Cleanfield Cited by Ontario Centres of Excellence as a “Success” Story

By Paul Gipe

There’s no better example of ignorance, hype, and hubris by people with more money at their disposal than their knowledge of energy when the government of Ontario funded Cleanfield Energy, a small local VAWT manufacturer.

On 12 May 2009, the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) hosted a seminar touting its success at funding “innovation” in the Canadian province of Ontario. They singled out Cleanfield Energy as one of their “success stories.”

I don’t remember whether I was present at this particular event or not. I was in Ontario at the time and I do remember being at one such event where I sat quietly fuming about the waste of scarce Ontario dollars on this product and its promoters until my chance at the podium. I wasted no time in pointing out—politely—that this “success” was not so, and the whole venture a waste of money.

I also remember seeing a number of out-of-work Tory politicians at the event who had landed cushy jobs at OCE. The impression I came away with was that OCE was a well-paid landing pad for Progressive Conservative Party politicians until the next election when they hoped to return to the provincial assembly.

To sum up, the development of the Cleanfield VAWT was not a success it was a failure and the money invested by the people of Ontario wasted. That was money that could have been spent on something useful.

The investment by OCE in Cleanfield granted the company stature and credibility that it could then use to raise more money from uninformed investors, sell more turbines to unsophisticated buyers, and install more turbines on rooftops in Ontario than otherwise would have been possible if they hadn’t funded it. The turbines would then stand idle, non-operative, until they were eventually removed, often years later.

Success Stories Showcase: Ontario Centres of Excellence presentation 11-12 May 2009, agenda