Improving the green energy’s fit (2011)
By Don McCabe, Vice President, Ontario Federation of Agriculture
Developing green energy and securing sustainable energy sources has been a priority for government, industry, researchers and consumers for decades. In Ontario, we are fortunate to have programs that ensure green energy is a priority today, and for future generations.
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) was an early supporter of green energy and joined with the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association and other like-minded groups in 2008 to campaign for a Green Energy and Green Economy (GEGE) Act. The act was passed in 2009 and set a commitment to the Feed in Tariff (FIT) program. Ontario’s FIT program is North America’s first comprehensive guaranteed pricing structure for renewable electricity production offering stable prices under long-term contracts for energy generated from renewable sources including wind, solar, biomass and biogas.
A past provincial Conservative government passed legislation to remove coal fired power from Ontario’s energy mix. A key objective of the GEGE act is to assist in the phase-out of coal-fired generating stations in Ontario by the end of 2014. In a recent speech to the Economic Club of Canada, Premier McGuinty commented that, “we know the price of fossil fuels will keep going up, while we know the price of renewable technologies will keep coming down. We know where the world is going. And we choose to lead, not follow.” These words from the Premier indicate a rock solid commitment to the development and implementation of green energy technologies.
With the new act, the government also committed to a FIT program review (this includes microFIT) within two years to evaluate the program’s rules and pricing. The provincial government has kept its promise and OFA is pleased to be involved in the FIT program review process.
Farmers are in a unique position. All farmers are consumers of energy and rely on an efficient generation and delivery system across the province. But now there is also potential for many farmers to participate in the generation of energy through the FIT and microFIT programs. The OFA’s critical assessment of these programs will identify both strengths and weaknesses in each. The intent will be to recommend changes that enable both of these programs to continue into the future and provide opportunities for Ontario farmers to contribute to Ontario’s long-term goal of generating green energy from renewable sources. The OFA’s submission to the FIT program review is in the final stages of drafting. It will be submitted to the Ontario Ministry of Energy by mid-December and posted to the OFA website. The position will include recognition of the balance of improved technology cost implementation and consumer pricing.
OFA continues to advocate for the development of green energy for farmers, consumer pocketbooks, and the health of the province. All farmers are power consumers. And now they have opportunities to become power generators. We must ensure policies embedded in the FIT programs are in the best interests of all Ontarians. Green energy has an important place in our industry and we’re working to make it a better fit.
The elimination of coal was supported by all parties at Queen’s Park. The OFA has recognized the need to address the resulting energy gap and the opportunity for agriculture to be part of the solution through biomass and biogas innovations. OFA was the only group working diligently with farmers to point out the potential threats and liabilities of wind leases. OFA strongly advocated seeking legal advice prior to signing any wind lease agreement. OFA did not encourage farmers to sign wind leases in any way. Mr. McCabe presented the commentary reflecting OFA position on the FIT and microFIT review. He has no vested interest in any green energy program.
While public discourse on energy issues is imperative, OFA will not print further remarks casting aspersion on any of the participants. Such comments detract from and degrade an important debate.
Dan Wrightman says on December 5, 2011 at 9:56 PM
I believe the OFA made a strategic error by joining the GEA alliance which might permanently reduce the political influence the OFA has on the political arena. Farmers even in the most rural of ridings are now a minority. This is due to a cheap food policy over the last 50 years which has encouraged larger farms and fewer farmers. To elect MPP’s in rural ridings that are OFA policy friendly, a coalition of farm and nonfarm voters is now nessecary. In the past this was a relatively easy task, most nonfarm residents are relatives or friends of farmers, understand agriculture issues and have common cause with farmer concerns. However the Green Energy Act’s industrial wind turbine policy has blown this coalition apart. Farmers, even families are badly split on the wind turbine issue while non farm residents are shocked and angry at a government that has taken away local decision making and given it to faceless bureaucrats from Toronto. In the last provincial election the OFA’s support of the the GEA meant it supported Liberal candidates by default. Without the farmer/nonfarmer coalition almost every rural Liberal candidate in Ontario lost. What does this mean for the OFA? Well for one no political party can rely too heavily on OFA support to win rural ridings anymore. This means that the nessecary and valuable agriculture advice that the OFA can give may no longer be heeded by government decision makers and bureaucrats. This bodes badly for the future of agriculture in Ontario. The newly elected leadership of the OFA will have to carefuly decide if the percieved benefits of the GEA Alliance membership outweigh the rural division and loss of political influence that have come with it.
Karen Breitbach says on December 6, 2011 at 3:10 PM
In a recent speech to the Economic Club of Canada, Premier McGuinty commented that, “we know the price of fossil fuels will keep going up, while we know the price of renewable technologies will keep coming down. We know where the world is going. And we choose to lead, not follow.” These words from the Premier indicate a rock solid commitment to the development and implementation of green energy technologies.
With all due respect the recent comment by Premier McGuinty, and you Mr. McCabe by publishing this comment indicates to me that both you and Premier McGuinty are entirely unaware of world financial events. Surely you must realize that gas prices (which belong to the genre of fossil fuels) have never been lower. The Wall Street Journal has just published a whole section entitled “Big Oil Comes Home”. There is an explosion of gas exploration not only in North America, but in parts of Europe as well. Reserves have never been more abundant.
Surely you must also realize that intermittent solar and wind requires back-up. In Germany it is construction of new coal plants. In North America coal plants are supplanted by gas plants. To provide reliability of power generation, wind and solar can only function with this back-up to pro
Farmers are opting for lucrative lease payments for one or both of Industrial Wind Turbines or solar projects. They welcome the income, then find there are constraints that come with these contracts. It is too early to tell where liability issues may arise. It seems judging from recent court findings that even giving what turns out to have been poor advice brings the issue of financial liability to the fore.
I personally know farmers that are desperately seeking means and ways to “get out of” their lease contracts for various reasons. I know of absentee landowners who care only about the extra income, and others who are so happy with the income that they have stopped farming. This is to say nothing about their neighbours who have chosen not to lease their land for renewable energy projects, but need to worry about health effects caused by their neighbour’s turbines.
I also suggest you read the Auditor General’s report recently published to look at some of the broader aspects of renewable energy policies.
When it comes to renewable energy projects, your advice to farmers appears to be “full steam ahead. Damn the torpedoes.” Perhaps a little more thought and care should be taken.
Dave Hemingway says on December 6, 2011 at 4:08 PM
This type of attitude is the reason as a new farmer that I will not join OFA even though my family has in the past been strong supporters of OFA.
As farmers with the Green Energy I want to know if Don McAcabe is a wind turbine leaseholder? or are you getting other financial connections to Wind and Solar industries.
There is lots of data showing that electricity generation from wind is either green or economical. Also there is lots of information from around the world that wind industry development kills more permanent jobs than even temporary jobs it creates.
"OFA continues to advocate for the development of green energy for farmers, consumer pocketbooks, and the health of the province." This statement is misleading a substantially false.
1. It is not green
2. The Liability leaseholders take on, the lawsuits that are coming, the loss of decision making on your farm will show that farmers will be in a negative situation over the long term.
3. The consumers will have to pay more for electricity and look who is behind wind (gas and oil companys because they get paid for both wind and gas)
4. The wind developers and farmers are trying to keep the adverse health effects from the public. Why have gag clauses on health and safety in contracts if there are no health issues? The Ontario and Canadian governments are also involved in the coverups
Finally, I am happy that Don McCabe did not become president of OFA. However the OFA has set itself up as not having credibility in this decade
Mike says on December 6, 2011 at 5:40 PM
Sadly the burden of financial support for the green energy act is the energy consumer, who is forced by decree to pay inflated prices for energy. For OFA to encourage this directive, is a contradiction of economic well being for the host communities. Neighbouring non-participating landowners become victims of the proponent landowner, with a loss of property values, and desecration the beautiful landscape. As a stewards of the land organization, OFA is failing miserably by willfully promoting the endangerment of Ontario's wildlife, economy, personal property values, and human health.
Tim Phillips says on December 6, 2011 at 5:44 PM
Wind turbines connected to the grid is NOT green energy. Not one of the European countries which have connected thousands of turbines has shut down a single coal-fired generating plant. Read Michael Trebilcock(UofT), Ross McKitrick(UofGuelph), Tom Adams, Parker Gallant, Robert McMurtry, John Harrison(Queen'sU) to name a few to see what's really going on. Don't believe or trust anyone connected to lobby groups such as the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association.
Tom Andersen says on December 7, 2011 at 11:27 AM
Farms use more electricity than homes. If the OFA does a small amount of math it will be easy to see that the huge price increases in electricity will dwarf the amount of money that the few farms with turbines will get as income.
The thought of signing a contract with a huge multinational company for control over your land for 40+ years is in my view about as far away as you can get from being an independent farmer. These contracts amount to a very small percentage of the 'action' the Goldman Sachs of this world are taking advantage of every farm they sign up. The total income from each turbine (all subsidized) puts over $500,000 into the hands of the large multinationals. The farm owner gets a percent or two of that, and will likely shoulder enormous financial risk when the subsidies collapse, like they have done in Spain, UK, Italy, California, etc.
Wayne Elliott says on December 7, 2011 at 12:56 PM
Why would the OFA threaten to take the Municipality of Central Huron to the OMB to prevent the re-zoning of a small parcel of marginal farmland for construction of a new home by the farm family while at the same time it supports the removal from production of thousands of acres of farmland, much of it prime, for the construction of industrial wind turbines and access roadways. The OFA must decide whether or not it supports the preservation of farmland in Ontario. You can't try to have it both ways and remain credible.
Sue Muller says on December 7, 2011 at 4:25 PM
Well said everyone. The turbine locations have been set in our locality including the alternate locations - Bluewater and Goshen Projects. Can someone explain why NextEra still is trying to get farmers to sign on. What is the benefit now for them to want to lease our land? When you can't get definitive answers that raises suspicion. The environmental assessments are a falsehood . One turbine in Goshen will be located where the Tundra swans have landed for years. Apparently a setback of 120 metres is sufficient for the standards yet 55o metres are required for people. When we refused studies on our properties we were told they will do the studies looking from adjacent properties. How effective is that over 100 acres and what is the accuracy of peering through one side of a bush to the other.... Isn't it clear, this project can't see the forest for the trees. No support for OFA here.
Patti Kellar says on December 7, 2011 at 6:02 PM
Let's keep this really simple. The only thing green about wind turbines is the Money. The controversy is real. This isnt' going away and it is likely to get far worse before it gets better. Don, you are on the wrong side of this one......that you lost your bid for the presidents seat tells you as much. The divide is real. And the anti turbine supporters are growing. People are waking up. And I suspect things will be getting much worse before they get better.
Robert Budd says on December 7, 2011 at 8:54 PM
It's hard for me to believe how badly it appears the OFA has served farming and rural communities in regards to the wind development portion of the GEA.
If the OFA was at the table at formative stages they blew it big time. If they had no meaningful role why not?
I have followed wind development in the EU and had some enthusiasm for what I thought could have been a benefit to rural areas.
What we have now in Ontario is a very large corporate rural resource ripoff. It rewards few, devalues others and will put Ontario producers in the position of having uncompetetive electricity costs relative to all its neighbours.
A CBC report a few months back projected On. would go from having the third lowest electricity cost to the second highest by 2020 , behind only PEI. Yeah.
If CO2 and the coal fired plants are the issue the Ontario would be far better served by spending the money on transportation, efficiency and rewarding carbon storage on ag lands.
That would better serve all farmers and the province rather than gifting the likes of Samsung and Suncor for turbines that will provide neglible benefit for Ontario's grid.
James Stewart says on December 8, 2011 at 7:37 AM
As a non-farmer living in a rural setting, I applaud the comments here challenging Mr. McCabe's position. Anyone who has done their homework knows how bad the GEA is for all of us.
I look forward to reading more comments here, and wonder what Mark Wales might say?
Allan says on December 8, 2011 at 1:56 PM
Any suggested FIT increase for wind power won't sit well with rural Ontario.
In fact, given all the push back on wind power from rural ontario during and since the last provincial election the FIT compensation for wind should be reduced equally as much as solar has been reduced.
don taylor says on December 8, 2011 at 3:32 PM
OFA - YOU ARE GOING TO LOSE THOUSANDS OF MEMBERS BECAUSE OF YOUR STAND ON WIND TURBINES . SHAME ON OFA
Peter Middleton says on December 8, 2011 at 9:24 PM
I was absolutely shocked and appalled to read this article. I have been involved for the past year and a half in trying to slow down the spread of IWT projects. I always thought the OFA was trying to protect farmers from the unscrupulous tactics used by the Wind Turbine Companies, which our Liberal government prefers to turn a blind eye to. Now I plainly see that the OFA is actually promoting this nonsense. It's bad enough that we hear the BS that comes from Dalton McGuinty but I am extremely disappointed in the OFA for repeating it here.
So much for protecting the small farmer, rural residents and rural communities from the greedy energy companies that show no compassion or understanding for rural Ontario.
I hope you get lots of money from Dalton and the Wind Companies, because you won't be getting any more from me. I will favour one of the other farm groups in 2012.
John Schwartzentruber says on December 8, 2011 at 10:35 PM
After reading the article I am reminded of the adage - "It doesn't matter how thin you slice it, it's still baloney".
It matters not how much one tries to dress up the GEA, it is still an unaffordable, completely impractical and therefore unwelcome program.
How many solar panel owners would put one (or more) up to supply their own electricity needs? Too costly, you say? Then why do they think that fellow-Ontario-ans should cheerfully foot the bill (through both higher electricity rates and higher taxation bills) to subsidize their economic windfall?
As others have said, it defies all reason to pursue such a costly pipe dream when we see what is happening to other financially strapped countries who spent beyond their means.
How long can such greedy opportunists and misguided ideologues impose upon the civility and goodwill of their more practical neighbors before that civility disappears? It appears that we will find out soon.
Debbie L. says on December 9, 2011 at 7:01 AM
Take a look at the OFAs Mission Statement. "The Ontario Federation of Agriculture enables prosperous and sustainable farms". I fail to make the connection between the removal of viable farmland (caused by the erection of industrial wind turbines or an array of ground-mounted solar panels) and 'sustainable farms'?
We only have the farmland that we have, we have to be 'stewards' of the land with an eye to the future at all times.
Ontario does not need more "absentee farmers". We need our farmers on the land. We also need to keep our "land" available for future generations, so that they can also "farm" the land.
F J DUTOT says on December 10, 2011 at 9:07 AM
I to am appaled with McCabes biased point of view. If a farmer needs turbine money to continue farming then there is something seriously wrong with agriculture in ont. or management. I wonder if McCabe gave any thoughts to how the GEA is affecting the social fabrication of rural ont., on going health issues, destructionof wild life habitat, intrusion of the migratory flight pathes and associated deaths, devaluation of rural properties, and most of all the unsatisfactory setbacks for turbines in ont. There are now numerous places in north america with much greater setbacks. I have been a supporter of OFA for many years however I will revaluate that postion as I DONOT beleive OFA position on the GEA is the postion of the MAJORITY of the OFA membership . Thanks for the opportunity to comment .
C. Fitzgerald says on December 12, 2011 at 3:30 PM
Don McCabe deserves a medal for standing out front --- but I fear he is a man ahead of his time. The distortions and misinformation and nonsensical drivel in the rants here simply prove how small-minded and ignorant this anti-green energy movement really is. Ontario needs diverse forms of CLEAN and affordable power as it dumps filthy coal. Check. Rural Ontario needs new investments and opportunities for manufacturing. Check. Ontario farmers need emerging opportunities to use their land and resources in productive ways. Check. The truth is, despite all of the whining from the anti-green movement, wind energy enjoyed a record year here in Canada. And we're now in the Top 10 of global producers. Thanks Don for your vision!
Don Ross says on December 12, 2011 at 4:26 PM
Farmers, landowners and homeowners here in Prince Edward County have shown over the past decade that they believe in and strongly support the GEEA , and before that the RESOP, through willing participation in land leases for wind and solar projects of all shapes and sizes. Most family farmers understand the big picture , practice good land stewardship and see the many risks climate change and peak oil poses to their livelihoods. Energy production is a long range endeavour requiring long-term thinking and planning. Producing clean energy from wind and solar, with no carbon emissions or ongoing fuel costs, is economical and planet friendly. Canada , and Ontario, is only lately beginning to catch up to the rest of the world who has been doing this for the past 20+ years, with none of the mythical problems touted endlessly by opponents here.The well -funded smear and fear campaign organized by a small, vocal minority shows little respect for farmers, facts or future generations. History and mother nature will not look kindly on such narrow minded viewpoints and actions. The silent majority needs to stand up and be counted, as Don McCabe has done , and show support for renewable energy, farmers and all our decendants.
roger short says on December 13, 2011 at 1:02 PM
Don McCabe has spelled out the common sense and wisdom of helping farmers while generating power on their lands, diversifying their income and contributing to the fastest growing energy source world wide.
When considering the breadth of his vision and leadership, there is clearly a vocal minority who disagree with him and have flooded this space, not the first time they have adopted this carpet bombing tactic, I'm sure.
Don Chisholm says on December 14, 2011 at 10:11 AM
Don McCabe’s comment on the GEA is supported by the County Sustainability Group (CSG).
CSG is a community organization in Prince Edward County. Members are from a diverse array of backgrounds; scientists, farmers, teachers, engineers, lawyers, realtors, etc. As our name implies we are interested in a sustainable county within a sustainable world. Energy – particularly fossil fuel - has become one of the dominant local and global sustainability issues. Fossil energy co2 emissions bring us climate change while the peak-oil issue destabilizes markets and customs that had emerged through several decades of extremely cheap energy. The era of stable growth enabled by abundant energy-rich sources is over.
We see the Green Energy Act as a breath of fresh air in Ontario because it embarks on the much needed beginnings of corrective measures for both of the fossil fuel related dilemmas. It represents the beginnings of an era where the energy that fuels society is mostly generated and distributed locally from diverse renewable sources all across the province. Ontario is taking a North American lead in smart-grid technology.
There have always been those who will resist change by creating doubt and false information. Don McCabe has shown great leadership by dealing with the physical realities surrounding our common energy issues as he states clearly with his position on the GEA.
On behalf of members of the www.countysustainability.ca
Colette McLean says on December 14, 2011 at 1:31 PM
Those who endorse renewable energy such as wind and solar do not realize that these inefficient, unreliable, non dispatchable & expensive forms of energy will not replace the use of coal generation. Reduction in coal usage in Ontario is due to the financial fall-out of 2008 and the emphasis on Natural Gas outlined in the Long Term Energy plan. Wind energy has been shown, in several studies (Bentek, CEPOS) to increase fossil fuel usage and subsequently GHG emissions. The OFA also refuses to acknowledge the dangers within the contractual agreements with industrial wind and solar which are putting the long term ownership of agr.land into question when things like first-rights-of refusal and postponement of mortgages are embedded within these contracts. Many farmers are now worried and trying to find ways of getting out of these contracts no thanks to the OFA who unabashedly encouraged farmers to sign these contracts by providing public venues for wind and solar developers to gain direct access to their membership. I too would like to know if Don McCabe stands to directly profit from his continued support of "green" energy.
Henri Garand says on December 14, 2011 at 2:01 PM
I notice that Mr. McCabe`s article has attracted two comments by wind industry apologists, Don Ross and Don Chisholm, both of whom have been given awards by the Canadian Wind Energy Association. Neither is a farmer nor do they speak for the majority of residents of Prince Edward County, who have been resisting wind development for nearly 10 years. Last year we elected many anti-wind development councillors, and this year we replaced a Liberal cabinet minister with a Progressive-Conservative MPP. The dominant election issue in both cases was wind development.
The Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County, of which I am chair, opposes wind development for a variety of economic, environmental and health reasons, such as those mentioned in the above comments. It is simply not responsible of the OFA to put financial benefits for a few landowners above the adverse effects on the rest of the community.
Patrick Jilesen says on December 14, 2011 at 7:22 PM
The OFA is a grassroots organization created by hardworking farmers in Ontario. The OFA offers a great opportunity for those living in Rural Ontario to voice their opinions. To all those reading this, if you are concerned with the current perceived policy surrounding wind energy in this province, contact your local member services representative for your area or any county board member. Furthermore, please feel free to attend a county meeting and make your voice heard. The OFA is here to listen and I for one am very excited to see and read all the great feedback from members and non-members in Ontario. I am also very proud to know that this organization is "Grassroots", meaning that policy is driven by farmers at county levels. The OFA also carries no affiliation to ANY political party in Ontario. This, to me, is very important. The OFA is a lobby for farmers. The OFA has nearly 40,000 members across Ontario and is strong. Help build on this and bring your voice to meetings. Your voice will be heard and acted upon.
Patrick Jilesen, Bruce County Federation of Agriculture
OFA Policy Advisory Councilor /Bruce West
Dan Wrightman says on December 15, 2011 at 6:15 PM
In the swirling debate in rural Ontario about wind turbines and the Ontario government’s plans to saturate the countryside with these bulky appliances, it is common to hear the government line that wind energy is a solution to the income crisis that agriculture faces here in Ontario. Listed below are 5 reasons wind energy is a poor income support program for farmers and a bad idea for the agricultural economy of rural Ontario.
1.As an income support program wind energy has extremely uneven coverage. Some municipalities will never see wind farms. Where wind farms are proposed some farmers will have the proper setbacks to site a turbine while their next door neighbour will not because of minimum distance separation to buildings. It doesn’t seem right that a government mandated program would distribute ratepayer dollars based on geography rather than need.
2.The lease payments are not enough to save the family farm. Ontario has a cheap food policy that causes the farm industry to lurch from one income crisis to another. To think that a measly $6-8 000 annual payment will solve a farms profitability problem is just plain wrong. It’s a drop in the bucket. I spoke to a hog farmer who told me that even if the 2 wind turbines proposed for his farm were up and running right now it would not make a difference to the viability of his operation.
3.It will encourage absentee land ownership. A positive to agriculture in this area is that generally farmers own the land they’re farming. Land ownership gives farmers the security to invest in improvements such as tile drains, fences, equipment and buildings. When a farm owner retires arrangements are usually made to sell or transfer the land to someone interested in continuing to invest in the improvement of the farm. With wind companies now optioning land in the area some land owners are now choosing to hold onto farmland for the annual lease payment rather than sell. If this trend holds more farmland could be owned in absentia by non-farmers leading to a decline in productivity over the long term.
4.Potential health affects may lead to less people willing to farm. As more wind farms are built, more stories are emerging of farmers having to leave their homes because of health issues attributed to wind turbines. In Ontario there are already lawsuits filed against wind energy companies by farmers claiming that wind turbines have severely affected the health of their livestock. It always amazes me that despite all the challenges facing agriculture in Ontario there are still tens of thousands of skilled people in Ontario who still want to farm. This could be the proverbial straw that broke the camels back. Many farmers are willing to put up with a few years of lean times but they may not stand for a lifetime of ill health. Ontario risks permanently losing a good chunk of a highly skilled work force if the government continues to allow wind farms to be built without determining proper wind turbine setbacks based on a epidemiological study.
5. Finally the government is focusing on wind power generation, while the farmers who just want to grow food are forgotten. It’s ironic that the Ontario government is willing to give guaranteed above market prices for 20 years to wind companies, yet there is little money to fund a Risk Management Program that works. Farmers need government to support Ontario grown and processed food instead of giving billions of ratepayer subsides to large multinational corporations.
Dan Wrightman, Kerwood
Vern Martin says on January 13, 2012 at 9:38 AM
Query As usual, the discussion concerning wind energy devolves down to a matter of who stands to benefit and whose ox is being gored. If you are a farmer who wants to make money on it, you are going to promote it....and I might add, downplay and trivialize any of the downside issues. If you are an adjacent owner who doesn't want the things anywhere near your property, you of course are going to be upset when your neighbours put them on their property....especially when they end up being close enough that they may as well be on your property. I think what is so upsetting about the entire concept of wind turbines is the fact that it is being pushed under this guise of 'green energy is good for everyone and you should be feeling guilty if you don't support it'.......and under that bit of outrageous chicanery, the bait and switch is pulled with no consideration for what the 'other side' has to say or the facts. There is absolutely nothing green about wind turbines except for the green of money. How about dealing with facts instead of mindless rhetoric? Fact: Europeans have NOT been living happily with and benefiting from wind turbines for over 20 years....just like in Ontario, there are many who are just as vitriolic in their opposition while those who are making money on them think they are great. No surprise there. Fact: If you own property that is next door to wind turbine(s), your property value will be very seriously affected. It is only a question of how much and that depends on the specifics of how many, how high, how close, how noisy etc. Fact: It is a complete red herring to suggest that many European jurisdictions have setbacks less than the 'strict' guidelines imposed by the GEEA. Where are we talking about with that suggestion and what is the context? The real issue is sound levels, low frequency sound and infrasound that relate to the height and number of the turbines and over the years, wind turbines have gotten bigger and bigger. Speaking of Europe, the current UK guidance for establishing a safe distance between turbines and dwellings is a document called ETSU-R-97. When this document was produced in 1997, the highest turbines were only 30 metres tall. Is this supposed to be relevant in the world of the industrial monsters being erected today? It is also a fact that court cases abound all over Europe with regards to excessive noise levels, and that both the French Academy of Medicine and the UK Noise Association are on record as stating that 1.5 kilometres should be the minimum. It was just this past June when the British House of Lords debated a bill that would establish a 2 km setback provision for new wind farms. Fact: It is a fact that some people are highly sensitive to the subharmonic noise and vibration that arise from the operation of wind turbines. It is also a fact that these people are constantly being told that 'it's all in their heads'. Is it too much to ask for a moratorium on wind turbines until the truth of this is found and appropriate technical criteria is established? Fact: Wind power cannot exist without massive subsidies. There are many more facts that could be stated but let me throw this last one out for the consideration of ratepayers, taxpayers and citizens of the Province of Ontario.......as opposed to those just interested in looking for a fast buck. Wind turbines are a scam and produce very little electrical power (if any). Due the fluctuations of wind, gas turbines have to be on the constant ready to pick up the difference in electrical supply requirements and the inefficiency that results from this type of standby operation is virtually equivalent to what wind contributes. For a more detailed analysis of this, seek out the work of an engineer named Kent Hawkins. Here's a start.... http://www.masterresource.org/2010/11/the-calculator-14-results-part-i/#more-13018 If the OFA want to be participants in promoting wind energy....well, I guess the only conclusion is that they want in on the scam.
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