Archive for the ‘energy policy’ Category

Bill 150: Is it green? Is it democratic?

March 1, 2009
From: Keith Stelling <stelling@bmts.com>

FRIENDS OF ARRAN LAKE

A member of

W i n d c o n c e r n s O n t a r i o

___________________________________________

Website: http://windconcernsontario.org Email: stelling@bmts.com

____________________________________________________________

Keith Stelling, BA (Hons), MA (McMaster), MNIMH, Dip. Phyt., MCPP (England)

RR1, Southampton, Ontario, N0H 2L0

Could you spare a moment to send an email to as many MPPs as possible to stop bill 150?

Attached is my critique of Bill 150. It will allow them to destroy the Niagara Escarpment and ruin conservation areas. We will have no way of objecting. We need urgently letters to MPPs from people all across ontario. This is serious denial of civil rights. It has already been pushed through second reading without discussion. Thousands of emails are being sent to MPPs. We need urgent action before further House discussion on Monday.

Please help.

Kind regards,

Keith.

Bill 150: Is it green? Is it democratic?

By Keith Stelling

FIRST THE MAIN POINTS:

  1. This bill takes away your civil rights to protest any “energy” or infrastructure project.

  1. It strips the rights of your municipality to control local planning of where such developments will be sited.

  1. It promotes the installation of hundreds of industrial wind turbines across rural Ontario and requires you to pay in your electricity bill the 5 billion dollars needed to connect them all to the grid. (Many observers are calculating a 30% increase in electricity bills just for this).

  1. Because the wind turbines are inconsistent and intermittent in their electricity production, new gas plants will have to be built and run inefficiently to “shadow” the wind. You will be required to pay for the construction and operation of these too.

  1. In Germany and Denmark, wind turbines have actually increased fossil fuel consumption, have not decreased CO2 emissions and they have the highest electricity rates in Europe. Germans and Danes are very worried about the effect this has on their industry. When electricity costs rise, manufacturers move out. This has already happened in New York State and California. This means even more lost jobs in Ontario’s already hard hit manufacturing sector.

  1. Our conservation authorities will now be powerless to prevent large electricity developments within their boundaries. The effect on sensitive natural habitats will be devastating.

  1. Our provincial pride, the Niagara Escarpment, a world biosphere will be trashed. It is being opened up to gas and oil pipelines, wind turbines and other “renewable energy projects”, “the generation, transmission and distribution of steam or hot water; telegraph and telephone lines and other cabled services; a public transportation system; licensed broadcasting, receiving and transmitting facilities; or any other similar works or systems necessary to the public interest”. Who’s interest?

NOW LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT THE DETAILS:

Careful examination required for a bill which nullifies so much existing legislation

When a government proposes a piece of legislation, it is critical that it must be reviewed meticulously in committee to discover all the implications for existing legislation, its conformity to societal values, the probable net effect it will have on communities and the economy. Parliamentarians have also to be on the look out for the claims made by those proposing the legislation and the discrepancies found in the small print.

  • Any act of parliament which nullifies certain functions of already existing legislation should be examined very carefully indeed. This bill tampers with a whole string of them.

With all the fanfare and the well publicized spin that has preceded Bill 150 in an attempt to sell to the public, one would have thought at least this would be a memorable document, eloquently written, outlining ideals and long term objectives, and full of new ideas and practical innovations that would both inspire Ontarians to commit themselves to conservation and environmental custodianship and provide long term direction for cleaning up the planet. Instead, we have been presented with a distorted, scrappy bit of legislation, most of which is left to undisclosed procedural decisions by the Minister at a later date.

  • What is amply clear is that the Minister of Energy and Infrastructure wants to have the final say in anything that affects electricity projects, town planning, conservation and environmental legislation and citizen participation in decision making.

A more cynical observer might even suggest that it is an aggressive move by the Deputy Premier/Minister of Energy/Infrastructure to take over essential aspects of the Environment, Natural Resources, and Municipal Affairs and Housing portfolios.

Danger of this type of piecemeal legislation undoing checks and balances

The danger in this, of course, is that the checks and balances built into our system of governance through these four separate ministries are essential to our democratic values and the practical functioning of government.

Need to verify the purported aim and the foreseeable effects

Any proposed legislation has to be scrutinized to make sure that its purported aim is the same as its foreseeable effect. Self-contradictions can indicate motives that are not in the public interest.

For example, the government seems to have given little thought about the actual ability of wind turbines to allow Ontario to become less reliant upon fossil-fuel generated electricity. The bill states that one of its purposes is “to fund conservation or renewable energy programs aimed at decreasing the consumption of two or more of the following fuels:” and the list includes coal, and natural gas.

The Ministry of Energy is proposing removing all barriers to the rapid and widespread installation of industrial wind turbines across the province.

  • But what has not been discussed is whether the massive installation of commercial wind energy will actually have the claimed effect in lowering greenhouse gas emissions. While the minister never tires of holding up Denmark and Germany as great environmental successes with more wind turbines than anywhere else, there are disturbing reports coming out of both of these countries which are finding that wind turbines don’t lower greenhouse gas emissions.

The facts:

What the public is seldom told is that because of the intermittency and unpredictability of wind, fossil fuel back-up generation is required to maintain grid stability. In effect, this means that electricity consumers pay twice for wind energy. In addition an enormous public subsidy is required to build the new transmission lines from so many widely dispersed wind energy sites.

  • A 2008 study published in the journal Energy Policy by Jim Oswald of Coventry University in the U.K. concluded: “not only is wind power far more expensive and unreliable than previously thought; it cannot avoid using high levels of natural gas, which not only will increase costs but in turn will mean far less of a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions than has been claimed.

  • Der Spiegel recently reported that despite all the wind turbines in Germany (more than 20,000)German CO2 emissions haven’t been reduced by even a single gram” and even the Green Party has recognized the problem.

  • The Wall Street Journal explained last September: “Germany‘s gas consumption for power generation more than doubled between 1990 and 2007.

  • In the U.K., the newly installed wind technology is also backed up by gas. Figures released in November by the OECD indicate that “in the past year alone, prices for electricity and natural gas in the U.K. have risen twice as fast as the European Union average”.

  • Tony Lodge of the U.K Centre for Policy Studies notes that Denmark, with the most wind turbines in Europe has not closed a single conventional power plant in the period that Danish wind farms have been developed. The “Danes have found that it is not practical for large base load plants to be turned on and off as the wind dies and rises; base load stations have to keep running so that they can ‘shadow’ wind turbines due to their intermittency. So when the wind is blowing perfectly for the turbines, the power they generate is usually a surplus and sold to other countries at an extremely discounted price.”

  • “According to the Copenhagen newspaper Politiken, the Danish grid used 50% more coal-generated electricity in 2006 than in 2005 to cover wind’s failings. The increase in the demand for coal, needed to plug the gap left by underperforming wind farms, meant that Danish carbon emissions rose by 36% in 2006. This has undermined the “green” credentials of Danish wind farms Meanwhile Danish electricity costs are the highest in Europe. The Danish experience suggests wind energy is expensive, inefficient and not even particularly green.”

  • Now the British Wind Energy Association has been forced by the Advertising Standards Authority to stop exaggerating by double the amount of carbon dioxide emissions eliminated by using wind turbines.

  • The Ontario Legislature Hansard record from Friday 27 February, 2009: “Hon. Dalton McGuinty: There are a few things that we know, and I said this yesterday but I think it’s worth repeating. With absolute certainly, oil and gas are going to go up in terms of their costs; we know that for sure. We also know that when we buy oil and gas from Alberta, we don’t create any jobs in Ontario whatsoever, but when we invest in our renewables sector and put up those wind turbines, solar farms and biogas operations, that does create jobs here.” He doesn’t seem to get the concept.

A recent report by the Fraser Institute stated: “the Ontario Power Authority failed to conduct economic analyses to determine the most cost-effective mix of future energy supplies.”

Silencing public criticism

The government has publicly stated that citizens who object to their “policy” must be silenced. This bill certainly achieves that objective. The surprisingly untidy organization of the act— large sections being no more than a series of amendments to existing legislation– appears to be the result of a random search by government lawyers to disable every statute that might be used to oppose government policy. The result is an unacceptable dismantling of real environmental protection in this province.

Municipalities and counties asking for moratoriums and health studies on wind turbines

To refuse public input raises serious questions about the true motivations of the government. Health and safety issues for rural residents living close to wind turbines have arisen in every jurisdiction where they have been installed. Wouldn’t it be expected that a minister overseeing such installations should follow up on the request from a number of Ontario municipalities and county councils for a moratorium on the deployment of industrial wind energy pending proper health studies? The Province of Nova Scotia is now insisting on 1.44 km setbacks from non-participating properties, and 1.2 km for project participants. Why are no similar setbacks mentioned in this bill?

How much detail should be left to ministerial procedural decisions?

One major shortcoming of the bill is that too many essential details are vaguely left to ministerial decisions on procedure. When government claims that it will make adequate setbacks from peoples homes and regulations to avoid placing wind turbines near sensitive natural habitats, we should be insisting on seeing what those regulations are before passing this bill. The current procedure of rubber stamping proponent dictated environmental assessments and denying public requests to escalate environmental reviews for all 19 wind turbine projects in Ontario has led to inept and destructive siting in important international migratory bird corridors and stopovers.

Should costs required for private company profits be passed on to taxpayers?

Nicely buried in the bill is the provision that electricity consumers will be expected to pay for the huge additional transmission lines required for renewable energy projects. These additions will cost billons of dollars, not a modest increase on the monthly hydro bill as the minister claims. Undoubtedly, the priority will be to facilitate the transmission of so-called green energy from the widely dispersed rural settings where it is produced to the cities where it is consumed, not to restore the aging infrastructure to homes and businesses across the province.

In this way, the bill ensures that private and business electricity consumers will be subsidizing the already heavily subsidized for-profit wind energy producers (often huge oil and gas concerns). Given the doubtful likelihood that commercial wind energy will even substantially cut greenhouse gas emissions, this can hardly be in the pubic interest. Many critics have asserted that it also creates an uneven playing field for conventional energy producers.

In fact, pushing reliance on an unpredictable, intermittent, non-base load electricity source will inevitably lead to the same enormous consumer electricity cost increases that have already occurred in other countries which have embarked on such a strategy. Industrialists in Germany are very concerned about their decreasing competitiveness brought about by skyrocketing electricity costs.

Danish business is similarly concerned. Jytte Kaad Jensen, chief economist for ELTRA, Denmark’s biggest electricity distributor laments: “In just a few years we’ve gone from some of the cheapest electricity in Europe to some of the most costly.” And the Danish Member of Parliament, Aase Madsen who chairs energy policy admits: “For our industry it has been a terribly expensive disaster”.

In October 2005, Robert M. MacIntosh, past president of the Canadian Bankers Association, wrote in the Financial Post: “It’s time for reality to replace

ideology in energy policy”. Before parliament passes this bill, it must insist on some realistic cost/benefit accounting. We should also be asking how many more jobs will be lost in Ontario because of non-competitive electricity costs.

The McGuinty government claims that 50,000 jobs will be created by the Green Energy Act. “Wind farm” maintenance requires only 7 permanent jobs per 199.5 MW, according to Enbridge. Skilled installers are normally supplied by the turbine manufacturers and involve temporary workers often from outside Canada. We have no turbine manufacturing facilities. These jobs are jealously guarded by Germans, Danes, Americans and Spanish industries. However, even these long-established capital intensive manufacturers are now experiencing serious financial setbacks with stagnating order books and the banking system reluctant to supply credit to wind energy projects. Of course we could build the steel towers in Ontario and even the blades, but they are useless without the turbine equipment. Once again, it would be helpful to see some realistic details of the government’s optimistic estimates.

Contradictory claims in the bill

But the most serious concerns about Bill 150 relate to duplicitous presentation: it alleges that it is promoting environmental values and postures its concern for the greater good, while in fact, undermining many of the environmental safeguards already in place and removing the right of citizens to have input. It should sound an alarm for everyone interested in maintaining civil rights and anyone genuinely interested in protecting the environment.

For environmentalists, there are some very disturbing aspects. In its present form, the bill disables the Conservation Authorities Act, making it impossible for a conservation authority to refuse permission for a renewable energy project except when it “is necessary to do so to control pollution, flooding, erosion or dynamic beaches”; (It scarcely conceivable that this would ever be the case for a wind turbine development). In fact, a conservation authority would no longer be able to impose conditions on the project. This in effect, removes one of our most important safeguards for the protection of Ontario’s sensitive wildlife habitats. Recent long term studies by European biologists have warned of the danger of habitat fragmentation and long term degradation when wind turbine developments are placed near sensitive Natural Heritage Systems and migratory bird and bat corridors. The government makes the vague claim that it will not allow wind turbine developments to be sited near sensitive environmental areas. But their credibility is stretched when Environment Minister Gerretsen’s ministry has already denied citizen requests to escalate environmental reviews for all 19 Ontario wind energy projects—with the result that some of them are already jeopardizing sensitive natural habitat functionality.

­Do we want to dismantle the Niagara Escarpment Plan?

Even more shocking for a bill that claims to protect the environment is the devious redefinition of the term “utility” in Appendix 2 of the Niagara Escarpment Plan. Not only does it allow for gas and oil pipelines, wind turbines and other “renewable energy projects commercial or otherwise” along with all their associated infrastructure” to deface and degrade this unique world biosphere; it also opens it up for “the generation, transmission and distribution of steam or hot water; telegraph and telephone lines and other cabled services; a public transportation system; licensed broadcasting, receiving and transmitting facilities; or any other similar works or systems necessary to the public interest”. Would any other country even contemplate so hideous a violation? How could the argument ever be made that such irreversible degradation to one of Ontario’s most outstanding natural assets was “necessary to the public interest”?

Threat to civil rights

But by far the most odious section in the bill is the one which removes the rights of local authorities and individual citizens to appeal decisions of the Ministry of Energy when it allows developments in their communities. All residents of this province should be very worried at this aggressive removal of one of our most precious our civil rights—the entitlement of citizens to determine how our local communities will be planned and to challenge the destruction of our natural heritage assets.

Under the new act, an Ontario resident would be entitled to a hearing by the Tribunal with respect to “a decision of the Director under section 139 in relation to a renewable energy approval only on the grounds that engaging in the renewable energy project in accordance with the renewable energy approval will cause serious and irreversible harm to plant life, animal life, human health or safety or the natural environment. Excluded from this list are all the other reasonable claims that might be made such as depreciation of property values, loss of marketability of a house, loss of enjoyment of peace and quiet, loss of quality of recreational facilities etc. “In the case of a hearing required under section 142.1, the holder of the renewable energy approval is a party to the hearing.” This stipulation would inevitably mean the presence of a high powered lawyer acting for the developer with the intent to intimidate and trivialize any complaint. (The OMB hearing at Kincardine required citizens to spend $75,000 of their own money on “experts” in a fruitless attempt to defend their homes. They were not able to afford the fees of a lawyer comparable to that hired by the proponent and their testimony was for the most part belittled by the corporate lawyer as well as the chairman).

However, just to make any public criticism impossible, the McGuinty government has added an ominous clause:

“Onus of proof

(3) “The person who required the hearing has the onus of proving that engaging in the renewable energy project in accordance with the renewable energy approval will cause serious and irreversible harm to plant life, animal life, human health or safety or the natural environment”.

The irresponsible inclusion of such a principle in an act of parliament would set a totally unacceptable precedent for environmental law in this province. The 1996 Provincial Policy Statement under the Planning Act (which gives Ontario municipalities the responsibility for protecting natural heritage features and areas within a land use planning context) as amended in 2005 insists on quite the reverse principle. It more wisely stipulates that the proponent must demonstrate that a development will have no negative impact on the ecological functions of the habitat.

“2.1.6 Development and site alteration shall not be permitted on adjacent lands to the natural heritage features and areas identified in policies 2.1.3, 2.1.4 and 2.1.5 unless the ecological function of the adjacent lands has been evaluated and it has been demonstrated that there will be no negative impacts on the natural features or on their ecological functions.”

But the present bill would make it impossible for an individual citizen or group of citizens to mount any legal defense against a developer who happens to move into their area. Certainly by now the government has been told enough times that badly sited wind turbine developments have a negative impact on human and animal health. But even if a rural resident could afford legal representation, the contest would be lost before it began since it is very difficult (and costly) to prove long term irreversible medical cause and effect as everyone knows from watching years of litigation against the tobacco industry.

Isn’t the place of our government to protect the vulnerability of its citizens?

In its present form, Bill 150 has many other shortcomings. Communities would not even be allowed to learn the proposed location of wind turbines which would be kept “a trade secret or scientific, technical, commercial, financial or labour relations information supplied by the proponent to the Facilitator in confidence, the disclosure of which could reasonably be expected to prejudice significantly the competitive position or interfere significantly with the contractual or other negotiations of a person, group of persons, or organization.” (This line sounds as if it were written by CANWEA). And another civil right is denied in the phrase: “In the event of a conflict between this Act and the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, this Act prevails. The premier and the deputy premier are undoing even the Freedom of Information Act!

Undeniably the “green dressing” of this bill requiring government facilities to “ensure the efficient use of energy” at government facilities is positive. But could this not have been done more efficiently in an inter-office memo rather than the expense of an act of parliament? Again, the emphasis on conservation of energy is a reasonable enough goal, but such programs are already in place, although judging from our ever growing energy greed, they certainly need more emphasis. And just what will be the functions of yet another costly bureaucratic operation, the “Renewable Energy Facilitation Office”. What exactly will be the duties of the Ministry employee, the “Renewable Energy Facilitator” other than providing more government jobs? Will she (or more likely he) be looking after the needs of citizens or just developers?

­Bill 150 is flawed and would work against the public interest

It is sad to see so seriously flawed a piece of legislation even being presented to the House for approval. Clearly, it was put together in a rush, and the rush to get it passed into law is intended to prevent public scrutiny. Given the current invective of the government against criticism of its wind energy policy and the regular use of derogatory and belittling terms such as NIMBY for those brave citizens who have the courage to speak out, this bill looks a lot like a vengeful act aimed especially at silencing opposition.

When one is aware of the vigorous lobbying that has been done by the wind energy industry explicitly to silence public discussion, and the fact that at least one prominent member of the governing party is himself a wind energy CEO, it is difficult to regard Bill 150 as non-partisan and in the public interest. It should be returned to the government and completely rewritten after wide public consultation, public hearings, health studies on the effects of wind turbines, impact studies on the environment by the turbines themselves and their back up fossil-fuel generation. Information needs to be gathered diligently from the experience of other jurisdictions, especially those in Europe where better protective laws have been passed at the demand of affected citizens. A complete professional cost/benefit analysis on the feasibility of the addition of the proposed amounts of wind energy to the Ontario grid is also a prerequisite before a balanced judgment can be made. The present economic climate requires more than ever, well thought out plans based on more than wind energy proponents’ spin.

Please email as many friends and MPPs as possible and express your concern.

The Act Web Page

The Act

MPP Contact Information

Comment on the Act – Environmental Registry

We urge you to write your local MPP, Minister Smitherman and Premier McGuinty as soon as possible.

Call on them to recognize the need for proper environmental assessments for renewable energy projects, to require setbacks to be set by citizens and experts – not the wind industry, and to remove the anti democratic ‘reverse onus’ clause.

This is about more than just wind turbines.

This is about civil rights and the stewardship of rural Ontario.

We urge you to write your local MPP, Minister Smitherman and Premier McGuinty as soon as possible.

Call on them to recognize the need for proper environmental assessments for renewable energy projects, to require setbacks to be set by citizens and experts – not the wind industry, and to remove the anti democratic ‘reverse onus’ clause.

This is about more than just wind turbines.

This is about civil rights and the stewardship of rural Ontario.

Enbridge wind farm Kincardine Ontario

Enbridge wind farm Kincardine Ontario

Toronto Star – Wind Farms

January 27, 2009
Toronto Star – Propagandist for the Govt.?
Update: Response I received from the Toronto Star editorial board when I asked questions about one of their editorials. (found below)
If you live in rural Ontario you may want to consider canceling the Toronto Star. They’ll take your money but they won’t recognize you.

Response to my letter to the editorial board of the Toronto Star. If you live in the Rural Ontario  you count for nothing.

Dear Mr. Stephens:
The “community” I am referring to is the Star’s community of readers.
Given that the Star is considered “the voice of the GTA” this would be
the community of readers in Toronto and the Greater Toronto area.
Certainly, many people in many communities would disagree with the views
put forward in this editorial opinion (as will any editorial). That is
their prerogative, as it is yours.
I will not be taking any further action on this editorial; nor will I be
providing you will “verification’ of the research done by the Star’s
editorial board as that is certainly not our practise.
I think the arguments put forward in the editorial speak for themselves
and it is beyond the scope of my role to question the conclusions drawn
in Star editorials.
As I told you, an editorial is an opinion based on the editorial board’s
interpretation of the facts at hand. While you may hold another opinion
I see no value in our debating these facts. I am not going to change
your mind about this issue and the Star’s editorial board is not likely
to reverse its position on this issue at this point in time.
Regards,
Kathy English

Kathy

I would like you to verify the research done and the content of the
research.

“This editorial view was arrived at after much research, thought and
debate by members of the Star’s editorial board, a group of six
journalists, under the direction of Editorial Page Editor Ian Urquhart,
who are charged with the responsibility of determining and expressing
the Star’s position on important matters affecting our community.
Because editorials represent the institutional voice of the newspaper,
they are never signed by the individuals who write them”.

I would also like someone to explain who’s community the article is
referring to.
I know many people, in many communities who would strongly disagree with
the position of the editorial board of the Toronto Star, including the
senior policy adviser for the Ministry of Energy and the ex-CEO of the
OPA.

I have invited the Provincial govt. to go through the information on my
site and point out any inaccuracies. To date, even though they are on my
site daily, they have never questioned or requested any changes.
I therefore request that your editorial staff go through my site as
well.

I want to know how they came to their conclusions.

The editorial board must be able to justify their position or it could
be considered propaganda.

Regards

Ron Stephens

Editor: The first casualty of war is TRUTH.
There is a war being waged against the rights of the citizens of Ontario by the environmental movement and the Toronto Star has become a propagandist for the movement.

1. a person involved in producing or spreading propaganda.
2. a member or agent of a propaganda.
Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1)Cite This Source
I added the name of the writer to this article. Maybe the writer of this piece of propaganda didn’t want her name to be associated with such a piece of trash. I thought Tyler Hamilton (energy writer) could spew some garbage, but Ms. Gillespie has given Mr. Hamilton a new low to strive for.

SAVE THE PLANET-CUT LESS TREES-

CANCEL YOUR SUBSCRIPTION TODAY!


EDITORIAL TheStar.com | Opinion | Windmills vs. NIMBYism
Oct 20, 2008 04:30 AM – By Kerry Gillespie

After three years of effort, a $300 million wind farm that would have brought green power to Ontario has been cancelled. This is the latest casualty of a provincial planning process that just isn’t up to the task of ensuring that the best interests of all Ontarians prevail.

I guess the people forced from their homes and those living in misery because of wind turbines, don’t count in Ms. Gillespie’s Ontario.(added)


The province wants the clean energy that comes from projects like wind turbines. So much so that Energy Minister George Smitherman sent a $60 billion plan on how to meet the province’s electricity needs for the next two decades back to the drawing board to get more renewable energy and conservation into the mix.

According to the senior policy adviser I talked to – 10 billion spent on a real electrical system, would have provided Ontario with cost effective, clean, affordable electricity. He says we are dealing with politics. Try running your home or business on politics. At least 50 billion will be unnecessarily wasted ,causing your electric bill to skyrocket, and driving business from the province.(added)

Yet time and time again wind farms and other environmentally worthy projects run into the wall that is Ontario’s outdated, drawn-out planning process. Some manage to make it through. The wind farm planned for a township near Goderich didn’t.

The delays in getting through the process are difficult enough – often amounting to millions of wasted dollars – but the real problem comes when someone, and there’s always someone, wants to oppose the project. The NIMBYists are able to use the myriad planning steps – rezoning, official plan amendment, council approval, provincial environmental assessment and the spectre of an appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board – as weapons in their fight.

As a spokesperson for the doomed Goderich wind farm said: “We’re a very conservative province, so it’s difficult to put anything anywhere.”

It’s not just wind farms the NIMBYists fight. They also oppose traditional generating stations. That forces Ontario to buy expensive – and often dirty – power from elsewhere.

And they fight urban “intensification” in the form of highrise buildings, which help curb sprawl.

In some European jurisdictions, municipalities are given the right to say where wind turbines can’t go. But they also have to say where they can go. In Ontario, it’s simply too easy to say no and hope to delay the project long enough that the developers give up and decide to give it a try in someone else’s backyard.

According to a  councilor involved in the Kingsbridge ll wind farm, he was told that any setback over 450 meters would not be tolerated. He was told to pass the setback or the township would be taken to the OMB and that the township would lose, costing the township $100,000. This, dispite the fact Kingsbridge l at 450 meters had already caused major problems for people living in the shadows of the turbines.(added)

The energy minister is right to call for more renewable energy. Now the provincial government must make sure its planning processes support that goal, even if it means someone may have to gaze upon a windmill from the living room window.

Because reality and truth no longer matter to the Toronto Star, I ask that you show your disapproval by boycotting the paper. Until they understand their duty to the public (seek and print the truth) they do not deserve your support.  I will be making a formal complaint to

Bureau of Accuracy/Public Editor

You can contact the Star’s Bureau of Accuracy and Public Editor by email at publiced@thestar.ca; by phone at 416-869-4949; or by fax at 416-869-4322

To cancel your subscription or to let the Star know how you feel –(added)Customer Service (including subscription inquiries, delivery issues, billing inquiries, vacation stops or other customer service inquiries or complaints)
Email: circmail@thestar.ca
Phone: 416-367-4500 or 1-800-268-9213

TheStar.com

Windmills vs. Nimbyism (another take on the article above)

Wind turbines cause health problems, residents say – CTV News

OPTIONS FOR COAL-FIRED POWER PLANTS IN ONTARIO

Premier, Dalton McGuinty Talks About Renewable Energy For Ontario

Homeowners living near windfarms see property values plummet

Is Nimby the new “N” Word

Kingsville as partner in anti-wind farm fight

December 17, 2008

Leamington council plans to ask Kingsville to join it in hiring a consultant to object to offshore wind turbines proposed for Lake Erie.

Leamington Mayor John Adams said council had a large delegation of residents in 2006 who were opposed to the offshore turbines. At that time, council said it was opposed to the offshore wind farm.

“We certainly support the residents even now,” Adams said Tuesday.

Council agreed Monday to forward its questions to the Ministry of Environment, meet with the developer and see if Kingsville is interested in hiring a consultant.

A report to Leamington council Monday listed some of the concerns and questions for the developer. The first was the proximity to Point Pelee National Park, bird and bat migration and the impact on fish.

The report said residents were also concerned about the potential impacts on tourism, cottaging, recreation, aesthetics and views.

Leamington wants to know the exact location of the turbines, their height above water level and the air and noise impacts.

The issue has a long history. After residents opposed the proposal, the provincial government put a moratorium on offshore wind developments in November 2006 until they could be studied. By January 2008, the moratorium was lifted.

Adams said the consultant’s report will come back to council next year and council will likely hold a public meeting. Although the municipality is only a consulting agency, because the development would be on Crown land, the towns do have some control over granting easements to run powerlines on land.

“That’s where the municipalities would have a bigger say in whether to allow it or not,” Adams said. “Right at this point, I would say they would not allow it.”

In January, Kingsville council reaffirmed its opposition to offshore wind turbines. Since both councils were meeting Monday night, Kingsville council has not had a chance to deal with Leamington’s request.

full article at Windsor Star

No Oil Shortage – IEA Report

November 13, 2008

Editor: In 2006 the IEA stated that peak oil in 5 to 7 years. Nov. 2008 the same IEA says “there is enough of it to supply the world for more than 40 years at current rates of consumption”.

This is the same agency that pushed for bio-fuels and now says oops – bad idea. Burning food a bad idea?  Depopulation.

Another bright idea close the fossil fuel plants and try and run energy systems with wind. Duh!

When are we going to start looking after the interests of our own countries and forget about the UN.

The UN hates democracy – they love power. What do they want? New World Order, an end to democracy and the ruination of the industrialized world. The present financial crisis was planned just like the one in 1929. Look at the bail-out for what it is-robbery.

Peak oil was a scam and so is global warming as is wind energy. They create the crisis and then offer the solution. One scam after the other – slowly moving to a New World Order. They are making their final push right now. Are you ready to give up what’s left of your democracy?

“Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about?” Maurice Strong

.

‘Energy Update’, November 2006 from the IEA

“The world is on a course that will lead it ‘from crisis to crisis’ unless governments act immediately to save energy and invest in nuclear and biofuels, the International Energy Agency warned on Tuesday. In an apocalyptic forecast, Claude Mandil, the agency’s executive director, said that our current path ‘may mean skyrocketing prices or more frequent blackouts; can mean more supply disruptions, more meteorological catastrophes – or all these at the same time’. The IEA said that the oilfields on which Europe and the US had come to depend to reduce their reliance on the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries would peak in the next five to seven years. These include those in Russia, the US, Mexico and Norway.

Source

Energy body warns on oil prices

By Sarah Mukherjee
BBC News

Oil pump (file image)

The IEA says increased exploration costs will force oil prices higher

One of the world’s leading authorities on energy supply says the era of cheap oil is over and prices could soon be back up to $100 a barrel.

The International Energy Agency (IEA), in its World Energy Outlook for 2008, says prices could soar as high as $200 a barrel by 2030.

The immediate risk to supply, it says, is not one of a lack of global resources.

Instead, it points to a lack of investment where it is needed.

Rising costs

The world, the report’s authors conclude, is not running out of oil just yet – indeed, there is enough of it to supply the world for more than 40 years at current rates of consumption.

Source

Wind farm opponents turn up heat – Wind Concerns Ontario

October 31, 2008

Editor:

I’m going to go through this article by Tyler Hamilton and critique it. I’ll include some of my experiences and thoughts as well. My critique will be added in italics. Having spent over two years studying wind farms, having read and studied thousands of pages of documents from around the world, attending many council meetings and an OMB hearing, I believe I’m qualified to discuss the subject in an objective manner.

Ron Stephens

Wind farm opponents turn up heat

Province wary of small but effective groups as it aims to beef up renewable energy plan.
Oct 30, 2008 04:30 AM

Energy Reporter Toronto Star( Shill for the wind industry – I say that because of his absolute lack of objectivity)

Opponents to wind farms in Ontario, at the best of times a local thorn in the side of wind-energy developers, have suddenly realized the benefit of getting organized.( see what I mean )Earlier this week a new anti-wind group called Wind Concerns Ontario, a coalition of 22 small rural groups each fighting their own community battles, announced its creation as a “strong, unified voice of opposition” to provincial plans that would see thousands of industrial wind turbines “tearing apart the very fabric of rural Ontario.”
They emphasize the “industrial” nature of wind turbines and their danger to birds and bats. They say the machines are noisy, make some people sick, kill local tourism and cause the real estate values of surrounding properties to fall. (All true statements, backed by facts)
Wind turbine noise affects health

Homeowners living near windfarms see property values plummet)

When those complaints don’t stick, they attack the technology as being a fraud. “It does not in reality produce `green’ energy, does not reduce CO2 emissions significantly and is inefficient,” said Beth Harrington, spokesperson for the new coalition and head of the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County, where several onshore and offshore wind projects are being planned.

(True – Wind energy has been promoted as being able to significantly reduce emissions, even though there is no evidence to support the claim.)

The increasingly vocal opposition, however small compared to those who more quietly support wind power in Ontario, isn’t lost on the Liberal government, which is counting on new renewable-energy projects as part of a plan to wean the province from coal-fired power generation by 2014.

(The so-called “quiet support” comes from people who got sucked in by the propaganda machine or never did any research on the subject)

In September, Energy and Infrastructure Minister George Smitherman directed the power authority to beef up an already ambitious renewable-energy plan, much of it dependent on massive new wind farms being erected across the province and on the Great Lakes.

(George Smitherman just recently took over the Ministry of Energy. So the question that needs to be asked is – What does Smitherman actually know about the energy needs of Ont. From his actions so far I feel safe in saying – not much. As Health Minister he thought it was prudent to have our seniors sit in dirty diaper until they were 70% full)

Smitherman, who will be in Shelburne today opening Canada’s largest wind farm, told the Star he’s committed to engaging the public in meaningful discussions as the plan moves forward. “But we also recognize that work needs to be done to ensure that momentum on the goal of a cleaner and green energy future isn’t diminished.”

(Meaningful discussions should be read as – drink the Kool-Aid or we’ll call you names ie: Nimby’s. That does not constitute meaningful discussions. He also forgot to mention the people already forced to move as a result of the first phase of the project)

This will require a streamlining of rules and regulations so they better balance community concerns with the need to move projects forward, industry observers say. A practical start, some suggest, is to establish environmental pre-screening of projects to weed out the good from the bad.

(This should read – The govt. and wind industry will decide where wind farms go and local councils will be bypassed.)

Behind the scenes the government is working on such improvements, sources say, including the creation of a Green Energy Act that would give priority to renewable energy and conservation as the province updates and expands its electricity system.

(Read – end of local democratic rights)

Some have grown impatient. EPCOR Utilities Inc. earlier this month canceled a $300-million wind farm in Goderich. After years of delay, the company said it couldn’t wait any longer for provincial and municipal approvals, which in some cases had been slowed by a handful of protesters.

( I attended many council meetings concerning the Epcor-Kingsbridge ll wind farm near Goderich and I never saw a protester. I did meet people who were lied to in order to construct Kingsbridge l . People who suffered from health, noise and stray voltage problems. I saw Epcor  walk out of council  meetings twice  and say they were done. Why? Because people wanted answers to questions that the wind company couldn’t or refused to answer.

They should have left, but the govt. kept saying they would fix things. I saw junk engineering reports – anything to try and ram the project through. I believe there has been a formal complaint lodged because of those engineering reports.

We, a small group of dedicated citizens, farmers and landowners, including one dedicated councilor held up Kingsbridge ll for over a year. In that time I witnessed what can only be described as total and complete disrespect for people, their rights, their health, their property and the truth.

In the end a 450 meter setback was adopted – the same setback that was put forward over a year earlier, even though the people suffering ill effects from Kingsbridge l were all outside the 450 meter setback. The councilor who stood up for his constituents said “I was told  by lawyers that any setback over 450 meters would prompt an OMB hearing at a cost to the township of $100.000 and that we would lose.”

Epcor recently released a statement stating they were withdrawing from the Kinsbridge ll wind farm because they would be unable to have the project up and operational by Oct.31st. of this year. They had to know that at least a year ago – so what gives?

This is speculation on my part, but I believe the Epcor withdrawal will be used as the excuse the govt. has been looking for to bypass local councils.

So much for democracy!)


Closer to home, Toronto Hydro got a taste of things to come this week as it considers construction of an offshore wind farm off the Scarborough Bluffs. It was forced on Monday evening to cancel its first community information meeting because more than 400 people showed up – twice as many as the church hall could hold.

Nearly 200 people lined up outside were greeted by someone from a group called SOS Windfarms Toronto (the SOS stands for Stop Offshore) who was handing out business cards that promote a website.

Along with some valid concerns, the site also contains misleading or wrong information, such as claims that the wind farm is being promoted as the only green solution for Toronto and that 80 years of aviation data show the site is inappropriate for wind generation.

(If you want misleading or wrong information go to the CanWEA site or the Govt. of Ont. site,or read the writing of Tyler Hamilton. They are masters of the art.)

“I think a lot of people are making judgments based on information that I would say is incorrect,” said Keith Stewart, an energy expert with WWF-Canada. “Rational argument can win over the majority, but it can’t win over everyone.”

(There goes Tyler Hamilton again – describing Keith Stewart of the WWF as an energy expert. Keith Stewart has a PhD in political science from York University, where he studied environmental politics. I see nothing that would suggest he is an energy expert.

I thought the focus of the WWF was trying to save the ‘not endangered polar bear’. Maybe Mr. Stewart would be of more use in the high arctic.

I want to hear from the engineers – the people who understand and build electrical systems,  not politicians and lobby groups)

Stewart said some ecologically sensitive locations are clearly not appropriate for wind farms, and that’s part of the reason why government has to create guidelines.

Full article at Toronto Star

(It was CanWEA that requested the govt. not impose setbacks and the govt. agreed to the request.)

First, the relatively small size of private land parcels in Ontario will present a challenge for developers due to the number of stakeholders that may perceive impacts. Windpark development may become uneconomical if municipal setbacks created to address these “perceived” concerns reduce the usable land area, thus eliminating the economics of scale necessary to develop a project.*
*14c) The Industry does not recommend that a set of standard bylaws be adopted with respect to setbacks or other municipal zoning issues.*

(*”The above can be understood to mean, that if “safe setbacks” are mandated, it will make it uneconomical to site wind farms in Southern Ontario”)

(If Tyler Hamilton, the Govt. or CanWEA think they can subdue the rising state of awareness concerning the reality of wind farms, they are mistaken in their misguided belief, just as they are being dishonest when telling the public that wind farms will significantly cut CO2 emissions or are capable replacing a fossil fuel plant.

During a conversation I had with the senior policy adviser for the Ministry of Energy, I mentioned that  my research suggested the best plan for Ontario’ s electrical needs was to put the scrubbers on the coal plants and build a nuke. He agreed with my assessment.  Cost -10 billion for a system that is both environmentally sound and cost effective. McGuinty has continually refused to put the scrubbers on the coal plants, putting the health of thousands at risk)

McGuinty’s plan – 60+ billion for an unstable, overly expensive and is no healthier than the one proposed by myself and  accepted as sound by the policy adviser.

When I asked why this was happening, he answered “politics” – try heating your home with politics.)

Premier, Dalton McGuinty Talks About Renewable Energy For Ontario

Premier, Dalton McGuinty powers a press conference with wind energy

Wind Energy – Can it last? – The Scam Continues For Now

September 13, 2008

Can it last?

On the back of the BBC having a go at subsidy wind farms, we now have The Sunday Telegraph joining the battle.

This paper is retailing a report from the Renewable Energy Foundation (REF) which asserts that wind is failing to deliver value for money and distorting the development of other renewable energy sources. Furthermore, excessive subsidies make them an expensive and inefficient way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The report is actually written by John Constable, of REF, and Robert Barfoot, the chairman of the North Devon branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England. And even this has a greenie tinge as they say the subsidy scheme is encouraging energy firms to build as many wind farms as possible because it is more profitable than investing in other more expensive forms of renewable technology, such as wave power.

Actually, the main problem is that the generosity of the subsidy scheme is diverting cash from investment in longer-term schemes such as nuclear, and also driving generators to invest in increasingly expensive gas, this being the most suitable back-up for wind.

Nevertheless, the report authors say: “The market for renewable energy is an artificial one created and maintained by government legislation. The question is whether this consumer-derived money is well spent. It is worth noting that the excessive subsidy offered to onshore wind development has drawn developers even to sites where the wind resource is very weak and the environmental impact severe.”

Full report at EU Referendum

Environmentalists' Wild Predictions and the 2008 US Election- Obama or McCain?

August 27, 2008

Is it possible, that people have been lied to and bullshitted for so long they wouldn’t recognize
reality if slapped them up the side of the head.

Two men, one of which will be the president of the USA – both trying to out green each other in an effort to get your vote.

Well folks, Global warming is a scam. That you can be sure of.

The question is – are you going to vote for a white or a black scam artist?

It’s about time the American people wake up!

From the Town Hall
Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Townhall.com Columnist

Environmentalists’ Wild Predictions

Now that another Earth Day has come and gone, let’s look at some environmentalist predictions that they would prefer we forget.

At the first Earth Day celebration, in 1969, environmentalist Nigel Calder warned, “The threat of a new ice age must now stand alongside nuclear war as a likely source of wholesale death and misery for mankind.” C.C. Wallen of the World Meteorological Organization said, “The cooling since 1940 has been large enough and consistent enough that it will not soon be reversed.” In 1968, Professor Paul Ehrlich, Vice President Gore’s hero and mentor, predicted there would be a major food shortage in the U.S. and “in the 1970s … hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death.” Ehrlich forecasted that 65 million Americans would die of starvation between 1980 and 1989, and by 1999 the U.S. population would have declined to 22.6 million. Ehrlich’s predictions about England were gloomier: “If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000.”

In 1972, a report was written for the Club of Rome warning the world would run out of gold by 1981, mercury and silver by 1985, tin by 1987 and petroleum, copper, lead and natural gas by 1992. Gordon Taylor, in his 1970 book “The Doomsday Book,” said Americans were using 50 percent of the world’s resources and “by 2000 they [Americans] will, if permitted, be using all of them.” In 1975, the Environmental Fund took out full-page ads warning, “The World as we know it will likely be ruined by the year 2000.”

Harvard University biologist George Wald in 1970 warned, “… civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.” That was the same year that Sen. Gaylord Nelson warned, in Look Magazine, that by 1995 “… somewhere between 75 and 85 percent of all the species of living animals will be extinct.”

It’s not just latter-day doomsayers who have been wrong; doomsayers have always been wrong. In 1885, the U.S. Geological Survey announced there was “little or no chance” of oil being discovered in California, and a few years later they said the same about Kansas and Texas. In 1939, the U.S. Department of the Interior said American oil supplies would last only another 13 years. In 1949, the Secretary of the Interior said the end of U.S. oil supplies was in sight. Having learned nothing from its earlier erroneous claims, in 1974 the U.S. Geological Survey advised us that the U.S. had only a 10-year supply of natural gas. The fact of the matter, according to the American Gas Association, there’s a 1,000 to 2,500 year supply.

Here are my questions: In 1970, when environmentalists were making predictions of manmade global cooling and the threat of an ice age and millions of Americans starving to death, what kind of government policy should we have undertaken to prevent such a calamity? When Ehrlich predicted that England would not exist in the year 2000, what steps should the British Parliament have taken in 1970 to prevent such a dire outcome? In 1939, when the U.S. Department of the Interior warned that we only had oil supplies for another 13 years, what actions should President Roosevelt have taken? Finally, what makes us think that environmental alarmism is any more correct now that they have switched their tune to manmade global warming?

Here are a few facts: Over 95 percent of the greenhouse effect is the result of water vapor in Earth’s atmosphere. Without the greenhouse effect, Earth’s average temperature would be zero degrees Fahrenheit. Most climate change is a result of the orbital eccentricities of Earth and variations in the sun’s output. On top of that, natural wetlands produce more greenhouse gas contributions annually than all human sources combined.

From the Town Hall

Energy Price Shock -Two Energy Firms to Raise Prices

August 21, 2008

Editor:
If you live in North America take a close look at what is coming. The Greens want to destroy the economies of
the industrialized world, via political pressure and the blocking of opening oil reserves and new nuclear power.
Expect massive increases in your electric bill in the very near future. Watch as more and more manufacturing flees North America and heads to China and other Asian countries.
While China and others continue to build coal plants – we will rely on expensive intermittent wind and solar for our power.
Why?
Read the Green Agenda – after which you should be rightfully pissed at your elected officials.

Energy firms E.On and Scottish and Southern Energy are to raise gas and electricity prices by up to 29%.

E.On said it would up its gas prices by 26% and electricity bills by 16% on 22 August for domestic customers.

Gas rings

The move comes shortly after British Gas announced a record rise in bills

Scottish and Southern followed a few hours later by announcing a 29.2%
increase in gas bills, with electricity tariffs up by 19.2% on 25
August.

This is E.On’s second price rise for domestic customers this year. In
February it put up gas bills by 15% and electricity tariffs by 9.7%.


We
are extremely concerned that the one in three pensioner households
likely to be living in fuel poverty by the end of the year will feel
forced to cut back on essential food or fuel

Gordon Lishman, Age Concern

Complete Article

THE EU'S CARBON TRADING SCHEME-Killing Jobs to Save the Climate

July 20, 2008

Editor: In Canada, we are continually told that we need to follow the German and EU example. If we want to watch our companies flee to China and India and see our unemployment rise dramatically, while our standard of living plummets, then by all means lets jump on the EU bandwagon.

Al Gore – the high priest of the “Global warming scam” and the architects of the “Green Agenda” must be exposed, before they have destroyed the worlds greatest economies. Their aim is not so much about saving the environment as it is about control and power.

Read and understand
The Green Agenda

Killing Jobs to Save the Climate

By Karsten Stumm

The price of European emission
permits is rising so rapidly that German companies are threatening to
leave the country. Thousands of jobs could be lost. And the environment
may, in the end, be no better off.

Numerous German companies would relocate abroad if the EU fully implements its carbon trading scheme.

Zoom
DPA

Numerous German companies would relocate abroad if the EU fully implements its carbon trading scheme.

They sat silently through two lectures, but then they couldn’t
control their anger any longer. The civil servants from the Environment
Ministry, the Environment Agency and the German Emissions Trading
Authority made it sound easy for industry to take up carbon trading. It
was just too much for the managers to tolerate.

“If that’s the shape the trading will take, we will simply move our
cement operation to Ukraine,” a cement factory manager shouted into the
lecture hall. “Then there won’t be any trading here, nothing will be
produced here anymore — the lights will simply go out here.”

The businessmen’s anger surprised the emissions-allowance trading
experts. They had invited industry representatives to a relaxed forum
at the Environment Ministry’s office in Bonn. They wanted to present
international developments in the carbon trading market. However, the
mood in the German business world has soured — managers no longer have
the stomach for academic lectures. The reason is that emissions
allowances are already burdening some companies that require a lot of
energy for production purposes.

In the last 12 months alone, the price for the right to pump a ton
of carbon into the atmosphere has shot up from €23 ($36.5) to nearly
€30 ($47.6), according to the European Energy Exchange in Leipzig. This
hike of around 30 percent has a direct effect on the electricity
production of power companies.

According to calculations by Point Carbon — a Norwegian company
that specializes in analyzing global power, gas and carbon markets —
this price hike would drive up the marginal cost of energy from an old
brown coal power plant by the entire price of carbon. For modern
natural gas power plants, it would increase prices by a third. Energy
company RWE, which is based in the German city of Essen, reckons it
alone will have to pay €9 billion ($14.2 billion) for its own
electricity production, which it, of course, will pass on in higher
electricity prices. So carbon trading will have a direct impact on
which countries firms chose to locate in.

“If the cement industry is gradually pulled into the trading of
carbon emission allowances, companies will move production to countries
that don’t take part in the scheme,” Andreas Kern, President of the
German Cement Industry Federation, has warned.

Thousands of Jobs in Danger

Full story

Read and understand

The Green Agenda


Britain’s Climate Madness

July 3, 2008

Absurd and Costly

There is not the faintest chance that 7,000 wind turbines can be constructed in this time, given the construction capacity restrictions and tight timetable. But, even if the turbines

were built, this would not be the end of the matter. Britain would still require a considerable back-up of conventional electricity-generating capacity because the turbines would frequently produce no electricity at all, given the fluctuation in wind speeds. Paul Golby, Chief Executive of E.ON UK, has said that this back-up capacity would have to amount to 90% of the capacity of the wind turbines, if supplies were to be reliable. This would be an absurd, and costly, misallocation of resources, with the extra costs falling on households and businesses. But, costs apart, there is yet another problem. And that is whether the necessary back-up capacity is likely to be available.

The current Government has woefully neglected Britain’s energy infrastructure, and much of Britain’s current electricity-generating capacity is due for closure over the next 10 to 15 years. Most of Britain’s ageing nuclear power stations are due to be decommissioned, and half of Britain’s coal-fired power stations are due to be retired because of the EU’s Large Combustion Power Directive (concerned with controlling emissions of, for example, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides). Under these circumstances, there is a very real risk that there will not be adequate conventional back-up capacity despite the Government’s welcome acceptance of the need for nuclear power (there will inevitably be delays in construction) and the operation of new gas-fired capacity (which, incidentally, makes Britain unduly dependent on imports, as our own supplies are dwindling fast).

The prospect of power cuts is, therefore, all too real. Brutally, the lights could go out, and business and the public services, now so dependent on computers, would suffer. The folly of putting so many eggs in the basket of wind power is the height of irresponsibility.

The EU’s Renewables Directive: Disproportionate Burden

The Government’s ‘dash for wind’ in order to develop a “low-carbon economy” is, of course, part of its climate-change policy of cutting carbon emissions in order to “combat global warming”. Any expansion of nuclear power would also curtail carbon emissions, and, indeed, if one believes that a low-carbon economy is a good idea (perhaps for security reasons as well as ‘saving the planet’), one might ask why not allocate far more resources to nuclear power and far fewer to renewables.

Alas, this would not be permitted under the EU’s 2008 Renewables Directive.(1) Under this Directive, the UK has agreed to meet 15% of its energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020. Whilst renewables include biomass, solar power, wind, wave/tide, and hydroelectricity, nuclear power is excluded. Insofar as the Renewables Directive is part of the EU’s policy of cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 20% by 2020 compared with 1990, this is perverse to say the least.

Whilst the UK has a 15% renewables target for 2020, just 1.5% of energy consumption was met by permissible renewables in 2006.(2) The UK has committed itself, therefore, to increase its renewables share ten-fold by 2020. With the possible exceptions of Malta and Luxembourg, the UK is faced with by far the greatest challenge in reaching its 2020 target. In addition, the unit costs in the UK are relatively high because Britain lacks access to cheap biomass resources in the electricity and heat sectors, and is placing greater reliance on high cost, expensive electricity technologies, such as wind (mainly) and wave/tidal. By contrast several EU countries are well-placed, including Austria, Finland, and Sweden, as are many of the central and eastern European countries.

It is, therefore, unsurprising that the UK is likely to carry a disproportionate burden of the costs of meeting the EU’s 2020 renewables target. According to a study by Pöyry Energy Consulting, the UK could carry around 20-25% of the total EU costs.(3) Pöyry has estimated that the annual cost in 2020 could be around £150 to £200 per UK household, and the lifetime costs up to 2020 would be £1,800, even as high as £2,800, per UK household. These are significant sums, and they are likely to be under-estimates.

Given my earlier comment that the Government’s plans for 7,000 wind turbines will not be achieved by 2020, there is no chance that we will meet the renewables target. (And, in any case, 7,000 turbines, even if built, are apparently inadequate for Britain to meet the 15% target.) The Government is living in fantasy-land – but it seems hell-bent on pursuing an energy policy which will be costly, will dangerously distort energy policy, and will leave the country vulnerable to black-outs.

The Economic Effects

Even if the lights stay on, it is clear that the Government’s current strategy will lead to higher and less competitive energy prices in Britain, other things being equal. For households, especially low income and pensioner households, this will bite into general living standards. Businesses, especially energy intensive industries, will continue to lose competitiveness and will migrate overseas to, say, India or China. The Energy Intensive Users Group (EIUG) estimates that various ‘green measures’ (the Renewables Obligation, the Climate Change Levy, and the costs of the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme) already account for a quarter of total energy costs for their members. The situation will surely deteriorate. Britain’s chemicals, cement, and steel industries, to name but three, are likely to shrink, jobs will be lost, and the balance of payments will deteriorate.