What’s New with Wind Turbines in Ottawa by Shirley Dolan

Shirley Dolan
Shirley Dolan

On May 8, 2018, online news outlet Newsbug published a letter to the editor from Fulton County landowner Lynn Plummer-Studebaker, M.Ed.  In the letter, Ms. Plummer-Studebaker outlines the devious practices of industrial wind turbine companies to get landowners to sign contracts. This is how its done, according to the letter:

“ … during a meeting last spring with the wind company at our family’s Fulton County farm (located about three miles east of Pulaski County). The reps jovially said our neighbors to the south were signing and so we might as well, too, because we would be looking at wind turbines, anyway. We expressed concern about our private airport because wind turbines would ruin the approaches to our runway. When it was clear we had little interest in their offer, the parting shot was that we should sign the wind lease because as a private airport we have no FAA protection from obstructions. We quickly decided we weren’t signing, not for any amount of money.

A few days later my mom stopped by our long-time neighbor and friends’ home to talk about the wind project. As it turns out they had not signed and were upset to find out the wind company was using their name to promote the project. Later a different neighbor said that wind reps told him that we were supportive of the wind project! I’ve learned this is a common practice of wind companies. You can be sure the wind company is counting on you NOT talking to your neighbors. In this area, neighbors look out for their neighbors. Talk to your friends about the wind project and warn them about the predatory practices of this company. Don’t leave it up to the wind rep to speak to your neighbors for you.”

Read the full letter here Fulton County landowner gives warnings on wind turbines | | newsbug.info.

Will it be any different in Ottawa where the Mayor and Council that 710 industrial wind turbines can be located in rural Ottawa? I am told that in Chatham-Kent that 7 out of 10 wind turbines are on land not owned by community members.

Let’s recap. In September 2020, the Energy Evolution document was published. This document, following the City’s Climate Change Master Plan, outlines what it will take to achieve the ambitious targets to reduce “community emissions by 100% by 2050 and reducing emissions from City operations by 100% by 2040”. This includes a plan for 710 large scale wind turbines.

The document was released during the pandemic when we were solidly locked down. No notice was given to the public about the document. We are told that the next step is to develop a bylaw which regulates the siting and noise levels for the turbines and that development of the bylaw will extend into the next term of Council with plenty of opportunity for public engagement. But so far, little information has been made available.

This is my understanding of how the process works:

  • The City is in the process of developing the zoning bylaw which will govern the siting of wind turbines.
  • Wind turbine companies will have to follow the City’s zoning bylaws and will also have to apply to the Ontario government as per regulation 359/09 for Renewable Energy Approval (REA).

Wind Concerns Ontario has petitioned municipalities to consider a setback minimum of 2 kilometres. Will this recommendation be considered by the City?

Since our municipality is so enthusiastically promoting industrial wind turbines as a solution for emissions reduction, we wonder if wind turbine companies are being encouraged to visit landowners in rural Ottawa and adjoining rural counties to sign contracts. Anyone out there had a visit yet?