It starts with an unfamiliar car in the driveway. Two people get out and approach your farmhouse. They knock, you open. “We’re interested in doing a study on the feasibility of wind turbines here,” says the taller one. “There’s no commitment,” adds the other, following a well-rehearsed script. Just like the travelling salesmen of yore, the Fuller Brush man or the FilterQueen vacuum guy, these folks have something to sell, a proposal – you can do your bit for the planet and make a little green while you’re at it. What’s not to like?
You invite them in to hear more, offer them coffee while you sit around your kitchen table, listen with interest as they lay out the numbers: $12,000 per year minimum per turbine and maybe as much as $18,000. You picture five slender poles with blades glinting in the sunlight and do the mental arithmetic: 60 to 90 grand a year for letting them use your land? Sure beats sitting on a tractor for 12 hours a day.
Problem is, they’re not slender poles, they’re industrial behemoths, five metres wide at the base, 100 metres tall to the hub with blades half again as high – 150 metres from toe to tip, as tall as a 40-storey building. In skimming the fine print, you also missed the part about the potential health and environmental impacts of turbines, and breezed past the language about not talking to anyone about the deal.
But you don’t realize this till later, after you’ve signed the lease, and by then your neighbours have stopped speaking to you and have formed a group to stop the wind project with whatever it takes, including filing a lawsuit, contacting reporters and meeting with local councillors and MPPs.
Since being posted to our Facebook page earlier, as recommended by CCSAGE‘s Gary Mooney, it’s been recommended to get this article referenced on the blog too