Thursday, February 7th, 2013
Originally posted by Meredith Smith on her blog, LifeAmongGiants
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.