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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?
      • 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.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by TWX (665546)
        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 Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @03:32PM (#39575629)

          This is actually a common misconception. That wind turbine did not "over-rev and blow itself to bits". It was a very specifically watched test to see exactly *how* a wind turbine would come apart in the event that the automatic brakes failed in a high-wind situation [in this case, if memory serves, the winds were in excess of 125 kph]. Turbines are fairly tightly controlled by software and human operators [almost always off-site], but the general consensus is that there's negligible danger in the event of a turbine destroying itself. You basically have to be standing underneath it during a hurricane, *and* have the redundant braking systems fail at the same time.

          This is not to say that they're flawless and impeccably safe. But the relative danger is significantly lower than a coal plant failing, for example.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I think (hope!) that this is just some right wing conservative whacko group pretending to be real people. Worried about their health?! I used to think all the crazies were down in the States, but lately it seems like Canada is making a real effort to out-crazy our neighbours to the South. :(

      • by Anonymous Coward

        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.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Joce640k (829181)

          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 notgm (1069012)

        maybe they're worried that the windmills will loosen the soil, and they'll all take off, eh?

      • Windfall, the movie. (Score:4, Informative)

        by alexander_686 (957440) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @03:14PM (#39575251)

        Sigh. I hate to give credence to urban myths and junk science, but if you want to know of the fear of the unknown, here is a trailer for a movie that will explain it all.

        http://windfallthemovie.com/index_1.html [windfallthemovie.com]

        • by Reverand Dave (1959652) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @04:27PM (#39576663)
          That looks like junk science and paranoia exemplified. Exactly like wifi allergies.
          • Your solution advocates a

            (*) technical ( ) legislative (*) market-based ( ) vigilante

            approach to solving a looming energy problem. Your idea will not work. Here is why it won't work. (One or more of the following may apply to your particular idea, and it may have other flaws which used to vary from state to state or country to country before a bad federal or international law was passed.)

            ( ) It will be fought by entrenched fishing interests
            ( ) Requires immediate total cooperation from everybody at once
            (*) I

      • by rwise2112 (648849)
        I've heard more than one news report where people are complaining about a high-pitched whine, which prevents them from sleeping properly, many headaches, etc. Real or immaginary - I can't comment!
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Hatta (162192)

      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.

      • 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.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Hatta (162192)

          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.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Yeah but nuclear has the POTENTIAL to kill millions. It's why there are so many damned redundant safeguards on the plants. They simply can not fail. And yet, they do....

        Just because nuclear hasn't YET failed in a spectacularly bad way doesn't mean it isn't possible. They actually considered evacuating Tokyo as one possible fallout of the Fukushima disaster. Tokyo. Where the hell do you evacuate 10 million people to?

        It isn't *likely* to have such an event, but it is *possible*. No other power so
    • by cbiltcliffe (186293) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @03:23PM (#39575479) Homepage Journal

      It's not that people are against wind energy, per se. It's that the Ontario government passed a law giving them final and absolute authority over where they were placed, effectively killing any municipal control over zoning, land use, etc.

      It's basically a bunch of idiot urban politicians saying to a rural county "We're putting a wind farm in your county, right here on the map, complete with massive construction traffic and huge amounts of concrete for the bases of these things, and it doesn't matter to you, because there's hardly anybody living there to complain. After all, you've got, what, 1/100th the population density of Toronto?"

      If the local county had zoned that area agricultural, or had plans for a shopping mall that had been years and hundreds of thousands in the making, and were ready to break ground tomorrow, then tough luck.

      Another thing is, considering the amount of concrete involved, it effectively kills the land for any agricultural use, anyway. Even if the turbine and its base is removed, the leach from the concrete will have done serious damage the the ground's ability to grow crops. Since the provincial government is frequently putting them in prime agricultural areas, rather than in, place where the soil is too shallow over bedrock to be productive, it's a reasonable concern.

  • by OldGunner (2576825)
    The Kennedy clan, in the lower 48, fought them because they damaged the view from their Cape Cod compound. NIMBYs are everywhere.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by sysadmintech (704387)
      The people complaining are always the wealthy land owners thinking their property values will drop, which has been proved false. I live and fish on Lake Erie. Lake Erie is very shallow and is a perfect place for a wind farm. The structures would create reefs that would support aquatic life and would improve sport fishing. The fishermen, DNR, and environmentalists were all for the wind farm. Idiots over in Cleveland tied to electric utilities protested a wind farm would lower property values and destroy aqua
  • 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.

    • Re:Yes and No. (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @03:08PM (#39575133)

      I live in Toronto, a few blocks from the windmill on the lakeshore. Since the windmill went in, my home's propey value has, approximately, doubled, along with the rest of the neighborhood.. The concern is pure BS, just like the shit about windmill health issues.

  • 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?)

    • Re:Contradiction (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anaerin (905998) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @03:04PM (#39575071)
      Because oil is currently MASSIVELY subsidised. The tax breaks and benefits the oil industry get are huge, and if a tiny proportion of those subsidies were also available to so-called "Green" energy solutions then solar and wind power would be free, paid for entirely by the subsidy.
      • by grumpyman (849537)
        Come on modders - you can call this insightful *maybe* but INFORMATION as in FACT? I gotta see the numbers: what tax breaks and benefits so significant that solar/wind power would be FREE, PAID FOR ENTIRELY BY THE SUBSIDY? Show me some calculation.
      • Re:Contradiction (Score:5, Informative)

        by Kozz (7764) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @04:13PM (#39576383)

        Because oil is currently MASSIVELY subsidised. The tax breaks and benefits the oil industry get are huge, and if a tiny proportion of those subsidies were also available to so-called "Green" energy solutions then solar and wind power would be free, paid for entirely by the subsidy.

        The problem comes in when we play fast and loose with semantics... to me, a subsidy is something that the gov't gives away, I guess. I don't classify a tax break (returning taxes paid into the gov't) the same way I do a subsidy. On top of that, are these not the same kinds of tax breaks received by all kinds of companies, not just oil companies? I'm not a huge fan of the oil companies and the seemingly large profits at our expense, but I AM a fan of arguing with facts...

        A good friend of mine has very different political views, but sent me this link: http://money.cnn.com/2011/04/26/news/economy/oil_tax_breaks_obama/index.htm?hpt=T2 [cnn.com]

        This article frames it in such a way as that the oil companies are not receiving "special treatment", per se. So how can you penalize them and say they're exempt from the tax breaks given to others? So my question is whether this CNN Money article is a piece of garbage that is also playing fast & loose with terminology, or not delivering the whole truth? I invite discussion.

    • by LanMan04 (790429)

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

      It's not YET, but it's clear to 100% of everyone that the cost of fossil fuels will continue to increase over the long term, until it's done.

      We're just-starting the process with subsidies while it's less painful, instead of later.

      • 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 tilante (2547392)
      Because, just like people, companies can be short-sighted and prefer saving a little money now over saving a lot of money in the long term?
    • by Jonner (189691)

      Existing power generation technologies based on coal and oil have had a hundred years to mature and become established. Even if wind energy can be more cost effective than coal and oil eventually, it is not yet an established industry, so subsidies may help it become established and competitive more quickly than without them. Of course, government programs don't often like to go away when they're no longer needed.

  • by mark-t (151149) <markt@nOSPam.lynx.bc.ca> 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 AntEater (16627)

      Amazingly, the same people who protest wind turbines have no problem with coal plants spewing ash and sulfur dioxide on their land.

      No, they have no problem with coal plants spewing ash and sulfur dioxide on other people's land.

  • NIMBY (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @02:59PM (#39575015)

    Imagine your house is in the shadow of one of these things, the sun becomes a strobe light. This is the most legit criticism I've heard.

    Other than it just being more pork spending, and not a real road to energy independence, ever.

    • by mark-t (151149)
      First of all, if your house is in the shadow of one of these things, then you have one that is LITERALLY on your own property, in which case you are being paid for the land it is on, or else it is extremely early or extremely late in the day, in which case the "strobe" effect (which is actually not disconcerting, you'll get more of a strobing effect from being in the shadow of a leafy tree on a windy day) won't last that long anyways.
  • I don't really get this one myself. I see it a lot in the Niagara region of Ontario; farmers absolutely opposed to wind turbines as well as solar farms. They state a number of baseless reasons as mentioned above like - my favourite being health concerns. Do they think they're radioactive or something? Or that they put out electromagnetic interference akin to a neutron star? Or that the Solar farms take up valuable farm land (currently sitting unused).

    Any technology has its downsides - green energy is n

  • by CuriousGeorge113 (47122) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @03:03PM (#39575049) Homepage

    I don't mean to come of as purely cynical, but usually farmers who own large swaths of otherwise undeveloped land benefit pretty significantly if they sign a lease for oil & gas drilling rights.

    Maybe they are trying to protect their revenue stream. Low energy prices do have a downside. If they drop enough, energy companies may choose not to exercise their drilling leases, which means no revenue for the landowners who own them. Sure, they may receive money from the wind turbines, but oil revenue's would probably be greater.

  • Ok then.

    Just scrap wind turbine subsidies and instead propose to build more CANDU reactors in the backyards of the complainers.

    They must support that, given than Ontario is mostly powered by nuclear and hydro already.
  • With fracking/natural gas and more offshore drilling, there is enough fossil fuel to last our lifetime and longer. This stuff is cheap compared to anything "green." As soon as any green tech takes hold, fossil fuel cartels (both US and abroad) will drop the price of their product and starve out the alternatives.

    The only way green works is with a $5 per gallon fossil fuel tax that goes to alternative energy subsidies. But will anybody support that? Can you say "political third rail?"

    • by HBI (604924)

      That's essentially what California is doing now. It isn't denominated like a tax, but the regulatory infrastructure has the same deadening effect on commerce. The unemployment rate speaks for itself.

    • by Cazekiel (1417893)

      To me, however, it's not just cost, but the idea that it's cleaner. Basing the argument for/against green tech on just its cost defeats the purpose of why green tech's been in the works to begin with, amirite? You make good points, definitely, and no, the tech isn't 100% perfect; but it'd be nice to clear the air. Look at China, LA and the like. You can barely breathe.

  • by mackai (1849630) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @03:04PM (#39575081)
    In general, the sounds are not all that pleasant to live with. The make a lot more noise that most people would think until you actually get close to one or, even more, close to a whole wind farm of them. Most (but not all) people who complain about the noise of nearby trains or airports are at the disatvantage that the tracks or airport was there first. In this case, if you already have a home and someone else wants to put this unpleasant noisemaker near by, it seems that you might have some right to complain.
    • by Lithdren (605362)
      Well they may have some right to complain if they're terribly close, but how much noise are we really talking about here?

      If these were built literally in your back yard, that might be a problem. I always felt building these things in the middle of large Highway intersections would make the most sense. They're way better looking then the highways themselves, and the sound doesn't matter much if you already have engine breaking semi-trailers and idiots beeping at one another.
    • by mark-t (151149)

      Please.

      A mere 350 m away, the decibel rating on a wind turbine farm is generally going to only be about 35 db. For comparison, rural night time background noise is about 40db.

  • by blahplusplus (757119) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @03:09PM (#39575147)

    ... is really a part of the problem. Certain elements of the public have shown themselves so braindead (as these farmers are no doubt). Yet these kinds of people don't think about the unseen long-term consequences of what is currently generating their power that is more harmful for the environment but is not easily perceived by the human mind due to the long term effects and the inability of the public to get behind anything that doesn't emotionally grab them.

  • by Ukab the Great (87152) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @03:11PM (#39575201)

    The story covers people who work regularly around diesel fumes, pesticides, and animal waste protesting the safety of wind turbines.

  • by DutchUncle (826473) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @03:11PM (#39575203)
    I have no experience myself, just hear-say. Last time I was in Vermont, I spoke with someone gathering petition signatures to restrict wind farms. This person lived near a set of turbines which went up after they moved to Vermont, and felt that it was like living back in Manhattan near a subway all over again - constant hum and vibration. It's not just about sight-lines and aesthetics; there are such things as noise pollution and other practical effects which *do* cross boundaries,
    • by Tridus (79566)

      I went to visit an area with them last time I was in Ontario, and if you get even remotely close there's significant noise. Far enough away and you can't hear it, but you don't want one in your backyard.

  • Ontario farmers also heavily protest light rail, and really any form of public transit whatsoever. Their reasoning is anything that allows you to not walk to work allows you to live farther away from work. That means city slickers living too close to farm land for their liking, far too close indeed.
  • by Anaerin (905998) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @03:15PM (#39575265)
    When we finally get settled into a place of our own, up here in the windy prairie of Saskatchewan, we're intending to get an acreage or more just outside the city and put wind and solar on it. A pair of 14KW turbines and a 10KW solar array would be easily attainable, and overkill, but would ensure that on even the most dreary and becalmed day we still have power (When it's not windy, it's sunny here, though we'll probably also invest in a diesel/WVO generator, just in case those long cold winter nights leave us with a little shortfall). This would also mean we don't need natural gas for heat/cooling (Geothermal and electric under-floor heating, electric "instant heat" water). Then our municipal requirements drop to phone/internet. And the "NIMBY" price reduction for having a turbine or two on our land will be more than paid for by the self-sufficient nature, without having to sacrifice any modern luxuries. We'd even have enough excess power to put power back onto the grid for a profit (Well, we would if SaskPower had that option), and/or to run an EV.
    • by compro01 (777531)

      We'd even have enough excess power to put power back onto the grid for a profit (Well, we would if SaskPower had that option)

      They don't advertise it, but Saskpower does offer that through their Small Power Producers Program [saskpower.com].

      Alternatively, net metering [saskpower.com] is available, but they just give you a credit on your account for any surplus fed into the grid and won't give it back to you in cash.

      Disclaimer : I currently work for Saskpower.

  • Astroturf, ho! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by qeveren (318805) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @03:15PM (#39575275)

    This whole thing is actually astroturf by a competing energy company in the region. They've been going around basically stirring up the farmers and whatnot with BS about the wind turbines, posting protest signs along the country roads, etc. All with their little energy company website url at the bottom.

  • Wait, what? I might get a complaint about wind turbines affecting the weather or something, but health issues for being near what are effectively... windmills? Really?

    Okay. Sigh.

  • Put one in my yard! (Score:2, Informative)

    by Cazekiel (1417893)

    I remember the first time I saw wind turbines. We were on vacation in Pennsylvania, and a small mountain ridge had row upon row of them. All I could say was, "WOW, those things are so fucking cool!" Am I the only one who thinks they look awesome? I'd love 'em out here in my area. There's a lot of unoccupied space on the mountain ridges we have, and any move toward getting away from the reliance on fossil fuels is fine by me. I know wind/solar power needs more development and consideration, but why not start

  • by c.r.o.c.o (123083) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @03:21PM (#39575405)

    As city dwellers, we tend to think of wind mills as majestic, beautiful sculptures that provide green energy. I used to subscribe to that idea, until I saw what happened to the Bruce Peninsula in Ontario, where there are hundreds of wind mills all over a beautiful landscape.

    They are a blight!!! As far as I'm concerned, I will never visit Sauble Beach again, because I can't stand driving through that area anymore. So I definitely sympathize with these farmers, their properties have already been devalued. Notice the Ontario government did not install ANY wind mills around Huntsville and other affluent regions. I wonder why?

    The same thing happened in the US and Cape Cod (?) offshore wind mills. The Kennedys were the first to oppose them.

    I am not going to debate the ecological merits of windmills vs gas vs coal vs nuclear. I am a supporter of nuclear energy, and as far as I'm concerned they can build one in MY back yard rather than a wind mill. Then again, I have family members that work in the plants, and I know that the likelihood or a nuclear accident that would result in any radiation leakage in Canada is zero. While less efficient, Candu reactors are pretty much bullet proof, whether earth quakes, tsunamis or well, bullets were to hit them.

    • by Chris Burke (6130)

      I see hundreds and hundreds of windmills all over west Texas (there are more every time I go out), and I still think they're beautiful. They're an aesthetically pleasing symbol of our progress towards a cleaner, better society.

      And then when I head to the Gulf coast I pass all the oil refineries. Fucking disgusting blight on the land.

      I know which I'd rather see.

  • 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.

    • No, they are protesting their location as well. It's been a hot topic in Ontario for the last few years are rural areas have fought against them being built in their back yard. Everything from noise issues (whirling of blades keeps people up at night) to destroying bird species (it's a massive bird strike zone) has been raised.

  • As a sign of protest they should make sure to use 10% of the electricity they currently use for the rest of their lives. Oh wait what undue hardship and all that? Well then put up and shut up, or turn off your juice.
  • Shut the NIMBYs (Not In My Back Yard) up with with some wind turbine power. Offer to subsidize their electricity with wind power energy.
  • I fully support wind, water and solar power. BUT as with any change, you need to manage that change. I grew up in rural Ontario, and now live in the city. There is a big perception that often the concerns of those that live in the rural Ontario (and probably all rural areas) are over looked or are somehow perceived as less important than those of their urban counterparts.

    I think that the implementation of wind power in Ontario should have been better handled, more participatory both from a information an

  • 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.

  • They have a point (Score:3, Informative)

    by wcrowe (94389) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @03:36PM (#39575713)

    "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."

    One of the problems I would have with it is that wind farms tend to fall into disrepair after they are built. Somehow the money to maintain them disappears. Imagine having this [blogspot.com] in your backyard.

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