Wind Farms Harvest Subsidies

By Ron Magnuson, Lomond; published at National Wind Watch

Much has been made of the potential benefits of wind power and many people get visions of rainbows and unicorns dancing between the pristine white towers when they think of wind power. The truth about the costs and benefits of wind generated electricity is somewhat different than those idealistic thoughts.

We have been subjected to a constant stream of propaganda regarding renewable energy for too long. I’m not a climate denialist – climate change is real but I’m personally tired of the rhetoric.1 Canada’s share of carbon emissions, as a share of world output, have declined from 1.8% in 2005 to 1.5 per cent in 2020. Over that same period China’s emissions have risen from 18.6 per cent in 2005 to 28.1% in 2020. In 2023 China permitted slightly more than two new coal fired plants per week. Each plant is rated at double the output of the Buffalo Plains Wind Farm. It seems tragically naïve to think projects like the one in Lomond have any meaningful impact on carbon emissions while coal fired electricity plants are being constructed at breakneck speed.

You must wonder why international companies are in such a hurry to build wind farms in Canada. The answer is simple. They’re not attracted by the wind but rather the subsidies.

Buffalo Plains will collect a guaranteed minimum price for its electricity under the Renewable Energy Program. The federal SREP program will provide grants to support the cost of construction and maintenance. The federal Accelerated Investment Incentive will allow Buffalo Plains to deduct accelerated capital costs so they pay less tax. The real plum of these subsidies will be the carbon credits Buffalo Plains will get each year.

The Pembina Institute did a study in 2019 and found that a 150 MW wind farm would receive about 17.5 million per year for the power it generates and 9.8 million per year in carbon credits. Bear in mind that carbon credits have risen substantially since 2019 and that 9.8 million would be much higher today.

The Buffalo Plains Wind Farm under construction near Lomond was developed by ABO, a German company, and subsequently sold to Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) in 2022. CIP is an investment vehicle. It’s funded by large, mainly European investors attracted to a stable subsidized rate of return. They are not saviours of the planet.

We, in Canada, through our taxation of incomes and fossil fuels, have become a great place to mine not gold or iron ore, but rather tax dollars. Only the galactically stupid would believe that this project is about carbon emissions. It’s all about subsidies.

On a personal level the Buffalo Plains Wind farm surrounds my acreage. I can’t image a life with 50 decibels of background noise so we will be forced to move from a farm that’s been in my family for over 100 years. It’s only reasonable that the value of property will be devasted since I can’t imagine anyone else would live here either.

With no compensation whatsoever from Buffalo Plains and no mechanism to seek damages we will lose a substantial amount of money on the property devaluation.

We have allowed our wind and tax dollars to be farmed by companies who couldn’t care less how much damage they create in rural Alberta.

It’s shocking to see how little value our lives have and frustrating to think I’m going to help pay for the devastation of our community with my own tax dollars.

We need to change direction on this issue and think pragmatically about the future.

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Footnotes

  1. Yes, the climate has always been changing; we’ve been in warmer periods than now. But the notion that man is causing “catastrophic” climate change is a fraudulent claim, according to a growing body of scientists. See Hot Air Behind the Wind — Editor’s note[]
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Wind Concerns is a collaboration of citizens of the Lakeland Alberta region against proposed wind turbine projects.

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