Wednesday, March 9, 2016

"Not in My Back Yard!"

How often have we heard this?
Several years ago, with the throws of development in core areas of our city, McDonalds was proposed to be built in the Appleby Line area near White Pines in Burlington. Sadie and her husband petitioned the quiet residential neighbourood to ban the McDonald fast food outlet...fearing this would become a hang-out for teens. Their message was...“Not in My Backyard!”

In every city across Canada (and no doubt in United States), there is controversy when citizens may deem a certain acceptance by council to be a detriment to specific residential and commercial areas...such as: casinos, huge box stores, rezoning of lands...and Hamilton has the ongoing LRT proposal (Light Rail Transit) with all its pros and cons...finally to be settled in Municipal Elections!
Life Changes! Cities Change! There are Environmental Changes!

Wind Turbines” is a Big Issue Today

Wind Energy is the fastest growing energy in the world!

Wind Power in Denmark: In the mid 90’s when visiting friends in this country, I was introduced to 3 or 4 wind turbines in a rural field. ”What are they?” I inquired, viewing these tall slim silvery towers with three blades on each, spinning in the wind…with a purring sound resonating in the country air.

Denmark was a pioneer in developing commercial wind power during the 1970’s…today a substantial share of the wind turbines around the world are produced by Danish manufacturers such as Vestas and Siemen’s Wind Power. Over 30% of Denmark’s electrical production in 2012 is from wind power. The Danish government has adopted a plan to increase the share of electricity production to 50% by 2020. Numerous wind turbines can be seen operating along Denmark’s extensive seacoast.

A Host of Wind Turbines in California: The following summer, I flew to Los Angeles to meet a friend for a vacation. En route in his orange MGB to Palm Springs…“Lo and Behold”…was a valley with many, many wind turbines in the San Bernardino Mountains…their blades were rapidly spinning as winds blew down the valley…creating energy! Wind Turbines also operate through California’s Coachella Valley, San Gorgoona Pass, Lucerne Valley and Palm Springs…even more localities today.

How Toronto’s Waterfront Wind Turbine Kick-Started a Green Energy Revolution: Twelve years ago, the Toronto Renewable Energy Cooperative found a simple idea. Build a highly visible urban wind turbine…and it ended with the most robust renewable energy regime in North America. Visible to hundreds of thousands of commuters and park-goers every day, the wind turbines at Exhibition Place on Toronto’s waterfront is a daily reminder of the power of green energy in Ontario.
This was the first Wind Turbine I’d seen locally in Canada.

Ontario ~ Now Being Inundated With Wind Turbines: Wolfe Island Wind Farm is a large project located in the St. Lawrence River near Kingston and Gananoque. It became operational in June 2009 and consists of 86 2.3 mega-watt Siemens model Mark II.

Southern Ontario has many wind turbines operating in rural areas and westward to London and Goderich areas (along Lake Huron). Erie Shores Wind Farm is a 99 mega-watt wind power facility. Opened in 2006, Erie Shores generates enough clean electricity every year to power the equivalent of approximately 24,000 households.

Although many are in favour of these wind turbines and their benefits,
others “don’t want them in their backyards!

Disadvantages of Wind Power
The strength of the wind is not constant and it varies from zero to storm force…no wind, no power!
Many feel that the countryside should be left untouched without these large structures being built.
Wind turbines are noisy; each one can generate the noise level of a car at 70 mph.
When wind turbines are being manufactured, some pollution is produced.
Large wind farms are needed to provide entire communities with enough electricity. The largest single turbine available today can only provide enough electricity for 475 homes when running at full capacity. How many would it need for a town of 100,000 people?

Advantages of Wind Power
The wind is free and with modern technology it can be captured efficiently.
Once the turbine is built, the energy it produces does not cause greenhouse gases or other pollutants.
Although wind turbines can be very tall, each takes up only a small plot of land…which means that the land below can still be used…farming can still continue in agricultural areas.
Many people find wind farms an interesting feature of the open landscape.
Remote areas not connected to electrical power, can use wind turbines to produce a supply.
Wind turbines have a role to play in both the developed and third world.
Wind turbines are available in a range of sizes which means a vast range of people and businesses can use them. Single households to small towns and villages can benefit from range of the available sizes.

Romanian Monks Turn to Wind Energy
You could call Father Iustin a pioneer. He installed a wind turbine long before the hundreds that you can now see from his hillside. He was the first monk in the Constanta region to power his monastery with renewable technology and now he gladly advises other monasteries to do the same. “I like being a monk,” says Father Iustin Petre, one of the founders of the Casian Monastery in Romania. “It is free, no stress. It is quiet up here. Birds float on the wind over a landscape that would be at home in the Mediterranean.” At least 10 monasteries in the area have followed in the footsteps of Casian and have some sort of renewable energy system. To Father Iustin, it is clear that ‘the wind can provide’.

Hitting the Jackpot with Wind Energy in Poland
“We feel like we’ve won the lottery!” Miroslawa and Mieczslaw Horodiuk sit on a couch in their living room, their aged cat stares through the window. Here in northwestern Poland, a late spring snow has fallen, delaying the spring planting for this farming family. They rest easy knowing that summer will come and they now have a guaranteed income. Ten years ago, a wind energy developer approached the Horodiuk family to rent part of their farmland for a wind turbine. The local city mayor became interested in wind turbines while on holiday in Denmark. He returned, determined to make his commune attractive to wind energy developers. These efforts have made his city...‘the best rural commune in the country’…for renewable energy projects according to Newsweek Poland.

And it’s not only farmers who lease their land who ‘hit the jackpot’…the whole town benefits too. The taxes from the wind energy installations make up over 10% of the community annual budget. It is estimated that by 2016, it will be 20%. Other dividends became available as benefits to all.

Merle Baird-Kerr…written September 27, 2014
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  1. It would be great if one day our hydro rates actually went down because it literally will cost the government next to nothing to provide power this way or via solar energy to every person in Ontario.. sadly though as long as there is a Liberal government they will maintain reasoning why we cannot get off the grid and our prices will continue to skyrocket.. even though there is so much hydro being produced that half the time the wind turbines are turned off and then the government sells it to the US who sells it back to us at a higher price.No one ever hears about the amazing tunnel built under Niagara Falls any more that was going to provide more energy than we ever need because, last I heard, they shut it off.. another huge waste of taxpayer dollars. the Ontario Government is a joke.. and costing us billions of dollars. We need Kathleen Wynn and her band of bandits out of our pockets.

  2. Marie...I am so elated to read your comments on this 'so-called hot issue' that is of environment interest...both positively and negatively.
    My son has long had controversial issues on this same topic.

  3. EDDA WRITES: "I had learned this at least 10 years ago from friends who were from Holland. As they stated, the Dutch KNOW windmills because they have utilized them for hundreds of years. That's why I was shocked that so many countries are still participating in this shell game, deluding people into thinking they are doing something worthwhile. Another 'industry' that has been created is the Tutoring business. You and I never heard Tutoring businesses when we were young. That's because we received a solid basic reading, writing and arithmetic education. Nowadays, they deprive children of that...while telling them they are getting a "World Class" education. A total sham. I won't even get into the eldercare fiasco. That simply makes my blood boil because it is absolutely NOT the answer in how to deal with those who have contributed so much to make our country great.
    Finally, the most frustrating of all, is that we all have to observe all this crap and corruption continue...and there's not a single thing we can do about it to change it. God help the children!"

  4. Edda, I sincerely thank you for your comments...and you are absolutely correct in your observations! I trust others will read your words and better understand all the implications!

  5. JIMMY, MY NEPHEW IN CALIFORNIA WRITES: "I kind of disagree with the analyses given mainly because they are considering only the financial perspective... leaving out the evident environmental damage caused by fuel emissions and tremendous political power accrued by corporations behind it...which carry little other than their own immediate convenience. Also, technology is always evolving, meaning that wind turbines are likely to be more efficient in the future and may take care of the birds problem.
    Even though the analyses given is referring only to wind power, the approach seems to be incorrect to me. The effort needs to be done anyway...even if there is subsidy involved. It's for everybody's wellness convenience that the energy industry moves away from oil dependency ~ so it's not a financial problem only and it's not about wind power only's much broader than that!"

  6. Jimmy, your understanding is very astute! Canada is young in this new energy focus. Visiting Europe in the mid 1990's, it was evident that countries there were already reaping benefits from their wind turbines. When visiting California in the same time period, there was a huge setup of wind turbines in the San Bernardine Valley (between LA and Palm Springs). What a view! Very impressive to see these many wind turbines in operation!
    Thank you greatly, Jimmy for your comments.