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Oppose White Pines Wind Farm in Milford area

My response to WPD Canada concerning their recently announced proposed White Pines Wind farm project in the Milford area.

Jim McPherson

To: Khlaire Parre, Director of Renewable Energy Approvals
WPD Canada

I have reviewed your draft proposal for “between 29 and 30” Industrial Wind Turbines to be constructed in the Milford area of South Marysburgh in Prince Edward County for your White Pines Project.
As a resident of South Marysburgh I wish to register my strong opposition to this project because of its serious negative impact on the health of residents in our neighbourhood, the destruction of wildlife habitat for the adjacent Important Bird Area, the needless abomination on our pastoral landscapes, and the assured downgrading of our residential property values.

I note that your proposal includes power transmission lines and a power substation.  Unfortunately your transmission lines traverse several kilometers to reach the substation.  In part of their route, they go along Maypul Layne Road, which was a route opposed by residents for the Gilead project at Ostrander Point and for which after two years we still have no answer from Gilead or Hydro One or MOE concerning which alternate route will be used for that project.

Unlike the Gilead project, however, you are including transmission lines and a substation in the scope of your project, and not abdicating this responsibility to Hydro One, so hopefully we will be able to get some answers from your people during the project’s public consultation process.
By copy of this email to Doris Dumais at MOE, I am reminding her that we still have no answer from Gilead about the routing of their transmission lines for their Ostrander Point project.

I hope we will be able to attend a public consultation event in the coming months to discuss our concerns before your project plans are developed further.   The negative implications of industrializing our rural community by such a serious intrusion of giant wind turbines is a matter that South Marysburgh residents will not accept without a fight.

Sincerely,
Jim McPherson

Filed Under: Letters and Opinion

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  1. Samantha Stevens says:

    Just a thought about the comments around personal sacrifice and the idea that our electricity has to come from somebody’s back yard… To me it is interesting that although some people are voluntarily making personal strides to consume fewer resources, our larger collective has a complete disregard for this kind of conservation. The sacrifice for the electricity everyone claims they need in greater and greater abundance is made by the Blanding’s Turtle and the Whip-poor-will, not by those who profess an interest in preserving something for the future but still need to heat their outdoor patio in the winter.

    We are still clutching at a Victorian notion of progress put forth by the Utilitarians which suggested that the greatest good for the greatest number is an adequate reason to industrialize the countryside. Positioning wind turbines and transmission stations where there are the fewest people makes sense with this model, but upon further examination, destabilizing vital ecosystems and dividing rural communities that provide food for larger populations seems pretty short-sighted and backward. Why are the sacrifices so necessary to preserve our rampant consumption to be made here rather than where the largest consuming population resides?

    Our economic model of infinite growth is not viable, and if it were applied to the body, we would call it cancer. Everything has limits, especially the earth’s capacity to feed our insatiable need for more – and the debate about how to power our little economic engines, whether we use coal or industrial turbines – can only end in one place, and that is in extinction. We are killing our host. Until we can foster a culture of conservation – yes, everyone making sacrifices in our day to day lives – that makes the destruction of the environment no longer an option, this kind of debate is like fiddling while Rome burns.

  2. Ernest Horvath says:

    I already provided a compromise Donna.
    But the pro alternate energy side keeps walking around it.
    Grants and subsidies to home owners which really use 30% of this power , business and farmers to adopt alternative energy. Business uses 70%.
    Seems to me that it shouldn’t matter how we go about reducing the demand if it so important.
    The Ontario Power Authority’s Integrated Power System Plan 2011 , OPA’s blueprint for our province’s electricity system that outlines needed investments in conservation, generation and transmission.
    This report states that we have 36,000 Mega-Watts (MW) of installed capacity now and we have 4,000MW of Inter State and Provincial transfers for a tidy 40,000.
    A few tears ago we were using 28-32,000MW.
    This recent hot spell we tipped the MW scales at less than 22,000.
    They expect we could save about 7,000MW due to conservation , add to that with the aid of grants and subsidies we could go a long long way.
    Of course alternate energy business would have to forego
    the profits 3 x the rate for conventional power and solar at 12 to 15 times the rate .
    It won’t be long before all the people that bought solar to get into the FIT program will be squashed anyway by the big players so it would be to their benefit as well.

    As far as jobs in manufacturing solar panels , China is already underpricing USA industry and shutting those down.
    Peterborough area has one , their parts come from China , Germany , etc , they assemble them at minimum wage , installers do get good dollars , but in the end , there are 3 jobs left to look after the site, those are the permanent local jobs.

    That being said , what are going to do with the other areas of issues ?

    It isn’t only power.

    The Lumber Industry.
    Transportation , Air , Ocean .
    Then we have Concrete , Steel , Plastics. Rubber. Glass . The Auto Sector.

  3. Donna says:

    You’re absolutely right, Renee! Both sides of the renewable energy issue are too polarized to ever agree. Neither camp is willing to read/consider what they view as propaganda collected by the other side. It’s sad what this issue has done to people’s relationships.

    What both the pros and the antis DO HAVE IN COMMON though, is that they both want to live happy and peaceful lives here in Prince Edward County. We just have differing views on what makes us happy.

    On my side (and for Killashandra’s benefit), I am happy that I try to live an examined life, to reduce my ecological footprint, to use as few resources as I need. I am happy to have a small house, to use passive and active solar, to grow food. I am happy to keep learning more about climate change and the new technologies that we can embrace to ameliorate our detrimental effect on the planet Earth. I am happy to make personal sacrifices to do all this.

    So, what will be, will be. I just hope we can all do enough to leave a viable planet for our children and grandchildren.

  4. Renee says:

    It’s okay John, we don’t have to agree.

  5. Killashandra Ree says:

    Donna, I notice that you attack anyone who is against Industrial wind turbines as being ‘anti-green’ and NIMBYs. You are not providing any real information to discredit their claims but you attack them personally.

    I am very ‘green’ and yet the facts seem to speak for themselves when I read both sides. I see very little actual ‘real’ data from the companies who are trying to install these behemoths in the County. There are vague promises of jobs, claims that no harm will come to humans or the environment. Yet the application (by Gilead) was to “harm maim & kill” known endangered species in an environmentally sensitive area. Their claim that there is no medical evidence on record about the harm to humans is false for two reasons, proper studies have not been done partially hampered by the fact that many of those that suffering debilitating effects are silenced by $$ compensation, contingent they sign contracts guaranteeing they will no longer discuss their predicaments. When hard medical evidence is brought forward, they attempt to dismiss and ignore it, or they produce studies they commission. Just like the tobacco companies did for years, claiming that there were no ill effects of smoking on health and no connection between smoking and cancer, when internal memos clearing indicated they knew full well the damages of smoking and second hand smoke. Just like the leaked memo from a senior consultant within the government stating the sound produced would be much higher that anticipated with the current . The current 550m distance was a number pulled out of a hat by the McGuinty government – there is absolutely no study or paper proving that distance is safe to humans. Should society wait until there are thousands of these towers wrecking unknown havoc on people’s health before we commission the studies to find safe distances? We are currently in a unique position in Ontario, having an excess of power over demand, that we have the time to do the health studies yet the McGuinty government instead of choosing the safe path, has taken our rights away from us to determine what we will allow in our community, and in passing the Green Energy Act, has sided with the wind producers, eliminating even the requirement of Environmental studies.

    Did you know that many of these wind energy companies are actually owned by the very oil companies that are creating one of the world’s worst environmental disasters in the Alberta Oil Sands? and their motivation is not to provide an alternate or green energy, but to buy ‘Carbon Credits’ so they can continue damaging the millions of acres of pristine wilderness in Northern Alberta? Yet, there have been countless articles that show IWTs have no carbon offset WHATSOEVER! From the mining of the ores, to the milling of the steel, then the transportation of the towers to the installation site, tons of carbon are released into the atmosphere along with copious amounts of pollutants. The installation, requires tons of concrete, the production of which produces even more carbon & pollution into the atmosphere. Then, because we cannot control when or if the wind blows, a gas-fired or coal-fired or nuclear-powered plant must exist or be built to back up the wind power.

    If there really is no harm to people. the environment, or to indigenous or threatened species, why all the subterfuge and the secrecy? Why do they sneak around a rural community signing contracts with individuals and counsel them not to discuss anything about them with any of their neighbours? Why the setting of neighbour against neighbour? Do you remember the old adage – divide and conquer? Have you become an unwitting pawn or a willing one?

    There are many links I could list, that have already been listed on this page and numerous others but I don’t think you are truly interested in reading anything unless it supports your side. I will gladly do so, if you are willing to provide more about yourself to repute the charge that you may be a ‘plant’ by a wind company, or wind energy association. You cannot claim be afraid of us, when we freely give our names so that you know who we are. Why are you so secretive about who you are? What are you hiding?

  6. John says:

    Mean while Renee wind capacity is increasing in every country mentioned in those articles. In 2010 Holland up 16 megawatts, France up over 25% and Australia has enough under construction to increase capacity 55%
    Victoria the subject of the doomsday article has enough under construction to more than double capacity and a further 400% capacity increase approved.
    That doesn’t seem to be turning against wind to me. turning against wind would be lessening installed capacity not increasing.
    Note all this added capacity is in spite of the recession we have been going through. Speaks volumes.

  7. John says:

    “losing support all around the world”
    Do you have anything to back that up? Installed capacity increased in 2010 all across Europe (over 10% overall) in China, India,Japan and the US. The only major world economy that didn’t add wind was Russia.
    Another factual error from the anti’s

  8. Ernest Horvath says:

    We are on opposite sides of the issue Donna.
    And for far different reasons than you or your industry.

    But that doesn’t mean we can’t sit at the table and come to an understanding.

    These are human beings , real people being impacted.
    It’s not a game , they are being hurt.

  9. Renee says:

    Great letter Jim, thank you.

    Industrial wind is losing support all around the world as people start to understand that it’s not a viable solution. We can only hope that Gilead and WPD get the message and move on before they leave permanent scars in South Marysburgh both on the land and between neighbours.

    They don’t live here, we do!

  10. Jo Anne Slaven says:

    Donna, I have to ask…how close is the nearest industrial wind turbine to your home? Are there any industrial wind turbines planned for installation within 1 kilometer of your home? Unless and until you can prove that you live within 1 kilometer of one of these machines, I don’t think you have the right to tell the rest of us that we are simply NIMBYs.

    I am very much in favour of alternate “clean” forms of energy, but the White Pines Wind Farm is proposing the erection of two 100 meter industrial wind turbines less than 1 kilometer from my house – one of these appears to be about 550 meters from my back door.

    All of the profits from the feed-in tariff paid to WPD Group will accrue to a private company located in Bremen, West Germany. All of the losses in property values resulting from this wind farm will accrue to the residents of South Marysburgh. Does this seem fair to you?

  11. Donna says:

    You are getting desperate, Ernest, accusing me of being paid by the ‘industry’ to confuse and attack the anti-greens! (And that’s what they are…not just anti-winds but anti-greens…anti-change my cushy lifestyle!)

    So…the public will be ‘duped’ by informing them about the benefits of renewable energy to create jobs in Ontario and help clean our air?! To let the public know that the anti-greens have mounted a campaign of misinformation? Hudak’s getting desperate too. That’s so pathetic that it’s laughable!

    What frightened me when I read the article, Ernest, was not that the public would be informed about the globally proven benefits of green energy but that ‘the Conservatives would support a move away from renewable energy’!!!! That’s scary!

    Canada’s emission targets are among the WORST in the industrialized world. No wonder Canada was called ‘Fossil of the Year’ and ‘Colossal Fossil’ at the Copenhagen climate change talks. It’s embarrassing to be a Canadian under Stephen Harper. His agenda is to give special breaks to oil-sands companies. You’re telling me that that’s alright with you?!!

    Finally, Ernest…your repeated spouting of daily generation and use displays a very short-sighted attitude. With continued development, Ontario will need more power; with new technologies demanding more electricity, Ontario will need more power. Ontario will need MORE power!

    From the Globe and Mail today: “Magna International and the Ontario Liberal government are set to announce an investment of more than $400-million in research and development into ELECTRIC vehicle technologies as Ontario strives to become a hub for the development of environmentally friendly vehicles.”

    Enough said.

  12. Ernest Horvath says:

    Donna is using text book practice .

    Please read this:
    http://toronto.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20101109/ontario-energy-politics-hudak-101109/20101109/?hub=TorontoNewHome

    People are paid by the Industry and Eco groups funded by your tax dollars that watch these sites , and other blogs and newspapers and their job is to redirect , confuse and attack posting sch as yours Jim.

    You have the right to feel the way you do.

    These people are being paid 3x the conventional rate for power , 12 times the rate for ground solar and 15 times the rate for rooftop solar.
    The profits are enormous.

    Refuting and attacking you is just one method to confuse the public and protect their interests…and that is one thing Profits.
    They have a captured market , with no competition with set rates for 20 years.

    There is one thing you can do …..and it is the only time your voice will matter is vote.
    The Liberals handed you to them , the NDP are no better when it comes to for profit energy programs.
    They have no issues destroying our natural scenic beauty for money.

    Total demand: 15737 MW (9:00 a.m. EDT – Aug. 29, 2011) Total generation: 16063 MW (Aug. 29 – 7:00-8:00)
    Excess generation: 326 MW
    WIND: 80 MW

    1200 IWT in Ontario with a capacity of 5000 MW producing 80 MW.

    I have attached the IESO site for you to track wind:

    http://www.ieso.ca/imoweb/siteshared/windtracker.asp

    It seems some don’t feel you have the right to enjoy the quality of life you paid for when you purchased your home.
    The NIMBY…comment is standard…
    They don’t care about you , they are protecting their jobs and the profits ..

  13. Donna says:

    So, Jim, what would you suggest as a solution for our ever increasing need for power? A nuclear power plant on the south shore?! Everyone wants power but no one wants to see it being generated and transported. This NIMBYism sees no limits, does it? Well, guess what? Our electricity has to come from SOMEBODY’s back yard!!!!

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