By Chris Vander Doelen, The Windsor Star
…Then add it all up, he says — the dirty BTUs, the destruction of vast land areas, the failed business plan, the misallocation of tax dollars, the destruction of property values — “and one can say unequivocally that wind power is bad business and not at all green.”
It was inevitable. The environmental movement is now splitting into competing sects, each accusing the others of blasphemy.
Several of the schisms were at war in Kingsville and Leamington this past weekend when wind power developers — who consider themselves environmentalists, by the way — faced down hundreds of the kind of environmentalists bent on preserving natural views.
The second group is opposed to the first group being allowed to plant a forest of 715 massive steel towers in Lake Erie to generate wind power to “save” the environment from dirty conventional power.
The anti-windmill people cite a range of reasons they oppose the installation of off-shore turbines. Few of them hold up under close scrutiny.
For instance, some say the “toxic” sediments in Lake Erie shouldn’t be disturbed to sink foundations for the turbines. Sorry, folks, but that argument is not going to stop the offshore wind farms.
Not all Great Lakes sediments are contaminated. But those that are can safely be sucked up by vacuum dredging. That’s how contaminated sediments have been removed from the Detroit River and the St. Clair River before work is done.
Other opponents claim they’ll be able to hear the “whoosh-whoosh” of the giant blades located a kilometre off shore. I don’t know of anyone who can hear the blades of the 48 turbines near Blenheim [Not true: http://mywinddiary.blogspot.com/], or the two dozen now turning west of Harrow [The Harrow turbines have not been turned on yet].
Epileptic fits from the strobe effect? A dubious claim. But if it’s true the cost of paying the few affected people to move shouldn’t endanger a billion-dollar wind farm.
As for vibrations, I dare anyone to differentiate between turbine rumble and the pounding we feel in our beds each night from the trucks rolling through rural Essex County.
The best arguments against wind turbines are financial. People paying property taxes of $20,000 per year and up for the privilege of living on the waterfront shouldn’t have their investments put at risk by wind power.
Wind farm proponents claim that property values aren’t affected by their machines, but we don’t know that yet. If it’s true, the developers should be required to indemnify existing property owners against future losses.
Unfortunately, the Dalton McGuinty government has dealt the developers of wind farms all the winning cards in the green energy game.
Developers are required only to listen to complaints from the public, not solve them.
The legislation requires them to stage “community engagements,” as one proponent of the giant Lake Erie wind farm described the weekend meetings.
Once the public has been allowed to vent, it’s full steam ahead — unless the opponents can prove harm in advance.
Thanks again to McGuinty, an Orwellian reverse-onus has been slapped on those who oppose alternative energy. It is they who must establish legal proof of adverse affect, rather than the developer proving there won’t be any, as is the norm.
Gotcha! McGuinty style. The premier bragged again last week in the budget that Ontario runs “the single best green energy program” in North America. So says Al Gore, the billionaire carbon offset salesman.
But those who believe carbon dioxide is a planet-killing pollutant should ask themselves what the carbon footprint of a wind farm is. Erecting giant turbines isn’t the way to reduce CO2 emissions, says Donald Perry, a biologist and environmentalist living in upstate New York.
In a recent essay entitled The Answer Is Not Blowing In The Wind, Perry argues that the massive steel and concrete installations required for wind farms do more damage to the environment than they can correct.
“Each and every windmill begins life in abysmally deep, dirty BTU debt,” Perry writes. “No one knows how large this debt is because the data is either hidden or simply has not yet been calculated. Nevertheless, for a windmill to be a certifiably clean-energy producer, it must first pay off its dirty energy debt.”
If you add up all the CO2 emissions from producing the concrete for the base, the steel for the tower and its gears, Perry says, “it may take at least a decade” before a windmill balances out its carbon footprint.
Then add it all up, he says — the dirty BTUs, the destruction of vast land areas, the failed business plan, the misallocation of tax dollars, the destruction of property values — “and one can say unequivocally that wind power is bad business and not at all green.”
Maybe our local wind farm opponents in Kingsville and Leamington should try that argument. Their current lines of attack aren’t working.
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