The war is on: industry is angry about the moratorium on offshore wind projects and about the government’s statement that it can’t hook up hundreds of micr-FiT solar projects to the grid. So, the letters and insults are flying. Here is an interesting letter from last week’s Ontario Farmer.
Here are a few contrary facts about wind energy
The emotionally charged opposition referred to in Mr. Netherway’s letter [on] the proliferation of large scale industrial wind farms in rural and natural Ontario demonstrates the passion with thich residents object to the industrialization of the rural landscape. And for what, as Mr Netherway points out,a few will benefit financially but to the detriment of others.
Mr. Netherway states that the opposition to industrial wind farms by rural residents is based on fear and misinformation but he does not elaborate. Here are just a few facts:
1. Contrary to what is indicated in Mr. Netherway’s letter, Minister Duguid has indicated that gas-fired peak power plants will be necessary to back up industrial wind turbines. Gas fired power plants use a form of fossil fuel. Each wind turbine requires 500 gallons of oil, another fossil fuel.
2. The province will be blanketed with industrial wind farms–numbers between 7,000 to 10,000 or even more have been bandied about by government officials.
3. There is no grand plan of design where these industrial wind farms should be sited. They will checkerboard and fragment the landscape. They can be placed anywhere and there are plans for projects on the Oak Ridges Moraine, Ostrander Point, Thunder Bay’s Nor’Wester Escarpment, Ouimet Canyon provincial Park, Lake Superior Park, Montreal River Harbour NAture Reserve, Mica Bay Wilderness Park, BayNiche Conservancy, Manitoulin Island, Georgina Island, the Niagara Escarpment, and Point Pelee to name a few; all areas with sensitive eco-systems.
4. Each industrial wind turbine requires a cleared area of approximately 10 acres. In India, 300,000 trees were felled for an access road to accommodate one wind farm. How many trees will be felled in Ontario> Trees are carbon sinks.
5. The generators used in industrial wind turbines each require a half ton of rare earth material called neodymium. The material is mined in China where mining operations have killed farmland for miles around, made thousands of people ill and put one of China’s key waterways in jeopardy. A horrific truth about how “green” industrial wind turbines are can be found in this report:
6. Ducks Unlimited, Lake Ontario Waterkeepers, Toronto Regional Conservation Authority, Canada Nature [sic--it is Nature Canada] and Ontario Nature are all seeking a moratorium on industrial wind turbines until independent scientific studies have been conducted. The Ontario Federation of Agriculture, which represents farmers who rent their land to wind farming companies, has called for a moratorium on new turbines until an independent health study can be done.
7. Industrial wind turbines have a lifespan of maybe 20 years. From an interview with Peter Clibbons, CEO of Renewable Energy Resources, March 30th, 2009″ “One thing to remember is that turbines only last 20 years before you have to swap them out. If we invent something much cleverer that wind energy, things can be balanced in a different way.” Q: Was the number 20…just agreed upon as a reasonable number to set because of wear and tear on the towers? Clibbons: “That’s exactly right. It is the fatigue design life of wind turbines. They are basically so rattled apart after 20 years that you have to swap all the major components.”
8.Denmark, often cited as the leader in wind energy, declared a moratorium on further land-based wind turbines in September 2010 due to a massive public outcry.
9. The tonnage for the cement bases at approximately 1,000 tonnes comes fromthe documents issued by various wind companies. Each turbine base required approximately 45 truckloads of cement. Worldwide, the cement industry is the second-largest CO2 emitting industry behind power generation.
In conversation with a wind company project manager, the manager stated that there is no reason why wind farms cannot be built in urban areas…however, he ended by saying that no wind company would even dream of submitting a project for an urban area to the government for approval. Wonder why?
–Janet Zednik, Campbellcroft, Ontario
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