South Algonquin council made the right call

November 12, 2008 at 12:49 pm 3 comments

Editor’s note: In a letter to the editor carried in the Oct. 29 issue of Barry’s Bay This Week, Ontario Energy Minister George Smitherman was highly critical of South Algonquin council’s decision to place a 10-year moratorium on the approval of any wind turbine projects in the region. Following is a response to the minister’s letter from the anti-wind farms organization Save Our Skylines (S.O.S.).

Dear Mr. Deputy Premier,

I am compelled to respond on behalf of the residents of Madawaska Valley and Renfrew County who have been expressing their concerns about wind turbines through S.O.S. – Save Our Skyline.

We acknowledge that wind power is one of the “green” energy-producing choices being considered today. And we understand that you must take a position supporting wind turbines because your government has taken a stance supporting “clean and green” energy.

We believe that government loves wind because:

• Turbines are quick to build.

• They do not emit greenhouse gases.

• They do not produce radioactive products.

• They are perceived to be a free fuel.

• They are perceived to be strong, silent servants of energy.

• Turbines are very visible signs that government is responding to the desire for “green” renewable resources.

But are they effective? Once again we have a politician repeating the myth that industrial wind energy will replace coal or nuclear generators.

Industrial wind generation is a relatively new industry that has not been evaluated or monitored to ensure that people, existing business and the environmentally sensitive areas are protected. The emerging case studies and research indicate that government would be wise to move forward carefully, objectively evaluating the impacts of existing wind projects.

Your ministry and government have a responsibility to follow through on the information that has been discovered and researched to date. Without government subsidies, these turbines would not be built by private companies.

• As far as cost is concerned, turbines do not produce reliable power. They must be backed up and have never replaced “a dirty, coal-fired” generator or shut down an existing nuclear or coal-fired generation plant anywhere in the world.

• In terms of their environmental impact, they require clear-cutting and blasting, which impact upon aquifers and cause loss of habitat. The controls on wind turbines should reflect the same protection of natural habitat as is required of the logging industry.

• On health, the turbines create noise and cause shadow flicker and night lights.

• Their economic impact includes a loss of tourism and a lack of job generation.

• In terms of safety, turbines pose problems for fire suppression and lightning strikes. Their blades also throw ice.

• Maintenance costs. Blade failure in Ontario is four times higher than that recorded in Europe. This is partly related to: a greater size and height of wind turbines here, as well as to more severe weather conditions, especially in the northern regions of Ontario. Furthermore, there is a lack of reliability. When hydro demand is highest in summer, wind power generation is often at its lowest. Industrial wind energy cannot be stored and, most often, hydro electric dams are shut down to utilize the overproduction of wind energy.

• On decommissioning, the private leases do not protect neighbours.

Mr. Smitherman, this is just a brief overview of some of the issues. Clearly, further respectful discussion is required with all parties, including local councils and citizens affected by existing turbines.

In closing, we must also challenge your comments, which seem to be questioning the intelligence of our municipal councils and their powers of decision-making. The citizens of this area are proud of the council of South Algonquin. Its decision showed courage and insight into a complicated, important issue and councillors should be commended for their courage and foresight.

Yours truly, Lou Eyamie

President, S.O.S. (Save Our Skylines)

Barry’s Bay This Week

12 November 2008

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Les and Jane Oke  |  November 15, 2008 at 10:23 am

    Hello,
    Why not build a wind generator?
    After a recent visit to my hometown, we visited the newly constructed Wind turbines in Pt. Burwell Ontario. This is a beautiful harbor town on Lake Erie and I remember fishing on the docks there every Sunday morning with my dad.
    Some of my happiest childhood memories are of Pt. Burwell.
    Build A Wind GeneratorUpon seeing the 301 foot turbines on the skyline, I was in shock.
    It was an awesome site to behold.
    It did not ruin my memories, or the skyline it enhanced it. And it was not noisy as some people claimed, not at all.

    After living now 15 years off the grid with wind generators and solar energy to power our home, in a little town just south of your area, we know that renewable energy is the future.

    Get your facts right, and before supporting something you don’t know about, go and visit the Pt. Burwell site, or any other wind farm in Ontario.

    Don’t believe the government hype if you want to, there is no need to, get the facts yourself.

    I really only have one question for anyone who uses renewable energy and nuclear in the same breath, “Given a choice, would you rather live next door to a Wind Generator, or a nuclear power plant? Names like Chernobyl and Three Mile Island are burned into our brains, and I am sure that the people of Pickering and the surrounding area wish that wind power would have been around when they were installing the nuclear plant there.

    If you want a sustainable future, don’t wait for the government, you can do something yourself.
    No more power outages, produce your own power, build a wind generator of your own.
    Want more information
    Build A Wind Generator

    All the best,
    Les and Jane

    Reply
  • 2. Quixote  |  November 15, 2008 at 11:37 am

    I think we are all on the same page here but the “translation” is a bit off.
    SOS does is not Anti Wind, and actually advocates renewable energy such as wind power, solar and other non polluting generation. SOS is against the huge 400Foot plus turbines that are being planted onto land that is meant for agriculture and tourism and community life.
    Here is a link that should clear this up…..we advocate conservation and self reliance. “Here’s The Answer” should fit nicely into what your trying to say here.
    http://wilnowind.blogspot.com/2008/09/blog-post.html

    Reply
  • 3. Butré  |  December 18, 2008 at 10:07 am

    Paris, December 13, 2008

    Within 6days, 86 organizations have already joined EPAW (European Platform Against Windfarms)

    Friends and colleagues from around the world,

    Bonjour,
    First I want to thank you for your vibrant support of the Paris demonstration and international conference of October 4th. It has been very helpful for alerting public opinion, showing them how windfarms were hurting people in many parts of the world.
    At the Paris Conference, federations, associations, and other groups from four different EU countries founded the European Platform Against Windfarms (EPAW).
    In the past two months we have been busy fighting our own local battles against windfarms while building up EPAW, constructing a webpage for it in four languages, and preparing our request for a moratorium to be sent to the EU institutions.
    We are pleased to advise that we are now ready, as evidenced by our website: http://www.epaw.org
    We invite you to read our home page, our draft letter to the EU institutions, and to send us your support and/or comments. If you belong to an organization based in the European Union, you may wish to join the Platform: the more we are, the better our chances of getting some results. And if you are from another country, we invite you to send us a short message of support as an individual or as an organization. Alternatively, you may just send an email along those lines: “you may use the message we sent to support the Paris demonstration as a message of support for EPAW; please edit accordingly.”
    The current organization chart of EPAW is the following:
    Chairman : J.L. Butré (France)
    Vice-chairman: Prince Hohenlohe-Bartenstein (Germany)
    General Delegate: Luc Rivet (Belgium)
    General Secretary (and webmaster): D. Mette (France)
    It is a light, informal structure for a fast launch, to be gradually strengthened according to the evolution of the Platform.
    Let’s all use EPAW as a tool to give an international dimension to our fight.
    Sincerely yours
    Jean Louis Butré
    President Federation Environnement Durable (France) :
    http://environnementdurable.net

    Please do not hesitate to Transfer this e-mail to all the persons or the organizations which fight against wind turbines

    Reply

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