From the Thunder Bay, Ontario – Chronicle Journal:
When I first heard that industrial wind turbines were to be installed on the Nor‘Wester Mountains I thought “Wonderful!” We bought our property, less than one kilometre from the proposed site, and began to plan our environmentally friendly home, complete with solar and geothermal heat.
Once I discovered how big the turbines are (see diagram) I decided to do some research. What I learned was nothing less than alarming. At Horizon Wind‘s recent deputation to city council, CEO Anthony Zwig, said it best: “Green energy is all about economics.” I couldn‘t agree more.
The Copenhagen newspaper Politiken reported, “The increase in the demand for coal, needed to plug the gap left by underperforming wind farms, meant that Danish carbon emissions rose by 36 per cent in 2006.” The Danish experience (leaders in wind energy) suggests “wind energy is inefficient, expensive and not even particularly green.” Denmark has now restricted wind energy projects to off-shore developments only.
Der Spiegel reported that despite over 20,000 wind turbines in Germany, “German CO2 emissions haven‘t been reduced by even a single gram” and even the Green Party has recognized the problem.
The Wall Street Journal explained last September that in order to cover the inconsistencies of the wind power now on the German grid, “Germany‘s gas consumption for power generation has more than doubled between 1990 and 2007.”
Never has a coal plant been closed as a result of wind power. Wind is completely dependent on traditional power supplies which run idly at all times in order to fill the gaps on the grid when the wind doesn‘t blow.
While we cannot stop the economic world from turning, we must consider the devastating impacts of industrial wind turbines when placed too close to human habitation and wildlife habitats.
Two endangered species dwell on the Nor‘Westers. The White Pelican and the Peregrine Falcon. The raptors, including the Peregrine, use the thermals, created by the turbines to hover for longer periods while searching for prey. As a result, their wings get caught in the blades, and they fall to their death.
The low frequency sound and infrasound created by industrial wind turbines travels through the earth and drives away wildlife. Shadow flicker sets off an alarm signal in wildlife forcing them to abandon their habitat. While the wildlife can flee, the animals living nearby suffer.
Some 400 goats died in Taiwan after eight industrial wind turbines were installed close to their grazing land. The farmer reported that “The goats looked skinny and wouldn‘t eat. One night I went out and the goats were all standing up; they weren‘t sleeping.” The wind developer ultimately paid the farmer in part to rebuild his farm elsewhere.
Ontario beef farmer Ross Brindley is suing the wind developer after being driven out of business. Once the turbines went up his cattle started exhibiting aggressive and erratic behaviour, including “the kicking of newborn calves, prolapsed birthing, weight loss, decline in fertility, deformed calves and a high incidence of stillbirths.”
The most serious concern is the effect on human health. Health Canada advises: “There are peer-reviewed scientific articles indicating that wind turbines may have an adverse impact on human health.” People forced to live close to wind farms are reporting a core set of adverse health symptoms that are consistent across the globe. Many families have had to abandon their homes in order to protect their health.
Sleep disturbance, tinnitus, headaches, hearing and vision problems, stress, anxiety, depression, cognitive impairment, concentration and memory problems, heart palpitations and hypertension are some of the symptoms.
Peer-reviewed research found changes in sleep pattern, behaviour and academic performance in children. “Seventy per cent of school-aged children in the study had a decline in school performance while exposed to wind turbine noise. School performance recovered after exposure ceased.”
In Southern Ontario, 98 of 124 respondents report altered health since wind turbines have been installed near homes. The responses are under-reported due to non-disclosure agreements, good neighbour clauses, and those who fear losing real estate value.
While the wind industry has leapt at a chance to make enormous amounts of money here in Ontario, it seems the people must pay heavily, not only from their pockets.