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About Us and Quixotes Last Stand

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Before giving you a bit of background about Don and I, let me just state categorically, that we are fully in favour of renewable energy.  The idea of individual home owners having their own wind turbine and solar panels to get them somewhat self-reliant and off the grid is a great idea and something we should be striving for.  However, giant 400 to 600 foot tall industrial machines being built and forced upon people is undemocratic and a violation of their rights to health, peace and quality of life.

Donna Quixote — Having grown up in the country (Waterloo Region, Ontario) in the 1960’s, I come from a long long line of farmers on both sides of the family.

My ancestors emigrated here from Germany in the early 1800’s.  My great-great-great-great-grandfather, Mathias Fehrenbach, was one of the original settlers in Waterloo County.  He came to Southern Ontario with only his dog, a sack of potatoes, his gun and an axe.  He worked for the Mennonite Land Tract Company for several years and in exchange was given hundreds of acres of property, stretching from Marden through Maryhill all the way to Bloomingdale, Ontario.  My mother was actually  the one who named Maryhill, during the Second World War, when the school children were asked to rename the little village of New Germany, as part of a contest.

My father came to Canada at the age of 6.  His family originally settled in the area of Edson, Alberta where they built a soddy to live in for the first few years.  Eventually, they moved to Ontario and established a farm just outside of Kitchener.  Their quarter-mile long lane was fenced on one side with beautiful green and dark blue grapes which were harvested each year to make wine.

So from the start, my roots and passion for this province and country life in general, runs deeply.

In the Spring, as a little girl, I would lay in the ditch that ran along the side of the dirt road and study for hours on end the tiniest of creatures scurrying around in the runoff water from the melting snow, until summertime when the water had dried up.  Even though the road was out of sight from the house, my mother never worried about my safety.  She knew I’d eventually wander home.  My father would take us on walks in the bush surrounding our farm and teach us the names of the wildflowers — jack-in-the-pulpit, lady slippers, trilliums — that grew abundantly under the canopy of sugar maple, spruce and cedar branches.

With luck in May, each year, we’d find and pick morels as we strolled down the centuries-old overgrown lane that ran through the woods behind our house.    Later in the year, we’d make the same trek in search of puffballs, one of my fathers favourites.

Summer fun meant splashing in the icy waters of the spring-fed miniature lake that our father had made to raise rainbow trout.   Or laying on our backs in the shallow creek that ran through our property, letting the cold waters cascade over our shoulders.  Most autumn mornings,  while eating breakfast, we would gaze out the window and through the hovering cool mist,  just be able to make out the shapes of deer grazing in the recently harvested corn fields.

While I’m sure the beginnings of being a conservationist were taught to me by my father (who never threw anything out —  himself, the product of the Great Depression), the first time I really understood pollution and the destruction that could be wrought by industrial negligence was when I did a Grade 6 project on water pollution. Since that time, while I’m not a tree-hugging fanatic, I have practiced conservation as much as possible.

I’ve taught those same values to my children. We all understand the importance of turning off lights when not needed, of lowering the thermostat and putting on a sweater to keep warm in the winter and of making do with what you have, rather than going out each year to buy the latest and greatest new model of something.

Don Quixote –   Having grown up in Rexdale in the 60’s , I was fortunate to also have a family cottage to go to in the summer.  I had the best of both worlds.

In Rexdale , I was allowed to run free through the neighborhood and also have access to a tributary to the Humber river to explore. Nature made itself available to me there in what was an urban environment.  Ecosystems developed despite our prejudices as what should be there.

The same was true at our cottage.  On an island 3 miles from the mainland, natural areas were able to co-exist with farms and cottages alike.  The conclusion I drew from these experiences was that it required much more effort to maintain our corner of the world than to try and maintain what nature wanted to develop and create on her own.

All you have to do is let nature be.   She adapts far more easily than we give her credit for.   The idea that we can know what’s best for her is laughable.

This notion was cemented for me while taking forestry at Lakehead University.   Emphasizing field work showed me the variations of climate, micro-climates and their variabilities even within a whole climatic region. The requirements for certain ecosystems and how the slightest variables could make such a difference.   How fire played such an important role as nature’s reset button (and other natural disasters) and how ecosystems evolve after such events.

Nature doesn’t disciminate as to what’s a good or bad event, it just reacts as it has for millenia.

Donna Quixote — Our passionate love of camping, canoeing, nature and the wilderness runs deep. It was because of this, that the idea of green, renewable energy appealed to both of us when we first heard about it. In particular, the concept of wind power seemed ideal.

We were under this delusion for a long time, mostly because we lived in the south of Southern Ontario and never really knew much about industrial wind turbines. Harmless little windmills turning in the breeze providing clean, free energy for the province — what could be more perfect in every way?

Our illusions of a Eutopian Ontario powered by wind energy was shattered when we moved north to the shores of Lake Huron in 2011.   Abruptly, we were brought face-to-face with the drama that had been unfolding just a few hours away from us.   We had no idea.  It seemed everywhere we turned, there was another anti-wind turbine sign.  “STOP WIND TURBINES!!”

“Wind turbines are a problem? ???  What?”, was our initial response. How could that be. They’re green. They’re clean. They’re renewable energy.  What could possibly be bad about that?

“Surely these were just the over-reactions on the part of some people,” we thought as we inwardly rolled our eyes.

However, never being the type to back away from the chance to learn and educate ourselves on a topic that we didn’t know too much about, we dove into the internet with a relish, anxious to learn as much about these seemingly innocuous wind turbines as possible. We read everything we could get our hands on, from both the pro-wind and the anti-wind sides.

But as we went along, reading victim impact statements, watching their stories on video, listening to how rural Ontarians have been driven from their homes, we realized that there was something terribly wrong.

Why wasn’t this being reported in the mainstream media?  We hear all the time about someone who has issues with power lines being too close to homes, or about the occupiers in Toronto, or about the latest case before the Human Rights Commission.

Here are hundreds of people living in this province who are being treated as lunatics, nimbys, hypochondriacs and second class citizens.  Families forced to flee their homes as if we were living in war-torn Afghanistan  and there’s nary a peep about it on the news.  And to top it off, the provincial Liberal government has stripped rural citizens of all rights or say regarding where these giant 400 to 600 foot machines can be placed.

If they’re building these industrial turbines right next door and destroying your quality of life, your health and that of your family, your peace of mind and your property values — too bad.  Suck it up.  Thanks to our provincial dictator Dalton McGuinty — you have no say, you have no rights, you are nothing in his eyes and those of his caucus.

Wow!   These sorts of things happen in communist countries or under dictatorships.   Not in a democratic society like Canada.  This didn’t sit very well with two products of the 1960’s.  Didn’t sit too well with us at all.

The more we read; the more we heard; the more we delved into the issue; the more we decided that while we are in favour of green, renewable energy — industrial wind turbines are anything but.  We joined a small local anti-turbine group, to learn more, and soon met people whose lives have been permanently disrupted due to living next to industrial wind installations.  We quickly came to understand that just because international mega-corporations (making billions of dollars at our expense) label something as ‘green’, does not necessarily make it so.

We tried discussing the situation with friends who live in the GTA and soon heard a word that we would face over and over again.  The dreaded “nimby”.  Turns out, those who live in the southern part of Southern Ontario, who have no real life experience with 600 foot tall industrial wind turbines LOVE to use that word to dismiss the concerns of people who are directly affected and have to deal with wind turbines day in and day out, 365 days a year.   The callous over-use of that hideous word demonstrated to us just how hypocritical and uncaring urbanites can be towards their provincial rural neighbours.  We may all feel that we are Ontarians — Canadians living in a compassionate society — but a caste-system has definitely developed when it comes to wind turbines.

We also realized that while there are hundreds if not thousands of anti-wind sites and blogs on the internet, many of them are localized or deal only with the situation in their country.

We wanted to have a site that would bring together, for easy reference, wind turbine news from all over the world.   We wanted to make it simple for someone who is a neophyte on wind turbines (as we were just a short year ago) to find the answers to any questions they may have on the subject.  And not answers provided by for-profit wind companies or wind energy consultants or anyone else who has a financial stake in the game, but unbiased data and information provided by people who don’t have their snouts firmly planted in the FIT subsidy trough.

We wanted the people of Ontario to know that they’re not alone in their struggle, as is often thrown at them in debates with wind proponents. “Ontarians are the only ones who complain! Europe has had industrial wind turbines for years and everyone loves them over there.”

Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s just that — as in the case of people in Ontario suffering — the media never broadcasts the problems associated with wind turbines overseas. It’s a dirty little secret that governments, wind companies and the media struggle to keep a lid on.

And, we wanted Canadians living in the other provinces to hear the cries of injustice and suffering that so many Ontarians are experiencing.  To warn them, before their Premiers and governments take too quick and large a leap into the unrealistic feel-good fantasy of wind energy, that due diligence and prudence is the best way to proceed.

So, while we consider ourselves to be conservationists, we realize that industrial wind turbines cause far more damage to this planet than we’ve been told and they are anything but ‘green’, or ‘clean’.  It is our mission, along with hundreds of thousands of others around this planet, to stop the assault on much-needed farmland and fragile ecosystems by greedy politicians and wind companies.

Don Quixote (the final word) —  This brings me to the supposition that we can do something with nature by erecting windmills. It’s an ill-informed reaction to a problem that for the most part doesn’t exist.

It’s rife with unintended consequences both natural and human. It’s a grotesque diversion of resources that only retards meaningful research into alternative energy sources that would fulfil our mutual desires for clean, reliable energy.

Lori and Paul

13 Comments on “About Us and Quixotes Last Stand”

  1. Tony June 18, 2012 at 11:16 pm #

    To get a greater and more effective coverage send this letter to all the newspapers you can.

  2. Sheila August 11, 2012 at 4:33 pm #

    Donna, are you a writer by any chance? Your stories of your childhood were so interesting to read. Well done. Congrats to both of you for fighting this fight for Ontario. Your love of this province comes through loud and clear. One has no doubt that your intentions are sincere. Carry on!

  3. ericjelinski December 17, 2012 at 6:23 pm #

    Hello; I am very taken by your testimonial, and I offer the following that is my experience with off-grid solar and wind. I would love to correspond with you, Eric
    eric_jelinski@sympatico.ca

    Folks, My experiment with renewable energy is finished. Let me explain. Some ten years ago we bought a country property for retirement living. This 50 acre farm did not have any hydro wires. Given my background as a nuclear engineer and having an open mind about wind and solar energy, this was a perfect opportunity to do a real life experiment with wind turbines and solar panels initially on a weekend retreat and more recently as we tried living off-grid.

    Over the course of ten years we spent approximately $25,000 on a small wind turbine, solar panels, batteries, inverter, power cables and wiring, and back-up generators. This cost would have been much higher if it wasn’t for my DIY ability to ‘engineer’ this system and not have to pay somebody to install it.

    Once we got a house built, we depended on the sun and wind for the well pump, furnace, water heater, lights, microwave oven, coffee maker, toaster, fridge, freezer, TV, VCR, computers. This $30,000 system was small and could only run two appliances at a time. My wife and I became skilled in demand management.

    The turning point came at the end of summer 2011 with increased running of the generator to compensate for with shorter days and longer nights, simultaneous with decreasing performance of the battery.

    I figured an additional $30,000 had to be spent on new batteries, and make everything else larger: larger inverter, a larger wind turbine and more solar panels. I visualized the endpoint of being broke surrounded by a pile of electronics much like we read about now, eg. Solyndra, and other companies.

    I made two phone calls, one to Hydro One, and another call to an electrical contractor. Two weeks later in October 2011, the solar and wind was disconnected and we connected to the giant griddle that was once part of my job to keep the lights on as a nuclear engineer. As long as the province does not go hog-wild with renewable energy, we can enjoy a modest amount of power for approximately $100 each month. No longer do I need to head out on cold mornings to start the back-up generator in order to make coffee, and wonder if the back-up will even start.

    I learned much about renewable energy. How many individuals or corporations have spent their own money to install renewable energy on their own dime? Everybody says renewable energy is good as long as somebody else pays.

    While the wind and the sun might be renewable, the machines and electronics are as industrial as any chemical or nuclear plant using special minerals mined from the earth in order to harvest meagre and sporadic bits of energy in northern latitudes and no hope of storing energy overnight.

    My experience bodes ill if extrapolated across Ontario. It is time for McGuinty and Co to pull the plug on their experiment and implement the moratorium.

    I will have more to say.

    This is a tragedy of the commons when large tracts of land need to be forever spoiled with turbine towers and underground cables built with huge profits for the developers

    Renewable energy has its place. The problem is often too much too quick and mistakes are made by eg. the armchair zealots who have never ever connected wires to anything but their iPod, who have never chopped a cord of wood, and who couldn’t run a pedal generator to make a cup of coffee. Those folks should not be in government, and should not be advising members of parliament let alone dictating energy policy.

    I hope McGuinty realizes his experiment is over too.

    and put a moratorium in place and do a sanity check on renewable energy. Why are we shutting down, not just coal, but nuclear and hydraulic, and paying premium prices for wind and solar.

  4. Shawn Thompson April 18, 2013 at 8:56 pm #

    WHY, was I blocked from the CAW facebook page?

    After starting a healthy, logical, level-headed debate. The page admin came on and very arrogantly started to banter out claims in a very unprofessional manner. Before I could respond I was blocked for NO reason.. Why?

    Shawn Thompson.

    • Donna Quixote April 18, 2013 at 9:13 pm #

      I’m guessing it’s because they love to throw their weight around and won’t tolerate any dissenting views from theirs, even when presented in a respectful and constructive manner.

  5. BIX April 19, 2013 at 9:59 am #

    The truth hurts. Ken and Buzz know the truth. They hide it because it would jeopardize their ‘green’ vision nonsense. They don’t want their
    membership to know the evil money driven direction they have invested. It has knowing to do with ‘green’ and everything to do with standing at the government trough collecting our tax money to line their pockets. They will do whatever to block the real story of their illegal, human assaulting weapon!

  6. Thomas May 9, 2013 at 1:38 pm #

    @ericjilinski: For a nuclear engineer I would have expected more. Sounds like a really poor design. I am off the grid, and have been since 2007. Batteries will last a lifetime with good maintenance, your inverter needs to be sized properly, and it appears that you did not have the right generators either. We run our home with solar, and use our generator in the winter when we need too. The implication that renewable energy is not up to the job is strange. That is like saying computers are crap because my old IBM 386 is not fast enough for my present computer needs…did you ever stop to think that maybe it was your original design and system sizing that was the problem? The fact that you could only run two appliances is telling indeed. User error is my guess….

    By the way, when I run the numbers for our house and costs, essentially off grid vs. on grid are close to the same. Depending on variables one may be slightly cheaper than the other, but in the end, my energy comes from the sun. The energy from the grid includes polluting gas and generational legacy nuclear that consumes way too much of our precious water resources. Mine is about 80 – 90% solar…

    What is sad here is that i don’t expect the Quixote website will post this comment…it does not fit with its predisposition towards renewables. I do not believe that you support renewable energy, because you are not putting alternatives or fixes out there. If you think small wind and residential solar are going to cut it, then you are wrong. Placing turbines away from load centres is fine, but are you willing to allow the transmission lines to come through your backyard? Lots of negatives, few positives, and little original thought….oh well – I guess I awaiting in vain because like I said – it is unlikely you will actually post this comment….

    • Donna Quixote May 9, 2013 at 3:10 pm #

      Well, Thomas, you would be wrong. Unlike most renewable energy sites that we have run across, including Environmental Defence, we have never deleted someone’s comment based on their views and beliefs. Even people who we consider to be the ‘arch enemy’ if you will, we have let their comments stand as posted.

      The only way we’ll ever reach a middle ground on this issue is by allowing differing opinions to be voiced. We aren’t afraid of different viewpoints.

      Also, it’s interesting that you state that small scale wind and solar aren’t going to cut it, and yet you are off the grid. Do you want to share with us how you are able to do it? I know some of our followers are interested in doing the same thing.

  7. Thomas May 9, 2013 at 10:31 pm #

    @Donna

    Thank you for posting – it is refreshing. I have tried to post reasonable responses on “wind turbine syndrome” and “wind concerns”, but neither would post. Wayne Gulden also posts “opposing views”, and it is nice to know that you do too. I agree that respectful dialogue is needed here – there is too much at stake for all of us frankly.

    Let me first clarify what I meant by “won’t cut it”. Simply put, small distributed locations of renewable energy are unlikely to be able to run hospitals or industrial processes, let alone all the other “non residential” loads. Renewable energy on commercial scales has the potential to make significant contributions to help reducing our use of fossil fuels in producing electricity. I dare say it will be a long time before we are able to ever ween ourselves off fossil fuels for all our other uses (fertilizers, pesticides, medicine, clothing, plastics, etc.)…our biggest priority needs to be reducing use of fuels to make electricity though….we have to curb burning fuels….

    You asked how we went off the grid. Fundamentally, it is about three main things: energy conservation/elimination, energy efficiency, and lastly, energy management/budgeting. We are by no means fossil fuel free…we rely on propane for heating hot water, and supplementing heat when we have no wood (we have two ultra high efficiency wood stoves). We also have a diesel generator to balance our energy needs when the batteries need charging and there is no sun. I do not have a wind turbine because the wind in our area is not very good.

    We spent essentially four years planning for energy conservation, and about two weeks to design the solar system, which we have expanded recently (bloody kids keep using more and more power!). We plan on taking measures to reduce our propane and diesel, but this takes time. We plan to hopefully install a solar hot water system one day….

    While it isn’t perfect, we are doing our best…one can always improve.

    I would be interested in learning from you how you can envision a viable commercial energy industry in Ontario – wind turbines are big, but they have a place…what and how that looks like I think is still under debate.

    Thanks again for posting!

    Cheers
    Thomas

    • Donna Quixote May 10, 2013 at 6:24 am #

      Hi Thomas,

      I wish I had all of the answers, but I don’t. None of us do at this point. There has to be a better way (i.e. large scale wind and solar) than what we’re dealing with right now. These technologies are too unproven, too unreliable and at present, too costly to be a viable option.

      In our home, we have always practiced conservation and I think it is an avenue that is much touted about, but little is ever done to encourage it. There are so many places where we need massive improvement in that regard that I don’t even know where to start.

      Keeping cities lit up 24/7 though is an area that needs a drastic overhaul. Extra ‘energy’ taxes on these mega-mansions would be another. Laws limiting the amount of unusable space in a home would be nice, but probably impossible to implement. By unusable space I’m referring to cathedral ceilings, etc that look great, but require far more power to light and heat than is necessary.

      We live in a fairly small town and neighbourhood homes at night are not lit up the same way that they are in the bigger cities. Driving through residential areas of many of the larger cities at night gives you a perspective of the amount of power that is being wasted. Many of the homes are lit up like Christmas trees and it seems like every light is on in every room. Even during the day, you can see lights on in homes, when the sun is shining! It’s an obscene waste of electricity.

      There should be a system in place that rewards those who use little power and who practice conservation and those who waste it. Perhaps one rate for those who conserve and as the individual home usage goes up, so does their rate.

      The other option is — and I know this will sound really ‘out there’ and rather drastic — but I think a system where each household is allotted a certain amount of hydro per day, based on the occupancy would help with conservation efforts. There would be a metered box at each home and when you use up your daily allotment of power, you’re cut off. That’s it. Doesn’t matter what your income or status in society is, whether you’re a doctor, janitor, teacher, politician, street sweeper. Every person gets the same amount of power per day. Once it’s used up, that’s it. People with medically necessary equipment requiring round-the-clock power, would be under a different category from the general population.

      You wouldn’t be able to ‘buy’ extra credits or power, which would eliminate an unfair amount of usage for the upper income levels. I know that sounds very draconian, but if we had something like that in place for one generation (20 years), it would teach people how to conserve energy and not be such power hogs.

      Over in Britain, they’re looking at having switches installed in all appliances so that when there is too much drain on the grid, the government can basically shut down your home, including fridges, freezers, tvs, etc. I’m serious. It was just in the news last week. Google it. And Britain is BIG into wind power, yet their grid is becoming extremely unstable and wind is so unreliable that shutting down the power to people’s homes is being seriously looked at.

      I’d rather put people in charge of their own usage, hence the idea of a daily allotment. You’d only be cut off a couple of times before you’d start seriously looking at ways to stop wasting power.

      We’ve taught our kids that when you leave a room, you turn off the lights. That’s been a number one rule. If a small appliance isn’t being used, it’s unplugged. That goes for coffeemakers or any other item in the home that uses power to display the time of day. Look around your house at how many things are blinking the time at you all day long. What an unnecessary waste of power.

      Our actual hydro usage, by comparison to most people we know, is EXTREMELY small. I hear people in the GTA lament about $800 and $900 hydro bills EACH month. I’ve heard people on talk shows complain that their hydro bills are now over $1,000 per month. That’s insane but it doesn’t garner much sympathy from me. It tells me that there’s one heck of a lot of waste going on and if expensive bills like that aren’t enough to get people to start practicing conservation, then maybe something a bit more drastic needs to be done.

      I know the idea of daily usage allotments seems rather bizarre and we are DEFINITELY not people who encourage more government interference in our lives, (we already have way too much of that as it is) but conservation is so key to ‘sustainable’ living, yet it’s really being ignored. We’ve become such a neglectful society in regards to our use of resources. Rather than wasting so much time rambling on about battling climate change, we should be promoting and teaching conservation.

      We really do applaud anyone who is able to either get off the grid, or who can produce as much of their own power as possible. It would be great if more of us were able to do so.

      As for a viable commercial energy industry, I’m going to let my husband field that question as he is the expert in the family in that regard.

    • Paul May 11, 2013 at 9:30 am #

      Thanks for the posts ,Thomas. Like Donna has said, when I’ve posted on other sites, their idea of moderation has degenerated to censorship. Not so here. We welcome it all, varnished or not. While it may be a compliment, I’m no expert. If you read about me above, I do know a little about the environment and the scientific method. If I read your post right, can I assume you live in a non-urban environment? I’m not sure close neighbors would tolerate a diesel generator going at times.

      I think the major problem at this point is that renewables in their present forms are the answer. They’re not. What I’m amazed at, is the necessity of simple people like us, is to come up with alternatives to the bad scientific and government policies presently implemented. Why the burden of providing sound reasons ( not models) to go this route ( Cost / benefit analysis based on real historic data from Europe) we’re not placed on those promoting this, is beyond me.

      What we’ve seen through history, is the evolution of power sources that have increased in energy density. From wind, through to burning wood , peat, coal, oil, gas through to nuclear, the energy densities have increased. Now it seems, we want to regress to the more primitive forms, thinking that in this day and age, we’ll just put up with the quirks that go with them. Our technological society won’t allow it.

      It’s interesting that you say wind is not viable in your area. Ever consider that on an industrial scale, it’s not viable anywhere in Ontario, except in perhaps the James Bay basin? What’s even more interesting is that the production of solar panels and turbines, rely on a fossil fuel or nuclear generated power sources. Wind turbines are a technological cul-de-sac and solar panels, although getting cheaper, still require an immense power input to produce only realized by energy dense power sources.

      There’s a wonderful site called “Do the Math” that addresses all the storage options out there, and gives a sobering look as to what’s really required.

      What would I like to see? I’d like to see the research go into investigating more energy dense options and solutions that really do help the environment. The more energy dense the source, the less resources are required on a per KW generated basis to harness it.

      I found it interesting that the Mars rover uses not wind, not solar, but nuclear to power it. That source on that rover is good for 14 YEARS!! Imagine a car that takes a fuel source ( that’s reliable) the size of a roll of Loonies to be put in your car once a year. No emissions , no huge battery packs and at night it could help power appliances in your house. That would clear up the air over Toronto and the GTA in a meaningful way that turbines could never accomplish.

      At present, valuable resources, both financial and physical, are being diverted to technologies that aren’t up to the job of doing what the proponents claim. I’ll be kind in saying that it’s false advertising at best. What bothers me most, is that when these useful technologies do show up, they’ll be suppressed by what I will now call “Big Green”.

  8. Thomas May 11, 2013 at 4:10 pm #

    Yes – I do live in the country where people are used to hearing machinery. Note also that the generator primarily runs in winter, when windows are shut. This is a diesel unit, with no sound attenuation. If I were in the suburbs, it would be a natural gas unit, that, with sound attenuation, would be no louder than an air conditioner. If I were in the city, it would blend in with all the other noise.

    In terms of renewables, efficiency, etc., I would say that you are confusing capacity factor with efficiency in energy conversion. In fact, wind turbines are very efficient at converting wind to electricity – in fact, when you factor in resource mining for either bitumen, oil, uranium, etc. on a life cycle basis, and considering water consumption, waste production, etc., they are very inneficient. The US DOE recently produced a series of LCA reports on numerous energy sources….wind was found to be one of the most favourable in this regard. It is critical to undertake the analysis on full life cycle basis.

    In terms of solar energy, again, the capacity factor is low, but efficiency is high. There are panels in space that have been running since the fifties. Their lifespan is magnificent, and manufacturers routinely warranty them for twenty years. This is unheard of with most other sources of electricity.

    It is not clear to me that these analyses are ever fair, when making broad and sweeping statements about cost, efficiency, etc. frankly the playing field is not fair. While people may not want to accept that society is paying for externalities that are not realized in the “price at the pump”, the fact remains, we are paying for them. Carbon, mining, waste management, oil spills, water consumption, etc. these are real impacts that are well documented. The fact that the economy does not factor this into the LUEC should not be held against renewables.

    I would end with this thought. Evolution is a process that results in, by and large, a system whereby efficiency is always improved – natural selection simply will remove inefficient or ineffective defences, adaptions, etc. there is one constant that has always existed, and that evolution has not selected against, despite all of the changes that have undergone on this earth for all of time – photosynthesis – the energy from the sun is in fact the most efficient, dense and abundant form of energy. Combine that with CO2 and you have something beautiful.

    • Paul May 11, 2013 at 8:48 pm #

      I’m not sure I’m confused on the capacity factor vs what’s actually produced. See again the IESO reports for Ont. that shows wind turbine outputs, by the hour , for the major wind developments, since their start-ups. You see the efficiencies are dismally low. What also has to be factored in ,is the resource extraction required to manufacture wind turbines. The resource requirements as related to mw produced is also dismally low for wind compared to conventional forms of generation. Also, do the math when you look at the average wind power density map for Ont. ( use 500 watts/sq. metre as a generous average ) , consider the swept area of turbines and look at the result coming out of the base of the turbine, I’d say wind turbines are woefully inadequate in terms of extracting energy from wind. I say again, the resources diverted to this feel-good program could be better put to use promoting conservation, and other emission free sources of energy. A much better bang for our buck.

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