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Higher electricity bills, manufacturing being driven away, social costs of huge wind power plants

Shoreline Beacon, February 8, 2016

By Jim Merriam

Premier Kathleen Wynne (Antonella Artuso/Toronto Sun)

Photo Toronto Sun

It’s to be hoped the Fraser Institute didn’t spend much money on its recent study of the fiscal performance of Canada’s premiers.

Every resident of Ontario able to sit up and take nourishment — probably including Wiarton Willie last week — has known the study’s conclusion for a long time: Premier Kathleen Wynne is doing a lousy job of managing Ontario’s economy.

Wynne, with the help of her predecessor Dalton McGuinty, has reduced Ontario from a powerhouse to an empty house.

On almost every file Wynne’s government is found wanting if not severely under water, to borrow a phrase from the mortgage industry.

The worst is energy. The cost of power in the province has forced industries to close and some families to choose between heat and groceries.

A columnist in a Toronto newspaper recently suggested the heat-vs.-food statement is an exaggeration. He should spend a few minutes listening to clients at food banks in rural areas. But I digress.

Much of the high cost of power is associated with renewable energy production.

A new study from the University of Ottawa confirms what we’ve been saying all along: Ontario brought in wind energy with a “top-down” style that brushed off the worries of communities where the massive turbines now stand.

Stewart Fast, who headed the study, said, “It was a gold rush, basically.” Since those involved kept details secret to avoid giving their competitors an edge, residents didn’t know what their neighbours were planning.

“That is really the worst way to go about something that you know is going to have a big impact on landscape and people,” he said.

In defence of renewable energy, we keep hearing from our urban cousins how much money farmers are earning by allowing turbines on their land. Although true on the surface, there’s much more to that equation, said Jane Wilson, president of Wind Concerns Ontario.

Just one question is the impact of the presence of a turbine on the farm owner’s financing.

Read the full story here.