The Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) has spoken out against the Ontario Progressive Conservative (PC) Party's continued support for a private member's motion put forward by Member of Provincial Parliament Lisa Thompson, Huron-Bruce, that calls for a moratorium on wind energy development.
Those in favor of the wind energy moratorium claim that wind turbines have harmful effects on human health. However, some industry insiders have suggested that the wind power opposition may be politically motivated.
According to CanWEA, a moratorium on wind energy development would put thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in new investments at risk, and is not warranted based on the review of scientific evidence to date.
"We are keen to work with all political parties to ensure the responsible and sustainable development of wind energy in Ontario, but that dialogue must be based on fact and not misinformation spread by those opposed to clean and affordable wind energy,” says Robert Hornung, president of CanWEA.
"We are discouraged to see the PC Party of Ontario official website displaying a petition in support of a moratorium against an industry that is operating responsibly in every province of this country and 90 countries around the world,” he continues. “The wind industry here in Canada is comprised of hundreds of companies that employ thousands of people, a majority of them here in Ontario. It is disappointing to see this at a time when Ontario is being celebrated globally for ending dirty coal production and attracting clean energy investments."
CanWEA notes that the balance of scientific and medical research to date, including a report by the province's own chief medical officer of health, has found that sound produced by wind turbines does not harm human health.
In addition, several legal proceedings have reviewed expert information on wind energy and human health, and have found no justification for halting wind energy development. Health Canada is planning a study on wind energy and human health but has not sought any moratorium while the study is undertaken.
According to CanWEA, the PC Party’s website also contains incorrect information about wind energy, including the assertion that new wind development is driving up electricity rates in Ontario.
"I would encourage members of the PC Party to consult with the Ontario Energy Board, which has clearly indicated that wind energy has been only a minor contributor to recent increases in Ontario’s electricity rates,” Hornung says. “Looking forward, the PC Party is focused on the development of new electricity generation from sources that are more expensive than wind energy.
“The wind energy industry wants to work productively with all levels of government and stakeholders to ensure jobs, investments and affordable clean energy continue flowing,” he adds. “A moratorium would prevent thousands of farmers and landowners, and dozens of municipalities, from participating in Ontario's clean energy economy, ultimately hurting rural Ontario."