The Roads to Turbine Hell

The roads to turbine Hell

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60 Km of new roads and over 40Km of transmission/collector lines cut through the forest.

Despite our desperate resistance to the economic suicide of the allegedly ‘Green’ Energy Act,  giant monuments to greed and gullibility blight our iconic landscape which inspired artists, most notably the Group of Seven, whose masterpieces have been part of the Canadian “brand” for generations.

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In scope the following photo captures fewer than half of the Bow Lake/Nodin Kitigan Industrial Wind Turbines (IWT) visible from this Hwy 17N location near Montreal River Harbour.  Even so  the wide angle photograph tends to reduce the overwhelming scale of the towers.

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Taken at a focal length representative of what the human eye sees, the visual impact is more true-to-life:

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Driving by at 90kph some might quibble about aesthetics and the “industrialization” seen at distance. At ground zero the effect is, I think,  unarguable , but you be the judge from the photographic record.

To understand the remoteness and wilderness context, consider that you have travelled approximately 100 km on Hwy 17N,  south from Wawa  or North from Sault Ste Marie, then  braved the sometimes challenging conditions of a main forestry road for another approximately 23 km to arrive at this paradise.

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Still thinking the view is “green” and pleasant?

For years the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources has been trying to remove culverts and close forestry roads, limiting recreational activities and camp access; oddly the wind industry is allowed to claim a tiny environmental footprint because it uses “existing logging roads” though they mostly look like this on the way to reverting to a closed canopy. 

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An existing logging road junction at first use for wind development and geotechnical exploration  stockpile…

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…and as it appears now, more than double the surface area yet an impediment to public access.

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Here now is the wind industry’s idea of using the existing roads: double the width, blast or fill to reduce the grade and clear the forest back 8m to 10m from the edges of the new road.

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And then there are the slashes for met towers and transmission lines on ridges, through wetland and across waterbodies.

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Why are the green groups, who claim pipelines and logging roads fragment and degrade ecosystems, so content with this extravagant road construction?  Where is the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement whose steering committee is made up entirely of agencies of government? While they do list wind development as a threat, it is at the very bottom, which does seem inappropriate all things considered.  

Neither economic nor environmental good sense,  only lack of transmission capacity,  has prevented the approval of additional projects here and in the rest of the Superior watershed.  

MNR WGS Map Updated

Lake Superior Action Research Conservation, lsarc.ca, made a submission to the Environmental Bill of Rights on the roads issues which is available online.

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About lsarc

LSarc is grassroots protection of Lake Superior through citizen science and volunteerism.  If you are interested in preserving intact ecosystems and restoring biological integrity of the Lake Superior watershed using the scientific method to test hypotheses and research, then you are LSarc LSarc is proud to be a member of the John Muir Trust and the 60th member organization of Wind Concerns Ontario
This entry was posted in Ontario Green Energy Act, Renewable Energy, Species at Risk, Wind Power and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to The Roads to Turbine Hell

  1. glenncz says:

    You need about 1800 1.5MW to create the the 625MW of energy as Yankee Nuclear Plant. Here’s the “joke” – you would still need Yankee Nuclear because quite frequently the wind is hardly blowing. Not sure how many turbines are the above pictures, but likely they create a very small amt of energy for the Environmental Devastation they cause.

    • lsarc says:

      There are a total of 36 GE 1.62MW turbines in the Bow Lake project. Based on the 9 years of data from the Prince Wind project they will have a capacity factor of around 27% on average. On average 50% of the time during the year they will produce less than 15% of their rated capacity, 10% of the time, a little over 1 month in total out of a year, they will produce nothing, will in fact draw power from the grid.

      You are right, they re a joke. Their true purpose is to transfer money from ratepayers to a favoured industry, that is all.

      Gen 4 nuclear and the non-conventional nuclear to be commissioned in the near future, are far more cost effective, safer and can be situated closer to areas of demand which avoids the 10% loss in transmitting the power over long distances.

      Wind power is absolutely not worth the environmental and social costs and devastation it creates.

  2. John F. Hultquist says:

    Thanks for the post. Well done.

    Here are the Bow Lake Google Earth numbers:
    Latitude/Longitude
    47.215308, -84.523527

    I live in central Washington State with towers both east and west.
    To the south of us there are many near the Oregon-WA border; the Columbia River. Search with ” Arlington, OR ” and there are some either way. Follow the River westward and there are many.

    The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) is the agency that has to balance the load and there is a major direct current line to California. ” Pacific DC Intertie ”

    BPA has a site, refreshes at 5 minute intervals, showing what goes on:

    http://transmission.bpa.gov/Business/Operations/Wind/baltwg.aspx

    Below the chart are names of thermal sources, such as landfills, sawmills, and paper product companies.

    • lsarc says:

      Thanks John, the Wind projects in your State are a great shame, especially the Columbia River project which we signed a petition against a while back.

      Thank you for the link, I wish the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO http://www.ieso.ca/), the entity that operates the grid, like the BPA, had as much transparency in its reports as the BPA appears to have. There was a time when the IESO provided greater transparency in its reporting, but increasingly, with the Ontario Government trying to obfuscate what a disaster their energy policies have been, the IESO’s reporting has become increasingly opaque.

      We first encountered the BPA a few years ago when the Bentek reports came out and it seemed like a reasonable ESO that was trying to do the best it could for its ratepayers but were constrained by Gov’t policies imposed upon it.

      Here is the Abstract for the most recent report from the Ontario Auditor General detailing the enormous cost to ratepayers and industry in the Province as a result of the Provincial Government’s energy policies: http://www.auditor.on.ca/en/reports_en/en15/reflections_en15.pdf It is all dismal reading, but the section on transmission and the electricity sector starts on the page 12 (page 8 of the pdf) and reveals just how destructive these policies and mismanagements have been to the Province.

      Hopefully your elected officials will prove themselves better stewards and better able to discharge their responsibilities to the electorate.

      It saddens us to think of the forests and ranges of Washington State being despoiled by these useless projects.

  3. lsarc says:

    Thanks for the link, interesting article. It is similar to articles from other places which have tried smart-grids and wind/solar. Never a very good experience and costly for the community, no matter what spin is put on the experiment.

    Here in Ontario there is a fair amount of generation, from solar in particular, that is not reported by the IESO except cumulatively as ’embedded’ generation. This is generation which feeds into the Local Distribution Company’s (LDC) grid and not onto the Provincial grid. For example Sault Ste Marie has 4 solar projects with a total 68MW nameplate capacity which feeds onto the Sault Ste Marie Public Utilities Commission’s (SSMPUC) local distribution grid. The output of these 4 solar projects is not reported by the IESO which only reports the total output of all embedded solar and all embedded wind generation.

    Naturally the SSMPUC doesn’t provide any reporting on solar plant output or performance, except to City Council because the SSMPUC receives a fee for transmitting the power.

    So you might want to find out if those nearby projects are feeding onto a local distribution system (assuming the same kind of arrangements hold true in Washington) instead of BPA’s grid and whether the LDCs there can or will provide any reporting.

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