The Answer May Not Be Blowing In The Wind

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Upon further research one becomes surprised at the astounding and growing opposition to windmills and wind farms in Europe.

The proliferation of wind farms in southern Alberta raises different perspectives, depending on whether they are on your property. For those that have commercial windmills on their land and have cut a good deal with the operators they can be a steady and easy source of extra income. Those that are not so lucky see these industrial-scale power generators as a nuisance and an eyesore – visual pollution so to speak.

Windmills have become the darlings of green lobby groups and are touted as being the real sustainable alternative to dirty fossil fuel energy. Governments and utilities seem to be falling over themselves to approve and build ever-more and ever-larger wind farms across the country. Last month saw the announcement of another huge development of $850 million by an Irish company, to be located in the Pincher Creek/Waterton area.

Wind farms are not a new idea to southern Alberta. Some of the first large-scale developments in the country were built in that wind-prone part of the country. There are over two decades of experience with the technology, which has seen ever-larger windmills erected. However, like almost every issue that has environmental implications, there is a dark side and like a twist on that old 60s song, “the answer may not be blowing in the wind.”

One of the surprising realizations one finds is that windmill output is far from what promoters claim. For example when capacity is stated as being 100kw, in actuality output is usually around 25kw. Those that live around windmills know why – most of the time mills don’t turn because there is either too little wind or too much. Interestingly the larger the windmill the more restricted its use becomes.

Upon further research one becomes surprised at the astounding and growing opposition to windmills and wind farms in Europe. One finds well-developed websites like countryguardian.net,a British organization that has been fighting windmills for 20 years. It contains links to technical, financial, social, and environmental studies that totally debunk the value of windmills and the power they generate.

Another site is epaw.org.which is a

European group that has been joined by 300 other organizations in opposing windmills and wind farms.

What gives here? Our governments and their green group allies seem to be hell-bent to develop and subsidize windmills until there is one in every yard. Are these groups opposed to wind farms just cranks and wind power deniers? Why are questions surrounding wind farms ignored by our own authorities?

The things your learn: Wind power can never replace conventional power because 100 per cent of conventional capacity has to be maintained when the wind doesn’t blow; wind power has to be sold at a discount because it is unreliable and intermittent; windmills cannot be built without subsidies and tax breaks because they are so uneconomic; the average output of a windmill is 25 per cent of capacity which equals the output of a large truck diesel engine; the killing of birds and bats by windmills is real and will get worse with more windmills.

The windmill industry is a multi-billion dollar business with a massive lobby machine that has had remarkable success in capturing the minds of politicians and citizens. They do seem omnipotent with dubious claims accepted as fact. For instance, they claim that a typical windmill can supply power to 1,000 homes. They neglect to mention that a home is not an actual unit of measurement, nor the fact that the windmill can only supply power 25 per cent of the time. They dismiss the loss of thousands of birds and bats by stating that cats kill thousands of birds every day. That’s curious some green groups went ballistic when a mere 500 ducks died in oilsands ponds.

One does wonder what the whole story is with windpower. It would be enlightening to have an honest investigation into this allegedly sustainable source of free power. It would be helpful to taxpayers to see this done before many more millions are spent on subsidies and grants to duplicitous foreign windmill companies who prey on naive governments.

However, I suspect the powers of political correctness and the pervasive influence of the global warming agenda will win the day for windmills for years to come. In the meantime we will see southern Alberta become more despoiled with the visual pollution of thousands of industrial-sized windmills. Ironically, the same governments that allow this type of destruction and distraction from the natural scenery have laws that prohibit billboards from being erected. It boggles the mind.

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