November 23, 2012

Wind turbines ‘killing jobs’ PC energy critic contends

by Patrick Raftis | The Wellington Advertiser |

Wind energy is “killing jobs” in Ontario. That’s part of the message Progressive Conservative energy critic Victor Fedeli, MPP for Nipissing, brought with him on a tour of the region last week.

Fedeli visited Alma, Mount Forest, Listowel, St. Marys and Stratford on Nov. 15, accompanied, at several stops, by Perth-Wellington MPP Randy Pettapiece.

“With a group in Alma along with MPPs Randy Pettapiece and Ted Arnott (Wellington-Halton Hills) talking about wind energy killing jobs,” Fedeli tweeted during his visit there.

Pettapiece said the gathering at the Alma Community Centre was a small one and included a few local citizens who had expressed some concerns about wind energy. The residents’ concerns focused on proposed projects in the Arthur and Belwood areas.

Pettapiece said wind energy is a job killer because “industries are leaving Ontario because they can’t afford the energy prices.”

The MPP said Ontario would face the same fate as European countries that have gone heavily into wind power and are now “cancelling their contracts because they can’t afford the energy.”

Pettapiece said his party isn’t opposed to “green energy” but does feel that Ontario’s current approach to wind power is not efficient.

“We’re not against green energy, but it’s got to be affordable. This is not.”

Arnott said he agrees that “as hydro rates increase, manufacturing jobs in Ontario are disappearing.

“I’m not saying that’s the only reason,” he noted, “but it’s part of it.”

Arnott also said a recently-released scientific study invovling Dr. Jeffery J. Aramani of Guelph-based Intelligent Health Solutions, Guelph showed “significant health effects” in people living near wind turbines. He says the study contains further evidence the government should place a moratorium on new wind turbine development until the effects of an ongoing Health Canada Study are known .

Pettapiece said a visit to St. Marys Cement later in the day provided a look at what he sees as a more viable clean energy project.

A pilot project at the Perth County business funnels airborne emissions directly from the company’s smoke stack into water tanks to create algae that is converted to biofuels. The project is a partnership between St. Marys Cement and Toronto-based Pond Biofuels.

“When it’s fully developed – right now it’s just a prototype – they will be able to convert all of their CO2 emissions into biofuels,” said Pettapiece.

Pettapiece pointed out the St. Mary’s project is being accomplished without major financial incentives from the provincial government.

“It’s not going to be heavily subsidized, which is one of the benefits of it,” he said.

The St. Marys project did receive about $1 million from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario in June to improve the technology and make it commercially viable.

Pettapiece also joined Fedeli for a stop at Spinrite Yarns and Dyers in Listowel, where the cost of wind energy was again the topic of discussion.

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