Blowin’ in the Wind: Can Alternative Energy Sources Protect Our Waters?

Blowin’ in the Wind: Can Alternative Energy Sources Protect Our Waters?

Contributed by Ziggy Kleinau

The coast of southeastern Lake Huron has been an attractive wind energy market in recent years. Mostly in stages of planning, a number of wind farms are finding the winds off Lake Huron an attractive place to be.

EPCOR, a large energy company from Alberta, began the development of Kingsbridge I Wind Power Project, a 40 MW wind-farm, situated near the shoreline community of Goderich, ON. It began construction of the project in early 2005. The 22 turbines can reportedly produce enough power for about 12,000 homes annually. The Kingsbridge I project was to be immediately followed by Kingsbridge II, which would have added another 69 turbines. That project is now on hold. In addition, another energy company, Enbridge, had plans to install 110 turbines just north of the lakeshore town of Kincardine. Local opposition began raising concerns about setbacks, public health and environmental impacts on birds.

About 20 kilometres to the north of Kincardine is the Bruce Nuclear Power Development (BNPD), the largest civilian nuclear power facility in North America. A small organization of vocal wind farm opponents emerged from the Kincardine area to challenge these wind energy developments.

While this observer prefers smaller, distributed wind power development over 50, 60, or more unit wind farms on a limited parcel, one has to consider the ultimate benefit from this type of energy generation. No fuel required, no air or water pollution, no waste to be kept safe for thousands of years at huge cost. And they don’t need water for cooling like nuclear reactors who actually contribute to climate change pouring millions of liters of cooling water a minute up to 10 degrees warmer back into the lakes, increasing the rate of evaporation.

With all the talk of possible terrorist attacks, wind farms would not be attractive targets as they don’t release deadly radiation. All these points have to be taken into consideration.Wind energy projects are funded with private capital, not taxpayers’ funds, thereby not saddling our children and grandchildren with billions of debt on top of what is already there from existing nuclear plants.What we need is to take a good look at where we can eliminate unnecessary power use, cut down on our electricity bills and give wind and solar generators a fair chance to show that they can fill the void from phased-out polluting and inefficient power generation!

Contributing author, Ziggy Kleinau, is coordinator of Citizens for Renewable Energy, a non-profit organization incorporated in 1996. He also served for 7 years as Regional Director for Lake Huron on the Board of Great Lakes United.

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Images courtesy of Steven Huyser-Honig,
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