Monday, May 2nd, 2011
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