Liberals eye wind farms in Ontario
By Caroline Mallan
The Toronto Star
Just one day before electricity prices are set to rise
in Ontario, the province is announcing that it will open
up crown land for the creation of wind farms.
Natural Resources Minister David Ramsay will use the
lone wind turbine at Toronto's Exhibition Place as a backdrop
for an announcement that provincially owned lands around
the province could house wind farms as early as 2005.
The Liberal government has vowed to shut down the province's
coal-fired plants by 2007 and to encourage increased reliance
on both wind power and hydro by harnessing more of Ontario's
"This government is committed to phasing out coal-fired
electricity generating plants and developing clean, renewable
domestic energy sources," a senior Liberal said of
It is expected that the most of the crown land used for
wind power will be on the north shore of Lake Superior
and offshore in the Great Lakes.
Other parts of the province that are candidates for wind
farms include crown land outside of Sault Ste. Marie,
Windsor, Sarnia, Chatham, Hamilton and Belleville.
The province wants to build about 3,000 megawatts' worth
of wind power generation on crown lands. The plan might
run into community opposition after one planned wind farm
in Prince Edward Country in eastern Ontario ran in vocal
objections from local residents who see the massive wind
turbines as an eyesore on the horizon.
The government will also float a plan today inviting
private companies and other groups to make proposals for
harnessing waterways on crown land.
That move will be subjected to an environmental assessment.
The Liberals campaigned in the last election on pursuing
alternativeenergy and to expand hydro generation capacity
at Niagara Falls with the addition of a third generating
Energy Minister Dwight Duncan announced in November that
the cap of 4.3 cents a kilowatt hour on electricity prices
was not sustainable and would have to rise so that consumers
pay more of the actual cost of the energy they use.
As a result, effective tomorrow, prices will rise to
4.7 cents a kilowatt hour for the first 750 hours of energy
used by a household, and to 5.5 cents for electricity
used after that.
The average bill is expected to go up 6 to 10 per cent.
Without the price hike, Duncan argued, the province would
be forced to continue to subsidize the price of hydro
by more than $800 million a year - a price tag that Premier
Dalton McGuinty said was unrealistic given the deficit
facing the government.