County resident Karen Empringham’s story
It was one year ago today that I sent my first e-mail to a group to explain why I had suddenly become an outspoken advocate against “green” energy as the Ontario government is delivering it.
If you know me at all, you know that I am a person who holds strong opinions but generally doesn’t preach or lecture. All of that changed in the past few years as my way of life in the County came under siege from the threat of wind turbines. I started an e-mail campaign and have sent about an e-mail a week throughout the last year to this group.
The turbines are not yet here, but we are in the 11th hour as we fight to protect our homes and our health. It is still incredible to me that we have to challenge the Ministry of the Environment (whose job it is to protect the environment) on the destruction it is contemplating to a rare alvar habitat home to 14 endangered species. And we have to do it on our own dime! The local groups here which are appealing the Renewable Energy Approval are on the hook for up to $150,000 each x 2 groups = $300,000 in costs. Meanwhile, the Ministry of the Environment and the wind developer have deep pockets so this Environmental Review Tribunal is no skin off their nose, financially, it is just a nuisance for them to have to be in court at all.
If we are not successful in our fight, I am convinced that my health will be affected. I have an imbalance in my inner ear which puts me near the top of the list of likely victims. As a result, we may not be able to live in our beautiful home. We may not be able to sell it for its full value. We may not be able to sell it all. This will certainly impact our retirement both financially and emotionally.
All of this for: energy that Ontario does not need – Ontario is a net exporter of energy 80% of the time. energy whose supply is a complete mismatch for demand, yet has first to grid rights. The wind blows most when Ontario needs it the least. energy that requires constant back up from more traditional sources of electricity, which means those sources have to ramp up or down to allow wind first to grid rights. This makes the back up source less efficient. energy that is 4 times more expensive than hydro. Most people are willing to pay a premium for green energy but not a 400% premium. energy that causes major health issues for about 25% of people who live too close to them. Sleep disturbance on an ongoing basis can severely impact health.
As you know, if you have been part of my campaign from the beginning, there are many more issues with wind than just the few I have listed here but in my mind, even one of them is reason to pause and re-examine the current policy. Unfortunately, that has not been the case even with the new premier and cabinet in place.
I want to thank you for sticking with me and for sending back messages of support. I have probably not sent as many e-mails in the past few weeks as I did at the beginning of my campaign. The Tribunal is taking up a lot of time and energy but I hope to be able to find time soon to start up again.