Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Canadians Protest Wind Turbines

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the blowing-in-the-wind dept.

Canada 533

NIK282000 writes "Ontario farmers rallied in downtown Toronto to protest the subsidization of wind turbines. Several of the protesters stated that they fear for the the health of their families and that they refuse to live near wind turbines. Others fear that the value of their property will be reduced significantly by the presence of turbines. With the cost of gas and oil on its way up it's a wonder that any one would be against the use of renewable energy sources."

cancel ×

533 comments

There's always a downside (5, Insightful)

crazyjj (2598719) | more than 2 years ago | (#39574829)

Look, there is no such thing as "free" energy. There is always some price to be paid, some tradeoff. If someone out there is selling you on the perfect energy source that is the answer to all out problems with no downsides, they're selling you on something that just doesn't exist.

It's a question of what tradeoffs you think are better than others. Poll any five people on /. and I'll bet you'll get 7 different opinions as to which source(s) are most practical/safe/efficient/cost-effective. That's not to say this means they're all created equal, just an acknowledgement that none of them are anywhere close to perfect.

My own opinion is that solar, wind, and hydroelectric power are almost certainly the three cleanest and safest sources we have at present--but current practical considerations also stick them into the "can supplement, but not replace" category when compared to the dirtier and less safe sources (at least for now). I'm not so concerned with birds, fish spawning, and farmers' property values as I am the more industrial-scale waste issues that you get with coal, oil, and nuclear fission. I'm sure someone can also make the case for natural gas, thorium reactors, and fusion too--but we'll see on that. But there's always someone who's going to bitch, no matter what path(s) you take.

Re:There's always a downside (5, Insightful)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 2 years ago | (#39574921)

Well I for one am a bit baffled at the idea of Wind turbines effecting someones health. Is this one of those crack pot ideas, like being allergic to cellphones and wifi?

Re:There's always a downside (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39574959)

Yes. It's similar to the "fan death" urban legend that's big in South Korea.

Re:There's always a downside (1, Insightful)

TWX (665546) | more than 2 years ago | (#39574975)

Well, if a turbine blows apart and pieces go flying, I suppose that they could kill someone, like when this one [youtu.be] over-revved and blew itself to bits... Beyond normal "omg I live near power transmission lines" which could apply to any large power generating method, I can't see any other dangers.

Re:There's always a downside (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39575013)

Unlike "Wi-Fi allergies", and similar complete nonsense, there is actually tangible reasons and evidence that there could be some health risks associated with living near large turbines.

It's about constant exposure to low frequencies as I understand it, which is not something that people are generally exposed to in their daily lives.

Now, I don't know if there are actual health risks or not - all I'm saying is that I accept the possibility. I do not accept the possibility of health risks from Wi-Fi exposure.

Re:There's always a downside (3, Insightful)

Ignacio (1465) | more than 2 years ago | (#39575465)

It's about constant exposure to low frequencies as I understand it, which is not something that people are generally exposed to in their daily lives.

Is 50/60Hz not considered a low frequency anymore?

Re:There's always a downside (5, Interesting)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#39575487)

there is actually tangible reasons and evidence that there could be some health risks associated with living near large turbines.

Oh? Like what?

It's about constant exposure to low frequencies as I understand it, which is not something that people are generally exposed to in their daily lives.

Yeah I'm pretty sure we're all exposed to low-frequency EM radiation constantly. How exactly are low-energy photons supposed to be more dangerous than high-energy? Are all the Wi-fi/cell-phone people crazy for going after that rather than radio towers?

Now, I don't know if there are actual health risks or not - all I'm saying is that I accept the possibility.

Sure, it's possible. It's possible that there's some heretofore unknown mechanism that allows this to damage you. I just find it hard to believe that these protesters have stumbled across this revelatory new science so as to make them so sure that it's real.

If there is a real effect of being near wind turbines, then I'd bet anything it's actually due to a chemical like an herbicide with a perfectly understandable mechanism for causing harm. I don't know if these are organic farmers, but if they're not, then I have a hard time believing their occupation is less hazardous in this regard than wind towers.

Re:There's always a downside (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39575031)

I think (hope!) that this is just some right wing conservative whacko group pretending to be real people. Worried about their health?! I used to think all the crazies were down in the States, but lately it seems like Canada is making a real effort to out-crazy our neighbours to the South. :(

Left Wing (1, Troll)

alexander_686 (957440) | more than 2 years ago | (#39575283)

Alas, no - this is left wing crazies, not right wing ones.

Re:Left Wing (3, Insightful)

CaptainLugnuts (2594663) | more than 2 years ago | (#39575469)

I'm not sure which wing is crazier [www.cbc.ca] Is a Catholic teacher's union left or right wing?

Much louder than claimed (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39575053)

From what I understand, many turbines are considerably louder than claimed, particularly at low frequencies. If nothing else, this could affect sleep md hence health.

Re:There's always a downside (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | more than 2 years ago | (#39575063)

I always wear a faraday hoodie [hypebeast.com] (made with real wire) to be safe. (Not for sale in Florida)

Whoosh! Canadian Turbine Torture (0)

Dareth (47614) | more than 2 years ago | (#39575099)

Whoosh! Whosh! Whoooosh! Whosh!
Whaaash! Whaaash! Whaash! Whaaaash!
Wheeesh! Wheeesh! Wheesh! Wheeesh!

Re:There's always a downside (0)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 2 years ago | (#39575119)

Do you happen to have dishwasher? Just try to do this then: Turn ON the dishwasher 24/7, and try to sleep, work, watch, f^%$^%$^.... and if in one week you are still sane, come and share your experience.

Re:There's always a downside (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39575351)

Poor example. I have a business doing remote starts and such. I have customers who tell me "let me take the key out so the reminder shuts up", and I reply the same every time: "I do this so much, I don't even hear them anymore. The only two I hear and that can get annoying is the 90s VWs that play a little tune and Hyundai's or kiss that use the musted bell as the reminder".

And that's the truth... I'm so use to them I don't hear them. Same would happen with a turbine (and to be honest I've stood at the base of a group of them near here and there really wasn't any noise. I don't get what all the fuss is about

Re:There's always a downside (0)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | more than 2 years ago | (#39575377)

Uh, try something modern, like the last 5 years. Can barely tell the thing is on, literally. They can take 2 hours or more, but noise wise they are almost silent.

Re:There's always a downside (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39575387)

Do you happen to have dishwasher? Just try to do this then: Turn ON the dishwasher 24/7, and try to sleep, work, watch, f^%$^%$^.... and if in one week you are still sane, come and share your experience.

Yeah...but my dishwasher is nice and quiet...so other than wasting power for 24/7 operation...whats your point?

If you go cheap..you get cheap and you get noise, breakdowns etc.. if you do it right...no problem, they are quiet, effective and clean.

Re:There's always a downside (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39575461)

Been there. After a week you don't hear it anymore, just like when you have a half-dozen computer fans on 24/7 in the same room as you through all four years of college.

Re:There's always a downside (1)

notgm (1069012) | more than 2 years ago | (#39575211)

maybe they're worried that the windmills will loosen the soil, and they'll all take off, eh?

Windfall, the movie. (3, Informative)

alexander_686 (957440) | more than 2 years ago | (#39575251)

Sigh. I hate to give credence to urban myths and junk science, but if you want to know of the fear of the unknown, here is a trailer for a movie that will explain it all.

http://windfallthemovie.com/index_1.html [windfallthemovie.com]

Re:There's always a downside (0, Troll)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39575261)

He's a farmer. Not the highest intellect. QUOTE: "As soon as the wind turbines go up, my farmâ(TM)s for sale. Iâ(TM)m not going to live there," said Tom Melady a farmer in Perth County. "Iâ(TM)ve got all kinds of lists of people that have had health problems. Iâ(TM)m not going to expose me and my family to that. I can live someplace else."

Re:There's always a downside (1)

rwise2112 (648849) | more than 2 years ago | (#39575395)

I've heard more than one news report where people are complaining about a high-pitched whine, which prevents them from sleeping properly, many headaches, etc. Real or immaginary - I can't comment!

Re:There's always a downside (1, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#39575093)

My own opinion is that solar, wind, and hydroelectric power are almost certainly the three cleanest and safest sources we have at present

Nuclear kills fewer people per kWh than any of those. People are just more afraid of invisible radiation than they are of falling off of rooftops.

Re:There's always a downside (3, Insightful)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 2 years ago | (#39575167)

Look I'm not against nuclear power or anything myself but I can understand why people are always making a fuss about it. Sure our other power sources kill more people per year but it does so in ways that normal people can prevent and don't feel powerless against. I can do something to prevent myself from falling off a roof, or any other of mundane ways shit can go wrong with other power generation methods. I can't how ever do anything with regards to radiation once the shit hits the fan, other than hope I wasn't exposed to too much radiation and get as far away from the hotzone as possible and into quarantine and decon. Radiation is scary even if it is -safe-. My first reaction is always to 'scoff' at people who are antinuclear power too but there are some good reasons for their fears.

Re:There's always a downside (1)

GmExtremacy (2579091) | more than 2 years ago | (#39575407)

I don't see any good reasons for them. They're being overly paranoid about unlikely scenarios (unless the plants are poorly taken care of and old).

Re:There's always a downside (1)

netwarerip (2221204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39575421)

Nuclear kills fewer people per kWh than any of those. People are just more afraid of invisible radiation than they are of falling off of rooftops.

Yeah, but if I fall off my roof it's not like no one else can ever go up on my roof for the next 100 years.
Just sayin...

Re:There's always a downside (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39575131)

Hydroelectric power generation has directly killed over 170,000 people.

In a single disaster.

It's not safe.

energy fail. electricity /= fuel (1)

noh8rz3 (2593935) | more than 2 years ago | (#39575139)

energy is not a big pot of energy. Wind turbines produce electricity. petroleum produces gasoline and diesel. There's no risk of substitution - rising oil prices will still be expensive for gasoline, regardless of the number of wind turbines.

before the comments come back:
1) EVs would bridge the gap, but in the next few years they are less than 1% of vehicles = no impact.
2) unlike oil, natural gas can be used for electricity. but the summary is wrong. while oil prices have been going up, gas prices are constant / down.

Re:There's always a downside (4, Interesting)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | more than 2 years ago | (#39575479)

It's not that people are against wind energy, per se. It's that the Ontario government passed a law giving them final and absolute authority over where they were placed, effectively killing any municipal control over zoning, land use, etc.

It's basically a bunch of idiot urban politicians saying to a rural county "We're putting a wind farm in your county, right here on the map, complete with massive construction traffic and huge amounts of concrete for the bases of these things, and it doesn't matter to you, because there's hardly anybody living there to complain. After all, you've got, what, 1/100th the population density of Toronto?"

If the local county had zoned that area agricultural, or had plans for a shopping mall that had been years and hundreds of thousands in the making, and were ready to break ground tomorrow, then tough luck.

Another thing is, considering the amount of concrete involved, it effectively kills the land for any agricultural use, anyway. Even if the turbine and its base is removed, the leach from the concrete will have done serious damage the the ground's ability to grow crops. Since the provincial government is frequently putting them in prime agricultural areas, rather than in, place where the soil is too shallow over bedrock to be productive, it's a reasonable concern.

Reality check (1, Troll)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 2 years ago | (#39574833)

> it's a wonder that any one would be against the use of renewable energy sources.

Yea, it is totally outside yer understanding. That is the problem with greens, you really can't undertand how anyone could possibly disagree with a single one of your policies. After all, they are so self evidently perfect and all that.

On the other hand some of us understand NIMBY. While I too doubt the possibility for health problems for people miles/kilometers from one, or even directly under one for that matter, they will certainly lower property values. And if you are too close they can be noisy and a lot of the same hippies agitating for alternative energy find them an eyesore, again lowering property values.

Welcome to the real world. You end up having to stuff them in god awful places where almost nobody lives then lose too much current to wire losses and increased expenses to send people out to work on them. Then as soon as the government subsidies stop you lock the thing down because the unsubsidized operating costs often exceed the value of the electricity produced. But it looked so good on the glossy brocure to the stockholders and government regulating agencies handing out those sacks of cash.

Re:Reality check (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39574953)

Here we go with selfish whining about "property value" again. Buy your damned property to USE, not as a speculative instrument. After inflation is taken into account, there needs to be a 100% capital gains tax on property sales.

Re:Reality check (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39575205)

So I should mine under my house or use my yard as chemical repository?

Shut up idiot.

Re:Reality check (4, Interesting)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 2 years ago | (#39574979)

The real problem is people who want to control everything within eyesight of the property they own, as if buying property at location X gives you authority over everything within eyesite of location X. We can thank them for the zoning laws that make any family wanting to own its business have to rent (and drive to) a separate building to operate their business because OMG SOMEBODY MIGHT USE THE PARKING ON MY STREET (which you don't own).

I'm glad I don't give a fuck what's on my horizon and aren't contributing to making the world worse place with entitled assholeism.

Well, at least not that kind of entitled assholeism ;)

Re:Reality check (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39575207)

I own the same right to the street I live on as my neighbors.

Which basically means as little disruptive use as possible. Have a moving truck or a contractor around for a few days.

Fine, but regular and continual obstruction is another matter.

Re:Reality check (1)

Lord Dreamshaper (696630) | more than 2 years ago | (#39575325)

I understand NIMBY, but that's a small-scale (one neighbourhood, maybe even just one household) concern, compared to the large-scale concern of cumulative effects and damage caused by fossil fuel extracting & consuming. Personally, I'd much rather have a windfarm in my backyard, than an oil drill, a mine or even a garbage dump, but that's small consolation if you have the chance to have none of the above.

When windfarms are everywhere and every size (small ones on your roof for personal wind harvesting?) will we even notice them? If we went back a cenutry or so we'd start screaming about not having any of those damn phone poles & street lights lining the streets blocking our views, ruining our property values and causing measles, mumps, tuberculosis & whatever else scared us back then.

We wouldn't necessarily miss them now if they disappeared, but we'd probably find the view as bizarre *without* them, as we do the view *with* giant windmills. Our kids won't understand what the big deal was.

Re:Reality check (1)

netwarerip (2221204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39575483)

On the other hand some of us understand NIMBY. While I too doubt the possibility for health problems for people miles/kilometers from one, or even directly under one for that matter, they will certainly lower property values. And if you are too close they can be noisy and a lot of the same hippies agitating for alternative energy find them an eyesore, again lowering property values.

Welcome to the real world. You end up having to stuff them in god awful places where almost nobody lives then lose too much current to wire losses and increased expenses to send people out to work on them. Then as soon as the government subsidies stop you lock the thing down because the unsubsidized operating costs often exceed the value of the electricity produced. But it looked so good on the glossy brocure to the stockholders and government regulating agencies handing out those sacks of cash.

I'm curious, are you talking about a (coal/gas/nuclear) plant, or a wind turbine?

Anyone named Kennedy? (2, Informative)

OldGunner (2576825) | more than 2 years ago | (#39574855)

The Kennedy clan, in the lower 48, fought them because they damaged the view from their Cape Cod compound. NIMBYs are everywhere.

Re:Anyone named Kennedy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39575163)

The Kennedy clan, in the lower 48, fought them because they damaged the view from their Cape Cod compound. NIMBYs are everywhere.

Aren't they all dead now? Who's left?

Re:Anyone named Kennedy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39575223)

Kennedys? You wish. These are Ontario farmers, an elite ancient order of NIMBYs that repel all new installations with the force of 1000 suns. Building stuff near them is like invading Afghanistan.

Ah, the age old saying.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39574903)

"Not in my backyard!"

It's no wonder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39574915)

We have LOTS of oil here. The price going up simply makes major projects like the tar sands much more feasible.

Our tiny little 30-million-population is your biggest trading partner. Oil is a huge part of that. It really ought to be part or your common knowledge, not a surprise.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_the_largest_trading_partners_of_the_United_States [wikipedia.org]

Just close your eyes? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39574943)

What it boils down to is that it's easy for someone to say, "we should put a windfarm," (throwing dart at a map), "HERE."

It's less easy to say, "okay, what about the people that live there?"

NIMBY is a valid complaint. Why should I have to have this wind turbine in my back yard because someone that sits in a different city/country has decided that it's a good place, without my input?

As far as health problems, I don't buy it. I believe it all boils down to: I DON'T WANT TO LOOK AT IT. It's a bullshit complain, but still valid - I, personally don't want to look at one of these things. . . . .

Re:Just close your eyes? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39575101)

Imagine living in the shadow of one of these, even if only a few hours a day. You're basically sitting under a strobe light.

Headaches, epileptic seizures, etc, etc.. The same environmentalists hating on the people who don't want these are probably the guys who cant work under flourescent light because it upsets their eyes.

They also have a distracting/hypnotic effect on drivers, and there are lots of long empty stretches of road out Mount Forest way (where they are, highest point in Ontario), so they become something that helps lull drivers to sleep.

I'm in Canada, where these things are, there are valid complaints.

Also it's bullshit pork spending and is not adding any appreciable power to the grid. In fact, we already overproduce so much power we have to pay Quebec and New York to take the surplus from it.

Yeah, I'm against wasteful pork spending, even if it does make some simple-minded california liberal feel good about himself.

Yes and No. (3, Insightful)

JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) | more than 2 years ago | (#39574949)

Several of the protesters stated that they fear for the the health of their families and that they refuse to live near wind turbines

This is the most retarded thing I've heard in the past hour.
(I've unfortunately heard a lot of stupid crap lately, so i can't claim all day or all week or whatever.)

Others fear that the value of their property will be reduced significantly by the presence of turbines.

This, however, is a legitimate concern for those who plan on selling their house.
The loss of value on the house might be compensated enough by the energy provided by the wind turbines though, though I'm unsure.

Re:Yes and No. (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39575133)

I live in Toronto, a few blocks from the windmill on the lakeshore. Since the windmill went in, my home's propey value has, approximately, doubled, along with the rest of the neighborhood.. The concern is pure BS, just like the shit about windmill health issues.

Re:Yes and No. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39575343)

That is not a valid comparison. You can't compare urban and rural properties, they are completely seperate in terms of valuation. Maybe you should go read a little bit before you start spewing bullshit anecdotal evidence, especially given that you live in Toronto, one of the most over-priced places in Canada.

Please see FML listings [tumblr.com] for more information as to how you're retarded.

Re:Yes and No. (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 2 years ago | (#39575451)

There are some health issues associated with noise pollution. Fairly minor though.

There's not particularly compelling evidence for property prices being affected for that matter.

Both factors do depend on proximity to the towns. And the latter may well be something that could be resolved simply by the company paying compensation.

Contradiction (3, Insightful)

SaroDarksbane (1784314) | more than 2 years ago | (#39574963)

protest the subsidization of wind turbines [..] With the cost of gas and oil on its way up it's a wonder that any one would be against the use of renewable energy sources.

If the price of oil has made wind power a cost-effective alternative, then why do they need to be subsidized?

(This is similar to a statement out of the administration a couple weeks back that forcing insurance companies to cover birth control should be a non-issue, since it would save insurance companies money. If insurance companies save money by offering birth control, then why do you need to force them to do it?)

Re:Contradiction (4, Informative)

Anaerin (905998) | more than 2 years ago | (#39575071)

Because oil is currently MASSIVELY subsidised. The tax breaks and benefits the oil industry get are huge, and if a tiny proportion of those subsidies were also available to so-called "Green" energy solutions then solar and wind power would be free, paid for entirely by the subsidy.

Re:Contradiction (0)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39575459)

What tax breaks?
What benefits?

Re:Contradiction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39575497)

So why not fix the problem, instead of expanding it?

Re:Contradiction (1)

LanMan04 (790429) | more than 2 years ago | (#39575097)

If the price of oil has made wind power a cost-effective alternative, then why do they need to be subsidized?

It's not YET, but it's clear to 100% of everyone that the cost of fossil fuels will continue to increase over the long term, until it's done.

We're just-starting the process with subsidies while it's less painful, instead of later.

Re:Contradiction (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39575141)

Here's a quiz to tell if you're a libertarian or a normal person. Finish this sentence:

"An ounce of prevention is ___________________":

a) "worth a pound of cure."
b) "an unconscionable interference with the free market and an offense against human liberty."

Re:Contradiction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39575127)

If the price of oil has made wind power a cost-effective alternative, then why do they need to be subsidized?

Literally everything is subsidized and you can't fault wind power for that. Oil is subsidized, corn is subsidized, you name a commodity that the government has an interest in and chances are it has a subsidy attached to it. This isn't a problem per se, its just how are system is set up.

Re:Contradiction (1)

tilante (2547392) | more than 2 years ago | (#39575135)

Because, just like people, companies can be short-sighted and prefer saving a little money now over saving a lot of money in the long term?

Re:Contradiction (1)

Jonner (189691) | more than 2 years ago | (#39575311)

Existing power generation technologies based on coal and oil have had a hundred years to mature and become established. Even if wind energy can be more cost effective than coal and oil eventually, it is not yet an established industry, so subsidies may help it become established and competitive more quickly than without them. Of course, government programs don't often like to go away when they're no longer needed.

*sigh* Oh, Canada (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39574983)

Aha! Look! There! See? SEE? People from the US aren't the ONLY stupid people in the world! Ha!

Re:*sigh* Oh, Canada (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#39575129)

And the French were getting so uppity too, just seconds before they launched a far-right wingnut's serious run at office and then caught post-9/11 fever in the wake of a terrorist attack...tsk tsk...

I'll buy that property!!! (2, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#39574991)

FTA:

Gerry Dentoom carried a sign reading âoeMy property value is now $0.â

He says it's worth $, so if I offer him a hundred bucks, that's actually being really generous right?

Oh... what's that? He won't take it, because he thinks it's actually worth more?

Then it's not *REALLY* worth $0, is it?

the NIMBY crowd (2, Insightful)

RelliK (4466) | more than 2 years ago | (#39574995)

To the guy carrying the sign that says "my property value is now $0" I want to say: sell it to me for $1. Surely, if he truly believes the property is worthless, any money he can get from it is pure profit.

I really want to hear what are the supposed "health problems" attributed to wind turbines. Amazingly, the same people who protest wind turbines have no problem with coal plants spewing ash and sulfur dioxide on their land.

Re:the NIMBY crowd (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39575291)

To the guy carrying the sign that says "my property value is now $0"

Sounds good to me, my property taxes will drop to nothing from $5k.

I really want to hear what are the supposed "health problems" attributed to wind turbines.

The noise does bother people, and some think they are ugly to look at. And wind turbines kill a lot of birds.

Amazingly, the same people who protest wind turbines have no problem with coal plants spewing ash and sulfur dioxide on their land.

This is the government of Ontario, which promised solar providers 80 cents per kWh for 20 years [ontariosp.com] .

Hey, I like renewable power also, but when Quebec (next door to Ontario) is selling hydro power for 5 cents per kWh, Ontario is throwing away billions so that they can get a few photo-ops standing next to solar cells.

Re:the NIMBY crowd (1)

AntEater (16627) | more than 2 years ago | (#39575391)

Amazingly, the same people who protest wind turbines have no problem with coal plants spewing ash and sulfur dioxide on their land.

No, they have no problem with coal plants spewing ash and sulfur dioxide on other people's land.

NIMBY (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39575015)

Imagine your house is in the shadow of one of these things, the sun becomes a strobe light. This is the most legit criticism I've heard.

Other than it just being more pork spending, and not a real road to energy independence, ever.

Re:NIMBY (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#39575171)

First of all, if your house is in the shadow of one of these things, then you have one that is LITERALLY on your own property, in which case you are being paid for the land it is on, or else it is extremely early or extremely late in the day, in which case the "strobe" effect (which is actually not disconcerting, you'll get more of a strobing effect from being in the shadow of a leafy tree on a windy day) won't last that long anyways.

Re:NIMBY (1)

aaarrrgggh (9205) | more than 2 years ago | (#39575419)

This is Canada... there are 4 months of the year where the sun is never very high.

here's the 'why'... (-1, Troll)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 2 years ago | (#39575017)

With the cost of gas and oil on its way up it's a wonder that any one would be against the use of renewable energy sources."

Quite possibly because wind turbines are horribly ecologically destructive, economically costly devices which are actually an energy net-loss for the size necessary for industrial generation, while costing taxpayer money to subsidize someone else's false industry? That, and they're annoying (at best) to live near.

Re:here's the 'why'... (1)

RelliK (4466) | more than 2 years ago | (#39575059)

> Quite possibly because wind turbines are horribly ecologically destructive, economically costly devices which are actually an energy net-loss for the size necessary for industrial generation, while costing taxpayer money to subsidize someone else's false industry? That, and they're annoying (at best) to live near.

haha, not. Not even close. Environment impact of wind turbines is far far less than that of coal power plants. And claiming that somehow they are "energy net-loss" just makes you look stupid.

Re:here's the 'why'... (0)

DogDude (805747) | more than 2 years ago | (#39575089)

How are the "horribly ecologically destructive"? Because a few birds run into them?

And it can't be an "energy net-loss" unless they take a massive amount of maintenance.

Re:here's the 'why'... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39575337)

Beavers will mistake them for trees and will damage their teeth.

Re:here's the 'why'... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39575113)

Quite possibly because wind turbines are horribly ecologically destructive, economically costly

Compared to what, hydro dams, coal, gas, nuclear, umm... ?

Re:here's the 'why'... (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#39575327)

Ooooooh.... they're "annoying" to live near.

This is compared to ... oh... being annoyed that we are basically destroying the entire planet because some people are too effing proud to get off of their high horse and actually realize that keeping an advanced civilization in the long term just might mean we have to make some compromises?

Of course you're right... your own personal comfort means sooooo much more than the environment.

There's always someone paddling upstream... (2)

Dakiraun (1633747) | more than 2 years ago | (#39575041)

I don't really get this one myself. I see it a lot in the Niagara region of Ontario; farmers absolutely opposed to wind turbines as well as solar farms. They state a number of baseless reasons as mentioned above like - my favourite being health concerns. Do they think they're radioactive or something? Or that they put out electromagnetic interference akin to a neutron star? Or that the Solar farms take up valuable farm land (currently sitting unused).

Any technology has its downsides - green energy is not 100% green, nor is it any cheaper than the old-school methods of power generation - that at least is cold hard fact. What these folks don't seem to understand is that this the inevitable future. As fossil-fuel-based power generation diminishes, it has to be replaced with something and we have only so many of those "something's" that we can resort to at the current time. Wind Turbines, solar and hydro-electric plants will -have- to be built unless the protesters happens to invent a newer and better means of fulfilling 21st century power needs. It's a simple reality that they really need to endeavour to understand. In fact, if they had taken as much time to read up on it as they did to make a protest sign, they'd probably realize how silly their protest was.

Protecting their revenue stream? (2)

CuriousGeorge113 (47122) | more than 2 years ago | (#39575049)

I don't mean to come of as purely cynical, but usually farmers who own large swaths of otherwise undeveloped land benefit pretty significantly if they sign a lease for oil & gas drilling rights.

Maybe they are trying to protect their revenue stream. Low energy prices do have a downside. If they drop enough, energy companies may choose not to exercise their drilling leases, which means no revenue for the landowners who own them. Sure, they may receive money from the wind turbines, but oil revenue's would probably be greater.

Oh well, I guess nuclear it is. (1)

LikwidCirkel (1542097) | more than 2 years ago | (#39575075)

Ok then.

Just scrap wind turbine subsidies and instead propose to build more CANDU reactors in the backyards of the complainers.

They must support that, given than Ontario is mostly powered by nuclear and hydro already.

Forget Green In Your Lifetime (1)

Trip6 (1184883) | more than 2 years ago | (#39575079)

With fracking/natural gas and more offshore drilling, there is enough fossil fuel to last our lifetime and longer. This stuff is cheap compared to anything "green." As soon as any green tech takes hold, fossil fuel cartels (both US and abroad) will drop the price of their product and starve out the alternatives.

The only way green works is with a $5 per gallon fossil fuel tax that goes to alternative energy subsidies. But will anybody support that? Can you say "political third rail?"

Re:Forget Green In Your Lifetime (2)

HBI (604924) | more than 2 years ago | (#39575125)

That's essentially what California is doing now. It isn't denominated like a tax, but the regulatory infrastructure has the same deadening effect on commerce. The unemployment rate speaks for itself.

Re:Forget Green In Your Lifetime (1)

Cazekiel (1417893) | more than 2 years ago | (#39575281)

To me, however, it's not just cost, but the idea that it's cleaner. Basing the argument for/against green tech on just its cost defeats the purpose of why green tech's been in the works to begin with, amirite? You make good points, definitely, and no, the tech isn't 100% perfect; but it'd be nice to clear the air. Look at China, LA and the like. You can barely breathe.

You Probably Haven't Spent Much TIme Near One (3, Interesting)

mackai (1849630) | more than 2 years ago | (#39575081)

In general, the sounds are not all that pleasant to live with. The make a lot more noise that most people would think until you actually get close to one or, even more, close to a whole wind farm of them. Most (but not all) people who complain about the noise of nearby trains or airports are at the disatvantage that the tracks or airport was there first. In this case, if you already have a home and someone else wants to put this unpleasant noisemaker near by, it seems that you might have some right to complain.

Re:You Probably Haven't Spent Much TIme Near One (1)

Lithdren (605362) | more than 2 years ago | (#39575149)

Well they may have some right to complain if they're terribly close, but how much noise are we really talking about here?

If these were built literally in your back yard, that might be a problem. I always felt building these things in the middle of large Highway intersections would make the most sense. They're way better looking then the highways themselves, and the sound doesn't matter much if you already have engine breaking semi-trailers and idiots beeping at one another.

Re:You Probably Haven't Spent Much TIme Near One (3, Informative)

Godai (104143) | more than 2 years ago | (#39575255)

This is only second hand, but from what I've read the noise can carry quite a ways. And one of the problems is that if you *can* hear it, its as consistent as the wind is -- which, unfortunately, is likely to be pretty consistent or why else put up one of these turbines?

Re:You Probably Haven't Spent Much TIme Near One (2)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#39575511)

Please.

A mere 350 m away, the decibel rating on a wind turbine farm is generally going to only be about 35 db. For comparison, rural night time background noise is about 40db.

Safety of Wind? (1)

glorybe (946151) | more than 2 years ago | (#39575123)

These farmers sound like they would be living directly under the spinning blades. How far has any portion of a windmill blade been known to fly during a tornado or whatever in modern times. If anything windmills just might slow some winds a bit. As for property values the value of a farm usually depends on whether it is a money maker or not. How would these farmers feel about a coal fired plant or a nuke that close to them? No matter what it seems protests will always be part of life these days. I wouldn't mind a wind tower in my yard one little bit. A tall one would be a conversation piece.

Re:Safety of Wind? (1)

Shifty0x88 (1732980) | more than 2 years ago | (#39575447)

As for property values the value of a farm usually depends on whether it is a money maker or not. How would these farmers feel about a coal fired plant or a nuke that close to them?

Uh, I guess they would be doing exactly what they are doing now, complaining and stopping it from being built.

I wouldn't mind a wind tower in my yard one little bit. A tall one would be a conversation piece.

Until you want to sell the eyesore of a house you now own. You would probably have to PAY someone to take your house because, I don't know about everyone else, but I wouldn't buy that house.

I wouldn't want a Wind Turbine near my house either, it would be an eyesore, and it wouldn't help when I wanted to sell my house

The problem is, finding a place that has near-constant wind in a known or semi-known direction, near no one who minds and yet still near something so that power can be put back into the grid. Oh, and you have to avoid major fault-lines and tornadoes. A tough set of rules to follow...

Public ignorance... (2)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 2 years ago | (#39575147)

... is really a part of the problem. Certain elements of the public have shown themselves so braindead (as these farmers are no doubt). Yet these kinds of people don't think about the unseen long-term consequences of what is currently generating their power that is more harmful for the environment but is not easily perceived by the human mind due to the long term effects and the inability of the public to get behind anything that doesn't emotionally grab them.

so hypocritical (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39575193)

from the article:

"wind projects will make payments to landowners and municipalities totaling $1.1 billion over the next 20 years."

All his billions did not save Steve Jobs from getting ill and dying. One's health is more important than a few bucks thrown your way.

In perspective (2)

Ukab the Great (87152) | more than 2 years ago | (#39575201)

The story covers people who work regularly around diesel fumes, pesticides, and animal waste protesting the safety of wind turbines.

Just how noisy are they? or vibration-causing? (2, Informative)

DutchUncle (826473) | more than 2 years ago | (#39575203)

I have no experience myself, just hear-say. Last time I was in Vermont, I spoke with someone gathering petition signatures to restrict wind farms. This person lived near a set of turbines which went up after they moved to Vermont, and felt that it was like living back in Manhattan near a subway all over again - constant hum and vibration. It's not just about sight-lines and aesthetics; there are such things as noise pollution and other practical effects which *do* cross boundaries,

Re:Just how noisy are they? or vibration-causing? (1)

Tridus (79566) | more than 2 years ago | (#39575415)

I went to visit an area with them last time I was in Ontario, and if you get even remotely close there's significant noise. Far enough away and you can't hear it, but you don't want one in your backyard.

NIMBY (0)

AntEater (16627) | more than 2 years ago | (#39575213)

Not In My Back Yard.

That's all these protests are about. I live in a community where a series of wind towers were installed. Some of the residents got completely irrational about things. Some may not even be talking to each other now. Most of the arguments were like acts of desperation: the sound will be a problem, no sound? then the Very Low Frequency sound is bad for your health, the wildlife will all leave and die, wind turbines kill birds by the thousands, our property values will drop because of big windmill 3 miles away, they use oil to lubricate the generators so it's not sustainable, the energy will be sold out of our community/state, it's just "big business" trying to exploit rural communities, it's not economically viable, the government shouldn't be subsidizing it, etc... The rallying cry is to "save the ridge lines" which indicates that it's more about aesthetics than anything tangible. Same thing with the project proposed off of Cape Cod, MA.

Ontario farmers are against everything (1)

canajin56 (660655) | more than 2 years ago | (#39575259)

Ontario farmers also heavily protest light rail, and really any form of public transit whatsoever. Their reasoning is anything that allows you to not walk to work allows you to live farther away from work. That means city slickers living too close to farm land for their liking, far too close indeed.

Ironically, I'd love one in my back yard. (3, Interesting)

Anaerin (905998) | more than 2 years ago | (#39575265)

When we finally get settled into a place of our own, up here in the windy prairie of Saskatchewan, we're intending to get an acreage or more just outside the city and put wind and solar on it. A pair of 14KW turbines and a 10KW solar array would be easily attainable, and overkill, but would ensure that on even the most dreary and becalmed day we still have power (When it's not windy, it's sunny here, though we'll probably also invest in a diesel/WVO generator, just in case those long cold winter nights leave us with a little shortfall). This would also mean we don't need natural gas for heat/cooling (Geothermal and electric under-floor heating, electric "instant heat" water). Then our municipal requirements drop to phone/internet. And the "NIMBY" price reduction for having a turbine or two on our land will be more than paid for by the self-sufficient nature, without having to sacrifice any modern luxuries. We'd even have enough excess power to put power back onto the grid for a profit (Well, we would if SaskPower had that option), and/or to run an EV.

Astroturf, ho! (5, Interesting)

qeveren (318805) | more than 2 years ago | (#39575275)

This whole thing is actually astroturf by a competing energy company in the region. They've been going around basically stirring up the farmers and whatnot with BS about the wind turbines, posting protest signs along the country roads, etc. All with their little energy company website url at the bottom.

Health... (1)

Roogna (9643) | more than 2 years ago | (#39575287)

Wait, what? I might get a complaint about wind turbines affecting the weather or something, but health issues for being near what are effectively... windmills? Really?

Okay. Sigh.

Put one in my yard! (1, Informative)

Cazekiel (1417893) | more than 2 years ago | (#39575301)

I remember the first time I saw wind turbines. We were on vacation in Pennsylvania, and a small mountain ridge had row upon row of them. All I could say was, "WOW, those things are so fucking cool!" Am I the only one who thinks they look awesome? I'd love 'em out here in my area. There's a lot of unoccupied space on the mountain ridges we have, and any move toward getting away from the reliance on fossil fuels is fine by me. I know wind/solar power needs more development and consideration, but why not start with the basics to see how it goes? Just my two cents.

Expensive (0)

Tridus (79566) | more than 2 years ago | (#39575381)

It's pretty easy to understand why people would be opposed to wind power, and if you lived in Ontario you'd already know: the massive taxpayer subsidies required to make it even remotely feasable.

This is not cheap. Not even close to cheap. To make it viable the province agreed to pay a lot more per kW/h of "green" power. Unfortunately people prefer not to pay $0.80 kW/h for their power, so the province didn't pass those costs along in power bills. Instead of doing that, people pay the cheap fossil fuel price, and the government covers the rest. It's doing a pretty good job of helping to bankrupt the province of Ontario.

Take away the subsidies and the wind power industry in Ontario collapses in a hurry, along with the solar industry. Combine that with the facts that turbines are in fact noisy, consume a lot of highly valuable real estate, and don't actually provide much power in the summer when high pressure moves in and the wind dies off (requiring some other source of power to be online anyway) and it's not much of a solution.

Re:Expensive (1)

Jonner (189691) | more than 2 years ago | (#39575485)

It's quite possible that the subsidy system doesn't make sense. However, that in no way strengthens ludicrous claims about wind turbines causing health problems or rendering land worthless.

It's a clear case of NIMBY, but I agree with them (2, Informative)

c.r.o.c.o (123083) | more than 2 years ago | (#39575405)

As city dwellers, we tend to think of wind mills as majestic, beautiful sculptures that provide green energy. I used to subscribe to that idea, until I saw what happened to the Bruce Peninsula in Ontario, where there are hundreds of wind mills all over a beautiful landscape.

They are a blight!!! As far as I'm concerned, I will never visit Sauble Beach again, because I can't stand driving through that area anymore. So I definitely sympathize with these farmers, their properties have already been devalued. Notice the Ontario government did not install ANY wind mills around Huntsville and other affluent regions. I wonder why?

The same thing happened in the US and Cape Cod (?) offshore wind mills. The Kennedys were the first to oppose them.

I am not going to debate the ecological merits of windmills vs gas vs coal vs nuclear. I am a supporter of nuclear energy, and as far as I'm concerned they can build one in MY back yard rather than a wind mill. Then again, I have family members that work in the plants, and I know that the likelihood or a nuclear accident that would result in any radiation leakage in Canada is zero. While less efficient, Candu reactors are pretty much bullet proof, whether earth quakes, tsunamis or well, bullets were to hit them.

What if I just oppose subsidization? (3, Insightful)

jdavidb (449077) | more than 2 years ago | (#39575427)

I noticed the headline said "Canadians protest wind turbines," and I thought, "That sounds really silly; I'll send it to my wife to see if she gets a laugh out of it." Then I opened up the story and saw the truth: "Canadians protest subsidization of wind turbines." There's a huge difference there, and I think it's often lost in public discourse.

I would be opposed to taking tax dollars to buy Bibles to distribute in public schools. I sure would be upset if I were misrepresented as opposing Bibles, or favoring censorship of the Bible, or some other such slant. Opposing subsidization is really, really radically different from opposing the thing being subsidized.

Protest? (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#39575429)

As a sign of protest they should make sure to use 10% of the electricity they currently use for the rest of their lives. Oh wait what undue hardship and all that? Well then put up and shut up, or turn off your juice.

Bizarre action since turbines create farm jobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39575475)

Sometimes people get caught up in lies from talk radio and ignore the reality that wind turbines create jobs for the kids of farmers so they don't move off to the big city, and create a funding stream during bad crop years.

Myths frequently collide with science and reality.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...