Sierra Club Blog Posts
The wind power developments in Tocco Da Casauria, a small mountain town in Italy, are an excellent example of how wind energy can be successful both in supplying reliable, clean, energy and in engaging broad community support at the same time. So how is it that wind power is so well received in this small town of about three thousand people? We can begin to explain this by explaining Tocco's economic situation, ample natural endowments of wind, as well as by exploring how benefits are reaped for the entire community from profits from wind power.
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On Wednesday November 17th I had the opportunity to observe a public meeting/information session hosted by International Power Canada (IPC) for their proposed Silcote Corners Wind Project near Owen Sound. As I anticipated, there was a strong WCO presence and they certainly didn’t sit on the sidelines and watch. Before I get into what WCO did at the meetings I should first describe how the meetings were set up as this undoubtedly influenced how the protests proceeded. ... Read more »
Last week the CBC reported that polar bears near Churchill, Manitoba are going hungry because Hudson Bay is over a month late freezing over this year. The bears hunt at the edge of the ice; the climate is changing. Think of polar bears as giant canaries - the miners’ early warning system.
Also last week, Conservative senators used a surprise dirty trick to defeat the Climate Change Accountability Act – a private members bill twice passed by elected MPs. The bill would have required the government to base its emission reduction plan on science.
Why can't we get action on climate change? In every poll done over the last five years, an overwhelming majority of Canadians are in support of climate action. In the last election, 68% of voters voted for parties with plans to take significant steps to address this issue. The last pollster even told me we have the best numbers she’s ever seen for a public issue.
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Wind Concerns Ontario has vocally opposed the Ontario government’s Green Energy and Economy Act (GEA) for several reasons. They argue that the GEA is too expensive (both as a taxpayer funded program and as a factor in increasing household energy bills), gives wind energy an unfair advantage in the energy market, and that this “unfair advantage” hides apparent flaws in wind technology. Moreover, the GEA is strongly criticized for eliminating municipal control over wind power projects. Here are a couple of quotes from the Wind Concerns Ontario site that explain this position well.... Read more »
In the last few weeks Ontario’s provincial politics have gained significant media attention. With elections less than a year away, and Liberal support showing signs of weakening, significant attention has been given to the talking points of Premier Dalton McGuinty and the new Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak. Energy issues were consistently part of their discourse. Interestingly, it appears that the Progressive Conservative party has aligned itself with many of the anti-wind assertions made by WCO. Hudak has pledged to scrap the Feed-In Tariff program introduced in 2009 that subsidized green energy development by guaranteeing premium per kilowatt-hour prices for green sources of energy. McGuity was on the defensive, citing the huge increase in green energy produced, and planned for the near future, as a direct result of the green energy act, as well as, economic progress in the green energy sector. ... Read more »
Last week I attended a workshop on hydro fracturing shale formations to release natural gas deposits. This is a relatively new method that has taken off like wildfire in the United States and Canada. It has come on so fast that it has caught most of us off guard.
The process involves drilling deep underground—down, then horizontally—and then pumping millions of gallons of water, sand, and chemicals into a well under tremendous pressure. This pressure fractures the gas bearing shale opening seams, for gas to flow into the well.
Northeast British Columbia (about 13 hours from Vancouver) was a remote area supporting loggers, farmers, and First Nations until a few years ago when fracturing came north.
Lonely rural roads have suddenly become truck-heavy highways as Encana and other companies move thousands of tonnes of equipment, and most concerning, millions of gallons of water.
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Wind Concerns Ontario- NIMBY or Not?
Project planners, developers, politicians, and environmentalists all use the NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) instrument to characterize negative public sentiment towards projects that serve a broader positive social function, yet encounter significant backlash from the people whose ‘backyard’ is being developed. The question then is, is Wind Concerns Ontario a NIMBY organization? Before getting into this I will give a quick example to help illustrate the NIMBY device for those of you who are not familiar with it.... Read more »
Wind Concerns Ontario (WCO) has emerged as the foremost anti-wind power development organization in Ontario. Their platform against wind power rests on five fundamental arguments which are: concerns regarding health risks associated with living near wind farm development, environmental degradation through bird and bat kills, development on sensitive habitats etc., lowered property values, lack of meaningful community consultation in the development process, and criticisms of wind technology as a viable energy option.... Read more »
Once again Europeans are rising up in support of shutting down the Canadian tar sands.
UXBRIDGE. ONTARIO - I am proud to announce tomorrow (September 18th) International "Stop the Tar Sands!" Day will hit Paris and Vienna! France is heavily invested in the tar sands through their banks (Societe Generale and BNP Paribas) and the French oil company Total Oil. Austria on the other hand has no direct connection to the tar sands. Nonetheless, people of both countries are slowly recognizing even though tar sands development is isolated to northern Alberta it is something that effects us all no matter where we live. I wish both Paris and Vienna the greatest of success for tomorrow. Have fun too!... Read more »