The WorldWatch Institute has identified Canada as one of five countries which could have all of their electricity needs met through wind generation alone.

Northwatch Comments on McLean Mountain Wind Project on Manitoulin Island, August 24th, 2009

Northwatch Comments on Approval and Permitting Requirements for Renewable Energy Projects, July 24th, 2009

Northwatch Comments on Proposed Ministry of the Environment Regulations to Implement the Green Energy and  Green Economy Act, 2009

Northwatch Commments on Green Energy and Economy Act, Bill 150, April 22nd 2009

Green energy is cheaper, cleaner and more reliable

Province Pushes Ahead with Hydro and Wind Sites

Wind Power Project Northwest of Sault Ste. Marie

Ministry of Natural Resources to Make Crown Land Available for Wind Power Projects

Green energy is cheaper, cleaner and more reliable

The Ontario Liberal Party met in January for the first time since winning the Ontario election. The convention focused on the hot-button issue of electricity policy. But the most important issue -- the government's support of nuclear power -- wasn't even on the agenda. Nuclear power should be phased out by 2018. Conservation and clean renewable energy work. We should put them to work for Ontario.

There's a double standard for electricity. Rebuilding nuclear reactors at Pickering and Bruce is being unfairly pushed through in Queen's Park back rooms. Meanwhile, proposals for wind, solar and conservation are subject to a competitive bidding process. The reason is obvious: Nuclear power is too expensive and risky to compete

The cost of Ontario's nuclear electricity was last revealed in 1999 at 7.7 cents per kilowatt hour and has risen since then. Conservation, water power, wind turbines and high-efficiency natural gas plants are all cheaper, cleaner and more reliable than nukes.

Back-room connections are pushing forward the nuclear agenda. Veteran federal Liberal and cabinet minister John Manley was recruited to lead a review committee that backed restart of a second Pickering 'A' reactor. Former Ontario Liberal cabinet minister Murray Elston is head of the Canadian Nuclear Association -- Canada's nuclear industry lobby group.

Ontario Energy Minister Dwight Duncan said in July he'd restart a second reactor at the old Pickering nuclear station, shut down since 1997. The cost was $900 million, four times a 1999 estimate of $213 million and double an estimate by Manley in March. It's risen yet again to $1 billion.

The cost of all four Pickering 'A' reactors has risen from $780 million to at least $4 billion. Instead of wasting money on four old, dangerous reactors (2,000 megawatts), that could buy 4,000 megawatts of wind turbines.

In September, Duncan also announced restart of two more old reactors at the Bruce station shut down since 1995 and 1997. These are basket cases with serious technical and safety problems that will cost $3 billion to rebuild. Secret negotiations with Bruce Power (a private consortium) will guarantee windfall profits by providing fixed electricity prices for an extended period. The sweetheart deal will also continue to relieve the company of responsibility for radioactive waste management and reactor decommissioning -- a cost of over $2.3 billion for the eight Bruce reactors.

The two Bruce reactors would also need transmission lines that could be used for 2,000 MW of new wind turbines on the Lake Huron coast.

And Premier Dalton McGuinty and Duncan have repeatedly said they do not rule out new nuclear plants. These would either duplicate the old, expensive CANDU technology, or would gamble on a new untested, high-risk reactor design. The last nuclear plant built in Canada, the Darlington station east of Oshawa, cost a staggering $14.3 billion.

The government has set the stage for a nuclear revival at Ontario Power Generation by last month appointing three former nuclear industry executives to the board of directors. Nuclear power isn't "clean". It has cancer-causing emissions and has created 30,000 tonnes of radioactive waste in Ontario that will be deadly for hundreds of thousands of years. Repeated reactor problems increased use of coal plants, dramatically worsening acid rain and smog since 1995. The McGuinty government blames the nuclear disaster on bad management. That excuse is wearing thin. Ontario Hydro said that in 1997 as it shut down eight of 20 reactors because of performance and safety problems, the biggest nuclear shutdown in world history.

It's time to wake up and feel the radiation. The problem is the technology. Like cars, nuclear plants break down when they get older. Ontario's nuclear plants will either have to be shut down or rebuilt as they reach the end of their lives between 2008 and 2018 at a likely cost of over $17 billion. Phaseout is the logical choice

The McGuinty government is only giving lip-service to renewable energy with a paltry target of 2,700 megawatts by 2010, and a similar amount of conservation.

The Liberal Party convention supported paying a premium for clean energy. The government should pay attention to its members and support that. Green energy is cheaper, cleaner, safer and more reliable than nuclear power. It's time for new clear thinking, not nuclear thinking at Queen's Park.

David Martin is energy co-ordinator of Greenpeace Canada. Reprinted with permission.

Northwatch News, Winter / Spring 2005

Province Pushes Ahead with Hydro and Wind Sites

Last November, the government called for Expressions of Interest to identify potential waterpower sites. In early March, the Ministry of Natrual Resources announced that fifty-seven applications were received of which 18 sites have been approved as appropriate for development.

Three of the 18 sites are in northeastern Ontario. They are on the Grassy River near Timmins, Fourbass Lake near Temagami, and the Wanapitei River near Eastaire. The successful proponents will now have 120 days to submit their development proposals for those sites to the Ministry of Natural Resources.

The sites selected have potential for producing between 200 and 300 megawatts of hydroelectric energy.

Minister of Natural Resources David Rasmsay also announced a six month windo of opportunity, starting April 1, for companies or individuals to submit proposals for sites for wind power development on Crown land. This follows approval in January of applications from 16 private companies to assess wind power potential on 21 CRown land sites.

Contact the nearest district office of the MNR for environmental assessment details.

Northwatch News, Winter / Spring 2005

Wind Power Project Northwest of Sault Ste. Marie

A federal environmental assessment is underway of a wind power project, northwest of Sault Ste. Marie in Prince, Pennefather, and Dennis Townships. The Prince Wind Power Project is being developed by Superior Wind Energy Inc., which is 51% owned by Brascan Corp.

The project will consist of 111 to 134 wind turbines situated on 22,000 acres, each with a 1.5 to 1.8 megawatt (MW) capacity, for a total installed capacity of 200 MW. The project will be constructed in two phases of 100 MW each, with 55 to 67 turbines per phase. Turbine height will be between 75 - 85 metres. The scope of the project includes the construction, operation and decommissioning of the wind park and related activities, such as access roads, transmission lines, and stream crossings associated with the access  roads and laying of transmission cables.

A federal EA is required because Natural Resources Canada may provide financial assistance. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans is also participating. According to Superior Wind Energy, the first phase of environmental studies has been completed covering resident / migrating birds, fish and sensitive species, archeological values and fauna, with no major issues identified to date.

For information about the federal EA, contact Eric  Advokaat at 416 952-1585 or

Northwatch News Spring 2004

Ministry of Natural Resources to Make Crown Land Available for Wind Power Projects

A policy that directs how the Ministry of Natural Resources will make Crown Land available for wind power development was released last month.

The 11 page policy is motivated, according to the posting on the Environmental Bill of Rights electronic registry, by the Province's interest in promoting wind power development and an acknowledgement that commercial scale wind farms have the potential to occupy large areas of Crown land, including the beds of the Great Lakes. Commercially viable wind farm sites are generally known to be located along the north shore of Lake Superior, the James Bay lowlands and off-shore in the Great Lakes, with most of these sites on Crown lands. The policy is specific to Crown land and primarily addresses the process of allocation, tenure, pricing and environmental assessment review.

Applications for site release for exploration (the "options" period) will be subject to the screening process set out in MNR's Class Environmental Assessment for Resource Stewardship and Facilities Development Projects, and proponents will be required to develop and implement a "plan of stakeholder consultation and research to assess the impacts of the wind testing project". If requirements are met, a Land Use permit may be issued to allow exploration of a site's wind potential. Applications for final allocation (the "lease" period) will have to meet the environmental assessment requirements of the Class Environmental Assessment for Electricity Projects and complete a Plan of Development. Based on those requirements being met, a decision will made by the Ministry of Natural Resources on the issuance of a Crown Lease. If a lease is issued, construction of the wind turbines and related infrastructure can commence. Related infrastructure, such as roads and power lines, will require separate land grants.

Site release applications for "a small scale self supply applicant" will be processed through existing MNR disposition policy and procedures. A threshold of 1 MW or less is defined as small scale self supply. A small scale self supply system is one that would "meet the energy requirements of an individual dwelling, farm or cluster thereof". This system is a non grid connected system, allowing for net metering but excluding the third party sale of electricity.

.The Policy and related Procedure will be reviewed annually, given the newness of the industry, to ensure that the documents reflect the best interests of the Province and other changes which may occur in the broader government energy portfolio.

The Wind Power Policy can be viewed at

Northwatch News, Spring 2004