You can summarize the panoply of protests in the media against the Alberta Government’s six-month moratorium on renewable energy projects in one word: panic.
Much of the clamor has to do with why the province would put a pause on what critics claim is a successful industry. Nagwan Al-Guneid, the Opposition NDP’s utilities critic begged, “What are we doing? Since when does a government shut down a booming industry?”1
But booming for who? According to a University of Calgary report last October, the Alberta government gleaned $160 million from renewable energies, mostly through rising electricity rates.2 That’s pocket change compared to what the province earns from oil revenues, which form a quarter of the government’s 2023 budget.
Non-renewable resource revenue hit an all-time high of $27.5 billion. The projection for the coming year — about $18.4 billion — would be the second-highest year on record.CBC News, March 2, 2023
Moreover, rising electricity rates are certainly no boom for consumers. Alberta is set to see historic highs in electricity rates this month, due in large part to the NDP’s mishandling of Alberta’s coal plants, says Premier Danielle Smith. “This is what happens when ideology runs a power grid,” she quipped in a press conference.3 The same scenario has played out in Britain, Germany and Ontario where “going green” has created both economic and energy crises. Ontario had the highest rates in North America before Premier Doug Ford declared a moratorium on green projects there.4 All this is consistent with a working paper by economists at the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago who found that renewable mandates have raised retail prices considerably and have reduced CO2 emissions only modestly.5
And renewable energy is certainly no boom for those residents who become the unwitting hosts to these industrial projects in their backyards. Numerous real estate evaluations from both Canada and the United States reveal an average drop of property value between “20 – 40%” for those living in proximity to wind farms.6
Finally, the long-term economic question is who exactly is going to pay for decommissioning and land reclamation after these turbines stop turning and solar panels quit working? Estimates by wind corporations in the U.S. pegged decommissioning costs from $410,000 to $532,000 per turbine.7
With more than 50,000 wind turbines spinning in the United States [as of 2017], decommissioning costs are estimated at around $10 billion.Energy Central, February 21, 2017
“The so-called ‘boom’,” says Wind Concerns Editor in Chief, Mark Mallett, “is really for the energy corporations who are being enriched by taxpayer-funded federal subsidies — over $83 billion last we counted. Moreover, that wealth is continuously transferred as both conventional and renewable energy corporations sell their “carbon credits” to one another to “offset” their carbon footprint. But as numerous studies reveal,8 these transactions mean little for the environment, but big money for the industry.
“In the meantime, they’ve convinced the public that they’re saving the planet.”
A Taste of Their Own Medicine?
Of course, renewable industry experts are complaining that they were blindsided by the 6-month pause in project approvals. “It was a done deal before we had a chance to convince the minister that the industry doesn’t need a moratorium,” said Vittoria Bellissimo of the Canadian Renewable Energy Association.9 “You’re asking people to put a pause on their lives,” said Luisa Da Silva, director of Iron and Earth, a group that assists fossil fuel employees transition to the renewables industry. “You’re asking people not to work.”1
“Perhaps it’s time that the renewable energy industry walked in the shoes of those of us who have, likewise, been blindsided by news that our neighborhoods are slated to become hosts to industrial wind or solar plants — and that we have virtually no say in it,” says Mallett. “No one consulted us either while lease options were being secretly signed thereby making these projects all but certain.10 There are serious concerns not only about the economics but the long-term environmental impacts of wind and solar that, ironically, these “green” industry experts refuse to talk about. They claim to be saving the planet while they recklessly damage it. Alberta’s government is actually acknowledging these problems before they get out of control.”
The overall response to the Alberta Utility Commission’s reasonable pause on approvals is revealing, says Mallett. “This appears more about the money, not the environment. Just ask the hundreds of community groups around the globe like ours who’ve raised these concerns — whether it’s the massive destruction of bats, the sudden death of whales, the slaughter of large migratory birds, the verified harm in courts to human and animal health, or the destruction of prime agricultural land used for growing food. They’ll tell you over and over again that these valid concerns for the planet are being run roughshod.”
Environmentalists should be applauding the Alberta government’s caution in approving projects until it can ensure environmental impacts are assessed and remediation will be done. Unfortunately, they are letting ideology get in the way as they fervently support renewable energy projects without looking at the potential adverse impacts.Cory Morgan, Epoch Times, August 9, 2023
“The bottom line,” says Mallett, “is that the mistakes made by oil and gas shouldn’t be repeated. The same trampling of rural residential concerns and property rights shouldn’t continue. The same greed that drove the black gold rush should not drive the green rush. The same reckless damage to the environment shouldn’t be happening all over again. The Alberta government claims they want to move forward responsibly while listening to all stakeholders. They are refusing to let either climate change fear-mongering or greed do irreparable damage to our landscape, and we think that’s a good thing.”
“Fear and compulsion are terrible counsellors. The government just kicked them out of the room.”
- August 9, 2023, yahoo.com
- cf. calgaryherald.com
- cf. What Happens When Ideology Runs the Power Grid
- cf. https://www.fraserinstitute.org
- cf. Forbes, June 17, 2019
- cf. Property Values Gone With the Wind
- cf. americanexperiment.org
- eg. here and here
- August 3, 2023, yahoo.com
- cf. Elementary Energy Bizarrely Defiant