Wind energy saps Ontario

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Lambton-Kent Middlesex MPP Monte McNaughton met with Wallaceburg area property owners Monday to discuss approval of the latest wind farm project in the area. Here, McNaughton (left) speaks with Larry Janssens and Al Kerkhoff, local landowners opposed to the project.
Lambton-Kent Middlesex MPP Monte McNaughton met with Wallaceburg area property owners Monday to discuss approval of the latest wind farm project in the area. Here, McNaughton (left) speaks with Larry Janssens and Al Kerkhoff, local landowners opposed to the project.

The approval of more wind farm projects in Chatham-Kent is another nail driven into the heart of Ontario’s economy according to Lambton-Kent Middlesex MPP Monte McNaughton.

McNaughton ripped the Green Energy Act during a coffee shop gathering in Wallaceburg Monday morning attended by about 30 people.

“These projects project themselves as of economic benefit to the communities but for every dollar local municipalities receive, Ontarians trade off billions more in terms of energy costs and job losses,” he said.

The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) last week approved five projects across Ontario including the Romney Wind Energy Centre in southwest Chatham-Kent and the Otter Creek Wind Farm north of Wallaceburg. Each would have approximately 20 turbines in the municipality.

An application for a further development of the former Chatham and Dover townships in North Kent for 90 turbines is being prepared for IESO approval

All projects were approved by Chatham-Kent Council last year and according to projections provided by the operators, the facilities could being as much as $20 million over the life of the projects.

McNaughton said since electricity by turbines is heavily subsidized, more turbines mean higher energy bills.

“We are driving manufacturing out of Ontario,” he said. “The economic hole being dug by the provincial Liberals is deep enough. We don’t need to dig deeper.”

In a media release, McNaughton’s office stated, “On Jan. 1, Hydro customers were hit when the 10 per cent rebate was removed from residential electricity bills. This came on top of significant rate increases on both Nov.1 and May 1 of 2015. In fact, on peak hydro rates are now four times what they were when the Liberals first came to office.”

Not only do the turbines make no economic sense, they are clearly against the wishes of Ontarians, McNaughton said.

Chatham Mazda from Chatham Voice on Vimeo.

“Two years ago the minister of energy said if communities were opposed to wind projects they wouldn’t go ahead,” he said. “I’ve received hundreds of calls and emails from my constituents in Chatham-Kent opposed to these projects.”

He said the municipality of Dutton Dunwich, just east of Chatham-Kent held a referendum in 2014 and more than 80 percent of residents opposed turbines, and yet the IESO approved an application from an American firm to locate a development there.

Al Kerkhoff, whose family owns some 1,000 acres in the Otter Creek target area, said he’s totally opposed to the project as are most people he’s spoken to.

“They (Otter Creek representatives) didn’t even call on me,” he said. “I think they knew better than to step foot on my land. They’ve gone around and found a few people who will take their money but about the only people who like the idea are those who are getting paid to like it.”

Kerkhoff said one set of plans he has seen has a substation “800 feet from my house.”

He said the idea of taking three acres of some of the best farmland in Canada out of production for each turbine is ridiculous.

“Studies show the land next to the turbines isn’t as productive so the effect is even worse,” he said. “And we’re doing this so we can continue to sell a billion dollars of excess power to the Americans? It’s beyond stupid.”

Larry Janssens who also farms in the area said the project doesn’t make sense except for the companies and landowners who make a profit at the expense of the average person.

“I don’t see this as benefitting the public,” he said. “It’s a poor decision when the good of most people takes a back seat to greed.”

McNaughton said the Green Energy Act needs to be scrapped.

“This has pitted community against community and neighbour against neighbour,” he said. “I would ask municipal councils to consider what their constituents want and not just grab the cash.”

The process for successful bidders will now require building permits and environmental appeals as well as further public consultation.

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1 COMMENT

  1. Could you get answers to why they are taking a bunch of windmills down because of oil leaks in units as well as the bases are not strong enough. Scrapping towers because of base is not strong enough/ bending in high winds. How much extra is this costing us. Have they corrected these defects before building more towers??

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