Turbulent times ahead for Ontario’s wind industry

© AgMedia Inc.

With research into emerging technologies underway, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture joins the call for a moratorium on wind development

CORRECTION: added JUNE 1 2011


Finally, the OFA has taken a stand. Thank you, Mr. Black for having the fortitude to stand up for rural Ontarians.

Please see correction above.

I would really like to see the results of the Guelph studies on the impact of IWT on farming and livestock, it might compensate somewhat for the lack of studies on amphibians and other organisms which may be affected at different life stages...there is such s great callousness toward other life on this planet that green would never come to mind in the same thought as the wind industry.

Some of the information in this article is not correct. As far as I know, OFA has not yet committed to a moratorium - too bad. The way the Green Energy Act is now we are all losers. Those folks who have concerns about wind turbines lose, as no one seems to want to take them seriously. And the farmers who have signed up are losers. Yes, to be hated in one's community because you have signed up for turbines.

All it would take are some studies to confirm or deny what some people are saying about turbines. Flicker, vibration, noise, etc., hence the request for a moratorium.

We all have to live in our communities. We all rely on each other. The farmers rely on the non-farmers to eat their products, and the rural folk rely on the farmers to feed them. NEVER have I seen an issue which is so divisive. Mean, nasty things are said about both sides.


This might be the right time for the OFA to join the call for a moratorium on all industrial wind turbines until comprehensive, independent studies are completed on the possible health effects of industrial wind turbines on humans; farm/domestic animals and other wildlife, bats and birds.

Those of us in rural areas do need to support and assist each other--as do our urban "cousins".

You are correct in saying that the industrial wind turbine issue is causing tremendous issues in our rural communities.

A moratorium might help to resolve some of the new rifts caused by the issue of industrial wind turbines.

Of course OFA is going to back track on this one. They orginally promoted this kind of development by organizing mtg, upon mtg allowing wind developers to have direct access to their membership list. OFA is an alliance member of OSEA, an ardent organization who receives public funding to promote and sollicit our gov't to put in place inefficient, unreliable, costly renewables such as industrial wind energy. OSEA were the ones who pushed through the GEA which stopped local jurisdiction on these kinds of development. Did OFA publicly come out against this kind of impingement on democracy - NO! Their original stance was to encourage farmers to go ahead and sign up while never investigating the possible problems with noise, wildlife impact,stray voltage, property devaluation, and subsequent electrical rate increases. Asking for a moratorium is asking to put a halt on the money making machine they publicly endorsed on the precept that farmers were making money.


One of the OFA Vice Presidents was on the OSEA committee and was very vocal in his support of the Green Energy and Green Economy Act.

Most definitely the OFA worked to convince Ontario's farmers to go ahead and sign leases with the wind proponents--regardless of the outcome for their rural neighbours and communities.

The "grassroots" OFA members need to voice their concerns and make it clear to the OFA Executive that the OFA does in fact need to support the call for a moratorium on all industrial wind turbines until a study is completed on the health effects and all of the other concern issues (stray voltage, shadow flicker, noise issues) and property devaluation concerns.

Our rural municipalities desperately need our property assessments, and they cannot "afford" to have very many of our properties see a drop in assessment of over 50% as has happened with the Thompson property over the issue of the noise impact from a nearby transformer.

The health of all Ontario residents--whether you have signed a lease with a wind proponent or you have not--is of paramount importance.

There is no distinction in our taxes as to whether or not you support industrial wind turbines, and a large portion of our taxes go towards health care.

We need to be very aware of any and all possible "hazards" to our health.

It truly was not all that long ago that smoking was socially acceptable and thought to be of no harm to anyone's health. We now know better.

Let's not repeat that mistake with the issue of industrial wind turbines.

Let's do what we can to be proactive regarding any possible health impacts.

Industrial wind is not green energy. All wind energy must be accompanied by a baseload partner for the many days when we need energy and the wind isn't blowing. Check into gas fracking and its location. The potential to pollute vast amounts of water in our great lakes watersheds is enormous. Fracking is a major culprit in large scale water contamination in the States. Yet this is exactly what we are planning to do. A green energy plan depended on massive pollution of water is not something worth supporting.

I remember when Grant Robertson, former president of the NFU, was trying to warn us about what the Green Energy Act could mean for our communities. And what did he get for those efforts - attacked. Time has proven him right. Maybe the OFA will finally get it too.
I truly hope he decides to run against Carol Mitchell- we farmers could really use someone who thinks ahead.

On one hand, the OFA staunchly supports the position that little, if any, land should be taken out of agricultural production, yet, on the other hand, the OFA is curiously silent about not just the agricultural land taken out of production each time a wind turbine is built on agricultural land, but the extra costs and inefficiences incurred while trying to farm around these towers.

Therefore, the OFA should be calling for a moratorium on wind turbines, if for no other reason than to be consistent with its own policies about the preservation of agricultural land.

Could the OFA be trying to have things both ways?

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

Hats off to Hazel. Unfortunately, doing a health and safety study after they are built seems backwards.

"We cannot pretend this affected minority doesn’t exist," Lynn stated.

Furthermore, experts at the April 2011 conference www.windturbinenoise2011.org concluded 3.The main effect of daytime wind turbine noise is annoyance. The night time effect is sleep disturbance. These may lead to stress related illness in some people. Work is required in understanding why low levels of wind turbine noise may produce affects which are greater than might be expected from their levels.

So, take a time out, consider the economics, the property assesment impacts, get the regs corrected to mitigate the stress related illness, only then proceed. Proceeding before all this is completed is getting the cart before the horse in most Ontarions opinion.

There are alot of problems being caused in rural Ontario inadequate regulation of the wind industry. I am shocked to learn OFA let the wind corporations use their membership list to make coldcalls. Many of those growers truly regret getting into this mess now.

I remember Ted Cowan (OFA) making a speech in Chatham Kent, declaring the 3rd world can feed itself now, the future of Ontario farmers is not in food production but rather energy production. This was met with a resounding cheer from the worked up crowd.

Sad...very, very sad. The OFA really needs to get back to its roots and stop this foolishness.

While the third world might conceivably be able to feed itself, difficulties arise when, for example, Swiss interests acquired a 50-year lease on 40,000 hectares of land in Sierra Leone to grow biofuels for Europe - thereby, by definition, reducing Sierra Leone's ability to feed itself

In addition to third-world land being taken for biofuels, China, for example, has bought, or leased, twice as much land in developing countries as anyone else, in order to provide food for a rapidly-expanding Chinese population.

Mr. Cowan doesn't seem to understand that the ability of the third world to feed itself, is as much, if not more, a function of the developed world's legislatively-created demand for ethanol, as well as the developed world's basic demand for food, rather than any innate ability on the part of any particular third world country.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

If industrial wind turbines are so great, why do they need to be subsidized by the people of Ontario, many of whom are now finding
out that they are definitely not green.

Landowners being bought out by wind companies as they cannot live
in their own homes and then having to sign a non-disclosure document. What would that tell someone?

It is so sad that the Ontario Federation of Agriculture that is suppose to support and protect the landowner seems to be looking the otherway.

We were approached twice with offers to lease and declined twice.

I wish I could say that for our neighbours who did sign as now all of us in this area will have our lives changed completely. We already have felt it as homes in the area that are for sale, the agents have to disclose that there are proposed industrial wind
turbines and people do not want to live near these things, given the choice. We were not given that choice.

Rosemary Mesley

I have been doing some research on solar panel and wind tunirbe systems. The pricing is crazy. For a 10Kw solar grid tie kit system is between $35,000 and $40,000. If you install batteries add $3,000-$5,000. 10Kw will only power a small to medium home without electric heat. Using my electric usage and info from my local electric company payback is 60 years for solar and 361 years for wind. This is unexceptionable. The manufactures of the solar and wind are gouging the consumers. They are using the excuse of supply and demand for the high cost. When demand goes up so will mass production and the price will go down. This is true, but they are making a huge profit on what they are making now. Some items are in the 3000% markup range. Are the power companies keeping the price up so their profits don't suffer? My local electric supplier has an ENERGY PARK that you can go see solar and wind power in action and check out real time data online. They have a 4Kw solar array installed and claim it cost $30,378 installed and a 2.5Kw wind tunirbe that cost about $20,000 installed. I think they are giving false numbers to consumers so you won't go green. I was able to find a 3.5Kw kit online for $9,000. This doesn't include any type of mounting materials. You can add $800-$1,200 for these materials. An installer will will charge you $2,000-$4,000 to install it. For the sake of argument lets say this will cost you $15,000 to install but still way out of line for you and me to install. That is a far cry from the $30,000 the power company claims. The power companies don't want you to make your own electric. They are keeping the cost high so they will still make money off you. A 210w panel sells for around $600. They probably manufacture it for under $50. The cost needs to be $100-$150 to the consumer to make it affordable to the average home owner. 50 210w panels make a 10Kw system. That would be $5,000 not $40,000. The manufactures are raping us and the power companies are helping them to keep prices high. When will we get the technology at a proper cost? Let me know what you think.In response to the first 5 answers, Yes, if demand increases so will mass production and thus supply will increase and this will drive the price down. I looked into panels from China. From what I was able to find panels sell for $0.17-$0.45 per watt. In the U.S. they sell for $3.00-$5.00 per watt. Manufactures in the U.S. have lobbied for a higher tariff on solar products that makes them impractical to import on mass. These companies want to keep the price high so their profits stay high, and the power companies do not want you to produce all your own power. That would put them out of business.

Comment modified by Editor

i would much rather have coal burning up the extra oxygen in the air ,nuclear fallout from japan, thousands of trucks, cars pounding the pavement with loud rumble then have a windmill stealing the wind for free to produce electrical energy that none of us want . If I recall from history, our land was wall to wall with natural forests, grasses and the like.No houses or buildings or people yet. Now that we have invaded and set up all of our belongings there is very little of the original landscape untouched. Now how much does it cost per kilowatt hour to replace our aging power plants plus fuel to run them if we have to replace them. A lot more then the 82 cents a kilowatt hour mark. I would like to ask how many opponents of wind are off the grid and how many are on the internet to educate themselves before they speak up against greener energy. If you were a put in north america before mankind showed up and needed massive amounts of electricity, would solar and wind not be at the top of the list?

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