POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY NEIL REYNOLDS IN TORONTO'S GLOBE AND MAIL
Aesthetics are not unimportant, especially when you propose dotting the landscape with homely objects.
But I disagree with you, almost completely that only aesthetics count here.
The problem is not just aesthetic.
Windmills have serious economic problems.
They do not provide base-load (always available) electricity.
Indeed, they can sit still, generating nothing, for days at a time.
We have seen recently in other jurisdictions that very high winds can destroy windmills and that extreme winter can disable them.
At best windmills can supplement the energy mix, and a rather small supplement at that.
Already in Germany and in Britain, they have had real disappointments with the energy-generating capabilities of windmills.
Windmills also are a hazard to migrating birds, especially when huge farms are built.
And they do generate a kind of "white noise" that drives some people living near them almost crazy. This potential health problem has not been adequately examined.
McGuinty has stupidly over-invested in these inefficient monstrosities because of all the people who think anything involving wind or water is automatically "green.”
It is the same crowd who thinks the narrow and crowded streets of Toronto should all have bicycle paths, something that will only be possible when we limit the traffic going into the city, either through tolls or fees.
Gas plants are economically hazardous in any quantity because our gas supplies are dwindling, and prices will sharply rise.
No one likes nuclear right now, of course.
Clean coal generation is one of our best bets for the near-term, but I know there's no convincing the "bicycle path" crowd.
Few in the general public also seem to understand how foolish McGuinty's closing of Ontario's coal-fired plants is. Ours are among the cleaner plants, and they could be made even cleaner with not a huge investment.
Meanwhile the relatively dirty coal plants in the American Midwest - scores of them - not only continue to send their pollution to Toronto, but as McGuinty closes our plants, when he needs additional electricity - as for peak air-conditioning - he will be buying, at premium prices, from those same American stations, and he will be causing them to generate even greater pollution.
You really want to be green? Stop sending fleets of garbage trucks daily down 401 Highway taking Toronto's NIMBY trash to Michigan. And put a limit on the cars choking the city. And put a stop to hideous inefficient urban sprawl.
But politicians like McGuinty will do none of things.
No, he will continue playing a game of peanut-and-shells with our energy supply and patting himself on the back before the "bicycle path" crowd.