Comments on Tim Matheson’s letter to the editor

Owen Sound Sun Times
Mr. Matheson’s Utopia
Wouldn’t it be great to live in the kind of Utopia that Tim Matheson describes in his letter “We should be proud of the contributions to clean energy that we can make here.” (Sun Times, July 28). Mr. Matheson makes living among industrial wind turbines sound like a fairytale existence, where little children play happily and lambs gambol in the shade of these giant towers under a perpetual blue sky.

Unfortunately for us, he got it all wrong.

Perhaps if he lived very close to industrial wind turbines, or did a little research outside of the promotional material provided by wind developers, he would better equipped to speak.

And what is this term “windmill”? Surely, wind turbines have been around long enough that we know that they are not windmills. A windmill is used to pump water while a wind turbine generates electricity.

The other misnomer is “wind farm.” These installations are not wind farms, they are wind factories. It is amusing to note the nomenclature used by the wind industry – they use these gentle words to try to make industrial wind turbines sound as though they are gentle, and clean and green. They are not!

Mr. Matheson’s contention that property values are not decreased by proximity to industrial wind turbines is somewhat astounding. Not only are there published studies showing a decrease in the selling price from anywhere between 20- to 40-percent of the asking price, there are documented instances of properties in the vicinity of industrial wind turbine installations that cannot be sold at any price. In fact, in some areas, the wind turbine development company has bought out property owners and silenced them from speaking out. Why would that be, do you think? Doesn’t sound like Utopia to me.

Where I live, real estate agents have no compunction in telling us that they are losing sales because potential buyers want guarantees that there will be no industrial wind turbines located here. We are, after all, living in a very beautiful part of Ontario, parts of which have been classified as a World Biosphere Reserve, and our major economy is tourism based.

As for Mr. Matheson’s allusion to there being no ill-health effects from living in close proximity to wind turbine installations, come on! Who is he kidding? Again, documented facts exist that show some people do suffer severe health defects from living next to these 500-foot towers. Some people can die from bee stings – others suffer a slight soreness around the sting. Let us at least acknowledge that people who are complaining are not liars, nor malingerers.

On one aspect of Mr. Matheson’s letter I wholeheartedly agree. And that is his observation that politics are involved. Yes, Mr. Matheson, politics are involved – but guess who gets to benefit the most? If you said the wind industry, you’d be right. It was the wind industry that played a major role in assisting the Ontario government to develop the Green Energy Act, as Mr. Matheson well knows, since he is on record as making a deputation to the government committee that was working on policy development for the Act. In addition, the wind industry, and its supporters receive handsome government handouts each year to allow them to lobby the government and to place their expensive ads on national tv and in major news outlets.

I also agree with Mr. Matheson’s statement that he trusts readers want whatever is best for their community, and for the planet. I couldn’t agree more. Where we differ is on what is “best”. We believe that our community will not benefit by becoming home to hundreds of industrial wind turbines. We believe such installations will destroy the community cohesiveness we now have, and have a disastrous effect on our tourism economy.

Yes…we want what’s best for our planet – it’s the only one we’ve got, but it has become more and more obvious that it won’t be industrial wind turbines that save us. There is only one reason that wind power should exist on a large scale as a source of conventional energy. That reason is to reduce C02 emissions. The sad fact is, wind power does not reduce C02 emissions. In fact, they encourage more emissions. Due to the unreliability of wind power, conventional electricity plants must be put on standby in order for us to make breakfast when the wind doesn’t blow. When the conventional plants are idling, they emit more C02. It’s a well-known fact.

And does Mr. Matheson really think that when we have a landscape full of 500 foot industrial wind turbines, he will not also see a landscape full of transmission lines, telecommunication towers, smokestacks, and land laying fallow’, and factory farms where forests and wetlands used to be? Because he will. And there will be more of them.

Governments are pouring billions into subsidizing wind energy, which even they have now realized is inefficient and costly. Someday, hopefully, they will help to achieve Mr. Matheson’s Utopia by pouring those billions into researching new forms of energy that are truly green and actually work.

Shirley Dallison, Lion’s Head


Wind energy is a dead loss to Ontarians

It is ironic that Tim Matheson talks of politics when people such as Mr. Matheson are part of the most successful lobbying campaign in Ontario’s history. Mr. Matheson also alludes that the anti-wind people are profiting from their stance when he and others like him are clearly profiting from wind farms. Let’s summarize some of the negatives of wind energy:

  • Wind disturbs the environment.
  • Destroys aesthetically pleasing landscapes.
  • Affects some people’s health.
  • Costs many times more than conventional power.
  • Other generation must be built to back it up at great cost since wind does not always blow. This also greatly increases costs.
  • New transmission must be built to accommodate often remote wind farms.
  • Can cause reliability problems leading to brownouts, blackouts and system instability due to its’ extremely variable output.
  • Wind farms decrease real estate values.
  • Wind is not clean.

The last point is very important since this is reason for wind in the first place. Let me explain.

The power system must provide exactly what is needed by Ontarians instantaneously all the time. Wind is quite variably and, therefore, so is wind power. The difference that is left by wind’s variability is mainly backed up by gas and coal fired generators.

These generators emit a lot more pollution when they power up and down following wind than when they are relatively stable in a no wind power scenario. The amount of emissions abated by the use of wind farms has either been quite small or, in some cases, has caused more total emissions than a no wind energy situation. This has been confirmed by studies performed by engineering firms such as Bentek Energy.

The answer to CO2 emissions may be blowing in the wind, but wind power is not the answer. I retired from the Independent Electricity System Operator after 30 years in the power industry and currently reside in Williamsford Ontario. I have no affiliation with a political party, corporation or organization as Mr. Matheson has strongly accused of others. I have on the other hand spoken at the bequest of Wind Concerns and individual citizens since I believe that wind energy is a dead loss to Ontarians.

Rick Coates, Williamsford


Supporters of Industrial Wind Turbines are Misinformed

In response to Tim Mathesons letter. His closing was “I trust that most of your readers want whatever is best for their community and what is best for the planet. Surely we all have that in common.

We would be wise, then, to take our time, get our facts straight and keep a friendly, open dialogue going for the next few years.

It would be too bad if our common interests were to get bushwhacked by mean-spirited corporate agenda and the kind of fear-mongering Mr. Irwin has propagated with his recent letter.”

Is it best for a community to want to impose Industrial Wind turbines on their neighbours when the very contract the landowners sign contains this clause?

The clause is in the Preneal lease contract.

Prenel is the wind turbine company who want to put wind turbines on the bruce peninsula.

“Preneal: in 6.1.7 Waiver of rights to object:  the Lessor acknowledges that certain aspects inherent to the operation of the Leasehold Improvements may result in some nuisance, such as visual impacts, increased noise levels and other possible effects arising from the construction, existence or operation of the Leasehold Improvements, including, without limitation, interference w3ith radio, television, telephone, mobile telephones or other electronic devices. The Lessee with use commercially reasonable efforts to minimize adverse impact on the Lessor, and will comply in all material respects with any regulations pertaining to, the permitting of and design, of the Leasehold Improvements. The Lessor understands, and has been informed by the Lessee, that Leasehold Improvements on the Property, the Holding or the Wind Farm may result in some nuisance and the LESSOR HEREBY ACCEPTS SUCH NUISANCE AND HEREBY WAIVES ANY RIGHT THE LESSOR MAY HAVE TO OBJECT TO SUCH NUISANCE OR THE WIND FARM.”

Does that clause sound like it would benefit our common interest? I believe the misinformed supporters of Industrial Wind Turbines need to look further than the feed in tariffs. Being a good neighbour is not littering our beautiful Bruce Peninsula with unreliable, inefficient and over rated Industrial Wind Turbines.

Lynn Szymezko

25 thoughts on “Comments on Tim Matheson’s letter to the editor

  1. Good Point!
    But, not good for the Lessor.
    This demonstrates the proponent(s) aware of the law of nuisance.

    Subject: Renewable energy approvals and the Green Energy Act

    “The Lessor understands, and has been informed by the Lessee, that Leasehold Improvements on the Property, the Holding or the Wind Farm may result in some nuisance and the LESSOR HEREBY ACCEPTS SUCH NUISANCE AND HEREBY WAIVES ANY RIGHT THE LESSOR MAY HAVE TO OBJECT TO SUCH NUISANCE OR THE WIND FARM.”

    “This rapid change in rules is bitterly resented by some. About 40 municipalities have already passed resolutions opposing large wind projects on their territory, even though (or perhaps because) they know these resolutions have no legal effect. Some lawyers argue that municipalities still have power to block unpopular wind turbines. They point to broad municipal powers to regulate a “nuisance”, to the greater deference municipalities now receive from the courts, and to the absence of anything in the GEA about the law of nuisance. This notable omission was contrary to the advice of the Ontario Bar Association, and could create problems for renewable energy proponents. But the province could block all such municipal efforts with regulations under s. 5 of the GEA, comparable to the regulation now used to protect certain clotheslines from private and municipal controls” [Diane Saxe, 2010].

  2. Brilliant, succinct commentaries in your letters to the editor, Shirley Dallison and Lynn Szymezko.

    Would you consider sending these to your MPP, the MoE, the Financial Post and the Globe and Mail. Your letters deserve to be read by everyone within 550 metres of anyone who has anything to do with IWTs.

  3. What exactly is Tim Matheson’s connection with the proponents? Is he receiving payment from them? Otherwise why would he take such a stand on the issue and have so many facts wrong?

    • You don’t want to miss this – it’s revealing! – I mean [I don’t know what I mean].
      It’s stunning! – It leaves you speechless………….

      In some instances, PRENEAL launches its own EA’s even if it is not required by law.

      ………’only in some cases’ – stunning!
      What happens to the other cases?

      Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

      • It’s very fortunate that you brought this situation to the attention of Ontarians.

  4. Currently, the OPA retains the rights to the environmental attributes (EAs — carbon credits, etc.) associated with output from its contracted projects. This means they can’t be sold twice. There is one green energy company that’s been successful in securing credits from non-OPA output but even their supply must be drying up.

    The OPA recently had a very stealthy, so-called consultation and call for ideas and interest on the sale of EAs. They likely found that third parties would be happy to buy the EAs for a pittance — relative to what the OPA is effectively paying for them. The idea was therefore inane and so it has or will probably die a quiet death.

Comments are closed.