My Letter To The Mayor Regarding a Wind Farm

Mayor Bigger:

I recently heard that there is a proposal to build a wind factory near Falconbridge. I have a cottage on Lake Wahnapitae. We have seen a bald eagle near our cottage. We have friends whom we visit at Paradise lake. They also have bald eagles. These magnificent birds will be at high risk if this proposal goes forward. That alone should raise strong objections to this installation. I cringe to think about what will happen to the mosquito population when these things have decimated the bat population. I seriously doubt that the proponent of this proposal has any plans to monitor bird and bat kills. Ask the folk at Vale what would happen if they routinely killed a few eagles, ravens, seagulls and hawks every year. This wind factory will kill birds. That is a fact. This wind factory will kill bats. That is a fact. Has the city obtained any assurance that these will be recorded and reported, as the mines are required to do?

In reviewing this installation, I urge you and the council to question the ratings published. 50 turbines with a rated capacity of 150 megawatts is likely to produce no more than 25% of this power or 37.5 megawatts. This is an optimistic estimate. Onshore wind installations generally produce less than 25% of name plate capacity, so that estimate of $350,000 annually to the city will actually be less than $94,000 annually. That is assuming that the next government doesn’t cancel all these crazy subsidies. The fact that there will be insufficient facility to pay for closure costs when this factory becomes obsolete means that the city will be home to massive, ugly hulks unless taxpayers foot the bill to remove them. I have seen the figure of $50/kW to decommission a turbine or $150,000 per turbine. This assumes recycling benefits from selling the (now worn out) turbine. I bet Vale would love to be able to include ‘recycling’ of their equipment in their closure costs. The best that can be hoped for is for scrap value or about $150 per ton, which for a 70 tonne turbine equates to $11,250. Max. If you remove the dubious benefit of “recycling” and replace it with scrap value, the cost of decommissioning skyrockets. The cost of removing one of those things will exceed $1,000,000. Don’t believe that price? Find out how much it was going to cost to tear down the old Sudbury General hospital. Better yet, demand an engineering study from the proponent with a viable plan for returning the site to nature that does not include any dubious recycle benefit other than scrap metal value. If council approves this, they will be taking on a liability in excess of $50,000,000 for an annual return of less than $100,000 for 5 to 10 years. The stated life of these things is 20 years. As the Europeans are discovering, the actual life is somewhat shorter.

Regarding the actual energy produced. You may have noticed that during the recent hot spell, the wind was pretty calm. So when air conditioning demand is at a maximum, these things will be producing nothing. Recall the winter. The coldest days here in Sudbury are the calmest days. Again. Minimum production during the period of maximum demand. They will replace some of the hydro power produced and consumed in the north. That means we will be dumping water past hydro dams that produce energy for 5 cents so we can produce wind energy at 13 cents, but only when we don’t really need it. Given that the energy they are displacing is hydro, not coal, these things will have 0 impact on CO2 production. They will not help global warming one bit. Indeed, they will increase global CO2 because CO2 is produced in the production, transportation, installation and decommissioning of these turbines.

Please consider this a strong plea to stop this atrocity from happening. Sudbury is developing a strong and well deserved reputation as a northern, natural destination as shown by the recent Amazing Race Canada coverage. This wind factory will go a long way to destroying that reputation.

John Eggert P.Eng.
Eggert Engineering Inc.

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About John Eggert

A minerals processing engineer in Canada. A cynic by nature, but open to being convinced!
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