Last night we attended an ‘open’ public meeting for the wind farm that is likely to soon invade our rural home. Like the other wind farms built and proposed along the lake shore this one is in a major migratory flyway and has carefully sited turbines close to the islands’ bird sanctuaries. This meeting was part of the public consultation process, mandated by the ‘Green Energy’ act.
But one aspect of the event really stuck in my mind — why do they bother to ‘consult’ with the affected folk when there is nothing in the process that gives the victims the right to say ‘NO’? The turbines are going where they are going, new roads will be cut through the fields, priceless stone fences leveled — and there is nothing that the affected folks can say about it.
My problem with the whole thing is that this is a mixed neighborhood — we have farmers who have been on the island for generations side by side with retired folk who came here to escape the city. And recognizing that small farms may be labors of love (and maybe not much more) that it is not unreasonable for someone to augment their income by leasing land for a wind farm. I hope they don’t get treated as poorly as some — be a real shame to go through the whole process (to say nothing of the anger of their affected but otherwise uncompensated neighbors) and not realize the income they were hoping for.
But there is another problem — the province cannot absorb the wind power it is currently generating and frequently dumps it at firesale prices. As the Europeans realized some time ago, wind power is available when the wind blows. And the wind has the depressing tendency to blow best when the power is not needed. So why are we building even more of the things? And if the affected people cannot say no, why annoy us with senseless meetings that simply dish out spin?