Wind power message blurred

Steve Sharratt
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Project manager Janet Blackadar and Island biologist Morley Pinsent refer to the Environmental Impact Assessment report released at an open house Tuesday for a proposed 30-megawatt wind farm near Souris.

CLEAR SPRINGS – The provincial government is hiding in the shadows when it comes to promoting the enormous benefits wind farms bring to the province and the electrical bills of individual Islanders, a public open house was advised here Tuesday.

“I really can’t believe the government isn’t out their promoting this source of energy,’’ said local resident Brian MacDonald. “This is for the good for all Islanders and the power stays here, but that message isn’t getting out.”

MacDonald was just one of a dozens of people who filed through the P.E.I. Energy Corp. open house here to mark the release of the final report on the environmental impact assessment of the 30 megawatt wind farm to be constructed in Hermanville/Clear Springs this year.

The issue has overwhelming support from those least affected and utter contempt from those seasonal residents of north eastern Kings County who say their cottage life will be ruined. All residents within 1.5 km. of the project were notified about the open house and those unable to attend could email comments.

“I can understand the concerns of seasonal residents, but I voted against the bridge years ago and thought it was ugly….but now I have a different opinion,’’ said MacDonald.

While he won’t be directly affected, MacDonald said the government should drive it home that power generated from this project will serve Islanders and not be shipped off somewhere else.

“It’s the only way we can generate power and keep rates affordable for people,’’ he said.

The open house in the St. Margaret’s Hall, north of Souris,  was a chance for the public to review the 200 plus page report conducted by the engineering and project management firm AMEC which has energy projects around the world.

“The report basically says we don’t see any significant adverse residual impacts as a result of the project,” said Janet Blackadar, Maritime director for AMEC based in Fredericton. “The mitigation we propose for the project is reasonable and there are no non-standard mitigation measures that have to be put in place.”

Blackadar, the project manager for the EIA, said the report covered everything from watercourses and wetlands, birds and bats and even archaeology. The bird survey alone took an entire year to compile.

And judging by the snow drifts in the area following a winter storm, there is little doubt that wind is a frequent visitor to the area.

“This project has a lot going for it in my opinion….the wind regime is very good here,’’ she said. “This project is similar to East Point and so we’re fairly comfortable with the technology and layout.”

P.E.I. biologist Morley Pinsent did exacting research into the project and has assisted in other wind farm efforts across the province.

“It’s pretty benign and there is nothing insurmountable with this wind farm,” he said. “As an Islander I think we need wind power. We don’t have many alternatives and it’s relatively low impact.”

Souris and Area Wildlife association president Fred Cheverie offered a few suggestions to the report, but said he basically approved of the effort.

“I read it thoroughly and I’m taking the positive side…my greatest concern was distance from homes, noise levels and the environment,’’ he said. “From what I see, the detriment to migratory birds and even bats should be at a minimum.”

Organizations: P.E.I. Energy, AMEC, Area Wildlife association

Geographic location: Hermanville, Eastern Kings, Fredericton East Point

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  • Jean
    February 21, 2013 - 21:14

    The Environmental Impact Assessment was completed by people who work for the company proposing this project. Did we think they would write a negative report? I am fascinated that Wes Sheridan and his "gang" are so sure this project is going forward. I thought the public could submit questions and concerns. I thought the Minster of the Environment had some input. With such a valuable pristine eco system at risk I would think more thought would be put into this proposal. I would also think that if the government was planning on spending sixty million dollars and there was a lot of opposition they would do more research. And let me assure those in power .... there is a lot of opposition from both year round residents and summer residents.

  • Wind, water, sun - energy for the long run
    February 21, 2013 - 09:53

    Mr. Curtis, the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) calculates air pollution from current fuels kills 21,000 Canadians each year, including 90 on PEI. This is just air pollution and does not account for water chemical pollution, etc. So I think it's a myth that wind turbines are the major health risk we face in comparison to the alternatives. Total economic damages related to air pollution current fuels top more than $30 million per year on PEI, according to the CMA. Wind power causes no air pollution. No energy sources are perfect, but when we combine wind, water and the sun effectively we can power PEI and the world for all-purposes with clean energy, we'd eliminate 2.5-3 million air pollution deaths globally and solve the global warming problem while providing energy stability long-term. With current fuels, we guarantee increasing economic, social and political instability over time and that is going to be guaranteed because these fuels are depletable and demand for energy is growing. We subsidize fossil fuels by $600B-$1.2T/yr globally, yet these fuels have been steadily going up in price faster than our incomes grow for decades. These fuels cannot offer long-term energy security, they kill huge numbers of people, and are destroying humankind's chance for a sustainable future. So I agree with the idea that wind energy is beneficial for Islanders and it is time we start to learn about the long-term benefits it can sustain for us on PEI.

  • had it with windmills
    February 21, 2013 - 08:41

    if you look at the mess of west prince on the west shore with windmills you would tell Ghiz to stick them where the sun does not shine and keep the place looking good.

  • Larry LeBlanc
    February 21, 2013 - 06:21

    Should this project reach completion, there will be a financial windfall (no pun intended) from the government for administration. As this is an unincorporated area, I suggest these funds be held in trust by someone like the local credit union and used as a regional development fund. Local businesses / organizations could then apply for funding through the financial institution by matching dollar for dollar their funding requests.

  • Dundas Sue
    February 20, 2013 - 21:45

    What are we to do. Fossil fuels pollute. Wind Farms make people sick. We have fished out the oceans. Farmed fish is unsafe. Meat is bad. Vegetables are good only if organic. Who can afford organic produce. There are no jobs except the oil patch. Oh yeah, that's bad. Should we freeze in the dark and starve. We need to staryt somewhere.

  • John W.A. Curtis
    February 20, 2013 - 19:40

    Former Ontario Premier McQuinty low balled the adverse health affects of windfarms and now its Robert Ghiz's turn to lowball the adverse health effects from wind turbines.

  • blackbushbob
    February 20, 2013 - 18:41

    I been living in the black bush area all my life, i dont mind the wind mills going here but we have a certain blueberrie grower that like lighting fires in the spring every year,, I hope these wind mills dont fan the fires and burn my house and barn down.