Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Letter to the Millbrook Times from Eva Han

A lot has been said and written about the almost 500 feet tall wind turbines which might be coming to our area, five o them so far planned on 3 properties just east of Millbrook. It is becoming a very controversial topic; if we look at the international scenario; quite a few countries in Europe which embraced the idea a few years ago, are re-thinking their decisions. Germany and Denmark, wind farming pioneers of the past, are two of them. 14,000 wind turbines have been abandoned in California as well as 5 wind sites on the Hawaiian Islands.

Even if we forget the health issues for a moment, there are quite a few others. First of all, as everybody knows by now, the efficiency of the turbines is very low due to the fact that the wind is intermittent and unreliable; if there is no wind, not enough or too much, there is no power generation, and they have to be paired with fossil fuels stand-bys on a permanent basis…which means there is no substantial or most likely any reduction in CO2 emissions. Life span of a turbine is 20 years; to install one, 1000 tons of concrete foundation 10 meter deep and 25 meters wide is needed, there are raw materials used for their production – steel and lots of copper to mention just two of them, the parts are delivered by diesel burning trucks, the site has to be “prepared” including access roads; each gear box needs 500 gallons of oil per year for maintenance (oil can easily leak and contaminate ground water). The enormous blades (which are not recyclable) kill birds and bats by thousands and might get accidentally detached from the structure. There were cases when turbines collapsed.

The environmental footprint of each is 20 years – same as their lifespan…Are they going to be dismantled? Removed? More energy involved in the process. Foundations will stay.
How environmentally friendly is it? Damage to the environment will out-weight the benefits.
It is almost impossible to break wind turbines’ construction contract, once signed. Apparently, one landowner did that or tried to and the cost is prohibitive - approximately $250,000.
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture – which represents farmers who rent their land to wind farming companies – has called for moratorium on new turbines until an independent health study can be done.

Ontario’s Government, as well as many manufacturers, consultants etc. proclaimed themselves “green” – they are, in many cases, anything but… The political scenario is a very complicated one but it certainly does not have anything to do with the well being of the citizens of this Province – health wise and financial; the cost of kW of energy paid to the wind farms owners is higher than “conventionally” produced and, at the end, the consumer will foot the bill.
A growing chorus of critics say that the Provincial Government needs to be more up front about proposals on wind energy projects across Ontario.

And about consultants – many of them have made the “green” issue into a profitable business which very often does not take in account the environment and places where people live.

There has been a letter in The Millbrook Times by Kyle Richtig, who just relocated to Cavan-Monaghan from Sault Ste. Marie in September 2010. Seems hardly enough time to totally understand the local issues. But never the less, Mr. Richtig says that there is absolutely nothing wrong with living is the shade of wind turbines, “why should Cavan-Monaghan not play a part in generating the power it relies on?” The citizens of Millbrook are called selfish because they oppose the wind farms.
Mr. Richtig points out that there are industrial wind turbines in his former home town and that they can be seen from the city. However, being seen and being next door to a 500 feet tall whirling skyscraper is a different thing. But Mr. Richtig might be in luck. There is a wind test tower in the north end of the Township and he may be fortunate enough to have a lovely turbine in his backyard one day.

As about Sault Ste. Marie, all is not quite well there:
“Sault Ste. Marie MP Tony Martin will hold a press conference ( - ) calling for a public hearing into plans for wind turbines that could one day be planted in Lake Superior. Martin was contacted by a group of area residents ( - ) about windmills rumored for Aloma Bay and wrote to the local Ministry of Natural Resources office with their inquires. What he heard back ( - ) made him “apoplectic” he says. “It blew me away that they are actually thinking of putting these things out on the water. What impact will that have on the lake? ( just 500 gallons of maintenance oil – my comment). We have no idea until we do some significant research.”
By Frank Dobrovnik, The Sault Star”
Mr. Richtig also writes that he “checked into Speak Out Cavan-Monaghan www.socm.ca and was unable to find any information on the mission of the organization”. Amazing, isn’t? Because such organization does not exist! Of course, as a newcomer, he does not know the past 2 years of our Township’s turbulent history and the reason the SOCM website has been created. We should not blame him for that, should we?
Mr. Richtig on-line profile indicates that he is part of a group called “Green Tomorrow” which volunteered their efforts to other local non-profits such as Thickson Woods Land Trust, Friends of Cullen Central Park and Oshawa Butterfly Park. If he is indeed a steward of the environment, he should object loudly to the proposed destruction of our unique landscape in order to lay down access roads and 1000 tons concrete bases for a wind farm being erected in the vicinity of a bird sanctuary.
Before criticizing, one should learn more about the place one has moved into…
Job creation in the Peterborough County thanks to the wind farms? – highly unlikely…
As about land value, etc – no need to comment on that; it is quite obvious that Mr.Richtig does not get it quite right.

Eva Hans
Cavan Ward

Eva Bykhovsky
686 Carmel Line
Tel.: 932-3565