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One step closer for turbines to blanket Amherst Island

I am writing today about the travesty that is about to take place on Amherst Island.
Two links below take you to recent articles about the proposed wind project on Amherst Island that is now one step closer to reality.

“It will be a dereliction of duty if the Ministry of Environment allows a major industrial wind turbine project to go ahead on Amherst Island, Senator Bob Runciman said today. Runciman was responding to the news that the Ontario government has deemed complete a Renewable Energy Approval application by Windlectric for up to 37 giant turbines to be installed on Amherst Island, just west of Kingston. The government is now inviting public comment on the proposal until March 8.”  Rest of article:

“I appreciate that some see sculptural beauty in wind turbines when seen from a distance. They are not lovely up close. They are very, very big. They also cast shadows, and shadow flicker, and create noise and vibration. There will be no place on Amherst Island to escape their presence.” Rest of letter:

Amherst Island is a small island in the eastern end of Lake Ontario, just west of Kingston. It is part of the largest migratory flyway in North America. Wolfe Island sits a few kilometers to the east.

Wolfe Island has had an 86 turbine wind development there since 2009. Wolfe Island has the second highest bird kill record in North America. They know because they “monitor” the number of bird kills. They don’t do anything about it – just monitor it.

The Ontario government continues to turn a blind eye to the environmental devastation caused by an industrial development that is supposed to be for the “greater good”. They argue that birds are killed by running into cars and buildings every day. And cats also kill birds. So, what’s the big deal?

These are however specious arguments. Any bird kills at wind turbine projects are in addition to those already occurring elsewhere. And it matters very much at the species level which birds are being killed. We have only 57 nesting pairs of Bald Eagles left in Ontario. If a Bald Eagle was killed, it would make a huge difference. When was the last time your kitty brought home an eagle, an owl, a swan, or a bat? All of these are very much at risk from wind turbines.

The government also argues that wildlife was being killed by breathing in the pollution caused by burning coal and have been phasing out coal and replacing it with wind and solar, which are “cleaner”. Well, that is an argument for another letter. The inconvenient truth that the government is ignoring here is that wind and solar are not replacing coal, natural gas is replacing coal.

Why? Because neither wind nor solar can produce electricity on demand. In the case of wind, there is almost a complete mismatch between supply and demand. Wind produces most at night, when businesses are closed and in spring and fall. Ontario needs the most energy during the day, in the summer and in the winter.

Think about those hot airless days in summer. At least solar is producing a small (very small) portion of Ontario’s energy to keep all those air conditioners cranking. Wind? Nada!

So, back to Amherst Island. 36 turbines are proposed. They will blanket the island. The island is just one stop along the significant flyway that includes upstate New York, then Wolfe Island and Kingston, then Amherst and other smaller islands, then the eastern tip of Prince Edward County, continuing on to the South Shore of PEC, then up to Brighton and on into the boreal forest in Northern Ontario. No other jurisdiction in the world allows wind turbines in an IBA (Important Bird Area), which Amherst Island definitely is. Only in Ontario, eh? Pity!

The government would argue that birds, when migrating fly at heights higher than 500 feet, which may be true. It is also true of airplanes, but you would not put an array of turbines at the end of the landing strip!

The Ministry of the Environment has “deemed complete” the application submitted by the wind energy developer. The next step is approval, then construction. The “deemed complete” came through even though the Association to Protect Amherst Island has been documenting each and every inconsistency and error contained in the reports that make up the application. Things like water studies done at the wrong time of the year, looking for species in areas of the island where the habitat is inconsistent with their natural habitat – i.e. as if they were intentionally trying to find nothing.

In addition to being part of the migratory flyway, Amherst Island is home to many other species including a total of 34 species at risk. It is unconscionable to think that the Ministries of Natural Resources and the Ministry of the Environment would intentionally put these species at further risk just to comply with the provincial energy policy. But that is exactly what they are doing.

If you live in Toronto or Ottawa, please write your Member of Provincial Parliament and let them know you want the Green Energy Act dismantled. Forward all or part of this letter to them.

They aren’t listening to rural Ontario. They think we are just NIMBY’s who aren’t willing to make a sacrifice for the greater good. If industrial wind turbines actually made sense, I would get behind them. I would still insist that they be placed away from homes and from environmentally sensitive areas, but I would support.

However, as it is becoming increasingly clear, industrial wind turbines don’t make sense on any level. And it seems that the only way we can save our province from ruining all of rural Ontario is to put increasing pressure on the politicians who make these decisions on our behalf.

Comments to March 8:

Karen Empringham
Advocate for Safe and Appropriate Green Energy

Filed Under: Letters and OpinionNews from Everywhere Else

About the Author:

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  1. Chris Keen says:

    Kelly McParland – National Post

    “Thanks to the government’s disastrous Green Energy Act, Ontario produces more energy than it can use. Much of it comes from “renewable” sources, mainly wind, which receive heavy subsidies to produce power no one needs. So the Liberals ship it to Quebec, Manitoba or New York at a heavy loss, while continuing to ramp up the province’s ability to produce even more renewable energy, at an even greater loss, while claiming it’s all good for the environment. Even that assertion looks a bit dubious, however, given that the closure of the coal-fired plants means the worst source of greenhouse gas emissions has already been eliminated.

    Peter Tabuns, the NDP energy critics, said Monday the annual loss generated by exports reached $1 billion last year. … or $220 per year for each of Ontrio’s 4.9 million ratepayers.”


  2. Al says:

    Awareness began to arise around the turn of the century that the human desire to hunt and kill birds and animals to extinction was going to cause us to lose not only a resource but also interfere with the natural environment to human detriment. One of those very aware that something had to be done was a pioneer in bird conservationist Jack Minor. Ever since then hundreds of organizations and governments have spent billions of dollars and millions of hours trying to reverse the loss of wild habitat , wildlife and bird populations through conservation. Just when we were seeing the fruits of such groups labour along comes GREED both in the form of Corporations and Government who seem to be bound on reversing the heroic efforts of conservation. Let us face up to the fact that WE are part of this. WE the tax payer, property owner and keepers of the future need to end the insanity by stopping this travesty from fulfilling its mandate of injustice. Ask yourself . . . why the heck do you want Wind corporations and their expensive “Green” alternative, unusable at peek need (Gas has to kick in) then paid by a government that has handled our purse like a spoiled brat to stop the blades turning to prevent over powering the grid? Or dumping the electrical power by PAYING US states and other Provinces to take the overload? Needless to say that they pay no mind as to what they do to peoples lives with the lowered property values, destroyed tourism, health issues and STRESS! Devisions of communities when a few greedy people sign contracts with Wind companies who make and take the cash back to their own countries. Something is wrong here, democracy has been kicked out the window and it’s up to you and I to make this insane thing come to and end. Come on now how long will your pocket book be paying for this? Get angry . . fight back . . . stop this injustice NOW! Amherst is just NOT the place for these IWTs.

  3. Mark says:

    So Donna it is climate change that is causing all the bird carcasses laying underneath Industrial Wind Turbines! Yeah right.

  4. BH says:

    We need green energy, including wind turbines, but it has to be done right.
    Wind turbines should not be erected on environmentally important areas. This includes bird migration flyways.
    Equally or more important, setbacks should be 1.5 or 2 km away from dwellings to safeguard the health of people.
    We can do so many other things along with wind turbines to help prevent global warming. Why aren’t we?
    Instead of everybody working together we are wasting time, energy and money fighting each other.

  5. Donna says:

    It’s not wind turbines that are decimating bird species. It’s climate change and all its complicated ramifications in nature.

  6. Mark says:

    I have often thought, if the people do not want turbines, we don’t need them and we cannot afford them,then why would a government force them upon us and cause such pillage. The only thing that would make sense is $$$. I think someday we will be able follow the money path and find out who became rich on the backs of the hard working citizen and how they were able to influence the decision making. Follow the $$$$!

  7. Mark says:

    The insanity continues. And they will not stop until they get them into Prince Edward County. They are using our own tax dollars to appeal the decision to prevent the Ostrander Pt. project. The Ministry of Natural Resources is fighting so they can harm, harrass and kill protected species. They have no credibility and no conscience.

  8. Loretta says:

    @Mark! Coal?? You need to educate yourself on the current power sources in Ontario, how much excess we have and the technologies. I was involved with selling solar and wind power (Small scale) since early 1990’s. Wind blows at the wrong times (when we are at off peak). Solar in ontario is marginal (Manitoba has most sunlight in Canada). Until economical storage exists these ‘green’ technologies are marginal – we should be developing better tech before being forced to over pay for power we DO NOT need, then sell it below market prices, costing us $Billions ($1.4B in 2012). It is affecting standard of living, cost of everything, costing jobs and your grandchildren will be still paying the debt withou the benefit. Wind and solar are ideal in some locations, human health should not be put at risk. The environment should not be put at risk. Decimating species that are at risk shoul not be allowed. The only ones who benefit from IWTs are the investment Banks that are making fistfuls of money that you are paying for on your hydro bill

  9. Chris Keen says:

    “When you’re led to believe that you’re doing something that’s going to benefit a community facility and it doesn’t – it leaves a bad taste in your mouth,”

  10. Mark! says:

    Maybe because he is FOR wind energy and FOR losing our reliance on coal, like any other progressive, forward thinking human.

  11. BH says:

    Tragically Hip’s Gord Downie was born in Amherstview and has a recording studio in the area.
    As a outspoken environmentalist, why isn’t he actively protesting against the industrial wind turbines planned for Amherst Island.

  12. Gregory Latiak says:

    One suspects that as long as the right people are making money no one really cares about the consequences. And if ypu have a condo in Toronto and a mansion in the south of France does it matter that rural Ontario landscapes are being destroyed? And it is not about power strategies that will leave Ontario a stronger place. No, it is all about cutting open the golden goose to get all the eggs at once. Who cares about the future… Clearly not the current overnment.

  13. Sherri Lange says:

    “THEY” monitor the bird and bat kills. THEY is the developer. It is now known that 90 – 95% of bird and bat kills are under-reported. The developers HIDE the evidence. They choose areas that are lesser impacted, and they use facile swaths and radii. It is completely ridiculous. In the USA, they are NOT killing 475,000 birds and bats, but really closer to 37 MILLION. Amherst Island must never be touched by a turbine. It is a scam. Wind turbines do not even produce meaningful power. Shame.

  14. Bill Heller says:

    To desecrate Amherst Island in the name of faux green energy would be a crime. The larger issue is that Industrial Wind Turbines fail as a solution to both global warming and meeting our energy needs. It’s as simple as the wind often doesn’t blow at high enough speeds to spin the blades, or create significant power from the spinning. Every MW of wind energy must be matched with a MW of fossil fuel generation, called spinning reserve, to make up for the shortfall. Here are a few articles explaining this and more:
    1) Energy blow as wind power fuels pollution
    2) Wind isn’t reducing carbon emissions
    3) The dirty secret of Britain’s power madness: Polluting diesel generators built in secret by foreign companies to kick in when there’s no wind for turbines
    4) Reality Check: Germany’s Defective Green Energy Game Plan
    5) Study: Wind Power Raises CO2 Emissions
    6) Subsidizing CO2 Emissions via Windpower: The Ultimate Irony
    7) Government Lab Finds Wind Energy Not Meeting Carbon Emission Goals
    8) Power struggle: Green energy versus a grid that’s not ready
    And then there’s the fact that wind turbines sited near people’s homes severely imapcts the health of many of those living close.
    1) Wind Turbine Noise, Sleep Quality, and Symptoms of Inner Ear Problems
    2) Wind Turbines can be Hazardous to Human Health
    3) U.S. government has known about Wind Turbine Syndrome since 1987 (U.S. Dept. of Energy)
    And wind turbines kill more birds – threatened eagles, hawks, falcons, osprey, etc. – than you could ever imagine:
    1) Wind turbines kill up to 39 million birds a year!
    2) US Wind Turbines Kill Over 600,000 Bats A Year (And Plenty Of Birds Too)
    Wind energy is a sham and only the wind industry, certain politicians, and their crony capitalist associates benefit. However, they are very good at sales propaganda.

  15. Elizabeth Barry says:

    As a result of birds being killed daily on Wolfe Island in the hundreds, the swallows are nearly gone; already on Amherst island we had no swallow nestings last year, when before we had two broods a year. They are devastated, and – so are we. Can you imagine a world with NO BIRDS? Get used to it. We’ll be overcome with mosquitoes, gnats, flies, maggots; Get used to an ugly new world, be sorry you have grandchildren, there will be nothing left to leave to them of the beautiful world we inherited.

  16. Doris Lane says:

    Absolutely horrible to put IWTs on Beautiful Amherst Island. The government has to be out of their minds WELL

  17. Sue3 says:

    OPA Meeting being held in Napanee February 4th:

    Large Renewable Procurement Interim Recommendations

    “The Ontario Power Authority will be hosting four regional community meetings to receive feedback and input on the LRP interim recommendations report and the development of the new large renewable energy competitive procurement.”

    Napanee – February 4, 2014

    6:00 – 8:00 p.m. presentation at 6:30 p.m.”
    Strathcona Paper Centre
    Lafarge Banquet Hall
    16 McPherson Drive, Napanee, ON, K7R 3L1

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