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Launched in the early days of the pandemic in 2020 and with little coverage since, Ottawa’s massive climate plan that calls for as many as 700 wind turbines in the city’s rural areas is still unknown to most. Farmers Forum has the story.

May 4, 2023

Ottawa’s climate action plan, Energy Evolution and its $57B price tag, is largely unknown to most citizens, but this month’s edition of Farmers Forum covers the story.

The Energy Evolution plan passed through the city’s environmental committee and went to City Council in the fall of 2020, when most people in Ottawa were struggling with other issues—like the pandemic that had gripped the world for several months.

In an interview with editor Patrick Meagher, Wind Concerns Ontario president and Ottawa Wind Concerns Chair Jane Wilson said that the plan is “unimaginable” with its proposal for 3,200 megawatts of wind power (equivalent to 32 Nation Rise wind “farms”) which the plan authors translate to more than 700 wind turbines, and dozens of acres of solar panels, some of which would be on rooftops. Battery storage is also proposed, which the plan authors estimate will be the size of 122 shipping containers, also on rural land.

The problem with wind power, Wilson says, “It doesn’t work. It’s intermittent, and will industrialize the rural areas.”

Wilson recalled the municipal election campaign of October last year and said when it came up in several all-candidates meetings in the rural wards, all the candidates said they were not in favour.

Wilson noted that wind turbines change a community, pitting residents against each other. When you erect a wind turbine your neighbours may not be happy, she said, adding that she has heard that some property owners with wind turbines have lamented that it was not worth up to the $15,000 a year in revenue and have found it too difficult to get out of a contract.

“With the degree of public resistance I don’t see 700 wind turbines coming, honestly,” Wilson said. “But that is still the city’s plan and people need to be aware of it and to let the city know what their feelings are.”

Ottawa Wind Concerns has launched a petition asking the City for a 2-km setback between wind turbines and homeowners’ property lines. The current setback is only 550 metres, unchanged since 2009.

Ontario has received thousands of complaints about noise and vibration since wind turbines first started going up in 2006, and many jurisdictions around the world are now moving to longer distances between wind turbines and homes. In Poland, the setback distance is 10 times the blade tip height of a turbine, equivalent to 2 km roughly. The originator of the term “Wind Turbine Syndrome” New York State Dr. Nina Pierpont has also suggested a setback of 1.25 miles.

The OWC petition may be found here: Petition-Mailer

The City of Ottawa’s engagement link on the new zoning bylaws is here: https://engage.ottawa.ca/zoning#:~:text=The%20City%20of%20Ottawa%20is,Housing%20on%20November%2004%2C%202022.

The page includes Discussion papers including one on “Rural Zoning Issues,” one-page summaries, and a survey (which only allows for a 160-character response) and is prefaced by questions about gender identification and citizen status.