A case against systemic vandalism and theft in rural Ontario: why wind turbines are not the answer

January 10, 2014

By: Sherri Lange, CEO NA-PAW (North American Platform Against Wind Power)

Wind turbines now proliferate rural Ontario, with more projects announced nearly weekly as December 2013 closed. “Merry Christmas, Ontario.” The speed with which a rural transformation has occurred has left communities reaching deep into pockets for legal fees, creative measures to self-protect, and engaging in, even helping to refocus a shifting political landscape. Not easy, given the block of City voters with little knowledge of the rural demise.

What city dwellers may not yet appreciate, but increasing are coming to know, is that the heartland of Ontario, the vibrant foodland and historic muscle of the province, Northern communities with impressive tourism and natural beauty,  have been mercilessly shredded of democratic rights, rights to have a say about massive industrial energy facilities, and split from basic rights to protect home, property, community, and property values.   In a few short years, the Green Energy and Economy Act  has all but “snuffed” democratic principles and laws,  and meaningful public participation. Seventy-five Municipalities have declared themselves “unwilling participants” to wind turbine projects.  To little heed. More and more anti wind groups form as communities are faced with menacing turbine projects that will deface their landscapes and impact their lives indefinitely. There is break neck enlightenment about the impacts of turbines as projects creep from municipality to municipality, region by region, town by town.  Sometimes it is a $10 million project for Bhuddist meditation (Cavan) that conjures up possible relief, a legal challenge.  Sometimes it is an Important Bird Area. Most often  it is human health impacts.  But the roll out of projects into pristine and sensitive, often iconic landscapes, historic and multi generational farms,  is relentless. And the promise to “converse” with communities about siting of turbine factories leaves bitter taste when we think of the rural realities.

Ontario now knows of 46 families that cannot live in their homes, but how many more are living elsewhere, at cottages, in trailers, some in parking lots at Walmarts nearby, not having self-reported their eviction? How many bought out with gag orders? Hundreds reporting ill health to an MOE (Ministry of the Environment) that has acknolwedged for years now that they do not know how to mitigate the complaints; and they have done nothing to shut down offending turbines. How many economic losses of reduced farm viabilitiy?  How much dead or damaged, greatly reduced numbers of livestock? How many property values lost, some entirely?  If you wanted to imagine a rural Ontario in a more chaotic and angry mood, it would not be possible.

Add to this angst neighbors who have sold out, bought the contract, sometimes 8 or 10 thousand per year per turbine, sometimes muc more. Hosting turbines is big business. Nothing, in our view, could be more divisive.

Like bees to honey

A snapshot of the current world of industrial wind provides us with some insight.  There are a few developers getting rich, very rich. Lucrative tax incentives, subsidies, loan guarantees, preferred access to the grid, even payments to NOT produce, all in the interests of the developer, not the public good.  Internationally, it is becoming known, well known, that the engorgement by wind companies is gutting economies, causing  net job losses as the costs of power guts manufacturing, that the green hysteria has led us to an environmental vandalism of the highest order, from which we will not recover for generations.  (In June of 2013, for one example, Mendick and Malnick reported from the UK that in one year alone, wind turbine developers received 1.2 BILLION pounds in subsidies.)

An expensive nightmare

In February of 2013, nearly one year ago, Member of the Australian Parliament, Alby Shultz, commented on the “unfortunate reality.” 


« The renewable energy target was designed to assist with climate change by reducing Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions. The unfortunate reality of this is that it has become what I have described as ‘the biggest government sponsored fraud in the history of our country’. »

 These words were echoed in the UK, when the Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson, espoused that wind turbine factories are causing “huge unhappiness,” and they are a ‘complete scam.’  The list of countries scrambling to disengage from this “huge unhappiness” and economic vandalism continues to accelerate.  Germany continues to build 24 more coal fired plants and acknowledges the energy poverty, reduced industrial competitiveness, and complete failure of its green energy policies.  Partially violent protests took place recently in energy chaotic Bulgaria, as people set energy bills on fire to protest the increasingly unsustainable high cost of power.  Those rising costs were immensely tied with the subsidies given to wind and solar developers.

What then is the real truth about the turbine misrepresentations causing disharmony and poverty, and the story of apparently scandalous, government assisted, ill-gotten gains?

  • Wind turbines simply do not produce sufficient or meaningful power. With about 240,000 turbines worldwide, we only capture less than one half of one percent of our needs. Net Zero. Because reliable back up is required at all times, there is also a growth industry in coal and gas.
  • Wind turbines are manufactured from oil and gas, transported using oil and gas, and require up to 1000 gallons of oil and lubricants in the moving parts. They contain highly toxic rare earth elements from China in the magnets. The carbon fiber blades, some 100 meters in rotor diameter, cannot be recycled. Turbines do not last 20-25 years, but begin to experience mechanical failures and wear and tear within 5 years, and generally last a mere 10-15 years.  Hardly long term thinking.
  • Energy sprawl from transmission lines, turbine factories themselves as well as substations, create dead zones for wildlife, and cause unnatural distortions in food sourcing.  Massive numbers of birds and bats are killed, and the developers get to do their own mortality studies. It is now known that 90-95% of mortality is NOT reported.
  • Some species will become extinct from wind turbine proliferation. There are permits given to developers to “harm, harass, main and kill as well as disturb habitat” of endangered species.  Developers have been breaking our most sacred and well intentioned laws, and are even being given get out of jail free cards, with increasing regularity.  Only recently has a developer been fined for killing birds: “The plea agreement calls for a mix of “fines, restitution and community service” in the deaths of 14 eagles and 149 other birds, including hawks, blackbirds, wrens and sparrows, between 2009 and 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement on November 22, (2013).” (Since that fine, the USFWS (Fish and Wildlife Services) has issued a new ordinance that developers may apply for permits of up to 30 years.)
  • Around the world, people are similarly reporting ill health, some to the extent of having to abandon homes, farms, often relocating to a new location, only to confront another wind project.
  • The subsidies are so entirely lucrative that developers have elaborate ways of responding to criticisms of lost homes, job losses, and “bombed out” damaged environments. The result has been a systemic scrubbing of rural values, landscapes, and economies, and darn the collateral damages.   Many properties no longer hold the same resale values: much land has been devalued, compacted from industrial action. Some properties are now worthless. There are disturbing records of losses to flocks and herds, pets, and bleeding, deformed or still born, livestock.  Some families have left the province. These thefts, losses, will not be recovered in many instances for generations, or possibly ever.
  • Job losses in Ontario continue to mount as the cost of power escalates.  Spain has lost 2.2 jobs for every so called “green job.” The UK has lost four, and Italy 5.4. The recent Samsung agreement announced by Energy Minister Chiarelli at the Empire Club at the Sheraton,  will by some estimates, cost Ontario 600 MILLION per year for the next 20 years. By any estimation this vandalism of jobs in Ontario is set to become terminal ruination.

Out of the “chaotic standstill”

It is time to restore rural Ontario and make restitution for those whose lives have been shattered.  (Ontario is part of an international movement of more than 2000 groups, millions of people, armed with the truth.  The European Platform (EPAW) has more than 650 member groups: the North American Platform Against Wind Power (NA-PAW) has more than 350.)

What remains submerged are the numbers of families who have left without a record of departure, leaving behind shattered dreams of “growing good things” in Ontario.  Uncounted masses of displaced and dead wildlife.  Uncounted tourist dollars, and lower tax values, all part of the purse, and no counting the ultimate spiritual purse we share as guardians of the land. But the accounting will become apparent.  Restitution must also begin to be part of the “conversation.”

There can be no more fruitful place to begin to restore economic confidence, than by  asking Municipalities to aggressively demand the repeal of the Green Energy and Economy Act, and an immediate end to the Feed in Tariff for wind and solar.  (All subsidies for wind and solar must end, not just for large scale projects.)

“It’s very simple. They don’t work and never can. Here’s why: 1) no energy density; 2) not dispatchable; 3) not reliable; 4) can’t store electricity. And they are ruining the environment and making people very, very sick. It’s a mania driven by a torrent of tax subsidies. The developers are all opportunists who don’t give a damn. It’s a scourge.”

 — Eric Bibler, Maine




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