Of blighters, blightings and big wind bullies

In the race to grasp the unholy grail of “carbon neutrality“, one of the more insidious elements found in various and sundry “Climate Action” plans – and their assorted “offspring” – is the inclusion of provisions such as the following found in British Columbia’s “Climate Action Charter“:

(5) In order to contribute to reducing GHG [Greenhouse Gas] emissions:

(a) Signatory Local Governments agree to develop strategies and take actions to achieve the following goals:
[…]
(iii) creating complete, compact, more energy efficient rural and urban communities (e.g. foster a built environment that supports a reduction in car dependency and energy use, establish policies and processes that support fast tracking of green development projects, adopt zoning practices that encourage land use patterns that increase density and reduce sprawl)

[and in case anyone missed it in (5) (a) (iii), this is followed by:]

(6) (a) To develop a range of actions that can affect climate change, including initiatives such as: assessment, taxation, zoning or other regulatory reforms or incentives to encourage land use patterns that promote increased density, smaller lot sizes, encourage mixed uses and reduced GHG emissions; development of GHG reduction targets and strategies, alternative transportation opportunities, policies and processes that support fast-tracking of green development projects, community gardens and urban forestry; and integrated transportation and land use planning;
[emphasis added -hro]

In other words, habitats for people should be increasingly smaller; thereby (presumably) preserving more land for the sprawl of exorbitantly expensive and – for all intents and purposes – next to useless landscape-blighting wind turbines.

Fortunately, this particular blight is not (at least not yet) as predominant in BC as in Ontario – or the United Kingdom. According to a BC government March 14, 2013 press release:

PORT HARDY – Environment Minister Terry Lake today toured the construction site of the 99-megawatt Cape Scott Wind Farm project located 40 kilometres west of Port Hardy.

When operational late this year, the project will power the annual needs of approximately 26,000 homes with clean energy.

“This project is a good news story for northern Vancouver Island,” said Lake. “Our government recognizes the potential of wind to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Wind is one of the fastest-growing renewable energy technologies in the world and B.C. has abundant, untapped, wind power potential.”

[…]

B.C. currently has three operating wind farms – the 144-megawatt Dokie Wind project near Chetwynd, the 102-megawatt Bear Mountain Wind Park project near Dawson Creek and the 142-megawatt Quality Wind project near Tumbler Ridge.

What this press release neglected to mention, however, is that in August 2012, the blades of the 34 turbines in the Bear Mountain project had to be replaced – three years after they became operational. But then perhaps those who sing the glory of Big Wind blighters missed this particular news item from EnergeticCity.

There are signs, however, that the U.K. government is finally beginning to come to its senses – and recognizing that fast-tracking Big Wind installations is not the route to go (if they want to get re-elected). For example, a few days ago, the Daily Express reported:

End of hated wind farms that ruin our countryside amid growing backlash over green energy

MINISTERS will call a halt today to the spread of wind farms across the countryside amid a growing public backlash over green energy.

Local residents will be given far greater powers to block planning approval for wind turbines.

The new measures ensure that local views will always take precedence over concerns about the global environment.

[…]

One senior Tory source said: “This is effectively the end of on-shore wind farming in Britain. The Prime Minister understands why many people do not want wind farms on their doorstep; they are often noisy, unsightly and can push down house prices.”

The Government is acting after a growing number of opponents rubbished wind farms as costly, ugly and unrel­iable at delivering energy.

Eric Pickles’s Department for Communities and Local Government will announce that planning laws are to be amended so that “consultation with local communities” is compulsory before wind farm developers can even ­formally apply for planning permission

It means local authorities will get powers to block possible developments early in the planning process.

[…]

In a sop to supporters of wind farms, today’s announcement will include a “five-fold increase” in cash paid into community benefit schemes if locals agree to the siting of a wind farm near their homes.
[…] (emphases added -hro)

Ontario? Not so much, I’m afraid. I can still remember the halcyon days when Ontario was considered to be A Place to Stand and a Place to Grow:

But those were the good old days. Back then, even politicians had principles (well, at least that’s my recollection, and I’m sticking to it!)

These days while I now reside thousands of miles away, the view from here is that the only things that seem to grow in Ontario are deficits … and wind farms. And there seems to be no room for, well, taking a stand – at least not against Big Wind. As the London Free Press recently reported:

Head-on with giant

Canada’s wind energy giant has slapped a Strathroy-area rock gardener with a lawsuit alleging she’s harming its reputation. In a Goliath-vs-David dispute, NextEra Energy Canada says Esther Wrightman is discrediting it, depreciating its goodwill in the community and mutilating its copyrighted logo. NextEra Energy’s operating revenue in 2012 was $14 billion.

On the other side is Wrightman, who says she can’t even afford the $144 fee to file her statement of defence. “It’s totally parody,” Wrightman said, defending her manipulation of the NextEra logo. “It’s parody and it’s fair comment on what they’ve done.”

A mother of two, whose income comes from disability supports and selling plants for rock gardens, Wrightman has been a thorn in NextEra’s side for opposing wind turbines planned for the Strathroy area. She’s also drawn the company’s ire for posting a video of the dismantling of a bald eagle’s nest in the path of a Haldimand turbine project. The lawsuit, filed with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, contends Wrightman mutilated the firm’s logo by making it read “NextTerror” and “NextError.” It also says she infringed on copyright, made misleading statements meant to discredit the business, made false representations and showed bad faith.
[…]

I went to university in London, Ontario and it’s a very pretty part of the province. Well, at least it was … back in the days when Ontario was a place (one could take a) stand and a place to grow.

SunNewsNetwork’s Ezra Levant has also covered this story more extensively:

Legal bullies

A $32 billion energy corporation has filed a massive lawsuit against an Ontario environmentalist named Esther Wrightman.

It’s a SLAPP suit: Strategic litigation against public participation.

It’s not really about legal arguments. It’s about crushing Wrightman with legal bills and burning up her time, so she can’t spend time campaigning against them.

The lawsuit doesn’t allege Wrightman vandalized their property, or trespassed, or anything like that. Their complaint is that, on her homemade website, Wrightman mocked the company’s name. She even had the temerity to publish a satirical version of their logo.

That’s it. That’s why they hired three lawyers at one of Canada’s largest law firms, McCarthy Tetrault, to sue her into the ground.

And the only reason you have not heard of this lawsuit — the Canadian Civil Liberties Association is not defending her free speech, the CBC has not put this on their nightly news — is because the corporate bully here is not an oil company like Exxon. It’s a wind turbine company called NextEra.

See, that kind of bullying is OK.

[…]

NextEra is building skyscraper-high wind turbines all around her town — surrounding the local school, in fact — she decided to fight back.

What [Wrightman] found out is that she can do nothing. Unlike other industrial development in Ontario, wind turbines are exempt from local planning reviews. You can’t build a new deck in Ontario without a permit, but the Ontario government exempts these huge, noisy, flickering, ugly, 400-foot-high wind factories from public review.

[…]

One morning Wrightman heard NextEra was chopping down an eagle’s nest to make way for their construction. She went out there and filmed it herself and put it on YouTube.

[…]

NextEra is saying, with a straight face, that by mocking their name on her website, this country mom is confusing NextEra’s customers. As in, wind turbine customers might think the nursery worker is really NextEra.

And in their confusion, they might try to buy wind turbines from her.

Any court in Ontario will see this as a ridiculous excuse for legal bullying. But this will never get to court. Wrightman can’t afford a lawyer. She’ll be crushed by NextEra long before then. Just like that eagle’s nest.

And just like that eagle’s nest, no one will care. [emphases added -hro]

Do read the whole thing – and watch Levant’s commentary and interview with Wrightman.

In the meantime … I wonder how long it will take before the common sense – and respect for voting taxpayers – that seems to be ascendant in the U.K. will cross to this side of the pond … and then across this magnificent land to the now Big Green infested – and once prosperous and beautiful – British Columbia.

2 thoughts on “Of blighters, blightings and big wind bullies

  1. I feel that there is a long way to go in the UK before we stop this wind madness, but the sheer weight of opposition is being overwhelming

    • Oh, I’m far from claiming that the war has been won, Andy. But surely the sheer weight of opposition is considerably more “overwhelming” than the previously asserted “overwhelming scientific consensus” ;-)

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