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Canada Earth Power Politics

Canadians Protest Wind Turbines 533

Posted by samzenpus
from the blowing-in-the-wind dept.
NIK282000 writes "Ontario farmers rallied in downtown Toronto to protest the subsidization of wind turbines. Several of the protesters stated that they fear for the the health of their families and that they refuse to live near wind turbines. Others fear that the value of their property will be reduced significantly by the presence of turbines. With the cost of gas and oil on its way up it's a wonder that any one would be against the use of renewable energy sources."
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Canadians Protest Wind Turbines

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  • by crazyjj (2598719) * on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @02:48PM (#39574829)

    Look, there is no such thing as "free" energy. There is always some price to be paid, some tradeoff. If someone out there is selling you on the perfect energy source that is the answer to all out problems with no downsides, they're selling you on something that just doesn't exist.

    It's a question of what tradeoffs you think are better than others. Poll any five people on /. and I'll bet you'll get 7 different opinions as to which source(s) are most practical/safe/efficient/cost-effective. That's not to say this means they're all created equal, just an acknowledgement that none of them are anywhere close to perfect.

    My own opinion is that solar, wind, and hydroelectric power are almost certainly the three cleanest and safest sources we have at present--but current practical considerations also stick them into the "can supplement, but not replace" category when compared to the dirtier and less safe sources (at least for now). I'm not so concerned with birds, fish spawning, and farmers' property values as I am the more industrial-scale waste issues that you get with coal, oil, and nuclear fission. I'm sure someone can also make the case for natural gas, thorium reactors, and fusion too--but we'll see on that. But there's always someone who's going to bitch, no matter what path(s) you take.

  • by Dyinobal (1427207) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @02:55PM (#39574921)
    Well I for one am a bit baffled at the idea of Wind turbines effecting someones health. Is this one of those crack pot ideas, like being allergic to cellphones and wifi?
  • Yes and No. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @02:57PM (#39574949)

    Several of the protesters stated that they fear for the the health of their families and that they refuse to live near wind turbines

    This is the most retarded thing I've heard in the past hour.
    (I've unfortunately heard a lot of stupid crap lately, so i can't claim all day or all week or whatever.)

    Others fear that the value of their property will be reduced significantly by the presence of turbines.

    This, however, is a legitimate concern for those who plan on selling their house.
    The loss of value on the house might be compensated enough by the energy provided by the wind turbines though, though I'm unsure.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @02:58PM (#39574959)

    Yes. It's similar to the "fan death" urban legend that's big in South Korea.

  • Contradiction (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SaroDarksbane (1784314) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @02:58PM (#39574963)

    protest the subsidization of wind turbines [..] With the cost of gas and oil on its way up it's a wonder that any one would be against the use of renewable energy sources.

    If the price of oil has made wind power a cost-effective alternative, then why do they need to be subsidized?

    (This is similar to a statement out of the administration a couple weeks back that forcing insurance companies to cover birth control should be a non-issue, since it would save insurance companies money. If insurance companies save money by offering birth control, then why do you need to force them to do it?)

  • by TWX (665546) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @02:58PM (#39574975)
    Well, if a turbine blows apart and pieces go flying, I suppose that they could kill someone, like when this one [youtu.be] over-revved and blew itself to bits... Beyond normal "omg I live near power transmission lines" which could apply to any large power generating method, I can't see any other dangers.
  • by mark-t (151149) <markt@PARISlynx.bc.ca minus city> on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @02:59PM (#39574991) Journal

    FTA:

    Gerry Dentoom carried a sign reading âoeMy property value is now $0.â

    He says it's worth $, so if I offer him a hundred bucks, that's actually being really generous right?

    Oh... what's that? He won't take it, because he thinks it's actually worth more?

    Then it's not *REALLY* worth $0, is it?

  • the NIMBY crowd (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RelliK (4466) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @02:59PM (#39574995)

    To the guy carrying the sign that says "my property value is now $0" I want to say: sell it to me for $1. Surely, if he truly believes the property is worthless, any money he can get from it is pure profit.

    I really want to hear what are the supposed "health problems" attributed to wind turbines. Amazingly, the same people who protest wind turbines have no problem with coal plants spewing ash and sulfur dioxide on their land.

  • by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @03:05PM (#39575093) Journal

    My own opinion is that solar, wind, and hydroelectric power are almost certainly the three cleanest and safest sources we have at present

    Nuclear kills fewer people per kWh than any of those. People are just more afraid of invisible radiation than they are of falling off of rooftops.

  • Re:Contradiction (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @03:08PM (#39575141)

    Here's a quiz to tell if you're a libertarian or a normal person. Finish this sentence:

    "An ounce of prevention is ___________________":

    a) "worth a pound of cure."
    b) "an unconscionable interference with the free market and an offense against human liberty."

  • by Dyinobal (1427207) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @03:09PM (#39575167)
    Look I'm not against nuclear power or anything myself but I can understand why people are always making a fuss about it. Sure our other power sources kill more people per year but it does so in ways that normal people can prevent and don't feel powerless against. I can do something to prevent myself from falling off a roof, or any other of mundane ways shit can go wrong with other power generation methods. I can't how ever do anything with regards to radiation once the shit hits the fan, other than hope I wasn't exposed to too much radiation and get as far away from the hotzone as possible and into quarantine and decon. Radiation is scary even if it is -safe-. My first reaction is always to 'scoff' at people who are antinuclear power too but there are some good reasons for their fears.
  • by jdavidb (449077) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @03:22PM (#39575427) Homepage Journal

    I noticed the headline said "Canadians protest wind turbines," and I thought, "That sounds really silly; I'll send it to my wife to see if she gets a laugh out of it." Then I opened up the story and saw the truth: "Canadians protest subsidization of wind turbines." There's a huge difference there, and I think it's often lost in public discourse.

    I would be opposed to taking tax dollars to buy Bibles to distribute in public schools. I sure would be upset if I were misrepresented as opposing Bibles, or favoring censorship of the Bible, or some other such slant. Opposing subsidization is really, really radically different from opposing the thing being subsidized.

  • by Ignacio (1465) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @03:23PM (#39575465)

    It's about constant exposure to low frequencies as I understand it, which is not something that people are generally exposed to in their daily lives.

    Is 50/60Hz not considered a low frequency anymore?

  • Re:Left Wing (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CaptainLugnuts (2594663) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @03:23PM (#39575469)
    I'm not sure which wing is crazier [www.cbc.ca] Is a Catholic teacher's union left or right wing?
  • by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @03:26PM (#39575527) Journal

    If falling deaths are so preventable, why are they so prevalent? People make mistakes, and there's nothing you can do to prevent that. So no, deaths by falls are not any more preventable than death by radiation.

    Radiation is scary even if it is -safe-.

    Only if you're stupid.

  • by cbiltcliffe (186293) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @03:30PM (#39575571) Homepage Journal

    He's a farmer. Not the highest intellect.

    You're an idiot. Farmers are meteorologists, veterinarians, heavy equipment operators, heavy equipment mechanics, small engine mechanics, welders, plumbers, geologists, and a bunch of other stuff all rolled into one.

    I can't even begin to list the things that farmers have to know that you don't have a clue about.

  • by fwarren (579763) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @03:31PM (#39575593) Homepage

    With the cost of gas and oil on its way up it's a wonder that any one would be against the use of renewable energy sources."

    Notice we are talking about subsidies here. Wind turbines still are not turning a profit on their own. Otherwise they would not have to be subsidized. I would be fine if solar, wave or wind was close to "almost" breaking even, after factoring in some way to "store" the power for when the sun is not out or there is no wind. Then a subsidy would be to "jump start" the market.

    But when the facts are that these things cost x millions to build, cost y thousands to maintain and generate z dollars worth of power, and it turns out that x + y z. Way less than Z, then someone has to absorb the cost of building power generation systems that do not turn a profit.

    The person or company who builds the never to turn a profit wind turbine should eat this expense. Not the tax payers. As it stands , the turbines built 5 years ago did not turn a profit, the ones being built now are not turning a profit, the ones we will build 5 years from now will not turn a profit. What is the point of subsiding them? If it is evident that "jump starting the market" means after 10 years and they are still no where near profitable, that is the wrong market for the government to encourage.

    Do you know why gas and oil are so hard to kill? Because they are cheap. Even with the rising prices, they can still be produced at a profit.

  • by cpu6502 (1960974) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @03:53PM (#39576035)

    >>>meteorologists, veterinarians, heavy equipment operators, heavy equipment mechanics, small engine mechanics, welders, plumbers, geologists

    No (they let the weather predictions to the weather bureau, same as us). No (they hire vets). Yes (as if that's hard). Maybe (some fix their equipment but most hire mechanics). No, maybe, no (plowing the earth does not make you a geologist).

    I worked on a farm. It doesn't take a high IQ. If it did, most of humanity would have starved during the last 10,000 years of agrarianism. It's actually very simple (though time intensive). Which is why they propose crockpot theories like "Windmills make un's sick! I've got lists I downloaded off the conspiracy sites."

  • Re:Contradiction (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ColdWetDog (752185) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @04:07PM (#39576285) Homepage

    A significant amount of the US military effort is in direct support of keeping our oil supply flowing.

    That's not chump change.

    Then there are numerous tax breaks, early depreciation allowances and numerous accounting shenanigans that cover oil exploration and recovery. To be fair, that nonsense is pretty typical for several other major industries (medicine, automobiles, aircraft, military, agriculture) but one should always call a spade a spade....

  • by nschubach (922175) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @04:12PM (#39576371) Journal

    If he truly is a farmer, it's probably more like jealousy that they didn't pick his field to put it in. My parents are in talks right now to have upwards of 3 mills put on their land. At $12k per mill plus a percentage of energy generated... per year... you can make a nice chunk of income from being picked.

  • by Reverand Dave (1959652) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @04:27PM (#39576663)
    That looks like junk science and paranoia exemplified. Exactly like wifi allergies.
  • by Joce640k (829181) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @04:32PM (#39576757) Homepage

    From what I understand, many turbines are considerably louder than claimed, particularly at low frequencies. If nothing else, this could affect sleep md hence health.

    I've stood right under a turbine. They don't make any noise apart from the wind blowing across the blades. Anything makes a noise when wind blows past it, even the ground.

    Turbines turn with the wind. To make low frequency throbbing noises like the NIMBYs claim they'd have to have a motor inside them and actively push the air around.

  • by ericloewe (2129490) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @04:41PM (#39576935)

    Wow, when I thought pseudo-science couldn't go any lower when it came to electricity generation, here comes a theory that wind turbines produce the same effect as "haunted places" and "ghost sightings" through low-frequency noises.

    Too bad there isn't a moderation option for "pseudo-science".

  • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @05:51PM (#39578205) Homepage Journal

    Yes they do. Which is why I have tremendous sympathy for anyone who has a freeway or airport built near the residency..and very little sympathy for people who move into a house when the freeway or airport is already built.

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