A puzzler

Section: 
Editorial

There is nothing particularly new in this mania to cover the Lake Huron shoreline with wind turbines.

 

I happened to read the May, 2010, Walrus Magazine last week which featured an article explaining why Europe will outshine North America in the 21st Century. The Europeans are away ahead of us, says the author, when it comes to green energy.

 

Well, when it comes to the Feed-in Tariff (FIT), one of the cornerstones of Ontario’s Green Energy Act, they are about a decade ahead.

 

A section of the article deals with Germany; it outlines how the FIT was instituted in 2000 in that country. It has resulted in solar panels and wind turbines springing up all over the place. That’s because under FIT, renewable electrical producers receive considerably more for their power than do those who produce power from conventional sources. The boom in solar and wind installations has also moved investment and production for such facilities to Germany. That, of course, means more jobs. According to the article, 250,000 jobs have been created in the past decade.

 

There is a major problem with going green – everyone will  pay more for electricity.

 

But back to the article, Ontario seems to have copied the German blueprint for bringing in green energy and a green economy.

 

Is our new Green Energy Act a good idea?

 

Listen to some of the environmentalists, and wind and solar power installations are the next best thing to sex. Their minds seem to be closed to any other point of view.

 

Sun shines, at most, half a day. Wind blows about 25 to 30 per cent of the time. So, in my mind, you can’t depend upon wind and solar power and you need conventional power as back up for all those solar and wind installations. How does that help the environment? (By the way, I’ve always considered myself an environmentalist.)

 

Worst of all, the lakeshore from Port Elgin to Zurich and beyond will eventually be  forested with huge turbines that will likely affect real estate values and possibly lead to the depopulation of the countryside.

 

Big business from across North America seems to find that rich feed-in tariff rate in Ontario, guaranteed for 20 years, too good to resist. Even the homeowners are in the money line-up in Germany – many produce more power than they use and get cheques from the government rather than paying hydro bills.

Should we be surprised at the incremental growth of wind turbines?

 

Not likely. Money is now the number one pursuit in this country – it’s more important than your health and the planet’s health. Yet wind turbines are supposed to help the planet’s health by eliminating the use of conventional power produced by dirty coal.

 

Puzzling, isn’t it?

 

Before more millions are spent sticking wind turbines across the countryside, I’d like a little scientific proof that they will actually be able to make big cuts in greenhouse gas emissions and be able to replace those coal-fired generating stations that the McGuinty government wants to eliminate.

 

Finally, if this country really were concerned about the health of Mother Earth, you wouldn’t see: monster homes being built; gas-guzzling cars and trucks; electrical-sucking gadgets; all that plastic packaging; near as many airplane trips, and so on.

 

Wind turbines and solar panels are the flavour of the day – not because of the environment but because of the money involved.