TORONTO -- Growing opposition to wind farms in Ontario has led to the delay or cancellation of at least three electricity-generating projects in recent months, prompting the province's energy minister to warn the not-in-my-back-yard phenomenon is a threat to the province's energy security.
"It's no longer NIMBY. For some people it's NOPE, not on planet earth, it's BANANA, build absolutely nothing anywhere," Dwight Duncan told CanWest News Service.
"None of us wants to have the transmission lines or the wires or generation sources close to home. (But) people have got to start asking themselves some pretty serious questions about this.
"We need proper processes, proper environmental assessment processes and so on and they are in place. But at the end of the day, remember if we don't get these things up and sited, we're not going to have enough power. These (wind turbines) produce greener power, cleaner power and we all have to do our bit."
Duncan's warning comes at the end of a summer that has seen Ontario's burgeoning wind-power industry suffer a number of setbacks at the hands of local opponents whose objections include everything from the noise produced by the turbines to their impact on bird populations, rural vistas, human health and property values.
Last week, Enbridge announced it was cancelling plans to install 11 wind turbines in the community of Saugeen Shores on the Lake Huron coast.
"We realized it would be highly unlikely that we would be able to meet the standards expected by Saugeen Shores," said Debbie Boukydis, Enbridge's manager of public affairs.
Wind companies typically rent sites for their turbines from rural landowners, who sign 20-year contracts for annual payments of between $3,000 and $5,000 per turbine. Enbridge originally proposed locating its turbines 50 metres from neighbours' property lines and then in response to public concerns raised the distance to 121 metres. Saugeen Shores, however, is insisting upon a 250-metre setback, a restriction that makes it difficult to locate turbines on most properties.
Boukydis said Enbridge will proceed with plans to install 110 turbines in neighbouring Kincardine, Ont., but she acknowledged the project is already months behind schedule.
"We thought that we would be up and running by the end of 2006," she said, noting the arrival of the turbines could be delayed by two more years if opponents succeed in their efforts to secure a full-scale environmental assessment.
Wind-farm developers must conduct an environmental screening process but if concerns persist, individuals can appeal to the Ministry of the Environment for a more comprehensive environmental assessment. To date, no Ontario wind farm has been required to meet the more rigorous standard.
In other recent developments:
- Brookfield Power abandoned a proposal to build a 49.5-megawatt, 30-turbine wind energy project in the scenic Blue Mountain area at the end of July, citing delays in obtaining the necessary permits.
- On July 17 Canadian Hydro Developers announced a 12-month delay in the startup of the second phase of its Melancthon Grey Wind Project near Shelburne, north of Orangeville, Ont. The company blamed a "longer-than-expected" approvals process and said the 88-turbine (132-megawatt) wind farm won't go into service until June 2008. In August, representatives of the Six Nations laid claim to the land where the new turbines are expected to go as well as to the 45 existing turbines that comprise the first phase of the Melancthon project.
Robert Hornung, president of the Canadian Wind Energy Association, said opposition to wind farms is often the result of "misinformation or lack of information." He noted four new wind farms will be generating power by the end of this year but conceded the trouble encountered by some projects "indicates the need for us as an industry to ensure that all the stakeholders have good, solid information about the industry."
Hornung said it would be easier if Ontario established province-wide standards on issues such as setbacks so that such decisions are not left to the discretion of municipalities.
The Ontario government estimates that by 2008 the province will be the leading wind-generator in Canada, with turbines supplying nearly 1,300 megawatts, an 80-fold increase from 2003. Provincial authorities are counting on wind to supply a significant portion of the 15,700 megawatts of power the government expects to obtain from renewable sources by 2025.
With the Liberals promising to limit the number of new nuclear reactors in the province to just two, achieving the renewable energy target is vital to Ontario's future energy security.
None of this matters to 64-year-old Ernest Marshall. He doesn't have anything like the clout of America's Kennedy clan, which has mounted a high-profile campaign against a proposed 130-turbine wind farm off Nantucket Sound where they have an estate. But he knows what he doesn't like.
"You should come here today and hear the bugger squeal," the retired industrial engineer says of the EPCOR wind turbine located about 300 metres from his rural property just outside Goderich, Ont. "I can see about 11 of them from my house and they all make noise though we were told there would be no problems at all."
The first phase of EPCOR's Kingsbridge Wind Power Project consists of 22 turbines with a generating capacity of 39.6 megawatts. Marshall would like to see them all dismantled.
"But that's not going to happen. We're going to have to move out. My wife is complaining she hasn't had a good night's sleep since we came back from Florida at the end of March and it was running."
In Saugeen Shores, William Palmer has applied the engineering skills he honed doing risk assessments for nuclear power plants to produce a report on wind turbines that was instrumental in convincing the local council to adopt the 250-metre setback. In addition to concluding the greater distances are required to ensure no one is injured if a blade flies off the 80-metre towers, he concluded the turbines are noisier than advertised.
"When you get more than one turbine together, noise from the two combines and you get a rumble," Palmer added. "People describe it as an endless train."
Tom Adams of the energy watchdog group Energy Probe says the dilemma for Ontario is the best wind sites also happen to be in the picturesque cottage country on the shores of the Great Lakes and the highlands around Orangeville.
"A lot of those people have gone to those places for the view and don't want to be disturbed," he said. "Industrial-scale wind-power development is new to Ontario. It represents a dramatic transformation of the landscape. So there are sharply divided opinions."
The province's energy minister, for instance, sides with environmentalist David Suzuki, who last year created a furor when he wrote that properly-sited wind turbines are beautiful and that a "blanket `not in my backyard approach' (to wind-power projects) is hypocritical and counterproductive."
"I'm like David Suzuki -- I think he is absolutely right," Duncan said. "They are beautiful (and) of all the power sources they are probably the least offensive from an environmental perspective."
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for all these people who think these wind mills are great they need to put on in there own back yard then post a comment.
I keep being told that turbines make people sick? Does anyone know from what? How many cases? There's a turbine in downtown Toronto...how many people are sick there? I think people's concern's about sickness is a lot like religion.....abnormal belief despite a shred of proof. Welcome to the 21st century! The typical rural complainer is the one still burning $ 2500 worth of fuel oil in the winter while his $ 60000 pickup sit's in the drive way. Geothermal!?? Oh. by the way, I've got a couple of containers of spent fuel rods to do away with..you don't mind if stick those up there in one of those northern mines do you?? I'm an electrical engineer and the EMR caused by reversing polarities is 300X greater in any NG station than the biggest turbine out there. Your X country power lines would make you sick before any turbine would. Anything that's produces power either hydro electric, nuke, NG, ect. they all use turbines so step aside and let some intelligence prevail.
these farm factorys are destroying the farming commuinty. oct 6 is coming.
As a former land owner in a wind farm, Yes land values drop, up to 50%!! The biggest problem here was land rental agreements were one sided with no consideration for the land owner. As I see it the indusrial wind power system is outdated already, just look at what the europeans are doing. We need to reduce power consumption and generate more at each residence or business, any money saved at this level would benefit the local economy not distant corproations.
One thing is for sure with Industrial Wind Farms...If you close to one, your property value will decline by at least 50 percent and you might get sick if you are less than 2 miles away...
Wind is cleaner than nuclear and fossil fuel power plants. You talk about how they look.. have you ever seen a coal power plant? Go look up pictures, and while you're at it, look up the amount of pollution generated by one. I live 2 minutes from wind turbines and I can't hear a damn thing. Maybe out in the country it seems loud, but that's only because there is no background noise like there is in a city so you notice it more. Sorry it's going to SLIGHTLY disturb your view of the sunset in small areas of rural Ontario so that the other 95% of the population here can breathe easier and not be dependent on foreign energy or disgusting tar sands in Alberta.
has there never been a health study done on the effects of IWT's on
Humans? I see people getting sick in the community I live in and hear
rumors that the wind turbines are to blame. I have heard that the
companies that own these IWT's have moved entire families from their
homes and no one knows why. I started asking questions but the people
effected by the IWT's said they had gag orders on them that did not
allow them to talk about issue. I am a Humanitarian and don't want to
see any one else get sick. Please ask your local government offical for
a Health study to be completed on IWT's
HELLO PEOPLE THE EARTH IS DYING BECAUSE OF FOSIL FUELS ..WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO DECREASE THE POLLUTION ! PROBABLY NUTHING WELL A LITTLE NOISE IN EXCHANGE FOR A GREENER ENERGY IS A FAIR TRADE I WOULD SAY I SUPPOSE YOU WOULD HAVE COMPLAINTS ABOUT SOLAR PANELS ALSO PROBABLY THE GLARE IS IN OUR EYES AND WE CANT SEE THE VIEW ..SORRY FOR TRYING TO KEEP OUR PLANET ALIVE PERHAPS YOU SHOULS LEARN MORE ABOUT THE DESTRUCTION THAT WE HAVE ALREADY DONE TO THIS PLANET ....BEFORE YOU START TO PUT THE UGLY SIDE OF GREEN ENERGY DOWN .....
continued Meanwhile, the Minister of Environment speculated that the
Scarborough Bluffs IWT development be moved 5kms offshore so that you
"pro-Wind-ers" in Toronto wouldn't have to look at them when you go to
Read about this. Read everything you can find. When you think you're fully informed, then you will can judge for yourselves whether we are really NIMBY, or BANANA or NOPE or whatever the next label is.
For me, its not really about whether IWTs are better than Nuclear, Hydro (which the IWT industry claims is not really a renewable energy). Nor is it about the "incentive" pricing for 20 years. Its the fact that because of the GEA, there is no compensation to impacted citizens, there is no appeal, there is no recourse. Period. That doesn't happen with any other type of industrial development - just Green Energy Act. Families that have lived for generations in their rural communities are being seriously impacted by this industrial development and we don't get a say. That for me, is the core issue. NIMBY is just one way of marginalizing people who are seriously impacted by this unjust law. The IWT Industry calls us "psychosomatic" or "a vocal but small minority" or "cottagers" or "retirees" or "anti-Green" but that is all just marginalization for the benefit of Torontonians. Meanwhile, the Minister of Environm
2006 article still generating comments. IWT do seem to generate polarized opinions. Basically, its the people who have to live with them 24x7 ("a handful of cottagers and retired people" LOL) vs a few million Torontonians who use the power and get to triumphantly state that they support "Green". Fact 1: no one, anywhere, likes to buy property, build a home, and then find a small forest of 400-500ft structures will be build around them. Nobody - unless they are getting paid or compensated for the impact on their lives. (Which is not happening). Fact 2: IWT are not noiseless - some % of people, >0% and <100% are seriously and physically impacted by the vibrations/noise generated by IWT. The Industry sometimes says there is zero impact and other times says that these victims are all "pyschosomatic". These are both lies. Fact 3: If you are NOT a recipient of an IWT leasing agreement, and you reside within 2kms of a IWT Plant (its not a "farm
... continued. Its not a farm - its an industrial development like a nuclear plant or a hydro dam), your property value will drop. The IWT industry paid for one study, arguably a very misleading "statistical analysis", that claimed that property values increase. Citizens who try to sell their homes and the realtors that are involved say otherwise - quietly, of course, since they don't want to amplify the loss. But just think, city people, are you going to pay MORE for a nice house with a one-acre lot because there's between 8 or 10 500ft wind turbines 500 metres away? Really?
Wind Turbines if going to be used, belong we people don't live and will be unaffected of any health effects, or decrease of property values. I can't afford to have a mortgage greater than my house is worth. In general the public can't afford the rates of using wind turbine and other green means. The current pricing is generally 3 times what we pay as electricity consumers. Not to mention that the power availiable is unreliable and inconsistent. There is no cost benefit to going with wind turbine, they are for the most part associated with Oil compainies trying to accumulate 'green' credits, so that they can say they are benefitting the environment. In summary wind turbines are ineffective, expensive, potentially hazardous to those they are near, and are for the most part just for show. They allegedly demonstrate a Government and or Oil Company "really cares" about the environment, in the end it's all about money.
Wind turbines may not be perfect... but they are much better than nuclear or coal (both of which are nasty throughout the process, from mining to burning to decommissioning). By saying we are not willing to live with wind turbines, we are saying we ARE willing to live with the known and significant environmental and health consequences of coal and nuclear. These health effects are disproportionately borne by workers (miners and technicians) and by the (much larger and often lower income) populations that live around these facilities. It's a shame that the demands of a few cottagers and retired people can trump the needs of the hundreds of thousands of people who are known to be affected by the Nanticoke power station, for example.
I'm not against any attempts or ideas to make our world more green, efficient and clean but things just have to make sense. I see several of these turbines along lake huron on travels and 75% of the time they are not moving. If there is a demand for this energy then why a need for so many? This just seems like everything is being way too fast tracked with these projects, and once these turbines are put up if they are not needed then how will you ever take them down? I think you might just be stuck looking through these structures at our beautiful sunsets! We should be blessed to be surrounded by such amazing landscapes here in Ontario, and don't fool yourselves they may seem environmentally friendly but the manufacturing process of hundreds even thousands of them..don't forget about that.
wind turbine is beautiful. Its beautiful because we know that we are
harnessing the Earth's given energy, and not exploiting it with oil and
polluting our seas and air.
We do not fill the pockets of corporate fat cats who exploit us for our dependance on oil.
Wind turbines represent the future, where it is more greener.
When I see a wind turbine i think to myself we are on the right step. I would be glad to have one in my backyard.
yeah there great till you have to live with them and dont get compinsated like the person right next store
LOL. The people who oppose wind power support Religious Terrorist suppliers of oil. There is no freedom with oil.
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