While Northland Power has cancelled their project in the Lakeland region north of Elk Point, the battle isn’t over. Elemental Energy (EE) is pushing ahead to install a 15-turbine wind farm (to start with) just south of the river. Development Manager Liam Wolfe of EE spoke with Wind Concerns Editor in Chief Mark Mallett. Here are the highlights:
- EE chose this location because of the existing oil and gas substation and infrastructure (how ironic is that).
- He said Northland Power would have required much more capital expense than this project because of the lack of existing infrastructure on the north side of the river.
- EE believes that, topographically, they’ll have more wind here than the north side.
- They believe they will meet all the standards to satisfy turbine noise requirements.
- Wolfe says that based on their preliminary assessment, they haven’t identified any key sensitive wildlife features in the project area.
Our response to Elemental Energy, Alberta Environment and Protection, and the Alberta Utilities Commission is that over 480 studies on human health and thousands of testimonies of those forced to live in the shadows of wind turbines make it unethical for them to install a wind farm among residences. Moreover, the harm to animal health is also a growing major concern with over 300 studies showing the negative health effects on cattle, horse, wildlife, etc. In the case of both humans and animals, courts are beginning to acknowledge these and ruling in favor of the plaintiffs.1 Finally, EE couldn’t be more wrong about no “sensitive wildlife features” in the project area — it’s the opposite. The Northern Valley is part of a key migratory corridor for the endangered Whooping Crane, which has been spotted in the area. Worse, the Northern Valley is actually a designated “Wildlife Sensitivity Zone” by Alberta Fish and Wildlife with the proposed project encroaching on the North Saskatchewan River river banks, which are a “Key Wildlife and Biodiversity Zone.”
Finally, we stressed that this is the Lakeland region, known for its recreation and stunning beauty. This should be preserved and defended against the heavily subsidized wind turbine industry and the ideologues driving these massive and intrusive projects.
Our argument, in summary, is straightforward: it is unethical and a violation of human rights to build wind farms among people and in such highly sensitive areas like the North Saskatchewan River Valley — a major recreational, migratory and wildlife corridor. It’s time for Elemental Energy to pack up and move elsewhere. Wind Concerns is not opposed to clean energy; we are opposed to energy proposals that are harmful to the environment and people around them. The world has enough experience and science regarding industrial wind farms for regulators and governments to finally stop the indiscriminate building of these projects in populated and ecologically sensitive areas.
Mark Mallett is a former award-winning reporter with CTV Edmonton and an independent researcher and author. His family homesteaded between Vermilion and Cold Lake, Alberta, and now resides in the Lakeland region. Mark is Editor in Chief of Wind Concerns.