay for electricity.
The Pembina study released this week says the price is bound to rise – with or without turbine development – and shows graphically that there would be a slightly greater rise with Green energy in the early years but that Green energy would lower the costs in the long term.
The Plateau developments being opposed by the Grey Highlands Citizens Alliance Inc. (GHCA) are just north of Melancthon, with one of the turbines actually in Melancthon.
The group’s application to the court includes supporting documents that it says “identify the negative impacts industrial wind turbines appear to have on the recreation and tourism industry in the area, on neighbouring property values, on the subsequent tax revenues for local communities and on the health of residents exposed to noise and other impacts.”
GHCA contends that the governmental and industrial statements of Green energy job creation are over-stated.
In that sense, CanWEA quotes a study that says meeting the Ontario target would mean: “The creation of more than 80,000 person years of employment; more than $16 billion in total private sector investment, with over $8.5 billion invested directly in Ontario’s manufacturing, construction and service sectors; and more than $1.1 billion in revenues to local municipalities and landowners in the form of taxes and lease payments over the 20-year lifespan of the projects.”
On energy costs, Pembina calculates that incrementally, hydroelectric currently would cost 13 cents a kwh, comparing with wind on the FIT program at 13.5 cents.
In the meantime, it is reported that the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board has set a price of 45.2 cents per kwh for small wind turbines (50 kw and under) and of 13.9 cents a kwh for larger community wind projects (above 50 kw).
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