David Suzuki: Don’t blow off wind power


Originally posted at Commonsense Canadian. View the original post here

I have a cabin on Quadra Island off the British Columbia coast that’s as close to my heart as you can imagine. From my porch you can see clear across the waters of Georgia Strait to the snowy peaks of the rugged Coast Mountains. It’s one of the most beautiful views I have seen. And I would gladly share it with a wind farm.

Sometimes it seems I’m in the minority. Across Europe and North America, environmentalists and others are locking horns with the wind industry over farm locations. In Canada, opposition to wind installations has sprung up from Nova Scotia to Ontario to Alberta to B.C. In the U.K., more than 100 national and local groups, led by some of the country’s most prominent environmentalists, have argued wind power is inefficient, destroys the ambience of the countryside and makes little difference to carbon emissions. And in the U.S., the Cape Wind Project, which would site 130 turbines off the coast of affluent Cape Cod, Massachusetts, has come under fire from famous liberals, including John Kerry and the late Sen. Edward Kennedy.

We can’t shout about the dangers of global warming and then turn around and shout even louder about the “dangers” of windmills.

We can’t have it both ways

It’s time for some perspective. With the growing urgency of climate change, we can’t have it both ways. We can’t shout about the dangers of global warming and then turn around and shout even louder about the “dangers” of windmills. Climate change is one of the greatest challenges humanity will face this century. Confronting it will take a radical change in the way we produce and consume energy – another industrial revolution, this time for clean energy, conservation and efficiency.

We’ve undergone such transformations before and we can again. But we must accept that all forms of energy have associated costs. Fossil fuels are limited in quantity, create vast amounts of pollution and contribute to climate change. Large-scale hydroelectric power floods valleys and destroys habitat. Nuclear power plants are expensive, create radioactive waste and take a long time to build.

Royal Society: Wind farms have ‘negligible’ impact on birds

Wind power also has its downsides. It’s highly visible and can kill birds. But any man-made structure (not to mention cars and house cats) can kill birds – houses, radio towers, skyscrapers. In Toronto alone, an estimated one million birds collide with the city’s buildings every year. In comparison, the risk to birds from well-sited wind farms is low. Even the U.K.’s Royal Society for the Protection of Birds says scientific evidence shows wind farms “have negligible impacts” on birdswhen they are appropriately located.

Improved technologies and more attention to wind farm placement can clearly reduce harm to birds, bats and other wildlife. Indeed, the real risk to flying creatures comes not from windmills but from a changing climate, which threatens the very existence of species and their habitats. Wind farms should always be subject to environmental-impact assessments, but a blanket “not in my backyard” approach is hypocritical and counterproductive.

Wind power costs comparable with other energy sources

Pursuing wind power as part of our move toward clean energy makes sense. Wind power has become the fastest-growing source of energy in the world, employing hundreds of thousands of workers. That’s in part because larger turbines and greater knowledge of how to build, install and operate them has dramatically reduced costs over the past two decades. Prices are now comparable to other forms of power generation and will likely decrease further as technology improves.

Eye of the beholder

But, are windmills ugly? Mostafa Tolba, executive director of the UN Environment Programme from 1976 to 1992, told me belching smokestacks were considered signs of progress when he was growing up in Egypt. Even as an adult concerned about pollution, it took him a long time to get over the pride he felt when he saw a tower pouring clouds of smoke.

Our perception of beauty is shaped by our values and beliefs. Some people think wind turbines are ugly. I think smokestacks, smog, acid rain, coal-fired power plants and climate change are ugly. I think windmills are beautiful. They harness the wind’s power to supply us with heat and light. They provide local jobs. They help clean air and reduce climate change.

And if one day I look out from my cabin porch and see a row of windmills spinning in the distance, I won’t curse them. I will praise them. It will mean we’re finally getting somewhere.

30 thoughts on “David Suzuki: Don’t blow off wind power

      1. It’s not what you know that counts, but how you live. I’d guess David Suzuki has a bigger carbon footprint than all the neighbors on my street by all the traveling he does on jets and the various homes he owns. Bottom line is people should practice what they preach.

      2. Larry, Suzuki may have a larger carbon footprint then you or I do but at least he makes the effort to offset it.

        So yes, Suzuki does practice what he preaches. Do you? We have PV here and draw little if anything from the grid. We mostly export electricity.

        How do you propose people who are interested or concerned about the environment convey their message if they cannot go to meet people? What’s your alternative? The Internet is full of garbage websites and anti-climate change, anti-renewable misinformation. All that requires energy to produce and host on thousands of servers around the globe, why are you not criticising those people equally?

      3. Blair,
        Electricity in relation to fossil fuel use is a smaller part of the pie and many other aspects of modern life contribute to fossil fuel use. Does it get cold where you live as heating typically use more fossil fuel in these parts? How about travel, gasoline powered and fly on commercial jets? Large or small family and what about diet, and grow food and buy locally? Jetting around is no longer necessary to get the word out. There is much misinformation on both sides of the climate change debate. According to Al Gore this Summer the Polar Ice Cap would be completely gone. Al’s another one that has a huge carbon footprint and lifestyle that consumes large amounts of fossil fuels. Suzuki has several rather large homes and doesn’t need to jet around the planet, but wants to and in the process uses a large amount of fossil fuels. These people should be leading by example. They say fossil fuel use needs to end yet continue to use it, and that is not practicing what they preach.

      4. G’day Larry,
        Really cold temperatures are a rarity here, about once a decade or less we get some snowfall but it only lasts about half an hour on the ground. I live in south-eastern Australia by the coast so the temperatures are moderated pretty well by the sea. Temperature ranges from around 0° up to 45°C – generally 10° C2 40° C (not sure what that is in Fahrenheit) but we are definitely experiencing increasing numbers of higher temperature days and less cold ones. Our winters are becoming drier too.

        Being a rural area, yes transport is an issue. There is precious little public transport, some buses but that’s about it.

        As for aircraft, I’ve only flown twice and that was about 40 years ago. I’ve never been a jet setter. It boggles my mind that people think nothing of jumping on a plane and flying to another city or continent for a weekend. Personally, if I had to travel to another continent, I’d prefer to go by sea and make a holiday of it while travelling via one of the most efficient methods there is. I know a couple of people who travel the world via freighters, no crowds to worry about and it’s a very peaceful way to travel.

        As for Al Gore, with respect, he was dealing with numbers that are now around 20 years out of date (at least), that was the best available evidence at the time. In any case, the polls are still melting at a terrible rate, the underlying message hasn’t changed. He may have a large carbon footprint but I know he also does what he can to offset it. Here is a link that provides both sides of the discussion:

        I think it’s a beat up in any case because while he may use more electricity than the average US citizen, he is attempting to offset it whereas climate change denialists do nothing and pretend that our energy resources are infinite. It’s just another cheap, intellectually dishonest argument dredged up by people who don’t like his message.

        Let’s face it, people who warn about excessive energy use are on a hiding to nothing, particularly if they are high-profile. Meanwhile their opponents do sweet FA about their energy usage while undermining the argument for energy efficiency and conservation at every opportunity. It’s easy to be an knocker but hard to do something constructive.

        I have heard Suzuki speak, he doesn’t so much “want to” travel around the world, in fact he has cut back his travels in recent years. It’s just that he feels it’s important to get the message out and he knows that talking to people face-to-face is one of the best methods. I think you’ll find he resorts more to Internet conferences these days.

      5. Carbon offsets don’t negate the use of fossil fuels, and are largely a shell game. It’s not just CO2 that’s the culprit, but really nasty pollutants. I think it’s only fair that people who advocate for ending fossil fuels use shouldn’t be using them, otherwise they are nothing more than hypocrites. You bring up an interesting point that the models were not correct and goes to show this is not absolute science. I thought climate change is about science, and science requires evidence that proves to be correct and based on facts. This shouldn’t be about what people believe or think is going to happen and that should be left to religion. Leaders need to lead by example or get out of the way.

      6. If you are offsetting your carbon footprint, your net effect on the climate is zero. It’s not a shell game.

        You can’t seriously expect to stop the use of fossil fuels overnight. It took decades for fossil fuels to become integrated into society, industry, commerce etc, you can’t suddenly expect that to change around in a year or two.

        But we can introduce legislation and programs to encourage people to switch over. Starting by making people realise the real cost of energy production from fossil and nuclear fuels. (I reluctantly acknowledge that we may have to rely on nuclear for some time to come but I would like to see it phased out as well)

        Once people recognise they can produce energy and save money at the same time, the message will catch on. Trouble is the fossil fuel and nuclear lobbies, electricity retailers etc are politically powerful and most politicians are pathetically weak, preferring short-term power over long-term benefit to society.

        The science of climate change uses models just like many other areas of science. Chemistry, physics, aeronautics, astronomy, medicine, engineering, just for starters. They all rely on models. The convenient criticism of AGW models versus the silence regarding other models (like economics) is just another illustration of the selective cherry picking we hear so often from deniers. Don’t you think it’s interesting that economists mostly escaped the wrath of investors during the last global financial collapse? They created far more havoc and distress then proponents of renewables could ever cause yet economists swan around happily while renewables proponents get attacked. Yet another double standard from AGW denialists.

        Also, science is never absolute. Proofs exist only in mathematics. Science never claims to be 100% absolutely positive, understanding is always provisional pending new information – that’s how science works – that’s how we improve the safety of aircraft, automobiles, medicines and just about anything else that involves a technology. New information leads to new ideas. If you don’t want change, take up religion, it saves you having to think about anything. Come to think of it, the majority of denialists in the political arena at least are right-wing and religious. I think there is a connection.

        As far as AGW goes, all the science currently available points to a warming climate, not a cooling one.

        Do you take out insurance? I find it interesting that people will ensure their house or car against a very unlikely event yet they aggressively dismiss the very real warnings of AGW which are based on sound data sets collected by tens of thousands of researchers and collated by the IPCC and other institutions. That suggests denialists are driven more by ideology than reason and evidence.

      7. Blair,

        I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect the people who advocate that fossil fuel use should stop, should stop using fossil fuels. After all they should be the ones who lead by example and they need to make sacrifices and take personal responsibility. When fossil fuels are burnt, it’s not just CO2 that’s being released into the atmosphere, but numerous harmful chemicals that are known carcinogens that are being released and carbon offsets don’t eliminate the other chemicals. My expectation is anyone who thinks fossil fuel use needs to end should stop using them, and anything less is hypocrisy, pure and simple.

        You mention the real cost of energy, and I have a real issue with my taxes going to, for profit multinational companies for equipment made in China and IWT’s that wreck the environment and cause harm to the neighbors. The various tax incentives give the illusion of wind power being less than it actually is as it’s coming from another pocket is all. The best deal here in Massachusetts for the wholesale cost of wind power is 8¢ kWh which is almost 2x the price of wholesale electricity on the New England grid.

        I’m intimately aware of the cost of heating our home as I gather the wood from our property and load each piece into the stove to keep warm with. Some tell me I’m bad because I’m polluting the air, but so are they, heating with oil. We are totally self sufficient in out heating needs, and it’s renewable and sustainable as well. Heating is a much bigger part of the energy pie here in New England than electricity.

        Once the people who say fossil fuel use should stop, then perhaps others will also follow the lead. I have a real problem with leaders who say do “this”, yet don’t live as they say. If the advocates are not making the sacrifices and do “everything” possible to wean themselves off fossil fuels, then why should others be forced to sacrifice unwillingly? Sorry I don’t buy the, “we are doing what we can”, as it’s an excuse. Some of us are being forced to sacrifice things dear to us with IWT’s and don’t have any choice.

        You speak of long term benefits to wind power, but the mountaintop was flattened, and the watershed no longer functions as it did. All the swamps and wetlands have been eliminated. This is where the streams are born, and they used to be pristine and pure, now they are tainted with phenols and metals from the alteration made at the wind project. All the neighbors well water comes from that aquifer and some of the wells no longer produce as they did pre blasting. The Ridge used to be teaming with wildlife, but most of them have left, and now I find dead bats. I know these things because I’ve witnessed it myself from years of visiting the Ridge. How can wrecking the forest save it?

        If the models are not accurate, then why believe what the outcomes are “supposed” to be? The way science works is theory is based on observations and the idea to prove it as fact or not. The fact is the models haven’t been proven to be accurate. It reminds me of a weather forecast that calls for rain, do you still wear a raincoat when it’s partly cloudy because the meteorologist said it was going to rain? Now if you label me as a denier, that wouldn’t be true, nor do I have any room for religion, but I do believe in a higher power and there is something larger than myself. The evidence does show climate has changed dramatically for billions or years on Earth. At this point in time it’s still a theory as to just what exactly human beings part in altering climate is exactly. There are two sides of the climate change discussion and the extremists on both sides strike me as people who define religious fanatics and require serious leaps of faith in order to buy what they have to sell. I’m somewhere in the middle and will continue on my path to walk softly on the planet and hopefully leave Earth better in some way.

      8. Larry I think you will find that the people advocating a change to renewables are actually practising what they preach as much as they can. I certainly do so. We have PV and are net exporters to the grid. The problem is there is very little public transport in this area so I have to rely on a car. But even then, with a little forethought I have cut back on my travel by about 75% without any loss to my lifestyle. The end result is that I have saved a lot of money on electricity and fuel. What more can I reasonably do? There are no electricity recharging stations in the vicinity, I’m a quadriplegic so your average car isn’t much use to me. I have to have a specially modified one.

        I really think you should get to know more people who actually advocate renewables and who use them.

        But what is the alternative? Just pretend nothing is happening? Climate change denialists and those who oppose renewables, by and large have little respect for science or evidence. You can see that from the ridiculous posts elsewhere in this blog. No amount of evidence will change the antiscience, ideological mind that is convinced some world conspiracy is trying to destroy our rights and take over our life. I wish they would grow up.

        But as always, the conspiracy theorists never provide a practical, alternative solution themselves. They just sit back and bitch and whinge about being supposedly hard done by when the fact is, the majority of denialist have failed to get off their arse, learn some new information and assess evidence objectively. They take the lazy way out and choose to believe shock horror stories despite the contradictory evidence. Wind turbine syndrome is a perfect example.

        So my challenge to them is simple, provide a credible alternative to fossil fuels or go back to your cave. I’ve yet to see a reasonable, thoughtful answer, just mindless nitpicking and distortion of facts.

        I agree that it’s galling seeing taxes profiting multinational companies but please, stop blaming renewables and point the finger where it should be aimed, at governments who sign dodgy trade deals and who avoid taking necessary action to prevent tax dodging in other countries. What about the subsidies going to farmers, car manufacturers, computer firms and others? Why aren’t you criticising those instead of just wind farm developers and manufacturers?

        I don’t know what the situation in the US is but here in Australia, there is no direct subsidy to wind farm owners and operators. We have a renewable energy target which compels electricity retailers to buy a set percentage of their supply from renewable sources. That’s it. What few people realise is that windfarm operators pay much more to local councils and the local community per megawatt hour than coal-fired generators do. More hypocrisy from government and dirty energy producers who cry foul.

        As for heating your house with wood instead of coal or oil, tell them you are way ahead ecological because you’re growing your own fuel. So long as you have and efficiently burning heater you’re in the clear as far as I’m concerned.

        Sorry, I don’t buy the sacrificing X with ITW’s, if I had a choice of living next to a windfarm and able to live as I liked, or being stuck in a wheelchair, I’d take the wind farm every time. But I acknowledge the shortsightedness and self-interest some people express thinking they are the centre of the universe.

        As I said earlier, ridges are not cleared here. Development occurs on already cleared land.

        Climate models are just one of many data points used by climatologists, biologists and others to predict the future climate. Comparing climate to weather is yet another fallacy.

        I don’t know whether you are climate change denialists or not. That’s for you to decide. I only submit that you cannot claim to be concerned about the environment while preventing meaningful attempts to moderate our effects on it. That’s having a leg either side of the barbed wire fence.

        Yes there are extremists on both sides. I don’t believe for a minute that the end is nigh but I do know that the local climate has changed over the last 40 odd years, it has become drier and hotter and it’s not something I enjoy because quadriplegia prevents my body from properly managing my temperature. I have experienced heatstroke enough times to know that I don’t want it to happen more frequently. You talk about lifestyle. Why should I be forced to stay indoors more often because a fair percentage of the population choose to go on using fossil fuels wastefully and driving up the global temperature?

        There is a middle road and I’m trying to take it, I think you are too. Beyond that, I’m content to give renewables a shot at repairing a global problem.

      9. Blair, doing what they can? I wasn’t asked to do what I can, it was taken from us. I will not buy that excuse, if you think fossil fuel use must end, then stop using it! I don’t use any gasoline to drive and I’m not telling others to not use fossil fuels. You need to pony up and walk the walk other wise it’s just hot air you are spewing along with all the gases the petrochemicals you are burning in various ways for your lifestyle. I heat our home with wood I gather from the property and haven’t bought any oil in 8 years to heat with, and this year the heating season started in October and we are not done yet. Again electricity uses less fossil fuel then other aspects of living. How large a family, what you eat and how it’s grown are part of it. Big house, with vacation properties and travel and what you do for entertainment and recreation? You tell me to go back into my cave because I say Hoosac Wind wrecked the mountain and causing problems with the neighbors and millions of taxpayer funds given to a multi national company to do it and have issues with that? I have a few choice words for you and I’m really loosing patience with people that go on about how the World as we know it will end in 50 0or 100 years unless we do what they say. Science and evidence, we danced about how Al Gore’s predictions are not being proven out by the forecasts and your excuse was it was the best information at the time. Well the evidence has not proven out the theory, so it’s time find out what the facts are. The fact is people need to practice zero population growth in developed countries and stop wasting so many resources and living sustainably. We grow much of our own food here, and then buy organic and local. Biodiesel for Benny and the tractor and most of our recreation is human powered and local as well. We heat the home with our own wood, and you tell me to go back to the cave…screw you as I’m already doing more than most of the climate change cowboys!

  1. “The Internet is full of garbage websites and anti-climate change, anti-renewable misinformation.”

    The Internet is also full of garbage websites and climate change, pro-renewable misinformation, like right here!


    1. Nobody is holding a gun at your head forcing you to read this blog. If you don’t like it, move on. Your tendency to peddle well-recognised fantasies and lies from unqualified armchair experts shows that you aren’t really interested in the facts. You don’t even live near a wind farm yet you happily parrot “information” you don’t even know is correct. It’s a pity you never tried to acquaint yourself with basic science and critical thinking. Had you done so, you would recognise the many fallacies you promote.

      1. Fact is Blair, there is considerable misinformation via pro wind also. My unfavorite comment by a wind developer is “people who complain about wind turbines are this side or crazy.” Apparently I’m one of the crazy ones as the noise keeps me up at night and at times makes sleep impossible. I’d like to show him just how crazy we are and offered him a stay at one of the homes abandoned nearby because of the noise from Hoosac Wind. Not surprisingly he finally declined the offer. when I repeatedly asked him to experience what we are talking about. All talk, but can’t do the walk. He’s what I call a callous greedy bastard, and a coward to boot!

      2. Larry, I have heard people complain about wind farms for all sorts of weird and wonderful reasons. A small number might even be considered legitimate but the vast majority are not. Prior to the construction of the local wind farm, the one nearest to me at Toora, two very vocal opponents made all sorts of outlandish claims. Turbines would electrocute the cattle, they would kill all the birds, they would stuff up water tables and on it went. One of them even claimed it affected his hearing and that he had developed tinnitus. 10 years down the track he is working for my nephew in an engineering business where there is all sorts of hammering, sawing and screeching noises from assorted machinery bending metal etc. He is a good worker but known to be a loose cannon. Apparently his hearing is unaffected even though he often refuses to wear ear protection or protective headwear. I have been to see some of the work my nephew does and to the wind farm on numerous occasions and I defy anybody to tell me that the wind farm is noisier or more problematic than the noise and smell of any engineering works.

        Another guy over in western Victoria swears and declares that his iPhone goes into charge mode when he is standing in the middle of a paddock (field in your lingo) that is a couple of kilometres from a nearby turbine. Give me a break.

        I know some people are affected by noises but I also know that at least here in Australia, windfarm operators have done what they can to try to mitigate extraneous noises from wind farms by offering to pay for double glazing, insulation etc. Plans have been modified to move turbines further away to ease concerns. To the best of my knowledge, no turbine exists within around 1500 m of any household. There is a doctor near the Hepburn wind farm who claims she has countless examples of people affected by the wind farm. It’s a community owned wind farm comprising exactly 2 turbines, I have a small shareholding in it. The directors have offered to meet with her to address the problems she claims exist, they have also offered to convene a meeting with those who say they are affected. She will not co-operate.

        So we’re expected to believe a doctor who provides no evidence or case studies but claims the directors are doing nothing? What more can the directors reasonably do?

        Certainly there were some cowboys here in the early days trying to dream up projects all over the place but that is no longer the case, nor has it been for at least a decade.

        As I said earlier, I cannot speak for what goes on in the US, I can only tell you that here in Australia, windfarms are forced to operate under legislation that would close all current coal-fired operations here in Victoria if they had to abide by the same laws. So long as gross distortions of law exist requiring windfarms to operate at higher standards than required for opencut coal mines, I will continue to support wind farms and renewable energy generally. I will also argue for a level playing field as far as the competing technologies go. It would be nice if wind energy received the same subsidies and tax breaks provided to coal-fired generators in this country.

        Can you please give me the name of the guy you spoke to? I know some people in the windfarm industry in the US, I can make some enquiries if you want?

      3. Blair,
        Remember you are talking to a person who thought Hoosac Wind was a good idea based on what the developer told us. I learned otherwise as the project was built. One local wind developer said the neighbors were just this side of crazy, so pro wind side isn’t always truthful or what I would consider sympathetic to the neighbors who live too close to these projects. David Blittersdorf has a project called Georgia Mountain in VT. and has a low opinion of the neighbors and doesn’t care what they feel or how impacted and he is hopeless. Also I’m not anti wind but pro environment. I watched as they slowly ripped the ridge apart and see how the environment has been negatively impacted. Low frequencies have tendency to pass through things as you maybe heard a car driving down the road with the bass booming. I’ve covered my head with all the covers and pillow with little to no absorption of the sound. I can speak for what is going on here and the neighbors are being affected negatively in various ways from the local wind turbines. One family abandoned their home and can’t sell it. Do you think someone would leave for nothing? I don’t need a study or a doctor to tell me what’s going on, the turbines are loud enough at times to keep me from sleeping. Sleep deprivation does affect my health as many times I get up not feeling rested. Now you can say the problem is from something else, but that wouldn’t be the fact. My sleep issues began when the project started generating power and I used to sleep very well before. This is just the beginning here as only 100 MW installed capacity in Massachusetts with another 1900 MW being planed and will require every ridge-line in the state. So far that comes to over $3 million per MW so at least $6 Billion will be required for the 2000 MW of rated capacity and more for the off shore turbines. Currently wind turbines are doing 25% of rated capacity at best here in New England so we get 500 MW actual power added to the grid that can’t be depended on for providing electricity for demand. All the ridge lines get destroyed in the bargain, what a deal.

      4. I know of two families who left their home because they believed wind turbines were making them ill. Months down the track they have returned to their respective houses. Can’t imagine why they would do that if they really believed windfarms were making them sick. Maybe they lost the courage of their convictions or discovered new sounds in there temporarily accommodation?

        The guy I told you about yesterday who works for my nephew, he lived adjacent to the Toora wind farm and made all sorts of outrageous claims. Another neighbour a little further away made similar claims. It’s obvious now with hindsight that they were just angling for the best payout they could get because both of them with still within the footprint of the wind farm, just a little further away.

        Wind turbine syndrome is a non-recognised health claim with the same degree of credibility as homoeopathy. Whenever objective studies are conducted, the science does not support it. Arbitrary claims are worthless if they cannot be tested against something. The physics of sound is well understood, better understood than evolution which is itself better understood than the theory of gravity but I don’t suppose you’ll tell me that gravity is bogus.

        I don’t know what you were told prior to the windfarm being constructive or what you have been told since by proponents and opponents. I don’t doubt your sincerity, I do have some doubts about the quality of the information you have been told or found for yourself.

        The 25% number you referenced is an average. When a wind farm is working at full capacity you are getting full output, in your case 2000 MW or very close to it. Wind farms produce power around 80% of the time on average, just not always at full power – just like a coal-fired power station or nuclear power station. That’s an undeniable and easily tested fact.

        You are being disingenuous expecting people and society to swap over to new sources of energy overnight when the current systems took many decades to develop with government assistance.

        Larry, I haven’t said the world will end in 50 or 100 years that’s a distortion you choose to believe others are saying, the world will go on for billions of years to come. Whether or not generations that come after us will enjoy what we take for granted is another question. The rest of your arguments are unrelated to wind farms, I’m not going to try and correct your misconceptions or again, talk about how windfarms are constructed in the US. I only know what goes on here in Australia and its nothing like you describe.

        If you read what I said carefully, I didn’t tell you to go back to the cave, once again you have misconstrued what I did say. I have tried to keep this discussion civil but you keep trying to put words in my mouth or accuse me of not doing something meaningful to backup my concerns. I have explained my situation but apparently you choose to ignore that information. It’s not a very honest way to carry on a discussion.

        Judging from some of the other things you said I think we have more common ground then you realise or are prepared to acknowledge, we just differ on the issue of wind farms.

        I made a genuine offer to try and help by contacting a couple of people I know in the US wind industry. You haven’t given me the name of the person you have tried to deal with. Why not?

        If you would prefer not to continue talking with me, just say so. Just don’t say I didn’t try to help or understand your situation.

      5. Blair, you mention families returning and asking why? Maybe they didn’t have any other place to live? Maybe they couldn’t afford anything else. Some of us have limited means of income and at times have no choices. The developer Iberdrola told the neighbors we wouldn’t hear them. After complaints they told me not one neighbor has had any complaints at any of their projects world wide. More than enough lies for me to realize they have not been truthful, and have given me reason to doubt other statements as well. Including explanations for stains on turbines being garbage bags getting caught and the friction made the black marks. My photos clearly show dark material streaking the towers from substance from nacelles. Again I expect the people saying that fossil fuel must end to stop using fossil fuels, that’s not disingenuous, but only as it should be. They should be making effort personally to stop their consumption, and not stopping at what they feel is acceptable as my neighbors don’t have ANY choice except to leave or endure the noise and other impacts. It isn’t an option for us, some families having lived here for generations and can’t just pick up and leave. Wind turbines rarely have operated at 100% capacity and as you know power output is reduced considerably at lower wind speeds. Dance all you want but here wind turbines are at best working at 25% rated capacity, many times at non peak times that can not be relied to respond to demand. This at a cost of $3 million per MW of rated capacity which is only .25 MW to the grid. I don’t hate anyone or dislike you, but don’t think you can patronize me with pro wind junk. I’ve had more than enough of pro wink folks telling me to suck it up, or move. Specially insulting is developer saying, we are just this side of crazy for complaining. You can say my observations are not reliable but that doesn’t make it so. Your quote, “So my challenge to them is simple, provide a credible alternative to fossil fuels or go back to your cave.” Studies have shown that conservation of electricity can reduce consumption 25% from current usage. That’s far more than wind resources can produce here and that’s without impacting the local environment and neighbors at all. I happen to think industrial power plants have no place on our pristine mountains where people are impacted by them and people need to be accountable for all their energy and resource usage, not just electricity. If you actually read what I’ve said I’m an advocate for other energy technologies, but they should be truly renewable, not wreck the environment, be sustainable and not do harm to the neighbors. IWT’s are not able to honestly make those claims around here. There are no large cities here and we don’t need the large industrial capacity, and local community based systems are more appropriate.

      6. I believe one of the couples who left their home had a property in a nearby town.

        I don’t believe your claims about noise because the two wind farms I have been to produce hardly any, the trees surrounding them make more noise, as does the traffic on the highway about one and a half kilometres away.

        You have either misunderstood my comments regarding output or are deliberately choosing to confuse the issue. All I can say is that publicly available data from the AEMO clearly demonstrates you are incorrect.

        I said before that I agreed with you that conservation and efficiency can save a large amount of electricity but there is still the issue of transport that needs to be addressed.

        There is no source of energy from anywhere that does not have some effect on the environment. The production of electricity requires the conversion of chemical (coal/gas/oil) or kinetic (water/wind) energy into electrical energy. There is no such thing as free energy.

        It is evident that we have different opinions on the subject of wind energy. We’ll just have to agree to disagree.

      7. Blair has “been” to a wind farm and as a visitor he’s an expert and says he doesn’t believe my accounts of being kept from sleeping as he knows all about wind turbines. Well now cover me in pixy dust. Next thing you will be saying I’m wrong about how environmentally the mountains are not being disturbed, and the thousands of trees that are gone along with the swamps and wetlands were all a figment of my imagination. Just for your information Blair I’m including a link to the 2012 Maine Wind turbine power output. You will notice the average is just under 25% of rated capacity. Maybe you you will say that’s misinformation as well, but that’s what the industry reported to the government. http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/maine-wind-sites-production-for-entire-year-2012. You people that are doing what you can…can shove a wind turbine were it don’t shine. I think you will find that many that are advocating for fossil fuel use to end are nothing but hypocrites, saying it must end, but I can only do so much. You sir are nothing but a self serving hypocrite, who doesn’t have any consideration for human beings that are suffering and dismiss them by saying they are lying. I can only say I hope you get what you deserve. Be careful out there because it’s a cruel harsh World and what you say may catch up with you!

  2. You don’t know where I live. There are equally as many well recognised fantasies being peddled from your side of the debate, the difference is, the majority are waking up to them. Your fantasies are not coming to fruition. You are defending the indefensible!


  3. larry Blair wants the names of the people you know so he can get his like minded mates in the us to rubbish them and put them down.So its up to you but he has a history of doing this.He dosent care about anybody apart from himself and his wind investments.BEWARE OF HIM.

    1. Chris, I know where Blair is coming from. He can’t do any worse than what we are going through, and know he will not be persuaded by truth or facts as he definitely is biased in his thinking, and righteous as well. What I hope is someone who can listen and look at things objectively might learn something from my experiences and not have to go through what we are. Blair is the one who needs to be careful and look over his left shoulder as he may reap what he sows…

  4. Blair, Your quote, “So my challenge to them is simple, provide a credible alternative to fossil fuels or go back to your cave.” Studies have shown that conservation of electricity can reduce consumption 25% from current usage. That’s far more than wind resources can produce here and that’s without impacting the local environment and neighbors at all. That’s for a start and it won’t cost $3 million per .25 MW to implement.

    1. Why should I provide a credible alternative to fossil fuels? Industrial wind turbines do as much harm as good, so what’s the use? Just a way for corporations to make a profit from subsidies.

  5. Quote Blair Donaldson: “So my challenge to them is simple, provide a credible alternative to fossil fuels or go back to your cave. I’ve yet to see a reasonable, thoughtful answer, just mindless nitpicking and distortion of facts.”

    That challenge is not up to us, we are not complaining about fossil fuels, you are, it is up to you to come up with a credible alternative, so far you haven’t, you just ignore the facts!

    If all of the coal fired power stations were turned off tomorrow, just where do you suppose our power would come from?

    Until you can come up with a credible answer to that, you’d better get back to your cave!


    1. Just as I thought, you have no answer Blair, because there isn’t one, wind turbines in their present form will never provide base load power, whether you like it or not, coal will be used for a long time yet.

      If you can come up with a more reliable form of wind energy, we are listening, but in the meantime, you will need to stock up on candles for your cave.


  6. Thorium is the only alternative I see with a growing global population addicted to energy. Wind, solar, tidal are not enough to meet our energy needs. Not yet anyway.

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