Ottawa’s “Energy Evolution”: wind turbines coming to rural communities

In the fall of 2020, while most people were worrying about COVID-19, a document called Energy Evolution was presented to, and accepted by, Ottawa City Council.

It is a $57-B plan to address climate change by retrofitting buildings, requiring vehicles to be electricity-powered, and for new renewable sources of power, to get to a goal of Net Zero emissions by 2050.

Council’s acceptance of the document means it is now City policy.

It calls for 20 megawatts of wind turbines by 2025, 200 megawatts sometime thereafter, and ultimately, 3,200 megawatts of industrial-scale wind turbines.

The staff written document (except for the part about 3,200 megawatts—that was written by Pollution Probe) claims that the turbines will be 5 or 6 megawatts. At the moment, the most powerful turbines in North America are 3.4 megawatts, as seen south of us in North Stormont (Finch, Crysler, Berwick).

In the summer of 2021, councillors and staff told citizens that Ottawa had “no plans” to “install” wind turbines. Then on September 2, Councillor Scott Moffatt did an about-face and said the City will regulate turbines via zoning bylaws and “We have not got any ability to say no to wind turbines in perpetuity.”

The City completed its new Official Plan, which is now with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs for final approval. The City is working on new zoning bylaws, some of which relate to renewable energy projects.

Our position is that the City is uninformed or misled about wind power and its impacts; the City has no plans to conduct any sort of cost-benefit or impact analysis and has done no review of the Ontario wind power program (a disaster).

Industrial-scale wind turbines are an industrial use of the land and their use should not be permitted on farmland and near rural communities.

Ottawa Wind Concerns is recommending a 2-km setback between wind turbines and homes.

Read the Energy Evolution document here. Pages of note re: industrial-scale wind power are 17 and 68.