by Lionel Rudd, Sudbury Star Re: “Elders Express Opposition to Wind Power Plan,” by Ruth Farqhuar
It appears that Northland Power will stop at nothing to get its way to build wind farms adjacent to habitation, people and wildlife. This in an area held in great reverence by the Ojibwe people of Manitoulin Island.
In its efforts to overcome some legitimate concerns and opposition, Northland Power resorted to intimidation by calling in the OPP to attend a public meeting, fearing that some elders from the Ojibwe Nation might cause some disturbance and, through their challenges, upset the meeting.
I wonder what Northland Power expected from a few elderly and highly respected representatives from the Ojibwe Nation.
The Ojibwe People are a nation with signed legal treaties, as any other nation does with Canada. Would the same disrespect be shown to the nations of Germany, France, Ireland or Italy?
On the face of it, wind energy sounds like a great idea. The Dutch reclaimed a goodly fraction of their real estate using wind power and the some technology drained the Fen country in East Anglia in the UK. The new generation of wind turbines is unlike the picture postcard scenes
of Holland. They can be as tall as 150 metres, with a turbine blade rotor diametre of 250 meters. A lot of wind must pass through the rotor blades to turn them — several tonnes, in fact.
Wind that passes through a wind turbine starts out as a laminar flow — like the wind in your face on a windy day. But when it passes through the turbine blades, it twists into a vortex with varying pressures. It is these vortexes that deliver air pressure variations that are identifiable
and can cause an adverse reaction to around 20% of the population.
Northland Power and the wind turbine industry try and convince people that noise is the issue. A review of any high school physics book will help the reader identify what is noise and what is atmospheric air pressure — a science conveniently overlooked by the wind power industry and regulators.
Wind energy will generate electricity, but not cheaply, consistently or reliably and, without government subsidy, economically.
Look at alternatives: hydro power. Ever noticed the speed of the water current that passes through the narrows under the swing bridge at Little Current? I am sure a one meter-to-1.5- meter tube placed out of the shipping channel with a hydro turbine inside would generate consistently a significant amount of electric energy.
A similar technology captures power from the St. Mary’s River in Sault St. Marie.
Another option is conservation. Refrigerators consume a lot of electricity, especially when the heat exchange coil is dirty and the refrigerator is poorly ventilated. Go to compact florescent light bulbs and save 70% or more on your lighting electricity bill.
Better still, turn off unused appliances and unneeded lights.
There is a plant in Little Current that consumes a large amount of electric power to operate freezers and chillers. When you freeze meat or water, heat is removed, which is discharged. Waste heat from this plant could supplement the energy needs of several adjacent businesses.
Why not set up a co-generating plant in Little Current? Why should the people of Little Current and Manitoulin Island tolerate the intrusion of wind turbines to blight the countryside and cause extreme discomfort to so many people?
Time to rethink the whole energy question and see who will profit and who will benefit.
Lionel Rudd, Greater Sudbury