The editors of the Creemore Echo recently apologized to their readers for not providing a balanced view of the issues of industrial wind turbines (IWTs) because they had received no comments from supporters.
A local group had featured several advertisements in opposition to IWTs and had organized an information meeting. I wrote this response and would like to share it with your readers.
The silence from supporters of industrial wind turbines being erected in residential areas is, I believe, evidence that the true facts of this form of energy are starting to register with all parties.
In 2006 and 2007 I was involved in an eight-month Ontario Municipal Board hearing in Kincardine.
The proponents, who work in commercial towers in Calgary and Toronto, tried to characterise the opponents, who live and work adjacent to the sites of the proposed 400 ft. IWTs, as NIMBYs, accusing them of having no scientific evidence to support their opposition. Hearing the expert testimony of the proponent’s accoustics engineers was like listening to Humpty Dumpty’s statement to Alice in Wonderland: “When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean.” Several times throughout the hearing I was tempted to take Alice’s position and dismiss the experts as “nothing but a pack of cards.”
Time will tell with the installation in Kincardine. The board supported our dispute resolution process and also required that additional turbine locations be eliminated. Meanwhile the opponents continue to pursue scientific evidence. The Ministry of Environment has admitted the difficulty of measuring accoustics generated by IWTs. More evidence has come to light of people driven from their homes and farms by the debilitating effects of IWTs.
There may be appropriate places for IWTs, like Pincher Creek Alberta, the polders in the North Sea, and Northern Ontario, but not where they interfere with human habitation. Furthermore, the wind may be free, but it is erratic, and does not replace conventional generation. Further, there is a huge cost to installation and maintenance of IWTs, including destruction of trees, which offset carbon emissions as long as they are growing.
I see three major faults in the Ontario government’s Green Energy & Economy Act (GEA). First, it dismisses the wisdom of local government based on experience, after supporting this trend through changes to the Planning Act. Second, the Ontario government has been bowled over by the Wind Energy Lobby to the exclusion of other forms of alternative energy and third, to the exclusion of conservation of energy. The GEA was supposed to “create a culture of conservation, assisting homeowners, government, schools and industry in embracing lower energy use.” (Ontario Government May 14, 2009) We have heard nothing of conservation since George Smitherman first started blowing his horn on the wonders of wind energy. If Ontario gave similar incentives to manufacturers to update our energy-wasting technologies, we would create many more jobs, reduce a lot more carbon emissions, and have a lot more healthy and happy communities.
I look forward to the March 6 meeting at Station-on-the- Green, though I won’t be able to stay very long. Attendees won’t hear fiction, just facts.
M.J. Hutchison, Singhampton