Happy Earth Day Morgan and thank you for letting us celebrate this important day with your wonderful speech!
Mr Lobb and friends, my speech is on GLOBAL WARNING, Yes I said “WARNING” I know it is really called Global Warming but to me it is a WARNING and it should be to everyone living on this earth. We can make a difference if we STOP and LISTEN to the WARNINGS and take steps to make a change!!!
Global Warming is the biggest and self-made problem we face. We have not listened to the warnings, and we have not changed our ways. We are killing our earth and everything living on it!!
We made the problem by needing and wanting more of everything!! It is the unhealthy gases that are created by industry and farming that have sickened our air and it can’t escape, this has increased the temperature of our earth!! This is the greenhouse effect.
I wondered if global warming and the greenhouse effect are the same thing? Well .. I learned that NO, the greenhouse effect is WHY WE HAVE global warming.
We are burning stuff like coal, oil, natural gas, and diesel making CARBON DIOXIDE. We are cutting down all our trees, this has caused the air to trap the carbon dioxide. It’s like a greenhouse, it lets the heat of the sun in but NOT out!! The gas is getting in but NOT out, the greenhouse effect is man-made and it is the reason for global warming. People say “we need electricity, we need to get around – nothing we can do about it, it doesn’t really matter!” WRONG IT DOES MATTER, if we keep doing the things we’ve done there may NOT be an Earth for our kids or their kids!!
The EARTH IS MELTING!! The EARTH IS MELTING!! I know it sounds like a Chicken Little Story, but this story is TRUE, the earth really is melting!! Global Warming is making the polar ice caps and glaciers melt!! The melting is causing BIG problems, the polar bears are trying to find new homes, other animals have died or become extinct, we have seen bigger and badder storms and there have been some really bad sicknesses with no cures. Ocean temperatures are getting warmer too and it makes more problems, did you know that because the water is warmer coral reefs and other sea life is dying? I don’t think it is fair that things are dying after being here for more than 2 million years, we are the cause of these worldwide problems!!
I am scared … we have not taken the earths warning seriously, we are causing our own death!!
By not taking the warnings seriously we ARE causing a total MELTDOWN!!
THE GOOD NEWS IS there is still time to MAKE A DIFFERENCE, yes, it is true, global warming continues to grow at a fast pace. We can’t go back to what the earth used to be, BUT we take can take steps to reduce some of the bad things that have been happening.
OK OK, I know you are asking .. what can I do? How will it make a difference?
FIRST we MUST reduce “greenhouse gases”, our governments, politicians and industry leaders are trying to do it through the use of RENEWABLE ENERGY!! Our government is listening to the WARNINGS!! By using NATURAL RESOURCES – WIND, WATER and SUN. We should not be scared, we should be look at the good things Wind Turbines, Solar Panels, and water based hydro provide … things like no “greenhouse gases” and the amount of trapped gases start to drop!! RENEWABLE ENERGY is the BEST EXAMPLE of REDUCING, REUSING and RECYCLING!!
WE can do things too … like Driving less, use your bike or walk to school or work, If it is too far, carpool or better yet take a bus. Cut down on garbage, GROW A GARDEN and COMPOSTE what you can, this cuts down on dump space!! Buy RECYCLED stuff and RECYCLE as much as you can!! USE CANVAS or PLASTIC BASKETS when shopping! THINK REDUCE REUSE AND RECYCLE!!!
I think EVERYONE can do this BUT maybe it SHOULD be LAW to do these things and protect the earth!! It is because of you and me that our earth is dying!!
I would like to end my speech by saying “we are ALL part of the problem and we should ALL be part of the fix!!” We should be LISTENING to the Global WARNING that is GLOBAL WARMING!!
WE MUST TAKE STEPS to reduce our OWN carbon footprints one step at a time!! WE MUST also support and not be scared of Government Renewable Energy Programs that use the earths’ natural resources. We owe it to ourselves, our kids and their kids to protect the earth FROM MORE HARM!!
Morgan created the following YouTube video in preparation for his speech. Enjoy!
The Peace Region has attracted a lot of attention lately. We’re talking big energy here: natural gas fracking, new coal mines and more mega-dams on the Peace River. It all comes with quite a load of controversy, and the world is taking notice.
I have personally worked with or been interviewed by four documentary film crews over the last four years. They have all been making films about this energy-rich region, and how the people and culture of the Peace are being affected by this rapid industrialization.
Recently I talked for an hour on-camera with director Damian Kuehn, who arrived here from Vancouver with his two delightful children and Gemini Award-winning cinematographer Louis De Ernsted. Together (and the kids are included in the script) they are making a documentary called “The Road to Hope” about energy and “how we can balance our needs as a society with our impact on the earth.”
“Our goal is to make a beautiful film that encourages people to learn more about where their energy comes from, and where it might come from 20 years from now,” explained Kuehn.
So the camera rolled and I talked. I explained how BC’s first wind project, Bear Mountain Wind Park, was started by a local grass roots group called Peace Energy Cooperative, and how this coop paved the way for the understanding and local acceptance of wind power, by directly involving hundreds of local citizens (members of the coop) in the project from the very beginning.
The coop model for wind development, I said, works because it engages the folks who live on the land from day one, gives them the information they need to understand the technology BEFORE it arrives on their doorstep, involves them in the planning stages, and gives them a piece of the action. Anything less turns neighbour against neighbour and leads to fear and resistance.
I told them of the Peace Region’s 10,000 megawatts of easily developable wind power, waiting to be built by a host of independent power producers at no cost to taxpayers. I wondered why the provincial government would hold back this immense wind potential and instead favour flooding a beautiful pristine river valley for less than 1000 megawatts, financed with a multi-billion dollar taxpayer debt.
I mentioned that China has now become the world leader in the move to ultra-clean renewable energies like solar and wind, and how their aggressive move into solar has caused the price of photovoltaic panels (that make electricity from sunlight) to plummet, making them affordable like never before. I wondered why BC doesn’t yet have a “feed-in tariff” for solar (a special rate to encourage people to put solar panels on their homes and businesses to feed green power into the grid) like Ontario has had for years, like Nova Scotia announced last year and like Saskatchewan has announced this year.
And finally we talked of sustainability, and what that really means. In my opinion, I said, sustainability is not the big deal many make it out to be and certainly not a “sacrifice.” Driving a car that gets good mileage, growing a bit of your own food, collecting rain water off your roof, shopping at farmers’ markets, getting some exercise with a push lawn mower, going for a walk instead of a drive, buying organic, considering solar for your home, recycling and composting – these are simple actions that improve quality of life, save money, increase security, health and independence, but also MOVE US TOWARDS SUSTAINABILITY. Don’t bother with perfection, “net-zero” and all that other fancy stuff, just get yourself headed in the right direction. Sustainability, I said, is just applied common sense, and common sense can change the world.
I signed the model release, and this film crew, like the three before them, headed off to finish their project. My heart filled with gratitude. These dedicated artists were putting so much on the line to get their critical message out, trying so hard to understand these complex energy issues and present them in a way that others will understand. They are worried about their children, and are doing everything in their power to make a difference. Am I? Are you?
Don Pettit is a director of the board of Peace Energy Cooperative.
PHOTO CAPTION: (Toyota Prius)
Driving a fuel efficient / ultra-low emission vehicle like this Toyota Prius is anything but a hardship, and an important part of a more sustainable lifestyle.
As someone wiser than myself once said: “If we don’t change direction, we’re likely to end up right where we’re headed.” When it comes to paying for energy, I think we are about to arrive where we are headed.
After decades of dirt-cheap energy and fuel, prices for oil, gas and electricity continue to inch up and are beginning to reflect their true worth. Its about time. Keeping prices artificially low may be seen as a way to “help the economy” but in the real world of the 21st century, nothing could be further from the truth. It’s going to be a little pain now, but A LOT of gain later.
There are two basic ways of encouraging conservation of natural resources: willingly because it is the right thing to do (and usually saves money), or unwillingly, because we are forced to through government regulation or very high market prices. It looks like we are moving from the willing to the unwilling phase of energy conservation.
BC Hydro estimates we have about 35 years of natural gas left in BC. Much of that is frack-gas, expensive to recover, both financially and environmentally. Frack boom, gas floods the market, prices drop. Frack bust, prices jump. Overall, fossil fuel prices inch up, as use around the world grows while reserves become more difficult to extract, process and deliver. Controversy rages, uncertainty prevails, but always, prices move up.
The good news, as I have discussed in previous columns, is that we are merely in a difficult, yet inevitable transition stage. Every energy transition (old-tech renewables to coal, coal to oil and gas, oil and gas to high-tech renewables) has both pain and gain. The end of fossil fuels is in sight, for many good reasons (pollution, climate disruption, the threat of spills, more and more expensive and risky to produce, not to mention dwindling reserves) while pollution-free, inexhaustible renewable energies like wind and solar become mainstream, and less and less expensive to harvest.
It would seem that the role of government during this era of transition should be to encourage conservation of existing fossil fuel reserves, provide subsidies and grants to individuals to generate their own renewable energy, and encourage Canadian clean-tech industries and innovation. In other words, ease the transition for Canadians, and build on these new opportunities.
If corporations are not smart enough to invest their massive fossil-wealth in clean energy technologies (providing long-term security for their shareholders), then governments may have to help them do so by taxing their carbon emissions and putting the money where it is needed.
Ontario was the first province to grasp the potential of the global energy transition. They are creating tens of thousands of new jobs, harvesting the largest and most bountiful energy sources ever discovered: wind and solar. Seeing the light, other provinces are following close behind, while other nations, like China, are scrambling to capture the largest and fastest-growing energy market in human history.
Things are changing quickly. We will indeed continue to see higher prices, but with government and corporate leadership (I still have hope) the pain of this transition can be modest, and opportunities for renewable energy jobs and growth embraced. If price increases and carbon taxes are re-invested to help this transition move forward, then it’s a bit of pain now for a lot of gain later.
On the other side of all this, perhaps 30 years from now, fossils will be rapidly fading and renewables will be mainstream and widespread. Then energy prices WILL fall. Pollution will be a small fraction of what we put up with now, energy conservation will be a no-brainer, climate change will be slowing, the need for conventional fuels will be tiny, and the need for complex and fragile distribution infrastructure will be much less (renewables are diverse and widespread . . . who needs a grid when everybody makes their own power?).
When it comes to the price of energy, we’re ending up right where we’re headed. And that’s a good thing.
Don Pettit is a director of the board of Peace Energy Cooperative.]]>
In September of 2010, I set foot on my first wind project as a security guard. I must admit I had set foot on wind farms prior to this, but just as a gawker who wanted to see the giant components up close. My job on that first wind farm involved looking after a substation which had been a hot target for copper thieves. Even though I mostly worked long night shifts, I enjoyed the work a great deal. I worked the odd Saturday day shift with the linemen and construction workers building the substation and watched them with growing interest. They treated each other like family. They worked hard. They were proud of what they had accomplished at the end of their day.
I worked on two more wind projects as a security guard, getting to know iron workers, electricians, crane operators, turbine technicians and project managers. My interest in a job on the construction side of a wind farm grew. As much as I enjoyed security work, the pay was minimal and there was no foreseeable career growth. I really wanted to be out there, or rather up there, working on wind turbines, the substations or really anything involving wind energy. The problem was that I was scared. Scared to voice my wish to become a construction worker. Scared that as a woman, I couldn’t do that work or shouldn’t do that work. It was silly; but that little negative voice in my head kept me from making a move.
That little voice persisted until 2013. I discovered a group called Women of Wind Energy and decided to join. Even though I was just a security guard, I was working on wind farms and decided that made me part of the wind industry. My husband and I traveled to Toronto at the end of January for a WoWE meet-up. I was incredibly nervous to be walking in to an event filled with professional women who worked in wind. After all, I was just a security guard and didn’t think too highly of what I did. I was greeted warmly by the head of the Toronto chapter and all my nervousness melted away. Everyone I met that night was warm, encouraging, enthusiastic and genuine. My dream of working in the construction of wind farms didn’t seem so unrealistic anymore.
I left Toronto feeling encouraged and validated. I felt that my goal was attainable, and that I could do whatever I set my mind to. I tore down all the walls I had built in my head that were stopping me from doing what I truly wanted to do. I purchased tickets to a CanWEA networking event in Toronto at the end of February. Once again, my husband and I traveled to Toronto and I nervously stepped in to a room filled with the who’s who of the wind industry. I met as many people as I could and exchanged business cards and good conversation. When I left that evening, I was hopeful but unsure if anything would come of my efforts.
A week or so after the CanWEA event, I received an email from a gentleman at Surespan Wind Energy Services. We exchanged a few emails back and forth, and eventually I traveled back Toronto way for a face to face meeting and interview. I left with an offer of employment as a wind turbine technician, working on the quality assurance team for Surespan. The project I would be working on was located in my area, with one of the turbines being built right behind our house! I was ecstatic beyond words. My dreams had become reality. I had done it! I could hardly stand the wait until I started my new career in June that year.
Fast forward to the present. I have been working for Surespan for 7 months now. This is the first time in my life that I have honestly been able to say that I love my job. Yes, I work long hours. My personal best was just shy of 80 hours in a week. Yes, I wake up early. 5 am every day. Yes, there are lots of challenging aspects… but the feeling of accomplishment that I get from meeting those challenges makes it all worth it. I feel incredibly blessed and grateful to get up each day and go to a job that I’m passionate about. I now understand that feeling of camaraderie and family that I saw way back on my first wind project.
You may be wondering what’s so great about working in wind, and why I love it so much. I’ll put together some highlights in point form:
There are so many more things that I love about my job. The sense of pride, the independence, the accountability, the problem solving… and on and on. If nothing else, I hope this blog encourages everyone out there to pursue their dreams. DON’T discount yourself from anything before you even try. DON’T convince yourself that you can’t do what you dream of. Be courageous and take a leap of faith. Decide that you are good enough, strong enough and smart enough. Your gender does not determine what careers you can or cannot have. You are your own limiting factor.
Break down your walls.
~Meredith – QA Wind Turbine Technician
For proof, you only need to look at the cold snap of January 2013, when Quebec wind farms operated at full capacity for many days despite temperatures staying below -25°C. In fact, wind turbine production at our Gaspé research site was almost twice the annual average during this period as well as in early January 2014. Our data shows that periods of extreme cold have always resulted in maximum yield every year since our commissioning.
Besides, winter is the peak season for wind farms. Wind turbines generate more electricity from November to April due to winter’s strong winds and the greater density of cold air.
We’ve actually witnessed a rather exceptional combination of weather patterns in the last few days, where very cold temperatures (e.g., dropping to below -30°C) have been recorded along with light winds in many regions of Quebec. Note that such temperatures are rarely reached in the regions where wind farms are built. For example, according to Environment Canada’s data for Gaspé, such conditions occurred 1.6 hour per year on average over the past 30 years.
So you have to be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Let’s remember that hydroelectric dams can be affected by summer droughts, and roads can be closed due to harsh weather conditions. No one is questioning the relevance of those infrastructures because of this, though—why should wind farms be any different?
It is false to state that there is less wind during cold snaps or that wind turbines are affected adversely by long-lasting low temperatures. Wind turbines operating in Quebec meet the reliability and robustness standards issued by Hydro-Québec. Major power grid operators such as Hydro-Québec are equipped to manage fluctuations in power production as well as consumption, both of which are equally variable.
The fact that only part of Quebec wind turbines’ total output was fed into Hydro-Québec’s grid early this year is due to many reasons, ranging from power grid availability to each site’s specific weather events. It is misleading to make assumptions based on misinformation.
Frédéric Côté, General Manager
Photo : TechnoCentre éolien]]>
Global warming. Climate change. The greenhouse effect. Sounds like things we’ll have to worry about in the far distant future, something that our children will have to deal with. Not us. Not now.
The fact is, we are already suffering from the effects of climate change. The Mountain Pine Beetle epidemic, for instance, which essentially wiped out the pine forests of western Canada, was caused by the trend towards warmer winters in the north. It’s here. It’s happening. We’re already paying the price.
Fossil fuels have brought us to levels of prosperity and abundance unimaginable a century ago. Today, however, this trend shows signs of backfiring, as the build-up of greenhouse gases, mostly carbon dioxide and methane, continues to warm the planet and throw our weather badly out of whack.
To stabilize the weather, concerned climatologists are calling for an immediate 60 to 70 per cent cut in carbon dioxide emissions, with a rapid phase-out of ALL fossil fuels within 20 years. Wow, that’s a pretty tall order. Can we do it?
The good news is that a transition from fossil fuels to renewable energies from the sun and wind, will not mean unemployment and hardship. To the contrary, this transition, now well underway in most of the world (Canada’s a wee bit behind on this one) will mean more jobs and a higher standard of living for most everyone. Particularly those nations, companies and individuals that take a leadership role. A look at history confirms this.
THIRD ENERGY TRANSITION
The move from oil and gas to solar and wind is not our first great energy transition. In fact, as a civilization, we’re getting pretty good at this energy transition thing.
Let’s remember that we started out with renewables, long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away. Wind, water and wood power brought us to the beginning of the fossil fuel age in the 1800’s. These early renewable energies were used to build the devices that allowed us to enter the coal era, an immense energy transition that took about 70 years to complete.
Then we used the coal energy to make the materials and devices that allowed us to tap into the newly discovered oil and gas reserves. Oil and gas were harder to get at than coal, but they were much more concentrated forms of stored energy, easily piped and pumped. Oil and gas brought us into yet another new, higher level of industrial efficiency and productivity – the era in which we are now living.
The move from coal to oil and gas also took about 70 years. Each energy transition has given us an energy source that is more efficient and more powerful than the one before. In spite of warnings, threats and complaints from vested energy interests at the time, an unexpected economic boom accompanied each transition. Those nations and individuals who invested early in the new energy technologies became the world leaders of the new energy era. Those who did not, but instead choose to stick with the old energy sources, fell behind.
ALLREADY HALF WAY THERE
We are now well into the next great energy transition: from oil and gas to renewable energies from the sun, wind and earth. Perhaps we are about half way through the usual 70-year time frame. In a way, it’s a transition back to the past, but with all of our modern scientific and technical knowledge to make it high-tech smart and super-efficient.
Once the renewable energy infrastructure is in place, the resource will be harvested forever, constantly replenished ever hour and every day by the forces of nature, the same forces that make our abundant planet a comfortable home for life.
Renewables do not make energy by burning fuel and so are pollution-free. They are widely distributed around the world, allowing each nation, and often each individual, to become an energy producer, not just a consumer. Renewables are extremely plentiful, and the technologies needed to harvest them are simple, reliable and easily mass-produced.
Driven by climate change, a good dose of common sense, and an immense worldwide market for clean energy technologies, the third great energy transition has begun. For humanity, it’s back to the future, again.
Don Pettit is a director of the board of Peace Energy Cooperative.
Photo Caption: We are already well into humanity’s third great energy transition. To feel the thrill and promise of a world powered by renewable energy, visit a local wind park. You’ll be impressed. (Don Pettit photo)]]>
The national calendar fundraiser supports Friends of Wind with proceeds from its sale going to support regional Friends of Wind activities over the coming year. The Friends of Wind program was launched in 2011 to give a voice to the often-silent majority who support wind project development and to help build grassroots support. You can place your order at windcalendar.ca, and find out more about Friends of Wind initiatives by exploring this website! Show your support for wind energy and join the conversation: become a Friend of Wind today! Get a copy of your calendar today to read inspiring profiles from:
The environmental ethic has evolved over the last 50 years. It has now separated into three distinct shades of green: Deep Green, Dark Green, and Bright Green. Which shade of green are you?
Deep Green says: “I am one with nature, I yearn for a simpler life closer to nature, and a return to nature is the only answer.” Dark Green says: “The world is ending! and we are all to blame!” Bright Green, a newer form of green, says: “A much better world for everybody and everything on the planet is staring us in the face, all we have to do is help make it happen.” Personally, I tend towards the brighter shade.
Bright Green points to a better future that is all around us, happening and trying to happen. It focuses on solutions. It is positive, empowering, and brings people together. It motivates with hope, abundance, and security. It says that limits to what we can change may have been set by technology in the past, but in the 21st century, that is no longer the case. We now have all the information, know-how, processes, ideas and knowledge that we need to transform the world.
Deep and Dark Green say: “another world is possible.” Bright Green says “another world is HERE. It just isn’t fully in place yet.”
Dark Green points fingers and lays blame. It focuses on the problems. It tries to motivate people into action with fear and worry, but instead tends to be divisive, discouraging and disempowering. It has been the dominant shade of green for some time, and many now argue that it has worked against itself.
Bright Green, on the other hand, is about abundance, not scarcity. About moving boldly ahead, not timidly and fearfully falling back. Its not about dragging down the old paradigms, its about building new ones. It’s about boldly doing something that has never been done before: consciously redesigning our civilization. A big job, sure, but just look around. We’re already doing it, massively, on a global scale, every day!
Bright Green recognizes that the future is marching ahead and not waiting for anyone, and we have to engage and deal with it, not run away and hide. Massive change is upon us: global climate is shifting in unpredictable ways, affecting everyone and everything; half the people on the planet are under the age of thirty, and a third are under fifteen (that’s 2.2 billion kids!); we’re building about a thousand coal plants on this warming globe over the next decade, and the largest human migration in history is moving billions off the land. Meanwhile, the cost of renewable energies from the sun and wind are about to make our fossil-fueled economy look expensive, dirty and downright silly. None of these outrageous changes make any sense by even 20th century standards. Bright Green says a 21st century paradigm is needed, and it exists. In fact, it’s staring us right in the face.
Bright Green guru Bruce Sterling says it like this: “The limits aren’t to be found in the technology anymore. The limits are behind your own eyes, people. They are limits of habit, things you’ve accepted, things you’ve been told, realities you’re ignoring. Stop being afraid. Wake up. It’s yours if you want it. It’s yours if you’re bold enough.”
It’s tempting to pine for simpler times. It’s likely that the sustainable world of the future will include some of the best aspects of the past: a return to more local production; more land and sea set aside for nature; healthier lifestyles and communities; less pointless consumption; energy from the sun, wind and earth . . . but we don’t know, exactly, what that future will be like.
What we do know is that the future isn’t waiting for anybody. And we know that even a fraction of the world’s military budget could solve world hunger, provide clean water, clean energy, shelter and security for everyone on the planet. In spite of what you may have heard to the contrary, we actually CAN do these things. Now.
The brighter shade of green I subscribe to says: “So what are we waiting for? Let’s do it!”
Don Pettit is a director of the board of Peace Energy Cooperative.
Photo caption (Earth from space): This is the most famous photo of Earth from space, taken by Apollo astronauts traveling to the moon in 1972. It inspired a whole generation of environmental activists by showing, for the first time, our entire planet alone in the emptiness of space.
This change, lives within me. You see, by living out the values that others simply preach, the concept of a sustainable tomorrow comes into our reach. When even the smallest of actions have the largest in mind, the change we seek becomes simply a matter of time. For the straws in the wind show that it is time that Canada takes the lead, and rather than letting the winds of change blow through us, we should harness them. Take wind from the government’s sails to steer the ship of our nation into a brighter tomorrow. A tomorrow where alternative becomes mainstream, and trade winds could turn turbines to turn profits, turning skeptics into believers into change makers. A tomorrow where westerlies could blow over re-imagined albertan landscapes and windmills would stand tall like prairie gold. Or, like massive monuments to Ontario’s tri-petalled trilliums, the masses in millions would stand together, for a tomorrow, where clean, green energy, is simply referred to as, energy. Now that’s what I call a wind wind situation. For like silent sentries they will stand, gentle giants generating for generations now and to come. From Gros Morne to Bear Mountain, Amaranth to Halkirk, we will stand hand in hand, eye to the sky, and wait for the sun to rise over the newest additions to the ever evolving landscape of our nation. Canada, to tomorrow. Listen to Tomorrow by Gautham Krishnaraj
Gautham Krishnaraj is a B.Sc. Student at McGill University studying Microbiology and Immunology and has always had passion for science and languages. He aspires to have a career in International Medicine, and recognizes the immense value in being able to connect with the indigenous peoples of a region while bringing them access to vital medical care. He is the co-founder of Raise Your Voice, a non-profit organization that teaches the invaluable skills of public discourse to youth as well as sponsoring girls education in Malawi. Currently holding the rank of British Columbia’s “Best Youth Individual Spoken Word Poet”, you can download more of Gautham’s work at gauthamkrishnaraj.bandcamp.com.
*Image credit: Brian Van Wyk Photography]]>
Il est primordial de traiter nos ressources naturelles au delà de leur valeur économique. Il a été prouvé qu’une économie ne prenant pas son emprunte écologique en compte, atteindra rapidement la fin de sa rentabilisation monétaire. Nous savons qu’il est possible d’accroître sa puissance énergétique tout en protégeant l’environnement et s’assurer ainsi d’une rentabilisation économique à long terme. À l’échelle du pays, la production d’électricité provenant des énergies renouvelables comme celle des éoliennes, assure la perpétuité de la richesse et de l’abondance nécessaire au développement propre et parfois même équitable. À l’échelle individuel, c’est à chaque citoyen de faire partie de l’équation et de faire sa part en faisant des choix judicieux lors de ses achats domestiques. Un avenir qui mise sur l’énergie propre, c’est un avenir sain et prometteur. Nous possédons les technologies pour mettre sur pied un nouveau système énergétique. Rassemblons nous. En tant que société, il y a une grande fierté à retirer d’un travail collectif basé sur cette idée de symbiose entre notre puissance énergétique et le respect de nos ressources. Le changement c’est moi, mais le changement c’est aussi nous.
Je m’appelle Laurence Dupuis, Je suis présentement un étudiant en production cinématographique du Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema de l’Université Concordia à Montréal, Québec. J’ai déjà eu la chance de présenter quelques un de mes films dans certains festivals comme le Festival Image+Nation de Montréal et le Festival du Film Jeunesse de Rimouski. Après mes études, j’aimerais énormément travailler sur des projets multimédias et peut-être même travailler pour Moment Factory, l’une des plus importantes compagnies en production multimédia d’Amérique du Nord.
For the entire history of the human race we have been utilizing the power of wind to make our lives easier. From the first sail boat to ply the seas and expand our trade horizons and knowledge exponentially to the windmills that pumped water or ground grain to sustain life and reduce the burden of labour. The revolution in energy technology has already begun. The nations of Europe have long ago embraced wind power technology and now derive substantial amounts of their energy needs from wind. China is set to become the largest wind producer in the world in a few years time and even the oil hungry United States has an aggressive wind power plan in place. Canada is being left behind. Our government is so obsessed with fossil fuels they fail to see the bigger picture; the possibility our vast country has for alternative energy production and the pending catastrophe if we fail to pursue that course. We must create a national policy to advance alternative energy systems and a smart grid that will be able to utilize wind power generation to its full potential. We need to support companies that are pursuing wind power with tax breaks and research and development incentives. I will be a part of the movement that will push for these reforms, the movement that cries, “I make a difference!” As a regional planner and politician I will help shape policy and bring about change. This is my promise.
Daniel Bryce is doing his Master’s in Planning at Dalhousie University, NS. He is most interested in rural-urban food networks and planning policy regarding alternative energy projects. He hopes to work as a planning and policy consultant in his fields of interest when he graduates.
Wind energy can make an important contribution to Ontario’s future electricity needs. Ontario is working to develop a new Long Term Energy Plan that will guide the development of its electricity sector for the next 10 to 15 years. All sources of electricity have strengths and weaknesses and Ontario will be keen to ensure that future electricity supply is cost-competitive, environmentally sustainable and provides economic benefits to the province.
On Thursday October 10 join stakeholders from across the electricity sector to discuss Ontario’s future electricity mix and consider what energy mix can best meet the expectations of governments, communities, citizens and the grid.
CanWEA brings you an exciting panel of energy association leaders and provocative key speakers including environmental activist, Ms. Tzeporah Berman. Don’tmiss this half day session where the topic of discussion shifts beyond wind and into the energy renewables arena.
The ENERGY ASSOCIATION LEADERS DEBATE will include:
Moderator: Mr. Tyler Hamilton, Journalist
Mr. Robert Hornung, President, Canadian Wind Energy Association
Mr. David Butters, President, Association of Power Producers of Ontario
Mr. John Gorman, President, Canadian Solar Industries Association
Dr. Ron Oberth, President, Organization of Canadian Nuclear Industries
Mr. Paul Norris, President, Ontario Waterpower Association
Mr. Adam White, President, Association of Major Power Consumers
Register for the Energy Leaders Debate today!
Public/Corporate/Government $50.00 + tax
Students/Non-Profit Associations $25.00 + tax
Registration for this session can be made through the main CanWEA 2013 Conference registration system. Registration Category is “Closing Plenary Session Only.” For more information please visit CanWEA2013.]]>
“Today, Ontario has a broad range of options for new electricity generation but few that match the requirement for affordability, economic development potential, environmental sustainability, diversification, reliability and rate base value as compellingly as wind energy,” states CanWEA president, Robert Hornung. “In addition, new wind energy development will continue to provide Ontario’s wind energy supply and value chains with a core domestic market that will allow it to maintain and build upon its current investments in Ontario’s green energy economy.”
It is imperative that wind energy opportunities are further committed to in an updated Long Term Energy Plan that provides stable long term targets for wind energy procurement in the province of Ontario. Ontario’s long-term energy plan will need to pursue cost-effective options for new electricity supply that continue to recognize the importance of greenhouse gas emission reductions. Wind energy is well positioned to meet these objectives.
CanWEA strongly recommends that 2,000 MW of new wind energy be procured over a 4 year period, beginning in 2014.Looking beyond 2018, CanWEA believes the government should identify in the LTEP a long-term target of a minimum of 15 per cent of electricity demand being met by wind by 2031.
For a copy of the summary submission, please click here. For a copy of CanWEA’s full submission, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.]]>
La Commission sur les enjeux énergétiques se déroulera du 4 septembre au 11 octobre 2013. Cette consultation sera d’une grande importance pour le futur énergétique de la province.
Vous avez la chance de partager votre point de vue avec les commissaires en démontrant votre appui à la poursuite du développement éolien au Québec. La Commission accepte les mémoires, qu’ils soient longs de quelques lignes ou de plusieurs pages, que vous pouvez soumettre en ligne en complétant ce formulaire.
Pour en savoir plus sur les impacts de l’énergie éolienne au Québec, vous pouvez consulter les documents contenus sur cette page du site de l’Association canadienne de l’énergie éolienne.
Faites vite, vous avez jusqu’au 11 octobre 2013 !]]>
Long term, stable economic development, full employment, more prosperous farms and ranches, and a clean environment. That’s what the Peace Country of Northeast British Columbia has to GAIN.
Long-term, home-grown green electricity for a power-hungry world. That’s what the Peace Country has to GIVE.
I’m talking about wind: our newest, and I will argue our most valuable, Peace Country resource. Most valuable? Certainly.
LOTS OF WIND. LOTS OF JOBS
Dawson Creek’s own Peace Energy Cooperative led the “wind rush” into the Peace (a sort of low-key gold rush) about 10 years ago with the launch of the Bear Mountain Wind Park project. Since then Dokie Wind near Chetwynd and Quality Wind near Tumbler Ridge have also come on-line, for a total of about 500 megawatts (MW). The cost (to private developers, not taxpayers) was about $1 billion.
Standing in the wings waiting to happen: another 1,000 MW scattered along the foothills between Chetwynd and Hudson’s Hope. Estimated total capacity of easily developed wind in the BC
Peace: 10,000 MW. Cost to build: $20 billion dollars. Expected useful life of the infrastructure, and life of the energy resource itself? FOREVER.
Yes folks, wind power is forever. An energy source that does not burn fuel not only never runs out of fuel, but eliminates the costs and environmental impacts of finding fuel, extracting fuel, refining it, pumping, storing, pipelining and trucking it, then dealing with the pollution and health costs created by burning it. As wind and other renewables become mainstream, those costs quickly fade into history.
WIND CAPITAL OF CANADA
With these facts in mind, a sensible and wise provincial government (we can only keep hoping) could easily make the BC Peace “Wind Capital of Canada.” It would be a snap, really. Mostly a matter of letting it happen. Private developers are waiting for provincial go-ahead, eager to install the infrastructure at essentially no cost to taxpayers.
If we fully develop our wind resource, we’ll see blade factories here, tower fabrication plants, huge shipping, trucking and rail contracts, tens of thousands of construction jobs over decades, and thousands of permanent hi-tech maintenance, management and engineering jobs (to keep the power flowing) stretching into, again, forever.
Planning for big wind also means stretching the water resource of BC’s existing hydro capacity (the two existing dams on the Peace River are together rated at 3,430 MW peak): when the wind is blowing, hold back water; when the wind subsides, let more water through the turbines. This technique is used with success in Norway and has proven to improve the reliability and efficiency of both resources.
Very low footprint too. 10,000 megawatts of commercial-scale wind would have a physical footprint of only about 80 square kilometers. Picture a square of land less than 10 kilometers on a side, but thinly spread out along the vast area of our Rocky Mountain foothills, scattered here and there on farms and ranches (a welcome diversification of farm income that can be willed to their children, and their children!), and on occasional ridges like Bear Mountain. While operating, (that is, while powering most of western Canada) essentially zero pollution, carbon or otherwise.
A PERFECT FIT
Knowing the Peace Region as I do, I think wind power is a perfect fit – a new, fresh, hi-tech, environmentally responsible and long-term (not boom and bust) vision for the 21st century that fits our regional mind-set and culture perfectly. As a sustainable economic base, coupled with our existing agricultural base, nothing could be more perfect.
And why not have a good portion of that wind power owned locally, cooperatively, a model used around the world with great success? Once again, an idea well suited to the Peace Region where the coop model of ownership is already firmly established. And hey, wind power inspires our youth. They might even stay here and work, permanently.
The Peace Region can be both green and prosperous. All that is needed is visionary political will, a plan, and the wisdom to carefully implement it.
When the oil and gas are long gone, when shifting weather patterns and melting glaciers have put even hydro power in question, the sun will still be shining and the wind will still be blowing.
Don Pettit is a director of the board of Peace Energy Cooperative.
Image caption: A comprehensive wind power plan for the BC Peace Region could quickly make us “Wind Capital of Canada” while keeping our environment clean, providing steady growth and full employment now . . . and for future generations. (Don Pettit photo)
Finding a way to power the Diavik Diamond Mine in Canada’s northwest territories, an area where the thermometer can plunge to -50 degrees Celsius, is a large and costly challenge for Rio Tinto. Until 2012, this remote Arctic site relied entirely on diesel for all its energy needs, using approximately 70 million liters of diesel a year. Today, the mine has four 2.3 megawatt wind turbines that supply an average of 10 per cent of the mine’s total energy needs.
The harsh climate on the Lac de Gras island where the Diavik wind diesel hybrid facility is based places several constraints on how energy is supplied. Liezl Van Wyk, manager of business improvement for the Diavik Diamond Mine, points out that there are no regular roads, shipping routes or transmission lines to the diamond mine, nor is there “a gas station around the corner where we can go buy our diesel.” Supplies are trucked to the site during six-to-eight weeks in winter when an ice road is constructed from Yellowknife.
Van Wyk will be joining other mining and renewable energy this September 25-26 at the Renewable Energy and Mining Summit in Toronto to discuss the implementation and operation of Diavik’s wind farm. The summit will feature the most recent case studies of global mine’s that have incorporated renewables into their energy mix and the challenges and benefits of choosing and implementing these systems.
Before settling on wind, Van Wyk was open to other energy options. She soon ruled out geothermal (the diamond mine isn’t deep enough), nuclear power (there is no regulatory framework for this in the northwest territories), and solar (the scale is small and breaking even financially difficult).
On the other hand, wind held plenty of appeal. A wind farm was scalable, says Van Wyk, explaining that the amount of energy generated depends upon the number of turbines added. What’s more, the wind resource on the island was fairly attractive, and even though wind power is expensive, it is more economical than the cost of diesel in the arctic.
Making the Case
In 2007, a meteorological tower was installed near the Diavik mine as part of a wind resource feasibility study. Three years later, Van Wyk began studying weather data and exploring the construction possibilities near the mine. “We launched a survey campaign on site to find the best wind locations on the island,” she says, and then did geotechnical drilling to determine the strength of the rock on which the company planned to build the foundations.
She further explored wind turbine options in 2010 by attending the Canadian Wind Energy Conference in Montreal, where she canvassed various suppliers and identified five interested companies. After creating a rating system for the tender offers, she chose ENERCON, a German company that scored highest on a combination of technical design, price, and customer support, and could fit the turbine blades with a de-icing technology. In November 2011, ENERCON shipped the four wind turbines from its factory in Germany to Canada before the turbines were trucked to the Northwest Territories.
Another challenge was reaching out to various stakeholders, including government entities that grant permits and the local aboriginal groups. Perhaps the most critical early-stage PR opportunity came when Van Wyk planned a ceremony and donated the meteorological tower used for the Diavik wind resource assessment to a Yellowknife business consortium so they could explore building their own wind farms in the Yellowknife area.
“You don’t come out of nowhere and make this big announcement: We’re building the first wind farm in the Northwest Territories,” she says. “You start the discussion and engagement early, and donating the weather tower was a very good tool I had at my disposal to get discussions going regarding wind farms in the north.”
Once Van Wyk had settled upon a financial model and solid business plan, the project was presented to various senior Rio Tinto executives to get capital approval for the $33 million project. She acknowledges that it was “a big ask,” but the project met all the economic feasibility criteria. Final approval was granted by Rio Tinto’s CEO (then Tom Albanese), who was already aware of the wind farm project because of the early stage stakeholder engagement work. He quickly gave the project his blessing.
Forethought was one key to success, says Van Wyk. She recommends frontloading as much work as possible, doing everything from weather research to financial modeling to risk assessment as early as possible. “For months I worked seven days a week to think through all the issues,” she says. “Act as quickly as possible because things will pop up that you didn’t anticipate even with very careful planning.”
For several months in 2010 and well into 2011, Van Wyk constituted the entire wind farm team, a situation she now regards with gratitude. “If you need to move really fast, keep the team small and very aggressive,” she advises. “I kept the project controls close to me and so most of the bureaucracy was out of the project and decisions were moved on rapidly.”
Instead of hiring numerous consultants and contractors, Van Wyk worked closely with Diavik’s resources and designed most of the wind turbine installation in house. Not only did this keep costs low, but it also fostered a strong team spirit. “Our own people had a chance to step up to the challenge,” she says, “and this created buzz and a positive vibe. With specialist design work, we selected key contract partners that had a solid track record with us and would contribute to the project success, as this project had a higher than average risk profile.”
Out of this work came several innovations. Rio Tinto designed and used its own communications protocol and design, instead of merely bolting on the suppliers’ SCADA solution. She also found ways to keep the construction footprint as small as possible out of respect for the environmentally-sensitive tundra surrounding the mine site. For instance, the engineers designed the crane pads so that they could do double duty as a lay-down area for the turbine components. “We had the advantage of our own crews and mining equipment to build roads, blast foundations, mix and pour concrete, and tie into our overhead power lines,” she says.
Finally, she says, the company had to find ways to protect the 100-meter-high wind turbines against lightning. Lightning was a particularly daunting challenge because the island is located on high-resistance rock that hampers lightning fault current from flowing to ground. In the end, the Diavik team took the novel approach of grounding the structures in the surrounding lake — an idea that has proven quite successful. Again, Van Wyk had the initial inspiration but it required good electrical design done by one of the contractors to deliver on the idea.
Even with plenty of planning, some lessons could not be anticipated. The winter of 2011 to 2012, when commissioning was underway, was one of the coldest on record at the mine and so the lubricants in some of the components froze. Van Wyk was glad that a dedicated team was available to address problems during the construction and commissioning phase because the technicians could troubleshoot and replace the lubricants with a more suitable product.
“People will expect the plant to run smoothly, but it’s seldom going to run smoothly from the start,” she says. “If you don’t have a dedicated team to resolve start-up issues, people will lose motivation and start pointing fingers.”
Since February 2012, the wind turbines have achieved wind-diesel penetration of up to 45 per cent, with an average of 8 per cent. “We are aiming to generate 10 per cent of our 20-25MW mine electrical load with renewables. If we have a lot of wind, we can shut down some of the diesel generators,” she says. In addition, Diavik is planning to reduce its diesel use by approximately four million liters and its CO2 emissions by 12,000 tons.
To Van Wyk’s delight, the turbines have been well received by the various stakeholders so far. “Now that we have a working example to learn from, we’re hoping that this will make the case for further development and expansion of wind renewables in the north and in other remote communities.”
For more information on the Renewable Energy and Mining Summit taking place September 25-26 in Toronto visit www.renewablesandmining.com]]>
In the lead up to Global Wind Day, the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) and Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) recruit Global Wind Day Ambassadors to spread the word on wind energy. In 2012 eighteen VIPs and other personalities committed to renewables, particularly wind energy, signed up to become Ambassadors for Global Wind Day.
Each year on Global Wind Day Don writes to his local paper with an article celebrating the growth of wind energy around the world. This year the following article was published in the County Weekly news on June 13, 2013.
5th Annual Global Wind Day on June 15th
Did you know these FACTS about wind energy in Canada and around the world? All of these FACTS can be easily verified :
Learn more about wind energy at www.windfacts.ca and www.globalwindday.org
Submitted by Don Ross of County Sustainability Group www.countysustainability.ca
The CSG’s 15 or so active members collaborate on a biweekly column in a local newspaper, writing on issues ranging from population growth to climate change. The group, which has another 65 associate members who supports its activities, also has a website (www.countysustainability.ca) where it posts news, position papers, and action alerts on a wide variety of topics.
To celebrate Global Wind Day, the international annual day for discovering the power of wind, and the growing contribution of wind energy in Canada, CanWEA has launched the second annual Power of Wind Blog Contest.
Students entering or in post-secondary education are invited to submit a 300 word blog on the subject of building a clean energy future. We want to hear from you on how you would contribute to, and become a part of, a renewable energy future. Tell us how you can make a difference by incorporating the phrase “I am change!” or “I make a difference!”
Use your imagination and be creative!
The contest will run from June 15, 2013 (Global Wind Day) to September 15, 2013. The winner will be announced in Toronto at CanWEA’s Annual Conference on October 7-10, 2013.
The winners of the Power of Wind Blog Contest will win the following:
TERMS AND CONDITIONS:
The contest is open until September 15, 2013. Entries will be accepted as of June 15. This contest is open to participants from Canada. There is no entry fee, and each participant can submit only one entry to this contest. CanWEA employees and CanWEA member organizations are not eligible to take part in the contest, nor are their relatives or members of their families. CanWEA also reserves the right to use any blog submissions on its website or for any other marketing materials. The decision of the judges is final. Only the winners will be contacted after submissions have been reviewed.
To be eligible for the bursary, all applicants must (and will be required to provide proof of):
HOW TO SUBMIT YOUR BLOG:
Your 300 word blog can be submitted by email to email@example.com by no later than September 15, 2013.
The couple set to work restoring cultivated sections of the property back to native prairie grassland, on which their herd of once-rare Canadian horses grazes. For Heidi and David, the 61 wind turbines that circle their farm on three sides reflect that philosophy. The couple has neighboured the Summerview wind farm for the past decade, and sees it as a clean alternative to fossil fuels.
Heidi hopes that by sharing their experience and confronting misinformation about the impacts of living in proximity to wind turbines, she and David can be catalysts for change. In an effort to do so Heidi continually looks to tell a positive story about something she knows will help our communities be sustainable in the future. In her latest article, appearing in Eguine Wellness Magazine, Heidi shares the experience of several horse owners living near Alberta’s Summerview wind farm.
PDF Reprinted with permission of Equine Wellness Magazine, © 2013 www.equinewellnessmagazine.com
Heidi Eijgel is owner and manager of Windy Coulee Canadian Horses. In 2012 Heidi Eijgel and David Glass were both recipients of CanWEA’s Friend of Wind Award for their advocacy efforts and strong support for wind energy.
MYTH #3: “We can’t possibly power the whole planet on renewables because there’s not enough of it and it’s intermittent and unreliable.” WRONG!
Renewable energy has always seemed kind of magical to me. Stick a wind turbine up in the air or let the sun shine on a solar panel and out comes electricity. That’s pretty cool.
And there’s more. What the “renewable” part of renewable energy means, of course, is that there is NO FUEL REQUIRED. Sure we need some to build the energy harvesting equipment in the first place, and a little bit for maintenance, but the point is, once it is up and running, it makes electricity without fuel.
And hey, there’s a really good spin off from this “no fuel” thing: no pollution. Yes folks, once she’s up and running, renewable energy is darn close to pollution-free. Remember, “no fuel” also means no fuel to be dug up or drilled for, refined or transported. No-fuel energy has a tiny environmental impact compared to fuel-based energy. Period.
Hmm, an energy source that needs no fuel, creates no pollution and lasts forever. Sounds like a pretty good idea! But is there enough of it to power our hi-tech, over-populated planet? Is it actually POSSIBLE to power everything all the time with renewables? The answer: “You bet!”
POWER TO SPARE
There is, indeed, enough. Supplies of easily accessible wind and solar dwarf the energy consumed by everybody on the planet many times over. Like, really dwarf. The sun alone pours some 350,000,000 terawatt (trillion watt) hours of solar energy on the planet each year, about four thousand times more than our planetary civilization currently consumes, and about 400 times more than all the energy in the world’s remaining oil reserves. There is LOTS of renewable energy.
But what would be needed to harvest all the energy needed to run the whole planet? A 2009 study published in Scientific American, “A path to sustainable energy by 2030,” by Mark Z. Jacobson and Mark A. Delucchi, proposes a plan to eliminate the need for all fossil fuels worldwide by 2030 (just 20 years!) using a mix of 90,000 solar plants, numerous geothermal, tidal and rooftop photovoltaic installations, and 3.8 million 5-megawatt wind turbines scattered all around the globe. (Wind supplies 51 per cent of world demand in this plan because it is the fastest to scale up and deploy, and is already cost-competitive with most other energy sources, including coal).
JOBS, JOBS, JOBS
Still, that’s one heck of a lot of wind turbines to build and solar panels to install. Is it possible? Sure it is. Let’s remember that the world currently manufactures 73 million cars and light trucks every year, and somewhere in the world a city the size of Seattle is being built EVERY WEEK. Rapid, massive change is not only possible, it happens all the time.
The cost? A small fraction of our global military spending. And cheaper to produce than fossil energy too. After all, there’s no expensive fuel, and because renewables are much more distributed across the land, much less transmission is required (you can generate all your own power with the sunlight falling on the roof of your home, for instance).
And boy, we’re talkin’ jobs!
What about that old “intermittency” problem? The sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow. The good news is that once you get a fair bit of this renewable infrastructure in place, things tend to even out: wind not blowing here but blowing over there, sun shining when the wind isn’t blowing, geothermal and hydro providing back-up as needed, etc.
A recent California study at Stanford University calculated that a mix of geothermal, wind, solar and existing hydro could generate 100 percent of California’s electricity 24/7. It’s true: just about everywhere on the planet some mix of renewables will work year around, night and day. . . forever.
Renewable energy seems like magic, but it isn’t. It’s just simple, common-sense technology, actually. Can we change our entire energy system in 20 years? Certainly.
And the really good news is that we have already begun. More on that in later installments of Watt’s Happening . . .
Don Pettit is a director of the board of Peace Energy Cooperative.
Image Caption: Wind turbines like these at Bear Mountain Wind Park near Dawson Creek could supply half of the world’s power by 2030. Many countries, including Denmark, Germany, the U.S. and China are moving aggressively in that direction. (D.A. Pettit photo)
It’s rare that we get to see our electricity being made. It usually comes from some far and distant unknown source. Plug something into an outlet, and there’s the power. The rest is a mystery.
In the south Peace Region of BC, we have it good. Here, we have wind power. Big wind power. Right from our own back yards we can see the blades turning, and the faster they turn the more green electricity is pouring into our area. But how can we be sure its not just “disappearing” into the grid? How do we know we actually get to use this ultra-green power?
(Note: the following description of how electricity flows in a grid has been confirmed by conversations with BC Hydro and a friendly physics teacher . . . oh, an electrician too.)
HAPPY LITTLE ELECTRONS
Electricity is composed of tiny bundles of energy called “electrons.” It is conceptually accurate (although a great technical simplification) to think of electrons as flowing through a wire like water through a pipe. You can have twenty closed taps on a pipe, but water will only flow to and through the tap that is open, and it will flow out of the closest tap first. Electricity behaves much the same way.
In the case of our local Bear Mountain Wind Park, electricity generated there flows down a power line from the ridge to the Hart Highway substation. From there it has a choice of going west to Chetwynd (not likely, since that area is now being powered by the Dokie and Quality Wind projects), or east to Dawson Creek. Since Dawson Creek is the nearest big load (open tap), the electricity from Bear Mountain will flow there, while powering up everything it encounters on the way: farms, ranches, etc.
After powering Dawson Creek and area, left over electrons spread out like sap through the leaf of a tree, with the grid being the veins in the leaf. Each load, no matter how large or small, is an open tap that electricity from Bear Mountain will flow to. The stronger the wind blows, the bigger the leaf becomes, spreading wind-generated electrons out across the region.
Thanks to the laws of physics, electricity goes directly to where it is needed exactly when it is needed. It happily turns night into day, gives us instant communication anywhere in the world, toasts our bread, keeps our iPhones and iPads happy, and charges our electric cars (some day). Magic.
ENERGY INDEPENDENCE FOR THE PEACE!
To power all of Dawson Creek’s homes (population about 13,000), street lights, water treatment plants, communications towers, municipal buildings, businesses, arenas . . . pretty well everything, requires about 15 megawatts (15 million watts) at peak load. The 34 wind turbines on Bear Mountain produce that much in a nice breeze; five times that in a strong wind. Averaged over the year and accounting for maintenance down-time and low-wind days, Bear Mountain Wind could easily power three Dawson Creeks year around.
Wind parks more than about 100 km apart are usually in different wind regimes: when the wind is not blowing at one, it will be blowing at the other. Pair Bear Mountain Wind Park with Quality Wind near Tumbler Ridge, and we have a region flooded with wind power pretty well 24/7, 365 days a year. Looking at the South Peace region as a whole, it is now safe to say that we are essentially energy independent from the rest of the planet, powered entirely by the greenest electricity ever invented, generated right here were we live.
So rest assured, oh lucky Dawson Creek residents, that when you see those blades turning even very slowly, (and how often do you see them NOT turning?) you are living in British Columbia’s first wind-powered city, and if you are living in the South Peace region, you are in BC’s first wind-powered region. I think that’s something we can all be very proud of.
QUICK FACT: thanks to government leadership, wind power has surged in Ontario, a province with only a modest wind resource compared to the Peace River Region. Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator now considers wind a mainline power source in the province.
Don Pettit is a director of the board of Peace Energy Cooperative.
Image Caption: (sunset over DC) The electricity produced by the 34 turbines of Bear Mountain Wind Park (visible in this photo along the distant horizon) stays right here in the region, powering all of Dawson Creek in a light breeze and most of the South Peace in a strong wind. (Don Pettit photo)
And yet, each day seven billion people can see the wind sweep across their paths, feel the kiss of a breeze on their skin and hear the wind whistle its friendly tune.
Wind is universal and the power of wind is universal. Let us focus on what we share together, instead of what we don’t share. Let the power of wind connect seven billion people, who share the idea that wind power is the way of the future.
Born and raised in Fernie BC, Allyssa is in her fourth and final year as a communications student at Royal Roads University. Allyssa is passionate about leadership and plans to further her career in the International and Intercultural Communication Masters program.
Friends of Wind Ontario in front of Queen’s Park in Toronto, Ontario on April 18, 2013]]>
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Plus—just for being a Friend of Wind—receive $25 toward your Bullfrog Power account when you use the promo code FOW2013 during your online sign up.
Sign up at bullfrogpower.com]]>
I’m starting out this new renewable energy column “Watt’s Happening?” by busting a few common myths around the cleanest energy sources ever invented: wind and solar. Lets jump right into a hotly debated wind turbine controversy: does wind power harm or benefit birds?
Thanks to the extensive environmental assessment and follow-up studies required of wind facilities in Canada, we know that the 34 turbines of Bear Mountain Wind Park near Dawson Creek killed about 160 bats and 85 birds in 2010. Not a nice thing to know if you are both a supporter of clean energy and a bird lover, as I am. But can these numbers be put into perspective so that we can honestly evaluate the impact of wind power on birds and bats, and not just blurt out “Oh! How terrible!”?
I love birds, but I also love cats. Now there’s a serious contradiction indeed! I know from my personal experience that each cat kills at least 2-3 birds per year (probably closer to 10!) no matter how many bells I attach to them or how carefully I try to keep them inside. Let’s be conservative and say 2 birds per cat per year.
My local veterinarian friend estimates that there are about 5000 cats in Dawson Creek. That means cats kill at least 10,000 birds per year in this city. Add in window-kill and road-kill, and the number of needless bird deaths in and around Dawson Creek comes to about 20,000 per year. Surprising, isn’t it?
A recent study by the University of Georgia and National Geographic peg the bird deaths by cats in North America at 500 million per year. Then add in collisions with buildings (especially glass office towers): one billion (yes billion) per year in North America alone.
Habitat loss, though harder to quantify, is probably even more of a killer than cats and glass office towers. Birds and bats are definitely in trouble on this planet, but it’s not because of wind power.
For bat decline, the spread of a deadly virus is now suspected, encouraged by a warming climate, much as the Mountain Pine Beetle epidemic was spread by warmer winters in northern latitudes. Unanticipated “cascade effects” are now being seen on all plant and animal species around the world, and things are just getting started. If we want to protect birds and bats, in fact all wildlife, we must slow down and eventually stop climate change.
One of our best bets is a rapid shift to renewable energy sources like wind and solar. Once set up and operating they are essentially carbon-free. A complete shift to renewables (and yes, that IS possible: the subject of a future Watt’s Happening column) will eventually slow and then stop climate change.
Wind power has a carbon footprint, certainly. Manufacturing and installation cost carbon. But once up and running, a steady stream of carbon-free electricity quickly compensates for this carbon cost. Remember, we’re not burning anything because WIND is the fuel! Compare that to coal, diesel or gas-fired generators, which never work off their carbon footprints but only add to them.
Averaged over the year, Bear Mountain Wind Park powers most of the South Peace region, and yes it has an environmental impact, but a tiny one. Every megawatt of wind power put in place is one more megawatt of polluting, carbon-belching power we do not need.
No energy source is perfect. They all come with a price attached. Wind power has the smallest carbon and environmental price per watt of any readily available energy source, and wind power helps birds and bats by slowing climate change. Period.
If you want to take personal, direct action that really will save and protect the precious lives of our winged friends – support wind power, and by all means have your cat neutered!
QUICK FACT: Denmark is now generating more than 30 percent of its electricity with wind power, making their grid the most wind-powered in the world. Their goal is 50 percent by 2020. Germany is not far behind.
Don Pettit is a director on the board of Peace Energy Cooperative.
Image caption: Bear Mountain Wind Park powers BC’s first wind-powered city, Dawson Creek, plus most of the South Peace region year-around, combining pollution-free energy with an eight-kilometer hiking trail and beautiful nature park. Maps of the park and how to get there are available at the Peace Energy Cooperative office and Tourism Dawson Creek. (Don Pettit photo)
Mike is featured on the cover of the Winter 2013 issue of the Voyageur (The Magazine for Alumni and Friends of St. Lawrence College). He is one of five nominees from St. Lawrence College for the 2012 Premier’s Awards.
After receiving his electrician’s “ticket” at St. Lawrence College, Mike had a successful career as an industrial electrician in both the printing and automotive sectors. He saw an opportunity to move into a new exciting direction and he joined a small start-up company bidding on the province’s first commercial wind farm – Melancthon 1. The successes there lead him to join the TransAlta Wind Company where he oversaw the installation of both the Wolfe Island and Melancthon 2 Wind Farms. Mike moved permanently to Wolfe Island during construction of the wind farm and is now the Operations Supervisor. “He… is credited as not only the first person in the province to run a modern wind farm with in-house maintenance, but to garner global attention as one of the best-run wind farms in the world” (p.6 Voyageur/St. Lawrence College/Winter 2013).
Mike teaches a part-time course for St. Lawrence College to 32 wind technician students in the classroom at the wind farm facility. He donates all the proceeds for teaching this course to a scholarship fund. TransAlta matched his donation so now the Mike Jablonicky/TransAlta Wind Facility Scholarship at St. Lawrence College supports future students of wind technology.
Mike recognizes that public relations are an important part of his role on Wolfe Island. He listens to people express their concerns and he answers many questions from first hand experience and knowledge. He has played host to local, national and international guests who want to learn about the business.
In 2012 The Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) awarded the Matt Holder Community Connection Award to Mike Jablonicky (TransAlta). This award recognizes “an organization or individual who embodies the mandate of responsible development through a commitment to understand and build meaningful relationships with host communities…. (Mike received the award) for his outstanding engagement with the community of Wolfe Island and his hard work and dedication to ensure the wind farm was a welcomed addition to the community.”
I highly recommend a visit to Wolfe Island to check for yourself what a well-run wind farm looks, feels and sounds like. You can e-mail Mike’s administrative assistant, Trudy, at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (613) 385-2045 to arrange a visit. You can even get close enough to the base of a wind turbine to touch it but you must have permission first because the wind turbines are on privately owned property.
Submitted by Deb Hudson for County Sustainability Group http://www.countysustainability.ca/
Mike Jablonicky looking out from on top of a wind turbine]]>
Join us on Wednesday, April 10th, 2013 at the Bill Reid Gallery, 639 Hornby Street in Vancouver, for a discussion about the future of wind energy in British Columbia. Hosted by BC Sustainable Energy Association (BCSEA) Vancouver Chapter and Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA), this speaker event features presentations by experts on wind energy, energy policy and sustainability issues in BC.
Presenters will highlight both successful case studies and common concerns. The evening will conclude with a moderated discussion between everyone present. Audience members are encouraged to bring their questions and comments!
Featured speakers include Nicholas Heap, CanWEA’s BC Regional Director, Dr. Tim Weis, Renewable Energy & Efficiency Policy Director at Pembina Institute and Marc Soulliere, President and CEO of Tsleil-Waututh Nation (TWN) Wind Power Inc.
For over a decade, Nicholas Heap has worked as a planner, policy analyst and campaigner in government, environmental organizations and industry to advance the implementation of low-impact renewable energy in BC. As CanWEA’s Vancouver-based BC Regional Director, he advocates for the responsible and sustainable development of wind energy, and is an active voice in the ongoing BC conversation on energy policy.
Dr. Tim Weis is a professional engineer who specializes in clean energy policy design, research and strategic decision making. He has written extensively on sustainable energy technical and policy issues at national, provincial and municipal levels, as well as opportunities specific to First Nations’ and northern communities.
Marc Soulliere has over 15 years of experience in senior sales and executive roles in the wireless technology industry, and has worked extensively with Fortune 500 companies on implementation of large-scale multi-million dollar IT projects. He entered the wind energy industry in 2008 and has been trained in wind site assessments, wind theory, turbine designs and energy production.
Doors open at 6:30pm. Limited tickets available.
General Admission $10
BCSEA Member/Senior/Student $ 8
- Nicholas Heap, CanWEA’s BC Regional Director]]>
Darn near 20 years ago I wrote a column for this newspaper called EnviroNews. In it I prophesied the coming of wind power to the Peace Region (I was right), and the revival of rail across North America (I was wrong). Perhaps the paper was desperate for filler, but over 300 EnviroNews articles were published between 1995 and 2001 on everything from backyard composting to TV addiction.
Well, here I go again. A lot has changed in the last two decades, but also a lot has stayed disappointingly the same. Humanity continues to be in transition. As much as the powers that be would have us believe that “business as usual” will be just fine, thank you very much, such is not the case. Business as usual is eating itself, destroying the “natural capital” foundation on which it is built. It is not “sustainable.” The debate about how to arrange the deck chairs on the Titanic rages on, but our course is still set for that same iceberg, dead ahead.
But there are ways to change course to a more sustainable world, and the good news is that it’s starting to happen. The media is so filled with a surplus of doom and gloom that there’s not much room left for the really GREAT stuff, so that’s what I’m going to focus on in Watt’s Happening.
Most of the big changes and big controversies we are seeing these days orbit around one thing: energy. Nothing is more destructive, polluting and harmful to nature and human health than how we presently extract, distribute and use (and waste!) most of our energy. Moving to a world run entirely on renewable energy, used efficiently and conservatively, is one of the really big things we have to do, and one of the most remarkable projects that humanity has ever attempted. The good news is that we not only can do it, we are doing it.
But many of our energy choices will fall to you and I. Governments are in a tough position to lead so large a change: short time lines (the next election) and the influence of immensely powerful corporate elites make their job very difficult. So we have to make our own choices: oil, gas, coal, wind, solar, tidal, geothermal, hydroelectric, nuclear? What’s it going to be? A mix no doubt, but into which of these should we place our best efforts? In which direction does a sustainable future lie? The prosperity or hardship of our children may well depend on the energy choices you and I make today.
Personally, I’m big on renewables. Making energy without burning fuel, but instead harvesting it directly from the wind and the sun, for instance, now that’s pretty cool and seems like a common-sense way to go (no pollution, lasts forever, everybody’s got some, things like that). Apparently, lots of folks agree, since renewables continue to be the fastest growing energy sector on the planet. This is really good news, since there seem to be some BIG problems with this fuel thing.
So I’ll begin Watt’s Happening by busting a few myths that have collected around renewables, just to clear the air, so to speak. Future articles will bust some juicy myths like:
“Wind turbines are bad for birds.” WRONG!
“We can’t possibly power the whole planet with renewables, because there just isn’t enough of it and renewable energy is intermittent and unreliable.” REALLY WRONG!
“Wind turbines don’t do anything to green their local area because ‘the power just disappears into the grid.’” TOTALLY WRONG!
“Electric cars don’t make any difference because the electricity they use was probably made in a coal-fired plant anyway.” SURPRISINGLY WRONG!
“Solar hot water heaters, solar electricity and geothermal energy for my home or business are expensive and impractical.” ALSO WRONG!
Which reminds me: if you, oh reader, are using RE in any way, for any reason, I would love to hear about it. Send pictures! Email me via the Peace Energy Coop website (www.peaceenergy.ca “Contact Us”), AND there are prizes – send me something about RE and you will receive a FREE copy of my amazing book Power Shift.
OH BOY, THIS IS GOING TO BE FUN!
Photo caption: Author and photographer Don Pettit is definitely upbeat when it comes to renewable energy. His book Power Shift chronicles the building of Bear Mountain Wind Park, a project launched by Dawson Creek’s very own Peace Energy Cooperative.
There is so much more that can be said on this topic, but I don’t wish to dive in to politics, start dissecting research papers or quoting scientific studies. That has already been done. My mission is to quell fears, destroy doubts and satisfy uncertainties. My husband, my dog and myself live among windmills. We have worked underneath them for months on end. We have neighbors and friends who live in even closer proximity than we do. I am friends with turbine technicians and tradespeople who have spent countless hours inside nacelles, 80 meters in the air. We are all fine. We are happy. We are healthy. We chose to believe in science instead of scare tactics.
For Meredith’s full blog please visit Life Among Giants.
This article was written for, and may also be found on, the excellent legal blog SLAW.
For the full blog and list of references please link back to the original.
After nearly two years of vigorous anti-wind litigation in Ontario, anti-wind activists have failed to satisfy any court or tribunal that wind energy development in accordance with government standards will cause serious harm. Many wind projects have been approved, and wind-based electrical generation is growing fast. However, the same concerns keep being raised, and we know of no Ontario wind farm that has obtained its approval without the cost and delay of litigation.
Renewable energy approvals in Ontario
Ontario was the first Canadian jurisdiction to set up a special approvals regime for renewable energy, through the Green Energy Act. To generate and sell commercial scale wind power in Ontario, the proponent must obtain a Renewable Energy Approval (REA) under the Environmental Protection Act from the Director of Approvals, Ministry of the Environment.
Because of the social, environmental, and political importance of reducing carbon emissions and switching to renewable sources of energy, the REA cannot be easily overturned. Any Ontario resident may appeal the decision to issue the REA, or its terms and conditions, to the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT). To succeed, however, they must prove that, on the balance of probabilities, the wind project will cause:
This is very difficult. Repeated studies around the world have shown that wind energy does not directly cause these harms1; while no form of electricity generation is free of adverse effects, wind power is relatively benign compared to coal, nuclear, heavy petroleum, major dams, etc.2 Nor has harm been proven in countries, such as Denmark and Germany, which have a dense network of turbines and a high level of wind energy generation. Even in other parts of Canada, there is much less concern about wind than there is in Ontario.
However, some people do find turbines sufficiently annoying to interfere with their sleep, especially if they do not receive any financial gain from the turbines. Persistent sleep loss can be devastating, as many young parents and other caregivers can attest. There is also a powerful nocebo effect, in which can people experience real, distressing symptoms if they believe that the source of their concern is harmful.
All decisions to date have held that these effects do not meet the legal test of harm, and are not sufficient to block the development of wind energy.
Harm to health, plants, wildlife or the environment?
The first case was a challenge to Ontario’s regulatory regime governing REAs. In Hanna v. Ontario (Attorney General),3 Mr. Hanna sought to invalidate the Renewable Energy Approvals Regulation because, he argued, its minimum setback requirements for wind turbines were inadequate. He claimed that the 550 metre minimum setbacks from nearby homes were inconsistent with the MOE’s “Noise Guidelines for Wind Farms” and the province’s Statement of Environmental Values. The SEV calls for a precautionary, science-based approach to decision-making. Therefore, he said, the province should not be able to issue REAs if there is still uncertainty about turbines’ full effects.
The Superior Court dismissed his application, finding that there had been a full public consultation, and a ministerial review of science-based evidence. Further, the adequacy of a minimum setback in a particular case can be challenged before the ERT, so those who are concerned have an alternate remedy.
Erickson v. Ontario (Director, MOE),4 was the first of the anti-wind appeals to reach the ERT. The ERT heard evidence from experts from around the world on the cutting edge of scientific inquiry. In a very lengthy decision, the ERT found that interference with sleep can cause harm to human health, and that there are “some risks and uncertainties associated with wind turbines that merit further research.” However, it could not conclude that the Kent Breeze Wind Farm turbines would significantly harm either human health or the environment, and the REA was upheld.
In Monture v. Director, MOE (Monture 1)5, a Six Nations appellant tried to use the same issues plus aboriginal rights and claims to block the Summerhaven wind project REA. Mr. Monture claimed that the REA failed to respect the Treaty rights of the Onkwehonwe, would affect their hunting and fishing rights, and would harm birds, wildlife, trees and agricultural land. However, the Tribunal ruled that aboriginal claims and consultation issues could not expand its jurisdiction, which was limited by the EPA to whether the project would cause serious harm to human health or the environment.
The Tribunal acknowledged that Mr. Monture’s evidence was informed by the “accumulated knowledge of the Onkwehonwe people as traditionally passed down through the generations, as well as cultural values that emphasize the importance of respecting the natural environment.” However, this evidence made only “general reference to the issues of habitat loss, fragmentation, avoidance of resting and foraging grounds, and sensory disturbances.” Mr. Monture’s other submissions regarding cumulative effects, bird mortality, and plants with medicinal value were too general to establish that this particular project would cause serious harm to animal life, plant life or the natural environment. A mere possibility of harm was insufficient to meet the legal test; Mr. Monture’s appeal was dismissed.
Mr. Monture, Haldimand Wind Concerns (a citizen’s group), and others were similarly unsuccessful in their appeal of a second REA6: Monture v. Director, MOE (Monture 2).7 The ERT did, however, recommend changes to the terms of the REA regarding natural heritage pre-construction and post-construction monitoring; reporting and review of results; Community Liaison Committee; and aboriginal consultation.
Embracing the nocebo effect?
In Chatham-Kent Wind Action Inc. v. Director, MOE8, the appellant offered no evidence, and the case was left to two individual participants. Mr. Ternoey based his opposition to the turbines on the real power of the nocebo effect.9 He explained: “Here the potential cause for harm is internally grounded in the mind, not external in the object of the turbine… the level of noise is not as important as the attitude or reaction to the noise.” He argued that the ERT was wrong to demand scientific evidence of objective causation of harm, since some people can experience a health impact due to his or her belief that the turbines are harmful. Since this nocebo effect can cause serious harm to human health, the legal test is met and the turbines should not be built.
The ERT rejected this argument; the Environmental Protection Act test for overturning a REA requires objective causation of harm, not just a subjective belief, however sincere. (Imagine what would happen if a nocebo effect test could block other forms of power generation or of other infrastructure: sewage plants, landfills, highways, transmission lines, cell towers, airports….)
Opposition to wind energy may be driven, in part, by concern about nearby property values. In the only case decided to date, Kenney v. Municipal Property Assessment Corp., the Assessment Review Board found no such evidence. The Kenneys’ waterfront home on Wolf Island was assessed at $357,000. The Kenneys appealed, arguing that their assessment failed to take into account the negative effect of the Wolf Island Wind Project, then the second largest wind farm in Canada. Although the Kenneys believed that the wind farm threatened their health, their enjoyment of their property, and its value, the Board found there was no credible evidence of loss in value.
Since wind opponents cannot meet the legal test, i.e. prove serious harm to their health or the environment, they are now attacking the legal test itself. In Drennan v. K2 Wind Ontario Inc., Shawn and Trisha Drennan are seeking $4 million in damages plus an injunction to prevent K2 Wind Ontario Inc. from obtaining a renewable energy approval from the Ministry of the Environment for its proposed wind farm in Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh. 90 local landowners have leased their land for the project; much of it between 650 metres and 2 km from the Drennan home. Mr. and Mrs. Drennan claim that the wind farm will create a nuisance, make them ill, and reduce their property values.
The Environmental Protection Act puts the onus of proving such harm on wind opponents, instead of requiring each wind proponent to prove that their project will be safe. This, the Drennans claim, violates their right to security of the person under s. 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. They are seeking an interim injunction to stop all wind turbines within 2 km of their home, without having to prove that the turbines will cause them serious harm, and without providing the usual undertaking as to damages.
And in 2013?
Thus, it seems that anti-wind litigation will continue to be active in 2013. As the ERT is permitting appellants to relitigate the same issues for each new wind farm, three more REA appeals including similar grounds are also scheduled on the Environmental Review Tribunal’s Hearings List for this year: Gilead Power’s Ostrander Point wind project, located in the heart of the Prince Edward Point Important Bird Area; Northland Power’s Manitoulin Island wind farm, and Capital Power’s Port Dove and Nanticoke Project. Decisions are pending in Manitoulin Coalition for Safe Environment v. MOE and Haldimand Wind Concerns v. MOE.
And motions will be argued in the Drennan case. The injunction hearing is scheduled to be heard in February. The province is seeking summary judgment to dismiss the action. Meanwhile, the REA application has been filed and presumably is being processed.
- Dianne Saxe and Meredith James]]>
Beautiful shades of orange and pink spread over the North Shore Mountains as I gaze out of the view pod of the wind turbine at Grouse Mountain Resort. The wind over the ridge breathes life into the gigantic 12,000 lb. blades.
I am faced with two distinct forms of beauty. The first is a breathtaking sunset of Vancouver, BC. The second is a beauty that one may not consider. It originates from the intelligent machine supporting the view pod. This wind turbine’s graceful blades spin to harness the kinetic energy of the wind to create electricity. The more they spin, and the faster they spin, the less energy will be needed from more environmentally destructive forms of energy.
I have one of the coolest jobs in the world. I work as a tour guide in this wind turbine. I get to explain to visiting guests how this project is part of a revolution; there is a necessary future in a global energy mix that does not need to rely so heavily, or possibly at all on fossil fuels. Wind energy is an important part of the solution.
As the turbine produces electricity, it feels like electricity is surging through my own body as well. I feel re-energized to be part of the fight to combat the many environmental problems at hand. This surge of energy pauses as I remember that I found a dead bat near the base of the tower that morning. No form of energy is problem free. Four bats and two birds are part of the cost of this turbine every year. The surge begins again, however, as I remember that its positives outweigh its negatives.
When the 1.5 MW turbine is producing electricity, I feel I am part of the solution. I reduce my own carbon footprint by composting, conserving energy, and not eating meat, but these actions only get me so far. As of 2005, fossil fuels emitted 8.02GtC/yr into the atmosphere (Nagase, 2005)*. Greater use of alternative energy sources will lower these emissions levels and help combat other environmental crises. The beauty of the creation of clean energy is my inspiration to join the fight.
* Nagase, Kozo. 2005. “Carbon–Money exchange” to contain global warming and deforestation. Energy Policy 33 (10): 1233-8.
Kathryn MacDonald is a 3rd year University of Toronto student. She is a renewable energy enthusiast working towards becoming an Environmental Lawyer. Kathryn works as a tour guide at the Eye of the Wind turbine atop Grouse Mountain in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Critics of wind power point to infrasound as an agent produced by wind turbines that causes health impacts of varying degrees of severity to people nearby.
Is infrasound produced by wind turbines of sufficient volume, intensity or sound pressure to cause humans harm?
First, the basics:
Second, here are the health-related aspects:
As the average level of self-citation is 7% in science, this is a strong indication that this is not taken seriously by other scientists, and the handful of researchers working on it take themselves too seriously.
Now for wind turbines:
Other researchers do not appear to be replicating or citing Mr. Salt’s work except in the process of debunking it. It is worthy of note that Mr. Salt’s work is not based on human studies, but a significant extrapolation from studies on guinea pigs. In the absence of significant other work by others in this area, it is gross speculation that infrasound above 60 dBG poses a threat to humans.
As has been pointed out, Salt and other researchers making these claims are taking measurements very close to wind turbines and measuring levels of low-frequency sound far above that at dwellings:
From the same paper, Bolin et al rather thoroughly dismiss Salt’s wildly speculative claims:
To summarize, while infrasound can cause impacts on humans when its very loud and with very prolonged exposure, wind turbines generate too little of it to have any impact near or far. The evidence remains the same: some people near wind turbines find the noise annoying, some of them find it stressful, some of them lose sleep due to stress.,
* Sarah Laurie refers to herself as Dr. Laurie, however she has been unregistered and non-practicing for longer than she was practicing medicine. While sincere, she is actively causing harm by spreading disinformation about health impacts of wind energy and appears to be both giving medical advice and conducting (poorly structured) medical research without oversight, accountability or legal right to do so. While she is not prevented from claiming the title Doctor as it is an unprotected title, it is not incumbent upon others to refer to her according to how she wishes to be known.
Many thanks to Geoffrey Leventhall, Christophe Delaire and David Osmond for the comments, suggestions and content improvements.]]>
President Barack Obama had his choice of topics to be included in his State of the Union address earlier this week. You can bet his phone rings constantly in the weeks leading up to the address, as special interest groups jockey for mention. So the significance of the President’s focus on climate change and a clean energy future can’t be overstated. He chose this moment in world history to ensure that all sides of the debate are clear on his intention to address what is arguably the single greatest threat to our economy, our natural resources, and oh yeah – our survival.
But not everyone wants to act now. There will be time later for change, right? And some flat out deny there is a problem with our climate to begin with. These voices choose to ignore the overwhelming scientific evidence, reinforced in public perception by yet another “storm or drought or flood of the century”, much preferring the cozy gauze of their comfortable status-quo cocoon.
“But if Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will,” the President declared. “I will direct my Cabinet to come up with executive actions we can take, now and in the future, to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change, and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy.”
Social media buzzed north of the border as supporters of renewable energy tried to imagine what it would be like to have a shared vision in Canada. People shared ideas for real, concrete actions to address the devastating climate change impacts of fossil-fuels. Studies and reports were cited, illustrating a lack of leadership on the climate file by many developed nations. Someone flipped me a quote from a recent report by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature: “The spiraling economic, social and environmental cost of our current energy system, and the looming threat of climate change disaster, flip the burden of proof: anything other than sustainable renewables used efficiently should now have to justify their existence … ”
Political rhetoric is great for quoting in 120-character spurts. Studies and reports are necessary to substantiate that which those in denial would prefer to ignore or, worse, spin to their own purposes. At the end of the day, it takes people to make change. It takes people who are ahead of the curve, people with vision and an internal compass that ceaselessly drives them, people who don’t tire of the negativity and ridiculous misinformation spewed by opponents.
I’ve been extremely fortunate over the past few years to meet some people who fit that bill. They have names like Don and Meredith, Gary and Marie, Jutta and Paul, Mike, Jenna, Madison, David, Ken … They hold day jobs but spend their free time – evenings or a few hours squeezed in between the laundry – doing what they can to advance the cause of a cleaner future. They write letters, they blog, they Tweet, they drive through snow storms to attend information events. They are not paid for their work in advocating a renewable energy future. They simply believe down to their very core that bringing reliable and cost-effective renewable energy into our electricity system is a real action that will net real results.
Unlike so many who wait for the next person to stand up, these strong but few put into practice President Obama’s new tagline: “I will act”.
I’m proud to know these incredible characters, and I’m proud to stand here with them on the right side of history.
- Chris Forrest, Vice-President, Communications, CanWEA]]>
My fascination with wind turbines began sometime around 2006. Driving down the 401 eastbound, I noticed the two-blade wind turbine that sat off to my left somewhere around Highgate. I looked at it in wonder and thought to myself, “That is brilliant! Why aren’t more farmers generating their own power this way?”.
A short time later I came across the same style two-blade turbine at a turkey farm just outside of London, once again thinking it was an amazing way to generate power for the turkey barn. Those two-blade turbines planted a seed in my mind that would lie dormant until 2009.
Having been quite literally born and raised on a farm, I was always interested in agriculture and rural life. Until I was 12 years old, we lived on a farm on the outskirts of Thamesville. In an odd twist of fate, that farm was sold to a gentleman who had a dream of building wind turbines, but I’ll come back to that later. I had never lived in ‘town’ until I moved in with the man I was dating (now my husband) in 2008. City life and myself were not a good mix; I longed to get back to my rural roots, and let my boyfriend experience the quiet, relaxed living that the countryside provided. He agreed to try it and in August of 2009, he sold his house and we purchased a home together in Tilbury East township.
Our new home was actually quite old, having been built in 1858. The land it sat on was purchased from the Crown in 1848. We had an expansive yard, barns behind us and fields on all sides. We also had something else nearby; Wind turbines. The Boralex Swanton Line project turbines were the closest, sitting within 1km of our home. Many of the Kruger Port Alma project turbines were close by as well. Later on, Kruger added turbines even closer when they built the Chatham Wind Farm. Contrary to what many of those who oppose wind energy perpetuate, we had absolutely no qualms or hesitation whatsoever about purchasing a home near wind turbines.
Living among the turbines was every bit as peaceful and benign as we expected it would be. Watching the sun rise behind them from our bedroom window was always beautiful. It was nice to gauge the wind direction and speed by taking a quick peek at them. Occasionally, we would hear the gentle ‘wooshing’ sound of the blades when the wind was passing through them directly towards our house. Once again, counter to everything the anti-wind people say, this was completely unobtrusive and not offensive in the least. We would hear it for a moment and then carry on with our day and forget about it completely, as it was drowned out by something as small as the noise of your feet on the floor.
In June of 2011, we were married on the front porch of our home. We had spent the last 23 months tirelessly renovating the centenarian Ontario farmhouse, spending nearly 6 figures on a complete restoration by the time all was said and done. The fact that our home was surrounded by wind turbines did not in any way deter us from investing significantly in the house. We had added the original style wrap around porch back on to the house in our reno, and there my fiance and I exchanged vows, rings and a kiss making us husband and wife. Our small gathering of family and close friends stood on the lawn for the short ceremony. Everyone remarked how beautiful the wedding was and how serene our surroundings were.
Fast forward to today. My husband and I still live in our country home and love it dearly. Our 5 year old dog, Hemi, has no complaints about life on the farm. Anyone and everyone who has visited our home either for a bonfire or a BBQ out on the porch has marveled at how peaceful it is on our little slice of rural property. I enjoy asking all our new guests if the wind turbines are driving them crazy yet; it always garners a laugh and sparks a discussion about the ridiculous claims surrounding wind energy. My husband and I, as well as our darling dog, are all in excellent health and enjoy much happiness in our day to day lives.
We have been blessed to not only live among wind turbines but to also work around them, which began in the fall of 2010. In the years since we have worked on 3 different wind farms, including Kent Breeze; A project which was the brain child of that gentleman who bought my parent’s farm so many years ago. I can’t help but think that our positive feelings and belief in wind energy helped us find a place on those 3 projects. Working as a security guard, I have taken great pride in watching those wind farms take shape around me as I watched over them. Someday I hope to transition from security to a different role in wind, such as a turbine technician or a lineman.
It has been incredible to watch wind power blossom into a mainstream source of energy in Ontario. Farmers are no longer feeding cities with just food but with power as well. We have come so far from the days of those two-blade turbines that caught my eye and fascinated me. In 2011 I stood in awe and watched as the first 2.5 megawatt GE wind turbines turned for the first time ever in North America. The fact that it happened in Thamesville, my old stomping grounds, made the experience that much more dear to my heart.
I could delve into all the technical specs that support wind energy as a viable source of power with this blog entry, but that information is readily available to anyone who cares to search it out. Wind is powerful, it is beautiful, it is peaceful. Turbines will not saddle countless future generations with toxic waste. Our greed for cheap power blinds us and makes us believe that sort of thing is okay when it truly isn’t. A landscape dotted with gently turning wind turbines is a beautiful thing if one chooses to view it as such, appreciating that a natural resource is being harnessed and converted into electricity. It is truly incredible.
There is so much more I could say on this subject, but instead I will keep it short and sweet; I live, work and breathe wind. I will be forever fascinated.
Read more about Meredith on her blog, LifeAmongGiants.
Coal, oil and other fossil fuel based industries require limited supplies and cause irrevocable harm to our land, while our solar and ocean based technology still hasn’t matured enough to provide reliable power to all of Canada. Nuclear fission has unsolvable waste problems and nuclear fusion is still a farfetched dream, too far away to alleviate Canada’s energy crisis. Hydro is fine, if you ignore the swathes of land that are required for a reservoir. This leaves wind energy. Wind is almost everywhere in Canada, and the technology exists today to construct wind farms throughout Canada, both on land and offshore. The wind itself if free and, once constructed, the maintenance of wind farms is low, but better yet, wind technology is improving all the time, allowing wind farms to become both cheaper and more efficient. Best of all though, wind energy has no emissions and an incredibly small impact on the environment.
This means that if Canada devotes the willpower towards pursuing wind energy then we can start making the all-important switch from powering our society with the burning of fossil fuels, to renewable and clean sources. That is why I am a friend of wind energy. It gives us the capacity to energize our wonderful society, while preserving what I love about Canada.
Nicholas is currently a grade 12 student in Coquitlam, BC. He plans to go on and study Engineering at university next year. Nicholas hopes to eventually become equipped with the skills necessary to design and innovate new, more efficient ways of doing the necessary things that make our society run.
A New Take on a Brave New World: Wind as a Renewable Energy Source
Imagine a world where society has access to an endless resource that is able to fill a huge proportion of Canada’s energy needs, creates jobs and gives off no greenhouse gasses or pollution; in fact, use of this resource will reduce Canada’s annual greenhouse gas emissions! This resource is vital in combatting climate change.
The facilities for extracting this resource do not pose a physiological threat to humans and do not have a negative effect on property values. This resource drives competition and innovation among developers and energy providers, resulting in remarkable advances in technology and guaranteeing affordability and price stability over traditional sources of energy. Finally, this resource invigorates rural economies without damaging traditional ties to the land and nature and allowing traditional farming and ranching activities to proceed undisturbed.
Does it sound too good to be true? As utopian as it seems, wind energy is real, current and brings a message of hope for Canada.
Critics of wind energy assert that the turbines are noisy (they are actually quieter than your neighbours), that wind farms will be ineffective against climate change (just one turbine saves 4000 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually) and that wind farms kill birds (birds are literally more than 1000 times more likely to get killed by cats). Current and ongoing research has debunked many such myths and continues to validate the importance of wind energy as a complement to other existing energy sources. It is important to ask questions and be cautious of ideas that could lead us to a dystopian future, but wind energy seems to be blowing us in the right direction. Indeed, it currently powers over one million Canadian homes.
Jessica is currently completing a Bachelor of Education degree at the University of Calgary. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Calgary.
Q. How long have you been involved in renewable energy, and what attracted you to this industry?
I’ve been working in this business for more than a decade. I have always been concerned about air pollution and climate change. Having children accentuated these concerns. My career route to renewable energy was not direct and was more fortuitous. Yet when the opportunity arose to work in the industry, it was a natural fit for me.
Q. Canada just passed 6,000 MW of installed wind energy capacity this year, and added over 900 MW of new wind power in 2012 alone. A few provinces are leading the way in terms of real actions to achieve renewable energy targets, while several provinces are actually increasing their GHG emissions from electricity generation. What will it take to convince high-emitting provinces to integrate renewables?
We need a non-distorted and transparent pricing regime within the energy sector. The playing field is still uneven between renewable energy and fossil fuels. Fossil fuels have support in the form of exploration credits, loan guarantees, and preferential tax and royalty structures. The Pembina Institute recently identified $2 billion in tax subsidies alone to the fossil fuel sector, per year. The public remains unaware of the many subtle and overt subsidies enjoyed by the oil and gas industry. At the same time, production incentives for renewables have been cut. This inequitable situation needs to change.
In energy terms, Canada’s two solitudes could refer to our high GHG emitting provinces and our hydro based provinces. But what all the provinces and regions of this country share is a decent wind resource. Right now there are active discussions about an east-west pipeline to bring Alberta crude oil to Quebec and perhaps the Maritimes. These are province-to-province discussions. My preference would be to have a discussion at the provincial and federal level about an east-west grid. These talks could be a foundation for a national renewable energy strategy. But whether or not you buy into the concept of an east-west grid, the underlying issue is that Canada lacks a coherent energy strategy that would provide transparent pricing within the sector.
Finally, the impetus for change can also come from the ground up, at the local level as that is where the impacts of climate change are felt first. After Hurricane Sandy, many municipalities are doing risk assessments on rising sea levels and the impacts of climate change on their cities and towns, including the city of Victoria. Certainly in BC, First Nations have an important role and voice in the energy debate.
Q. BC is taking advantage of LNG for a lucrative export market. Exploiting this resource has the potential to dramatically increase the province’s GHG emissions. What can be done to mitigate this?
At a minimum, electrify the processing of LNG at these facilities using clean renewable electricity. All-electric LNG facilities do exist; for instance the Statoil facility in Hammerfest Norway is all electric (it uses two 65 MW Siemens VSDS (variable speed drive systems). There are many advantages to using electric drive beyond the obvious one of GHG avoidance, including improved safety, efficiency and longer equipment life. If we don’t electrify these plants, it means building thermal facilities, higher GHGs, and further delaying a clean energy future.
Port electrification is another area that should be mandatory. We must ensure port operations are electric and all tankers using our inland waters are equipped with shore power to reduce emissions from shipping. In this day and age the burning of bunker fuel by tankers in our waters, or any waters for that matter, should be banned. We have the power to do this. We just need the courage.
Q. While wind energy enjoys high support in public polling, it is not immune from opposition. What steps and actions should be taken by developers to help achieve broad community support?
Location, location, location. Consultation, consultation, consultation. Get the facts out. I wouldn’t be in this business if I didn’t believe in the important role wind energy can play in our future. Properly located, wind energy is a valuable contributor to our energy mix. Improperly located, the damage done impacts the entire industry and good projects suffer. No energy source is without issues and no energy source enjoys universal support. But I think the vast majority of people understand that the benefits of wind and renewable energy outweigh the problems.
Q. BC has tremendous wind energy potential that is envied in North America. British Columbians tend to be highly “environmentally conscience” and support wind and solar in public polling. So why did it take BC so long to get into the wind energy game? And what are the prospects for wind development going forward?
It is true; BC has been very slow to develop its wind potential. In fact, until 2009, BC had no wind energy at all. I remember the frustration I felt looking at the CanWEA map of installed wind power capacity by province and seeing a big zero over Canada’s 3rd largest province. Things have changed for the better, I believe we are 4th overall now – a distant 4th, mind you, behind Ontario, Quebec and Alberta and just slightly ahead of Nova Scotia.
There are many reasons why BC took so long to get on the wind map, but suffice it to say this province has enjoyed cheap and plentiful clean power, mostly big hydro power, for decades. Until recently BC Hydro was a net exporter of power.
I can safely say that when Sea Breeze started out a decade ago, there was a profound lack of knowledge about wind energy within BC Hydro and within the government. They were suspicious and/or indifferent about wind energy, and focused most of their attention on the perceived high integration costs of wind energy. That attitude has changed mostly because other large utilities embraced wind and avoided the integration issues that BC Hydro was concerned about. But there have only been a few calls for power over the last decade and the amounts have been small. We are not sure what is on the horizon. With new industries like LNG and new mining projects coming online, BC Hydro is now running into a supply crunch problem. At the same time much of BC Hydro’s infrastructure, its large dams and the grid are in need of repair or upgrade. So these are interesting times.
Q. Many people don’t realize how much water is used in the production of traditional energies, while wind energy protects this precious resource. What is another fact about wind that may not be as widely known as it should be?
It is important that in the last few years the price of wind energy has dropped so significantly. When I first started out in this business, the cost of wind energy was quite high compared to conventional energy. There was a definite premium on the green option and one had to “sell” the environmental benefits, the zero emissions and the long term “no fuel” costs of wind energy. But we can now say that wind energy is cost competitive. Unfortunately the high price perception persists, certainly in BC. Without another call to offset that perception, this belief will persist.
Q. What is the best part about your job?
Definitely the people I meet – and I have met thousands over the last decade – from politicians, regulators, industry executives, competitors, collaborators, environmentalists, First Nations, school children – you name it. I have had the privilege of speaking to them and more importantly listening to them and their concerns and expectations not only about wind energy and my projects, but energy issues in general. It is encouraging to me to realize that there are people out there who share my concerns about the environment and sustainability and who are actually doing things to make positive and lasting changes.
As a supporter of the environment I could not believe that the Ministry of Natural Resources would allow such a travesty against nature.
Like so many others, I remember the annihilation of bald eagles caused by DDT. This chemical caused severe reproduction problems, leaving eagles without offspring for the next generation. And that since the early 1980′s they’ve been on the endangered species list.
But how are they doing today? Turns out, they’re doing much better than anyone expected.
On June 28, 2007 the United States de-listed Bald Eagles as an endangered species in the lower 48 states. It was re-assigned a risk level of “least concern” on the IUCN Red list. Canada followed the American lead in 2009, moving eagles from endangered, to a species of “special concern”. However this new designation only applies to northern and southern Ontario, as the species is not at risk nationally.
The removal from the endangered species list was prompted by much better breeding and mortality rates. During the period from 1990 to 1998 the minimum number of active nests in Ontario rose by 65%, from 719 to 1,193 (Grier et al, 2003). North western Ontario can now boast that the Lake of the Woods area habitat is saturated with Bald Eagles and is at its natural carrying capacity (Grier et al, 2003).
Nest productivity has increased and some standing reproduction records have hit new highs since recording began in 1980. 2011 set new records for highest number of occupied territories, highest number of nesting pairs, and the most successfully fledged young in Ontario.
The Canadian Bird Atlas reads, “The Bald Eagle has experienced a substantially expanded range and increased population since the first atlas was published, with significant increases in the probability of observation in all regions, and an almost fourfold increase across Ontario”.
Things are looking much better for eagles today than 30 years ago. But they can still get better. While doing this research I found there is another threat to the reproductive cycle of Bald Eagles. Ontario’s Bald Eagles are now being held back by contamination from heavy metals, chiefly mercury and lead.
“Long term exposure to mercury can limit the eagles’ reproductive capabilities, alter their behavior, impair their foraging abilities, increase their risk to disease, and even result in death.”
The single largest source of mercury pollution today is through the use of coal for electrical generation. Every year in the United States alone, over 42 tons of mercury is released by coal plants into the atmosphere, contaminating the air we breathe and the water we drink. Fully 42% of mercury emissions in the US come from coal plants. Ontario’s coal plants are no better. Wind energy is helping Ontario to replace dirty coal with clean, emissions-free power.
In hindsight, maybe I shouldn’t have been upset with the wind developer. Maybe I should have said thank you. Not only did they care enough to relocate the nest farther from a potential source of danger, they’ve agreed to install additional artificial nests, and their wind development is helping put an end to coal fired electrical generation. And the end of coal is good for every living creature in Ontario, especially Bald Eagles.
All energy production must be developed in a responsible manner, and wind energy is no different. But when taken in the broader context of measuring impacts to wildlife and humans, wind is a good choice.
- Joyce McLean, Toronto Hydro Corporation
Welcome to Faces of Wind – the first in a new series of profiles highlighting individuals who are leading the charge in the renewable energy industry. For our first feature we spoke with Joyce McLean, a veteran of the environmental and energy sectors.
Currently Director of Strategic Issues at Toronto Hydro Corporation, Joyce has a 14-year history with Toronto Hydro. She has worked tirelessly and with the utmost integrity for almost 30 years in the environmental and energy fields as a policy and communications professional.
Here Joyce shares her thoughts and reflections on wind energy’s past, present and future.
Q. This December the Ex Turbine will celebrate its 10th Anniversary. Billed as North America’s first urban wind turbine, it is viewed by millions of people every month. As one of the pioneers who helped make this dream a reality, what are you most proud of when you pass by the Ex Turbine?
I’m very proud that Toronto Hydro and WindShare were able to form a co-operative partnership to complete a project no one else had done anywhere in Canada before this. The unique relationship between the City of Toronto’s electric utility and a community-based renewable energy co-operative set a precedent and provided momentum for a community power movement in this country. We didn’t understand the approval and policy path we had to follow when we began but a committed group of strong-willed people along with some fabulous political support resulted in what some call the most visible wind turbine in Canada. Now when I drive by 10 years later and see it spinning it makes me extremely proud that we were able to accomplish an early win for the wind sector in Ontario.
Q. Ontario stepped forward in 2009 as a North American leader in clean energy with its Green Energy Act. This also brought renewable energy from the margins to centre stage in terms of the public discourse. How will the past three years influence the future of renewables in Ontario?
Renewable energy is rapidly becoming part of the mainstream energy supply in Ontario. The agencies that govern the electricity business in Ontario are becoming more familiar with the characteristics of renewable energy on both the transmission and distribution grids and are able to balance the power needs with the intermittency of these sources. As other jurisdictions adjust their policies to embrace even more renewable energy, so too will Ontario. Renewable energy delivers good quality jobs, community benefits, emissions-free electricity and a way to combat anticipated climate change impacts in Ontario and across Canada all at a very reasonable price. Wind energy is now price-competitive with other forms of new generation.
Q. Canada does not have a national energy strategy and there has been endless debate about pricing carbon. How can the wind industry best position itself as a win-win for governments who also want to take advantage of natural gas and oil developments?
The wind industry is uniquely positioned to assist with electricity supply plans that take into account their carbon footprint. Wind doesn’t produce emissions, use water, or generate waste – in short it’s a clean air technology. As this national debate continues to evolve, carbon credit schemes with an embedded declining cap may well afford wind its rightful place in the national climate change debate – it is a stable element in a long term reliable electricity system. As much of the utility world in Canada will need to retool given aging infrastructure in the coming years, and as the existing labour pool retires, the new components of installed infrastructure will take into account two-way power needs as our society demands it (electric vehicles, smart meters etc.); these changes will also be driven in part by younger people, stepping into decision making roles in electricity companies across the country, many of whom no doubt critical of our national lacklustre positioning on climate change.
Q. Those opposed to wind energy development may be in the minority, but they have created a lot of noise and spread a lot of misinformation. You personally have been at the front of this debate and experienced hostilities at public events. How did this affect you? Did it change your views?
I acted as the policy and communications advocate for Toronto Hydro’s offshore wind farm proposal in Lake Ontario during the 5+ years that we worked on this responsible initiative to provide green electricity to the city of Toronto and help reduce local greenhouse gases. There was indeed a small, very vocal group of anti-wind citizens who made it very difficult on a personal level. The attacks became increasingly focussed on me and my two colleagues rather than on the ideas behind the proposal. It was frankly very disheartening. Our personal integrity was questioned and I was called a liar publicly. It was hard to take. When I look back now I see that they won the first round – offshore wind is under a ban in Ontario at the moment. My perspective is that we were just ahead of our time. There is no doubt in my mind that offshore wind in Canada will gain acceptance as we continue to grow our southern Canadian urban centres along the Great Lakes/St Lawrence basin – an area ripe for offshore wind developments. The economic opportunities created by offshore and onshore wind developments are now starting to be realized by our neighbours in the US Great Lakes states as many policy makers believe that wind jobs can replace those in the former auto sector which suffered a serious downturn during the recession. US projects are moving ahead. Ontario, which went from being a leader in this area to a dead stop, will eventually catch up.
Q. Energy has always been a political issue, but it seems to becoming more and more of a win-loss, right-vs.-left equation both here and in other countries. How did we get here? How do we move forward?
The politicization of energy and electricity in particular is baffling to me. Everyone in the political and public realm recognizes that electricity underpins how our society functions. There are a whole lot of very smart people who run our system and produce electricity, yet it’s been used as a public policy tool for as long as most of us can remember. Think back to Adam Beck, the founder of public power – he certainly recognized it as a public policy tool but somehow his intentions were clearer than what we all observe today, across the political spectrum. One of the reasons I contend this has become the case, is that the average person does not understand how the system works and is not engaged in any meaningful discussion except to say no to new generation or rate increases, and to yell very loudly when their lights aren’t working. Otherwise they truly don’t seem to care. The only way I see that changing is with unbiased education materials coming from the government, and our children being taught about the electricity system in school. It can be a very interesting subject!
Q. Wind energy enjoys very high general public support as a form of electricity generation, yet in some communities has faced the same sort of organized opposition that gas plants have faced. What has the industry learned from this?
Many early wind advocates were true believers, passionate about wind power who found themselves deeply shocked when their wind vision was rejected by neighbours and community leaders. Counting myself among those, we saw it and see it as a moral decision and the right technology to support. Clearly others see it differently. I hope the industry has learned that we can’t explain, communicate, advocate, educate and listen enough on this topic. Given people’s general lack of knowledge about the electricity system overall, it’s no surprise that many are rejecting a new technology. Remember that while you may heard the same concerns a hundred times, a lot of citizens have never encountered wind energy and have sincere questions about what it does or doesn’t do. Patience will reward those who deliberately help people through their questions and concerns.
Q. You were Chair of the CanWEA Board for two terms during a period of significant change and growth within the industry. What are you most proud of when you look back on your contribution?
My tenure as Chair of CanWEA was during a time of immense growth in the sector across Canada. I’m proud to have helped professionalize the association by instituting a fair compensation package for staff, and adding structure to the administration of CanWEA. In addition, I pushed hard for target setting (result was CanWEA’s WindVision 2025 document – CanWEA believes wind energy can satisfy 20 percent of Canada’s electricity demand by 2025), for snappy, eye-catching communications materials that members could use regardless of locale in the country and developing a sense of the benefits of membership in CanWEA. When I first joined the board, our annual conference was in Pincher Creek, Alberta with about 400 attendees. The 2012 conference attracted 2000 delegates. That growth has been very gratifying to me as I witness new wind projects move forward in every jurisdiction in Canada.
Q. A new report from the Global Wind Energy Council and Greenpeace suggests that wind power could provide as much as 11.7 to 12.6 percent of the world’s electric needs, resulting in CO2 emission reductions of almost 1.7 billion tons. Look into your crystal ball. Where do you see wind energy five years from now in Canada? Ten years?
This is all about politics and public will. Until we actually start comparing the true costs of electricity supply, technology by technology, our electricity system is going to remain with the same basic makeup we’re in now. We know that wind can compete favourably against every other type of electricity generation today, yet governments and utilities are still choosing polluting sources of supply over clean technologies such as hydro-power, wind and solar. Kick-starting the idea of Friends of Wind and letting advocates and neighbours move this agenda forward will continue to be a critical step in gaining the hearts and minds of decision-makers in all jurisdictions. I know it’s a tired cliche, but we must re-double our efforts for our kids. Climate change is real. It’s happening now. Extreme weather events are occurring in every corner of Canada. Wind energy is not the only solution to this problem obviously, but it’s a responsible step – along with conservation, efficiency, green buildings, standard setting and other renewable supply - that our system planners and funders must take, if we’re to hold our heads high as Canadians again and be proud of our environmental legacy. I hope I see this is my lifetime.
Through that effort, Warburg began to wonder how and where the United States could make wind energy happen. He set out to explore that question in 2009, travelling through America’s Heartland and to leading wind energy jurisdictions like Denmark and China. The result is Harvest the Wind: America’s Journey to Jobs, Energy Independence, and Climate Stability (Beacon Press, 2012).
Warburg’s work on energy issues dates back to the summer of 1973, when he led one of the US’s first challenges to nuclear power in Plymouth, Massachusetts. He was president of the Conservation Law Foundation from 2003 to 2009. Previously, he directed the Israel Union for Environmental Defense in Tel Aviv and was an attorney at the Environmental Law Institute in Washington, DC.
WindSight spoke with Warburg to find out more about Harvest the Wind, the people he met through more than 160 interviews and site visits, and the role wind power can play in a more sustainable energy future.
What inspired you to write the book?
I’ve always felt that renewable energy offers enormous promise. We in North America are both blessed and cursed by hugely abundant fossil and nuclear fuel reserves that are not necessarily the resources we should be tapping. They make us very complacent about pursuing a more sustainable energy future. My reason for writing the book was really to explore just how significant wind power could be in shifting us off conventional fuels.
When we look at some European societies, we see that they have learned over time to live within certain limits. Denmark is a great example of an affluent society that has been at the forefront of introducing wind power. Its Commission on Climate Change Policy has come out with a recommendation, which the government adopted, that the country become 100 per cent independent of fossil fuels by 2050. It anticipates that this will be achieved while doubling Denmark’s GDP, and that wind power will provide about 80 per cent of the country’s power by mid-century.
That kind of vision is what we need. Because we live in a society where there has always been the endless frontier, where there’s always been that next horizon to conquer in terms of resource extraction, we don’t really think about how we can live within limits while maintaining a high standard of living. I think that’s a connection that North Americans need to make, that responsible and sustainable development does not require penalizing ourselves, but rather requires our adopting and furthering the right technologies.
How did you approach the project?
I wanted to write the book from the ground up. I wanted to tell the stories of people whose lives have been affected by wind power, everyone from farmers and ranchers who are hosting wind turbines on their properties to construction crews and factory line workers. I wanted to get a sense of how the people who are most directly affected by the introduction of wind energy regard the technology and what it is bringing to their families and their communities.
What I found really exciting and encouraging was just how animated many of the people who are involved in building wind farms are about the work they are doing. They really take pride in the fact that they are introducing a transformative technology. And as important as the number of jobs created by the wind industry is where those jobs are located. Many are in rural communities that have, for a very long time, seen nothing but a job drain as their farms have become more industrialized and work in the traditional agricultural sector has dried up. And it’s not just the jobs linked to building and operating wind farms; it’s factory jobs too. For all of the rhetoric we’re hearing from Mitt Romney about Barack Obama outsourcing renewable energy jobs to Asia, the reality is the opposite. We have seen the domestic content of turbines built in the United States rise from about 35 per cent a half dozen years ago to 60 per cent today.
What did you find most interesting about the people and the areas that have embraced wind energy?
What impressed me most was the pragmatic approach that many people take toward wind power. In places like Cloud County, Kansas, where I started my research, I found a very different attitude about the visual presence of wind turbines on the horizon than I’d encountered in New England with Cape Wind and various onshore projects. I found that people see themselves as part of a working landscape where wind turbines are an enhancement, not an unwelcome intrusion.
One of the things I find most compelling about wind power is its ability to help us curb our greenhouse gas emissions. But I found that issue doesn’t play very prominently in many of the communities where wind farms have sprouted up. That may change as we look at the devastating impacts of this summer’s drought and various other weather extremes that are happening with greater and greater frequency, but by and large, when people talk about the benefits of wind power, they talk about the most immediate benefit to their own farm budget or their own communities. They also talk about energy independence and how important it is to wean ourselves off foreign oil.
What do you think is behind opposition to wind energy? What is the solution?
There are legitimate concerns about the impacts of wind farms on vulnerable bird and bat populations, and about the noise generated by turbines. Those are very real issues that have to be addressed responsibly through careful planning and protective measures. But I think the visual concerns about wind turbines represent an outmoded perspective on where we should be placing our values. We have to develop a 21st century aesthetic that “sees” the very positive contributions that wind power can make to our economic and environmental sustainability. Most of us never see the mountains in the Appalachians where entire ecosystems have been ravaged by mountaintop-removal coal mining. Few of us see the open pit mines in Wyoming and elsewhere that create similar devastation to landscape ecology, and we generally don’t see the endless streams of train cars rolling out of mines and delivering coal to plants located hundreds and hundreds of miles way. I think we have to broaden our vision about the true consequences of the technologies that we’re depending upon and learn to embrace a viewshed that signals sustainability and greater care for our environment.
What did you discover about the ability of wind to meet our electricity needs and what is needed to move wind energy forward to meet that potential?
In a study released in June, the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory has estimated that we could be getting 80 per cent of our total electricity generation from renewable technologies by 2050. According to this report, wind and photovoltaics alone could be supplying 50 per cent of our power using technology that is commercially available today. Wind power really has become mainstream. It is no longer some kind of marginal, boutique technology. It is quickly becoming a very significant contributor to our power supply. I think we have to regard it as such and recognize the enormous economic and environmental gains that it can provide.
What are the key messages you’d like readers to take away from your book?
I want readers to see that wind energy is an inclusive technology that invites broad participation by multiple communities, and that it is a profoundly transformative technology that will bring enormous benefits not just to the local communities that host wind farms, but to our society as a whole.
You can find out more about Philip Warburg and Harvest the Wind by visiting his web site, http://philipwarburg.com.]]>
This December Quebec will shut down its only nuclear reactor, Gentilly-2. This should give Ontarians pause for thought. As Quebec shutters Gentilly-2, Ontario is looking to spend billions to resuscitate the aging Darlington nuclear station. Like our provincial neighbour and other countries, we should divert those billions into renewable, cleaner and healthier energy sources.
There are many valid reasons for phasing out nuclear power – it is expensive (every nuclear project has gone massively over budget and undergone significant delays), environmentally destructive (from radioactive tailings ponds from uranium mining at Elliott Lake to radioactive contamination of Port Hope to pollution of Lake Ontario) and so far has created over 40,000 tons of highly radioactive toxic waste that we’ll need to manage for a million years.
But health risks of the nuclear industry go very much under the radar of governments, policy-makers, and the public. The Ontario government has marketed nuclear energy as “clean” and the answer to climate change, falling for the nuclear industry’s promotional literature which tactfully glosses over health concerns. As physicians, it is our duty to serve our communities by treating our patients and by advocating for illness prevention. For these reasons, we have taken the time to understand the implications of nuclear energy from a health perspective. We see nuclear power as a serious threat to public health.
Each stage of nuclear power generation, from uranium mining, refining and day-to-day activity of nuclear reactors, releases small amounts of radioactivity into the environment on an ongoing basis. The nuclear industry claims that these releases are too small to cause any health concerns, but research indicates otherwise.
Since the early 1980s, numerous studies done in North America and Europe on the health impacts of nuclear plants have shown an elevated risk of a number of illnesses in nearby populations, particularly childhood leukemia. In 2008 a well-designed study done by the German government showed that children under 5 years old living within a 5 km radius of all 16 of the country’s nuclear plants had an elevated risk of developing leukemia. A similar French study showed children under 15 years old living within 5 km of all 19 of France’s reactors had an elevated risk of leukemia.
These studies demonstrate that even during routine reactor operation, nearby populations are exposed to unsafe levels of radiation that are causing serious illnesses.
What does this mean for Canada? It seems government authorities don’t want to know. There is not a single large scale case-control study looking at health effects of low level radioactive emissions from Canada’s nuclear reactors. So would Canadian children be less at risk than children in Germany and France? Without the appropriate studies, it is reasonable to assume that our reactors are causing illness in Canada.
This is a significant concern. Unlike other countries who build their reactors in rural areas, Ontario’s reactors are located in the most populous region of the country – Toronto. Over four hundred and fifty thousand people live within 20 km of the Darlington nuclear station and over one million around Pickering.
And then there’s the Fukushima disaster. While Canadian reactor operators assure us the risk of an accident is insignificant, the world is witnessing a major nuclear accident about once a decade somewhere in the world. Given the massive impact that such an accident would have on our economy, environment and human health, this is no insignificant risk.
The potential enormity of a Fukushima-like accident makes it crucial that we explore and develop alternatives to spending billions to rebuild the Darlington reactors. This is what other countries are doing. Since Fukushima, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and Japan have all decided to phase out nuclear power and invest massively in green energy. These countries are eliminating the risk of nuclear accident, protecting human health, and building a modern energy system.
Meanwhile in Ontario, the government has refused to even consider alternatives to Darlington nuclear station. This is a mistake.
As physicians, it is our duty to advocate preventive medicine to protect human health. In this case, preventive medicine starts with following Quebec’s lead, closing Darlington and developing clean energy alternatives.
Dr. Cathy Vakil is a family doctor in Kingston Ontario, and an assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine at Queen’s University. She is an active board member of Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment and of Physicians for Global Survival.
Dr. Éric Notebaert is an adjunct professor at the School of Medicine, University of Montréal. He is a Science Ambassador for the David Suzuki Foundation and serves on the board of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment.
Help doctors protect the planet – donate now at www.cape.ca
Ernestown Wind Park is a small, 10 megawatt, low-impact wind park proposed for rural Loyalist Township, in Southeastern Ontario. Known as ‘The Right Sized Wind Park, in the Right Place’, the Project won this year’s competition for ‘addressing the unique needs and challenges of rural communities in achieving sustainable energy goals, and demonstrating the effective use and balance of natural resources in the pursuit of sustainable energy goals.’
Janet Gutowski, Warden, County of Frontenac, said of the company’s community engagement program, “Ernestown Wind Park has taken a positive approach to local engagement. They are commended for following a positive and proactive approach to community engagement at a time when many developers are at odds with the communities asked to host their projects.” Warden Gutowski further praised the company for their investment in, ‘local consultation and stakeholder engagement by contracting staff to work within the community, engaging residents, and listening to concerns, and for promoting, ‘ long-term, low-impact energy that will complement Ontario’s goals of clean and sustainable electricity generation, while impacting economic growth in the rural community.’
Ernestown Windpark is committed to the ongoing development of strong relationships with the Municipality and residents of Loyalist Township, through door-to-door engagement, community event outreach and support, information sessions on wind matters of interest to the Project’s neighbours, coffee meetings, frequent newsletters, a well-water watch program, and continuing engagement of local and area businesses and companies.
Executive Director of SWITCH, Tyson Champagne, said of the company, “Ernestown Wind Park has provided an example of a truly sustainable clean energy solution by working with community members to develop a project that addresses the needs of all stakeholders.”
To learn more about the proposed Ernestown Wind Park and its community engagement program, please go to ernestownwind.com.
For more information link to Ernestown: http://www.ernestownwind.com/community/2012-switch-rural-initiatives-award]]>
Show your support for wind energy and Friends of Wind by purchasing a calendar at:
The Friends of Wind program, supported by wind energy industry leaders, gives interested individuals the chance to “join the conversation” about our energy future. It offers a variety of tools Friends of Wind can use to show their support for wind energy and the government programs that provide a positive climate for growth in the sector.]]>
In the last few weeks, Ben Lansink released two documents on the Wind Concerns Ontario and Ontario Wind Resistance websites. Mr. Lansink is an accredited appraiser and declares that his documents have been published without prejudice and that they are fair, impartial analyses.
Other than his accreditation, nothing could be further from the truth.
We’ll expose his bias in three sections:
2. Data manipulation
3. Omission of Press influence
1. Lansink’s motivation
Mr. Lansink’s firm specializes in creating evidence for law suits involving perceived losses in property value. It’s called “diminution”. It’s typically used in expropriation cases, where the appellant is attempting to increase the payment for their property.
According to his website, “Ben specializes in Diminution in Value analyses and the resulting Injurious Affection. His assignments include proximity to airports, hydro power transmission corridors, land fill sites, wind turbines, roads and road works, as well as contaminated land and buildings including urea formaldehyde foam insulation“.
So, a logical question might be, “Why would Mr. Lansink choose to perform all this research and then initially publish it on the Ontario Wind Resistance and Wind Concerns Ontario websites?” An impartial expert with solid balanced arguments might have considered developing more traction by using either the mainstream press or reputable academic journals or magazines to present his case.
The answer to this question may come from the relationship between Mr. Lansink and Eric Gillespie, and Mr. Gillespie’s relationship with wind opponents. Eric Gillespie is the lawyer who has acted for a host of wind opponents and is closely associated with Wind Concerns Ontario (WCO). There have been a number of lawsuits launched recently by Mr. Gillespie against wind developers and their hosting landowners; all of which include property devaluation as part of the argument (e.g. Wiggins v. Fairview, Norfolk Wind Concerns v. UDI Renewables, Parent v. River Canard Energy).
Eric Gillespie and Ben Lansink appear to have assisted a common client in the past (Red Hill Valley Neighbourhood Association) and Mr. Gillespie refers to Lansink’s work in a letter to Canada’s Attorney General.
In addition, at least one source has described Mr. Lansink’s presentation to an anti-wind group in which he confirmed his association with Mr. Gillespie.
Given this information it is reasonable to assume that Mr. Lansink’s report is intended to support Mr. Gillespie’s initiatives in the courts and wind opponents’ public position. Whether they are “fair and impartial” is another question that may only be answered in the courts
2. Lansink’s manipulation of data
Mr. Lansink appears to be selective with the limited data he uses in his case studies and presents, as a basis for his conclusions, information from a few isolated home sales. This would be in contrast with following the most basic notions of random sampling or full transactional analysis from which solid impartial experts typically derive their conclusions.
In Melancthon, for example, he chooses five properties that were bought by a developer (Canadian Hydro Developers – CHD) and then sold after the project was completed. He cloaks those situations as a classic buy-resell case study and attempts to create a valuation based on the following methodology:
1. Assume that the purchase price was at fair market value. In truth, CHD purchased all properties at over 50% premium to market values – as represented by MPAC assessment data (Table 1).
Table 1 Sales price vs. assessment value for Lansink’s Melancthon properties (1stsale)
|Property||Sale price||Sale date||Assessment||Assess. Year||Price/Assessment|
Source: Lansink, MPAC
2. Assign a price escalator from “comparable” markets – in this case the greater Dufferin area. However, the greater Dufferin area includes Orangeville, a market that’s been on fire as a sleeper for Toronto, as well as Amaranth, a sleeper for Orangeville. As a result, Lansink’s calculation of the increase of value due to the passage of time may be aggressive.
3. Assume that the properties were also sold at fair market value. In aggregate, this may be close to the truth. CHD had used a number of the properties for their project staff for a couple of years, lowering their cost of housing staff and construction workers, versus hotel, motel and travel alternatives. Once the project was fully commissioned the operator had little on-going use for the properties and sold them.
In three cases, the properties either sold at their asking price or close to their assessed value (Table 2).
Table 2 Sales prices vs. assessment value for Lansink’s Melancthon properties (2ndsale)
|Property||Sale price||Sale date||Assessment||Assess. Year||Price/Assessment|
Source: Lansink, MPAC
* Assessment data not available for 2009
Two properties were likely sold below market value because of their uniquely heightened association with wind turbines. Wind opponents who used these transactions to create a firestorm of media coverage that detailed their perceived health problems dramatically highlighted that association. A search of the seller’s name + wind on the Internet yields over 500 citations. One is actually used in the Lansink document. Obviously, wind opponents’ actions devalued these properties by their unsupported statements. Selling that house after such a mauling in the press would be like selling a haunted house.
In contrast, a search of the successful buyers’ names yields no mentions of any such complaints.
One case study “analysis” is highly suspect. The original landowner was holding up an OMB hearing that was ruling on CHD’s project. In the hearing, CHD had made adjustments to the project in accord with the concerns of the municipalities and other landowners. For this particular landowner CHD agreed to purchase his property (OMB PL0605653 Minutes of Settlement). The residence condition was deemed uninhabitable and was subsequently demolished. This fact was omitted in Lansink’s appraisal. He compares the above market price of the property when originally purchased with the market value price of the raw land when it was subsequently sold.
Of course, there remains the question about the hundred or so other transactions that occurred in the area in that time frame. Those transactions were conventional single buyer-seller transactions, much like those included in the following analysis, but they were excluded for some reason. A subsequent blog will explore these transactions in more detail.
So, in summary, the prices paid by CHD for these properties were sufficiently over-market to negate all the claims of devaluation stated by Lansink, and the sample used so small and selective that the conclusions drawn were clearly biased and wrong.
In Clear Creek, Mr. Lansink chooses seven properties that were sold in the area of a project. In contrast with his previous methodology described above, only two were buy-sell situations. A number of obvious questions arise:
If these properties are truly indicative of the nature of sales in the micro-area, then there may be evidence of diminution. However, this is another area that was ground zero for health effect claims. A group called “Norfolk Victims of Industrial Wind Turbines” had extensive press coverage. A search for the leader of the group (“stephana johnston”+wind) yields over 800 citations. As one commentator noted, “ Also, Stephana Johnston, 81 has now guaranteed no one will buy her house as she’s publicly stated that the turbines make it impossible [for her] to sleep there.”
We are analyzing the Clear Creek transactions and will publish more conclusions in a further post.
3. The influence of media’s amplification of wind opponent hysteria
A number of independent appraisals were performed in the early to middle stages of wind turbine development in Ontario, for example:
Outside of Ontario, a 2009 landmark study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that “Home sales prices are very sensitive to the overall quality of the scenic vista from a property, but a view of a wind energy facility does not demonstrably impact sales prices”.
All of these studies found no significant reduction in property values before and after the project was constructed.
However, as wind projects were proposed for cottage areas such as Prince Edward County, the Huron coastline and Grey Highlands, opposition began to grow using bogus logic, and biased media intensity increased. The umbrella organization Wind Concerns Ontario (WCO) represented most, if not all, of the wind action groups (WAG’s). WCO had sophisticated members and access to professionals (e.g. PR, medical, legal, engineering, etc.) whose cottages, in many cases, were located near these developments. Within a few months they had developed a very sophisticated and effective PR campaign. However, in our opinion, these professionals took license with their credentials by not disclosing their cottage locations and by posting opinions that were frequently outside their training.
As an illustration, a search in Google Trends for Ontario reveals a strong and sustained campaign from early 2009 to the present.
Figure 1: Google Trends search for the term “wind concerns Ontario”
Source: Google Trends
Since these WAG’s had no evidence that was specific to projects planned near them, they shone a bright light on existing projects. Anyone with a complaint was sure to be introduced to newspapers, television and radio; and invited to speak at scores of anti-wind lectures throughout Ontario. As noted earlier, some of those press mentions added up in the hundreds. Many of them, and their previously unknown small community names (e.g. Melancthon, Ripley, Clear Creek, etc.) became well known. It is conceivable that this type of media coverage placed downward pressure on property values in a few places. In contrast, other projects built in the same time frame, such as Chatham Kent and Prince garnered relatively few complaints and little press coverage.
In subsequent legal challenges and Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) decisions (almost totally represented by Eric Gillespie), not a single case has substantiated any of the claims of adverse health effects. In fact, health claims seem to have been removed from recent ERT’s by the appellants. Importantly, in cases where residences were sold on the market or purchased by developers and then re-sold, there has always been a willing buyer and no media mentions of complaints of adverse health effects. Lansink suggests that those buyers have been legally gagged, but no one is able to sign away their rights of redress under common law. If they were provably suffering, they would still have some form of recourse.
* * *
In summary, Lansink’s analysis appears to be significantly biased. While he may turn up some isolated examples of property devaluation, Lansink has failed to show that wind turbines have widespread negative impact on property values. Moreover, there is plenty of evidence to demonstrate that those suffering from psychogenic symptoms (I.e. those that originate in the mind) may have inadvertently been the root cause of their loss. They certainly had lots of help from hundreds of activists who used these people, described as “victims”, to keep proposed projects from their back yard. And, some of the media, sensing a good conflict, fanned the flames.]]>
5 décembre 2056. Assise dans mon salon, je me détends en un après-midi nuageux, une tasse de thé entre les mains. Mon regard croise un geai bleu de l’autre côté de ma fenêtre. La chaleur est palpable, malléable même.
Je m’enligne aussitôt vers l’interrupteur en face de moi afin d’insuffler un tant soit peu d’air frais dans cette pièce suffocante. Et puis, je me souviens : le gouvernement a prohibé, depuis presqu’un an, l’utilisation du système climatiseur entre 9h et 15h les jours de semaine. Cela est justifiable lorsqu’on s’aperçoit de la lourdeur de l’air due à l’émission de gaz à effet de serre et de la permanente chaleur suffocante causée par la détérioration massive de la couche atmosphérique. Conclusion : plus le droit d’user du système climatiseur. Déception. Difficile de se défaire d’une habitude vieille de 50 ans. Pourtant, il me semble qu’il n’y a pas si longtemps, nous avions bien d’autres possibilités. Je cherche dans ma vieille mémoire défaillante et me rappelle : de gigantesques colonnes blanches grondant le ciel, et tout au sommet, de grandes ailes bravant chacune des rafales de vents, les défiant même de souffler davantage. Les grands parcs éoliens. Une énergie si pure et saine. Je me rappelle alors ce que les visionnaires d’antan avançaient: ils parlaient d’une énergie entièrement renouvelable et non dommageable pour l’atmosphère. Si on les avait davantage écoutés, depuis longtemps l’économie rurale aurait pris son essor, le prix de l’électricité aurait diminué à un coût dérisoire (ce qui aurait contribué au développement économique national), nous aurions un attrait touristique de plus à offrir aux communautés locales, des revenus supplémentaires de location seraient attribués aux agriculteurs louant leurs terres, et finalement, nous disposerons d’une énergie plus fiable et hautement efficiente. Définitivement, l’énergie éolienne est ce qu’il y avait de plus réconfortant au pays, 44 ans auparavant.
Instead of writing, however, I thought it might be more fun to rap about wind power. Can’t say that’s something that’s been done before… And I thought I’d give it a try. So, lay down a beat in your head and rap along:
Wind power, the new up-and-come-r
We be celebratin’ G’ Wind Day, ev’ry summa
June 15th is the day that we dedicate
To support wind power and participate
Tell ma man Harper wind power’s tha way
It’s clean, it’s green, now hear me say:
People be trippin’, thinkin’ it harms their health
When really this energy helps spreads the wealth
Price stability is what you’ll find
When you check out the plants and wind turbines
With gas and coal,
The dollars go and go
We can’t spend no mo’
To make that power flow
Mother Earth is in need of assistance
Should be worried about her state of existence
We need green energy to be our number one choice
Those for wind energy, raise your voice
There’s this major problem called GHG
Let’s make greenhouse gas history
Wind energy reduces these emissions
Helping Canada with our planet-saving mission
People, people, can’t you see?
This energy’s the future for you and me
Reliable, afforable, not to mention green
Wind is number one, in every mean
Whether you wanna save the Earth, or save some coin
Supportin’ wind, together we join!
Thanks for reading!
Madison is studying Social Sciences at McMaster University, where she hopes to major in Political Science. Madison hopes to continue being an advocate for social justice during her time at McMaster.
Imagine salty ocean spray flying through the air, warm chinooks cresting over the rocky mountains, golden wheat fields rustling in the breeze, and gusts of wind whipping deep within the forests.
These are the things I think of when I imagine wind energy, a source of power which is around us at all times, invisible but omnipresent. We Canadians have the unique opportunity of a vast country with nearly endless land, stretching from sea to sea to sea. Wind is what connects us across this great land.
We have this abundant force all around us, yet we choose not to harvest it. Fossil fuels and coal still account for the vast majority of our energy creation, despite the toll they take on our environment. Wind is hope for the future, a clean source of energy we can rely on to stay with us and keep us healthy.
Wind power means so many things to me. It means harvesting a resource we already have without draining our environment. It means innovation, moving forward to a better tomorrow thanks to human ingenuity. It means creating jobs, in Canada, that people can feel good about. Most importantly, it means making a commitment to our grandchildren, to our great-great-grandchildren, that they matter to us.
This is what wind power means to me, and why it’s important. We have a beautiful and abundant resource which is ours for the harvest. We simply have to act; we must get involved and promote wind energy, innovation, and our future.
In the words of Dr. Seuss’ Lorax, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” So go out and show how much you care. We have the power to improve the world. That’s the power of wind.
Wind, or more specifically, air, surrounds us; envelops us; powers us. Not just us, but all living things and the Earth itself. You cannot see it, but it is the life force of us and of our planet, nurturing both creation and change. Wind has been used as a tool for millennia D from sailboats in 3000BC and grain mills in 100 AD to wind turbines in more recent years.
After visiting Maui last year, I still remember the feeling that came over me when I first saw the enormous wind turbines riding the crest of the West Maui Mountains. Some say they are ugly – an eyesore against a beautiful landscape – but I thought they were amazing. Let us not think of them as an eyesore, but as a symbol; a symbol of beauty, progress and responsibility. Tall, powerful, and majestic, their bright white arms reached out towards the endless sky as if giving thanks to the Sun for creating the winds that powered them. Slowly, each blade sliced through the air, creating a low pitched whooshing sound that both soothed and calmed me. As I lay there watching them, I was mesmerized.
Captivated by the feelings of awe and humility they instilled in me, I couldn’t help but wonder why they are not seen more frequently.
Energy production is one of the principle causes of global warming and climate change D one of the many great challenges we face today. Clean and renewable energy sources are in dire need if we are to curb our harmful ways before it is too late. Let us join together, as both Canadians and humans united, and embrace the power of wind to keep our planet clean and healthy. Please visit www.canwea.ca to learn about wind energy and how you can help make a difference.
Through the struggle to find an environmentally friendly source of power, wind energy has proven to be a major benefit to the environment as well as the economy. It is the answer to the many problems that we, as a nation, face in terms of energy. Instead of using non-renewable resources that are dwindling out of supply, why not use a resource that is readily available and renewable? Wind is exactly that. It is always present in any part of the world, effective and reliable.
I personally would like to live in a world in which people do not need to worry about smog alerts and the looming issue of global warming. Who wants to see their children grown up in a world where breathing in the air alone may cause health problems? We must take the first step in preserving the world we live in so that the future generations may follow us in cultivating the earth. Wind energy will be that step that we need to take. It provides energy without the side effects of harmful emissions such as toxic waterborne wastes and air pollution. Although many may know of the environmental benefits of wind energy there is also an economical benefit.
With the escalating prices of non- renewable resources, such as fossil fuel, wind energy will provide a stable cost due to the quantity of wind. It is infinite and will never run out. It provides stability and overall prosperity for our nation. Furthermore, it creates many job opportunities. As our country is recovering from the recession, wind energy may be the bright light at the end of the tunnel for most.
To me, wind power is not just an energy source; it is the start of a brighter and more hopeful future.
Turbines and blades: The promise of wind energy
By Melanie Moller
September 25 2012.
In an era with an increasing demand for cheaper, more energy sources, the answer for Canada could be, as Bob Dylan so eloquently puts it, blowing in the wind.
Wind energy is harnessed by large windmill-like turbines before it’s converted into electrical energy, and there is no shortage of it in Canada.
“Canada has considerable wind resource that remains largely untapped,” said Metin Yaras, Carleton mechanical and aerospace engineering professor via email.
We currently get less than 2.5 per cent of our electricity through wind energy, but Yaras said in the next 10 or 20 years wind energy could potentially meet as much as a quarter of Canada’s energy needs.
The Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) is a non-profit trade association that promotes the use and development of wind energy in Canada. Their goal is to provide 20 per cent of Canada’s electricity needs by 2025, and they said they are on track to meet this goal.
“In 2011 we actually had a record year of wind energy installed capacity,” CanWEA communications officer Lejla Latifovic said.
Installed capacity is the maximum amount of electricity a turbine can produce in a given time. According to CanWEA statistics, Canada has 3,204 wind turbines capable of producing 5,511 megawatts of energy — enough to power 1.2 million homes.
Canada’s wind energy sector has grown exponentially in the last decade, with turbines in each of the provinces and in the Yukon, Latifovic said. We now place ninth in the world in potential megawatt production in 2011, Latifovic said.
It is also one of the fastest-growing major sources of electricity around the world, she said, with more than 150,000 turbines in 89 countries.
To get to the next step in making wind energy a viable option for the future, Canada needs to be a more aggressive competitor for international wind energy investment. Both Latifovic and Yaras said that would require some changes to wind energy-related policy at both the provincial and federal level.
CanWEA has created a “WindVision 2025″ that calls upon both levels of government for wind power infrastructure, manufacturer incentives, and streamlining the approval process for wind energy projects.
“We’re definitely on pace to meet our target,” Latifovic said, which would bring significant economic benefit and environmental benefits.
A greater dependence on wind energy would result in the creation of 50,000 jobs, more stable electricity prices, and $79 billion of investment in Canadian wind energy, CanWEA’s website said.
The turbines, which produce no greenhouse gases or toxic waste, will also contribute to a 17- megatonne cut in carbon emissions in Canada, providing what Latifovic calls an important part of a balanced energy diet.
“We need diversity of supplies in our energy mix,” she said.
“And we think wind energy is a key partner in building a stronger, cleaner, and more affordable energy store for all Canadians.”]]>
This engaging breakfast will feature wind energy success stories from across Canada. Hear directly from community leaders from different regions of the country as they share how wind energy has changed their community and their life for the better. Then, head onto the exhibition floor to learn more about wind energy from industry experts and wind enthusiasts
Date and Time:
Wednesday October 17, 2012 in Toronto, Ontario
7:30am to 8:00am – Registration
8:00am to 9:45am – Breakfast
9:45am to 12:00pm – Exhibition Hall Pass
AllStream Centre Ballroom A – Breakfast
Direct Energy Centre Hall B – Tradeshow Hall
105 Princes’ Blvd. Toronto, ON M6K 3C3
You can register here for the Wind. For My Community breakfast and access to the tradeshow hall until October 15!
Or if you’d like to only attend Friends of Wind Day at the CanWEA 2012 tradeshow hall and are not already a Friend of Wind, register here and you will also be signed up as a Friend of Wind.]]>
Quarante éoliennes, 80 mégawatts, 200 millions $ d’investissements et une centaine de travailleurs affectés à la construction : voilà des chiffres qui peuvent donner le vertige pour une municipalité d’un peu moins de 700 habitants comme Saint-Robert-Bellarmin, en Beauce, à la frontière du Maine. Lors de ma visite dans cette collectivité, j’ai pourtant pu réaliser qu’en travaillant de près avec ses membres, ces appréhensions deviennent tout sauf incontournables.
Dès le début du projet, le promoteur EDF-EN Canada a placé la consultation avec la communauté au cœur de ses préoccupations. « La transparence et le respect des engagements furent la clé du succès de ce projet » assure le maire Jeannot Lachance.
Cela s’est traduit par un dialogue continu avec les principaux groupes d’utilisateurs du territoire, le propriétaire privé ainsi que les représentants de la municipalité et de la MRC. « Au départ, j’étais possiblement l’une des personnes les plus craintives face au projet » mentionne Patrice Lachance, des sentiers pédestres et équestres du Mont-Bélanger. « Le promoteur a tenu compte de nos préoccupations et s’est assuré de limiter l’impact de la construction du parc éolien sur nos activités. Aujourd’hui, nous remarquons une demande chez notre clientèle afin d’observer les éoliennes en activité et nous pensons adapter notre offre touristique à cet effet ».
EDF-EN s’est également assuré de travailler en étroite collaboration avec les chasseurs, les acériculteurs et les villégiateurs. Lui-même adepte de la chasse, le conseiller municipal Robert Jolin n’aurait jamais cru qu’un chantier de cette ampleur aurait pu être interrompu pendant les deux semaines réservées à cette activité à l’automne. C’est pourtant ce qu’EDF-EN a accepté de faire ; et la saison 2011 fut l’une des meilleures des dernières années selon M. Jolin.
En visitant les différents commerces du village, on peut constater les effets de la construction du parc éolien. Le bulletin d’informations Éole-Lien renseigne la population sur l’état du projet et est notamment distribué à la station-service et au dépanneur. Les travailleurs du chantier remplissent le restaurant nouvellement rénové pendant leurs pauses-repas. Michel Poulin, ancien maire de la municipalité mentionne d’ailleurs que « lors de sa conception, nous nous sommes assurés que le projet favorise le talent local, d’abord celui de Saint-Robert-Bellarmin, puis celui de la MRC du Granit ».
« Il n’y a aucun doute que le projet éolien amène de nombreuses retombées pour la municipalité, ce qui nous permet d’améliorer la qualité des services offerts à notre population » remarque Gilbert Gagné, conseiller municipal chargé du développement économique. « Les retombées s’étendent d’ailleurs aux municipalités avoisinantes » rappelle le préfet Maurice Bernier. Une douzaine d’éoliennes supplémentaires seront d’ailleurs construites dans le cadre d’un projet communautaire entre la MRC du Granit et EDF-EN Canada.
C’est une population fière et active que j’ai pu rencontrer lors de ma visite à Saint-Robert-Bellarmin. Fière de l’activité qu’un tel projet amène mais aussi, fière de contribuer à l’essor d’une énergie fiable, propre et renouvelable.
Directeur régional – Québec
Association canadienne de l’énergie éolienne (CanWEA)
Des remerciements particuliers s’adressent à MM. Félix Destrijker et Daniel Giguère d’EDF-EN Canada pour l’organisation de cette visite.
Plus de photos du parc éolien de Saint-Robert-Bellarmin sont disponibles sur la galerie photos des Amis du vent.]]>
“As a responsible industry that has been delivering clean electricity for more than 30 years, we collectively continue to engage with experts in science, medicine and occupational and environmental health to monitor ongoing credible research in the area of wind turbines and human health. While Health Canada’s proposed new study may contribute to the significant knowledge base on this topic, the balance of scientific evidence and human experience to date clearly concludes that wind turbines are not harmful to humans,” according to a joint statement signed by the American Wind Energy Association, Australia’s Clean Energy Council, the Canadian Wind Energy Association, the European Wind Energy Association, Global Wind Energy Council and Renewable UK.
Over the past number of years the wind energy industry has worked proactively to ensure citizens have factual answers to their questions. The entire wind industry supports responsible engagement with communities and stakeholders to ensure questions are answered in a timely and appropriate manner, and understands this is fundamental to successful development of the wind energy the world wants.
For more infromation: http://www.canwea.ca/news/release/release_e.php?newsId=154]]>
It is easy to see why. While I was there, the province was still reeling from the loss of hundreds of jobs from the closure of the Bowater Mersey paper mill on the province’s south shore. But at same time it was celebrating the completion of Sprott Power’s 31.5 MW Amherst Wind Project, which employed 150 people at the peak of construction, most coming from local Nova Scotia companies and trade union halls.
In those two events, and in the many conversations I had during the five days I spent making my way around Nova Scotia, I found a province looking to reinvent itself. Over and over again, I heard about the need to reignite the economy and create the kinds of sustainable jobs that will encourage its young people to stay and build lives in their home province. As Nova Scotia communities look at how they can contribute to that goal, wind energy is increasingly capturing their interest.
A big part of the reason is the way the provincial government has structured its renewable energy strategy. Its community feed-in tariff (COMFIT) program allows the Millbrook First Nation to create jobs for its members and earn millions in equity returns through its planned 6 MW wind farm. It also gives more than 300 local shareholders in Colchester County a chance to invest in turbines generating clean electricity on Spiddle Hill for their own use. These are just two in a long list of community projects in development that will complement larger commercial projects like Sprott Power’s Amherst wind farm and the 62.1 MW Glen Dhu Wind Farm in Pictou and Antigonish Counties. More than any other province, Nova Scotia sees the many opportunities presented by the varying models that can be used to develop its wind energy resource.
Perhaps because of that broad view and an inherited sense of innovation, I found Nova Scotians open to a thorough discussion about wind energy. While there are the usual questions about wind energy and its impacts that many people unfamiliar with the technology have, the people I spoke with were willing to look beyond those concerns, to have the big conversation about the benefits of wind energy in their own community. I found this heartening, and I think as Nova Scotia works to remake its economy by taking advantage of the many and varied resources that it has, it is this outlook and its sense of pride and innovation that will help Nova Scotia succeed.
Media Relations Officer
Canadian Wind Energy Association
I’ll leave you with these thoughts from Lester R. Brown, President of the Earth Policy Institute and author of his latest book, “World on the Edge-How to Prevent Environmental and Economic Collapse”:
“If we make a full commitment to renewable energy, Brown writes, by 2020, the world could produce all our electricity from solar, wind, hydropower and geothermal, and we could phase out fossil fuels.”
“For the first time since the Industrial Revolution began,” he says, “we are investing in sources of energy that can last as long as the Earth itself.”
Sources : GWEC ( Global Wind Energy Council ) www.gwec.net and CanWEA ( Canadian Wind Energy Association ) www.canwea.ca
Article submitted by Don Ross for the County Sustainability Group www.countysustainability.ca]]>
Fiers des succès obtenus dans la filière éolienne, élus et gens de l’industrie se disent plus prêts que jamais à poursuivre le développement de l’industrie éolienne, afin d’atteindre la cible de 4 000 MW d’énergie éolienne installée prévue à la stratégie énergétique du Québec.
Le 6e Colloque de l’industrie éolienne québécoise a permis de constater l’ampleur du chemin parcouru au cours des dernières années. L’atteinte du premier 1 000 MW au printemps 2012 et la mise en construction de 750 autres mégawatts d’ici décembre prochain constituent des jalons importants du développement de la filière. Les entreprises manufacturières ont des carnets de commande bien garnis pour livrer les projets octroyés jusqu’à présent. Plusieurs travaillent à développer des marchés à l’extérieur de la province. Les entreprises de services accompagnant l’industrie ont développé un savoir-faire permettant de faire rayonner le Québec sur la scène internationale. Les développeurs de parcs travaillent intensément pour les projets à livrer dans le cadre des 2e et 3e appels d’offres et attendent ardemment l’annonce d’un nouvel appel de projets.
« Le Québec occupe une position de choix pour s’investir dans le développement éolien. Plusieurs turbiniers et développeurs de parcs éoliens lorgnent du côté du Québec en raison d’une baisse de demandes aux États-Unis et apprécient la façon dont le Québec a convenu de développer la filière éolienne par le système d’appels d’offres. Avec l’expérience acquise, le Québec s’inscrit comme un leader en Amérique du Nord », mentionne le directeur général du TechnoCentre éolien, Frédéric Côté.
L’exemple du transport de pales sur rail présenté durant le Colloque à plusieurs participants démontre la volonté de l’industrie à se tourner vers les marchés d’exportation, contribuant à l’atteinte des objectifs de la stratégie gouvernementale de réduction des gaz à effet de serre.
« Lors du Colloque, nous avons constaté les retombées économiques de l’industrie éolienne dans notre région et pour le Québec. D’ailleurs dans notre région, le taux de chômage est à son plus bas depuis le dernier quart de siècle et ce, malgré un contexte économique difficile et une crise dans l’industrie forestière. Le volet éolien de la stratégie énergétique québécoise a visiblement porté fruit et le développement de cette industrie doit continuer », ont commenté les maires de Matane, Gaspé et New Richmond, Claude Canuel, François Roussy et Nicole Appleby.
Avec ses usines, ses centres de recherche, ses développeurs, ses entreprises de services et surtout, ses 5 000 emplois à temps plein, dont 1 000 en Gaspésie, l’industrie éolienne québécoise est prête à poursuivre son développement.
Dave Lavoie, conseiller aux communications et relations publiques, TechnoCentre éolien
(418) 368-6162 poste 224, email@example.com]]>
The winner of the Power of Wind Contest will win the following:
2nd prize: $500 bursary
3rd prize: $250 bursary
Terms and Conditions
The contest is open until September 15th, 2012. Entries will be accepted as of June 15th. This contest is open to participants from Canada. There is no entry fee, and each participant can submit only one entry to this contest. CanWEA employees and CanWEA member organizations are not eligible to take part in the contest, nor are their relatives or members of their families. CanWEA also reserves the right to use any blog submissions on its website or for any other marketing materials. The decision of the judges is final. Only the winners will be contacted after submissions have been reviewed.
To be eligible for the bursary, all applicants must (and will be required to provide proof of):
How to submit your blog
Your 300 word blog can be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org by no later than September 15th, 2012. Good luck!
(Available in French only)
Des critiques ont récemment été émises sur les retombées de l’éolien au Québec. Les opposants à cette forme d’énergie renouvelable soulèvent des craintes qui ne sont pas fondées et qui relèvent d’un manque d’informations quant aux opportunités créées par le développement de l’éolien. Il est important de rétablir les faits.
Au sujet des coûts de l’électricité, il faut dire les choses telles qu’elles le sont : l’énergie éolienne est concurrentielle.
Certes, les coûts de production d’électricité d’un parc éolien construit en 2012 ne peuvent rivaliser avec ceux d’un barrage hydroélectrique construit il y a 50 ans. En toute logique, il faut comparer des équipements construits dans les mêmes années. À ce chapitre, il est estimé que l’électricité produite par l’éolien est aussi abordable que celle qui sera produite par les nouveaux projets hydroélectriques d’Hydro- Québec. Pour fins de comparaison, les coûts moyens des appels d’offres de 2003 et de 2005 pour l’énergie éolienne au Québec étaient respectivement de 6,5 et 8,7 cents du kW/ h alors que le projet hydroélectrique de La Romaine devrait produire de l’électricité à environ 9,5 cents le kW/ h. L’énergie éolienne ne remplacera jamais l’hydroélectricité au Québec, elle est cependant le partenaire idéal pour diversifier le portefeuille énergétique du Québec, et ce, de façon propre et durable.
D’ailleurs, selon une analyse du Bloomberg New Energy Finance, le coût de l’électricité produite par les éoliennes terrestres diminuera encore de 12 pour cent au cours des cinq prochaines années grâce à une combinaison d’équipement à plus faible coût et de gains pour l’efficacité du rendement.
Les adversaires de l’éolien prétendent également que le recours à cette forme d’énergie ne diminue pas les émissions de gaz à effet de serre. Là encore, rien n’est plus faux. Avec le développement technologique et l’accroissement du nombre de parcs éoliens, les instabilités provoquées par les carences de vent sont beaucoup plus faciles à contrôler. Le Québec est d’ailleurs très bien positionné puisque l’éolien et l’hydroélectricité sont fortement complémentaires et n’émettent aucun gaz à effet de serre.
Sur le plan des retombées économiques dans les régions engendrées par l’éolien, l’expérience prouve qu’elles sont considérables. Entre 2005 et 2015 au Québec, l’éolien aura généré des investissements de plus de 10 milliards $, des dizaines de millions $ en retombées pour les municipalités et les propriétaires terriens et la création de quelque 37 000 emplois personne/année. En Gaspésie, le berceau de l’éolien au Québec qui accueille plusieurs entreprises oeuvrant dans ce secteur, on observait en 2011 le taux de chômage le plus bas depuis 1987 ainsi qu’un solde migratoire positif, une première en dix ans.
L’énergie éolienne est propre, abordable et compétitive. Sans peser dans le portefeuille des Québécois, elle favorise un fort développement régional. S’y opposer équivaudrait à laisser passer une chance exceptionnelle de développement économique et environnemental pour le Québec.
Jean- Frédérick Legendre Directeur régional – Québec Association canadienne de l’énergie éolienne (CanWEA)]]>
The report, Renewable Energy Facts, released today by the energy consulting firm Bridgepoint Group, reviews the Auditor General’s December Annual Report that made several conclusions which, upon closer examination, are based on incomplete, inaccurate or missing facts.
“Auditor Generals’ reports form an important basis for public discussion. That discussion should be based on accurate facts and probing questions,” said Dr. Rick Smith, the Executive Director of Environmental Defence. “We commissioned an independent firm to double check what was being presented.”
“One thing is now clear. The Auditor General’s office needs to explain whether it just didn’t look for all the facts, or whether it looked and didn’t like what it found. Because the conclusions the Auditor General’s office came to are difficult to justify.”
Sweeping claims are made about Ontario’s renewable energy policies throughout the report, often without citation or reference. Among them, a claim that appears to be taken from a widely discredited Spanish study suggesting that using renewable energy will cost jobs because it costs more.
The Bridgepoint report reviews these claims and points out that recent reports suggest that while electricity prices are expected to rise in Ontario, renewable energy development is not the primary cause and that abandoning renewables would do little to change the trajectory.
“Ontario is challenged by the fact that it needs to update its electricity system, but any new form of electricity is going to be more expensive than what was built in the 1970s and ‘80s,” said Dr. Tim Weis, Director of Renewable Energy and Efficiency with the Pembina Institute. “There is no realistic scenario where prices are not going up. Ontarians need the facts to ensure informed decisions are made about investments in new power supply, yet it appears the Auditor General’s office did not even compare the cost of new clean energy with the cost of new polluting energy.”
The Bridgepoint Group’s report provides a review of some of the largest questions raised by the Auditor General report. Examples of discrepancies are listed below. The report can be downloaded here: http://www.bridgepointgroupltd.com/database/rte/files/Renewable%20Energy%20Facts.pdf
For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Stephanie Kohls, Environmental Defence, 416-323-9521 x. 232; 647-280-9521 (cell), email@example.com
Dr. Tim Weis, The Pembina Institute, 780-485-9610 x105, firstname.lastname@example.org]]>
A new poll by Léger Marketing (French only), conducted earlier this year, found 83 per cent of Quebecers have a positive view of wind energy. Almost 9 out of 10 agree the province could develop an advantageous expertise in the wind sector, as it has with hydroelectricity, while 77 per cent (up from 75 per cent in October 2010) agree Quebec should pursue further wind energy development after 2015.
CanWEA commissioned the poll to update a similar survey done in October 2010. Now that the province has installed its first 1,000 MW of projects, the association wanted to see if there has been “an evolution in their perception of wind,” says Jean-François Nolet, CanWEA’s vice-president of policy and government affairs. The results show support is growing.
“It is very good news,” explains Nolet. “It shows the good work that developers are doing. It also shows that we are delivering on jobs and revenues for municipalities and landowners. People see this industry is growing and is having a very positive effect.”
Some of the strongest support for the industry is found in eastern Quebec, which is the hub of the province’s wind development and manufacturing sectors. There, 91 per cent of residents have a positive view of wind.
“What we see in the report is that the closer you live to a wind farm, the more you like them,” says Nolet.
The poll results will be a powerful tool for the industry as it works with government, municipalities and other stakeholders on developing opportunities for future growth, he adds. Although the province has a target of 4,000 MW by 2015, there are no polices in place to drive development after that point.
“This helps show the government that people in the province do want further wind energy development. It is not the end of the story. It is only the beginning.”
Wind stacks up well with the attitudes of Quebec residents to energy in general, says Philippe Roy of Ryan Affaires publiques. “Usually when you talk energy with Quebecers, they only talk about one thing and that is hydro,” he says. Renewable resources like wind and solar are seen as “complementary with hydro.”
Quebecers are also supportive of action on climate change, says Roy. “They see wind as one of the solutions we have to propose.”]]>
The project’s 60 Enercon E70 turbines pushed Quebec’s installed wind energy capacity past the 1,000 MW mark. It is a number, industry participants agree, that represents far more than just turbines in the ground.
“The political will to have wind be part of the generation mix and further the province’s participation in renewable energy is, I believe, really what we are celebrating,” says Frits de Kiewit, Invenergy’s director of business development for Canada.
The province embarked on what former Hydro-Quebec CEO André Caillé described as its “great adventure” in wind when it launched a request for proposals (RFP) for 1,000 MW in May 2003. The utility was already buying the output from a handful of wind farms located in the Gaspésie, but the government saw the opportunity to do much more, using a combination of long-term power purchases and local content requirements to bring jobs and investment to the economically depressed region. It followed up with two more RFPs that expanded the investment opportunity to the rest of the province, one in October 2005 for 2,000 MW and another in April 2009 for 500 MW from smaller-scale projects with equity participation by Quebec municipalities, co-operatives and First Nations groups.
“The strategy has had a tremendous impact on the economy of the region. Now on the Gaspé Peninsula and the County of Matane we are talking about over 1,000 jobs in wind,” says Frédéric Côté, general manager of Quebec’s TechnoCentre éolien. “We have large manufacturing facilities in place, and we have developed a local network of enterprises that have developed expertise in wind and are now exporting their products and services to other provinces and other countries.”
Today, in fact, the Gaspésie is a bright spot in Quebec’s economy. A recent study by the financial group Desjardins placed it among the top five regions in 2010 with an economic growth rate of 5 per cent, compared to 4.4 per cent for the province as a whole. Desjardins points to the wind industry as a key factor in that growth, and concludes that “activities related to wind power continue to carry the economy during 2011 and 2012.”
The province’s goal is to have 4 GW of wind on its system by 2015. By the time it gets there, according to a study commissioned by CanWEA, the industry will have attracted $10 billion in investment, generated more than $25 million a year in royalties and rents to landowners and municipalities, and created more than 38,000 jobs in project construction, equipment manufacturing, and operations and maintenance.
To read more of this story and browse through others, view the spring issue of WindSight here.]]>
Activities on, and around, 15 June are wide-ranging and include wind farm open days, exhibitions, information stands in cities, photographic and other competitions, seminars, educational activities for young people, receptions, film screenings etc. All activities are strictly non-profit.
Who organises it? It is coordinated by the Global Wind Energy Council and the European Wind Energy Association with partners in many countries – primarily national wind and renewable energy associations plus companies.
Why Global Wind Day? Wind energy offers a solution to the world’s climate and energy crisis. It is an inexhaustible, fuel-free, non-polluting energy source that is providing an ever more significant contribution to energy supply in an ever-increasing number of countries. Yet many people remain unfamiliar with wind energy: how it works; its impact on the environment and the economy. Global Wind Day is an opportunity for citizens to find out for themselves.
What are the duties of a Global Wind Day Ambassador? There are no legal, financial or other responsibilities. There is no payment or cost. However, we would ask Global Wind Day Ambassadors to send us a message for Global Wind Day, and to communicate to others on 15 June the fact that it is Global Wind Day – highlighting the contribution that developing wind energy can make to the world. As a Global Wind Day Ambassador you may be invited to a GWD event but are not obliged to attend. Your name and photograph would appear on the Global Wind Day website as a GWD Ambassador.
To become a Global Wind Day Ambassador please click here to send us your picture and quote.]]>
Canada’s wind energy industry enjoyed a record year in 2011 with approximately 1,267 MW of new wind energy capacity representing an investment of $3.1 billion and creating 13,000 person-years of employment. Canada was in 6th place globally in terms of new installed wind energy capacity in 2011 and currently has 5,403 MW of total installed capacity – enough to power more than 1.2 million homes. Canada’s wind energy industry is now on track to easily surpass 10,000 MW of total installed capacity by 2015 – providing new opportunities for Canadian manufacturers and bringing significant levels of new investment, jobs and economic benefits to rural communities and landowners across the country.
In North America, just over 50,000 MW is expected to be installed in 2012-2016, bringing its total to just over 100,000 MW of wind energy at the end of the period. GWEC expects a strong 2012 for North America as both Canada and Mexico project well over 1,000 MW of wind energy capacity to be installed – complementing another strong year for the US which began the year with more than 8,000 MW under construction.
The global wind energy industry will install more than 46,000 MW of new wind energy capacity in 2012. Overall, GWEC projects average annual market growth rates of about 8 per cent for the next five years. Total new installations for the 2012-2016 period are expected to reach 255,000 MW. A significant portion of this growth will be driven by China, India and Brazil, with important contributions also coming from new markets in Latin America, Africa and Asia.
The top 10 global leaders for new installed capacity in 2011:
To learn more about Canada’s Installed Capacity visit CanWEA’s webpage by clicking here.
To read more about the global wind energy industry click here to download GWEC’s 2011 Annual Report.]]>
The Green Living Show is North America’s largest green consumer show with over 30,000 participants and over 400 exhibitors. Network with the greenest companies in Canada and meet the most motivated green consumers. Tickets are only $15 for adults!
2012 Show Hours
Friday, April 13, 10am to 9pm
Saturday, April 14, 10am to 9pm
Sunday, April 15, 10am to 6pm
Volunteer Opportunities at the Green Living Show
Volunteering at the Green Living Show is a great opportunity to meet new people, have fun and learn about living green. Volunteers also receive free passes to attend the show. For more information on volunteer opportunities, please click here.]]>
Coal uses up to 3.2 cubic metres of water per megawatt hour (MWh) of electricity produced, gas uses up to 1.7 m3 per MWh and nuclear around 2.7 m3 per MWh, but wind power uses only a fraction of these amounts. In the US, the Department of Energy estimates that with a 20 per cent share of wind power in the power system by 2030, as much as 15 trillion litres of water could be saved. That’s the equivalent to the annual consumption of more than 9 million US citizens. (http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy08osti/41869.pdf) “Water scarcity is becoming a global challenge exacerbated by population growth and climate change. Wind energy is key to preserving our water resources and fighting climate change,” Rémi Gruet, EWEA Senior Regulatory Affairs Advisor for Environment and Climate Change, said on World Water Day (22 March). “Governments should therefore take a much more holistic approach to energy policy and promote investments in wind energy with ambitious targets for renewable energy”. Global water demand is expected to outstrip supply by 2030 as world population grows and demand for power rises, according to the 2030 water resources group: (http://www.2030waterresourcesgroup.com/water_full/Charting_Our_Water_Future_Final.pdf).]]>
Ontario’s decision to phase out coal-fired power by 2014 has resulted in a dramatic decline in the province’s greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. In just two years, the GHG emissions from Ontario’s electricity production fell by more than half. To put this in perspective, the reduction in this one sector is larger than the combined total carbon footprints of Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, and all three territories. This aggressive purging of coal has been coupled with a push to install more renewable energies such as wind and solar. The passage of the Green Energy Act has allowed Ontario to lead Canadian provinces in installed wind capacity and to become second in the entire continent for installed solar capacity. Ontario’s vision of rapidly shifting the province away from fossil fuel-based electricity has resulted in billions of dollars in investment. Unfortunately, the deployment of renewable energy has come under attack from a small but vocal group that is calling for a moratorium on wind power in the province. It is critical that government continue to pursue the long-term sustainability of its energy supply and not move backwards on this issue. Please send a letter, put together by our friends at Environmental Defence, and let your elected officials know what a clean energy present and future means for Ontario’s environment and the health of its communities. Help Ontario continue to be a provincial leader in finding solutions to climate change and air pollution.]]>
Returning to Canada after witnessing scenes like these regularly repeated across Europe while living in Brussels for several years has been a jarring experience. Europe, which has increasingly turned to wind energy in the past 25 years, is light years ahead of Canada in harnessing renewable energies. Europe embraces change with its preservation mentality. Canada’s frontier mentality stops it from seeing the future. There are reasons for this glaring dichotomy. Ravaged by two World Wars last century, Europe has struggled to co-operate by building a 27-state union for its nearly 500 million citizens. Except for some coal deposits in eastern Europe, much of the region lacks fossil fuels. Europeans have known for years that they must avoid becoming economic hostages to Russia, with its vast supply of much-needed natural gas. Europe, more than any other region in the world, has taken up the challenge of reducing toxic greenhouse gas emissions that are already changing our environment. As a result, Europe has mandated by law that wind energy and other renewables should supply at least 20 per cent of its energy portfolio by 2020. Canada has been slow to comprehend the transformative change that is already taking place in Europe. The second largest country in the world with a population of just 34 million, Canada remains stuck in an energy-environment time warp. Part of the reason for this ‘business-as-usual’ way of thinking is that Canada is still blessed with large reserves of oil, natural gas and coal, while our many rivers offer cheap hydro power. So far, Canada has done little to change its wasteful ways. Canada, a country that used to be known for its pristine environment, is now the object of international scorn over our almost non-existent climate change mitigation strategy. Denial reigns supreme. Research by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) shows that in 2010 Europe was the world’s regional leader — ahead of both Asia and North America — with cumulative installed wind capacity of 86 GW. GWEC also noted that China was the world’s national leader with cumulative installed capacity of 42 GW, the U.S. was in second place at 40 GW and Germany was third with 27 GW. By comparison, figures from the Canadian Wind Energy Association show that our nation had a cumulative installed wind energy capacity of merely 5 GW by the end of last year. And yet, the wild Canadian landscape offers huge potential for greatly increased growth in wind energy. People in Europe are proud of renewable energies. In Canada, we proudly practise NIMBYism. In Europe, people know change is inevitable if the region is to prosper financially and environmentally. People in Canada hate change even if polar bears are starving due to global warming. Still, it is not too late for Canada to be a positive force in the energy-environment conundrum that will define the 21st century. After all, Europe has already shown the way. But time is running out. A Vancouver-based journalist and communications consultant, Chris Rose believes that the wind energy sector can generate massive amounts of green electricity for a growing world while helping mitigate environmental degradation caused by toxic fossil fuels. The above column appears in the winter 2012 issue of WindSight magazine. Please click here for more stories.]]>
It should be recognized that Ontario is in the midst of updating its ancient electricity system and will need a variety of robust power sources. This will include clean wind energy, which can be planned, built, managed and serviced by local talent, a net-new source of income for the local economy, not to mention tax revenue. The debt retirement charge we pay on our power bill – an unfunded liability currently at $13.4 billion which does nothing to build new electricity capacity – is not the result of solar and wind, but cost overruns in big ticket projects dating back a few decades. My group, Friends of Wind Ontario understands that wind energy is relatively new to most Canadians. The subject matter and resulting community impact can be complex and that questions and concerns must be addressed with verifiable facts. We are like all Canadians who abide by the rules of democratic government and believe in the fundamental right of citizens to be informed and to have the opportunity to express their opinions with respect to any local developments, regardless of their views. We recognize that dialogue around the important issue of our local and regional energy future must be based on respect for all opinions and no one should be fearful of others when addressing this important topic. Thousands of farmers and rural landowners and dozens of municipalities in Ontario are actively participating in wind energy and other renewable energy projects. The resulting jobs will be a boon to the local economy, especially for my area, hit hard by a downturn in manufacturing and having one of the highest levels of unemployment in Canada. I live just west of London and within a few years, the family house where my family has lived for over a century will be mere minutes from a planned wind farm. I am consulting regularly with the local councils and the developer on this project and can confidently say I have little concern if any, on these plans as the project moves forward.]]>
Canada’s wind energy industry enjoyed a record year in 2011 with approximately 1,267 MW of new wind energy capacity added to provincial grids, representing an investment of $3.1 billion and creating 13,000 person-years of employment. Canada ended 2011 with a total of 5,265 MW of wind energy installed capacity – placing Canada 9th globally for cumulative capacity. In 2011, new wind energy projects were built and commissioned in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. “Wind energy in Canada enjoyed a record year in 2011, surpassing the 5, 000 MW milestone. Canada, and in particular Ontario, is emerging as a very competitive destination for wind energy investment globally. Maintaining that position will require continued commitments to aggressive targets for wind energy development and a stable policy framework. As Canada continues to renew its electricity generation resources, wind energy will play an ever-increasing part in delivering reliable, economic and clean electricity”, said Robert Hornung, President of the Canadian Wind Energy Association. Canada’s wind energy industry is on pace to easily surpass 10,000 MW of total installed capacity by 2015 2012 is expected to be another record year for wind development in Canada with approximately 1,500 MW of new developments expected to come online in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. With similar or higher levels of growth expected over the next four years, Canada’s wind energy industry is on pace to easily surpass 10,000 MW of total installed capacity by 2015 – keeping the country on track to meet CanWEA’s national WindVision target of supplying 20 per cent of Canada’s electricity needs by 2025. Wind by the numbers
For Canada’s current installed capacity, click here. For global wind energy statistics, click here.]]>
The six winners, who will receive a €1,000 Amazon voucher or one of five €250 vouchers, will be chosen by an expert jury and announced shortly after Global Wind Day. All the winning pictures will be displayed in public in the EU area of Brussels. The overall winning photo will also become part of an online professional photography collection, www.hardrainproject.com, and be published in renewable energy newspaper ‘Recharge’ and in the European wind energy industry magazine Wind Directions. “I can’t think of a better subject for a contemporary photo competition than wind energy,” said Julian Scola, Communication Director of the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), organizers of Global Wind Day alongside the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC). “Wind turbines are an icon: symbols of the fight against climate change, of sustainability, of our modern age. While some people noisily oppose wind turbines there are many others who love them and find them a graceful addition to our landscape”. Lauha Fried, Communications Director at GWEC, highlighted the global nature of the competition: “Wind power is an essential source of clean energy in over 80 countries today – we’d like to see photos taken from all around the world and encourage everyone to participate by sending us your best shots. A new feature for this year’s edition is the continental subcategory where a winner will be chosen for each continent”. For more information and to enter the competition please visit http://www.globalwindday.org/wind-in-mind/]]>
2011 was a record year for wind energy development in Ontario with the installation of 522 MW across the province. Farmers have always looked for new ways to use their land and resources productively, and wind energy provides a new economic opportunity to landowners in the form of stable revenue from land lease agreements. According to a report from ClearSky Advisors, The Economic Impacts of the Wind Energy Sector in Ontario 2011-2018, a typical lease agreement can provide a farmer with up to $20,000 per year per turbine. If Ontario fully implements the government’s Long-Term Energy Plan, it is expected that over $313 million will be paid to landowners in lease payments from the wind energy sector in Ontario from 2011 to 2018 alone. The OFA statement blames wind energy for impacting consumer rates in Ontario, ignoring the fact that the addition of any new generation (all more expensive than existing generation) and badly needed investments in electricity infrastructure guarantee significantly increased rates for consumers going forward. A Pembina Institute report, Behind the Switch: Pricing Ontario Electricity Options, finds that Ontario consumers would see virtually no relief from high electricity prices if the province cancelled its support for renewable energy under the Green Energy Act. ‘Stray voltage’ is a complex and often poorly understood electrical issue but is not one that is directly related to wind energy. In fact, stray voltage occurs due to the general nature, design and age of the electricity distribution system, both on and off homes and farms, and occurs everywhere from downtown Vancouver to Ontario milk parlours. If a resident or business in Ontario suspects a stray voltage issue they should contact Hydro One, which has both the expertise and capacity to investigate the issue, and identify the cause. With respect to wind integration, although some challenges exist with managing a variable energy source such as wind, utilities all around the world continue to recognize the value wind energy can play within a larger interconnected electrical transmission system. In Ontario, the sustainable and economic integration of wind energy is being addressed by organizations such as the IESO, OPA and Ministry of Energy, who continue to review and consider options such as: new and reinforced transmission, energy forecasting, modernized energy markets and the future role of energy storage. The wind energy industry has a long history of working with the agricultural community and sees farmers as a key partner in wind energy development. CanWEA continues to work with leaders within the OFA and other agricultural associations to inform our best practices in stakeholder engagement and to ensure the industry continues to be a good partner as thousands of Ontario farmers participate in Ontario’s clean energy economy through FIT and microFIT programs. Wind energy is broadly recognized as a preferred method of electricity generation from a human health perspective. The scientific and medical evidence to date clearly concludes that sound from wind turbines does not adversely impact human health and this was reaffirmed again last week by an expert panel report to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (www.mass.gov/dep/energy/wind/panel.htm). The current 550m setback for wind turbines in Ontario is among the most stringent guidelines in place in North America. We will continue to encourage an open dialogue and provide fact-based information to ensure Ontarians have the information they need to make informed choices as Ontario moves towards a cleaner, stronger and affordable energy system. For more information on wind energy, please visit CanWEA’s website at: www.canwea.ca]]>
Every time I go back to Germany I see a lot of change, even in just a short time-frame of two to four years. Coming from the airport in Duesseldorf I saw in 2009 a lot of solar panels installed on residential houses. I admired the large 100kw solar installation across the road on the dairy farmer’s new hay and straw storage. 65 per cent of all the investment from German farmers goes into renewable energy. The renewable energy projects have guaranteed grid access and are prioritized. This month my brother in law will install 38 panels on his house in Georgetown. When we got together for Christmas he thanked me for sharing all my knowledge with him about the Micro-fit program and that I pushed him to apply for it. Tom pointed out that Canadian citizens aren’t informed enough about the existing opportunities. How everybody can make a real difference to help to “turn that corner” on greenhouse gases, toxic waste and other forms of pollution and be part of the energy revolution is very positive and powerful. Compared to other sources, wind-energy is an environmental winner. Wind energy is emission-free, consumes no water, produces no waste, has no hidden health cost and is 100 per cent renewable. As a teenager the odd wind turbine went up in our region but the first larger wind parks where erected in Northern Germany. My dad keeps me up to date on any new development. He is and always was open-minded toward new technology and energy options. For him things have to make economic sense and in the case of renewable energy it does. More Germans are employed in the renewable sector than in the auto industry. Dr. Hermann Scheer understood very early that by investing into renewable energy we help the environment and the whole economy at no extra cost. Since the German government decided on a new energy strategy there will be more wind turbines built all over the country. My parents are very ordinary citizen with a lot of common sense that are welcoming the wind turbines into their backyard. They know of the study from the University of Kassel that combined solar, bio gas and wind-energy and proved that it is possible to go with 100 per cent renewable energy in the future. “Any energy-planning conversations must begin with a commitment to robust engagement and education, so that all those involved are well equipped to do so, and so that the final products can be presented to-and ultimately supported by-an informed Canadian public.”1 When I read the CFFO Commentary I asked myself when will people stop repeating widely discredited oil industry-backed reports attacking the value of “green jobs”? Who is taking the time and continues the educational process that Friends of Wind Ontario started in 2011? When do the Canadian farm organizations start a partnership and dialog with the farmers who have the experience, knowledge and confidence in developing citizen owned wind parks? Jutta Splettstoesser Full-time farmer, CFFO member and Co-founder of Friends of Wind Ontario
The 26th edition of the Canadian International Farm Show returns to the International Centre in Mississauga and will be showcasing all of the leaders of Canada’s thriving AG market. A session on wind energy will be offered through the Canadian Wind Energy Association. Representatives from both the agricultural community and the wind energy industry will share their perspectives on wind energy development in Ontario. Wind Energy Session February 7th, 2012 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm Aviation ‘B’ Ballroom – Hall 5 International Centre, Mississauga, Ontario Registration is only $15.00 per person and is good for all three show days so you can be sure to take in everything the Canadian International Farm Show has to offer. For more information on the Canadian International Farm Show, please visit the event website at: http://www.masterpromotions.ca/Previous-Events/canadian-international-farm-show-2012/]]>
On Oct. 31, 2011, the FIT program review was announced by the government of Ontario. The review focuses on a broad range of issues, including the following: •FIT price review to maintain balance with ratepayer interest, •Long-term sustainability of clean energy procurement, •Continuation of the success of clean energy job creation and Ontario-based manufacturing, •Consideration of new emerging technologies, and •Local consultation and the renewable energy approval (REA) process. To read more please visit North American Windpower at http://www.nawindpower.com/e107_plugins/content/content.php?content.9151 Marnie Dawson is a senior project manager at Stantec’s Guelph, Ontario, office.]]>
Une nouvelle étude du Mouvement Desjardins révèle que la Gaspésie s’est démarquée sur le plan économique depuis deux ans notamment grâce à l’industrie éolienne. Veuillez cliquer ici pour visionner l’étude.]]>
By the end of 2011 we will have 5,177 MW of wind energy capacity in place, enough to supply more than 1.5 million homes. Looking forward, more than 6,000 MW of wind energy projects are already contracted to be built in Canada over the next five years and several provincial governments are launching new procurement process to obtain even more wind energy. Ontario is the current provincial leader in installed wind energy capacity accounting for 1,969.5 MW of wind energy installations. Alberta and Quebec follow at 803 MW and 918 MW respectively. Nova Scotia and British Columbia are also seeing new developments with a total of 285.6 MW and 247.5 MW respectively now in place. Canada’s demand for electricity will grow significantly by 2025; at the same time, we will retire 15 per cent of our current generation fleet. This is a clear indication that Canada will need new sources of power to fill the gap, while also reducing impacts to our environment. Wind energy doesn’t emit smog or greenhouse gas emissions, has no toxic air or water emissions, consumes no water, and leaves no waste products. The cost of developing wind energy is very competitive with the more traditional forms of electricity generation. Going forward, wind is likely to become one of the lowest cost options available to us. Installation costs have been declining as wind turbine supply has caught up to demand, and wind energy technology continues to improve. Moreover, since wind is free and abundant, the cost of generating power stays relatively constant over the life of the turbine. Wind energy is also an important opportunity for rural economic development – a new natural resource to support such communities just as farming, fisheries, forestry and other natural resource industries have historically. Wind energy projects bring direct investment, land lease payments, new high-value jobs, and economic growth to rural areas as well as a new source of taxes for municipalities. To be successful, any wind project must have broad community support and this support cannot be taken for granted – it must be earned. Consistent with its mandate to support the responsible and sustainable development of wind energy in Canada, CanWEA has developed Best Practices in Community Engagement and Public Consultation for its members. The guidelines are designed to support wind energy project developers in continuously improving their work with local communities while ensuring that they meet and strive to exceed provincial requirements for public consultation. CanWEA believes that wind energy can satisfy 20 per cent of Canada’s electricity demand by 2025. The document Wind Vision 2025 – Powering Canada’s Future is available at www.canwea.ca. Robert Hornung, President Canadian Wind Energy Association Ottawa, Ontario]]>
Page 118 of the Ontario AG’s 2011 Annual Report, released today, states that: “A 2009 study conducted in Spain found that for each job created through renewable energy programs, about two jobs were lost in other sectors of the economy.” While not properly referenced, it would appear the AG’s report is referring to the infamous ”Spanish Jobs Study” from 2009. The study was created by a libertarian think tank tied to the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). The AEI is partly funded by oil companies Exxon Mobil and the Koch Industries Inc – major funders of climate change denial campaigns worldwide. The “Spanish Jobs Study” report didn’t actually show that any jobs were lost, but simply implied this through a highly discredited methodology. The U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory explains the false methodology here. The study has also been called into question by the Spanish Government itself, and the Wall Street Journal. The study’s author, Gabriel Calzada, was a keynote speaker at the Heartland Institute’s climate change denial conference in 2009. The Auditor General also makes reference to two other nearly identical ‘zombie studies’ using the same flawed methodology for Denmark, and the UK. Not one of these reports actually shows any evidence of real job loss. These are reports mostly used by right-wing republicans and Fox news in the U.S. to discredit renewable energy policies and confuse the public. Their unfortunate inclusion in the Ontario AG’s report accords them a credibility that is manifestly undeserved.]]>
The report determines the potential GHG reductions that would result from fully electrifying new industrial developments in the province with clean and renewable grid-based electricity. The new Pembina report builds upon findings in a September 2011 report Additional Industrial Electrical Load Growth in BC to 2025 which identified a huge new demand for energy in BC from six new industrial projects. The Pembina report further calculates the reduction in GHG emissions that can be achieved if the full potential for additional electrification as identified is achieved using clean and renewable electricity generation. In addition, according to WindVision 2025: A Strategy for British Columbia, British Columbia can satisfy 17 per cent of its projected electricity demand with clean, affordable wind energy by the year 2025, The strategy suggests that the share of wind energy as a percentage of total generation in the province can increase from the current 250 MW (megawatts) – or 1 per cent of electricity demand – to 5,250 MW, or 17 per cent, by the year 2025.]]>
I researched the topic extensively and found no scientifically credible evidence that wind turbines eroded human health. I was then asked to produce a more extensive report that was issued by the Chatham-Kent Health Unit. Since then I have been asked to speak on a number of occasions about wind turbines and health, and I have collaborated on an international panel review on the topic with some of the biggest names in audiology and occupational health. It is admittedly a complicated topic that has been made more complicated by the huge amount of misinformation that has been circulated. Wind turbines do not produce unique sounds in terms of intensity or characteristics. The sound intensity is virtually the same as what is found in normal urban environments. There is also no convincing scientific evidence of an epidemiologic link between wind turbine sound exposure and health problems. However, a very small number of people believe otherwise; they’ve attributed illnesses of all kinds to wind turbines. There is no doubt that some people find the low level swishswish sound of wind turbines annoying. And these people claim that annoyance itself is a health effect, since annoyance can lead to stress and too much stress is bad. However, by such criteria, living anywhere in a town or city is a threat to health. Wind power opponents continue to make claims about sickness caused by turbines, which they call “industrial” wind turbines, as that sounds more threatening. However, 10 reviews, including reviews by Ontario’s chief medical health officer, the Australian government, the Sierra Club and McMaster University have confirmed that there is no evidence of direct adverse health effects from wind turbines when sited to comply with Ontario’s noise regulations. Furthermore, all the power generation alternatives except solar energy are clearly worse than wind turbines in terms of health and environmental effects. That’s especially true of coal-fired generating stations. According to a study prepared for the Ontario government, coal plants cause nearly 250 deaths and more than 120,000 illnesses (such as asthma attacks) each year in the province. So while I am sympathetic to concerns raised by local residents and agree that any projects must be sited in a way that minimizes impact on local residents, when it comes to energy choices for healthy communities, I am confident that we shouldn’t be tilting at windmills. Dr. W David Colby is acting medical officer of health in Chatham-Kent, and associate professor at the University of Western Ontario’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry.]]>
See details of what happened on Global Wind Day 2011 in the Global Wind Day Special Report prepared by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) and the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA). Make sure to read about Canada’s Global Wind Day activities on page six and seven of the report.]]>
The 2011 awards were presented by Kristopher Stevens, the Executive Director of OSEA to
Congratulations to all Community Power Award winners! To learn more about the event, winners and their awards please visit OSEA’s Community Power Awards Page.]]>
Representing the sides are Defending the motion – Matthias Fripp Research fellow, Environmental Change Institute and Exeter College, Oxford University For the foreseeable future, fossil fuels will be priced inefficiently low, and renewables will need a subsidy simply to make the competition fair. Against the motion – Robert L. Bradley Jr Founder and chief executive officer, Institute for Energy Research Recent observations of the earth’s climate system suggest that we are on a path towards less, rather than more, global warming. Do you agree with the motion?Join the live debate!]]>
“Wind development and community can work together,” commented Mrs. Splettstoesser, president of Friends of Wind Ontario (FoWO). “With smart planning and open communications, wind energy development in rural Ontario can be a win-win. Renewable energy is the way of the future and rather than push back against it, we need to help communities be a part of the new energy conversation.”
Mrs. Splettstoesser will be in Ailsa Craig, Ontario on Thursday November 10, meeting with community groups and leaders.
For more information, media inquires and bookings for November 10 please contact:
Jutta Splettstoesser President, Friends of Wind Ontario
519 395 5309 | email@example.com]]>
“Wind development and community can work together,” commented Mrs. Splettstoesser, president of Friends of Wind Ontario (FoWO). “With smart planning and open communications, wind energy development in rural Ontario can be a win-win. Renewable energy is the way of the future and rather than push back against it, we need to help communities be a part of the new energy conversation.” Since June, FoWO has organized a series of events across southern Ontario. Over 500 people have attended meetings in Clinton, Chatham, London and Port Albert to hear speakers from the science, business, utility and government sectors. These events have been organized to help communities learn the facts about renewable energy and wind development. “The bridge-building that Friends of Wind Ontario is doing is making a difference in how communities talk about energy,” commented Adrienne Downey, Operations and Business Development Manager from Enercon Canada Inc. “We need to hear from everyone in a community about their opinions of wind energy. In many communities that hasn’t been able to happen. The open and respectful approach to engagement that Friends of Wind uses is good for communities and the wind sector.” Jutta will be in the Guelph and Wellington area on Friday November 4th meeting with community groups and leaders. Interested in learning more? Please click here for contact information. To read Jutta’s letter to the editor in the Goderich Signal Star on how communities and wind development can work together please click here.]]>
“In advanced education and technology southern Alberta is shining. I have had the pleasure of visiting Lethbridge College a number of times, a centre of excellence in wind turbine technician training. Talking to students and seeing the incredible capacity the college is developing in this unique field provides a glimpse of what we can become. Southern Alberta has the fastest winds in the province and 20 wind farms amounting to 800 megawatts of generating capacity, with more on the way. We can and must grow this field and make it world-class, adding more jobs to Medicine Hat and giving the region a larger tax base, allowing this region to grow and thrive.” —————— A week prior, Kris Hodgson of Lethbridge College spoke to 73 people at the Southern Alberta Council on Public Affairs in Lethbridge demystifying people about the wind energy sector. He was encouraged by the question and answer discussions following his presentation where people sought further details about how the wind sector is positively impacting rural southern Alberta. To read more about this event in the Lethbridge Herald please click here.]]>
The Friend of Wind Award is awarded in recognition of outstanding contributions made by individuals or groups in advancing awareness of the benefits of wind energy at the community level. This year’s friends of wind award was proudly presented to Jutta Splettstoesser, Kincardine farmer, mother, and tireless supporter of wind energy in Ontario communities through Friends of Wind Ontario. Since April 2011, Jutta has been dedicated to raising awareness and speaking up for the development of wind energy in her community. Jutta organized a petition for the Municipalities of Kincardine and Huron-Kinloss and has received over 220 signatures of support. As a truly organic grassroots supporter of wind energy, Jutta is able to communicate her beliefs free of direct industry involvement. She works tirelessly to promote the merits of wind because she believes that wind turbines are a symbol for change and hope. From Jutta’s local awareness efforts, to her outreach to media and her daily hard work and dedication in her community, Jutta is in every way a great and true friend of wind. As Jutta says, “with wind, we all win!” Congratulations Jutta! The Individual Leadership Award was first awarded in 2003, to the individual who has, through their own efforts, significantly advanced the wind energy industry in Canada. This year’s award winner was Richard Legault, President of Windev Corporation, for his dedication to the industry through his unsurpassed experience in assessing the certainty of energy yields from wind for Canadian projects. Congratulations Richard! The Group Leadership Award was first awarded in 2001 to recognize the government, corporation or non-profit organization that has contributed significantly to the advancement of wind energy in Canada. This year the award was presented to Peace Energy Cooperative (PEC) and its Directors for their ability to recognize the tremendous opportunities that exist for British Columbians in renewable energy sources. PEC is passionately committed to providing their members and community the opportunity to participate in, and profit from, investment in renewable energy developments. Congratulations PEC! The R.J. Templin Award was first awarded in 1985, in recognition of an individual or organization who has undertaken scientific, technical, engineering or policy work that has significantly advanced the wind energy industry in Canada. This year’s award winner was the Wind Energy Institute of Canada (WEICan), for advances made in the development of wind energy across Canada through research, testing, training and collaboration. Congratulations WEICan! Next year, CanWEA will be introducing a new Community Connection Award. The award will be presented annually to a member organization or individual member employee who embodies the mandate of responsible development through a commitment to understand the community and by forming meaningful relationships built on mutual respect and trust. Congratulations to all 2011 award winners!]]>
Renewables are not the cause of increased hydro rates
Ontarians need to think long-term about energy
– Jutta Splettstoesser, President of Friends of Wind Ontario]]>
A concern that always seems to arise upon the installation of a wind farm is the economy. Many fear that wind farms will take money away from the economy because of their expensive cost to install and maintain. However, this belief is false, as the costs are borne fully by the developers and the province only pays for the power delivered into the grid. Wind farms actually help local economies prosper. They provide new jobs in the form of maintenance and operation, as well as attracting tourists who are eager to view the vast turbines. The Wolfe Island EcoPower Centre is a prime example of the economic benefits of wind energy. A year after the wind farm was installed, a writer for a Kingston website stated, “[The] reaction to the wind turbines…has been largely positive…The island has seen a large boost in the tax base. Plus, landowners who have leased property are loving the benefits of a steady income (Rees).” Like Prince Edward County, Wolfe Island is a small, rural community that thrives on tourism and agriculture. Another concern that has been seen amongst the public regarding the Ostrander Point Wind Project is the supposed, “destruction of the natural landscape” that its installation will cause. I have always found this concern somewhat humorous, for in a way, it is contradictory. Without implementing the usage of renewable energy sources, the environment will continue to be victim to the carelessness that we show towards it. With this carelessness comes a steady rise in temperatures. Rising temperatures lead to forest fires, rising sea levels, and an increase in the annual number of tornadoes, hurricanes, and floods. Each of these events then leads to an increased number of species becoming extinct and global water and food shortages. Now I ask you: would you rather look at a skyline of dead trees or a skyline of wind turbines? I choose the latter. Since commercial scale wind turbines are still a rather new invention in North America, some fear that there probably are health issues that exist due to these massive objects. However, like anything else, the manufacturing of wind turbines will improve over the years. And there are worse things out there that we are exposed to on a daily basis. Take UV rays, for example. Every time we step outdoors, we are exposed to the deadly rays of the sun. But how many of us wear sunscreen every time we go outside? Cell phones are another example. In this day and age, almost everyone carries a cell phone on them. But no one thinks about the dangerous radio waves they are exposing themselves to each time they turn on their precious mobile device. All they want is to ensure that so-and-so just got the text they sent them. Like all of those people with their cell phones, all I want is to do my part in saving the planet. The Ostrander Point Wind Project is Prince Edward County’s opportunity to make a difference. With the installation of this wind farm, around 5000 homes will no longer rely on non-renewable energy sources. I ask those who have the power to make this wind farm a reality to think of the future generations—those who will be left with our fossil fuel mess to clean up—when deciding to either support or oppose wind energy. This is our chance. Let’s make the County a greener community for everyone. – Written by the 2011 County Sustainability Group Bursary Award Winner Brittany Tuttle]]>
There are two well-established communities who love the wind: The Green Energy sector, and kite fliers! WindFest is the first major event that brings these two themes together in a combined celebration of wind power. Whether we’re using wind to spin turbines or to lift beautiful kites off the ground, we’re reminded of the enormous potential of wind energy and the powerful forces of nature that surround us.
Join us on September 17th for WIndFest 2011! • Woodbine Beach Join hundreds of kite flyers, expert kite-flying demonstrations, workshops on kite-making and activities for kids! Bring your own kite, buy one on the beach, or make your own! WindFest is a chance to celebrate autumn, wind power and the breathtaking art of kite flying, on Toronto’s largest beach! Visit our website at http://www.windfest.to Facebook event: http://on.fb.me/j54iYk Twitter: http://twitter.com/torontowindfest Click here to see videos and pictures from last year’s event.]]>
She gave me a copy of the speech she would make in Chatham later in the day. One of the points she stressed was about the dire need for both the general public and elected councillors to educate themselves about energy issues in order have facts necessary to sort the wheat-from-the-chaff, due to the increasing flow of for-and-against wind claims and ads that Ontario voters are now exposed to as the critical provincial election nears. She applauds the municipality of Chatham-Kent for having the wisdom and courage to embrace wind energy as part of their community and the hope they will set a high standard for the rest of Ontario. Jutta’s talk makes reference to the words of Quirks and Quarks host Bob McDonald who pointed out that, “We Canadians are among the worst energy hogs and highest emitters of greenhouse gasses on the planet. When a clean alternative comes along, arguing against it because it looks ugly is like standing on the tilted deck of the Titanic complaining about the colour of the lifeboats. Let’s get on with it.” At a conference at the University of Guelph, “Harvesting Clean Energy on Ontario Farms”, Jutta recalls a speaker from Germany. He was a farmer who founded the first wind cooperative with 160 citizens living in a German community bordering the North Sea. Collectively the co-operative owned thirty, 2 megawatt turbines. Some in the community live about 300 meters from the turbines; yet there have been no negative health effects reported in 19 years! In her Chatham talk, Jutta speaks of her first pro-wind conference: “Where there was a positive atmosphere at Clinton. What touched me most was the action of a good neighbour that usually claims not to be able to speak in public. She has been very supportive but rather shy. Lynda stood up in the middle of the room and demanded: ‘Listen to me, if I can stand up and speak to you, then so can you. Spread the facts you learned about wind energy tonight in YOUR community!”. With the blessings of her husband and four children, Jutta works full time without pay at Friends of Wind Ontario. A few unexpected rewards have been anonymous envelopes with a few dollars to encourage her to continue the great effort. However, there has been anxiety and legal costs to Jutta and family. Like John Bennett, president of the Sierra Club Of Canada when he came to speak to PEC council, the cost of communicating scientific facts about the benefits of wind energy comes with threat of a lawsuit from Wind Concerns Ontario, hub of Ontario’s anti-wind campaign. Since we have entered the era of twin dilemmas, Peak Oil and Global Warming, it is essential that voters realize that they can no longer take for granted cheap energy, the main economic engine of prosperity during the past century. Our common future is on a significantly different pathway from past years of population and economic growth. Do yourself and family a favour: Take Jutta’s advice to learn about how changes in energy flows will affect our common future. For example read Richard Heinberg’s new book, The End of Growth or view a quick source of facts on global energy: see, The Oil Age Poster, at the Picton Public Library. Don Chisholm This letter with web links can be seen at the CSG web page http://www.countysustainability.ca/]]>
Jutta Splettstoesser of Friends of Wind Ontario was asked about the challenges. “Friends of Wind Ontario” is a grassroots, volunteer group supporting wind power generation in Ontario. The first thing that struck me about Jutta was her “Calm Passion”. She is a mother of four, runs a farm and an immigrant to Canada. Although, she lacks resources and formal training, Jutta has become one of the most effective pro-wind advocates in Ontario. Here are some of the comments she made about the challenges she has faced. How did you get involved? “I am from Germany originally and a lot what is going on in Ontario has been happening in Germany for 20 years. I was at a local council meeting and noticed that the councilors were leaning towards an anti-wind position. I did not know that much about the topic so I educated myself on the various aspects of wind turbine farms. I thought the councilors were misinformed and needed to be more educated on the issue. I discussed a petition with other farmers in the area and we drafted a document with language around collaboration and opening dialogue with all participants. After that it just snowballed from there. Any grassroots organization needs just one person with the strength and courage to speak out. I ended up being that person!” Why are you doing this? “I feel it’s my responsibility to do this for my community, in Germany it’s common for people to speak out and defend their democratic rights. It’s scary but just feels natural to me.” What were your biggest challenges? “People need to fight for their democracy but I fear they are scared to speak out because of the potential negative responses they get in return. The Anti-wind groups are very intimidating, well organized and well-financed. Other challenges: Getting people to sign the petition, finding the time and money to commit to this, learning to be interviewed by the press. I had no training, no resources and very little money, most people would just walk away, it is very daunting.” What else needs to be done? “I think Ontario communities need to be more educated on the positive aspects of wind energy and renewables in general. I would like the developers to take this on. When done right, it only helps the developer and builds community support.” What has been your best Interaction to date? “When Friends of Wind Ontario had their first event in Clinton and were able to speak about the benefits of wind energy in a peaceful manner. The energy in the room was so positive. People were inspired and hopeful that we live in a free society and our opinions will be heard.” – By Michael Tingle, ORTECH PowerPoint: September 2011]]>
A number of key speakers and topics will be presented: Open Minded toward Wind Energy – Jutta Splettstoesser, President, Friends of Wind Ontario Why Doctors Support Wind Power! – Gideon Forman, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment Ontario is looking for a Green, Prosperous Future – Paul Seccaspina, CEO of Oraclepoll Research Limited Impact of the WindEEE Institute at UWO for the Southwestern Ontario Region - Horia Hangan, Director of UWO Wind Tunnel & Project Lead, WindEEE Potential of Renewable Energy in London – Vinay Sharma, CEO, London Hydro We expect the event to be informative, thought-provoking and well-attended. As seen in the below ad appearing in regional papers, our speakers have impressive personal, regulatory and technical credentials. Interest in these educational events will only increase as we head into the fall provincial election and beyond. Please click here for further information. Click here to read an article in the September 1st issue of the Londoner describing our upcoming event. We hope that you can get behind our efforts. Invite who you can to participate in London on September 8th. You can help us make a difference! – Jutta Splettstoesser, Friends of Wind Ontario]]>
Now imagine we could take advantage of this new opportunity without creating the usual side effects of industrial development, such as long-term environmental degradation or toxic air pollution — you might expect that policy makers, corporate leaders and communities would be lining up in support. The industry featured in the above scenario isn’t fictional. A number of reports released recently show that green energy has begun to produce such benefits throughout Ontario. Ontario has taken the lead in creating the right conditions for renewable energy to flourish — along with the jobs, technological expertise and pollution-free power supply that accompany growth in this sector. Yet, despite becoming a North American leader in this expanding global market, some people continue to call for Ontario to take a step backwards. As with any new initiative, the programs initiated by the Green Energy Act have not been without growing pains, but more than 30 manufacturers and hundreds of other companies have already set up shop in Ontario because of Act. A recent report by ClearSky Advisors estimates that wind energy developments in Ontario will create more than 80,000 person years of employment and attract more than $16 billion in new private sector investments in the next eight years. In the report, The Economic Impacts of the Wind Energy Sector in Ontario 2011 – 2018, ClearSky estimates that the number of jobs created by the wind industry in Ontario on an annual basis varies from a low of 5,700 person years of employment in 2011 to over 14,200 in 2014. The report also estimates that more than $1 billion in revenues will flow to local municipalities and landowners in the form of taxes and lease payments over the lifespan of the wind projects studied. And it’s a similar story when it comes to solar power — another ClearSky report found that Ontario’s solar industry would create 74,000 person years of employment and roughly $13 billion of new private sector investments by 2018. But nothing in the world is free — so the logical question is, just how much more would all of these benefits cost Ontarians? It’s a complicated question with a surprising answer. The Pembina Institute, a national sustainable energy think-tank, recently contracted a team of energy modelers to see how prices would be affected if the Green Energy Act were cancelled, and the energy that is currently planned to come from renewable sources were replaced with other electricity sources. The Institute published the results of that study in a recent report, Behind the Switch: Pricing Ontario electricity options, which found that Ontario consumers would actually see very little change in rising electricity prices if the province completely cancelled its support for renewable energy. That’s because cancelling renewable energy means relying on some other form of power in its place — and that ‘something else’ is likely more fossil fuels, which are not free. The modeling found that cancelling the Act might result in a slightly slower increase in electricity costs in the short term, but clean energy investments today will save homeowners money within about 15 years, as natural gas prices are forecast to start to rise. There is a fair bit of uncertainty about how quickly natural gas prices will rise in the future, but it is clear that the wind and sunshine are going to continue to be free and the cost of building new clean energy plants continues to decrease, as it has for decades. So cancelling the Green Energy Act and relying more on natural gas for electricity would not only increase the uncertainty and volatility of electricity prices — there would be other costs for Ontario ratepayers, as more fossil fuels means increased costs related to negative health impacts, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. That’s the part of Ontario’s energy dilemma that we really need to be talking about. Ontarian ratepayers deserve to know what the full costs and consequences of cancelling the green energy act would be — and what other energy sources would be used to replace renewable power in this province. If cancelling the Act means less clean energy, green jobs and more power from fossil fuels at a similar or higher price in the near future, it’s a bad deal for Ontarians in the long run. -30- Tim Wohlgemut is co-founder of ClearSky Advisors, a research firm focused on the renewable energy sector. Their reports are available online at http://www.clearskyadvisors.com Tim Weis is director of renewable energy and efficiency policy for the Pembina Institute, a national, non-partisan sustainable energy think tank. The Institute’s reports Ontario electricity options are available online at http://www.pembina.org/re We encourage you to join the conversation and leave your comments on the Sunday Toronto Star online.]]>
Our proposed Ostrander Point Wind Energy Park, located on the south shore of Prince Edward County, has been in development since 2004. Gilead Power submitted its application for a Renewable Energy Approval to the Ministry of Environment on May 16, 2011 and is awaiting the Ministry’s posting on the Environmental Registry. Gilead Power has always looked for new and effective ways to communicate with stakeholders in the community. Our goal is to ensure citizens have all the factual information they need to understand the project and the significant benefits it will bring to the community. In order to communicate the benefits of the project, we designed a communications plan that includes social media and the ability for people to express their support for the project directly to decision makers. We set out to clearly articulate the ‘Top 10 Reasons to Support Ostrander Point Wind Energy Park’, and hope that you will share these with your friends and colleagues to help spread the message that wind delivers major benefits beyond clean enery: Top Ten Reasons to Support Ostrander Point Wind Energy Park …..
Michael J Lord, Vice President, Project Development Gilead Power Corporation]]>
The Friends of Wind Ontario are organizing community meetings to provide information about wind power generation and engage communities in supporting wind power generation. There were about almost 100 people at the meeting. In her opening remarks, Jutta said the following. “I am a full-time farmer from the Kincardine area who supports wind energy development. I am not paid or supported by the wind industry, but I volunteer my time and efforts in supporting the diversification of our energy supply. This is important to me and my family. I believe that it is important to stand up for our beliefs and set aside emotions.” Jutta said she receives phone calls and e-mails from people telling her they are either too busy or are afraid to contribute their views in support of wind turbines. She hopes Friends of Wind Ontario public events will positively influence public perceptions of wind power through fact-based material provided in a non-confrontational manner with plenty of opportunity for questions. Another speaker, Kate Dietrich from Teeswater, described her family’s experience with people who are opposed to wind. She said her family often feels intimidated by their treatment and their unwillingness to listen to other views supported by facts. Kate believes that public meetings where people can hear and discuss information about wind power are essential. As Jutta does, she believes that farmers and wind turbines can live in harmony close to each other. Wind power is a free and unlimited resource that is emission neutral and doesn’t require large amounts of water resources. As Jutta said, “If Ontario communities want to keep the agriculture industry enticing for the next generation, we need to be innovative and sustainable in terms of energy sources, uses, and applications.” Another speaker was Tim Weis. He is director of renewable energy and efficiency policy at the Pembina Institute. He and his colleagues at Pembina recently completed a study of the future of Ontario energy prices (http://www.pembina.org/pub/2238), Behind the switch: pricing Ontario electricity options. The study finds that Ontario consumers would see virtually no relief from high electricity prices if the province cancelled its support for renewable energy under the Green Energy Act. In fact, the study indicates that investing in renewable energy today is likely to save Ontario ratepayers money within the next 15 years, as natural gas becomes more expensive and as the cost of renewable energy technology continues to decrease. Dr. Weis says: “Whether Ontarians choose to keep or kill the Green Energy Act, electricity prices will continue to rise in this province because of the serious – and costly – refurbishments, repairs and replacements required to fix Ontario’s energy system.” Ontario needs to replace the majority of electricity generation within the next 10 to 20 years, Dr. Weis said. “You simply cannot replace assets that were bought and paid for in the 1970s with new facilities today, and expect to pay prices on par with those four decades ago. “Cancelling the Green Energy Act would make very little or no difference to Ontario ratepayers, because to meet electricity demand, the amount of energy that’s currently planned from renewable sources would have to be replaced with other options – which would likely work out to be more polluting, and less sustainable, and in the long-run more expensive.” Ultimately, Dr. Weis’s research shows that Ontario’s ratepayers stand to lose more than they would gain in the short term by cancelling the Green Energy Act, because doing so would lead to higher costs and more risk in the long run. The final speaker was Toronto environmental lawyer Diane Saxe. She is one of the world’s top 25 environmental lawyers, a Certified Specialist in Environmental Law and has a Ph.D. in Law. Dr. Saxe discussed the recent decision by Ontario’s Environmental Review Tribunal concerning Suncor’s Kent Breeze Wind Farm Project (Erickson v. Ministry of the Environment). This is an important decision since it was the first challenge of a project approved under Ontario’s Green Energy Act (http://envirolaw.com/erickson-appeal-decision/). The Tribunal found that wind turbines can be built in Ontario despite opponents’ claims of adverse health effects. Specifically, Dr. Saxe said that the Tribunal found that there is no evidence that wind turbines sited according to the rules established by the Green Energy Act directly cause health effects. The Tribunal found that there is some evidence that wind turbines might have some “indirect” health effects but these are not sufficient to harm human health. An “indirect” health effect is one that is not directly produced by an operating wind turbine such as noise, shadow flicker or ice. For example, some people might find wind turbines or even the idea of wind turbines so annoying that they experience stress symptoms such as loss of sleep and headaches but there is no evidence that these indirect effects cause serious harm to human health. The Tribunal bases their findings on detailed consideration of the studies that wind opponents say prove that wind turbines harm human health. Effectively the Tribunal’s findings establish that there is no basis for wind opponents claims of health impacts. The Friends of Wind next public meeting is planned for Chatham Kent on August 18 at 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM in Chatham Banquet & Conference Centre, 280 Merritt Ave . The speakers will be Jutta Splettstoesser, President, Friends of Wind Ontario, Dr. W. David Colby, MSc, MD, FRC PC, Acting Medical Officer of Health-Chatham/Kent, Rudy Zubler, Ridgetown, dairy farmer and John Kourtoff, President & CEO of Trillium Power Wind Corporation. – Robert Knox, Collingwood, Ontario]]>
I am very proud of what my husband is doing. It makes me sad that when people ask him what he does for a living he starts off by saying I don’t really like to tell people what I do because of all the negativity over the windmills. I think he should be proud of what he does, he is part of something great, that as a community we are moving forward in our quest for green energy and sustainable living. I was very excited for him when he got the job six years ago. As a single income family we were able to stay in the area that we grew up in and we could raise our children here. We feel that we are raising them in a wholesome atmosphere trying to make less of a footprint on the earth, with him as a windsmith and I as a stay at home mother. I grew up on a farm in Southern Bruce County. As someone raised in this community I feel a sense of responsibility to maintain the quality of life and the values that were bestowed upon me. My ancestors have lived solely off of agriculture in Southern Bruce County for five generations. To me, the windmills are an added bonus to the farming operation. They hardly take up any space on the land and do not interfere with other operations and they help finance the farm. As you probably already know farming can really have its ups and downs financially. As the generations before us, farmers are always having to adapt to new ways to stay afloat, with wind farming this could be just another adaption for the farmers. My mother and her husband currently have some windmills on their farm and are surrounded by them up near Tiverton ,Ontario they have had them for about five years now and they love them. They do not interfere with their farm operation in fact they love the road ways built up to the windmills because they make use of them while they are taking the crops off. The bigger vehicles and machinery can get into the fields much easier. My mother likes to look out her window and see them because she thinks they are like sculptures, beautiful and sleek looking, she is always taking pictures of them with the different weather behind them and also they tell her which way the wind is blowing. She also talks of the sound that’s created by the windmills, which I have experienced as well, it is a soft rhythmic sound that is actually quite meditative and not nearly as noisy as a car or truck driving by. When I had heard that Jutta was starting a friends of the wind campaign I was really happy because I have always thought there needs to be a voice on the positive side because there are a lot of people benefiting from them, they are green energy, and the way of the future and why would we let such a wonderful money making industry leave our community. It is exciting to have this new industry on our land. St. Lawrence College in Kingston, Ontario has a new program at their school Wind Turbine Technology where students learn to become a windsmith. It makes me feel better to know that when my kids get older that there is one more option for them in post secondary education that they will be able to bring back home and not have to move away to start their career. “Our generation has inherited an incredible beautiful world from our parents and they from their parents. It is in our hands whether our children and their children inherit the same world” Richard Branson. – Katie Dietrich, Teeswater, Ontario]]>
A number of key speakers & topics will be presented at the event: Pricing Ontario Electricity Options: Dr. Tim Weis, P.Eng., Ph.D. Director, Renewable Energy and Efficiency Pembina Institute Wind for My Community: Kate Dietrich, Teeswater, resident Community Power: Our own Dianne Saxe, Ph.D. Law, DSA President, WindShare Open Minded Toward Wind Energy: Jutta Splettstoesser, Kincardine Farmer, President, Friends of Wind Ontario We expect the event to be informative, thought-provoking and well-attended. Depending on who attends, it might also be contentious, however we have taken a number of precautions to minimize potential incidents. As seen in the below ad appearing in regional papers, our speakers have impressive personal, regulatory and technical credentials in wind energy. Interest in these educational events will only increase as we head into the fall provincial election and beyond. Please click here for further information. Additional Event Info: On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Friends-of-Wind/153027334755197?sk=wall OSEA website listing: http://www.ontario-sea.org/Page.asp?PageID=1209&ContentID=3161&SiteNodeID=218&BL_ExpandID= Map of the Clinton event location: http://maps.yahoo.com/#mvt=m&lat=43.612384&lon=-81.536847&zoom=16&q1=95%20Kirk%20St%2C%20Clinton%2C%20Ontario%20N0M%201L0%20 (from London take Richmond St. N; when entering Clinton, take Kirk St, turning east (right) off Hwy 4; if you see the radar and Hwy 8, you’ve gone too far) – Jutta Splettstoesser, Friends of Wind Ontario]]>
The Pembina report: Behind the switch is available on the CanWEA website but its conclusion is below: I believe wind is very competitive long term if environmental issues are also considered in the equation including the 20 year lock in agreement. We certainly have no idea what fossil fuel costs will be in 20 years time. The PEMBINA conclusion is, and I quote: “Within the next 15 years, as natural gas prices begin to rise and increased action (including some form of price on carbon emissions) is likely to be taken to combat climate change, the simulation found that investing in renewable generation today will keep consumer prices slightly lower in the long term.” If we had more resources like Niagara Falls, the fuel debate for electricity generation would, of course, not be necessary. In my opinion, we will be penalized both financially and environmentally if we do not have a significant portion of renewable wind power in our future electricity mix in Ontario. Roger Yates, P.Eng Newcastle Ontario]]>
-It means signing that petition or writing that letter of support or talking with that person who helps make decisions about wind farm proposals. -It means caring about the family farmers who help put that food on your plate each day. By supporting the wind turbines they hope to have on their land to provide a dependable cash crop, they can pay their bills and keep farming without having to hold down multiple jobs just to make ends meet. -It means finding a way to cope with the conflicts and feuds fanned in communities by much of our media. It’s helpful to realize that it’s been said the job of an editor is to separate the wheat from the chaff and then ensure that the chaff gets published. -It means bringing forward accurate information to your friends and neighbours to help overcomes their fears and misunderstanding. -It means inspiring hope and motivating people to get involved in creating positive change. -It means being prepared to hang in there for as many years as it takes to get those wind energy projects approved and commissioned in your region. -It means seeing an operational wind farm and realizing that there is in fact, some signs of intelligent life on planet earth after all, when human ingenuity meets natures gift of endless clean fuel. -It means not accepting the status quo for electricity generation when renewable energy is readily able to replace so much of our outdated and harmful methods. -It means taking actions that place the future welfare of your children and grandchildren at the very top of your priority list. -It means understanding that all great truths have to pass through 3 stages: 1st it is ridiculed, 2nd it is violently opposed, and 3rd it is accepted as self-evident, even though you went straight to the 3rd stage 12 years ago. -It means coming to the realization that you may have thought you had entered into a 10 K race, only to find that it was actually a marathon…..no, wait a minute…they just moved the finish line again and now you’re in an ultra-marathon with no markers guiding you to the tape. -It means never quitting, and working step by step toward that all important tipping point whereby the goal of 20% wind energy by 2025 in Canada becomes inevitable. -It means seeing climate change as the defining challenge of our generation, with wind energy being one of the many ways of minimizing the worst effects, by reducing the amounts of CO2 we pour into the atmosphere. – Don Ross, Prince Edward County, friend of wind ***** Want to learn more about Don Ross? Link to the summer edition of Bullfrog Buzz where Don is featured as a green energy hero. Congratulations Don!]]>