In April, the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) sponsored a “Western Forum” in Calgary. Non-members could attend the two-day event for a registration fee of $1,499 excluding taxes.
CanWEA is the organization that wants a “Clean Electricity Standard”; to set provincial regulations at a level which will give wind a market advantage. They also want an increase to the current $15-per-tonne penalty paid by industries that emit greenhouse gases beyond their government-imposed limit; and they want a “pool price” closer to “wind’s levelized cost of $84 per MW/hour.” Current prices do not provide “a sufficient rate of return to support the construction of any further windmills in Alberta” Wind Vision 2025 (www.canwea.ca). Simply put, “Wind” wants higher electricity prices!
No mention is made of the billions added on to consumer power bills to pay for transmission lines required to collect the erratic output of widely dispersed wind farms; nor is there any recognition that every megawatt of wind power has to be backed up by gas or coal for times when the wind doesn’t blow; and no mention is made of environmental consequences such as bird and bat kills.
Wind masquerades as “benign” development, yet harms the environment while not delivering the promised benefits. The onus is on CanWEA to prove actual carbon reductions, rather than a jumble of theoretical calculations which ignore the sale of “offsets” to large emitters of carbon.
Albertans should study the experience of other regions that have embraced “renewables.” Germany committed early to “Energiewende.” Germans now pay approximately 30 cents per kW/hour. “An average household pays an extra $355 a year to subsidize renewables: the total cost of renewable subsidies in 2013 was 16 billion euros. Costs are also going up for companies, making them less competitive . . .” “Sunny, windy, costly and dirty.” (The Economist, Jan. 18, 2014).
In spite of the $16 billion in subsidies to wind and solar, German CO2 emissions have actually increased, not decreased, because lignite coal plants are used to provide backup. Russian gas is expensive and getting more so. Nuclear plants could have provided non-carbon emitting back-up but, thanks to the “green” lobby, nuclear plants are being phased out. We should learn from Germany.
CanWEA and others are advocating policies that are good for their investors but not good for consumers nor for the environment. Wind lobbyists should be called to account.
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