Monday, 25 March 2013

Inventing Victims - Wind Turbine Syndrome in Ontario

Today's guest editorial comes from Richard (Dick) Hill, a retired researcher who is interested in the social advantages of wind power and environmental protection.   As a former mayor, he is also intrigued by the political and activist hypocrisy approach in attacking this new energy source.

The effect and non-effect of Ontario wind turbines is a topical discussion.  I have just read a book, The Righteous Mind by Jonathon  Haidt (Pantheon 2012), which provides significant thought on how humans react with something new and what drives people who are resistant to change.  Haidt basically comments that if somebody doesn’t like change or the appearance of wind turbines, they will invent victims to justify their assumptions.

In Ontario, the anti-wind turbine syndrome is mainly a creation of the Conservative Party in an effort to minimize any environmental and economic effects initiated by the Liberal Party, in particular the Green Energy Act of 2009.  It is used as a political wedge issue to create FUD - fear, uncertainty and doubt.  The unsubstantiated issues of public health and economics are secondary to the political challenge of defeating the opposition by any means.

There are over 250,000 large wind turbines around the world producing environmentally friendly electricity with little social or economic comment.  Even in Ontario the most effected people, with operating wind turbines on their property, do not complain.  If the anti-wind activist statements were true, most of Europe would be dead by now.  The wind turbine syndrome is essentially an Ontario illness.

The well-funded anti-wind activists talk of supposed harms without scientific or technical evidence that stand jurisprudence.  It is an issue searching for a problem with reasoning in support of emotional reactions for the judgements they have already made.  Most people make first judgements quickly and then search for reasons to support them.

Many of the supposed harms from wind turbines are fabricated myths with preposterous victim claims. The anti-wind zealots are not searching for veracity, but are reasoning in support of their emotional reactions using distorted scientific studies, social media and Google to find support.   This confirmatory mindset is a one-sided method to rationalize a particular point of view in support of their decision.  This extreme partisanship can be addictive, forming a consensual hallucination.

There are multiple ills attributed to wind turbines with headaches, nausea, and sleep loss being most prevalent. These problems are common with modern living of which around 20 to 50 percent of the population complain whether or not they live near wind turbines.  The symptoms are real but the causes are general.

This situation is political opinion that is not based on real facts.  Well-funded lobby groups have the skills and resources to distort reality making it difficult for the medical community to overcome.  Most of the anti-wind evidence is based on personal stories without medical certification or judicial review.  Also myths and mischief Information are provided by vested interests.

Front organizations such as Wind Concerns Ontario and Ontario Wind Resistance spread misleading stories and faux facts about wind turbines that scares people in the manner of a flu or small pox epidemic.  Other social scares have been created for cell phone, WIFI, wireless phone towers, high-voltage power lines, fluoridated water and vaccinations to which the same illnesses such as headaches and sleep deprivation are attributed.  The medical community has not been able to find any linkage causing human adverse health.  Studies have shown that attributed symptoms continue as long as the sufferer believes they are exposed to the source even when the source no longer exists.  This is known as psychogenic illnesses, otherwise known as the nocebo effect - belief that something causes real harm- and is the opposite to a placebo.

Some Ontario residents are suffering genuine health symptoms but the source of these symptoms should not be attributed to wind turbines.  Possibly these illnesses are caused by the extreme hype of the anti-wind organizations that spread misinformation and bully citizens at public meetings.  It is the misinformation from vested interests that causes harm, not wind turbines.  The syndrome is mainly a communicated disease causing medical panic related to either hysteria or NIMBY-ism.

Haidt’s ‘The Righteous Mind’ helps to understand the anti-wind political aspects and how balanced information can help the wind industry to proceed with the their environment friendly and cost effective energy programs.  Ontario residents are foolish to be consumed by fear of hypothetical harm from the supposed health effects of living next to wind farms.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Can Wind Turbines Make You Sick?

Here's a great summary of the latest wind news from The Slate. It's full of useful hyperlinks to the original sources.

Wind turbines near Palm Springs, Calif.
Photo by David McNew/Getty Images

A new syndrome appears to be highly contagious.
By Keith Kloor|Posted Wednesday, March 20, 2013, at 1:17 PM

In the past several years, scores of people living near wind farms have claimed to have been sickened by noise from the rotating blades. They have complained of everything from headaches and depression to conjunctivitis and nosebleeds. Is “wind turbine syndrome” real? Is it just another imaginary illness stoked by loons on the Internet? Are the victims a bunch of fakers?
Noisy environments can be irritating and sleep-disrupting. But advocates of the new syndrome (which is not medically recognized) say that wind turbines pose specific dangers. They claim that exposure to wind farms’ low-frequency noise, even vibrations below the threshold of human hearing, is having dangerous physiological effects.
Several recent studies might explain what’s going on here. One of them, published in Health Psychology, found that the power of suggestion can induce symptoms associated with wind turbine syndrome. Researchers exposed 60 participants to 10 minutes of infrasound (vibrations too low in frequency to hear) and sham infrasound (that is, silence). Before the listening sessions, half the group was shown television footage of people who lived near wind farms recounting the harmful effects they said were caused by noise from the spinning blades. Within this group, the people who scored high on a test of anxiety became symptomatic whether they were exposed to low-frequency noise or sham infrasound.
As one of the authors of the study points out, this appears to be a classic case of the nocebo effect. It’s the evil twin of the placebo effect, which is often a pain-alleviating response to a sham pill or treatment. Nocebo effects are harmful symptoms that arise from negative information. For example, some participants in medical trials who are warned of potential adverse side effects experience precisely those side effects, even though they’re really taking a phony medication. The nocebo effect is psychogenic, a case of the mind making the body sick.
Several factors appear to be contributing to the sudden onset of medical problems attributed to wind turbines. A study released last week from the University of Sydney found that most of the health complaints about wind turbines came from an area of Australia where an organized anti-wind movement has been publicizing health concerns since 2009. (Coincidentally, the term wind turbine syndrome was coined in 2009 as the title of a self-published book.) "Health complaints were as rare as proverbial rocking horse droppings until the scare-mongering groups began megaphoning their apocalyptic, scary messages to rural residents," says study author Simon Chapman. As he pointed out to the Guardian: "If wind farms were intrinsically unhealthy or dangerous in some way, we would expect to see complaints applying to all of them, but in fact there is a large number where there have been no complaints at all."
And yet, the number of health problems attributed to wind turbines seems to multiply by the day, according to a compendium that Chapman maintains. His list now tops more than 200 maladies, which leads him to ask sardonically if there has ever been a bigger threat to humanity.
The epidemic also attests to the power of modern media, especially those outlets that have hyped anecdotal claims of wind turbine syndrome. A study published late last year in Health, Risk & Society calls this the "fright factor." Researchers surveying newspaper coverage of wind power in Ontario, Canada, between 2007 and 2011 found that many articles focused on “environmental risks and human health” concerns. It turns out that the press may be just as responsible as anti-wind activists for triggering the nocebo effect in those who believe they have fallen ill from wind turbines.
That jibes with a finding from a study published earlier this month in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research that asked in its title, "Are media warnings about the adverse effects of modern life self-fulfilling?" The study addressed another supposed danger—electromagnetic fields from Wi-Fi signals—that also has the power to evoke a nocebo response. As in the wind turbine study, participants watched a TV report of people claiming that Wi-Fi signals had caused them to fall ill. Researchers exposed participants to sham Wi-Fi signals and found that a number of the people (once again, those who were already identified as having an anxious personality) exhibited symptoms such as stomach pain and headaches.
Reports on the supposed dangers of electromagnetic fields from cellphone towers and overhead power lines have been circulating in the media for years. The roots of EMF hysteria in the United States can be traced back to the 1980s and 1990s and the work of a crusading journalist who published stories in The New Yorker under the heading “Annals of Radiation.” People have attributed a myriad of illnesses to EMF, particularly neurological disorders and brain tumors. But after many millions of dollars of peer-reviewed research in the past few decades, there is no credible scientific evidence for such claims.
Still, concerns are so persistent globally that the World Health Organization (WHO) has looked comprehensively into the matter, concluding: "Despite the feeling of some people that more research needs to be done, scientific knowledge in this area is now more extensive than for most chemicals. Based on a recent in-depth review of the scientific literature, the WHO concluded that current evidence does not confirm the existence of any health consequences from exposure to low-level electromagnetic fields."
In the United States, paranoia over EMF seems to have died down in recent years, though there are plenty of dead-enders who still flog the issue. Those who might have been inclined to fret about the danger of power lines may now instead be focusing their fears on cellphones. (This subset of chronic worriers should know that everything gives you cancer.)
Meanwhile, people living near wind farms, including a number of residents in one Massachusetts community, say they are experiencing headaches, insomnia, ringing in the ears, and other symptoms. It’s impossible to know whether they are extra-sensitive to low-frequency noise, would have had insomnia and headaches wherever they live, or are psychologically predisposed to react badly to negative information on wind turbines. For the time being, perhaps Stephen Colbert's take on wind turbine syndrome as a "communicated disease" seems the best explanation. Here's hoping this article doesn't spread it any further.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Wind supporter takes shot at wind fighters

Wind supporter takes shot at wind fighters
The Kincardine News
Dear Editor,
Our family attended several council meetings in the past because we truly care about our community and the many issues that determine our future.
My children do not really like to come because of the hostile behaviour from some citizens and propaganda language being used when it comes to wind energy.
They know that the term "industrial" as an adjective for wind turbines is the result of a series of focus groups financed by one of the Koch brothers as part of his opposition to a proposed offshore wind project near Cape Cod.
At times we too feel misrepresented by our council and citizen representative but that is part of the process in real life.
To attack a fellow citizen in public is just another step to divide our community.
Please pick up the phone or even better go to the person that you feel has done something wrong and speak directly to him or her in a civil and rational manner. I know from experience that it can resolve many misunderstandings and lead to a better society.
There were times when I felt as though the radio might be the safest way for me to express my views about renewable energy. Many friends of wind in Ontario are thinking that the greatest health hazard related to wind energy is speaking out in support for wind energy!
ReNew Canada published a comprehensive report on wind energy in Ontario last year. Its conclusion states " Wind Concerns Ontario could not adequately provide evidence to support its claims." It has used material out of context, provided facts without support, and has firmly put the burden of proof on the proponents of wind rather than having to prove its own statements."
Look at the big picture of energy options that we are being offered right now, join hands, compromise and start developing a plan together!
Jutta Splettstoesser

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Doing well by doing good

Private sector can act to cut energy use without waiting for government
Published on Monday December 03, 2012

The full story is here.

Mike Pedersen 

Moving toward a low-carbon economy was high on the agenda of policy-makers prior to the financial crisis and ensuing global recession. Priorities shifted with these events, but a series of announcements this fall suggest this shift may have been temporary.
Ottawa announced it is making progress in meeting the carbon emission targets set out by the Copenhagen accord. The British government launched the world’s first investment bank with the sole purpose of “greening the U.K. economy.” And in his victory speech, U.S. President Barack Obama spoke about the “destructive power of a warming planet.” The mention was brief, but for a nation still reeling from the extreme force of Superstorm Sandy — something the mayor of New York City directly linked to climate change — the message was clear.
More pronouncements and policy discussions will follow the UN Climate Change Conference being held in Doha. Yet in the immediate term market forces continue to influence energy use. High energy costs and the slow-growth economy are motivating Canadian companies to become more energy efficient. Indeed, the Carbon Disclosure Project, which asks the country’s top 200 publicly traded companies to provide information on their emission reduction strategies, reported on 140 initiatives that generated annual savings this year — an increase of 32 per cent from the previous year. By serving their private interests, companies are also advancing the public good.
That’s been our experience at TD. Becoming the first North American-based carbon-neutral bank imposed a discipline on us to do more with less — in effect, boost our productivity. At the same time, we have reduced the amount of greenhouse gases we add to the Earth’s atmosphere.
Three strategies underpin our initiative: use less energy, use “greener” energy, and “offset” the remaining emissions with high quality carbon credits.
The second and third strategies proved to be catalysts for a number productivity gains. Simply put, the additional cost required to use greener energy or offset our emissions made the status quo too expensive. In turn the business case for achieving greater energy efficiency became more compelling.
This has led us to create “net zero” energy branches in both the U.S. and Canada that are designed to produce at least as much energy as they use. We have also implemented energy efficiency projects across our operations, including construction of a more energy-efficient data centre for our North American operations.
Overall, we have reduced our North American greenhouse gas emissions associated with energy usage by 4 per cent, even though we have increased our real estate footprint by 24 per cent. We are on target to reduce carbon by one tonne per employee by 2015 — a 28-per cent reduction from our 2008 baseline. This represents substantial cost savings.
Additionally, new revenue streams have been tapped — partly due to the expertise we have gained in reducing energy consumption and purchasing offsets.
For instance, renewable energy financing now stands at over $2 billion, and we have been able to introduce innovative small-scale renewables financing products in the retail market.
Ironically, back in 2008, our motivation to become carbon neutral was based in part on the assumption that widespread carbon pricing was imminent. Our timing was wrong, but we fortunately stuck with our conviction that the dynamic between energy and environment would eventually change the way our customers live, work and play.
Given the re-emerging interest in creating low-carbon economies, are we now in a better position to adapt to some form of carbon pricing? To be sure, we are far more familiar with both the principle and practice.
However, in Canada, policy clarity is still evolving. For example, the different provincial systems already in place can create conflicting obligations for companies.
This could impede investments in technologies critical to emission reduction, according to a paper recently produced by the Canadian Council of Chief Executives — a long-time proponent for consistent carbon pricing across the country. Echoing this position, more than 100 global corporations, including some of the world’s leading energy companies, have called on policy-makers to develop an “unambiguous global carbon price.” It’s also important to take into full account the economic impact any pricing system would have on any given region or industry, so not to place inappropriate burdens on them. Economic and environmental goals are not mutually exclusive. Indeed, they are integral to each other.
Yet Canadian businesses need not wait for any national plan. Nor are they. An overwhelming majority of respondents to the Climate Disclosure Project have integrated emission reduction initiatives into their business strategy. Companies can advance the public good while serving their private interests. This prolonged period of slow growth requires organizations to maximize savings to reinvest and grow. They must also find new revenue streams to offset the economic headwinds. Going carbon neutral has helped us achieve both goals through lower energy usage and operating costs, product innovation and fewer greenhouse gas emissions.
Mike Pedersen, Group Head Wealth Management, Insurance, & Corporate Shared Services, TD Bank Group

Saturday, 1 December 2012

The Wizard from Oz

We have always admired the work of Professor Simon Chapman, professor of public health at the University of Sydney.  He has taken a strong stand against tobacco and is now shining a light on the effects of the fear/uncertainty/doubt (FUD) campaign being waged by many wind opponents.

His recent submission to the Australian Senate Inquiry into Renewable Energy (Electricity) sums up his motivation nicely:

I have long had a scholarly interest in risk communication. In particular, I am
interested in significant, high-risk health problems which are under-rated by the
public (eg: smoking), and in low-risk putative health problems which are overrated
by some members of the public causing them to worry, panic and
sometimes express symptoms. It is my view, for reasons set out below, ["below" meaning the balance of his submission] that concerns about the health effects of wind turbines fall into the latter category.

Recently, he published an op ed piece in "The Drum", the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's on-line news channel.  You can find the full edition, including over 400 comments and active links here:

28 NOVEMBER 2012
Fanning fear: the wind farm nocebo effect


Most wind farms around the world have no history of complaints, but the few that do
have seen the local area targeted by external activists who spread panic. Simon Chapman reflects
on the nonsense claims of anti-wind farm activists.

Later today, the Senate will release the report of a committee into a Private Senators' Bill
examining the proposal that wind turbines should not be accredited if the sound emitted
exceeds 10 decibels of the background noise at any time, measured within 22 metres of a
The Bill was proposed by Democratic Labor Party Senator John Madigan and independent
Senator Nick Xenophon. Both have form in expressing opposition to wind farms.
Like Don Quixote who tilted at windmills, Madigan previously claimed (PDF) he was
fighting a "sinister" and "dangerous" industry and Xenophon believes turbines affect brain
No one following the latest historical example of what is quite plainly technophobic
Luddism has any doubt that the tabling will see a minority report that the proposed
standard be adopted. The bill will be defeated on party lines, with the Greens supporting
the Government. But it has provided a conduit for a Niagara of mostly boilerplate protest
material from the tiny but highly organised opponent groups.
While the bill is purportedly about noise levels in the audible spectrum, the focus of many
fear-laden submissions has been around the sub-audible low-frequency noise - infrasound -
that wind turbines (and pretty much all machines) create. While studies have shown (PDF)
that Australians living near the coast or in cities are constantly subject to far greater 'doses'
of infrasound, apparently the sort emitted by wind turbines has a special flavour that
causes a never-before-seen medical condition.
"Wind turbine syndrome" is a term coined in a self-published book by a US small town
doctor who personally opposed a wind farm proposed near her property. Tellingly, the
term does not appear once among 22 million papers indexed by PubMed, the US National
Library of Medicine's repository of peer reviewed research published in acknowledged
With now 217 diseases and symptoms claimed to be caused by exposure to the subaudible,
low frequency infrasound emitted by wind turbines - some by as little as a few
minutes exposure - there are undeniable and rhino-in-the-room size clues that complaints
are psychogenic: "communicated" diseases spread by the nocebo effect. This is where
dramatically and repeatedly suggesting to people that something is likely to make you ill,
triggers claims and sometimes symptomatic illness in a minority of people.
Most wind farms around the world and in Australia have no history of complaints, and
most of those which do, have seen the local area targeted by external anti-wind farm
activists who spread panic and tell frightened locals to report anything they might
experience to their doctor. The activist groups even provide symptom menus to assist
Wind farms have existed in Western Australia for nearly 20 years, yet no company
operating over there has ever received a health complaint. Significantly, there are no antiwind
farm group operating in the state.
By contrast, here's a case study of how complaints can get going on the east coast.
In early October 2010, residents of Leonards Hill in central Victoria were encouraged to
attend a presentation in Evansford, given by an unregistered doctor, Sarah Laurie, who has
become Australia's high priestess of wind farm anxiety. Laurie believes (PDF)that
turbulence from wind turbines can "perceptibly rock stationary cars even further than a
kilometre away from the nearest wind turbine" and told a meeting (PDF) in 2011 that
spending a night near wind turbines can cause "just about everybody ...every five or ten
minutes needing to go to the toilet."
In the same week, the Australian Environment Foundation, a deceptively named climate
change denialist group, arranged a protest meeting at the opening ceremony for the
beginning of works on a two turbine, 2,000 shareholder community-owned wind farm at
Leonards Hill, near Daylesford. Banners with "Wind farms make me sick" were prepared
and some 50 people (mostly out of towners) attended the protest, which was reported in
the local press.
In November, Laurie was reported in local newspaper The Advocate as saying "If I were
living right there I would be very concerned. I would be beside myself..." Scary stuff.
In early December 2010, the president of the Landscape Guardians told the Australian
"I've been on medication for the last five years just fighting this." The wind farm had not
even opened but the president was already worried sick.
In mid August 2011, the Ballarat Courier reported that Leonards Hill received its first
health complaint from a 57-year-old woman with sleep problems. She described the sound
of the two turbines, half a kilometre away, as at times "like a jet engine". (Like hundreds
of thousands of Sydney residents, I've lived right under the Sydney fight path for 22 years,
and I've spent time around wind farms. The comparison is nothing less than ludicrous).
The next day, the Landscape Guardians president went public as the second health
complainant about the wind farm.
Those who study the dynamics of psychogenic illness place the communication of scary
information front and centre of this psychogenic/nocebo process. Early next year, a leading
international psychology journal will publish findings of a study that will add important
new evidence to this debate.
The study took healthy volunteers and exposed some to information from the internet
designed to prime them to expect that infrasound from wind farms could make them
experience symptoms. They labelled this group the "high expectations" group. Another
group were not exposed to such information (the "low expectations" group). Both groups
were then exposed in a laboratory to both real and "sham" (fake) infrasound. The high
expectation group reported a significant increase in symptoms during both exposure
sessions, while there was no increase in symptoms reported in the low expectation group.
In Canada an anti-wind farm group took a wind company to a local tribunal, with a
cavalcade of complainants emotionally detailing their health problems. The tribunal agreed
with the wind company that the medical records of all complainants going back a decade
should be presented. These would reveal how many of the victims had a prior history of
the problems they now complained about. The case then collapsed, with the complainants
protesting that this was too onerous a requirement.
All social groups, workplaces and organisations have individuals with reputations for
whinging and negativity. So perhaps unsurprisingly, a recent British study found that
"negative orientated personality" traits predicted unexplained non-specific symptoms
among residents near a wind farm, and not actual noise.
Ten years ago, the media was full of anxiety that mobile telephone towers would bring
down plagues of diseases on those around them. Local governments passed nonsensical
regulations allowing towers on factory roofs, but nowhere near sporting fields, schools or
even nursing homes (where most residents had highly limited life expectancy anyway).
The predicted epidemics of brain cancer never happened, there are more mobile phones
than Australian residents and the anxiety disappeared.
Todays's expected report will contain the equivalent nonsense about wind farms. It will
make interesting reading 10 years from now.

Simon Chapman is professor of public health at the University of Sydney. He tweets
@simonchapman6. View his full profile here.
© 2012 ABC

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Nepean MP hijacks Jubilee Medal program to push political agenda


On November 22, 2012 Nepean MP Pierre Poilievre presented four Diamond Jubilee Medals.  

The Diamond Jubilee Medal was struck to commemorate the Queen's 60th anniversary of her accession to the Throne.  Nominations are handled by Members of Parliament, Provincial Lieutenant Governors and Premiers; plus a number of Non-Governmental agencies.

This presentation, at Kars, ON (a small village in the MP's riding) carried the theme of honouring "rural champions".  Those rural champions deservedly included Glenn Brooks (a local municipal official who served for over a decade and advocated for farmers), Paul Mussell (a local comedian who pokes fun at rural life) and Mrs. Marion Newman (a local teacher who volunteered to promote Agriculture in the Classroom). 

Unfortunately one of the medals was tarnished by being awarded to an anti-wind activist via a number of her political allies.

Jane Wilson, the recipient, is (or certainly was) Chairperson of the North Gower Wind Action Group ever since a project was proposed in her area.  She is the current head of the anti-wind group Wind Concerns Ontario.

Lisa MacLeod is the MPP for the riding.  It appears that MacLeod is part of a PC campaign to take Ontario's energy system back to the virtual stone ages.  It is now PC Leader Hudak's stated policy to place nuclear energy over any other sources of electrical power generation in Ontario, while reversing all advances in renewable energy by repealing the Green Energy Act .  They intend to replace renewable energy with nuclear power based on a lop-sided tender.  Nuclear supplier 1 would compete with nuclear supplier 2 but neither would be required to compete with wind, gas, hydro or solar - because nuclear would lose every time based on cost and risk. 

Put another way, nuclear would be guaranteed a price premium that ratepayers would be required to pay for decades.  Even as the whole world turns away from ridiculously expensive nuclear power (not to mention safety issues revealed by Fukushima), the PC's want to return to the 1970's.

Pierre Poilievre is the MP for Ms. Wilson's riding.  He was somewhat late into the wind turbine fray but joined on when the federal Conservatives's joined in the provincial anti-wind fight a few years ago.  At some point, the provincial PC's and federal Conservatives in Ontario realized that they had a common cause.  They could disrupt the provincial Liberals' wind file.  Perhaps these Conservative ties also had a hand in Health Canada's unprecedented $2 million study on the possible health effects of wind turbines, even though 17 other studies had found no connection.  For their own purposes, they ignored the fact that the University of Waterloo had been conducting an identical study for many months in Ontario.  

Mr. Poilievre maintains a website.  Here are some examples of how the three have collaborated:

What this constitutes is an unholy alliance of the federal Conservatives and provincial PC's and Wind Concerns Ontario, at the very least in Nepean.  The provincial PC's played off the NIMBY attitudes of urban weekenders who threw their farmer neighbours under the bus.  The federal Conservatives also threw their farmer constituents under the same bus.  In the picture below, you'll see a small bunch of wind protesters plus their MPP, Lisa MacLeod (left, in the black suit with the capri slacks),  their MP Pierre Poilievre (centre, in the open neck blue shirt holding the sign) and Jane Wilson (right, in the black top and slacks).   We suspect that there weren't a lot of local farmers in the picture (farmers seldom wear sandals), plus farmers like the fact that turbines provide income and don't disrupt farm operations.


We don't think that a Commonwealth Medal should be so brazenly exploited politically. 

This is especially true with a medal that typically celebrates genuine volunteerism towards the most vulnerable members of society. And, whether they want to accept it or not, Wilson and her anti-wind gaggle do not qualify as vulnerable members of society. Thousands of rural Ontarians are lined up to participate in the clean energy economy; hundreds of farmers are staying on family land thanks to the clean energy economy; and dozens of rural communities have seen millions of dollars in much-needed economic benefits thanks to the clean energy economy.

There are so many people who are investing their reputations and their personal finances to advance renewable energy - including most of the country's top banks.  Developers risk hundreds of millions of dollars in projects based on a 20 year contract with the Ontario people.  They get paid off the meter, i.e. by the kWh.  If they spend too much on their projects, if they misgauge the energy potential of their site or if their technology under performs, they take the hit and go bankrupt.  

This is in stark contrast with nuclear operators who receive forgiveness when their projects go over budget - and they go over budget EVERY SINGLE TIME.  Ontario is still paying off their stranded debt .

In our opinion, it's the real risk-taking pioneers, the landowners, the developers and the municipal leader and politicians who have stepped forward to clean up this province's ancient electricity system who deserve the Medal.  They bring much to the rural economy - in fact, they have saved many family farms and contributed income to rural economies.  

What have wind opponent's done?  Nothing.  Absolutely nothing, other than creating hysteria and political mischief.  And yet they get a medal. 

What's wrong with this picture?

Sunday, 25 November 2012

A little turbine eye candy

This beautiful picture, posted by Anna Paulowna on Flickr illustrates how wind turbines fit into the rural landscape.  If you look closely, you'll see that here are plenty of residences quite close to the turbine sites.  Startling colours, geometric precision and responsible energy production courtesy of the Dutch.