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Wind farm concerns are sent to the Ontario Energy Board  

Credit:  The Manitoulin Expositor | April 03, 2013 | www.manitoulin.ca ~~

To the Board Secretary:

Please consider the following factors as you are deciding whether to grant to the applicant, McLean’s Mountain Wind Limited, for the next 20+ years, the right to produce energy, fed with priority to the main grid in Ontario, the present and future costs of which would be charged to all Ontarians, as has been put forward with the proposal presented by McLean’s Mountain Wind Limited. Granting the go ahead to McLean’s Mountain Wind Limited (part of Northland Power Inc.) is not in the best interests of, and would in fact further compromise the rights of those living in Ontario, as well as in Canada.

There has been much community education and awareness on Manitoulin and beyond since this project proposal was first made publicly known to citizens on Manitoulin. Many citizens have spoken openly and clearly about their concerns with this project. Also during this time, there has been much discussion amongst citizens across Ontario about the true costs of energy production and the debt that exists and could grow for Ontario rate payers if further large scale FIT projects are permitted to proceed. To take on more fixed prices for the next 20+ years via the FIT program (a few private corporate investors set to make much money at huge costs to ordinary citizens and taxpayers)…this is clearly not in the best financial, environmental, health nor strategic interests of all citizens in Ontario. Please take a long, hard look, from legal and financial perspectives, if from none other than these, at what is in the greatest public good, which the OEB is ostensibly to represent.

The Idle No More movements have engaged many citizens to participate in peaceful, public actions to advance the understanding for all regarding historical and present day government practices, laws and structures, which impact on the well being of all Canadians and the environments where we live, work and play. In it’s decision-making, the OEB needs to act within its mandate, according to what is in the best public interest for all people living in Ontario. There are many First Nations citizens living on Manitoulin—some are on reservations, some are off reservations and others are on unceded lands. One of the groups representing these interests is the Elders Council, which has stood clearly in alignment with the concerns made known to many through the Manitoulin Co-alition for Safe Energy Alternatives. Please see the three attached documents from the Elders Council, and in particular the letter of support for MCSEA from this group. The First Nations peoples have not been truly consulted, and no projects should proceed until their voices have been included in the process. A recent example is the Sheguiandah First Nation, which is named as a member partner with the project. Sheguiandah does not have full support of its council, and hence resolutions in support of the McLean’s Mountain Wind Project have not been passed. See below for another round of some of the many reasons why Northland Power and McLean’s Mountain Wind Project should not be permitted to proceed with the construction of their proposed wind project: wind energy is variable and as such cannot be relied upon to produce large quantities at times of peak need. There are great costs to consumers when energy is purchased from more expensive sources in times when the wind doesn’t blow. If a FIT contract is awarded to this proposed IWT (industrial wind turbine) project, it may be difficult or impossible for this government or future ones to disallow the FIT contracts first access to the grid, or bottled generation. This leads to energy poverty for all electricity users who rely upon the main grid. Ramping nuclear plants up and down as back up sources have great costs.

Other long-term costs with nuclear energy, such as safely dealing with the waste products produced at plants, and the release of steam, have also recently been brought to public light. Heavy water can also spill or leak back out into the drinking water for humans and animals. Fresh, clean water is a core ingredient for sustaining many forms of life. Ontarian citizens end up paying high costs for two or three different kinds of energy sources at the same time, all available as “back up” when there are limited energy requirements and monies available to pay for them. Just as with nuclear facilities, ramping gas plants up and down according to grid requirements, adversely affects the life expectancy of these plants. These practices to accommodate FIT contacts (the ones awarded to large scale so called “renewable” companies) to promote a supposedly healthy renewable image for Ontario government policy, are actually ones that come at great costs to Ontario taxpayers. I would suggest that the OEB delay or decline the awarding of this electricity generation license by the applicant, until the true costs of this project are divulged to the public. If the public could see the costs of this 20+ year contract, there would be little public support for such. Transparency is required before approval is granted. The Elders Council has outlined that transparency and accountability are core values that need to be utilized when decisions are made by organizations such as the OEB. All of these projects, which are growing on the basis of government grants, are adding to the debt for Ontario taxpayers. Please don’t agree to add another large chunk to this debt for the very flimsy and outdated models of wind energy projects that are currently being assessed through the FIT program. For all citizens and their governments to be fit and well in coming years, no more IWT FIT contracts should be given out. Every project approved has its impact on the greater good. Please consider again the mandate of the OEB to represent the best interests for all citizens in Ontario. Controlled profits for a few corporate shareholders, corresponding to uncontrolled household bills for electricity, affecting individuals, families and businesses are not a sound basis for public policy. This places a huge strain on individuals and families, and trickles out to negatively impact on the general economy, communities, schools, workplaces and many others social institutions. Is this what we want to be creating in Ontario? We need to invest in newer forms of renewable energy, those which are smaller in scale, without adverse health effects for nearby residents, and those which provide benefits and accessibility to immediate local communities. These kinds of projects are ones that the OEB needs to say yes to. The McLean’s Mountain project proposal will not contribute to the shutting down of any further coal plants, due to its remoteness. In this way, there will also not be great losses of energy in the transportation of power produced on Manitoulin traveling (with much loss en route) to areas of greater need, such as southern Ontario. There is no net benefit to Ontario Hydro consumers or to the main grid when there are greater distances for power produced to travel. Like the eagle, we need to fly high above to see the greater view of our current practices. Eagles fly far but do not rely upon fossil fuels. How is this possible? Destroying the habitats and homes for eagles, bats and other wildlife in areas that would be stripped to put up huge industrial wind turbines is not in the best interests of us current humans, nor in the best interests of generations to come. Many bats have already died out due to the white nose syndrome. Even when we do not see all creatures (bats are creatures of the night), each one has a pivotal role to play. The eagles need space to fly free and we as humans need to share their perspectives of the “larger picture” of the true costs of McLeans Mountain Energy Limited to the OEB, and hence the costs to all Ontario taxpayers who rely upon the main grid for electricity.

How much government money has already been given to this group? How much more would be eaten up by this corporation if this project were to proceed? May it be known that I am speaking as a citizen only, although I sit upon and am a member of the Taxpayers Association in NEMI, where I live. I hear the eagles and the other life forms in the natural world asking for what I too appreciate…space to continue to live, work and play…with no further massive projects of construction and destruction, taking away from their natural habitat. There are many possible forms of renewable sources of energy available to urban and rural Ontario residents, without further loss of life forms, to those beings who are found in the skies, on the ground and in the places where water is located. As has been suggested by MCSEA, reasonable forms of renewable energy sources, on reasonably sized models of scale, according to the communities where they located, are projects that the OEB should say yes to. The McLean’s Mountain Energy Limited project proposal is not one that reflects or supports the nature of the community where it is seeking approval to go. Listen to the voices of the many concerned citizens who have already spoken on their own behalf, as well as for the animals and nature that exist on Manitoulin. There are also many others who are opposed to this project who have not been vocal. As a health care practitioner, I see that there are many forms of health costs in relation to industrial wind projects. This point was made as well by panel members with the Environmental Review Tribunal. These health costs for citizens require further study to be better understood. No further contracts for FIT projects should be awarded until this research is conducted. Dr. Hazel Lynn, the medical officer of health in Grey Bruce, created a literature review in 2013 of wind turbine noise and human distress. Again, transparency is required, regarding true costs, before further contracts are awarded by the OEB to applicants such as McLean’s Mountain Energy Limited. See http://ontario-wind-resistance.org/health/ for access to further details. Also see http://www.windvigilance.com/home for other peer reviewed, professional perspectives on wind energy and health.

Thank you for your serious consideration of these concerns, based on the common good for all hydro rate payers in Ontario, as you are deciding whether to grant approval for power production by the applicant.
Emily Weber
Honora Bay

Source:  The Manitoulin Expositor | April 03, 2013 | www.manitoulin.ca

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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