Atlantic Canada’s regional director of the Canadian Wind Energy Association, Shawna Eason, recently graced this paper with her knowledge of the wind industry (Wind energy safe, environmentally friendly, Feb. 23).
Eason touts “creating local jobs and driving local investments while helping the province create a cleaner, stronger and affordable electricity system.” Eason also states that: “Facts must be at the centre of any discussion around our energy choices.”
I will list some facts.
The permanent jobs that are created in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality from industrial wind turbines are nil. It only takes a crane operator and a couple of technicians a few days to erect a turbine. The turbine is monitored and controlled from Halifax.
Wind turbines only produce energy approximately 30 per cent of the time. These turbines are unreliable when the wind is not blowing or is blowing too fast, when there’s a catastrophic failure, of when there’s lightning or ice. New Brunswick learned this lesson when a $200-million energy project froze solid. The 25-kilometre stretch of wind turbines, located 70 kilometres northwest of Bathurst, was completely shut down for several weeks due to heavy ice covering the blades (this is Canada, after all). Other sources of electricity had to be used, mostly gas and coal.
Don’t forget the recent wave of litigation in Ontario against the government, turbine companies and landowners who leased their land to the wind companies. These class-action lawsuits are in the tens of millions of dollars. Local investors and landowners should be careful and not be charmed by the Pied Piper of wind just yet.
Eason states that wind energy “generates electricity without emitting greenhouse gases, air pollutants, or radioactive waste.” The so-called “green” turbine’s multiple-ton magnets are made from neodymium – a highly radioactive rare earth metal. As Nova Scotia flaunts its environmental credentials by speckling its coastlines and unspoiled vistas and mountains with thousands of wind turbines, it is contributing to a vast man-made poisonous lake in northern China.
This is the deadly and sinister side of the massively profitable rare earth metals industry that the “green” companies profiting from the demand for wind turbines would prefer we knew nothing about.
The 86 huge turbines on Wolfe Island, near Kingston, Ont., began to produce power around 2009, and an ongoing count of birds and bats that have been killed by the blades has been conducted since then. A consultant’s report covering the period between July and December of 2009 indicated that 602 birds and 1,270 bats were killed by the turbines, and that they represent a significant threat to several endangered species.
Studies in Ontario show 20 to 60 per cent drops in property values. Ron VandenBussche, a real estate agent along the Lake Erie shore, said the wind turbines reduce the pool of interested buyers and, ultimately, the price of properties. “It’s going to make my life more difficult,” said VandenBussche, who has been a realtor for 38 years. “There’s going to be people that would love to buy in this particular place, but with the turbines there, it’s going to make it more difficult.”
The government and the wind energy industry have long maintained that turbines have no adverse effects on property values, health or the environment. The CBC has documented scores of families who are unable to sell and have even abandoned their homes because of concerns that nearby turbines are affecting their health.
Denmark has a smaller land mass than Nova Scotia. Industrial wind turbines have been in Denmark for approximately 30 years, and there are 40 anti-wind groups there. This occurs anywhere in the world where you find industrial wind turbines sited near residential areas.
Eason and Dexter need to understand that it doesn’t take someone with a PhD to realize it’s not right. Take your heads out of the sand. People do their research and won’t go away until their democratic and Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms rights are heard and upheld – by law if necessary.
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