Madame  Chairman,


This is a copy of the Globe and Mail Newspaper

of September 7, 2010….

.and this is a photo in that edition of

some wind turbines grouped together in a windfarm.


At a meeting with the editorial board

of the Globe and Mail Newspaper

earlier this year,

Premier Dalton McGuinty was asked

whether he would consider putting a windmill farm

in Pigeon Bay, which is in Lake Erie.


This seems to be quite a harmless question

but it was actually …somewhat loaded:


Pigeon Bay is an ecologically sensitive area of Ontario

as it is a bay of Point Pelee, in Lake Erie

and as such it is located in

an important bird migration route.


As he started to answer this question

the Premier initially launched into

an enthusiastic promotion of

his government’s recent Green Energy Act of 2009

which pays heavy government subsidies

to promote the use of alternative energy sources

such as wind  and solar power

as the province tries to move away from reliance

on coal and nuclear power.


However, about half way through his answer

the Primier paused, and considered for a moment,

and then rather candidly declared

that the newspaper editors had raised a specific issue

which he really had not thought very much about.

He confessed  to the Editors:

“I’m glad you are not sitting on  Opposition bench right now.”


Well, the Premier’s answer revealed

one of the biggest flaws

 in the government’s promotion

of the use of Wind Energy in the province

which is….. the unseemly haste

with which it has proceeded.


The Green Energy Act was conceived

with the aim of creating power…..and jobs…

as quickly as possible.


However it seems that perhaps

the legislation has been written too broadly,

as it fails to distinguish between

good projects……and bad ones.


The Pigeon Bay/Point Pelee

is an example of a bad project.


In other areas of the province,

such as Prince Edward County,

there has been significant local resistance

to the introduction of wind power

 both on land….. and  offshore.


But in the Point Pelee area,

and Leamington,  and Kingsville

which are in the southernmost part of the province,

in Essex county

the hundreds of windmills

that are appearing on local farmlands

have generally  been warmly welcomed

by the local population.


However, the proposal to put as many as

150 turbines offshore,  in Pigeon Bay,

has apparently struck a nerve.

Everybody there seems to be aware of the issue.

Many signs stating …“No turbines in our lake”

have popped up on lawns all over the region.

Objections to turbines in the lake are varied.


Some say:   (aesthetics)

wind turbines are ugly, and noisy.


Other concerns:  human health effects?

..drinking water quality,and commercial fishing.


However the biggest single source of objection

to offshore wind turbines…in Essex County

is… the effect they may  have on

bird….and bat…migration, in spring and fall.


Migration of these wildlife

is a major tourist attraction to Point Pelee….

Some 300 species of birds

pass through the region each year.


One of the notables leading the resistance

is author Margaret Atwood, as well as her husband,

both are  authors….and  avid birders.

They own a property on nearby Pelee Island.


There argument is simple:


they say that ..Turbines  have an unfortunate tendency

to make…. mincemeat ……of anything airborne.


So it doesn’t take much imagination

to figure out what happens to migrating birds and bats

when they fly through a windfarm at night

which is their usual migration time.




….Is Pigeon Bay about to become known for its

pigeon pie……rather than ecotourism?

Well, it’s a good point.

Although there are…. many proposals

for wind farms offshore…..on the Great Lakes,

none ….has so far actually been built.


So to start out by putting one

in the middle of a bird migration route

when the effects of doing so

are really not known

does not seem very sensible

if we think these wildlife populations

are important,

which we all claim to do.


In fact the only people in Essex County

who think that it’s a good idea

to put turbines in Pigeon Bay…..

is a wind energy company called….South Point,

which just happens to be

the company that stands  to make a LOT  of MONEY..

and I mean a LOT of MONEY,

due to the very generous subsidies

being paid through  the Green Energy Act

to the  wind and solar power industry.South Point first brought forward its proposal in 2006.

There was  immediate resistance by local residents,

which led to a moratorium on such projects

the Province of Ontario by 2007.


However that moratorium was lifted in 2008

followed to the introduction of the Green Energy Act of 2009,

which simultaneously …increased financial incentives,

and reduced barriers…to wind development.


One way that the Act reduced barriers

is that it….greatly reduced

 the power of municipalities

in the approvals process,

and so local citizens suddenly

had much less control

over the situation.

In June of this year,

two Essex MPP’s who are members of the Government

introduced a petition against the project

into the Ontario Legislature,

and they signed their own names to it,

rather unusual for two government members.


This seems to have had an effect:


Because, on June 25, the GO brought forth

an amendment to the Green Energy Act:

which was the 5 Km Rule:

any offshore turbines would now have to be placed

at least 5 km from the shoreline.


This new rule will certainly restrict

the Point Pelee project…

as well as a number of others

e.g. the Scarborough Bluffs proposal.


The amendment  has the effect

of making offshore wind energy development

much more expensive,

mainly by limiting the turbines to deep

rather than shallow water.


And in fact, only one or two developers,

are still said to be confident that they can proceed

with offshore proposals

in the Ontario portion of the Great Lakes.


One of these which remains confident

is the Trillium Wind Power development

of 130 turbines offshore

of Main Duck Island in Lake Ontario.

Interestingly,  the Ontario Minister of Energy,

Mr. Brad Duguid,

now says that he does NOT think

that development of offshore wind energy

is critical to energy supply in the Province of Ontario.


Which takes us back to where we started,

and that is, why did the Government

open the door to the possibility in the first place.


It seems that the Premier’s answer

to the newspaper editors

provides a clue:


apparently the Government ,

in its rush for alternative power

really did not give much thought

to the implications.



Madam Chairman