Inconvenient truths associated with wind turbines

Dr. Scott Petrie

by Dr. Scott Petrie, Simcoe Reformer
In his recent letter to the editor, Chris Forest, vice-president of communications for CanWEA, indicated that industrial wind turbines are safe, that they facilitate the building of a “stronger, cleaner and more sustainable energy system,” and that they are good for the economy.

I have been researching and addressing concerns associated with industrial wind turbines for the past six years and have come to the conclusion that there are many inconvenient truths that are being ignored and often-times misconstrued by wind developers and our provincial government.

I am not a medical professional but I will propose that, if Mr. Forest truly believes that industrial wind turbines do not adversely impact human health, he should consider moving himself, his family and the CanWEA Board of Directors into some of the dozens of houses vacated by citizens ailing from the effects of closely and inappropriately associated industrial wind turbines. Any suggestion that people are abandoning their biggest capital investment (their home) simply to protest against the wind industry is an insult to dozens of displaced families.

Further, the wind industry and Dalton McGuinty would have us believe that:

1. Ontario needs to increase its electrical capacity when in fact our electrical demand has declined substantially over the past 10 years.

2. Industrial wind turbines have been directly responsible for our declining use of coal when in fact our declining coal use is attributed to our reduced electrical demand, increased nuclear capacity and increased use of natural gas. Because wind is unreliable (un-schedulable) and intermittent, it will never result in the closure of coal plants in Ontario. In fact, Denmark has approximately 20,000 industrial wind turbines, has never closed a coal plant and now has the most expensive electricity in Europe.

3. Industrial wind turbines reduce carbon emissions when in fact there is evidence that the construction and operation of industrial wind turbines actually increases carbon emissions.

4. The Green Energy Act creates jobs when in fact it costs jobs largely due to skyrocketing electrical bills.

Many additional inconvenient truths include reduced property values, difficulty selling properties closely associated with wind turbines, erosion of neighbour relations, direct mortality of birds and bats (including species at risk), displacement of wildlife from critical habitats and the destruction of wildlife habitats. Further, there are no decommissioning plans/funds to remove wind turbines from private property once they have surpassed their 15-20 year life expectancy.

The provincial government is giving billions of dollars in taxpayers’ money to subsidize a private industry that has been shown to have many adverse impacts on humans and wildlife while having negligible benefits to society Fortunately, there has been a major paradigm shift in public opinion and this was clearly shown during the last provincial election when Dalton McGuinty lost every rural riding in which wind turbines had been erected and/or approved.

Dr. Scott Petrie

Executive Director, Long Point Waterfowl

Adjunct Professor, University of Western Ontario

Director at Large, Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters