Wind in the News
The Globe and Mail - Mar 16, 2012, Page:A14
Margaret Wente ( Ontario's Green Dream Was Just A Fantasy - March 15) says "the green energy bubble is bursting everywhere" but, in the last year alone, global wind capacity has grown more than 20 per cent. She says "the world is losing interest" but Prof. Henry Pollack of the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says wind "is the fastest-growing source of new energy-generating capacity worldwide, particularly in Europe and the United States."
executive director, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment
Milford, Ont. -- Thank you, thank you. Margaret Wente's comments on windturbine technology succinctly voiced many of the concerns of rural Ontario. Some unlucky people have found themselves living in close proximity to these monsters - and the 550-metre setback, an arbitrary figure ordained by the Green Energy Act, is far too close. They have experienced serious health problems to the extent that they have been forced to leave their homes.
Dundas, Ont. -- If we keep burning fossil fuels at the current rate, we will be worrying about a lot more than hydro rates and countryside views in a lot less time than 100 years. Stating that windpower is not an efficient source of energy because "it always needs a parallel backup system" is no reason not to use it. Wind can provide a major portion of demand, thus reducing our fossil burn. Increasingly, methods are being developed to store power effectively.
We need to use every means possible to get off our addiction to oil.
Voices of the future analyze local windenergy debate
Listowel Banner - Mar 15, 2012, Page:1
LISTOWEL CENTRAL PUBLIC SCHOOL GRADE 6 STUDENTS, Listowel Banner
As the youth of our community, we realize that we are the future of our society. While the current windturbine debate is being played out by adults, we feel the voices who will be around longer need to be heard. At the same time, simply deciding that something is good because it is sustainable is not wise, either. People need to make informed decisions. This article is meant to summarize the vast amount of information being presented about windturbines in North Perth and help you, the citizens of this community, make a more informed choice on whether turbines should grace our skyline. We feel we have researched the information, conflicts and various opinions and are able to share a neutral review of the issues. We have spent countless hours reading Listowel Banners and researching online. We have tried to gain all perspectives by interviewing sources - from municipal councillors to farmers to Invenergy Canada representatives. We have spent numerous hours outside of school filling in gaps in our work.
Simply because we are young, we do not want you to dismiss the quality of work we have completed. We care deeply about our future and want to make informed decisions as well. As we sifted through the information, we have come to the conclusion that there are several main issues. First, there is the common concern of what turbines do to residents, livestock and crops. Second, there is worry about the company itself and the contracts it creates. Third, one cannot ignore how the turbine debate has been affecting our quaint town.
MAIN ISSUES Health and the environment are main issues. Many citizens of North Perth, specifically farmers, are concerned about the impact on wildlife and livestock because of the negative effects of windturbines.
For example, stray voltage can affect animals' health. There are reports of livestock weight being reduced and milk production decreasing in areas with windturbines.
People are worried that if they allow a windturbine on their property, it will affect their income. David Meulensteen, a local resident from the country, said, "Until an answer is definitive, I'm not willing to risk my family's health." (letter to the editor, The Listowel Banner, Feb. 8) One local farmer, Ralph Coneybeare, noted in his letter to the editor that "everyone supports the principle of green energy - the concern about massive windturbines being proposed is the growing evidence of real health problems that they cause for people living in the immediate area." (letter to the editor, The Listowel Banner, Jan. 4) Alana Coneybeare, another local resident, is concerned that the large cement pads in fields will take up available cropland. (article, The Listowel Banner, Dec. 14) ... Please read more in this weeks Listowel Banner
Long-term thinking crucial when considering windenergy
Listowel Banner - Mar 15, 2012, Page:1
, Listowel Banner
Editor's note: The following is a guest editorial written by six students in Tyler Schaefer's Grade 6 class at Listowel Central Public School. The students have spent many weeks researching, conducting interviews, analyzing and finally documenting their findings on the windenergy debate currently taking place in North Perth. Schaefer has effectively combined education in science, report and persuasive writing with a relevant local topic, bringing learning to life for his students. Not all of the students agreed on the issue, but rarely does everyone agree. Their hard work and dedication to this project is to be commended; their voices should be heard. It was our pleasure to work alongside these young people on their quest for information.
Turbines are a currently huge debate in North Perth and the voice of the future is missing. As part of a school project, the six of us have thoroughly researched the windturbine debate. From this, we strongly believe concerns for our longevity are being excluded because citizens are not thinking about the long-term impacts, other sources of energy generation, and are letting emotions take over rational thought. To begin with, the arguments that we use to base our decisions about turbines need to consider long-term impact on our world. While we don't want to dismiss the hard work of the local farmers, some of the worries are not valid in the long term. One acre of farmland is barely any land when you are considering clean, renewable energy. Concerns about cement pads are an even smaller and less important issue. People are worried about the setback distance of 550 metres and the impact that has on future sheds, buildings, etc. Is a shed really more important than our lives 50 years from now?
Our lifestyle is very advanced and how would you like it if there was no more gas, no electricity, no lights, no cars, no TV, no phones, etc.? If we stick with coal, global warming will impact us greatly. If we don't think long term, the lifestyle of your children will change drastically, even after you are gone. If it means that the youth of today get a good future, don't you think some of the sacrifices are worth the cost?
In addition, if we don't support windturbines, then what other energy do we support? We are not saying that windturbines are the right choice. We are simply saying that keeping energy generation the same is the wrong choice. Nowhere in the wind debate do we hear people talking about what we could do instead of wind.
People don't want it on their property or in their backyard. So if it's not in their backyard, whose backyard will it be? North Perth's deputy mayor told Invenergy Canada to "go someplace else." We ask, go where?
Every method of generation has its cons. Who are the people that are going to make some sacrifices for our future? Renewable energy, such as wind, is better than coal. Coal is going to run out and is extremely unhealthy for our environment. Nuclear could be our choice for the future, but it produces radioactive waste, which is not good for the environment and has potentially devastating consequences.
Options like wind are renewable and don't pollute Mother Nature. If citizens strongly believe that there are negative health effects from turbines, should part of our debate be about bringing other alternative sources of energy, such as solar or geothermal, to North Perth? Furthermore, people need to be educated before creating a viewpoint. Emotions are blowing out of proportion. When Invenergy Canada was holding a meeting on Feb. 6, people were pushing, shoving and yelling like six-year-olds when they didn't agree with James Murphy's point of view.
The citizens of North Perth are making our community look like a crazy town when they wouldn't even be respectful to someone who spared his time to help us become more knowledgeable about the business of windturbines. Those in attendance wouldn't even let Murphy leave through the front door. At the same time, many citizens are taking one piece of information and making a mountain of a molehill. Some people have argued against windturbines because farmers have to drive around the turbine. That is like saying that you don't want to recycle because you have to walk to the end of your driveway.
People complain that Invenergy isn't being transparent. but at the same time, they complain about how long Invenergy's contract is. The most outrageous point of the turbine debate is how worked up people get about birds and bats dying. One turbine only kills about two birds per year and skyscrapers kill many, many more. You don't see people pushing and shoving over a skyscraper and trying to get rid of them.
As youth, we are constantly being told by adults to respect our teachers, our parents, our elders. We are encouraged to see different points of view and to be empathetic. We are taught how to research and know what we are speaking about before we judge. We are told to think before we speak. Are the adults of North Perth demonstrating these virtues? We think not. We want the citizens of North Perth to make more informed decisions that affect our future. It is time that they stop overreacting, consider the future, and potentially choose other options for renewable energy generation.
Algonquin Power to buy U.S. wind farms
The Globe and Mail - Mar 10, 2012, Page:B5
Algonquin Power and Utilities Corp. will buy a 480-megawatt portfolio of U.S. wind power projects from Spanish wind turbine maker Gamesa Corp. Tecnologica SA for $888-million (U.S.) to gain a significant foothold in the country's wind energy market.
The United States, once the world's top wind power market, ceded the mantle to China in 2010 as a weak economy halted growth, but business has picked up since the middle of last year.
The global wind power capacity will more than double to 450 gigawatts in 2015 from 194.4 gigawatts at the end of 2010, a Global Wind Energy Council forecast says.
The Oakville, Ont.-based company, which operates a portfolio of more than $1. 2-billion of renewable energy assets in North America, had tripped on some of its earlier buyout attempts.
It had to bow out of the deal to buy a stake in U.S.-based wind farm operator First Wind Holdings earlier this year, while late last year Western Wind Energy asked shareholders to snub Algonquin's "low-ball" offer.
The company said the portfolio it was buying from Gamesa consisted of four facilities - Minonk, Senate, Pocahontas Prairie and Sandy Ridge, in the states of Illinois, Texas, Iowa and Pennsylvania, respectively. "If you look at the footprint of these generating stations, they are located sort of outside our existing footprint and so, we will get the benefit of further diversification," chief executive officer Ian Robertson said during a conference call.
The company expects the total annual production from the four facilities to be 1,644 gigawatt-hours a year.
"I think this [deal] moves them pretty far down the field in terms of expanding on power development projects," analyst Ian Tharp of CIBC World Markets said.
"On the face of it, 480 megawatts at $888-million comes out to $1.85-million a megawatt," Mr. Tharp said. "It looks quite good."
The acquisition doubles Algonquin's independent power generation portfolio, the CEO said.
In a similar deal last month, independent power producer Atlantic Power Corp. acquired a majority stake in Canadian Hills LLC, which owns a 300-megawatt wind power project in Oklahoma.
Algonquin said the four projects have a 20-year contract with Gamesa to provide operations, warranty and maintenance services for the wind turbines.
"Only about 73 per cent of the revenue from these projects is under long- term contract, so there is still some merchant risk - which means you are selling power in the real time or day-ahead power markets - in these contracts that Algonquin will need to manage over time," CIBC's Mr. Tharp said.
The company, which last month entered into a 25-year power purchase agreement with Saskatchewan Power Corp. for its coming 177-megawatt Chaplin Wind project, plans to finance its investment with about 45-per-cent debt and 55-per-cent equity.
The projects will be acquired through American Wind Portfolio Holdings LLC, a newly formed partnership in which Algonquin holds 51 per cent interest and Gamesa 49 per cent.
Algonquin Power (AQN)
Close: $6.20, down 15¢
© 2012 The Globe and Mail Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Wind turbines worth $9M to community, says province
CBC.ca - Mar 14, 2012, http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/prince-edward-island/story/2012/03/14/pei-wind-project-eastern-kings-584.html
The P.E.I. government says it would pump $9 million into the economically strapped community of Eastern Kings over the next 15 years if residents reconsider construction of as many as 15 new wind turbines.
Energy Minister Wes Sheridan revealed his preferred location Tuesday to the standing committee on Agriculture, Environment, Energy and Forestry — right next to the 10-turbine wind farm near East Point the province already owns.
In 2010, the majority of residents from the municipality of Eastern Kings who came out to a public meeting voted against any more wind development.
Now Sheridan is asking residents to reconsider.
Combine the existing wind farm with the one proposed, and Sheridan said government would pump $9 million into the community over the next 15 years. That includes $125,000 a year for the community council to spend on anything it wants.
"Has the reality changed? It sure has," he said.
"The community has suffered greatly since that time. They know they have to look at things in a different manner."
Elmira fisherman Tony MacDonald, who lives near the proposed wind farm, said, "Government is flashing around a few dollars and Eastern Kings is a poor area right now after losing a couple of fish plants and some of my neighbours and everybody could use an extra dollar."
The community will vote April 17.
If residents again reject the idea of another wind farm, Sheridan said he'll simply go to the next community on his list.
Waterloo pursues windmill despite light wind levels
Waterloo Region Record - Mar 13, 2012, Page:B1
Waterloo council is spending almost $90,000 to consider generating electricity by wind, even though the wind hardly blows enough.
The proposed turbine would top a 20-metre pole beside the RIM Park recreation complex. A study that cost city hall $25,000 suggests it would be three times less efficient than the average Ontario wind turbine.
This is because wind is "relatively low" in Waterloo, the study found. It's considered too low and uneven to support a commercial wind farm.
"In the wintertime, we have a very high resource of wind," project manager Prasad Samarakoon said. "In the summertime you don't have much wind at all. To build a wind farm you need to have a continuous wind flow."
A report last fall to council reports: "The results of the wind data analysis were mixed."
Politicians are not dissuaded. In January, council secured $63,700 in federal government funding for a feasibility study on integrating wind into the electricity grid. A news release states: "The findings of the data collection and analysis are encouraging."
If erected, the small city turbine would require provincial subsidies for renewable energy to achieve a return on investment, a city report says.
Samarakoon figures the wind is strong enough to power a small turbine he estimates at $5,000 to install. It would be part of a "green lab" at the soccer complex next to the recreation building. It would integrate wind and solar energy with a system that irrigates natural soccer fields in part by recycling runoff from artificial turf.
The turbine could pay for itself within a decade even without provincial subsidies, Samarakoon said.
There's increasing controversy over subsidies offered by the Liberal government to develop renewable energy.
Ontario Auditor General Jim McCarter took aim at them in his December report, pointing out that wind and solar power will "add significant additional costs" to electricity bills and are less reliable than traditional electricity generation.
Economist Don Drummond followed up in his report on Ontario finances, recommending the province reduce subsidies over time to "discourage any reliance on public subsidies" and limit the impact on electricity prices.
The province is reconsidering high solar subsidies. Waterloo regional government has responded by stalling part of its plan to mount solar panels on roofs, concerned about losing almost $2 million or more in anticipated profits.
© 2012 Torstar Corporation