Tag: Avantages communautaires


L’énergie éolienne à Saint-Robert-Bellarmin : une expérience bénéfique pour la communauté

Quarante éoliennes, 80 mégawatts, 200 millions $ d’investissements et une centaine de travailleurs affectés à la construction : voilà des chiffres qui peuvent donner le vertige pour une municipalité d’un peu moins de 700 habitants comme Saint-Robert-Bellarmin, en Beauce, à la frontière du Maine. Lors de ma visite dans cette collectivité, j’ai pourtant pu réaliser qu’en travaillant de près avec ses membres, ces appréhensions deviennent tout sauf incontournables. (suite…)


Les possibilités offertes par l’éolien en Nouvelle-Écosse

Lorsque l’on discute d’énergie éolienne avec des Néo-Écossais, ce que j’ai eu la chance de faire lors d’une récente visite médiatique qui m’a amenée dans 11 collectivités allant du comté de Digby jusqu’au cap Breton, invariablement, la discussion se détourne vers l’économie. (suite…)


Fact-based discussion of alternatives to green energy missing in Ontario

If a new industry emerged in Ontario that would create more than 150,000 person-years of employment, inject economic growth back into struggling communities, and attract roughly $30 billion of private sector investment — while costing the average household no more than a coffee and a muffin each month — it would be a good news story.

Now imagine we could take advantage of this new opportunity without creating the usual side effects of industrial development, such as long-term environmental degradation or toxic air pollution — you might expect that policy makers, corporate leaders and communities would be lining up in support. The industry featured in the above scenario isn’t fictional. A number of reports released recently show that green energy has begun to produce such benefits throughout Ontario. Ontario has taken the lead in creating the right conditions for renewable energy to flourish — along with the jobs, technological expertise and pollution-free power supply that accompany growth in this sector. Yet, despite becoming a North American leader in this expanding global market, some people continue to call for Ontario to take a step backwards. As with any new initiative, the programs initiated by the Green Energy Act have not been without growing pains, but more than 30 manufacturers and hundreds of other companies have already set up shop in Ontario because of Act. A recent report by ClearSky Advisors estimates that wind energy developments in Ontario will create more than 80,000 person years of employment and attract more than $16 billion in new private sector investments in the next eight years. In the report, The Economic Impacts of the Wind Energy Sector in Ontario 2011 – 2018, ClearSky estimates that the number of jobs created by the wind industry in Ontario on an annual basis varies from a low of 5,700 person years of employment in 2011 to over 14,200 in 2014. The report also estimates that more than $1 billion in revenues will flow to local municipalities and landowners in the form of taxes and lease payments over the lifespan of the wind projects studied. And it’s a similar story when it comes to solar power — another ClearSky report found that Ontario’s solar industry would create 74,000 person years of employment and roughly $13 billion of new private sector investments by 2018. But nothing in the world is free — so the logical question is, just how much more would all of these benefits cost Ontarians? It’s a complicated question with a surprising answer. The Pembina Institute, a national sustainable energy think-tank, recently contracted a team of energy modelers to see how prices would be affected if the Green Energy Act were cancelled, and the energy that is currently planned to come from renewable sources were replaced with other electricity sources. The Institute published the results of that study in a recent report, Behind the Switch: Pricing Ontario electricity options, which found that Ontario consumers would actually see very little change in rising electricity prices if the province completely cancelled its support for renewable energy. That’s because cancelling renewable energy means relying on some other form of power in its place — and that ‘something else’ is likely more fossil fuels, which are not free. The modeling found that cancelling the Act might result in a slightly slower increase in electricity costs in the short term, but clean energy investments today will save homeowners money within about 15 years, as natural gas prices are forecast to start to rise. There is a fair bit of uncertainty about how quickly natural gas prices will rise in the future, but it is clear that the wind and sunshine are going to continue to be free and the cost of building new clean energy plants continues to decrease, as it has for decades. So cancelling the Green Energy Act and relying more on natural gas for electricity would not only increase the uncertainty and volatility of electricity prices — there would be other costs for Ontario ratepayers, as more fossil fuels means increased costs related to negative health impacts, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. That’s the part of Ontario’s energy dilemma that we really need to be talking about. Ontarian ratepayers deserve to know what the full costs and consequences of cancelling the green energy act would be — and what other energy sources would be used to replace renewable power in this province. If cancelling the Act means less clean energy, green jobs and more power from fossil fuels at a similar or higher price in the near future, it’s a bad deal for Ontarians in the long run. -30- Tim Wohlgemut is co-founder of ClearSky Advisors, a research firm focused on the renewable energy sector. Their reports are available online at http://www.clearskyadvisors.com Tim Weis is director of renewable energy and efficiency policy for the Pembina Institute, a national, non-partisan sustainable energy think tank. The Institute’s reports Ontario electricity options are available online at http://www.pembina.org/re   We encourage you to join the conversation and leave your comments on the Sunday Toronto Star online.


Let’s get the facts straight, wind power is a change for the better – by Adam Scott

It means cleaner air, thousands of new jobs and opportunities for communities, a smarter way to make electricity and a legacy worth leaving for our kids. Wind power is also an excellent way to prevent further global warming by reducing the amount of carbon dioxide emissions we produce when making electricity.  Windmills are allowing us to shut down our massively polluting coal-fired power plants, the largest sources of CO2, air pollution and toxins in the province.

Renewable Energy isn’t responsible for rising electricity rates.  The independent Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, Gord Miller, recently showed that all renewable energy and conservation combined represent only a measly 3 per cent of electricity bills. Ontario has to replace an aging electricity system, we have no choice about that, but we do have a choice to build clean, safe and local generation this time around.   Under the FIT program, wind producers only get paid a maximum of 13.5 cent per kWh – period.  That’s likely less than the all-in cost of nuclear when all the tax subsidized stranded debt, nuclear waste disposal and safety concerns are considered.       Under the Green Energy Act, wind and solar producers only get paid for actual electricity they generate – so ratepayers are never on the hook for the huge construction, maintenance, fuel costs, and downtime associated with dirty old electricity plants.  If the windmill doesn’t generate – we don’t pay. Renewable energy is also a huge boost to jobs in Ontario. The Green Energy Act requires that 50 per cent of windmill projects and 60 per cent of solar projects must be Ontario content. This has sparked a whole new green energy industry that is creating new jobs across the province. For example windmill blades will be built in Tillsonburg, solar panels are being made in Guelph, and in small communities everywhere local trades and businesses are finding new work.   When we take a breath, learn the facts and think it through, the future looks cleaner, safer and more prosperous with renewable energy. Adam Scott