How does one man’s dream of becoming known as the “Green Premier” become a nightmare for much of rural Ontario?
It’s called the Green Energy Act. It takes away the rights of individual landowners and municipalities to protect themselves from the placement of industrial wind turbines in their jurisdictions.
The mandate of the act is to harness the “free energy” of the wind. The concept sounds great, but the reality is much different.
It’s anything but free, given the rising evidence of health issues, bird and bat kills, lost property values and unsustainable electricity rates.
These wind farms do not get built without massive government subsidies from our already near-bankrupt government.
In 2004, my family and I purchased a 32.6-acre parcel of farmland in the Township of West Lincoln. It fulfilled our lifelong dream of owning a farm. Our land produces soybeans, wheat and corn. In 2007, we built a barn and we are continuing to improve the farm for future endeavours. We have not yet built a house on our site.
In 2011, we received a letter from a local wind developer looking for landowners willing to lease their farm land for the installation of industrial wind turbines.
We naively believed people in our area would not lease their land to these corporations, but money talks.
The leases for the land pay $50,000 per year per turbine for 20 years.
Our neighbour leased her agricultural land to the wind developer for the installation of two, three-megawatt industrial turbines, one of which is to be located about 70 metres (230 ft) from our property line. The turbine is to be about 500 metres (1640 feet) from our existing building and 440 metres (1440 feet) from our planned home site, despite the province’s 550 metre (1805 feet) setback rule.
If we build our house anywhere on our property, we would be accepting this turbine has been placed too close to a receptor, the fancy term for people who are affected by these devices. We are not receptors. We are people.
These planned turbines are among the largest and tallest in North America. The Enercon E 101 is 135 metres (443 feet) tall to the hub, with a blade diameter of 101 metres (331 feet). The machine is 185.5 metres (608 feet) from base to tip, which is 27 metres (88 feet) taller than the 520-foot-tall Skylon tower in Niagara Falls.
Wind energy is unpredictable, requiring gas and coal plants to be on idle or standby mode to make up energy as demand increases.
It is an expensive, feel-good policy for environmental activists.
None of the people ramming these monster wind turbines down our throats has one in his or her backyard.
There is no significant reduction in CO2 emissions. The turbines are only 24% to 28% efficient under the best conditions. The energy is not stored. The surplus is sold to Quebec and New York State at a third of the 13.5¢ per kilowatt hour the wind farm owners receive from the government. Our public utilities are forced to buy this expensive energy first.
If you are an electricity consumer in Ontario, please write your MPP, the environment ministry and the agriculture ministry to protest the use of public money to hand over more wealth to already wealthy individuals and corporations.
Everyone in Ontario is affected by this and we, the people of West Lincoln, need your help.
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