Where winds blow, storms follow
By Don Butler,
Ottawa Citizen May 21, 2011 2:01 AM
With close to 5,000 turbines expected to sprout up in rural Ontario in
the foreseeable future, a divide is growing in rural areas between those who see wind power as an economic boon to be welcomed and others who feel the technology is a threat to their health, wealth and enjoyment of life. Don Butler explains
When Monica Elmes and her husband Neil bought their 35-hectare farm
near Ridgetown in southwestern Ontario 15 years ago, the rural peace
and serenity was the main attraction. "It was like heaven," she says.
They put their hearts and souls into renovating the old farmhouse. "We
did that thinking we'd never have to consider leaving."
But that was before a 100-megawatt wind farm began operating next door
in December. Forty-four turbines, each more than 400 feet tall, now
surround her paradisical farm on three sides. The nearest is about 1.5
kilometres from her house.
"It sucks," says Elmes. "The noise is, at times, huge."
Sometimes it sounds like a pulsing jet engine. At other times, it's a
constant rumble, like an endless freight train passing. Neighbours
tell her it's like living near an airport.