A story in the Wall Street Journal details how the once easy wind power cash grab just got difficult, as community after community resists
May 8, 2023
Concerns about losing valuable farmland, wind turbine noise, and lost property value are being voiced in public meetings all over the United States, reports the Wall Street Journal today.
As a result, legislation promoting wind and solar power projects that was thought to create a new rush to “green” power isn’t the impetus it was thought to be.
Relentless public opposition is standing in the way, and people of affected communities aren’t going away.
“Some opponents don’t like the idea of locally produced energy getting exported out of the state, or that the government is singling out particular technologies for special tax treatment. Other objections are more tangible. Communities often complain about the rhythmic blinking red lights that flash atop turbines at night or the whooshing noise of blades. They also raise concerns about taking farmland out of production or the impact on wildlife.”
These concerns echo those in Ontario after the ill-fated Green Energy and Green Economy Act, which was repealed in 2019 but not before thousands of complaints about wind turbine noise, health problems due to sleep disturbance, concerns about the loss of valuable farmland, lost property value, abandoned homes, and a lot of very dead birds and bats.
Several states seem to be the target of wind power developers, including Kansas.
“Many Kansans are girding for a long fight over this and future projects. Michael Forth helped start an opposition group which gained 1,200 petition signatures from residents who own a collective 40,000 acres. He traces his Douglas County family farm back to 1904 and moved back seven years ago from Colorado and built a house. “I’m wondering if I didn’t make the biggest mistake of my life,” he said.”
U.S. business writer Robert Bryce, the author of Power Hungry and host of the Power Hungry podcast, maintains a Renewable Rejection Database. At the moment, according to his figures, almost 400 U.S. communities have rejected wind power proposals.
The Independent Electricity System Operator or IESO has already held one Request for Proposals in 2023, but it is not known whether any proposals for new wind power projects were submitted. Another RFP will be launched later this year, and there will be opposition “for certain” says Wind Concerns Ontario.
The City of Ottawa has a climate action plan called Energy Evolution in which it proposes to use 3,200 megawatts of wind power, or roughly 700 industrial wind turbines, to power the city. Last fall, the plan was an election issue in the city’s rural wards, with most candidates coming out against the proposal.
Wind power isn’t popular, especially among the citizens who would be forced to “host” or live with the power projects and the giant, noisy wind turbines.
“We’ve already been through this,” says president Jane Wilson. “We already know it isn’t the solution to climate change, we already know it raises electricity bills, and we know it isn’t reliable—even when paired with battery storage. We need to choose what works for reliable, affordable electricity. That’s not wind.”