With the growing urgency of climate change, we can't have it both ways. We can't shout about the dangers of global warming and then turn around and shout even louder about the "dangers" of windmills. We must accept that all forms of energy have associated costs. A blanket "not in my backyard" approach is hypocritical and counterproductive. I think smokestacks, smog, acid rain, coal-fired power plants and climate change are ugly. I think windmills are beautiful. And if one day I look out from my cabin porch and see a row of windmills spinning in the distance, I won't curse them. I will praise them. It will mean we're finally getting somewhere.
The Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) has released a "windvision" plan for Alberta that, not-surprisingly calls for the province to build a lot more wind-power capacity. CanWEA suggests that while the province currently generates 1,100 Megawatts of wind-power, it could install nearly five times as much. Of course, they point out that Alberta's competitive energy system makes it hard to get wind-power construction financed. But they have a solution to that, calling on policymakers to institute a clean energy standard in Alberta, and asking them to hike Alberta's carbon tax.
The Environmental Review Tribunal continues to grind through its list of anti-wind appeals. On December 5, it rejected an appeal against the Renewable Energy Approval for another wind farm, Pattern Energy's South Kent Wind facility, 127 turbines between Tilbury and Ridgetown. In each of the appeals, the opponents have argued that approval of the wind farm will cause serious harm to human health. In each case, the Tribunal has found that this allegation has not been proven.
Church Point, a little-known dot on the map in rural southern Nova Scotia, isn't exactly a tourist hotspot. But for sustainability nerds it's an unexpected haven. It's home to St. Anne University, or Université Sante Anne as it's called in French and it may be the greenest little university in Canada.
Tour the rolling countryside of Nova Scotia in the fall and it's like driving right into a post card. Head west of Truro and not only do you get this scenic drive but you'll find Nuttby Mountain wind farm -- the turbines popping up into view quite unexpectedly. All things being equal would you be more inclined to have a coal-fired power plant in your backyard or a wind turbine that you helped raise the money for?
Canada's entire "energy superpower" strategy hinges on high-priced oil, and a recent International Energy Agency report demonstrates that betting on high prices is risky. Canada should pin our future prosperity to the burgeoning renewables market, rather than doubling down on oil. It's the only choice we have for the sake of our environment. And it's the best path forward for our economy, too.
Heidi Eijgel is an Alberta horse farmer who lives in the last house at the end of a gravel road surrounded by one of the largest wind farms in Alberta -- and she's OK with that. In 2003, the 70 megawatt Summerview wind farm was built adjacent to Eijgel's property. She has been peacefully co-existing with that wind farm since then.
I was saddened to read that Jeff Damen, a father of two and employee of a wind developer in rural Ontario, reported having a shotgun pulled on him while conducting field work on a project site in West Grey. While I am not known for expressing opinions remotely sympathetic to that of the wind industry or its employees, and certainly oppose the development of the project in question, guns and threats of violence have no place in any debate in our province.
While OWS entered it's second week of high-profile coverage, an occupation of a very different kind began taking place in Vermont. Concerned citizens have worked together to oppose Green Mountain Power's bid to clear-cut 134 acres of ridge top to install 21 industrial wind turbines in this environmentally-sensitive area.
Dalton McGuinty's Green Energy Act has failed to provide the thousands of high value jobs he has spent the last two years claiming it would and Canada's reputation as a free trader is being challenged by important members of the global community. But sadly, it's Ontarians who will clean up the mess.
The Green Energy Act is an issue that has been festering in rural Ontario communities for years. The Liberals are campaigning in defence of their Green Energy Act, while the opposition has centred around three key issues: health and environmental impacts, process issues around decision making and the economics of the feed-in-tariff program.
Recently, a family in Thamesville began suffering adverse health effects commonly reported by individuals living near industrial wind developments. Could they have avoided this based on the past experiences of others had former residents not been 'prohibited by agreement' from answering questions about their health?
The premier of Ontario continues to make new announcements of jobs, and promotes fear mongering that his political opponents would kill those jobs if elected. The reality is no matter who wins Ontario's Oct. 6 general election, those jobs won't be there to kill, because in most cases they aren't real.