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  • Whether You Support or Oppose it, Don’t Lie About Wind Energy

Above all, misinformation and propaganda hurt all environmental causes, even when they’re designed to support the efforts of environmentalism. That’s why it hurts even more to see that wind energy, possibly the ur-environmental power source, is subject to the same machinations and lies that oil and gas companies can be using for years.

We get that a good PR campaign does wonders for your cause, but don’t lie to us and sour your image for the public.

The Wind Industry On Job Creation:

Image Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“Wind power and other green energy initiatives will create green jobs that last”

Jobs has become that buzz word for Ontario lately, with everyone promising us more jobs, but obfuscating what that actually means.

Like the Conservative Party’s failed “Million Jobs Act”, which really meant “million job-years” (but actually would’ve been closer to 100,000), the “jobs” described by the wind industry are, in fact “job years”.

When the Green Energy Act was proposed, it offered Ontarians 50,000 green jobs, but only delivered around 30,000. Naturally not the biggest loss, but an overwhelming majority of the jobs were in construction, jobs that would last only one to three years. Clearly jobs HAVE been made, but not in the scope or manner we expected.

To make it worse, it’s estimated that only 10% of jobs created by Wind Power are “direct”, as in that they are verifiable permanent jobs.

 

Wind Energy and the Environment:

“Wind energy is friendly to the environment and offers low-carbon emissions”

This is true, it actually is true. But it’s a truth of exclusion: it doesn’t tell us the full story or the full cost when we put the facts on the table.

It is true the the operation of wind farms is very low-emissions, and it’s for that reason that Ontario Energy Group Consumer Watch supports their use, but this ignores critical key facts about wind farm operation.

  • Wind farms are not carbon neutral. The construction of a turbine requires 8.6 months of operation to pay back the carbon footprint.
  • Turbines need rare earth metals like Neodymium. These rare metals are costly to extract and cause significant pollution in manufacturing.
  • The depth media filters used in turbines are thrown away, with 80% ending up in landfills, where the oils used in their operation seep into ground water.

wind-turbine-bird-kill-202x300Of these, we don’t consider them “deal breakers” pers e, but mis or underaddressed environmental impacts that are lost in the dialogue about wind power. If consumers don’t know about the wasteful costs of building, how can we press for more environmentally friendly regulations to control it?

On top of that, there’s a hidden cost in the deaths of birds and bats which have been woefully unaddressed in the media.

  • Between July 2009 to December 2009, over 602 birds and 1,270 bat were killed by wind turbine blades.
  • The vibrations made by wind turbines attract bats, and over 70% of bats killed are migratory bats.
  • In the United States, wind turbines kills half a million birds each year.

And yet little has been promised in helping to conserve the bird population. In fact, no legislation exists to control what protection regions may or may not receive wind farm development. Clearly farms to have an impact, and the government seems disinterested in confronting it.

Wind Farms on Energy Rates:

“Wind power don’t contribute significantly to rising energy costs”

Oh, but they do. They aren’t a majority driver, or even a significant driver of rising energy costs. And yet, they are still disproportionately higher than the benefit they’re currently providing. While only adding 3% into the grid, it costs 5% on your bill, with a much larger unspoken cost circulating through our economy.

What is said is that wind energy isn’t the cause of a bad energy policy. No, it’s not. But it’s certainly a symptom.

As a pro-consumer group, we take the sometimes tentative and wary stance of being Pro-Wind. And yet, that stance can’t allow us to support misinformation spread about wind power. So whether you’re for wind energy or against wind energy, it’s time to clear the air, put the truth on the table, and debate the issues as they are real. Not imaginary.

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