An ill wind

Onshore Wind Farm Farr, Scotland / Onshore-Windpark Farr, SchottBy Lisa Van de Ven, The United Church Observer
It’s a brisk, breezy day and the view is green and flat long into the horizon. Trees line the roadway while farmers sow their fields beyond. I watch as I drive by, but it’s not farmers I’m looking for. I’m travelling along the rural roads of Flevoland, the Netherland’s youngest province. It wasn’t officially formed until 1986, created on land that used to be below the sea. But I’m not here for that either. Not today. Today, I’m chasing windmills.

This is Holland, after all, where windmills aren’t that hard to find. The Dutch may not have invented them, but the technology has thrived here, becoming a cultural icon. In Amsterdam, they’re on magnets and shaped into piggy banks, surrounded by wooden shoes and orange football jerseys — ready for tourists looking to part with a few Euros. Through the countryside, they beckon too, their squat brick buildings and rotating blades a much-recognized part of Holland’s landscape, grinding corn and wheat or draining water from the lowlands long before Flevoland was created.

The young province has become known for windmills of a different kind, though. I see them dotting fields and coastlines long before I hear them: looming storeys high, like soldiers standing in formation, their stems straight and narrow, sleek blades spinning with the wind. Getting closer, I watch their shadows flicker rhythmically over the car I’ve rented. The sound is clear: a slow beat in this quiet pastoral setting.

These are Holland’s wind turbines. They speckle the landscape here — not just in Flevoland, but also across the country. They’re not like the windmills, though. You won’t find them on souvenirs or postcards, and it’s the rare tourist who will come and take a look. But they’re likewise a symbol: not of the Netherlands’ past, but of its commitment to the future. That doesn’t mean people like them. Read article

10 thoughts on “An ill wind

  1. It’s also well known that people will risk health,injury and even their lives for MONEY! This is nothing new.
    What about the fat-cats in Holland and Germany who are making themselves rich out of this scam?

  2. Here’s a misrepresentation by Lisa Van de Ven:

    “Canada now has just over 1,000 turbines nationwide, capable of producing 5,903 megawatts, or approximately two percent of our energy demands.”

    Is Van de Ven accurately quoting van den Berg, Pedersen and others?

    • Google:
      summary-EPAW
      PDF or use Quick View
      Also see; Cited by 26-Related articles
      NOTE: This was an EU financed study
      Project WINDFARMPerception, June 3, 2008
      “Visual and acoustic impact of wind turbine farm residents”
      Project partners, Univ. of Groningen:
      Fritz van den Berg
      Eja Pedersen
      Jelte Bouma
      Raoel Bakker

      Google:
      ECHOS, PDF, Exhiibit 12 Van den Berg prospectives of Wind-Maine gov
      “The Acoustical Society of America”, V.19,No.3,Summer 2009
      “Perspectives on wind turbine noise”, presented by Fritz van den Berg at the ASA meeting,Portland
      “A significant non-acoustical measure to reduce noise annoyance maybe to involve neighboring residents in the planning of a windfarm: instead of giving them the burden of nuisance, they could share the benefits.”

      • One piece of information that stands out here is that this study was financed by the EU. And we know where the EU stands on IWTs

  3. “Canada now has just over 1,000 turbines nationwide, capable of producing 5,903 megawatts, or approximately two percent of our energy demands.”
    The often quoted number for Ont alone is 1200 units, a figure I ran past these pages some months ago. This seems like a low ball estimate for Canada to me.
    Is 1200 in the right ballpark for Ont?

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