Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Letter to Editor - Shoreline Beacon (Oct 19, 2010)

Turbine picture isn't a rosy as ad paints it


I've nearly completed research on the wind turbines we are to get here. I have now well over 500 hours in research about wind turbines. To further my knowledge, I took mayor Lynn Acre's advice. She is the mayor of Bayham, Ontario, is for wind in her community and advised us to come and see her wind farm community. See the advertisement on Page 38 of the Oct. 5 Shoreline Beacon.

My wife and I decided to combine a trip to see the fall leaves and Acre's community of wind turbines. It was a beautiful day for a car trip along country roads on our way south. The leaves were displaying themselves just the way the season of fall had intended it to be.

Once near Clear Creek, one of Acre's communities, our pleasant happy mood changed. These big tall white things, most of them not turning, simply overtook the natural beauty that we had been enjoying since leaving Port Elgin. We were both not impressed by this view. Maybe if there had been hundreds, or thousands, of wind turbines in one area, it might have been impressive, but from our higher vantage point it looked tacky and unsightly. I will say our trip from this point changed in its mood.

We drove to one of the wind turbines that was turning and stopped on the side of the road about 600 metres away. As soon as I turned the engine off, we could hear this whooshing sound every time the blades went past the tower holding up the turbine. It sounded something like large trucks driving by, but they were a distance away, and you couldn't see them on the road. After getting out of our car, it was even louder. After a few minutes standing outside you started to hear the wind. Only problem was there wasn't any wind; at least not on the ground where we were standing. The leaves on the tree next to us weren't moving. The noise was all produced by that one wind turbine.

At another location with a turbine spinning, I asked the people there if we could get close to what looked like their wind turbine and they said yes. We went right to the base of the wind turbine and again, the whooshing noise caught your attention, but now you could also feel the ground vibrating and also hear one very high-pitched whining buzzing type sound. There were lots of feathers around there too, much too much for just one bird.

While driving through the area of #42, the road that goes between Clear Creek and Port Burwell, you can see houses for sale with no one living in them, all having a wind turbine or turbines very close to the house.

We drove to Port Stanley before heading back home. At the beach you can look eastward along the beautiful cliff shoreline until you see those white wind turbines. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholders and in our eyes those white things totally disturbed the beauty that once was.
The full page ad in Shoreline Beacon quoted Acre as saying "Wind energy is having an incredibly positive impact on our community." Well, I guess we somehow missed the incredibly positive impact part of the community. The ad goes on to say "the wind farm has become part of our identity." All we saw was what looked like a bunch of disorganzied wind turbines, most of them not even turning, a derelict house with a wind turbine and empty houses for sale beside wind turbines. Not an identity we would want to be known for.

One other thing I would like to say. Only twice did we come into contact with other people in Acre's community and both times her wind turbines were not spoken nicely of.
We came, we saw, we were not impressed; we'll never be going back.

Charley Ubanek Port Elgin