Feb 1, 2011

Wind Energy & NIMBYism

“It’s my hope that today’s oil prices will usher in a new era for wind power and wind energy producers. I think this is already starting to happen. Wind energy now produces enough electricity in Canada to meet the needs of 560,000 homes, the size of a small city. It is no longer the work of backyard inventors and garage tinkerers.”
-       David Suzuki (CBC, 2009)
OK so everyone wants to be green, but realistically its just a fad for many and that is proven by the fact that everyone will say they are green but no one wants to take the initiative or responsibility and push green projects forward. Everyone saw the devastating impact the extraction of oil can have, during the BP spill  in the Gulf last year, and who can forget the images of ducks being trapped and dying in a tailing pond in Alberta's dirty Oil Sands. And yet there are still people who are fighting green energy initiatives, and I feel like enough is enough if you don't have a better solution and are just fighting a project because you are uneducated or unemployed, and are just one of those people who needs to bitch about something, WTH this is ridiculous get a grip people, the world does not revolve around you and your selfish actions are having negative impacts on those who are trying to embrace green energy.   

The Liberal government of Ontario has stated that “Only safety and environmental concerns will be legitimate objections to bio fuel plants, solar panel fields and wind turbines under a green energy act”  (Ferguson and Frenec, 2009). So why are the shenanigans continuing, why is just being opposed based on personal feeling still dictating the construction of these projects.

Ontario has a 550 Meter setback of wind turbines from dwellings, which is further back than any US State regulations,  and 12 European countries. This means that farmers and people with land who wish to have wind turbines installed cannot have them installed closer to their dwellings. It is important to differentiate those who have genuine health concerns with those who just don’t want them in their communities, or the Not In My Backyard (NIMBY) phenomenon. Even when a project is proposed in a remote area or offshore if the area is perceived by the public as beautiful, there is a higher likelihood that the public will oppose it (Graham et al. 2009). Many farmers have embraced the thought of compensation from the Wind Energy companies to locate turbines on their properties because many farmers are facing hard times and installing turbines could mean keeping their farm and way of life.

NIMBYism should not be a factor determining the construction of green energy projects. I Hope wind concerns Ontario is finally silenced.. I'm sorry but the processes of extracting and refining and delivering fossil fuels, and the effects of burning fossil fuels far out ways any negative PROVEN attributes related to wind turbines.

They have been in place in Europe since the 1970s and if we keep trying to spend all our time proving they are bad we will never use them to their full potential. This is a topic I am interested and passionate about and was the focus of my senior thesis. Allowing NIMBYism and Wind Concerns Ontario to alter decisions and twist facts and present studies that are not accredited is disappointing and a waste of tax payers dollars. 

Mr McGuinty what happened to "NIMBYism will not stand" and will not be a problem affecting these green energy projects. Allowing a group like this to feed fear into communities and alter government decisions makes me ashamed to be an Ontarian.

"Ontario's Green Energy Act could propel the province past California as the most innovative North American leader in the renewable energy field."
-- Denis Hayes, former director, NREL and founder of Earth Day. 
Under the new Green Energy Act there is a requirement that at least 25 per cent of the goods and labour for Ontario wind projects and 50 per cent for solar projects come from Ontario. The liberal government promises that the Green Energy Act will create over 50,000 “green collar” jobs and generate billions of dollars of economic growth in communities across Ontario within three years (GEA, 2009). Wind farms do more than co-exist peacefully with agricultural uses of land; they help preserve something that is vital to us. They provide alternative income sources for farmers; wind farms help farmers make it through the ups and downs of farming. Wind energy helps to preserve the rural way of life in Ontario giving farmers, ranchers and their children the option of staying on the farm (IESO, 2009). Does wind concerns Ontario take that into consideration, that these projects are helping people keep their farms?
Do people think that when they are all anti fossil fuels and are then against the green energy proposals that the energy that they consume and burn and waste is just made out of thin air? In Ontario if you turn on you lights, a portion of the energy you consume comes the extraction and production of coal in Pennsylvania. If you are interested in learning more about this check out the film Garbage the Revolution Starts at Home, a Andrew Nisker film http://www.garbagerevolution.com/ 

The time of using I didn't know shouldn't be now, it is time to get educated and stand up for green energy and the sustainability of our planet for future generations. These are the lives our our children and grandchildren that we are adversely affecting. Please take the time to become aware of the green energy projects in your area and my challenge to everyone is get involved and become educated on this subject. This is your future.
It is 2011 it's time to stand behind green energy!

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