Huron County farmers take wind fight to tribunal

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Are we ready, at this time, for a non-fossil fuel based energy source?- NO. Is our government(or any government worldwide considering the current massive government debts) ready to handle the financial load of a non-fossil fuel based energy source?- NO. So does it make any sense whatsoever to pursue this at this time?- NO. Raube Beuerman, Dublin, ON

Well, we are actually ready for a non-fossil fuel based energy source. As these plants continue to evolve and become cheaper to build and maintain (as any evolving technology does) we will reap greater and greater benefits from them. The latest forecasts for cost in Europe have the cost of wind power vs conventional power leveling out around 2020 and from then on becoming cheaper.
We have a choice. We can continue to burn fossil fuels as they become more and more expensive or we can work to develop alternate fuel sources like wind power to take over. Compare todays wind turbines with even 10 years ago and you will find them quieter and more efficient. This will continue to evolve.
Like any new emerging technology there will be a backlash against it. You will get over it or if not you, your kids will.

Given the approximately 70% drop in the price of natural gas in recent years, thanks, in large part, to the development of hydraulic fracturing techniques, the case for alternative energy sources, whether it be wind, solar, or ethanol, has been severely weakened. More to the point, if we had today's natural gas prices ten years ago, would we have ever seen any ethanol plants, wind turbines, or solar panels, at all? - Not a chance, yet governments are, as usual, too slow to notice, and farmers are, as usual, too entranced by the greed of the revenue stream coming from subsidized alternative energy installations on their farms, to care.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

Normally when government subsidizes an industry, it results in lower costs to the consumer. Not happening here. Rates are increasing. Just look at the Ontario deficit increase since McGuinty has been in power. In Germany, Philip Roesler, minister of economics and technology announced that wind power was "a threat to the economy". In the US, 4 billion was given to wind power companies as a result of Obama's stimulus program. A wall street journal investigation revealed that 7200 temporary jobs were created, yet only 300 permanent positions. What a waste. What about Spain...well they have 25 billion in additional government debt thanks to green energy subsidies. British consumers are becoming bitter, paying 700 million annually in wind energy subsidies when it only provides 0.5% of the power. When we subsidize an industry that does not benefit consumers OR taxpayers it only leads to economic ruin and political unpopularity. And from an investment point of view, why would anybody want to invest in a business that will most likely die when the handouts stop. Raube Beuerman, Dublin, ON

Its great to have all this renewable energy , but not in you front or back yard. Why don,t they put them in their industrial parks , same as solar panels put them on the roofs of buildings where they are not using up our land base. People will say that the land is no good for anything else, and they don,t see all the wildlife that lives and find food in those areas.

Jay Shukin, the spokesperson for K2, the proponent of this project, is in an uphill battle, and he, and K2, realize it. While Shukin falls all over himself to flog all the usual rhetoric about how popular, and how safe, wind turbines are, he studiously ignores the economic reality that wind energy is bad economic policy, and as the Drennans are demonstrating, bad public policy. What's worse is that, even at the best of times, astute investors avoided wind energy like the plague because the entire industry (like supply management and ethanol) depends on legislation rather than economics for its rationale for existence, and, as well, no investor in his/her right mind would ever invest in the production of something for which there is only one buyer. Wind energy always did simultaneously violate both of those basic investment principles, and now, given the intense, and rapidly-growing, public opposition to wind energy projects, there is definitely a 1-2-3 "kiss-of-death" to scare all but the most-foolish, and/or the most-brave, away from making this type of investment. Supply management supporters, and ethanol advocates, would both be wise to learn from the wind energy fiasco that what appears to be a "can't lose" proposition, can easily turn into a "can't win" situation. Students of history will easily see parallels with the Vietnam War which was lost, not in Vietnam, but in the hearts and minds of the people at home.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

You need to look outside Canada if you want to see your arguments turned to dust. Other countries have made it work to provide clean energy.

Making something "work" doesn't automatically make it good economic policy, and your inference that it does, is an example of the sort of economic half-truth to which I am, like every economist, completely opposed.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

Stephen Thompson, Clinton

Let me rephrase that for you. Those countries in which wind power is working well. Making it work does not mean that they kludged around it until they got it working. Sometimes it means they found out how to actually produce a working profitable model. Does that satisfy you? Check out a few of those countries in which wind power is working and working well. Wind power is in its early stages. Storage of power is advancing. And yes, they are starting to store both wind and solar energy. A new study shows that wind power affects on people might be what they call nocebo effect. A recent study in Australia found that of the 49 wind farms there only 5 had problems and those 5 were all sites with activism surrounding them. The current concern over wind turbines fits a historic pattern of people distrusting any kind of new technology, ranging from televisions to cell phones to wi-fi and horseless carriages.
Yes, your property values will fall. That cannot be helped. But they are falling because of the fight against them not because of the wind turbines themselves.

No, I'm not satisfied by your answers because they are riddled with half-truths and completely avoid any financial analysis. For example, unless wind is blowing at a constant velocity day in, and day out, and always in/from the same direction, it's simply not possible for wind energy to ever assume any sort of predictable base load generating capacity, in the way that both water, and nuclear provide base load generation ability. In addition, I seem to recall that a number of countries in Europe, particularly Spain, have largely abandoned green energy because it was too expensive, too unpredictable, and too unreliable. More to the point, since I simply don't believe wind power works well anywhere, from either a reliability or financial aspect, especially without huge subsidies, name one country in which wind power is "working well", and provide the financial and technical information to validate your case - since you can't, just save us the trouble and tell us what wind company you work for, and/or how many towers you hope to see built on your property.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

The EU produces 7% of its electrical power from wind. The power generated from wind is growing by 15% per year. By 2020 wind power in Europe will be the cheapest form of electricity. There is little NIMBY factor in Europe. Your can't win scenario is rapidly becoming a win win situation in Europe. As the technology continues to evolve it will become an even better investment in North America.

Cite your sources to prove that wind power will be the cheapest form of electricity in Europe by 2020 - it's bad enough to make baseless claims, but to do it anonymously, is even worse.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

Shawn and Trisha Drennan are modern day hero's. David and Goliath battle for sure but they are not giving up. Should they win a charter fight everyone who has been living near a wind farm will benefit. So get your check books out people, they need our help!

30 minutes of research online can educate you about the dangers of industrial wind turbines located too close to homes and farms here in Ontario and around the world. Start there, then talk to Ontario residents who are being affected. Why are the voices of rural ontario not being heard? Why is the Liberal government (with the support of the NDP) not listening to it's rural residents? Where is democracy in Ontario?

I find it interesting that these good people are taking their fight to the tribunal. I am guessing the tribunal as it over sees agricultural issues.

Rather draconian of the liberals to impose the green energy act on agriculture , as an industry, community, and as an electoral entity.

Being ag minister and premier has not made the energy pill go down easier or the facts (economic and political) any more truthful . Wonder how a tribunal created by government will rule on an ag issues charged to preserve and protect valuable agricultural land?

Well my search took 15 seconds at the most and turned up this jewel. A real gem that throws cold water on your arguments. Does not destroy them but it sure gives a different look at them.

As Upton Sinclair once said "it is hard to get someone to understand the truth
when their salary depends on them not understanding it"

And as Patti Kellar says " the Drennans are modern day hero's fighting the fight for us all in rural Ontario -it's checkbook time ".

The pronouncements of people who have a vested interest in not understanding the truth, or, more likely, who have a vested interest in not wanting to understand the truth, demonstrate exactly why one can be either an economist or a supporter of things completely dependent on legislated entitlements, but not both. I agree entirely with the Drennans, but for completely different reasons - the first is that wind energy is bad economic policy, and the second is that nothing good will come from leasing anything, particularly property, to people you don't know, and don't particularly like. I envision a scenario, in not so many years, when the economic life of a tower is done, and the political climate has changed, to the point where any wind company could cut its losses by going into receivership, and simply abandon the tower, telling the farmer - "It's your land, you deal with it."

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

You give your hard earned dollar to a lawyer and he golfs it away chumming it up with the opposition only to get the inappropriate outcome sounds like a waste of equity. Find a lawyer that will get you your decision and like you gets paid when the jobs done!

Negotiated settlements, as any divorced person knows all too-well, are far-preferrable, even by the legal system itself, to the full-blown adversarial process which serves nobody well, and which clogs up an already overloaded court system. In addition, even though I know a lot of lawyers, I know only one who golfs, and his practice is restricted to corporate law. Every other lawyer I know is too busy to golf, especially with a lawyer representing the other side of an ongoing matter, and even if he/she wasn't too busy, there's a troubling matter of ethics and the need to disclose these sorts of activities to clients who might be well-less than impressed. Furthermore, your suggestion that one finds a lawyer who defers his/her billing until the job is done, presupposes that this type of billing is going to appeal to anyone but a fool, both the lawyer, and the client who, at the end of the day, may decide not to pay anything at all.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

This whole mess with the wind turbines, and the cancelled gas plants can both be attributed to politicians, there legal department (lawyers) and lack of ethics. Thanks for your rosey outlook on the legal profession though.

The messes to which you refer are largely the responsibility of greedy and/or economically illiterate voters who are thinking of themselves, rather than what might be good for the country - if they didn't believe voters were dumb enough to fall for goofy policies, politicians wouldn't propose, and then cancel, hair-brained projects in the first place. If, for example, consumers were rational, and well-informed, especially about economics, supply management would never have been implemented in the first place, and if it had, would have been ridden out of town on a rail years ago. Therefore, all of these so-called "messes" are largely because of an abdication of individual responsibility to be aware of the causes and effects of various aspects of public policy, and, alas, when it comes to economic understanding, farmers are among the worst - just look at supply management as an example of how inept farmers are about basic economics. If I was in government, I'd be thinking - "if farmers are dumb enough to support supply management, they'll be dumb enough to buy almost anything", and for the most part, that would largely be correct, especially as we saw with the first AIDA/OWFRP program in the late 1990s, when farmers completely missed the glaring accounting flaws in that program which cost them oodles of money in missed benefits. Governments hoped farmers would be too dumb to notice these accounting flaws, and it worked, saving government oodles of money. The same thing is happening now in that RMP is an advance on the provincial portion of AgriStability, meaning that farmers pay two premiums but get one benefit, yet, once again, farmers are too dumb to notice, or care. We get what we deserve, and we can't blame politicians and lawyers for taking advantage of our own deliberate ineptitude and/or greed.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

All the best to the Drennan's. We applaud you for making a stand. Wind power has destroyed the economy in the EU and they are frantically slashing subsidies. Germany and Denmark have higher emissions because the wind turbines must have gas or coal back up. I have seen pictures of deformed cattle and horses that were exposed to prolonged infra sound and vibration. Some had to be put down! Folks in rural Ontario have had to abandon their unsellable homes. Some can not afford to move out and are suffering! These machines are a useless boondoggle that were allowed simply to get votes for political reasons. NO emissions have been reduced ANYWHERE in the world! I will fight to save my farm to my dying day. How dare our government foist such a travesty on us!

The Ontario Liberal mandate was to get off coal not clean nuclear. We are currently off coal therefore mission accomplished courtesy of more gas and nuclear not wind. The jig is up .... "we don't need ineffective, intermittent, non storable, expensive, building site sterilization, residential property devaluation windpower.
Want proof?
An increasing number of 35 municipalities have now declared themselves "NOT a willing turbine host!" What does that say about the next election?

Who ever claims that nuclear power is "clean" proves to ignore facts and science.
How do you explain radioactive well water and tritium contamination of food (milk, meat, fruit & vegetables) in Bruce County?
How much are the total legal fees for this lost case?
If the Drennan's would have been able to receive a turbine on their land, would they oppose the project too?
Talk to their neighbours and hear a different perspective.
Start developing better strategies for the development of renewables in our communities to share the benefits!

Whoever claims that wind power produces no net CO2 is conveniently in denial that when the wind is intermittent or low wind power requires mostly quick style ramp up dirty gas fossil fuel backup hence does produce CO2. The truth is getting off coal was because of gas not because of subsidized ineffective wind turbines. Remember the Liberal mandate was to get off coal not CO2 free nuclear. Dalton just announced his get off coal mandate has been fulfilled so why more turbines that municipalities don't want or need?

Perhaps the Drennans should be asked if instead of wind turbines they would like a nuclear plant next door. Nuclear is now not a viable option due to the massive costs involved. There are also references to the non-storable nature of wind and solar energy. New salt water storage breakthroughs are beginning to toss this argument out the window. Other techniques will come along making this even less of an argument.

They are actually not that far from the worlds largest nuclear plant. They would be less than a 1/2 hour drive, certainly close enough to be affected if a real problem happened there.

The comparison to nuclear is interesting. Nuclear can be dangerous. There is radiation but if you compare the attitude of Nuclear operators to wind they are night and day. Nuclear will explain what goes on, admits that if they release radiation it is a problem, and test and test for it. I toured Bruce A last summer, and even on the "non nuclear" side of the plant where the turbines were (I was right on the turbine hall floor by unit 4) we went through 5 radiation detectors and our guide carried an exposure monitor. Compare that to wind which will never admit that windmills can produce sound that can bother people, won't talk about shadow, or electrical pollution. If you drive down a side road in the Ripley Wind project beside the collector lines you get interference with AM radio. Living beside that all the time can't be good, but the wind companies buy out the people living there and put non disclosure agreements in the buyout so they can't say anything. Who is hiding things.

Also wind plants run maybe a 1/3rd of the time, when I toured Bruce A, the unit 4 generator I walked under had been running 24 hours a day for 450 some days non stop.

John Gillespie

Nuclear energy is NOT an option. It is to expensive and has been for many many years. So you have a choice. burn more fossil fuels or try to find a different route. The Bruce plant is on its last legs. It has to be replaced. If not now, in 10 years or 20 years but it will be replaced. What do you suggest?

They just completely rebuilt 2 of the 8 units, they expect 30-40 years out of them again, the rest of the plant still has several years before rebuilding. Are we to expect windmills to last more than 10-20 years ether before the blades start to crack or the guts of the windmills need to be replaced? What else do we have that sits outside 24/7 and is exposed to strong winds and UV and doesn't wear out in a few short years? All this while a windmill only produces about 30% of rated power on average?

John Gillespie

Mr Gillespie is entirely correct - nuclear's base load capability, its 24/7 reliability, and its almost-negligible variable costs, and the relatively long-time between scheduled rebuilds, all entice industry to Ontario. Wind power does the exact opposite and always has been, to use the words of American pundit, H.L. Mencken, "neat, simple, and wrong".

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

It just blows my mind how some one can say such a thing "Nuclear energy is NOT an option. It is to expensive and has been for many many years." when it is the wind and the sun that are free but we pay premium prices for that energy here in Ontario when other parts of North America tell the companies that you can hook up to the grid but only for the same price as the current power . Not at a premium . This really shows your agenda in all of this .

Give your head a shake, with a 300 acre farm, Shawn and Trisha Drennan would have likely been candidates for two or three wind turbines. Take these people at face value, because they are fighting for what is best for the community at large.

My mother has been suffering the effects of the ground resonance of wind turbines north of Huron County Road 25 for several years now, and she lives over 5 miles from the nearest one to her.

Three larger turbines are to be built right in the same block where she lives, not only to potentially make it unbearable for her to live in her home, but to also destroy the value of her investment in her property.

You stated "Start developing better strategies for the development of renewables in our communities ..." and to this I agree, but "better strategies" is the key to your statement.

Wayne Mahood
Clinton, ON

And remember to check your hydro bill as it goes on up and up. ie Everybody both urban and rural are paying big time for this

If "the balance of scientific evidence and human experience concludes that wind turbines do not adversely affect human health, particularly the sound that comes from” them, then lets put the turbines in the cities - see how they like them then!

So the Brennens still have to go to the REA? I can not believe that the legal system in this country is so afraid to make the proper call. They bend over backwards to allow the wind scam to go ahead and treat those us who care for the future of our citizens and our country like we are the "bad guys". Is this scam about green or greed?

This is a tough one as this is on private land and local farmers have signed off on it according to the story. A recent study in Australia found that the only occurance of health problems were in areas where there was a lot of publicity about the health problems surrounding wind turbines. In areas of the country where there was no publicity about the problems there were no problems.
I am very onside with environmental issues but this one is not clear cut at all. At present it has been co-opted politically by the right in a blatant vote grab.

" My research group is currently undertaking noise and vibration measurements at residences affected by the Waterloo wind farm and it can clearly be seen that there exist noise levels at blade passing harmonics that are well in excess of background noise levels. We are also measuring
significant levels of impulsive low-frequency sound several kilometres from the wind farm and this can be quite annoying to some people when they are trying to sleep. We intend to publish these results in the not too distant future. "

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