By Eric Bunnell, St. Thomas Times-Journal
Survey says! That’s the answer that researchers investigating possible health effects of wind turbines and other renewable energy sources, want to hear from Elgin. A University of Waterloo renewable energy study is sending questionnaires over the next few weeks to residents in Elgin and other areas of Ontario who live near wind turbines. Approximately 5,000 people will be contacted by mail.
The university in summer, 2010 set up a multi-disciplinary, five-year research program to investigate the technological, health and safety aspects of renewable wind, solar light and heat, and bio-energy sources, as well as their integration into the electric grid.
“These health studies are an important part of our research chair program by helping us understand the relationship between the renewable energy technologies and potential health effects,” Waterloo professor Siva Sivoththman, who heads the program, is quoted in a release.
The Ontario environment ministry is giving the research program arms-length funding of $300,000 a year. The coming survey also is contacting residents in Bruce, Dufferin, Essex, Frontenac, Huron and Norfolk counties, and Chatham-Kent. To encourage participation in the survey, there’s a draw for a $150 gift card to the store of the winner’s choice. Selected participants will be invited to take part in a second part of the study, involving a more in-depth health assessment.
As renewable energy faces mounting opposition rising from concerns about health implications, Health Canada currently is studying the link between wind turbines and health. The federal study is expected to be completed in 2014.