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Canada Earth Power Politics

Canadians Protest Wind Turbines 533

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 OldGunner ( 2576825 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @02:50PM (#39574855)
    The Kennedy clan, in the lower 48, fought them because they damaged the view from their Cape Cod compound. NIMBYs are everywhere.
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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,
  • 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 Godai ( 104143 ) * on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @03:14PM (#39575255)

    This is only second hand, but from what I've read the noise can carry quite a ways. And one of the problems is that if you *can* hear it, its as consistent as the wind is -- which, unfortunately, is likely to be pretty consistent or why else put up one of these turbines?

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

    by Cazekiel ( 1417893 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @03:16PM (#39575301)

    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 with the basics to see how it goes? Just my two cents.

  • 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 pixelpusher220 ( 529617 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @03:27PM (#39575529)
    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 source has that potential killing capacity. Construction of wind, solar, hydro have fatalities. So does every other thing on the planet. They don't have any significant operational dangers. (Hydro needs planning to prevent people living below the dam or having adequate high ground to evac too but otherwise is perfectly safe). You can't prevent people from living 100 miles from a nuclear plant and there is no 'high' ground you can run to to escape radiation.
  • 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.

  • by Chris Burke ( 6130 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @03:36PM (#39575711) Homepage

    Oh, is that what this is about? Well that's even more retarded since low frequency sounds are ridiculously common and not something that should be mysterious to non-engineer/scientists.

  • 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.

  • Re:Contradiction (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ichijo ( 607641 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @03:46PM (#39575911) Journal
    These [yahoo.com] tax breaks. Other benefits include minimum parking requirements that encourage people to use oil, and external costs of oil use (such as air pollution) that are not recovered in the price of oil.
  • by Rhacman ( 1528815 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @04:02PM (#39576205)
    You are also exposed to infrasound from car traffic, household appliances, and your own beating heart. As for the intensity of the sound, there are already regulations for how close wind turbines can be placed to residences to control for this.

    http://www.thestar.com/business/article/738734--wind-gets-clean-bill-of-health [thestar.com]
  • 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.

The trouble with the rat-race is that even if you win, you're still a rat. -- Lily Tomlin