September 19, 2013

Shelburne mayor asks premier to cancel wind turbine projects

By Bill Tremblay | Orangeville Banner | 18 September 2013 |

Wind turbine projects should be cancelled in the same manner as power plants in the Greater Toronto Area, according to Shelburne Mayor Ed Crewson.

At county council on Thursday (Sept. 12), Crewson urged his fellow councillors to support a motion asking Premier Kathleen Wynne to cancel wind projects still in the development stage and reimburse investors.

His motion, which will appear on the county’s next council agenda, follows an announcement from the province that wind farm operators will be paid to not generate electricity.

“Someone’s got to say ‘This has got to stop’,” Crewson said. “This is not viable. It is not sustainable.”

Since 2006, Ontario has generated a surplus of electricity and wind farm operators were paid for power regardless of need.

As of Sept. 11, when supply exceeds demand, wind farm operators will be paid a reduced rate to cease generating power.

Crewson questions why the province is allowing new projects to develop, despite the lack of need for more energy.

“We don’t need the electricity and we’re paying a premium to get it,” Crewson said. “It’s our province and it’s our money.”

If the province is able to spend more than $500 million on cancelling power plants in Mississauga and Oakville, the government should do the same for project such as Dufferin Wind in Melancthon, according to Crewson.

“They should get paid too,” Crewson said. “The people who’ve invested the money to date should be compensated as those who invested money in constructing the gas powered facilities.”

Currently, wind power generates about 2,100 megawatts of electricity province-wide. However, that number will nearly triple when all wind projects connect to the grid.

“The cost of this is going to be just incredible as all these wind farms come into production,” Crewson said. “We’re the ones paying the cost.”

Dufferin Wind spokesperson Connie Roberts declined to comment on Crewson’s motion before receiving a copy from the county.

However, the company planning to construct 49-turbines in Melancthon endorsed the province’s announcement.

“Regardless of which political wind you listen to, the Ministry of Energy is ‘getting it right’ and making sure wind energy plays its part,” Roberts said in an email to The Banner.

She added reduced payments during times of oversupply are “an effective tool” for gas-fired, nuclear, and hydroelectric suppliers.

“The inclusion of wind energy as a dispatchable source of generation in the province’s electrical supply is a smart choice for Ontario and Ontarians,” Roberts said.

According to the Ministry of Energy, paying wind farm operators to not generate electricity will save Ontario at least $200 million every year.

“Supply and demand conditions vary throughout the course of a day,” said ministry spokesperson Andrea Arbuthnot in an email to The Banner. “We have to ensure that our electricity system is flexible enough to respond to changing conditions.”

The Ontario Power Authority will continue to honour existing renewable energy contracts to fill a possible upcoming void.

“Wind generators provide power for 20 years and will be an essential source of electricity for Ontario during the nuclear refurbishment period,” Arbuthnot said.

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