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We can’t afford this pricey project

A recent article (‘Man selling land near wind farm for one cent’, The Guardian, Feb. 15, 2013) raises what should be a serious concern to all Islanders but has received almost no media coverage or opposition questions. Our free-spending government has quietly proceeded with a project to erect a 30 megawatt wind farm in the Hermanville-Clearspring area along our northeastern shore much to the concern of many residents who were not consulted.

Finance/Energy Minister Sheridan claims that he has obtained agreements with 41 of 58 landowners within one kilometre of the site and they will receive compensation for their discomfort. These figures are meaningless as many, if not most, of these owners are not resident on their land. It goes without saying that the impact will be felt well outside the one-kilometre zone. The agreement of those outside this zone was never sought and it has been strongly opposed. Since many of these opponents are summer residents who pay double property taxes but have no voting rights, the government merely steamrolled over their objections.

The financing of this project should worry all Islanders since it entails a government investment of $60 million, which we must borrow. Minister Sheridan blithely dismisses this concern by stating that, within three years, the project will show profits of $20 million per year. This is a neat trick since, without exception, across the country and around the world, wind farms have only been able to survive with huge government subsidies and exorbitant electricity rates imposed on long-suffering users. Guess whose pockets these “profits” will spring from?

Wind farms are losing their appeal in many jurisdictions not only because of their huge costs but because they don’t meet their promised outputs often achieving only one-quarter to one-half of their capacity. That pesky wind isn’t reliable and still requires conventional backup. Others are backing off their wind projects.

We can’t afford this pricey nod to a green vision that has proven a mistake elsewhere.

George Kells,