Monday, January 16, 2012

Letter to the Millbrook Times From Eva

We just celebrated beginning of the year 2012; it will be an eventful one and a difficult one as well because rural Ontarians have to defend their land from construction of the provincial government sponsored wind turbines which will turn the province into an industrial service corridor.

Here is a very simple, abbreviated reminder of what we will be dealing with.

Wind turbines, solar farms – fashion of the day, symbols of green and sustainable development. They are supposed to, magically, reduce CO2 emission (zero carbon?), keep global temperatures down, lower sea levels, and save polar bears from extinction – will they?

Each wind turbine requires 14 meters ( 30 feet ) deep foundation of 1000 metric tons of poured in concrete. To produce concrete, the limestone has to be heated to 2,600 degrees Fahrenheit using fossil fuels; to produce 1 ton of cement nearly

1 ton of carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere where it traps heat, contributing to global warming. So each foundation is responsible for release of

1000 tons of CO2. Being so deep, some of them might affect ground water.

In addition to cement there is steel (335 tons), production of which generates vast amount of CO2 as well. There is copper (4.7 tons), mining of which pollutes water;

3 tons of aluminum (very high energy output for production); 2 tons of rare earth materials extraction of which creates enormous toxic and radioactive waste.

The footprint on the Earth in terms of energy use for installation and operation of each turbine is 20 years while the lifespan of one turbine is 20 years as well.

500 feet tall IWTs (Industrial Wind Turbines) produce power intermittently, often not at all, and rarely above 20% of the rated capacity. Therefore, fossil fuels back-up power stations are needed to avoid black-outs. In Europe, where wind farms exist for quite a few years, the CO2 emission went up 2%.

Each turbine requires 400 – 500 gallons of oil per year for maintenance. Oil spills and pollutes ground water.

There are access roads, masts, pylons and wires; all construction done by diesel guzzling heavy machinery.

10,000 turbines are planned for the province of Ontario.

There were cases when IWTs collapsed sending debris long distance, all over the landscape. They also catch fire which has to be let burn down since the firefighters do not have ladders long enough … What will happen in case of hurricane or tornado?

Most of the existing and proposed wind farms are or will be located in the world’s wildest, most beautiful and most untouched landscapes – deserts, moors, mountain tops and uplands, where the roads have to be built which means clear cutting large forest areas and destroying the environment. They are also located near bird sanctuaries and on migratory bird routes. Birds are being shredded by thousands by those enormous blades. The latest in the USA: the Federal government is proposing to grant a permit that would allow the developer of a central Oregon wind-power project to legally kill protected golden eagles (ironically, symbol of the country)

Wherever the IWTs are, most of the wildlife is gone and there are not that many places left where the remaining animals could survive.

They are located in the seas, oceans, lakes and rivers.

They are located in rural areas, right next to the houses.

People living in the vicinity of turbines complain of serious health problems but so far nobody, nowhere conducted thorough health studies to this effect.

Many worry about 40% - 50% property value drop in the areas of turbines; very often, those properties are all they have, lifetime investment…

Some have to abandon their houses.

The wind farms have really nothing to do with saving this Planet. It is a huge and profitable business, for the time being. Transalta (Alberta Tar Sands) is the largest owner and operator of IWTs in Canada; developers of nuclear power plants (Nextera, Samsung, Iberdrola, Exelon, First Energy, NRG, Xcel) are big players in the wind turbines plants and use government subsidies allocated for “wind development” to reduce their taxes.

As mentioned before – the lifespan of a turbine is 20 years, then what? Removal of a single, above the ground structure would cost $250,000 in today’s dollars – who will pay? They will be most probably abandoned, some of them already are.

The blades, each the length of the Boeing 747 are not recyclable and will remain at the site or in landfills for ever (Denmark is having a serious problem with decommissioned turbines). Concrete foundations will never be removed.

How “green” all these is?