TVO examines “Big Wind”

This documentary was brought to my attention by a reader who explains that he has been adversely impacted by the influx of wind turbines near his home. I believe him. The issues here are complex and we all have much at stake. We must learn to do things smarter and better–and we will. There is endless room for improvement. But change is necessary and we will continue to revolutionize our energy policies and solutions for the rest of time. Maintaining the ways of yesterday is not an option here.

Big Wind” explores the conflict over the controversial development of industrial wind turbines in Ontario. It is a divisive issue that at times pits neighbour against neighbour, residents against corporations, and the people against their government. Here is a direct video link.

We must not kid ourselves, there are benefits and costs to every energy source and even the most cutting edge equipment and applications used today will no doubt appear primitive and worse even 5 years from now. We should also realize that the environmental and health costs of our fossil fuel epoch continues to compound with a full cost that is yet to be assessed. Much of its devastation also takes place in rural settings far away from view of the masses. The Alberta Oil Sands is one of the more heinous examples of this, where out of sight, out of mind, allows consumers to ignore the devastating impact of our current habits and complacency. The Arctic is another largely hidden crime scene for all this.

There are legitimate concerns advanced by opponents directly impacted by wind turbines. And striking a democratic balance between the interests of corporations, individuals and the collective good is always a critical and imperfect process. Transparency and full disclosure in public discussion and negotiation are crucial antiseptics to deceit, greed and cronyism.

It is also important for us all to acknowledge that individual families and communities have regularly been displaced and harmed by advancing civilization through time. Some of this is unavoidable. Some of it can be addressed through due legal process and monetary compensation. But some individual harm defies recompense. I cannot help but think of indigenous peoples that were brutally displaced all over the world when the land we now jostle over was literally taken out from under them.

Lastly it is important to realize that much of the negative commentary about the limitations and intermittence of renewable powers (some of which are voiced in this report) will continue to resolve through the ongoing now galloping innovation in storage systems, batteries and inter-regional grid sharing.

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