Let’s face it, wind energy has its proponents and it has its detractors.
Of the latter, much of the squabble has to do with minimum setbacks from dwellings because the claims are inescapable that the turbines cause people problems when too close.
Yet municipalities are all over the map and on their own in establishing the corresponding restrictions. No wonder the uproar continues.
On Wednesday night in the Annapolis Valley people crowded into a meeting in Kentville for a public hearing on the issue. Kings County recently approved a bylaw allowing developers to place turbines within 700 metres of a home if other conditions are met.
Yet Dr. Carl Phillips, an American epidemiologist, is among those who say turbines can negatively affect health, with symptoms including sleep and mood disorders, and they should be allowed no less than 1,600 metres from homes.
In Pictou County, we’ve seen a range of projects, some developments that have drawn virtually no criticism, some that were opposed by grassroots groups and at least one that dropped plans due to a less-than-warm welcome. Again, criticism varies, but proximity to homes is a point that gets hashed over and over.
The county also has a coal-generated power plant that bears the brunt of ongoing protest over emission problems.
Any form of energy production will have drawbacks – from ducks ending up in oilsands tailing ponds, to loss of habitat to hydro-electric projects to havoc played on flying creatures by wind turbines.
But wind also has many great pluses. In addition to finding innovative ways to conserve, we need to choose energy production methods that offer fewer problems.
But let’s get on the same page across the province with the guidelines. Establish minimum distances that people can live with and strict criteria for locations – in keeping with what health professionals claim and so that communities aren’t forced to keep fighting this same fight. Nova Scotia is blessed with wide-open spaces.