Jutta Splettstoesser, President, launched the Friends of Wind Ontario information meeting series at the Legion in Clinton, Ontario on Tuesday, July 26.
The Friends of Wind are organizing the community meetings to provide information about wind power generation and engage communities in supporting wind power generation.
There were about almost 100 people at the meeting.
In her opening remarks, Jutta said the following: "I am a full-time farmer from the Kincardine area who supports wind energy development. I am not paid or supported by the wind industry, but I volunteer my time and efforts in support the diversification of our energy supply. This is important to me and my family. I believe that it is important to stand up for our beliefs and set aside emotions."
Jutta said she receives phone calls and e-mails from people telling her they are either
too busy or are afraid to contribute their views in support of wind turbines. She hopes
Friends of Wind Power public events will positively influence public perceptions of wind
power through fact-based material provided in a non-confrontational manner with plenty
of opportunity for questions.
Another speaker, Kate Dietrich from Teeswater, described her family's experience with
people who are opposed to wind. She said her family often feels intimidated by their
treatment and their unwillingness to listen to other views supported by facts.
Kate believes that public meetings where people can hear and discuss information about
wind power are essential. As Jutta does, she believes that farmers and wind turbines
can live in harmony close to each other. Wind power is a free and unlimited resource
that is emission neutral and doesn't require large amounts of water resources.
As Jutta says, "If Ontario communities want to keep the agriculture industry enticing for
the next generation, we need to be innovative and sustainable in terms of energy
sources, uses, and applications."
Another speaker was Tim Weis. He is director of renewable energy and efficiency policy
at the Pembina Institute. He and his colleagues at Pembina recently completed a study
of the future of Ontario energy prices (http://www.pembina.org/pub/2238), Behind the
switch: pricing Ontario electricity options.
The study finds that Ontario consumers would see virtually no relief from high electricity
prices if the province cancelled its support for renewable energy under the Green Energy
In fact, the study indicates that investing in renewable energy today is likely to save
Ontario ratepayers money within the next 15 years, as natural gas becomes more
expensive and as the cost of renewable energy technology continues to decrease.
Dr. Weis says:
"Whether Ontarians choose to keep or kill the Green Energy Act, electricity prices will
continue to rise in this province because of the serious - and costly - refurbishments,
repairs and replacements required to fix Ontario's energy system."
Ontario's needs to replace the majority of electricity generation within the next 10 to 20
years, Dr. Weis said. "You simply cannot replace assets that were bought and paid for in
the 1970s with new facilities today, and expect to pay prices on par with those four
"Cancelling the Green Energy Act would make very little or no difference to Ontario
ratepayers, because to meet electricity demand, the amount of energy that's currently
planned from renewable sources would have to be replaced with other options - which
would likely work out to be more polluting, and less sustainable, and in the long-run
Ultimately, Dr. Weis's research shows that Ontario's ratepayers stand to lose more than
they would gain in the short term by cancelling the Green Energy Act, because doing so
would lead to higher costs and more risk in the long run.
The final speaker was Toronto environmental lawyer Diane Saxe. She is one of the
world's top 25 environmental lawyers, a Certified Specialist in Environmental Law and
has a Ph.D. in Law.
Dr. Saxe discussed the recent decision by Ontario's Environmental Review Tribunal
concerning Suncor's Kent Breeze Wind Farm Project (Erickson v. Ministry of the
This is an important decision since it was the first challenge of a project approved under
the Ontario's Green Energy Act (http://envirolaw.com/erickson-appeal-decision/).
The Tribunal found that wind turbines can be built in Ontario despite opponents' claims
of adverse health effects.
Specifically, Dr. Saxe said that the Tribunal found that there is no evidence that wind
turbines sited according to the rules established the Green Energy Act directly cause
serious harm health.
The Tribunal found that there is some evidence that wind turbines might have some
"indirect" health effects but these are not sufficient to harm human health.
An "indirect" health effect is one that is not directly produced by an operating wind
turbine such as noise shadow flicker or ice. For example, some people might find wind
turbines or even the idea of wind turbines so annoying that they expereince stress
symptoms such as loss of sleep and headaches but there is no evidence that these
indirect effects cause serious harm to human health.
The Tribunal bases their findings on detailed consideration of the studies that wind
opponents say prove that wind turbines harm human health. Effectively the Tribunal's
findings establish that there is no basis for wind opponents claims of health impacts.
The Friends of Wind next public meeting is planned for Chatham on August 18 at 7:00
PM to 9:00 PM in the Chatham Banquet & Conference Centre (former CAW Hall) at
280 Merritt Ave. The speakers will be Dr. W. David Colby, John Kourtoff, Rudy Zubler
and Jutta Splettstoesser.