11/14/08 When things go wrong, who are you going to call? There's more to a good wind ordinance than meets the eye! AND! It's a small world when it comes to farmers regretting leasing their land to wind developers--
Why does your town need a wind ordinance? Is it just for setbacks from homes and turbine noise limits? And who are you going to call when things go wrong?
A good wind ordinance also considers protections for all residents from the damage that will be done to roads, waterways, and land during the heavy construction of the turbines. Construction work is often done by out of town people who show up, get the work done as fast as possible, and then disappear, leaving the town with few options to correct the damages done unless an ordinance was is place before hand which assures that roads, waterways and land will be repaired and restored.
Here's a video from someone whose town did not have an ordinance with protections in place for the turbine construction period. It shows the hazard presented by the chemicals used to control dust on the roads during the construction. In this case, the chemicals made it into water ways, resulting in fish kills.
Sadly, stories like these are much too common.
Without an ordinance in place, a township is left open to the abuses of wind developers, construction crews, and others who stand to profit from the wind development, while residents lose. Who are you going to call? Why not call your town government today and ask them to get working on a good, solid, defensible wind ordinance. (To read some examples of good Wisconsin wind ordinances, click here)
THE MISGIVINGS HEARD 'ROUND THE WORLD
Ripley farmer regrets wind turbine leases
November 13, 2008 by Don Crosby in The Kincardine News
Dave Colling regrets having leased some of his farm near Ripley to a wind energy developer.
Colling is part of a group of neighbours who signed a three-year lease in return for a fixed amount of money a year, plus a percentage of the profits once the project is underway.
"If I knew then what I know now, I never would have signed up," said Colling, whose farm will have wind turbines as part of the second stage of development near Ripley. The first phase of 38 turbines developed by Suncor came online last year.
"We are entering a whole new era of technology and we don't know any of its effects," Colling told about 150 people at a meeting on Wednesday in Feversham put on by a group called Preserve Grey Highlands.
The recently created group made up of former Osprey township residents is holding public information meetings to raise awareness about the potential adverse health concerns, quality of life changes and the turbines effect on property values.
Lorrie Gillis, the group's spokesperson, said members are also questioning the economic feasibility of turbines, which "don't save anything on carbon emissions," nor have they led to the closure of any coal burning generating plants.
The group is circulating a petition to be sent to the provincial government and Grey Highlands council calling for a moratorium on further construction of wind turbines in the province until there is a full independent assessment.
"We don't want them here until they are better studied and the truth is known, good bad or indifferent. The more research I do, the more red flags go up. We need to do a whole lot more study on them... we'd like to know they are a viable energy option," said Gillis.
The local group has joined forces with Wind Concerns Ontario - a coalition of 24 rural groups opposing projects in their own municipalities.
Gillis said research by her group has found adverse impacts to residents' health, local wildlife and the environment.
Colling, who tests homes and farms for the presence of stray voltage, related his experience testing the some homes in the Ripley near new turbines. He found that the lines carrying electricity from the turbines to the transmission lines were located too close to the lines leading to the homes and created much higher than normal levels of electricity in the homes. This was causing residents to display the symptoms of electrical hypersensitivity - dizziness, ringing in the ears, fatigue, headache, feeling of pins and needles and a burning sensation.
"It was like being in a microwave oven on high frequency," said Colling, who noted that once Hydro One buried the cables in the ground, the symptoms disappeared.
Colling urged anyone thinking of signing up with a wind development company to find out as much as possible.
"Educate yourself. Listen to the people you trust," he said.
Other speakers included Ed Long, the head of Blue Highlands Citizens, who said wind developers plan to build 600 turbines between Feversham and Shelburne.
Bill Palmer, a critic of the Kingsbridge wind farm project in the former Ashfield Township, said wind energy does little to supplement power needs during peak demand, since wind is highest at night when the demand for electricity is lowest and then it drops off during the day when demands soar.
He also said the setbacks from buildings and property lines of 400 metres need to be expanded.
Rob Wilton, who lives in a remote area east of Dundalk, said if a proposed wind farm project goes through as planned, he will have six 400-foot turbines within a 1.6-kilometre radius of his house.
"None of the company consultants has come around to tell me they are putting these things up," said Wilton, who doesn't think he can sell his property now.
He's not opposed to wind energy, he just wants to keep his sense of isolation.
"One of the reasons I bought this property is because it's so desolate. I spend most of time outside. I can understand green power and renewable energy, cutting back on greenhouse gases. I just don't want so many of the them just so close to my house. Two, maybe three, but six to me, that's unreasonable."