Letter to the editor – Green Energy

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Dear Editor,

Re: Greening Green Energy, February 9, 2022

It is a good thing that someone is looking at the positives and negatives of so-called “green” energy as Philip Fry is trying to do. However, a few negatives are missing, especially with regard to industrial-scale or grid-scale wind turbines. 

Mr. Fry says that “introducing mitigating conditions during the early planning stages” of a power project should reduce adverse impacts. That sounds nice, but the reality in Ontario is that the government already has thousands of formal Incident Reports prepared by Environmental Officers documenting citizen complaints of noise pollution and other issues such as interference with water wells. Yet, the noise regulations have not changed since 2009 and enforcement is, frankly, pitiful.

At present, 47 per cent of Ontario’s wind power facilities are not formally deemed compliant with their Renewable Energy Approval requirements for audits of noise emissions. A number (17 per cent) have filed incomplete audits, including the South Branch power project at Brinston, while 30 per cent are still “under review.” One wind power project has been “under review” for 13 years, while noise complaints continue to be filed! 

This does not inspire confidence that negative effects can be prevented. These can include noise pollution that affects sleep for nearby residents and can contribute to long-term health effects.

The Minister of Energy announced recently that Ontario is looking for 1,000 megawatts of new power generation. For context, the 29 turbines at Nation Rise in Crysler-Finch-Berwick can generate 100 megawatts.

Here are the facts: wind turbines are an industrial use of the land. Turbines use up a great deal of land, usually high quality farmland, to produce minimal power. They represent a danger to wildlife, especially migrating birds, and bats which are critical to the ecosystem. And, wind power does not help reduce carbon emissions: because the power is intermittent and produced out of phase with demand in Ontario, turbines need backup power, usually natural gas.

The Independent Electricity System Operator or IESO has a green light for new power development in Eastern Ontario. Now is the time for industrial wind power to be discussed in terms of real cost-benefit analysis, and for municipalities to enact truly protective zoning bylaws for setbacks and noise limits.

Jane Wilson, RN
North Gower President WIND CONCERNS  ON

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