The Intelligencer’s July 25th editorial, “Trenton should carefully consider wind energy” is as ill-informed about wind turbines as the title suggests. Wind energy concerns Prince Edward County; Picton, not Trenton, is the seat of government; and the highly proclaimed economic benefits of wind farms are questionable.
The financial gains are modest. Lump-sum payments under amenities agreements do little more than compensate for the cost of new or improved infrastructure. After the wind farm is constructed, there remain only a few maintenance jobs, perhaps not even filled by residents.
Multi-million dollar wind farms also add little to the tax base because they are assessed, by Ontario law at $60,000 -$80,000 per turbine. Although landowners can receive as much as three per cent royalties on leased land, 97 per cent of the income will never make it to the county, nor create economic spin-offs.
Residential property values and tourism suffer. Prices for houses located within sight of turbines can drop 10 to 30 per cent, if the houses sell at all. Tourists may come once out of curiosity, but they won’t return unless they enjoy looking at industrialized landscapes.
The Intelligencer is right on one point: the county should think carefully about wind turbines. They can easily destroy tourist businesses such as restaurants, wineries and art galleries. They can halt the influx of retirees buying century homes or building new ones, slowing down overall recent growth. They are a Trojan horse for a unique and thriving economy.
H. G. Garand Demorestville,
Prince Edward County
31 July 2008
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