Thursday, 26 January 2012

Truthiness isn't good enough




Enterprise Bulletin
Letter to the Editor
Robert Knox
January 24, 2012

“TRUTHINESS” ISN’T GOOD ENOUGH

Things were a little tense in the Knox household when my wife read Kevin Elwood’s letter published in Friday’s (January 20) Enterprise Bulletin. Kate wanted to leave immediately for St Lucia so we could start spending the money that Mr. Elwood says I am earning from wind turbines.
Unfortunately, I had to tell her that Mr. Elwood just made that up.
I have no financial interest in any wind project. Never have. Other than receiving some remuneration for work done on wind turbine development in the last 10 years, I haven’t received a dollar from wind turbines.
Too bad. Investing in new, clean, renewable energy and helping farmers use their land for this purpose is sensible and commendable. I just don’t have the financial resources to do it.
But I contribute in other ways such as writing letters - pro bono by the way - debunking what wind opponents say about wind turbines.
Wind opponents say lots of things that are inaccurate, not true or sound true but aren’t. In other words, they indulge in “truthiness”.
Most of what Mr. Elwood says in his letter is in this category.
Mr. Elwood says that two colleagues and I established Chinodin Wind Power in 2002 to do the initial development work for what eventually became Canadian Hydro Developers’ Melancthon/Amaranth project. This is true and we are proud of it.
We sold the Melancthon and the Plateau projects because we didn’t have the financial resources, experience, and expertise to complete large projects.
Mr. Elwood says wind projects are subsidized. They aren’t. They are financed through 20 year power purchase agreements. People pay for the power they consume.
Wind turbines aren’t a disaster. They produced 2.6% of Ontario’s electricity in 2011. Ontario’s Independent Electricity Systems Operator (IESO) says that wind generators are playing an increasingly important role in meeting demand for electricity.
Wind turbines will provide 5% of Ontario’s electricity needs in the next few years. How and why would this create an “economic catastrophe” as Mr. Elwood says? This statement is beyond “truthy”. It is unbelievable.
As long as wind opponents keep saying things like this, I will keep correcting the record.
Mind you, the editor may decide that EB readers have had enough of this dialogue and cut us off.
Not a bad idea.

Robert Knox,
Collingwood

And here's the letter that kicked this off:

WHAT'S WITH LETTER WRITER AND TURBINES?

I have read the recent letter exchanges between Robert Knox and local residents raising their concerns over wind turbine developments proposed in their communities with interest. I began to wonder, why is Mr Knox so quick to refute any opposition to wind turbines? What's in it for him?
So, just as I did when I learned of wind turbines being proposed on land adjoining to mine, I did some research. Well it is very obvious why Mr Knox is pro wind turbine. Turns out he is the forefather of wind turbines in the province of Ontario.
Robert Knox was a principal in Chinodin Wind Power. This is the company that initially signed up landowners for the Shel­burne wind turbines now owned by Transalta. Chinodin sold the leases to Canadian Hydro Devel­opers in 2004 for profit. Mr Knox then went on to sign land owners and initiate the Maxwell Wind Farm under Chinodin's name. This project, too, was sold to IPC for money.
Anyone can quickly see why Mr Knox is quick to defend tur­bines.
This just once again proves what I have learned to be the sole interest of all persons par­ticipating in wind turbine devel­opments: making money and lots of it. Not protecting our environment or contributing to our economy they all go on about.
Everyone is now learning that this grossly over-subsidised industry is not sustainable or a reliable replacement for present power generation and then to top it all off it is very invasive to the communities it is developed in.
Ontario's Green Energy Act and wind turbines are a disaster without a disaster and leading us to an economic catastrophe in Ontario.
So Mr Knox... drop your attack on great people like Lorrie Gillis, the board of the Collingwood Regional Airport, and others who are standing up and pro­tecting the communities they live in and the economies they support.
It takes a healthy sustainable economy to support the protec­tion of the environment. We are spending our hard earned after tax dollars to do so with no hope of earning profit.
Looks to me like that's what's in turbines for you!
KEVIN ELWOOD
Commercial Pilot and Nursery
Grower
Clearview Township


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