Monday, 5 September 2011

Response to Peter Gillis


August 31, 2011

It seems that the Ontario Highlands Friends of Wind Power’s ad that appeared in your paper two weeks ago has provoked wind opponents to new levels of outrage and hyperbole.

In his letter, Peter Gillis talks about “tax grabs” and “industrial wind tax subsidy troughs.” It is colourful language but meaningless because Mr. Gillis doesn’t know what he is talking about.

Here are the facts.

Wind power generators receive no tax dollars. Let me repeat that - wind power generators receive no tax dollars.

The Ontario Power Authority (OPA) contracts to buy power from generators. If the generators don’t produce power that OPA buys and sells to consumers, then they don’t earn any money The generators invest their money and take the risk that they have calculated the strength of the wind and other things that may limit the power they produce.

Power users pay for the power only if they receive it.

There is no difference between the OPA contracting to buy gas powered electricity (at 11¢/kWh) or wind powered electricity (at 8.5 to 13.5¢/kWh). This is the cost to generate power from the units being built to replace obsolete coal units. It will be even higher when it comes time to pay for the new nuclear units.

Mr. Gillis also implies that people who support wind power destroy signs, shoot mail boxes and harass wind opponents. This is a serious allegation. Presumably, Mr. Gillis has evidence that it is true. If not he should be careful what he says.

We understand that someone recently shot at Mr. Gillis’s mail box. This information is on the Municipality of Grey Highlands public record.

We know how that feels. Someone took a shot gun to a colleague’s mailbox three or four years ago. This is more than mindless vandalism. It feels like a threat and it should not happen to anyone. My colleague had no reason to assume wind opponents were responsible for this vandalism. Neither should Mr. Gillis assume the vandalism in his case has anything to with those who support wind.

Wind opponents have harassed, intimidated, and threatened those who support wind for years, by telephone, by messages left in their mail boxes and in person.

It is standard tactics for wind opponents to disrupt information meetings by wind companies and to picket them so that folks who are legitimately interested in finding out the facts about wind are hindered.

It may be natural for Mr. Gillis to assume that people who support wind would resort to the same tactics but he would be wrong to so.

Mr. Gillis does not do our community any good by making baseless allegations. People who have been, and are being, harassed and intimidated by wind opponents know well how this feels and are unlikely to do it to others.

I will be living close to five of the Plateau turbines. I have known my neighbours for twenty years. They will also be living close to them.

After talking to many landowners in Melancthon and other municipalities with wind turbines, I have no concerns for our health or our property values and neither do my neighbours.

Contrary to Mr. Gillis’s ill-informed comments, there is no particular risk to his or his neighbours health and well being.

The taxes on wind turbines will help the community; as will the royalties received by my neighbours. Most of those royalties will be spent locally. As the old saying goes, "Give a farmer a dollar and he'll keep it circulating.”

Malcolm Hamilton

Proton Station

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