WWF-Canada Blog:
Climate


Action Alert: Wind power at risk in Ontario

On March 8th, a motion will be put forward for a moratorium on wind power to be debated in Ontario’s legislature. Wind is one of the most environmentally sound forms of energy in the world and is necessary to help solve climate change. Now, more than ever, we need this leadership. The formal review of Ontario’s renewable energy planning is currently underway, which is designed to address concerns including electricity rates and engagement of communities in energy planning.

Please send a letter to your elected representative today to keep wind power in Ontario.

1. Find your elected representative & their email address here.

(If you don’t know your region or riding, find it here with your postal code.)

2. Copy and paste the text below into an email

3. Add the subject line: Keep Wind Power in Ontario

4. Fill in your representative’s name (e.g. the Honourable first and last name), and sign with your name and home address.

5. Copy (CC) the email to letters@wwfcanada.org. (Optional)*

6. Click ‘send’.

*For statistical purposes only. Data will not be retained for any other purpose and will be deleted once campaign is over.

Child holding a small wind turbine to show that it is the solution for a sustainable future energy, Charleroi, Belgium. © Bruno Arnold / WWF-Canon

 

Dear [your elected representative],

On March 8th, a motion will be put forward for a moratorium on wind power to be debated in Ontario’s legislature. Deputy Critic for Energy Lisa Thompson, MPP will bring forward this motion on the basis of calling for further environmental and health study review on wind power.

However, substantial environmental and health reviews on wind power have already occurred.  Ontario’s green energy plan was built after a deep review of global peer-reviewed scientific research, which consistently shows wind to be among the most environmentally sound forms of energy in the world and is necessary to help solve climate change.

For these reasons, I support responsible and well-planned wind power.  In fact, 84% of fellow Canadians believe renewable energy is the best kind of energy for our governments to invest in, according to The Gandalf Group polling.

Now, more than ever, Ontario must continue with its leadership on renewable energy. I ask that you challenge, and not support, MPP Thompson’s motion when debated on March 8th. Please continue to strengthen and improve Ontario’s renewable energy plan, and grow our renewable energy target as we move forward.

I am also aware that a review of Ontario’s renewable energy planning is currently underway. This is the appropriate forum for concerns to be raised, and also the appropriate forum from which to make decisions.

Sincerely,

[Your name]

[Your mailing address]

 

 


For more information on health and environmental concerns on wind power:

The Potential Health Impacts of Wind TurbinesChief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH) of Ontario, 2010

Renewable Energy: Scientific Research – Ministry of Environment, Government of Ontario

Studies reviewed by the Government of Ontario

 

For more information from WWF:

Wind energy facts

The Energy Report: 100% Renewable Energy by 2050

WWF Position on Wind Power

WWF Joint submission to Ontario’s renewable energy review

 


  • Sandy Casselman

    I am no longer a WWF supporter. Do your research again… preferably not from articles or reports written by the McGuinty government or wind developers. Talk to actual people who live amongst the “wind farms.”

    WWF should be ashamed.

  • http://wwf.ca/newsroom/zoe_caron.cfm Zoe Caron

    Update: The motion for a moratorium on wind power in Ontario was defeated 45 to 28.

    Thank you for every one who wrote letters supporting responsible renewable energy.

    For more information on WWF’s energy work, see a new blog: Deepening our Discussion on Wind Power
    http://blog.wwf.ca/blog/2012/03/09/deepening-our-discussion-on-wind-power/

  • http://wwf.ca/newsroom/zoe_caron.cfm Zoe Caron

    Thank you to everyone that has sent letters so far supporting responsible wind power — they are rolling in from dozens of ridings across the province.

  • http://morecoldair.blogspot.com Scott Luft

    Robert, the debate is in Ontario and wind is certainly driving emissions higher in Ontario his week.
    As part of this concerted media campaign by the gas/environmental industry, just yesterday York’s Professor Winfield was trumpeting the economics of shale gas in the Star. Wind, contracted on a ‘must take’ basis, is better considered as negative load than supply, and, as such, demands more ramping capability from the remainder of the supply mix. It is made to displace baseload sources – and, therefore, the WWF is promoting higher GHG emissions in supporting it.
    Wind is a supplement to a gas/coal-fired grid.
    It’s a shame WWF has mind-melded into the groupthink mono-culture they are financed to meld into.

  • Ruth

    Robert, why would you assume I approve of coal and nuclear? I don’t. You tell me that wind accounts for only a small portion of our energy spectrum, but then tell Joanna it is replacing significant amounts of fossil fuels, so is wind a big contributor or not? If it were nuclear power we were mostly exporting (as you say) due to low demand, it would be happening on a regular basis and follow a pattern, but there are obvious spikes that correspond with windy weather. Furthermore, nuclear reactors would not need to be shut down (at great expense) to accommodate surplus power on windy days. They only need to divert steam away from the turbines. I’d rather they did that than volunteer my money to pay another jurisdiction to take surplus power off our hands. No more wind turbines for now, thank you. We have enough. Focus on solar. Fewer moving parts means less maintenance and repairs, and the solar burden can be equally shared between rural and urban environments.

  • Ben

    For those who say installed wind capacity requires 100% back up from dispatchable plants, the evidence does not support your assertions: Ontario installed 427 MW of wind from 2010 to 2012. Another 166 MW is due to come online any day (http://www.ieso.ca/imoweb/marketdata/windpower.asp). Where are the corresponding new dispatchable installations? In fact, Ontario is closing down dispatchable coal plants, 2000 MW in 2009 and 2010 (Lambton and units at Nanticoke – http://news.ontario.ca/mei/en/2009/09/ontario-coal-closure-launches-countdown-to-green-energy.html) . If you “needed” to build just as much back up, why would they be shutting these down and cancelling gas plants while going ahead with plans for wind turbines? It doesn’t make sense.

    If wind capacity “requires” construction of new dispatchable generation to back it up, how can we add over 500MW of wind and then remove 2000 MW of dispatchable power? It doesn’t add up.

    Similarly, the “efficiency” number shows a complete lack of understanding. Owners and system operators understand and predict what percentage of maximum theoretical output is expected and plan for that. How many reactors at Bruce or Darlington are down for maintenance or mothballed – count those in their “efficiency” calculations and you’ll find they’re operating at somewhere between 50-75%. No one is surprised by the production of wind energy facilities – they are very predictable year over year. The “low efficiency” trope is just that, a trope.

  • Gene Threndyle

    The Ontario Green Energy Act and the Feed In Tariff program are the reasons I support the moratorium on wind turbine construction in Ontario. If these things were being imposed on urban populations and areas the way they are on the rural ones there would be a massive outcry. Want more windmills? Build them in the sprawl and in cities. When that happens I will believe that they are more than a guilt driven token for the unsustainable way we live our lives conveniently shoved in others back yards. As well this power is not currently needed, it must have a back up of most likely gas fired plants of as great a capacity. The same can be said for solar. And who is building them? TransCanada Pipeline and Enbridge!!!

  • Robert

    Ruth, Why are you buying into spin from the nuclear and coal industry? Surplus baseload has almost nothing to do with wind power (which can be ‘dispatched’ if we choose) but is actually a problem with Nuclear. Reactors are actually dangerous to ramp down when we don’t need so much power, so they would rather export power at a loss than shut them off. This isn’t a problem on windy days, its actually mainly an issue for days with low demand. Wind still only makes up a tiny part of Ontario’s supply… we are exporting mostly nuclear power.

    As some of our old nuclear and coal facilities are soon being decommissioned, there is no need to build new ones. We can replace them with dispatchable wind and solar instead. These can easily be backed up by our vast hydroelectric facilities, like Niagara Falls.

    Joanna McCarthy – your statement is also completely absurd. You can back up wind with hydroelectric, or existing natural gas plants (which we have already)… Wind is already replacing significant amounts of fossil fuels… Learn what you are talking about before spouting crazy anti-wind talking points!

    Wind isn’t new folks, its been around in Europe working well for decades!

  • http://wwf.ca/newsroom/zoe_caron.cfm Zoe Caron

    Hello Johanna McCarthy and Ruth,

    You might both be interested in WWF’s overall approach to wind power (as well as conservation, energy efficiency and other types of renewable energy) which is presented in The Energy Report:

    http://wwf.panda.org/energyreport/

    In this report we talk about enabling solutions like smart grids and large-scale storage for renewable energy that will at least help start to address the issues you both raise.

    Zoe

  • Ruth

    The problem with wind power is that it is very uneven in production levels, swinging between too little and too much. It recently came to light, as reported by Paul Bliss at CTV, that the provincial government finds itself with a glut of electricity produced on windy days. Since electricity can not be stored (economically) for later, the province has to dispose of the surplus by sending it to neighboring provinces and states. Do they buy the surplus from us? No. Do we give it to them for free? No. The province (meaning all Ontario taxpayers) actually have to PAY these neighbors to take the surplus off our hands. I think we have enough wind turbines, thank you very much. What viable business in the world pays to produce something and then turns around and pays someone to buy it? Just one more reason we are so deeply in debt.

  • Johanna McCarthy

    Wind turbines do not solve climate change in fact they contribute to climate change because back up power of gas or coal is needed to keep them going. Wind turbines only operate at 20% efficiency.

  • Johanna McKeen

    Coal, and nuclear plants are more destructive than you realize. They pollute the air and the water and affect millions of people, wildlife and ecosystems. The only way to stray from our destructive reliance on dirty energy is to promote non-renewable energy sources. The ETHICAL thing to do is promote wind and solar power.