Fracking and Alternative Energy

Few Complaints Once Wind Farms Start Operating

    By Dianne Saxe, Ontario Environmental Lawyer

Two recent studies confirm that complaints about wind turbines are much more frequent in areas where the turbines have not been built, than they are near operating wind farms. Wind farms are particularly accepted in Alberta, which has had large wind farms for 20 years.The Pembina Institute blog comments:

“No other province in Canada has a longer history with wind energy than Alberta, which has 20 years of experience with utility-scale wind farms….”

According to Pembina, Alberta’s electrical regulator, the Alberta Utilities Commission, has received NO complaints about large operating wind farms:

“…no complaints about utility-scale wind energy have been brought to the AUC — not a single one. There were 31,000 contacts from the public to the AUC about a variety of issues in their 13-year-old database, but none of them were complaints about wind energy. In fact of the 170 contacts (calls, emails, letters) that the AUC received that did reference wind energy, more than half were from individuals wanting to know how to set up their own wind energy generation. Another quarter of those referencing wind power were about proposed (not operating) wind energy projects. One was a complaint about noise from a small-scale wind turbine in a public place.

Other contacts relating to “noise” (45 in total) were mostly about non-wind electric utilities and other projects like oil and gas operations—even though the AUC has no jurisdiction over oil and gas. So, we also went to the regulator for oil and gas projects, as a comparator, where we found an average of 819 concerns reported per year to the ERCB about wells, facilities and pipelines.”

Similarly, a recent study published by researchers at the University of Western Ontario found that residents in a community without wind turbines but with a proposed wind energy project were less supportive of wind energy development and more concerned about negative impacts than a community with turbines nearby.

Reprinted with permission from the Environmental Law and Litigation Blog.

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