Re: Wind drives investment, Dec. 23 guest column by Robert Hornung
We wish that Robert Hornung and his lobby group the Canadian Wind Energy Association were right about what industrial-scale wind power development could do for Ontario: Jobs, innovation, money for rural landowners and delivering reliable and economic electricity.
Unfortunately for the people of this province, none of those promises are true. First, the promise of bountiful power from wind is not quite accurate: As noted in the recent Auditor General’s report, wind power output is out of phase with electricity demand. Like CanWEA’s poster child Denmark, Ontario ends up selling the surplus power produced by wind at a loss. This is hardly a recipe for economic success.
As for the promise of plentiful jobs, again, we note the Auditor General’s report which stated that the vast majority of jobs created by wind energy development would be temporary and related to construction. Worse – and international experience has already proved this – a significant number of jobs will be lost in Ontario due to the implementation of wind power development.
Wind power development is actually costing us a solid financial future in several ways.
Far from being free, the cost of developing wind energy into power is driving up our electricity bills and will soon be causing energy poverty, a particular hardship for those on fixed or low incomes. Subsidizing wind power developers comes at a dramatic cost; a study of employment in Germany for example showed that the cost of creating renewable-energy-related jobs was US$240,000 per job, per year!
A study in Spain showed that for each renewable energy job created, two jobs were lost in other sectors; a U.K. study said the job loss was as high as four jobs in other areas.
In fact, Ontario’s blind devotion to the romance of wind power is costing Ontario an opportunity to explore and develop innovations in power generation such as geothermal, fuel cells, solar, more efficient hydro, and next-generation nuclear. Wind power actually needs fossil fuel back up, which will mean construction of more power plants, probably natural gas to partner with unreliable wind.
JANE WILSON, president, PARKER GALLANT, vice-president, Wind Concerns Ontario
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