Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Wind in the news....

I've been hearing a lot of fuss made over a proposal to build wind turbines in Lake Ontario, off Leslie St. spit. I've seen plenty of turbines in action in Southern Alberta, when I've been out there chasing trout with a fly. I figured the same high winds which played havoc with my back-cast must be doing a good job generating power.

Then one day my brother offered up some strong negative opinions about the wind farm up in Shelburne, several miles west of his farm. I thought maybe he was having a bad day. Then I read a piece by Margaret Wente in the Globe and Mail, Who Could Object to Wind Power?. She offers some insights.

It seems that one of the reasons we have these wind turbine proposals is that subsidies are dangled by the government. Wind doesn't always blow, though, and Wente asserts that wind farms can't survive without subsidies anywhere.

While some environmentalists love the things, there are apparently a number of environmentalists who fight them. Wente writes, residents..."fear the 90-metre turbines will chop up birds, disrupt migration routes, destroy views, lower property values, even make them sick". I'd like to read more about the environmental effects. I wonder if there are any studies available? I've heard that some people complain about so-called white noise from turbines, and it would be valuable to read about this effect as well.

For sure it doesn't make sense to spend a lot of money on turbines, and then build coal-fired generators to supplement them. If the wind were reliable enough, I wonder what the environmental comparison would be between turbines and coal (and nuclear for that matter).

What do you think? Should we be building wind turbines off Toronto's Lake Ontario shore?


Anonymous said...

Do you need big ugly hydro towers to transmit the energy the wind mills pick up? If so who wants that in their neighbourhood?

mister anchovy said...

True, but we have big ugly hydro towers now, no?

Anonymous said...

But I think they don't have them near where they are talking about putting the windmills on the waterfront so the residents don't want them suddenly put in.

zydeco fish said...

I wish I knew that answer, because I think this is progress, and then I wonder. I keep reading about new solar panels, and the idea of cladding office towers in them. Apparently, this is the way to go. These new panels are very efficient.