Ontario Energy Minister Chris Bentley says the province will review the green energy fiasco that helped keep the Dalton Gang from getting a majority in last month’s election.
So far so good.
However, the new energy boss made it clear a planned review will not include returning control over placement of wind turbines to local governments.
Instead, Queen’s Parkers want to look at additional local consultations.
In a recent interview, Bentley pointed out current requirements for wind turbine applicants. These include “some rather extensive consultations, including with local participants, citizens, ratepayers, municipalities. Then it goes onto the ministry of the environment, which conducts another round of consultations.”
The minister continued in the same vein with, “If there are ways to strengthen that process by getting input in ways that we don’t now get it, or to find other voices that aren’t being heard, I think those are a couple of things we’d be very interested in hearing.”
Well, hear this. The voices of opponents of wind turbine developments on land in rural Ontario have not been heard. Period.
And there is absolutely nothing in Bentley’s rhetoric to suggest they will be heard in the future. Certainly there have been consultations before huge turbine factories have been built. But only one side, those in favour of wind factories on farmland, had any power.
Obviously nothing’s going to change with that kind of imbalance.
One of the synonyms for consultation listed by Merriam-Webster (with a name like that how could it be wrong?) is “give-and-take.”
Tell you what, that’s the element that has been missing, and obviously will continue to be missing in any discussions about turbine developments.
It’s been all take and no give, whether the so-called consultations were held by turbine developers and/or government officials.
Call me naive, but I thought that was the message rural voters delivered in the election when they slammed the doors of rural Ontario shut on Liberal hopefuls.
Rural residents want meaningful discussion about wind turbines, including everything from their efficiency (or lack of same) to the way in which they affect the health of residents who live near them.
Communities are being torn apart by turbine developments. Families, churches, service clubs and rural organizations are all being affected negatively. This upheaval will continue until somebody in Toronto recognizes these and the many other issues around wind factories.
The minister has pledged a review that will include the price paid for energy from renewable sources. People in the industry predict those prices, paid under the Feed-In Tariff (FIT) program, will go down after the review. And that’s good.
The current prices are so high that the people of Ontario, those who pay the bills, are taking a loss on many of the kilowatts produced. For example, the prices paid to producers for renewable energy range as high as 71.3 cents per kilowatt hour for rooftop-mounted solar. Consumers are charged about 6.2 cents for off-peak power and 10.8 cents for peak-hour use.
Only a government could stay in business by selling a product at 65 cents below cost. (Obviously an extreme example, but all Grade 1 kids reading this get the point, right?)
The so-called review by the province is a smoke-and-mirrors attempt to convince us that Queen’s Park cares about the economics of green energy in Ontario through the FIT program. Somebody soon has to at least pretend to care about the people.