Sunday, 2 November 2008

biofuels and renewable energy

wind turbine
We create 75% of Ontario's power from Niagara Falls &Pickering Nuclear Generating Station, according to Ontario's energy Minister, George Smitherman.

They are determined to reduce dependence upon wind turbinecoal-fired generators, which provide about 18% of our power and tons of carbon.

The provincial Liberals campaigned on this principle.

Ontario Power Generation map shows the various stations involved in reducing our dependence on coal-fired energy and moving towards wind turbines and hydro projects, as well as generally reducing our dependence upon electricity by changing our behaviour and attitudes towards energy. One Millions Acts of Green is a good start!

Unfortunately, what is good for the province does not seem to be what locals have in mind. Those living in and around the Scarborough Bluffs are having the same problem with NIMBY as the Dambusters. A Google search brought up over 15,000 postings on the topic! The Toronto Star estimate that the proposed 60 turbines could power 50,000 homes.

John Barber, in the Globe article Not in My Backyard, part 1: Wind farms off the Scarborough Bluffs: Great Lake View. Shame About the Turbines, said, "Aesthetics over infrastructure is always a lousy bet." For our environment's sake, we have made decisions about policy. Those who built the city of Toronto care not a whit about aesthetics. The buildings are huge; they clutter the sky. How on earth does Mr. Barber feel justified making such a complaint?

We are having a similar battle here in our small town along these lines...this must just be the tip of the iceberg! There is a lot of buzz around. This protest has gone long and far! What is amusing is that Bracebridge Council are considering enhancing signage to celebrate their hydro dam and draw tourists while Bala citizens are protesting development.

I have written in my blog 5 times about this project as I tried to come to terms with the issues. There are two Facebook groups around it:
1) Save the Bala Falls & 2) Bala Falls.

The is a major website created by business owners ( in town. I call them the dambusters, who are hell-bent on not rebuilding the dam. The dam was working until 1957, when it was taken off-line because they thought it too small. In the ways of the current climate, any part helps. The Ontario Ministry is basically outsourcing such projects to bidders. There are medium, small and large private companies, like Swift River Energy, that are keen on getting involved.

Swift River Energy Ltd., who has won the contract through the Ontario Government, is having a hard time getting fair coverage through biased local media. Messages posted on-line by those in favour of the Hydro Project are deleted, and any photos posted are erased.

Things are really heating up around here!

In nearby Gravenhurst, the buildings crowd the shoreline and the beautiful view has been covered up. The new buildings (Grace & Speed; condo developments) obstruct the view. But this, apparently, is progress.

There are many stakeholders in such a process. They must be respected. NIMBMuskoka WharfY only reflect immediate residents and/or business owners. I am shocked with the power (excuse the pun!) such folks seem to hold over the press.


edgar said...

It is funny to me people will complain about the aesthetics of wind turbines but do not realize how damaging coal power plants are. There is no clean coal it is just less polluting coal. People should read more on wind power. Here are some good sites

Jenn Jilks said...

Thanks for the info, edgar!