GUEST COLUMN

 JIM MCPHERSON, SPECIAL TO THE TORONTO SUN

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Premier Kathleen Wynne speaks during a news conference on Wednesday, July 19, 2017. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/PHOTO)

The war of residents against industrial wind turbines is being fought by rural communities in many countries.

Their common enemy is the financially-powerful wind industry, which is failing miserably in its efforts to deliver affordable and reliable electricity. It survives because its revenues are government-contracted.

In Ontario, Premier Kathleen Wynne’s government won’t let local residents win this war.

While I’m not comparing the two in scale, Ontario’s wind war does have some things in common with World War II. Both were (and are) multinational with long-lasting effects.

Both have been waged over basic human rights and freedoms, with easily-identifiable villains and heroes.

Both have been costly.

Precious heritage assets, and wildlife, have been lost forever in turbine-ravaged communities.

Industrial wind turbines are driving up electricity prices, while driving down real estate values. Out of phase with demand, wind energy is inherently unreliable and inefficient. Much of it is exported at a loss.

Many rural residents oppose industrial wind turbines because they destroy neighbourhoods, kill birds and bats and bulldoze wildlife and habitats.

Many people say their low-frequency sound radiation makes them sick.

The Wynne government has already admitted it doesn’t need any more big, industrial wind projects because Ontario has an energy surplus.

Nevertheless, “Big Wind” fights on and continues to devastate rural Ontario landscapes.

In Prince Edward County, a wind farm development was originally proposed in 2008 as a 75-turbine project that would supposedly help Ontario’s “green energy” program.

After being acquired by another company, it was downsized to 27 turbines.

Earlier this year, following very costly appeals by local citizens, 18 of these turbine sites were disallowed by an Environmental Review Tribunal, leaving nine to be built.

Then, without public consultation, the Wynne government reduced the proponent’s contracted deliverable energy contract, so the deal could go forward.

It could have and should have been terminated it, in the view of many local residents.

Which raises the question of why does the Wynne government keep stubbornly supporting Big Wind?

The wind developer has announced it intends to begin construction of its severely-downsized, nine-turbine project surrounding the community of Milford.

Milford adjoins an internationally-designated “Important Bird Area” (IBA) on a multi-species migration flyway.

Colonies of vulnerable Little Brown Bats help Milford farmers protect their crops from insects. Turbines are dangerous to bats.

The wind developer, based in Germany, is a respected world leader in energy technology.

At a recent packed town hall meeting, Milford residents explored ways to save their community from more wind turbine industrialization.

One resident suggested the government of Germany might not want to inflict environmental harm in Canada more severe than that allowed in Germany.

Like Prince Edward County, Bavaria is a bucolic, tourism destination.

In Ontario, industrial wind turbines can be located 550 meters from residences, even though Health Canada reports this can cause sleep disturbance and severe annoyance.

In Bavaria, the legal setback for giant wind turbines is a much safer two km.

To protect wildlife, most European governments keep turbines away from IBAs.

In 2011, the Canadian Senate unanimously backed a motion calling on the province to institute a moratorium on wind-farm development along eastern Lake Ontario.

Six years later, the Wynne government continues to allow the wind industry to further its desecration of rural Ontario, despite the fact we have an energy surplus. Why?