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The Windy City

Wolfe Island Wind Farm
A while back, I was fortunate enough to see Chris Brown perform at a special Apple Crisp event, which was recorded for CBC’s Bandwidth. In between songs, Chris gave a shout out to Wolfe Island Residents for the Environment (WIRE), whose mission is to ensure the lawful development of a proposed wind farm on the Island. Later, I spoke to Chris about recording a special podcast about WIRE, which never became a reality as a result of my busy schedule. This week, sustainable energy came to the forefront in Kingston as the 7th World Wind Energy Conference commenced at St. Lawrence College. As the world (minus federal Canadian representatives) comes to Kingston to promote and develop sustainable wind energy policy and projects, I couldn’t help but think about how the proposed Wolfe Island project could negatively impact the environment.

Doesn’t that seem paradoxical? In a time where squeaky clean sustainable energy, and super green initiatives are struggling to combat global warming, the Wolfe Island wind farm could actually harm the environment. In case you haven’t been following this story, the Province of Ontario, despite MNR and Environment Canada raising significant alarm, is set to allow a large company to build 86 turbines in environmentally sensitive areas on Wolfe Island. WIRE has contested the project from day one based on the negative impact wind turbines could have on provincially significant wetlands, threatened species habitats, and bird migration. Thus far, their complaints, and the caution raised by MNR and Environment Canada have fallen on deaf ears.

Perfectly timed with this week’s World Wind Energy Conference, an Alternative Energy Concert and Radio Show is being hosted tonight at 8:30pm at the Grad Club. Presented by Lake Ontario Waterkeeper and CFRC, hosts Sarah Harmer and Sarah McDermott will interview experts, and discuss the issues surrounding the Wolfe Island wind project. In addition, some local musicians will perform a free concert, and we’re optimistic that Harmer will take the stage.

Even if you can’t make it out, we urge you to read up on WIRE’s concerns regarding the proposed wind farm, and if you agree, take action by writing our local MPP, Hon. John Gerretsen, and all the other key players in this green fiasco. If you disagree with WIRE, and think that this is simply an “eco-myth“, we still want to hear what you’ve got to say. Remember, comments equal prizes!

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Harvey Kirkpatrick

Harvey Kirkpatrick is Kingstonist's Co-Founder. His features curiously explore urban planning, what if scenarios, the local food scene and notable Kingstonians. Loves playing tourist and listening to rap music. Learn more about Harvey...

5 thoughts on “The Windy City

  • June 27, 2008 at 9:33 am
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    I have to agree with the story you posted at Treehugger. Although I am all for protecting our feathered friends, I think that the expectations of WIRE are unrealistic, and unfounded. Everyone is all for green energy until it’s in their backyard. NIMBYism aside, the research does not tip the scale in WIRE’s favor. I say let’s put Kingston on the green map, it’s about damn time. Only when the project is complete can we truly measure the impact to the environment. Rest assured it will have an impact, but I don’t think it will be as bad as they make it out to be.

  • May 25, 2010 at 5:14 pm
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    When a retirement development was diskussed for the Island for about 4000 new faces to 1100 of the islanders, those seeing $$$ for dirt they owned would silence anybody asking for an impct assessment even with knives. History repeats itself with the wind-turbines…
    It boggles my mind why in Canada, the least populated country in the world, the wind-turbines have to be erected 400 meters aways from inhabited dwellings….

  • June 1, 2010 at 9:15 am
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    Power degrades as it travels across transmission lines. If power were produced in the far reaches of the country it would degrade before it reached major cities. Power production needs to occur fairly close to the consumer in order to ensure the maximum electricity reaches the customer. If wind turbines and solar panels blanketed uninhabited parts of our country the electricity would go to waste.

    This idea was best laid out for me with the case of California. Right over the mountains there is a vast desert which could easily house solar panels that could power a large percentage of the state. Unfortunately the desert is far enough away from the consumer that the electricity would degrade enough as it was transmitted that it would not be practical.

  • June 5, 2010 at 9:01 am
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    I would question such electricity sources…… Hydro power from Quebec North is sold to New York state……. transmission of electricity is possible…. if the source makes sense….

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