Shut up and pay for your windmill


Shut up and pay for your windmill

David Frum, National Post Published: Saturday, January 03, 2009

Must we destroy the environment in order to save it? In the province of Ontario, the answer seems to be “yes.” This month, the Liberal provincial government of Dalton McGuinty will finish drafting its proposed Green Energy Act. The Act’s early drafts call for a big increase in renewable energy production in Ontario. Sounds nice! How do we get there? The plan contains two big elements: (1) a huge cash giveaway and (2) a brusque slap-down of local democracy. Let’s talk about local democracy first. Communities often resist wind and solar power for the simple reason that they ruin the beauty of local landscapes. When you think of wind power, for example, don’t think of the solitary turbine that overtops the CNE grounds in Toronto. To meet the goals set out in the Green Energy Act, Ontario will have to build tens of thousands of these massive turbines, linked by a vast network of electrical transmission wires. Many hundreds of these turbines are proposed for my own beloved Prince Edward County. When people in places such as Prince Edward County hear about “the environment,” they think of their environment. They think responsible stewardship means protecting what is lovely and natural. To them, it seems perverse to ruin the landscape in the name of preserving the environment. So they resist. To deal with this resistance, the Green Energy Act proposes to strip local governments of their zoning powers. (In the draft’s own words, the province will propose: “Streamlined regulatory and approvals processes that enable the rapid but prudent development of green energy projects across the province, reducing uncertainty and transaction costs to all involved.”)

Read more at Financial Post

wind turbines towering over farm

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