Friday, February 11, 2011

Ontario abandons offshore wind power plans

The provincial government has suddenly abandoned any plans to construct offshore wind projects.

Citing environmental concerns, the Liberals made the surprising announcement Friday.

While there are no renewable energy approvals for offshore wind projects anywhere in the province, the issue has been a political problem for the Liberals.

Voters in Kingston and along the Scarborough Bluffs have been vigorously opposed to constructing the offshore wind farms.

“We will be working with our U.S. neighbours to ensure that any offshore wind projects are protective of the environment,” Environment Minister John Wilkinson said in a release. “Offshore wind on freshwater lakes is a recent concept that requires a cautious approach until the science of environmental impact is clear.”

Anti-wind activists called the move an absolute victory.

Wind Concerns Ontario President John Laforet said he feels vindicated.

“I don’t think they care about the environment,” he said. “Because if they cared for it they wouldn’t be allowing on land projects either.”

Laforet said he’s watched projects go up after forests have been blasted down.

“I think what they have realized is they have unleashed hell on themselves before an election and we aren’t going away,” he said. “One side of me feels vindicated in being a volunteer in this role … but at the same time I don’t believe for a second these guys care for the environment.”

The government also said applications for offshore wind projects in the feed-in-tariff program will no longer be accepted and current applications will be suspended.

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