So-called “greens” keep saying going all “renewables” wind and solar will mean prosperity and jobs. Are they right?




Wind turbine at the Nation Rise installation in Finch-Crysler-Berwick: no employee parking lots [Photo: D. Larsen for Wind Concerns Ontario]

March 2, 2023

In the February 25th edition of The North Grenville Times is an Op-Ed promoting the notion of 100-percent “renewables” and criticizing the use of natural gas, which the writer, Steve Gabell, calls “methane” for extra punch.

But there is more to consider in the whole “Net Zero” approach. We wrote a response to the column but unfortunately, the editor advised us and several other letter writers that the topic is too hot for them to give any more space to it. In an email to us, editor Brandon Mayer said if he ran all the letters on this topic, they will fill the entire paper!

Here is our response to the original column.

Letter to the Editor, North Grenville Times

February 24, 2023

Re: OpEd Methane and Renewables, February 23

If writer Steve Gabell had honestly identified himself as president of the local Green Party Constituency Association, readers would have understood that he was writing from the Green Party playbook, not as a result of research and organized thinking.

He trots out the old anti-Ford government statement that the Ontario government “recklessly” cancelled “hundreds of renewable energy contracts” which is false: what got cancelled were over-priced contracts inked by the Wynne government for small projects that would have cost Ontario ratepayer millions for more intermittent unreliable power. Several large unnecessary wind power projects were also cancelled, saving Ontario hundreds of millions in weather-dependent, out of phase with demand power.

Mr. Gabell rages against natural gas which is really used in Ontario only to meet peak demand, and he proposes instead—Green Party policy—100-percent renewables. He says renewable wind and solar are lower in cost. Not true: an independent cost analysis by Power Advisory published in 2021 shows that the costs of wind and solar power were much higher than nuclear or hydro.

If Mr. Gabell were to take off his Green Party hat and do his own research he might come across eminent Canadian environmentalist professor Vaclav Smil who wrote that the notion of 100-percent renewables is “unbounded science and engineering fiction”. It is worth exploring what it would take to create an increasingly non-fossil global energy system, but rushing headlong into part-time power wind and solar won’t help.

One solution proposed is N2N, Natural Gas to Nuclear, but again, Green Party policy will not allow Mr. Gabell to even use the word “nuclear” despite Canada’s long and storied success with clean, reliable, emissions-free nuclear power technology.

The dream of “tens of thousands of jobs”? Wind power has been described as a “workerless” form of power generation. Just drive a few minutes down to the wind turbines in Crysler and look for an employee parking lot.

There isn’t one.

The dream I have is that political leaders could put aside their propaganda messaging on electricity issues and instead promote honest analysis of the best way forward. What we need is a reliable, affordable, emissions-free power grid that will improve life for everyone.

Jane Wilson

North Gower

Jane Wilson is chair of Ottawa Wind Concerns; the community group is fighting a proposal by the City of Ottawa to build as many as 700 industrial-scale wind turbines in the city’s rural areas.