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Wind power is green, right? It helps keep the air clean, doesn’t it? Not according to the people suing the state of Colorado over wind power. The American Tradition Institute’s (ATI) Environmental Law Center sued the State of Colorado in federal court last week.

“We’re putting wind on trial because people don’t understand the facts behind wind,” says Director Dr. David Schnare. “We believe that if people knew how variable wind was, and how dirty it was, if they knew the wind was neither free nor clean, then they may not have government demand its use.”

“The mandate for the use of renewables has essentially caused the air to become worse and the cost to go up,” says Schnare, a former employee of the Environmental Protection Agency.

The problem, Schnare says, is wind is variable and therefore not reliable. A backup source is needed and that is invariably coal or gas-fired plants. Since the supply of power has to equal the consumption of power, the coal plant is going down and up to keep pace with the wind power going up and down.

That causes the coal plant to act like a car in busy urban traffic, which emits more pollutants than a car sailing along on a smooth highway at a constant speed. It is this reality which Schnare says causes the hoped-for positive effect of wind to be negated, at a huge financial cost to consumers.

Some people think the financial cost is worth it, but do they get the result they want?

John Laforet, president of Wind Concerns Ontario, says his group broadly supports legal action against the wind industry and governments “that provide billions of dollars to perpetuate the wind industry’s fraud.

“We’ve seen in Ontario that industrial wind energy isn’t affordable, reliable, green or safe for local host communities,” Laforet says.

“It is shocking that big wind and its supporters continue to campaign in favour of billions of dollars worth of green pork for this failed industry, that Ontarians can’t afford, without any commitment to the truth.”

John Yakabuski, Ontario PC Energy critic pounced, too, as the energy file will be key heading toward October’s election.

“Dalton McGuinty has made such a mess of the energy file in Ontario that his expensive energy experiments will cost Ontario families $732 a year more by 2015. He continues to thumb his nose at Ontario families and continues his blatant electioneering to cement his legacy of skyrocketing hydro bills by including poison pills in the FIT contracts.”

ATI, along with the Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University estimated the cost to the economy of forcing renewable energy mandates. They estimate in addition to the extra cost of energy to consumers, the cost to business would be passed along in reduced income or layoffs.

“In 2021 a 15% mandate would reduce annual wages by $227 per worker. The job losses and price increases would reduce real incomes as firms, households and governments spend more of their budgets on electricity and less on other items, such as home goods and services.”

So a higher energy bill to pay out of a lower income? Great news!

“McGuinty’s target is 13% of generation, but an installed capacity much greater than that because wind is so unreliable,” Laforet says. “It’s also going to be fossil fuel backed up, which is why it isn’t green at all.”

McGuinty’s green plan should make you see red.

Toronto Sun, 8 August 2011