Science Energy How Can People Demand a "Naturally Green" Environment and Hate Wind Turbines? By Lloyd Alter Design Editor University of Toronto Lloyd Alter is Design Editor for Treehugger and teaches Sustainable Design at Ryerson University in Toronto. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Lloyd Alter Updated October 11, 2018 Share Twitter Pinterest Email Energy Renewable Energy Fossil Fuels There is either a giant contradiction here in Ontario's Prince Edward County or I am missing something. Canadian sailors train for the Olympics in Kingston, Ontario, because there is a lot of wind at the east end of Lake Ontario. Nearby, sticking out into the lake, is Prince Edward County; it is now a playground of wine, cheese, hotels and second homes, and a lot of people who do not like wind turbines. So one of the first things that Doug Ford did when he was elected Premier of Ontario a few weeks ago is cancel the White Pines tubing project, even though it was half built and the cancellation may well cost the Province $100 million in settlements. And they are just getting started; Todd Smith, local Member of Parliament and Government House Leader, says “we will strike Ontario’s cap-and-trade carbon tax law from the books, and repeal any legislation that would enable a future government to impose a cap-and-trade carbon tax in future.” It’s weird, a government that was elected on the promise of opening Ontario for business, is doing exactly the opposite. John Ivison of the National Post calls it a “boneheaded, ideological decision”. But the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County is thrilled, telling County Live: “We are extremely pleased and looking forward, as always with the continued support of our members, to a County that is turbine-free!” The wonderfully named CCSAGE Naturally Green (County Coalition for Safe and Appropriate Green Energy), who made that sign up top, is also excited. After all, they have demanded that the Government: Put on hold immediately all proposed major wind and solar projects not currently operating, until considerations of appropriate placement and of Municipal jurisdiction be determined, and economic and scientific justification be established, including science-based justification of set-backs from property lines of houses, schools and other inhabited structures. And my favourite, my emphasis: Re-write the Green Energy Act based on results of economic, scientific and health analyses that are produced by acknowledged and independent experts (excluding those of the wind and solar industries and of their allies and supporters) So if you like wind and solar, (as I believe many environmentalists do) you are not even allowed to comment. That seems fair and reasonable. Blandings Turtle/ WP/CC BY 2.0 Now this TreeHugger will get into a lot of trouble for this post; I have friends who live in the County who are active in the fight against turbines, and I wrote earlier after a tip from one of them about how this Blandings turtle killed one turbine project. CC BY 2.0. Lloyd Alter Lloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0 Even Jonathan Kearns, an architect of Passive House buildings in the county, including this lovely Reach Guest House, told me that wind power is great, but “it’s not appropriate here.” Sandbanks Provincial Park/ Lloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0 It was hot in the County this weekend. The lineup into Sandbanks Provincial Park, with the great beaches, was like crossing the border. Then, driving the Subaru three hours back to Muskoka, there were giant TOTAL FIRE BAN signs everywhere. Ontario is having one of the worst forest fire seasons in years; right now there are 42 burning, with 19 out of control. Rainfall patterns have changed and the temperatures are higher, and the forests are a tinder box. In the Globe and Mail: “We are seeing the manifestation of climate change happening in real form right now,” said Blair Feltmate, head of the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation at the University of Waterloo. “It is bad now and it is only going to get worse.” Seen everywhere between the County and the cabin/Public Domain Forest fires are part of a natural cycle, but not like this. Merritt Turetsky, a University of Guelph professor and ecosystem ecologist, tells the Globe: “the natural fire regime of wildfire is being tossed out of the window.” Which brings me back to the wind turbines of Prince Edward County. Turbines work best where it is windy, which the County is. They produce lots of carbon-free power. Some people may not think they are pretty (I find them inspiring and exciting) but the contradictions in that sign at top are blatant: how are you going to keep the County green if the whole province is burning up? How are you going to enjoy your second home when it gets too hot to go outside? What are you proposing as an alternative? But then Doug Ford won the election by promising to kill green energy, drop gas prices a dime a litre and give us beer for a buck, so I suppose that is my answer.