Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s government recently authorized a multinational German corporation to build nine mammoth wind turbines in the Prince Edward County hamlet of Milford.
Why? The project has been dramatically scaled down over the years due to various agreements and environmental rulings.
It could have simply been terminated, but now its huge cost will be paid over 20 years by all Ontario ratepayers, who will be charged above-market prices for electricity generated by these nine unneeded turbines and many others.
Neighbouring residents and wildlife will suffer as well.
This is an example of the disdain demonstrated for rural Ontarians by the Wynne government, and before that, the government of her Liberal predecessor, Dalton McGuinty.
Since the Liberal government’s enactment of the Green Energy Act of 2009, Ontario, in many respects, has become an energy dictatorship.
Last Sunday, an angry crowd of locals braved 50 km/h winds as they marched to the county’s 446-seat Regent Theatre to demand this project’s cancellation.
Ontario’s energy dictatorship is so disdainful of its rural residents, it forces them to accept industrial wind factories near their homes and favours large, foreign corporations over its own citizens.
To illustrate, let’s compare how wind energy is managed in Ontario’s Prince Edward County, versus Portugal’s autonomous region of Madeira, where I was recently on vacation.
Madeira is an island community, with 10 times Prince Edward County’s population, on 20% less land.
But Madeira is similar to the county in several ways:
Both are islands.
Both have bucolic natural environments.
Both are highly dependent on tourism.
Both have widely recognized wine industries … Madeira for several centuries, the county for a decade.
Both have abundant wind energy that can be harvested by giant turbines.
Both have environmentally-conscious governments.
But there are major differences:
Madeira has a shortage of electricity.
The province of Ontario, in which Prince Edward County is located, has a surplus.
Madeira needs wind power to reduce fossil fuel imports. Ontario exports surplus wind power at a loss, but approves and subsidizes more and more wind projects.
Madeira’s wind energy supplier is owned and operated by a local public corporation, having a mission of domestic benefit.
Many of Prince Edward County’s wind energy proponents are multinational corporations motivated in large part by subsidies that yield profits for foreign investors.
In May, 2009, through the Green Energy Act, the Ontario legislature, ruled by the governing Liberals who have been in power for 14 years, made itself the authority over all energy-related industrial wind turbine developments.
Individual property rights were expropriated and local
planning authority was transferred from municipalities to the province.
In effect, Ontario proclaimed itself an energy dictatorship.
Madeira, by contrast, treats its citizens with respect.
In energy-hungry Madeira, there are only two wind farms, both far from dense urban communities where people live. One is on a mountain top near the centre of the island, the other on the island’s industrially-zoned eastern peninsula. Additional turbines are located on a small nearby island.
Prince Edward County residents have been fighting for 17 years to keep unsafe industrial wind turbines away from their tranquil, rural neighbourhood.
This fight has cost them over $1 million in legal fees.
But Ontario’s energy dictatorship expropriated their rights and their freedoms.
It stripped their municipalities of their historical authority to regulate electricity-related development.
Instead, it teamed up with multinational corporations.
It is subsidizing the operation of unwanted and unneeded industrial wind turbines located as little as 550 metres away from private homes
In a 2012 referendum, Milford area citizens were 90.2% opposed to industrial wind turbines.
Last Sunday, they rallied to stop this highly disruptive and unpopular form of industrialization, forced upon them by Ontario’s energy dictatorship at Queen’s Park.