The following article is the first of a new series dedicated to local issues. We’ll try to present topics of interest to everyone and we invite readers to share their experience and knowledge on local challenges. This article was written by Bernard Viau, editor of Green Canada Vert and secretary of the electoral district association (EDA) in the Quebec riding of Montmagny L’Islet Kamouraska Rivière-du-Loup, located in the lower Saint-Lawrence river area.
Wind farm projects are being announced every month in Quebec and are growing like mushrooms, but the air is turbulent in the wind industry. The promoters tell us that wind farms will reduce greenhouse gas emissions (but reducing our consumption of meat will do more to reduce the GHG emissions).
Don’t be fooled, the money they are investing in wind energy has nothing to do with the environment. Promoters build wind farms because there is a lot of money to make. Firstly, it’s a tax shelter and a very efficient one. They also receive production bonuses from the government and special credits for reducing air pollution.
Wind farms may be built on private land but they affect the landscape, which is common property, so to speak. Opposition to wind farms has focussed mainly on this spoiling of the landscape. Most of the time, we judge things according to their potential return on investment and so, it is only normal that promoters and shareholders are at loss when one speaks of the “value” of a landscape. In Europe, citizens are complaining that miles of landscape have been destroyed by wind farms; many are even complaining about health hazards associated with them. In Europe, land values have fallen around wind farms, and tourism also. Let’s face it, a wind farm is like a forest of huge towers with intermittent headlights on top of them for airplanes; nobody can miss them!
Also construction needs a lot of cement; a sea of cement would give a better picture. Thousands of trucks, very heavy, very broad and very long, damage the roads, on top of polluting with diesel fumes, noise, vibrations, dust and traffic. House foundations will be affected, and the following spring roads will break up.
In 30 years, if the promoters have not declared bankruptcy to avoid paying for dismantling of wind towers, the foundations will be left to the grandchildren of the original owners. It would be better to force promoters to put money in trust to cover end-of-life dismantling; a form of asset fund for future generations.
If promoters and shareholders had their way, public enquiries would not be necessary. Industrial wind farms are not nice and green like the promoters want us to believe.