Review sought on offshore wind turbines

By Jonathan Sher The London Free Press

Wind farms shouldn’t be allowed offshore in Lake Huron until there is peer-reviewed research to assess risks to the lake and its shoreline, an advocacy group says.

The Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation was formed in 1998 by former conservation officials after environmental cuts by the Mike Harris-led Tory government.

But now the centre has set its sights on the push by Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals to create wind farms across the province — there have been 12 applications to build them offshore in Lake Huron.

“We felt there wasn’t enough research to understand what the implications are,” said Geoff Peach, who spent 10 years co-ordinating shoreline management for the Saugeen Valley and Maitland Valley conservation authorities.

It’s true there are offshore wind farms in Europe but those are in salt water and not subjected to the ice of the Great Lakes, he said.

“Can (wind turbines) withstand wind, waves and ice?” he said.

Peach fears that turbines will:

  • Interfere with the passage of birds and bats that tend to fly near the shore; bats elsewhere have been often killed by turbines.
  • Damage the ecology in the lake bed and along the shore.
  • Hurt sport and commercial fishing.
  • Jeopardize drinking water from leaks of lubricant fluids.

It’s not enough, said Peach, to accept the research of wind companies who want to build in the lake — all levels of government should insist on independent research that is peer reviewed.

Such research will take time, and until it’s finished, Queen’s Park shouldn’t allow wind farms in the lake, he said.

“It makes sense to slow down and catch your breath.”

The Ontario government should also commit to meaningful consultation with citizens and First Nations people especially, Peach said.

He owns a cottage along the lake but he and his professional partner, Patrick Donnelly, bring years of experience to the issue of protecting the lake and its shoreline,

Donnelly is the watershed program manager for the City of London that draws most of its water from Lake Huron, and formally worked for and advised conservation authorities along Lake Huron.

Their objection adds substance to complaints by cottagers that have emerged over the summer as they learned of the applications for wind farms.

“There’s been a groundswell of people expressing concern,” Peach said.

6 thoughts on “Review sought on offshore wind turbines

  1. To even suggest a study be made to see if these Wind Turbines may hurt wildlife, what’s wrong with the “living proof” that they harm humans?

    Why is everyone stepping around the real issues here?

    Wind Energy as it is being promoted by McGuinty and CANWEA and Pembina Institute and every other idiot is a SCAM!

    Wind Energy is not reliable.

    Wind Energy is uneconomic.

    Wind Energy harms humans and wildlife alike.

    There is no place in Ontario suitable for this fake energy scheme!

    End of story!

  2. Lake Huron at times has violent storms both wind and ice. There should be plenty of weather records and/or news accounts of past storms on Lake Huron to prove this.

    North America has some of the most violent weather in the world. Europe dosen’t have tornados and hurricanes to deal with.

    The wind turbine industry is not concerned about our weather related issues at all.

    The western end of Lake Erie,all of Lake St.Clair and the southern end of Lake Huron are right in one of the lightning capitals of the world.

    Yet none of this seems to make any difference to those who want to install wind turbines on the Great Lakes.

  3. IWTs will require thousands of kms of transmission lines across Ontario.

    We have enough trouble maintaining the lines already in place during wind & ice storms. Power is now knocked for people for hours and even days with just the lines we already have.

    With all of the additional lines needed for IWTs how long wil it take to make repairs after storms to get power restored with all of these additional down lines to repair? We could be in the dark for a long time.

    Then think about the cost of the additional repairs and who will pay for all of this folly.

  4. Exactly Barbara…what’s wrong with fixing the existing infrastructure BEFORE adding more to the mix!

    That sounds too simple for this out of control Government…………….

  5. IWTs are going to affect the average Ontario citizens by:

    1.Making some ill and others just plain very annoyed with the noise thus devaluing property prices.
    2.Cause electric bills to skyrocket.
    3.Increase the damage to the power gird with kms of additional lines down in wind and ice storms. Also lightning damage to wind turbines.

    Of course only the hicks in the stix will be affected by the noise but people in the GTA will suffer from items 2 & 3 also. They can sit in the dark along with the hicks after severe storms roll through.

  6. I am dead against having wind power on the great lakes, furthermore I’m a sport fisherman and i dont want to dodge windmills out on our waterways. It will also destroy the fish and wildlife habitat. They are killing bats on land already, the mosquitos were terrible this year. Bats eat most of them. How can you maintain these windmails in the winter on the great lakes in the winter months? Come on McGuinty, get real.

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