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Is destruction worth it for turbines that could be built elsewhere?

Gilead Power Corporation is inviting PE County residents to send letters of support for their wind project at Ostrander Point to MPP Leona Dombrowsky. Their letter and “10 reasons to support the project” say that Ostrander Point is a favourable site for their development because it “is in a relatively isolated part” of the County.

This isolation from human use has created its value as wildlife habitat. Birds that have evolved to migrate between Canada’s north and South America have depended on our South Shore for millennia. If it is industrialized, as so much of North America has been, many will fail in their passage around Lake Ontario. As Environment Canada has said “This is one of the most important landfall sites in Ontario.”

Gilead claims that the project has been “designed to be sensitive to the wildlife of the area”.

But they have applied for permits to kill, harm and destroy the habitat of 2 endangered species: Blanding’s Turtle and Whip-poor-will. Gilead’s “most aggressive mitigation measures in North America to protect local and migrating species” consist of:

  • Blanding’s Turtle – buying part of its significant wetland while destroying part;
  • Whip-poor-will – hiring a graduate student to study its declining use of the habitat;
  • Counting mortality numbers of migrating birds and bats for 3 years.

If the Province gives permission to build this industrial project, the following spring the turtles and other amphibians will emerge from hibernation to find most of their habitat destroyed and the migrating species will find their expected feeding grounds gone.

Gilead also promises economic benefits. They promise to pay municipal taxes of $40,000 annually over 25 years or $20,000 annually over 50 years, depending on how the “life of the power purchase agreement” is interpreted. Will these funds cover the increased road maintenance required? Even during the few months of construction they offer only “up to 50%”of the work and business to “local or neighbouring communities”.

Trucking of the components will be done by the manufacturer, GE. The operation of the project will be done remotely by a SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) system. County people may receive few benefits but higher costs from this project.

Is this destruction worth it for 9 turbines that could easily be built elsewhere?

Myrna Wood, Picton

Filed Under: Letters and Opinion

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  1. Lori Cairns says:

    John,

    You have no idea just how much of a realist and doomer I am. I see what is coming and why.
    My replies here are within the context of IWTs and solar in PEC.
    Peak oil, peak water, peak food, resource wars, CMEs, ELEs, nuclear meltdowns from power outages…
    Most people don’t want to know just how precarious our situation is. They fully believe that technology can save the world. I’m not one of them. I talk about chances we have to save the earth because how I really feel would freak most people out or have me labelled as crazy.
    Well, I guess I’m out of the doomer closet now, LOL.

  2. Ernest Horvath says:

    Beth, that is not my direction.
    GAS is Ontario’s direction.
    You cannot shut down coal and rely on wind and solar.
    That is the point to all I have written here.
    You must have backup power..which Ontario is turning to which is GAS.
    So yes GAS has emissions. But GAS is there to provide power that wind and solar cannot.
    So if the bulk of the power will come from GAS , which it will , why are we paying 28 Billion to adopt IWTs and Solar large scale ?
    Gas or Coal , Nuclear or Hydro work.
    1200 IWTs are providing 136MW of power as of 5 minutes ago.

    Nice discussion Beth , we both feel the same way about the future. We are trying to get there from different directions. And I respect your views.
    Have a great day !

  3. Beth says:

    Build another gas plant to emit an even larger amount of Co2, carbon an other toxic elements into the atmosphere? Good plan, good plan. Here’s a great idea let’s expand the generating capacity of the Lampton Coal Generating Plant.

  4. Ernest Horvath says:

    Beth
    “It is better to try something and find it isn’t what you needed to do, than do nothing at all and find you should have done something, and that is the argument you seem to be proposing, do nothing. ”

    That is the point , we are doing nothing but paying for it.
    We can see we are doing nothing by the actual stats , results and the bills.

    So lets stop overpaying for FIt programs and large scale IWT and solar developments.

    Try the 28 Billion being spent on conservation and mass adoption of other energy production by grants , etc to Ontarians.
    That can’t hurt trying.

    The present direction certainly hurts us all.

  5. Ernest Horvath says:

    Total demand: 14578 MW (7:00 a.m. EDT – Aug. 17, 2011) Total generation: 15184 MW (Aug. 17 – 5:00-6:00)
    Excess generation: 606 MW
    WIND: 193 MW

    If any power generation gave you these kind of results , you would all be screaming to stop the nonsense.
    Wind and Solar do not work as a reliable power source.
    Why should anyone pay 3 times for Wind
    At least 14 times more for solar rooftop
    Plus pay to build GAS power plants which negate the very reason all this even started. ?
    And pay billions to redesign a grid ?

    Yesterday wind produced 86 MW..all 1200 of them.

    This is not about being against anything.

    It cannot produce reliable power
    It is not carbon free
    And it is certainly not free…have you all not received a hydro bill ?

    The spin continues , we keep getting part of a huge story.
    It’s about a business venture that would not , could not survive without massive taxpayer subsidization.
    If we are going to subsidize anything that exists to sell us a product. make no mistake that is what this is all about ..then I believe it should live up to it’s claims.

    1200 IWT have a stated capacity of 5,000 MW…

    The stats above tell the story.

    Save the 28 Billion and go with gas until someone comes up with something that works…you are using gas anyway.

    The rest just sucks the money out of your pocket.
    I wish something worked , but do we really have to blindly believe , and go broke like the EU countries?

    I provided the site to check wind production
    I provided the site to learn about air pollution and historical stats.
    This is not data I made up. It is not spin . It is reality.

    Why are you all getting upset at government ?
    Shouldn’t they be working for you ?

  6. Hi “John”

    I would seriously legally consider your comments when writing on the web-once its out there it’s public and cannot be taken back.

    What you think of my husband’s work privately is up to you, the FACT IS that Smitherman’s own team LOVED Steven’s piece “Ready for a Revolution” – photo taken by the mast system of the wind turbines on Wolfe Island and even asked for the price as they were going to buy it for him as a thank you until the whole health scandal came up and then he stepped down and ran for mayor.

    So I don’t think that photo makes them look bad at all, even we love that photo and it has been in many galleries as a picture showing them looking proud and strong. It was even in our Studio on the Studio tour, we would be happy to show you the picture because NO ONE has ever said it is misleading or shows them in a bad light.

    I would also do what Steven says and please publically make the link seen by everyone on here of any photo you think Steven has taken that is a “con” etc eg the Marysville you refer to.

    Reputation to Steven and myself is very important unlike it is to wind turbine companies. Believe me ACTION WILL BE TAKEN by us legally if people lie about Steven’s photographic honesty or try and pass a photo off as his.

  7. In addition, personally I was in favour of large wind turbines until I discovered the industry was producing statistics that mathematically are not untruthful but by no means honest…..

    The industry and Ontario Liberal Party is quiet happy to make me have large portions of my property, including footpaths and driveways and places my kids wait for the school bus in areas described as ‘non loiter zones’ in Industrial Wind Turbine producers Health and Safety manuals.

    That Stantec illegally used a report (I cannot mention it here for legal reasons) to base their economic assessment of Wind Turbines on property values in Wolfe Island. The same report was also distributed by Skypower despite a notice on page 5?? stating that the report was confidential and cannot be referred to, quoted from etc I spoke to the author who stated NO such permission had been given.

    The project manager for Skypower told me that there was no way he’d want to live anywhere near a wind farm.

    Skypower did not follow Federal procedures regards notifying their plans to DND. Had they done so near the beginning of the project – or even following my highlighting the need to contact DND – the scheme would not have progressed for as long as it did and farmers would not have made decisions based on the imminent arrival of payments…….

    Even a solar company (part of a major Ontario provider) provided misleading statistics that I questioned to the authorities which then prompted a direct call from a senior director of one of Ontario’s largest power companies – to apologize…..

    Ultimately if anyone wants to be my neighbour I want to be able to trust them. Sadly I can’t trust anyone involved in large scale wind because my direct dealings were so bad, bad as a result of government policy that encouraged un regulated, un monitored and totally unethical practices to take place. There’s nothing green about large energy companies accept the $$ in the eyes of the directors and employees. Sorry thats my experience.

    but still I take photos of WInd Turbines looking nice and work hard to reduce my consumption…

    Steven Draper…

  8. Hi John,

    I don’t think those are my pictures you are referring too. To clarify the only ones I have produced and had published are:

    1. A comparison view of Picton Bay with and without in September 2009. This was carefully scaled and comprised of approx. the same number of turbines that would have been part of the Skypower development in that area.
    2. Waupoos with and without, including one aerial ‘artist impression.’ Early 2010 – no longer on the web.
    3. A Black and White Fine art print titled “Ready for a Revolution” taken using my polepics camera system in order to show them geometrically perfect. June 2009.

    I do have a shot of Marysville Church with the turbines behind taken from the ferry – as I guess do many people. I do not recall supplying this to anyone so if you have a link I could see if it is mine or not.

    I produced a powerpoint for my own presentation to a public audience that also showed rubble piles around some of the turbines on Wolfe Island.

    As a professional photographer / artist I certainly do not endorse showing extremes of images as ‘normal’ views and have on several occasions decided not to supply images of any sorts to wind turbine groups.

    Therefore I would kindly ask that before you make public comments that could effect my professional reputation, that you confirm the images you have issues with have been produced by me.

    Thankyou

    Steven Draper.

  9. Donna says:

    Lori, you said the pro-winds want to keep business as usual??!! Are you serious?! It’s many of the anti-winds that don’t want change! They want their precious views of the County to stay as they are. Some of them who have big retirement homes here want to continue to consume excessive amounts of energy and not have to see where it’s coming from. Out of sight, out of mind.

    Lori, I’m not only pro-wind and pro-solar (with my own installations), I’ve been an environmentalist for decades and lead as sustainable a lifestyle as I can. I am all for conservation and responsibility and self-sustainability! I just want Prince Edward County to share its wealth of resources, wind and sun, and be part of the renewable energy solution.

  10. John says:

    Lori, your view sounds idyllic, however it is not a sustainable option for all Canadians. Do you want to be one of the 20 million people who volunteers to be eliminated?

    When considering the production of your own energy to meet your needs, don’t forget to include energy for the solar panels and small wind turbine and batteries and and the wires to connect it all and replacement parts and maintenance. And how will you heat your home that had to be built? And fuel your car that had to be manufactured and transported? And provide clothing and ‘stuff’ for your family that had to be manufactured and shipped? And provide food for your family that had to be grown and transported?

    Unfortunately our lives in the Western world are too complex for our environmental footprint to shrink just because we have a few solar panels on our roof.

  11. John says:

    Stephen, I’ve noticed your photos as well, and the one I noticed from Marysville on Wolfe Island could only be described as misleading if not deceptive. It shows a turbine looming over a church. The reality is that no such view exists to anyone on the streets of Marysville; you cannot even SEE turbines from the main street. To get that view you’d have to be high in the air, and I suspect from the looming nature of the photo, it was taken with a telephoto lens which compresses distances. I was not fooled but sadly I’m sure many trusting people were.

    Here’s my photo of the same turbine and church steeple in Marysville: http://www.phpdev.ca/linked/church-turbine.png

    Nor was I fooled by your photo taken of the Wolfe Island turbines from the eastern tip of PEC. Until I became aware of your fancy rig, I had surmised that the photo had been taken by climbing tall trees in the dead of winter. I now know better.

    I have learned from my experience with your photos and virtually everything else put out by the anti-turbine coalition, to work from the premise that it is false until it proves itself otherwise.

  12. Lori Cairns says:

    Just about the answers I was expecting from the pro wind turbine side. I’ve always thought that their agenda was to keep business as usual so that no one’s lifestyle had to change.
    The only way to save this planet is to change the way we live. We need to be responsible for the energy we use. That means we need to generate what we use on an individual basis.
    Some of us don’t like to borrow money. We like to live within our means as much as possible. I would not go into debt for a solar installation. I don’t want to sell the energy back to the grid. I’m talking about families being able to put a solar installation on the roof and in the battery shed so that we can generate and use that energy as our sole form of energy. When that energy is used up, we wait for more to be generated. Yes, that means a big change in lifestyle. IMO, it is what is needed for this planet, and human life on it, to stand a chance.
    Obviously, we will never be in agreement on this issue.
    I have some squash to harvest and some beets to plant. Off to the garden.

  13. Donna says:

    And that makes the case for wind energy! For rural installations it’s less land intensive and allows continued use of the land for grazing or crops.

    There is a place for solar power though, on the rooftops of all appropriate buildings and especially on all new development. If only the mayor and council would wake up to the need for renewable energy, and be part of the solution. Prince Edward County needs to share its wealth of resources.

  14. Dayton Johnson says:

    Has there ever been any discussion here regarding underwater current flows harnessed to generate power with turbines?
    In a community surrounded by water would MNR have info.about flow rates or any other helpful suggestions?
    I’ve seen video of underwater turbines connected in series,,seems to work well in some locations.

  15. Gary Mooney says:

    Ken, I’m not sure what you mean by “they put a stop to that”.

    There are no restrictions on large-scale solar installations in Ontario other than they can’t go on prime agricultural land. The municipality has no control on where they go or how many.

    A 10 MW solar plant will cover 50 to 100 acres of land which has been cleared of trees and bushes. It will be surrounded by a high fence to prevent accidents and vandalism. I doubt that there will be any landscaping to soften the look.

    I believe that the developer of the Napanee installation is Skypower, which also has plans for large-scale installations here in the County.

  16. John Thompson says:

    Lori, the MicroFit program offers $.802 per kwh for rooftop solar. If a house has a suitable non shaded south facing roof this price should make it economical to borrow the financing and proceed. It is also high enough to have triggered a lot of opposition from PC’s seeking office, so I don’t expect any further assistance to be forthcoming.

    It takes about 800 rooftop installs of 5kw to produce as much power as on wind turbine of 2.5 MW and the cost to power consumers is 5.94 times higher. Unlike solar, wind produces well into the evening on average. Both together compliment each other in their production patterns.

    I have built solar and support wind as well but I don’t think it’s realistic to expect the incentives to increase for either.

  17. Ken Globe says:

    At least you can still work a field with a IWT pole in it, a field of solar panels, not so much. Go down just east of Napanee and see the whole field of solar panels. You can see why they put a stop to that.

  18. Lori Cairns says:

    Beth, you make a good point. We should be doing something to make alternative energy our main energy source. So let’s make affordable solar installations for homeowners an election issue.
    If our tax dollars are going to be used to subsidize anything, I’d rather they go back into our pockets via solar energy for each house.
    I challenge all IWT supporters to make affordable solar for homeowners an election issue.
    We’ll see how far you get with this. If you don’t get far, then you will know just how corrupt the alternative energy market is. Follow the money.

  19. Beth says:

    Ernest, you are right, Canada contributes a small portion of the “greenhouse gas” emissions. The largest contributors being China, Japan and other Asiatic countries expanding their industrial base.
    Over population, De-forestation, Mining, manufacturing, shall I go on?
    Yes I know that IWT’s won’t save the world. Yes I know other means of producing renewable energy are desperately needed. And yes, I know that there are problems with the IWT’s.
    But the reality is WE are destroying our world. And if the IWTs are a poor a choice as you believe, it’s something for now. Yes taxes are supporting this, I know that, I see the Hydro bill. Fear-mongering will not change my opinion. Will I support IWTs if one is proposed in my back yard, yes.

    It is better to try something and find it isn’t what you needed to do, than do nothing at all and find you should have done something, and that is the argument you seem to be proposing, do nothing.

    Anything we do will have little effect on the global environment, but if everybody does a little something, no matter how small the impact, big things will happen.

  20. Marnie says:

    Gary – Thank you for the tutorial on how to post. It seems I have gained your attention after all. However, Donna is correct. It’s the issues that are important. I respect her point of view, I just do not agree with it.

  21. Liam Quin says:

    There have been several objectionable things I have seen in the various windmills debates over the past six years. For me the biggest have been dishonesty and incomplete disclosure from the wind companies combined with a lack of whole-picture holistic planning by Council.

    It’s clear that over the next five years there will be increasing economic pressure on farms to close. Many have closed already. There are some new farming operations – Cherry vale Organics replaced a smaller organic farming operation and of course Fifth Town Cheese is promising. But the County is moving away from being predominantly a farming community.

    Local power generation could bring in factories and warehouses, a larger industrial port, and maybe 100,000 or more houses over the next ten years. Sure, the farming would end, as would the tourism, but there would be factory jobs. Good models for what can happen with cheaper electricity might be had at Oshawa and Pickering.

    I’d suggest that there would be more support for windmills if there was a guarantee of reduced electricity prices and reduced property taxes for everyone living within a mile of a turbine, and free electricity and zero property tax for everyone within quarter of a mile. It’s not like your house would have an increased value if it’s near an industrial power plant. For my part, if half my hydro bill is “delivery” and there are local power plants, I’m thinking there’s something seriously wrong.

    The road widening, the compulsory purchase of land for the pylons, a temporary increase in employment for concrete and gravel companies, these are all short term.

    Yes, the bird sanctuaries will change. I have heard the argument that windmills don’t kill many birds. They actually do, but they attract predators to drag off and eat the dead birds of course, so the coyote population will be helped, perhaps not a bad thing with so many locals wanting to shoot them. However, most birds will stay away. It’s like the argument that says, “you can’t build that highway through the camp site!” “why not? there are no records of injuries from people camping in the middle of a highway, so it obviously won’t affect anyone.” So, some birds may become extinct, and in the marshlands there will be fewer birds, and that will be good for the mosquito population and the frogs.

    If you do end up with a windmill on your farm, watch that you don’t lose all or part of your Farm zoning, because that can affect your ability to get farming loans as well as your CAMH mortgage status (that zoning prevents banks from foreclosure on a farm), and can also affect insurance.

    So there will be lots of changes. But in the end, a few people (mostly realtors at first) will make a lot of money. Maybe it’s just like a demolished heritage building near shire hall ($500,000 was that?) that they ended up not building on, and a demolished 19th century church that’s now a vacant lot where thereused to be a landmark that helped attract tourists to Picton, and a demolished vintage filling station that can’t be built on but that seems to have managed to help put the family-owned Teasel’s out of business… just lots of short-term planning that never quite works out right.

    And that takes me back to my objection in the first place: not thinking things through, combined with misinformation, disinformation, and downright lies.

    You know, maybe if there were offshore wind turbines on the limestone shelf there would be fewer shipwrecks. But even that would affect bird migration, for sure. If we agent orange everywhere to control the mosquito population, what proportion of birth defects is acceptable? There are also alternate wind turbine designs that are self-contained columns without blades, and that are said to b quieter.

    So there are lots of issues that are not being explored. And I’m sure there are lots of possible compromises.

    Why don’t we start with building a wind turbine in Picton fairgrounds so everyone can see what they are like? A full-size one, 600 feet high (including blades).

  22. Donna says:

    Sidetracking the discussion by criticizing those that don’t want to share their full name isn’t of benefit to anyone. I post occasionally to ensure that those who read this consider both sides of the wind issue.

    The many incarnations of anti-wind organizations (talk about names!) seem to have deep pockets and so are able to disseminate their one-sided ‘information’ again and again and again. It reminds me of Noam Chompsky’s ‘Manufacturing Consent’: repeat misinformation often enough and people will think it’s factual and true.

  23. Gary Mooney says:

    Beth and Marnie: If you’ll reread my message, I said that I pay least attention to people who use first name only AND change it from time to time.

    But why not use your full name? There can be more than one Beth or Marnie. Earlier, Lori Smith was originally posting as Lori and I thought for a while that it was Lori Slik (mayoral candidate).

    When you post with only a first name, your invite questions about your motives or your confidence in what you’re saying.

  24. Ernest Horvath says:

    Beth , Canada as an entire country contributes 2% of the globes GHGs.
    Most of our smog comes from the south of us.

    So , even if we went back to the stone age in Canada it wouldn’t make an ounce of difference.
    What you are not accounting for is that the world is not coming to end soley and entirely because we use power.
    Nor are IWTs stand alone power producers they require backup…if it is gas , google “fracking ” that is alarming.
    As far as information you get , much from IPCC reports , which have proven themselves to be self serving ,if actually in fact peer reviewed , it is done by one another, and it has been found that only 20% of the claims made are indeed even peer reviewed.
    Consider this , there are scientists that have tried to get their findings published but anything that does not follow IPCC agenda doesn’t make it there.
    That is what Climate Gate was all about..they were caught.
    Then we had Himalayan Gate….
    After these they began changing the issue to Climate Change.
    The arctic has had ongoing volcanic activity underwater, and the oceans as well..
    Despite all , this , power is NOT the only pollution causing issue.
    Overpopulation , Deforestation are huge.
    The more people the larger the livestock “farms” , the more building , water use , on and on and on.
    IWTs have little positive impact environmentally . Because you require backup power, and they use power..on and on.
    Why is it we only have to be sold power using our tax dollars to overpay and subsidize it?
    The dollars would have far better impact going back to us to adopt some form of heating and cooling and power that reduces our demand , if that is necessary at all.
    If the world was coming to an end shortly…if indeed that was true and not a make a job for me scenario for the eco industry ..then population control would be without question job one…you can already see trees being focussed on.
    Scientists that are debunking ECO industry claims have families too, you think they don’t want their grand children to live ?
    The ECO supporters don’t have a monopoly on loving their family.
    I have trouble accepting the assertions because if in fact they were true……. the world would be focussing on other areas.
    And they are not.

  25. Beth says:

    So Gary, what you are saying is that my opinion has no meaning because I choose not to use my last name. I find that rather shallow for a man whose organization is committed to speaking out for the betterment of Prince Edward County.

    Reality here is that in this debate there will always be opposing views. I respect the opinion of the individual who are not in support of the wind turbine developments. However I recently finished a course that reviewed the effects of the development on a global environment and the information was frightening.

    Yes, wind turbines will not save the world. Yes there are still issues and some people do not wish to live in areas where the IWT’s are erected. Throw all the scary numbers at me in regards to the studies that indicate the negative effects of IWT’s. I find the slow and methodical destruction of the earth scarier.

    I think this video sums up my opinion. Agree, don’t agree, but respect the fact I have made a choice.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zORv8wwiadQ

  26. Ernest Horvath says:

    Those of you still sitting not sure what is true or not regarding health issues with IWTs

    Please read this Memorandom obtained through the Freedom of Information Act by Wind Concerns Ontario.

    http://windconcernsontario.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/foi_pgs_45-501-c_hall-5page1.pdf

    Raises a great deal of other questions , does it not ?

  27. Marnie says:

    I was not seeking your attention, Gary. Wind turbines are not elegant and I am not convinced that they are harmless. That’s my opinion, no matter what my name may be.

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