Heritage Village, Vineland, Ontario

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islandGreenBelt issue: Wind Power  

We're living in the GreenBelt  close to the hydroelectric power of Niagara Falls, yet we experience far more power outages than most Canadian communities.  Perhaps  Wind Turbines will be the solution?  Ontario Power Corp. bureaucrats have been empowered by the Green Energy & Green Economy Act of May 14, 2009. Wind Power is coming to your neighbourhood. 

 In Sault Ste. Marie they installed 126 turbines to generate 189 MW for 40,000 homes.  That means one turbine can supply about 200 homes.  But world opinion is divided. on the virtues and viability of such Wind Turbine farms, including health effects.


Ontario wind energy


In the Niagara Region, several turbine projects have already been negotiated or installed: 

Larry Rhode (Dunnville)  - three projects of  total  0.0176 MW

Rosa Flora Growers Ltd. (Dunnville)                            0.6 MW

Rankin Construction & Niagara Region (Wainfleet)   10 MW

G-EN Ltd. (Port Colborne)                                            9.9 MW

Now there is a new project in our Vineland backyard.  It is time to pay attention.



 The left photo is one  lonely wind turbine as demo at the Canadian National Exhibition grounds, in Toronto.   The right photo is a real "wind farm" in Banning Pass, near Palm Springs, California. 


Vineland Power:  Wind Farm

IPC Energy of Mississauga, Ontario has announced a wind farm project of 10 Megawatts to be commissioned by fall of 2011 for Vineland, Ontario.  Their website gives no details except a promotional piece dispelling common myths about wind farms.  The Ontario report on Leadership in Alternate Energy doesn't cite Vineland in a list of awarded contracts, but the corporate website indicates it's a done deal.    It appears that IPC Energy are just the promoters and financiers - leaving messy details to others.

On June 5, 2010 the same company proposed a wind farm for Wainfleet.  It appears that Ontario Power Authority is signing contracts to commit communities to wind farms with minimum discussion.  At that location, the project is called the Wainfleet Wind Energy Inc. The July 1 issue of Niagara News cites another proposal from IPC Energy for five turbines sited in West Lincoln.  The recently passed new Ontario  Act gives such groups financial incentives via a "Feed-in Tariff" program.   The approval for such projects has been removed from the townships.  

The IPC website cites low noise levels of 45dB for 350m distance from a wind farm. Yet they reveal elsewhere that wind turbines will be located  at the following minimum distances:

  • 100 meters from the closest residence
  • 150 meters from the closest apartment building.
  • 200 meters from the closest nursing home.

There's a big difference between 350m , and 100m. Where in Vineland is there the space for 6 or more turbines?  How are these distances measured?  Since utility-scale wind turbines can have rotors of 90 meters, the tip would be about 135 meters from the ground.  A towering turbine, 100 meters away, could still be in your adjacent neighbour's backyard. However, wind farms need to space utility turbines at about 50 sq.m  per 1m rotor blade, or one each per half-square kilommeter.

 My wife and I visited a wind farm in Wyoming in 2007.  You don't realize how big these structures are until you approach them on foot.  The air was filled with the constant buzzing of a beehive on this lonely stretch of highway.  In August 2010 we travelled north and passed through the Melancthon II Wind Plant in Amararanth / Melancthon Township.  Some 88 GE turbines operating since November, 2008 each have the capacity of 1,500 kwts.  They are scattered over some 4,860 hectares of farm land and bush.  We stopped the car to listen, but could hear only traffic.  Some local residents have posted signs of opposition to the turbines and heated meetings were held in 2006.  I could find only the usual speculation about noise, birds, property values and poor economics. Opponents need to base their NIMBY fears on facts before they trash an energy solution..

 Wind power is on Ontario's energy agenda to stay,  but citizens should have a say. Vineland is a small quiet place, where sound carries: so I'm not yet in support.   I'd rather see a Dutch Windmill in Vineland for some historic ambience - not an array of buzzing propellers to drive old folks to insanity.    But then again, I like to have power for my computer and heat pump.

Further Reading 

 Ontario Leadership in Alternate Energy (a pdf file)

Canadian Wind Energy Association Ontario Sustainable Energy Association



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