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Wind Turbine Proponents Interested Only in $$$

This blue-gray gnatcatcher's views on wind turbines in an IBA seem quite clear. Photo by Greg Barteluk

A consultant’s report estimates that 1,270 bats and 602 birds were killed by Wolfe Island’s 86 turbines from July 1 to Dec. 31 of last year, the project’s first months of operation. In an area that sees only a fraction of the bird migration that the South Shore Important Bird Area does in Prince Edward County, we can only imagine the slaughter when the Ostrander Point turbines commence turning. Proponents of wind energy yammer on endlessly about how birds will be migrating at altitudes many times higher than the turbines, but feign deafness over concerns about the tens of thousands of birds that descend on this peninsula each spring as they seek out the first land mass after crossing Lake Ontario. Since these birds migrate at night and are not readily visible except by radar, proponents refuse to believe these numbers. Yet, all we have to do is recall 1982 when over 10,000 migrant song birds were killed in one night alone at the Lennox Generating Plant chimneys due to improper lighting combined with a low ceiling, to realize that these numbers are very real.  It is a travesty that a wind farm should even be contemplated, let alone endorsed, for the Prince Edward Point peninsula – a designated Important Bird Area – when facts alone should indicate that bird mortality here will occur in numbers unlike anything we have ever seen. And they call this “green energy.” It is amazing how quickly we can label ourselves as “clean and green” when dollar signs are waved in front of us.  As the world population continues to escalate at 53 million people per year, wind farms are nothing more than a band-aid solution to a much greater problem, and I for one am looking forward to the day when I will no longer be around to see what hair brain scheme will be dredged up next to mask our extreme wastefulness and refusal to curb our burgeoning human population.  

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About the Author: Terry Sprague became interested in nature at an early age. "Growing up on the family farm at Big Island, 12 miles north of Picton, on the shore of the beautiful Bay of Quinte, I was always interested in the natural world around me. During my elementary school days at the small one-room school I attended on Big Island, I received considerable encouragement from the late Marie Foster, my teacher in Grades 6 through 8. Her home was a short distance from where I lived and through the years she was responsible for developing my interest in birds. The late Phil Dodds, a former editor with the Picton Gazette, also a great nature enthusiast, suggested I undertake a nature column - a column I have submitted weekly since 1965. The column has since expanded to the Napanee Beaver and the Tweed News. Life has been good, and through the years I have enjoyed working with such nature related agencies as Glenora Fisheries Research as a resource technician, Sandbanks Provincial Park as a park interpreter and Quinte Conservation as a naturalist and outdoor events coordinator. As a nature interpreter, currently working from my home office, I now create and lead numerous interpretive events in the area and offer indoor audio/visual presentations to interested groups. Could one who is interested in nature have enjoyed a more exhilarating period in the work force?" Terry's website is www.naturestuff.net

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  1. Karen Smith says:

    Why wind turbines when solar panels on rooftops can be implemented more easily? Politics, that’s why. Could it be that the Ontario government made an agreement with Japanese wind turbine companies and now they have to honour the contract? Ask your MPP, Ms. Dombrowski. Acts like the Green Energy Act remove yet another piece of our democratic foundation. Ask Mr. McGuity if he expects to get re-elected. I doubt he will. MPP John R. O’Toole asks citizens to sign his petition that the Min. of the Environment revise the Green Energy Act to allow full public imput (which it doesn’t now) and municipal approvals (which PEC doesn’t have the right to) on all industrial wind farm developments and that a moratorium on wind dev. be declared until an independent study in the health & environmental impacts of industrial wind turbines. For a copy, telephone 1 800 661 2433.

  2. Jim Sheppard says:

    In a normal world when ever there is too much of a commodity it gets cheaper to buy. Well not if you are Ontario Hydro. When Ontario Hydro has too much power they are forced to pay Quebec and New York millions of dollars to take our power. Did anyone ask you or me if we wanted it. No. Instead they payed some one else to take it. Shouldn’t we at least get a rebate on our hydro bill. We have been lectured and priced into conserving power for the last decade, forced to except the ugly sites of wind farms polluting our country side and now they tell us that they have too much hydro on certain days and are forced to pay our neighbours to take it. When does the madness stop.!! Check out the video link here. http://toronto.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20110124/ontario-pays-to-rid-power-110124/20110124/?hub=TorontoNewHome
    Jim Sheppard

  3. You’re absolutely correct – we do need to work together to address a problem brought on by our greed and refusal to control our burgeoning population. To question whether “nature needs to exist” is both asinine and immature. Saving the planet cannot be done at the expense of nature when our very existence depends on biodiversity. That principal is taught at the elementary school level. Proponents of wind energy are very much in the minority and the case against them is building.

    http://windconcernsontario.wordpress.com/2010/09/19/trca-toronto-and-region-conservation-authority-shows-%E2%80%9Cconservation%E2%80%9D-leadership/

  4. WindTurbineTechStudent says:

    I am a city dweller who is currently enrolled in the Wind Turbine Tech Course at one of the Colleges in the Area. I personally think that every one who is against the turbines is a bunch of hypocirtes who dont think about nature but only themselves and where they get ther CO2 PRODUCING PRODUCTS from. If we all put one turbine on our house, we could solve all problems with both sides no birds would die and no oil would be burned. But wait everyone is too cheap to put the money up front cause they are too worried about ROI (return on “Investment”). If your return is that important then think of it this way…. Is it more important for nature to exist or is it more impportant to turn the planet into a Mars wasteland. Just think about it and you might just relieze that all of us need to work together and not care about a few deaths too save the ENTIRE PLANET. To Quote alot of different people “You needs to crack a few eggs to make an omlette”

  5. Terry says:

    And neither can many small passerine species repopulate when we are looking at many thousands of casulaties daily through the peak migration. I haven’t a clue where people get this notion that it will be only a handful of bird strikes when Lennox Generating had just over 10,000 casulaties in just one night. We need birds, we need all wildlife. It’s called biodiversity and our very survival is dependant on their existence, something we learned in Grade 5. At a world population increase of 53 million people every year, I am wondering what the proponents of so-called green energy plan to do in 20 years (do the math) when absolute refusal to conserve what we have and refusal to accept responsibility for anything (especially cats which people keep droning on about)pushes our needs for energy well beyond the ability of short term solutions.

  6. carolinedraper says:

    The difference is the type of bird – Raptors. Everyone agrees that standard birds get killed by many more things each day, but Raptors cannot re populate as fast. Therefore any damage to them is a huge issue. In the Uk where I come from a wind turbine company recognised this and so built a special Golden Eagle nest site away from the turbien site. This was a huge success and has since become the policy in the UK. Raptors are listed as threatened and therefore wind turbine companies in the UK get HUGE fines if any are found sliced and diced near turbines.

  7. Jean D says:

    When you’re gone and no longer have to watch wind farms become errected, your children’s children will be dealing with Katrina-scale storms on a regular basis because your generation was concerned about birds… The 2 biggest threats to birds are windows and cats- should we get rid of those too? Oil sludge is contaminating waterways and beaches in our own backyards and is killing birds and other important wildlife. I don’t see you protesting the dirty fossil fuels that are still being used on a MUCH larger scale in the U.S.- which is the leader in C02 emissions in the world! I for one believe my children’s future is more important than a few hundred bird deaths beacuse of wind turbines. There’s no down side to green wind energy in my opinion.

  8. Sedona says:

    I was just reading about this on line at one of the Nature sites – the wind turbines. It had a picture of a lovely
    hawk

  9. Jan Roblin says:

    Mr.Sprague, This is an important issue. In Scarborough there is a plan to put wind turbines along the Scarborough Bluffs. People who live here have the same concerns re birds. Are there any co-ordinated efforts of communities facing these proposals? Are there communities that have managed to stop the structures being built ?
    At the meetings in Scarborough, proponents were bussed in, not residents of Scarborough at all.

  10. Terry says:

    …..or, we could just become more responsible (oil spills, cats), conserve what we have, promote the use of solar, and stop breeding like rats. It’s called “personal responsibility for our actions”, a very unfashionable term today.

  11. K. Jensen says:

    You’re all totally right. Compared to offshore oil spills, skyscrapers and cats, wind turbines are definitely not the answer. I say we build more nukes (who cares about the waste of cost) and forget about this whole renewable energy thing. Tar sands all the way!! At least they don’t kill any birds, right??

  12. M Anderson says:

    Great article. People need to take their rose colored glasses off when it comes to industrial wind power. What is happening on Wolfe Island is a massacre and all wind projects anywhere near IBA should be stopped immediately.

  13. Borys Holowacz says:

    A month or two ago, I would not have agreed with you. Figure a few birds lost for green energy was okay.

    But now that you have provided numbers for Wolfe Island, I have second thoughts. Knowingly placing wind turbines on a migrating pathway does not make sense.

    Does not make any sense at all, just senseless killing.

  14. Sandra says:

    I totally agree. Our trees are disappearing, little colored boxes called homes are being erected while the tenants stare at barren landscapes. Is this what we want? Songbirds killed in turbines, bear and deer killed while wandering city streets, simply because their own habitat has been destroyed? This is progress? Then leave me out of it.

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