Wind turbines and the destruction of northeastern Lake Ontario
[Letter written by County resident and business owner Carlyn Moulton, addressed to the Evironmental Commissioner of Ontario, with copies to Dalton McGuinty, Jim Bradley (Minister of the Environment), Todd Smith and Peter Kent (federal Minister of the Environment).]
It beggars belief that in the name of being “green”, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment has approved the destruction of the southeastern portion of Prince Edward County for a wind turbine project known as Ostrander Point. Virtually every environmental group in the country has made detailed submissions pointing out that this is the worst possible location that could be imagined. It is an Important Bird Area, a critical migratory flight path and breeding habitat for millions of birds, many endangered. It would qualify as an ANSI, or area of natural and scientific interest, because of its unique features.
Then to add insult to injury, in a cynical and grinch-like act that can only be seen as calculated and manipulative, the announcement is made on December the 20th, allowing 15 days for the public to comment or appeal. If the current government had any interest in participatory democracy, it would have picked another date. As this is not the first time that this has been done (as you yourself have pointed out), we have to assume that this wasn’t merely inept or absent-minded ignorance of the calendar and holiday season, but a willful thumbing of the nose to those that might wish to spend the holidays with their children as opposed to with their lawyers.
The effects on the natural environment are not restricted to the Ostrander Point wind project and its nine turbines – wind projects are planned or proposed on many sites along the north shore of Lake Ontario at the eastern end. What is the cumulative effect of these projects? They can’t just be considered one by one. The following table of projects and turbines lists those along the shore or in the water of eastern Lake Ontario. Most would be located within or adjacent to Important Bird Areas. (In Prince Edward County four other projects, totalling 47 turbines, are also proposed and awaiting ECTs.)
|Wind Project||Status||No. Of Turbines|
|Ostrander Point||OPA Contract||9|
|White Pines||OPA Contract||29-30|
|Amherst Island||OPA Contract||30-35|
|Loyalist I and II||Awaiting ECT||21|
|White Pines II||Proposed||36|
|Dorland||Proposed on Gilead website||20-40|
|Wolfe Island Shoals||Subject to offshore moratorium||60-150|
|Trillium I and II||Subject to offshore moratorium||282|
|Total of land-based Turbines||199-227|
|Total of all proposed Turbines||541-659|
It’s impossible to conclude that such numbers would not be an obstacle to migrating birds or a transformation of the natural environment.
Prince Edward County is also well known for organic vegetable farms, wineries and other farms. Wind turbines cause a shift in air pressure that collapse bat lungs and kills them. Bats eat insects. Insects eat fruit and vegetables. Without bats, insect populations increase significantly, and therefore, so does pesticide use. This is not rocket science. So why would we, in the name of the environment, allow for an industrial development that is surely to trigger a rise in pesticide use?
One can only imagine that there must be some sort of staggering electrical power shortage, plunging us all into the dark without this sort of destructive and permanently damaging project – which must surely save us all?
Except of course, we have a surplus of power. Ontario is a net exporter of power and has been for years. http://www.sygration.com/gendata/today.html publishes our surplus on a daily basis. Today, as I write, we have a “capacity” of almost double our current need. And it is a surplus that far exceeds our current use of coal – so that is a red herring.
And if we needed more, Quebec seems to be awash in cheap, renewable, hydro power. Maybe they might sell us some for a fraction of the price that we will end up paying to Gilead Power while they destroy Ostrander Point.
It hardly seems that we have a crisis of such a magnitude that we are compelled to give up public lands that are magnificent, unique, and critical to sustaining the natural environment to a private company who will reap a handsome profit from its destruction, and reaping artificially high rates, guaranteed by our government (but paid for by the people) for years to come.
This project is unnecessary, irresponsible, and against the interests of the public good and the environment.
The government’s stubborn pursuit of a wrong-headed policy, despite all evidence to the contrary, is damaging the very communities it is meant to protect and represent.
If the government was serious about reducing carbon emissions, making sure a serious public transit system was implemented around the GTA or along the 401 would seem to me to be a much better investment. Most of Ontario’s emissions aren’t from energy generation, they are from transportation – as anyone who took a day to inform themselves would know.