Ontario municipalities might be forgiven for overlooking one teensy negative aspect of industrial wind power generation facilities. It’s difficult to think 20 years down the road when the wind power developers and the Ontario government are putting photos of bucolic agricultural landscapes where dairy cattle graze right up to the base of a turbine (no houses in sight). There is no suggestion whatsoever of what the colossal structures might look like in a decade or so, when they are past their life span and nobody wants them any more.
All around the world, most notably in California and Hawaii, wind turbines stand rusting and rotorless, hideous scarred icons of greed.
It’s expensive to take them down. In South Branch, 30 minutes down the road from Ottawa/North Gower/Richmond, the wind power developer Prowind estimates that decommissioning costs for the 15 turbines will be in the region of $600,000. Or, said project manager Juan Anderson, perkily, “You can take them down yourself and get the value of the scrap!”
This is absurd for several reasons: first, the wind developers tend to be gone by the time the turbine structures are done with and second, there may be some value to the scrap, but not much, and any value there is could be offset by the horrendous costs of dealing with all the toxic elements such as the gallons and gallons of hydraulic fluids in the nacelle.
Wellington Times editor Rick Conroy relates the struggle in Prince Edward County to get Council to realize that decommissioning is a cost that could land on the municipality’s doorstep–and have to be paid for by the taxpayers. His column from the April 4th issue is valuable information on this and several other aspects of wind power generation.
The article is here:
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Photo: abandoned wind turbines in Hawaii. There are more than 14,000 abandoned and derelict turbines in the United States alone.