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Threat of wind turbines put my way of life under siege

It was one year ago today that I sent my first e-mail to a group to explain why I had suddenly become an outspoken advocate against “green” energy as the Ontario government is delivering it.

If you know me at all, you know that I am a person who holds strong opinions but generally doesn’t preach or lecture. All of that changed in the past few years as my way of life in the County came under siege from the threat of wind turbines. I started an e-mail campaign and have sent about an e-mail a week throughout the last year to this group.

The turbines are not yet here, but we are in the 11th hour as we fight to protect our homes and our health. It is still incredible to me that we have to challenge the Ministry of the Environment (whose job it is to protect the environment) on the destruction it is contemplating to a rare alvar habitat home to 14 endangered species. And we have to do it on our own dime! The local groups here which are appealing the Renewable Energy Approval are on the hook for up to $150,000 each x 2 groups = $300,000 in costs. Meanwhile, the Ministry of the Environment and the wind developer have deep pockets so this Environmental Review Tribunal is no skin off their nose, financially, it is just a nuisance for them to have to be in court at all.

If we are not successful in our fight, I am convinced that my health will be affected. I have an imbalance in my inner ear which puts me near the top of the list of likely victims. As a result, we may not be able to live in our beautiful home. We may not be able to sell it for its full value. We may not be able to sell it all. This will certainly impact our retirement both financially and emotionally.

All of this for:
energy that Ontario does not need – Ontario is a net exporter of energy 80% of the time.
energy whose supply is a complete mismatch for demand, yet has first to grid rights. The wind blows most when Ontario needs it the least.
energy that requires constant back up from more traditional sources of electricity, which means those sources have to ramp up or down to allow wind first to grid rights. This makes the back up source less efficient.
energy that is 4 times more expensive than hydro. Most people are willing to pay a premium for green energy but not a 400% premium.
energy that causes major health issues for about 25% of people who live too close to them. Sleep disturbance on an ongoing basis can severely impact health.

As you know, if you have been part of my campaign from the beginning, there are many more issues with wind than just the few I have listed here but in my mind, even one of them is reason to pause and re-examine the current policy. Unfortunately, that has not been the case even with the new premier and cabinet in place.

I want to thank you for sticking with me and for sending back messages of support.
I have probably not sent as many e-mails in the past few weeks as I did at the beginning of my campaign. The Tribunal is taking up a lot of time and energy but I hope to be able to find time soon to start up again.

-Karen Empringham

Filed Under: Letters and Opinion

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  1. Mark says:

    Well Ken, shouldn’t get off topic but since you raised it. Are there only a handful of drivers that understand their responsibility when approaching traffic lights that aren’t functioning? Drivers on Main St. just flow right thru the non functioning lights like they have exclusive rights over the drivers from the other 4 entry points. Why would they think they have an imaginary green light over everyone else? It becomes a 4 way stop for everyone and in this unique County setup it becomes a 6 way stop.


  2. Ken Globe says:

    I’m waiting for someone to complain about the traffic light downtown that has been out since Saturday…

  3. Mark! says:

    I really cannot wait for this issue to go away. So sick and tired of the rhetoric and hyperbole from BOTH sides. Its exhausting.

  4. David Norman says:

    @ Jack… there you go, just as I promised. And to your benefit, it is apparent that Barnard does not does not recognize himself in the puerile assertions he makes about others.

  5. Mike Barnard says:

    Thanks Jack. It’s often amusing I agree, but the reactions of True Believers such as Mr. Norman have value outside of humour.

    My comments are aimed not at the anti-wind crowd, but at the quiet majority who are interested in the facts of wind energy. Mr. Norman’s and others’ responses — intemperate, frothing and spectacularly ill-informed as they often are — assist by helping casual readers realize where sanity and moderation lies. The vast majority of people when presented with a calm and referenced presentation of facts vs unreferenced absolutist statements tainted with conspiracy thinking will quickly realize which argument is more likely correct. Many more people read comments than write them; they are seeing the quality of the arguments.

    All that people such as Mr. Garand, myview1872, Valewood, Morninglori/Laura Griffins and Mr. Norman have to do to counter the impression that they leave is to be balanced, factual, nuanced and focussed on specific problems in specific areas that they wish to mitigate. If they were reasonable, they would be persuasive. This doesn’t appear to be their nature however.

  6. David Norman says:

    Jack… I wish Barnard did indeed wind me up… I would find the exchange more stimulating. Unfortunately Barnard’s rhetoric has become so boring and redundant I barely get a chuckle any more. Bye the bye, I did not state that everyone should ignore him, simply that I would. That being said, seems I’m as intermittent and inconsistent as an Industrial Wind Turbine in producing what I state. I’ll do my best to help fulfill your wish for more Barnard by continuing to motivate his attention seeking.

  7. Mark says:

    It takes a special kind of person to reap enjoyment from a sensitive issue that threatens to harm so many and the environment in a zest for the almighty dollar.

  8. Jack says:

    Mike I think it is absolutely hilarious how you are able to wind these anti-wind turbine fanatics up. David Norman stated back on April 17th. that everyone should ignore your comments but he still continues to respond himself. Keep up the good work, I enjoy it. Jack

  9. David Norman says:

    @ Mike Barnard… as you troll the internet seeking attention, responses to your comments, so that you might condescend with your typically “totalitarian” arrogant assertions, you then express umbrage at having your version of “revealed truth” challenged. This is a “tiny circle” of sociopathic expression.
    As to your comments regarding “peat bogs” and Co2 emissions, I direct you to your own references regarding the “life cycle” contributions of Industrial Wind Turbines in this respect, which disingenuously do not, and could not given the lack of empirically based scientific indications, adequately account for externals such as the removal of natural carbon syncs for foundations, access roads, watershed disruption, the resulting micro climate factors, etc.
    To date, there is insufficient empirically derived information to determine, based on sound principles of scientific methodology,replication and consistent relevant standards of measurement, to affirm any detrimental, positive or benign effects or course of action. So we all use our own “common sense” to “judge for ourselves” and determine any precaution necessary.

  10. Mike Barnard says:

    For those wondering what Johanna is on about, the specific finding was that for some deep historical peat bog conditions in Scotland, disturbing the bog would release more CO2 than would be saved by wind turbines.

    Note that this has nothing to do with wind turbines not being installed on deep peat bogs, for example every other wind turbine site in the world.

    Love the tag line of Johanna’s source too: “Inside Every Liberal there is a Totalitarian Screaming to Get Out.” Doesn’t that just reek of credibility and a balanced viewpoint?

    The link Johanna was responding to is below in my previous comment from April 21. Please judge the evidence for yourself.

  11. Johanna says:

    Tis is for Mark Barnard re C02 emmissions

    Green Wind Farms Create More Carbon Than They Save

  12. klem says:

    There are some parts of the US where they lightened the regulations against the killing of endangered species of birds, in order to build wind farms. So it wasn’t such a big deal anymore if a Golden Eagle was chopped up by a wind turbine. Astonishing.

    Wow, what has happened to modern day environmentalism?

  13. David Norman says:

    Henri, I completely agree. I must admit that when Mike Barnard publicly elevated me to his “climate change deniers” and “true believers” lists, I let this adulation go to my head. At your request I shall here-with not afford him any further direct recognition no matter how much green tripe he presents for my consumption (though it is called “green tripe” because it has a high chlorophyll content, in reality it is often greyish brown due to other undigested compounds).

  14. Henri Garand says:

    To countylive commentators:

    Though I support everyone’s right to free speech, I wonder about the value of responding to Mike Barnard’s postings. Responses are not likely to change his mind. The links to his own blog indicate how closely his self-image is tied to messianic support for wind. Comments merely inflate this grossly swollen ego and give him further opportunity to spread disinformation.

    We don’t need distractions from someone who lives half a world away and who will bear no consequences for County wind projects.

    Ask yourselves why countylive readers are suddenly cursed with Barnard’s interference. The Ostrander Point appeal may have enormous repercussions for the wind industry. Of course, propagandists will try to sow doubt and discord through any means possible and thereby try to limit the funding needed for a successful ERT appeal.

    The only way to get rid of Mikey’s meddling is to ignore it. Please let him die of neglect.

  15. David Norman says:

    @ Mark… the life cycle analysis that Mike Barnard pontificates does indeed have merit, however, avoids many negative externals such as other critical Green House Gas contributions and the significant sulfide, thorium radiation and other particulate pollution, and the resulting environmental degradation produced by rare earth mining, among other questionable attributes. The most significant and problematic aspects of his presentation are the unaccounted for favorable ratios applied and the over estimations of lifecycle output of both wind and solar. These are not adequately accounted for in any of the analysis he presents.
    The “grid management professionals” that Barnard refers to rely on digital technology patented by IBM (the company Barnard works for) and IBM’s production partner in this respect, Samsung. In fact, IBM and Samsung recently consummated their relationship with an extraordinary licensing deal for patents, many of which relate to smart grid applications. Perhaps some of the 7 billion $ gift of Ontario taxpayer’s money given to Samsung behind closed doors by McGuinty, without public or legislative scrutiny, has already found its way into the production of smart grid technology which they disingenuously promote as a solution to the problematic nature of wind and solar, power production intermittency and predictability.

  16. Mike Barnard says:

    @Mark, actually the CO2e emissions are calculated for the full lifecycle of each form of generation, cradle to grave. This includes all raw materials mining and processing, all manufacturing, all shipping, all construction, all maintenance and all decommissioning.

    The meta-analysis of lifecycle cost analyses across all forms of generation shows that wind energy has the lowest CO2e-emissions of any form of generation. Full lifecycle — including the concrete bases antis love to talk about — its at 8 g / KWh of generated electricity. For comparison, nuclear is 11 g / KWh, shale gas generation is around 500 g / KWh and coal is around 1000 g / KWh.

    Real world study and assessment after study and assessment confirms that wind energy eliminates 99.8%+ of fossil fuel CO2e emissions per MWh from the grid for every MWh hour of wind generated. Fossil fuel generation, coal in many parts of the world, shale gas in Ontario, is the first to be dumped from the mix due to high operating costs.

    My apologies but you’ve been getting your information from a bad source. Have a look at the studies, links and expert opinions from real grid management professionals in the following for some better information.

  17. Doris Lane says:

    Tom, I am not a fan of solar panels and I agree they disrupt the environment and kill the land they are put on but I do not think they have the negative effects of IWT’s, which also disturb the land and disrupt the environment along with causing a risk to animals and humans
    The solar farm on Highway 62 is large but is mainly on scrub land.
    Everyone is entitled to their opinion and should not be put down by it but if you want to read some facts by experts, go to the CCSAGE website and read about the experts that have been at the ERT.

  18. Mark says:

    So no one is confused neither solar or wind is clean taking into account the footprint of equipment production. It’s all a well contrived scheme to first scare the population into believing the earth is going to warm and the climate will become unbearable. When that is achieved it sets up the perfect storm (no pun intended lol) to make money hand over fist at the expense of a widely naive population. We don’t need it and it will have little if any effect on CO emissions. It is really a scam but one that is supported by government so that makes it right. It’s the same theory as the government uses running lottery gambling rackets,it’s all good and ok if they run it and they support it. All because of the $$$$$$!

  19. Jack says:

    @In Defence. I haven,t seen anybody plans to put these IWT,s in downtown Picton as of yet. Maybe you can convince some of your neighbors and then they can leave South Marysburgh to hell alone.

  20. In Defence says:

    My Last Comment Correction: they do follow your way of thinking should read they do not follow your way of thinking

    Sorry to confuse

  21. In Defence says:


    You wanted a name? Here it is. Tom Allworth Now attack. They ARE my ideas and views. Seems like you are judging comments simply because they do follow your thinking.

    I was just wondering how receptive the idea is to put a solar panel farm on Ostrander Point instead similar to the huge area on highway 62. They are another clean form of energy. They do however, gooble up a large footprint and with all of the construction and re-landscaping harm the enviroment.

    I will not respond to anything further on this on sided site.

  22. Doris Lane says:

    Come on “In Defence” most of us are using our own names. Not that it really matters what your name is as Your ideas are way off base. You are able to express your ideas here and that is Ok. Just don’t criticize other people for expressing theirs.

  23. David Norman says:

    Samantha… I was quite taken by your comment, and in particular your statement “have there been examples in history where one group tries to discredit another by calling them crazy?”

    Interestingly, yesterday I received an email from Mike Barnard, who has a comment on this thread and a few other related ones on CountyLive, which accused me of being, among other things, “weird”, “a creepy stalker” and “bizarre” and suggesting that I should seek “professional help”. In previous blogs Barnard has named and listed me as a “climate change DENIER” and has taken this recent impetus to question my mental faculties because I had the apparent audacity to reply to his assertions.

    As to your question, it is commonly referenced historically to the Communist regime of the U.S.S.R., where political opponents were refuted and disposed of on the basis of “mental aberration”. A more current and similar tactic is referred to as “Godwin’s Law”, also known as Godwin’s Rule of Nazi Analogies. It is based on an observation made by Mike Godwin in 1990 that has since become an Internet adage. It states: “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.” In other words, Godwin observed that, given enough time, in any online discussion—regardless of topic or scope—someone inevitably makes a comparison to Hitler or the Nazis.” Hence Barnard’s reference to me as a “DENIER”, a pejorative assertion premised from “Holocaust Denial”. Barnard employs these rhetorical tactics in a petulant attempt to limit discussion because of his desire to equivocate.

    Samantha, the conclusion to your comment is quite compelling to me: “Every time our society needs to have an important conversation – such as “if we erect wind turbines will the end justify the means?” – we seem to devolve into some kind of verbal feces flinging that would make our monkey forbears proud”. Historically, although I cannot recall the source of this reference, “countries (societies) that are at peace with their neighbors inevitably turn their prejudices, hatreds and other inherent displaced cognitive dissonance inward”.

    My contribution in this respect is based on the following strategic considerations:

    Never apologize.

    You’re up against thieves, charlatans, and bitter misanthropes who would blithely ruin millions of lives if they had their way.

    Stay in their face, never back down, meet them wherever you find them with clenched jaw and closed fist.

    Mock them, berate them, and spit on their views.

    I have seen nothing in the years I have been following this Industrial Wind Turbine pogrom (Godwin’s Rule) that would cause me to think otherwise. I do indeed wish to make my “monkey forebears” proud.

  24. In Defence says:

    Just as I expected… Everytime anybody tries to present their support side to this long story of wind energy they get trampled on. I thought this blog was for everyone who wanted to express their opinion whether factual or otherwise. It appears that this site is only for those individuals who resist wind energy. I see the same writers who are against wind farms on this site day after day, year after year. Few dare to dispute them for fear of being chastised. We all the same right to free speech. You present your side and we should be able to present our side without excessive commenting. Let the readers decide what to accept or reject.

    By the way there is nothing “insidious” going on.

  25. Samantha says:

    Is it my imagination or is there a new and insidious flavour in the rhetoric being put forth by wind factory enthusiasts? Apparently people who report health symptoms as a result of ongoing contact with industrial wind turbines are making it all up, and what’s worse, their imaginary health problems are so contagious that other people get them just by hearing about it. I think it is even called Wind Turbine Syndrome so that it sounds all official like a mental illness instead of an attempt to silence a group of people whose experience and opinions may diverge from the cherished notions of another group of people. I know it sounds conspiratorial, but think people – have there been examples in history where one group tries to discredit another by calling them crazy? Am I the only one that finds this kind of callous and disingenuous argument distressing? Every time our society needs to have an important conversation – such as “if we erect wind turbines will the end justify the means?” – we seem to devolve into some kind of verbal fece flinging that would make our monkey forebears proud.

  26. Doris Lane says:

    Even when the facts on wind energy used by certain people are not the real facts. maybe in 10 years time the real facts will be apparent to all those pro wind people but then it will be too late for all of us. Lets hope the ERT will be sucessful and we will stop the madness. Other countries in the world are getting out of wind energy. Too bad we did not take a lesson from others.

  27. In Defence says:

    Well put Mike Barnard!!!!! To bad Doris has to attack someone who supports wind energy with FACTS. There is always 2 sides to the story.

    I admire your courage to stand by your conviction.

  28. Doris Lane says:

    Mike what a bunch of garbage you print. Karen is correct in everything she says. It is too bad the people of PEC have to spend so much money to try and protect our County and our People.
    AS Chris Keen says in another blog the ERT tribunial is the most important thing happening in our County at this time. If you have not attended this event make sure you do once the review continues,, Do not forget April 25th at the Regent

  29. Lori Cairns says:

    Pro IWT spin: It’s all in your head.

    Pro IWT goal: It’s all in my wallet.

  30. Mike Barnard says:

    It’s unfortunate that anti-wind campaigners spreading fear and disinformation have made Ms. Empringham’s life stressful. And it’s a pity that she chooses to become one of those spreaders of ill health and disinformation herself.

    For some balance:

    Wind farms don’t harm human health, anti-wind campaigners do. 17 major reviews world wide of all of the available research by credible, independent groups have cleared wind farms of health impacts. Meanwhile, studies in the UK, Australia and New Zealand point the finger at anti-wind lobbyists spreading health fears and jacking up stress.

    Wind farms don’t harm property values: five major studies in the US and UK of 46,000 property transactions confirm this. As with health complaints, anti-wind campaigners whipping up fears are responsible for minor lulls before wind farms become operational, with properties often accruing value faster near operational wind farms. This makes sense: more jobs and more tax-revenue funded services make wind farm regions more attractive to people.

    Wind farms don’t require any more backup than coal or nuclear plants do until they are supplying a very large percentage energy, and when wind energy drops, it’s predictable and minor, unlike major transmission or generation failures.

  31. C. Bayne says:

    “Most people are willing to pay a premium for green energy”

    “Green Energy” is a marketing slogan, you might just as well say that most people are suckers who are willing to pay a premium for a “name” brand because they believe in Mr. Clean or the Energizer Bunny.

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