Green leader slams nuclear reliance

SUDBURY, ONTARIO - The province should end its heavy reliance on nuclear energy, said Frank de Jong, leader of the Green Party of Ontario.

De Jong, with his deputy leader Judy Smith Torrie, were visiting Greater Sudbury on the weekend as part of a northern Ontario tour focusing on a green jobs campaign.

He praises the Ontario government's new draft Green Energy Act, but slams the province's use of nuclear power.

“They back it (nuclear power) far more than green power, which we support. The nuclear budget is $40 billion, while renewable projects only get a couple hundred million dollars (in support).

"So its (policy is) way out of whack. The Green Party feels that if we had true cost pricing for electricity, matching what other jurisdictions pay, then Ontarians would be encouraged to conserve.

For example, New York State gets double the GDP per unit of electricity that we do,” said de Jong.

“Nuclear power does not benefit Northern Ontario,” said de Jong. He said his party favoured a made-in-the north energy strategy which harnesses the north's advantages in wind resources, small scale water power, biofuels and solar energy.

“The number one issue in the north are jobs. The north needs to have a self-reliant energy system. That will provide jobs the north needs,” he said.

“If Ontario moves towards renewable energy, like wind energy, there are multiple benefits for northern Ontario, especially for Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury. These turbines use steel and stainless steel that has nickel in it. These are important elements of wind turbines. Green transportation means that in Thunder Bay, Bombardier is producing rail cars which are shipped all over North America,” he said.

According to the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CANWEA), a typical large wind turbine uses the following:

• the nacelle or housing of the turbine requires approximately 55 tonnes of steel and approximately 55 kg of stainless steel;

• the hub of the rotor of the turbine requires approximately 12 tonnes of steel and 50 kg of stainless steelworker;

• the tower support system of the turbine requires 160 tonnes of steel and 50 kg of stainless.

De Jong said he was supportive of Ontario's proposed feed-in tariff, North America's first attempt to encourage the development of renewable energy from a diverse range of producers from homeowners to community groups and commercial developers.

A feed-in tariff guarantees a price for green electricity over a long-term contract. That helps to defray the higher initial cost of green energy. The new policy was announced just recently by the provincial government.

“We are supportive of the feed-in process. But it is the reliance on nuclear power we don't agree with.”

De Jong and Torrie will visit Sault Ste Marie next. Their eight-day tour wraps up after visiting Wawa, Thunder Bay, Moosonee and North Bay.


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