Articles filed under Impact on Landscape from Canada
The mad excess in the consumption of energy that characterizes what increasingly appears to be a dying way of life, if not civilization, now desires to replace the humanity that used to fill the countryside, with these great, ugly, threshing monstrosities, assaulting our sight wherever we turn. Our government, led by gregarious, grinning Gary Doer, who never saw an open field he didn't think would be improved by a power-generating windmill, wants to make our province into a powerhouse, largely for American consumption.
Projects are picking up the most speed in Ontario, where the provincial government has embraced wind energy as a symbol of its green friendliness, and municipalities are signing on with a fervour because the province's above-market prices mean they can reap cash in land sales and tax revenues. But as Canada experiences a rapid rise in these developments, there is a growing opposition to wind power as a clean energy alternative, with complaints that it is high-cost, energy-inefficient, causes noise pollution and even wreaks havoc on birds' migratory patterns. After raising many of these concerns with the Ontario Municipal Board, residents of Wolfe Island, Ont., celebrated a victory this week when plans for an 86-turbine megaproject by Canadian Hydro Developers, Inc. was modified to place the turbines farther away from residential areas and wetlands.
Shouldn't eco-friendly Townshippers want in on this kind of technology? "It's not the technology we're opposed to, and it's not because we have a 'not-in-my-backyard' mentality," said Fabien Poirier, a fourth-generation resident who restores old houses and furniture, has a head for statistics and history, and is a member of the 'No' committee. "It's just that we don't think these wind towers should ever be put up in an inhabited area, so close to where people live. They're totally out of proportion to everything around them." The residents fear a variety of ills documented from turbine use in other countries: the shadows of the blades at sunrise and sunset, creating a strobe effect that catches the eye and makes people nauseous; interference with analog TV reception, making channels hazy; blinking lights atop the towers that distract and annoy at night; falling house prices caused by the towers being so close; the constant noise of the rotating blades (generally under 40 decibels), likened to the uneven pitch of an overhead fan, the hum of a beehive or the sound of a school bus approaching from a distance; the effect on bird and bat migration; and disruption of drainage caused by a soil structure that gets degraded by the foundations of the towers, each one with a footprint that is wide and deep and hard: 600 cubic litres of poured concrete.
"We don't want anything that stands in the way of the effective uptake of wind energy, but when you choose the wrong place and are not sensitive to local concerns it's a real mistake," May said. "Shorelines, where people have a lot of cottages, are not a good place. I haven't gone and measured it myself, but the Pugwash beach is very much up against the 500-metre limit and that's an unreasonably close spot." While the Green Party supports wind energy as a renewable energy source, May said the party also stands for grassroots decision-making.
But these are early days. It is one thing for St. Leon to play pioneer, to embrace the opportunities that a wind farm presents; it is quite another to force, shame or cajole people to join the pioneers against their wishes, or to expect people who have chosen to behold an open range from their property to give up that view to help electrify the concrete jungle of urban energy users.
A controversial wind farm slated for a pristine piece of prairie in southeastern Alberta has cleared a major hurdle, despite opposition from environmentalists who are now bracing for a deluge of similar proposals in the region....Although some councillors voted against the proposal, council ultimately approved two sets of land-use amendments that give the wind farm the green light, and potentially allow further development.
Six sites in Enbridge's 110-wind turbine project have received zoning approval and are a step away from construction, with another 14 site plans approved on July 11. Enbridge Ontario Wind Power general manager, Bob Simpson, said they're hoping to start building the construction roads at the approved turbine sites within the next week. Simpson expects more of the turbines will surface at upcoming council meetings, requesting additional site plan approvals for each individual site.
Mr. Keller writes about surprise in "extent of the decline" in the production of the province's four wind farms. There is no surprise among those who have studying the bigger industry picture and are not seduced by the exaggerated claims made by the industry and its supporters. Perhaps that surprise comes from the dawning realization that these turbines are not all that they have made out to be....... Wind generation is not even a partial solution to our energy needs, and climate concerns.
Following complaints from farmers, the U.S. Department of Energy is now planning its toughest environmental review of a proposed $120 million power transmission line between Great Falls and Lethbridge, Alberta.... Wind farm developers have said the line is critical to construction of their projects. To date, three companies have signed up to use capacity on the line to ship power from wind farms they're planning between Great Falls and the Canadian border.
A proposed plan for a wind farm at the western end of Brome-Missisquoi has been modified, but the community remains divided on whether it should exist at all. Several of the 300 people who packed into Bedford's community centre Monday night called for a moratorium on windmills, or a referendum. While a number complained of a lack of transparency, others commended Groupe SM International and the municipalities on their efforts to inform the population. "The support of the municipalities and the MRC will be helpful in getting the project approved by Hydro Quebec," said Arthur Fauteux, warden of the Brome-Missisquoi MRC. He said the MRC will take a final position on the windmill issue at the end of August.
If Kitimat is chosen as the destination for the power produced, a transmission line would run up the Douglas Channel and connect with the BC Transmission Corporation lines here, explained Katabatic president and CEO Tony Duggleby. The line would look similar to the one which runs between Kitimat and Terrace and would have some visual impact on the coast of the Channel, Duggleby admitted while describing the project to Dennis Horwood of the Kitimat Valley Naturalist Society. Horwood described the Douglas Channel as some of the most pristine coastline in the world. While in favour of the wind farm, he expressed his fears of any development along the coast of the Channel.
At the eleventh hour and at the brink of hard-won success, Maritime Electric "ran the numbers" and decided the bypass they worked with us to secure was too expensive after all. At a meeting on Friday, April 20, I was told that the differential cost was about $75,000. This is approximately 2% of the cost for the entire transmission line expansion, estimated at about $3.75 million. According to government sources, it is less than one half of the amount they spent on a botanical analysis and environmental assessment process (required by provincial policy) to safeguard rare flora and ecologically unstable wetlands/streams. Less than $100, 000 to save a community, and Maritime Electric bows out of a year-long commitment. It beggars the imagination.
From Barton, Vermont, to the German border with Denmark and from the shores of Lake Huron, to the Romney Marches of southern England, wind power advocates are fighting crosswinds from local residents. In Barton in mid-January, a referendum overwhelmingly rejected the wind power turbines that were planned near this upper Vermont community. ...In Germany, where one-third of the world's current wind power is generated, doubters have provoked a loud debate. The company that owns the grid that includes nearly half the wind-farms in Germany reported its wind farms generated only 11 percent of their capacity. The company said the winds vary so much the wind farm had to be backed 80 percent by the conventional power grid.
The Quebec Environmental Public Hearing Board has rejected a $350-million wind power proposal from a Toronto company that wanted to build an expansive farm in the province’s northeastern region. The board, known by its French acronym, BAPE, gave the thumbs down to Skypower’s plans, which would include the construction of 114 windmills in four communities bordering the St Lawrence seaway, near Rivière-du-Loup. The board, which held several hearings on the project, concluded Thursday that the turbines would ruin a picturesque view, threaten the region’s natural and wildlife heritage and threaten the agricultural economy.
Pincher Creek Echo — Town of Pincher Creek councillors have strongly objected to a proposal for a wind farm between the town’s northern boundaries and Highway 3. The councillors felt the wind farm would block the Town’s planned expansion route. “The bottom line is we need room for future growth,” Councillor Ernie Olsen said.
Amaranth resident Ian Reed, who made a plea against wind turbines at the township council last week, says he's obtaining letters from persons on the 10th Line who claim not to have received notices of the change to concrete poles after the council had approved wooden ones for the transmission line.