GODERICH – A private members bill calling for a moratorium on all industrial wind energy development until third party health and environmental studies have been completed will be brought forward in the Ontario Legislature by Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson on March 8.
She filed a notice of the motion on Dec. 8, 2011, just before the Legislature adjourned for the year.
Thompson said she has heard from many constituents in Huron-Bruce and from residents across Ontario who are concerned about the environmental, physical, social, and economic health of their communities, and believes third party studies should be completed.
“The health and well-being of the people of Ontario should be first priority when developing renewable energy projects,” said Thompson.
“The McGuinty Liberals have failed to listen to rural Ontario, and have forged ahead placing industrial wind turbines in communities that are not willing hosts, without knowing the health and environmental implications.”
Josie Hernandez is a senior communications specialist for NextEra Energy Resources. NextEra Energy Canada ULC proposes placement of 37 turbines in Bluewater Wind Energy Corp. and 63 turbines in Goshen Wind Energy Corp.
She said the Ontario government has identified a need to increase clean, renewable energy generation in Ontario through renewable energy projects, including solar farms and wind turbines. It is intended to reduce the province’s dependence on traditional forms of electricity generation while boosting investment and creating local jobs.
She said wind turbines are considered ‘clean energy’ as they help reduce dependence on fossil fuels without producing harmful waste, greenhouse gases or water emissions.
In addition, she said they can also bring benefits to local communities.
“We have found that our wind farms have a positive impact by increasing the economic base of a community through stable, reliable income for landowners, additional tax revenue, new construction jobs and full-time permanent jobs once the plant is operational,” she said.
Homes and businesses across the country depend on energy to support the economy and sustain a high quality of life. Yet there’s also a responsibility to provide energy in a way that’s sensitive to our environment, she said.
Thompson built her campaign around a call for a moratorium on future wind energy development so the private members bill was expected, said Lori Wilson, who is the public consultation manager for Capital Power, which operates the existing Kingsbridge I, a 39.6-MW wind farm in the Township of Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh.
It has also partnered with Samsung Renewable Energy Inc. and Pattern Renewable Holdings Canada ULC to construct K2, a 270-MW wind farm that has already negotiated a power purchase agreement with the Ontario Power Authority.
“There’s a very rigorous public approval process. There are regulations that are in place to protect the environment and protect public health and safety. In any project that we develop, we’ll meet the regulations that are in place for the project,” she said.
Wind energy projects comply with provincial health and environment approvals on their way to being built The Ontario Federation of Agriculture, the province’s largest advocacy group for farmers, called for the suspension of contract awards for large-scale wind energy development projects last month. It issued an eight-point position paper that, in part, called for great municipal input in the planning process, criticized the pricing schedule and asked for provincially developed protocol to measure noise generated by wind turbines.
Thompson has developed a petition to the Ontario Legislature in support of her motion. To obtain a copy, please visit her website and click on Petitions.
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