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Turbines on Wolfe Island: hidden costs to wind power affect electricity customers

March 2, 2020

Ontario’s fleet of wind turbines cost electricity ratepayers more than $24 million last weekend, says retired bank executive now energy commentator Parker Gallant.

That was mostly due to the fact that wind — as usual–produces power out of phase with demand, but there is a lot more to the costliness of industrial-scale or grid-scale wind turbines, as he details in a recent article here.

Some added costs of wind power or Industrial Wind Turbines (IWTs):

 

  • Increased electricity costs due to the need for duplicate power sources such as gas plants.
  • Increased surplus power which must be curtailed or sold for pennies on the dollar.
  • Increased costs due to IWT inability to generate power when actually needed.
  • Increased surplus power from IWT often means other clean sources must either spill (hydro) or steam off (nuclear) power which adds costs to our electricity bills.
  • IWT kill birds and bats, many of whom are “species at risk” meaning insects, damaging to crops, are not eaten and farmers must spray their crops with insecticides adding costs to produce.
  • IWT may affect tourism areas driving away tourists and thereby affect income to those regions.
  • IWT cause various health problems requiring our health system to respond to individuals affected, thereby adding to health care costs.
  • IWT cause property values to fall affecting the realty tax base where they operate and the value of the property should the occupants try to sell after the installation of those IWT has occurred.
  • IWT lifespan is relatively short (20 years at most) compared to traditional sources of electricity generation and when unable to perform, create costs of remediation and disposal of recyclable and non-recyclable materials they consumed when built and erected.

 

The property value loss from the North Gower project that was proposed in 2008, got a contract to generate electricity from the IESO in 2010, but ultimately failed in a reorganization of the The Feed-In Tariff program, would have been in the millions.

At the time, Ottawa Wind Concerns estimated the property value loss for homes within 3 km of the multiple turbines would have been $134 million.

The current Ontario government has pledged to reduce electricity bills by 12%, but the many expensive wind power contracts signed by the previous government will go on for more than a decade.

OTTAWA WIND CONCERNS