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 Post subject: Re: Blowhard nimbyism...
PostPosted: February 22nd, 2009, 1:19 pm 
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I have to chuckle a bit if the geologic information stored in a cliff is used to argue against putting windmills in the lake.


I've never heard of it being used that way. When I've visited the bluffs in the past, I've pointed out the structure in the cliff faces and the significance, but usually all I get is a blank stare. To me, it's worth knowing and adds to the value of being there, in a natural area.

The other natural characteristics, the remnant hemlock, oak, pine, maple and beech forests up above, the views off the bluffs, the ongoing east-to-west transport of sand that created the Toronto Islands, the drumlin at East Point with the boulder beach and headland that it creates, the wildlife corridor that's formed and especially the bird life that's visible here, together with the geology, makes these bluffs a unique place.

I don't know of any other natural feature in Toronto that can match their spectacular quality. It's really too bad that this goes unrecognized by city planners and politicians.

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 Post subject: Re: Blowhard nimbyism...
PostPosted: February 22nd, 2009, 6:11 pm 
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PS... the scientist whose name seems to be most closely connected to the Scaborough Bluffs was a geologist working at the University of Toronto named Coleman, who carried out his studies during the early 1900s.

I have no geology in my background, but IIRC, there have been others that have carried out their work here, making this the most intensively-studied glacial feature anywhere. Somewhere filed away I have a list of references on the bluffs detailing the glacial history and climate change that the fossil record has shown.

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 Post subject: Re: Blowhard nimbyism...
PostPosted: April 4th, 2009, 1:00 pm 
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"You seem to be implying that industrial structures are somehow inherently ugly."

Canoes are beautiful, but I wouldn't want them scatered randomely through my favorite bits of wilderness.

To all the coments about, "it's no worse than", I would simply say that numbers mater. One billboard is probably interesting, a few million later they start to wear on one.

Canada is different than Denmark etc... because I see no evidence of a sincered hope for energy replacement by natural sources. We see energy as something we export to the south and every KW we build we will lust after more to ship south. There is no natural limit to our needs, and no limit to the desecration of the environment that will result.


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 Post subject: Re: Blowhard nimbyism...
PostPosted: April 4th, 2009, 3:57 pm 
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To all the coments about, "it's no worse than", I would simply say that numbers mater. One billboard is probably interesting, a few million later they start to wear on one


Yup, Peter, that's one aspect. There's more of course. What came to my mind first was that the Taj Mahal is a wonderful structure in my mind - and yet I would like hell hate to have someone erect the walls of a full-size copy adjacent to my house.

When a friend who lives by the bluff asked me how to fight this project, I thought the best way would be do do it on cost. The location is not a good one for windpower as shown in the report that I pointed to somewhere else in this thread. Its reason for existence is that the immediate lakefront of Toronto is in the bailywick of Toronto Hydro and they have no better location than this poor one. Having a windpower facility would help their image and it may bring tax advantages. But it still is a pain for tenths of thousands of folks that have a negative impact. It would be fair to express that impact in dollar terms and include it in the cost/benefit analysis of the whole project. That would stop it in time....


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 Post subject: Re: Blowhard nimbyism...
PostPosted: April 4th, 2009, 9:41 pm 
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paddlenorth wrote:
People have been trying to put in the largest tire incinerator in the world in downtown Erie. The incinerator would generate electricity, and is being promoted as alternative energy.


Sounds a bit cynical, doesn't it? But . . . is it really any worse than promoting wind power, knowing that almost every MW being generated has to be backed up by a stable source such as thermal (i.e. fossil fuel plants) or nuclear?

I'm afraid I don't know Erie. In terms of visual pollution, how does the location of this proposed incinerator compare to one of the last remaining bits of almost-natural waterfront in Toronto?


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 Post subject: Re: Blowhard nimbyism...
PostPosted: April 5th, 2009, 4:03 pm 
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There's no visual pollution worthy of note when you're talking about incinerating every tire between Cleveland and Buffalo in the middle of a city. Between the air pollution and water discharge into Erie, visual pollution is a non-issue. (We do have a fantastic stretch of natural coastline here (a sand spit) - not nearly as big as Long Point, but comparable to Pt Pellee.)

I don't have an opinion on the windmill, except I'd rather see a windmill in Toronto than a hydro dam up north. Perhaps if you make your own bed, you shouldn't go piss in some one else's - so maybe we deserve the tire plants and windmills.

....
If you want to learn more about the Toronto geology, including the bluffs, I'll reiterate, read Toronto Rocks: The Geological Legacy of the Toronto Region (Paperback)
by Nick Eyles


At Amazon for ~$11 USD

....

I'm a geology professor, and a glacial geologist.
http://mai.mercyhurst.edu/personnel/andy-breckenridge/


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 Post subject: Re: Blowhard nimbyism...
PostPosted: April 5th, 2009, 9:57 pm 
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I just looked at your signature line. If you're a geology professor and a glacial geologist, your perspective is exactly what we need on issues like climate change, and it's the perspective that is missing when we read posts from Gore/Suzuki acolytes. We also need the perspective of engineers active in the energy field.

And no, I don't want to piss in your bed, any more than I want anybody else pissing in mine. The whole point of NIMBYism is respect for our personal environment, and for each other's personal environment. If we all respect our own personal environment and each other's personal environment, the environment as a global whole will benefit.

And that is the point that is being missed by all the elitists out there.


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 Post subject: Re: Blowhard nimbyism...
PostPosted: April 6th, 2009, 1:18 am 
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lost_patrol wrote:
... it's the perspective that is missing when we read posts from Gore/Suzuki acolytes. We also need the perspective of engineers active in the energy field.

The push for wind power in the Great Lakes is not coming from Gore/Suzuki acolytes (so far as I can tell), but from those in the energy, engineering, and environmental science fields who have looked at research in Denmark, Sweden, UK, Netherlands and Ireland (where they have offshore wind farms), and see a great deal of promise for low cost, clean, and reliable energy in the Great Lakes. Some of these studies are now decades old. Germany has nearly two dozen projects that are going on-line soon. Cuyahoga County and Case Western Reserve (for Lake Erie) has one of the largest task forces to date (with a broad range of experts contributing to the research). And there are numerous pilot projects and feasibility studies throughout the Atlantic (Delaware, New Jersey, Rhode Island), and in many places in the Great Lakes (Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, and Ontario). I know of several on the outskirts of Chicago and along the shore in Gary Indiana. We're hearing a lot about it now, because all this stuff is in the news and is percolating in the media, but it's been there for some time (chugging along while energy prices remained low). There are certainly plenty of sticking points, but they all appear to be trending in a particular direction at the moment, and draw on diverse perspectives from a broad cross-section of groups.

One has to wonder, a little bit, why the rest of the world has turned on to wind energy in increasing numbers as a normal response to energy prices, geopolitics, and public pressure for clean (non-polluting) energy, and North America has yet to build a single off shore wind farm. Are you suggesting it's because we know something in the U.S. and Canada that the rest of the world does not?


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 Post subject: Re: Blowhard nimbyism...
PostPosted: April 6th, 2009, 5:14 pm 
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Cities, by their very nature, vandalize other people's backyards by extracting resources. The pipeline from Ft. McMurray goes to Toronto. The diamonds from the NWT go to Toronto. Much of the pulp from Northern Ontario goes to Toronto.

I really don't want to have smokestacks from the largest tire incinerator in the world looming over my neighborhood (as planned), and if the plans progress, we may move - but the cynical side of me realizes that the city uses a lot of tires - and if we're making all these tires, it's hard to argue against us inhaling the fumes - but the end result is that those with the means, migrate, and those without the means suffer the consequences - and this is obviously not just. (Right now many of those tires get dumped in an rural landfill.)

In a small way, this problem seems like the Yucca Mtn predicament. What does Canada do with all their nuclear waste? I'm surprise we don't sell all of our waste to a 3rd world country, send it to the moon, or dump it in the deep ocean - someplace where people can't mount a protest.

As an outsider, it's hard for me to argue against windmills in Toronto. Where is most of your power originating now? How many Torontonians know where their power originates?

....

Global warming comments are best placed elsewhere, but every issue has multiple perspectives, and there are multiple perspectives that could be taken as a geologist on global warming. I'm of the opinion that the important questions about global warming are economic questions rather than scientific questions. By this time, we should be diverting our efforts to addressing how we can adjust to a warmer world.

I'd also like to think I have a canoeist's perspective on global warming - that the cumulative effects of industrialization and population growth on this planet already far exceed the predicted environmental impacts of global warming over the next 100 years. Unfortunately, most people don't see the changes we have wrought on this planet as problematic or regrettable - but they do see global warming as problematic. Only recently did I realize that biologists have a word for this behavior:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shifting_baseline_syndrome

In my opinion this behavior should be applied to the global warming panic.


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 Post subject: Re: Blowhard nimbyism...
PostPosted: April 6th, 2009, 10:13 pm 
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paddlenorth wrote:
As an outsider, it's hard for me to argue against windmills in Toronto. Where is most of your power originating now? How many Torontonians know where their power originates?


Most of our power - possibly all of it, until the new Portlands Energy Center is fully operational - originates outside Toronto. A lot of it is produced by Ontario Power Generation, whether fossil fuel thermal plants, nuclear, or hydro. Some, depending on demand, is purchased from outside the province. And I would hazard a guess that very few Torontonians know where it comes from, and most don't care, as long as it comes from somewhere else. All that matters is that their A/C works. :(

I have to admit that I don't actually know myself. There isn't a lot of information out there, in spite of Google. Even what I did find about the Portland project - both corporate websites like OPG and Transcanada who are the project partners, and anti-corporate protest sites - was incomplete and out of date. The official site is here http://www.portlandsenergycentre.com/


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 Post subject: Re: Blowhard nimbyism...
PostPosted: August 14th, 2010, 10:27 am 
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Just got back from a short trip through southern Alberta and western BC. Had to make a stop just south of Pincher Creek to view the windmills. If anyone is not familiar with southern Alberta, the region is known for their very strong winds. Here are a couple shots of the windmills in the area (just to keep this canoeing oriented, I have included a shot of the canoes and trailer).

Image
Image

If you have never stood near these big fans when they are going, the sounds they make are eerie. Not sure I could take living next door to one. Not five minutes after taking these photos we got hit by a huge thunder/hail/rain storm that forced us to come to a complete stop on the highway due to poor visibility. I wonder how susceptible these wind farms are to lightening strikes?

cheers
dave

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 Post subject: Re: Blowhard nimbyism...
PostPosted: September 10th, 2010, 11:31 pm 
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I can;t believe some people actually think these windfarms make any sense economically or environmentally at all. I mean, has Germany actually shut down any coal plants because of their increasing number of turbines? What does Denmark do with the power their wind turbines create? My understanding is they sell it cheaply to Norway and Sweden because it's generally produced in non=peak times and they can't store it; and they then use the fossil-fuel generated power for themselves. What the point in erecting a wind turbine capable of generating XX number of MW when it will only ever produce, on a good day, 1/3rd of that?

Far better to use technology to trap methane gas in agricultural and industrial applications and burn it to create electricity. Or at least solar power will generally work 1/2 the time. Not wind power.

The only reason that wind turbine farms are going up in so many areas is some one's making money off them -- and it for sure isn't going to be the great unwashed -- the customers -- who are going to get rich....


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 Post subject: Re: Blowhard nimbyism...
PostPosted: September 12th, 2010, 9:39 am 
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skypuppy wrote:
I can;t believe some people actually think these windfarms make any sense economically or environmentally at all. I mean, has Germany actually shut down any coal plants because of their increasing number of turbines? What does Denmark do with the power their wind turbines create? My understanding is they sell it cheaply to Norway and Sweden because it's generally produced in non=peak times and they can't store it; and they then use the fossil-fuel generated power for themselves. What the point in erecting a wind turbine capable of generating XX number of MW when it will only ever produce, on a good day, 1/3rd of that?

Nothing wrong with using less carbon-intensive methods to produce energy. And not all wind projects are justifyable - we are in the childhood stage of this development and things will sort themselves out. Maybe the problem is the power structure that does not make it expensive enough to take advantage of the "carbon credits" alloted to wind power installations.
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Far better to use technology to trap methane gas in agricultural and industrial applications and burn it to create electricity. Or at least solar power will generally work 1/2 the time. Not wind power.

Solar (in most of North America) is so darn plentiful, it's a shame we haven't built a mature technology yet to take better advantage. Even with the older methods, our world blissfully avoids using them. I guess that is a consequence of being spoilt with our "cheap" access to carbon energy sources.
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The only reason that wind turbine farms are going up in so many areas is some one's making money off them -- and it for sure isn't going to be the great unwashed -- the customers -- who are going to get rich....

Making money off them, I think that's how our economy works - like it or not.

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 Post subject: Re: Blowhard nimbyism...
PostPosted: September 13th, 2010, 10:29 pm 
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The only reason that wind turbine farms are going up in so many areas is some one's making money off them -- and it for sure isn't going to be the great unwashed -- the customers -- who are going to get rich....

Making money off them, I think that's how our economy works - like it or not.
____________________________________________________

Yes, I suppose you're right -- except perhaps when the money being made is being basically stolen from taxpayers through exorbitant government subsidies and being shifted out the back door to friends of big government without proper oversight. In a third world country this way of doing things could be called corruption, or cronyism. And then to boot, the taxpayer who is going to be made to foot the bill through higher energy prices in order to pay the gov't subsidies, is told he has no say on where the towers can and will go up.

There are many other ways to create power that have less impact than wind or even solar. Until there are batteries that can efficiently store power until it is needed, wind will be effectively useless as a source. Again, what is the use of creating a wind farm to produce XX rated MW of power, if it will only produce about 25% of XX on a continuing basis. And if it's not producing when you need it you need to import the power anyways. If it's producing when you don't need it, you sell the excess cheap because it's not needed.

So we are spending mega amounts of money on a huge experiment wihich will not pay off for the consumer, only make a chosen few richer and 'greener'.

And I haven't mentioned the bird and bat mortality question yet at all, or the question of using prime agricultural or wild lands to house the wind farms. How much should we be willing to give up?

What about the effect of these farms on aviation? They have been surmised to have adverse effects on radios and on radar. Yet are there any rules about how far they must be set back from airports?

In an earlier post you said " Its reason for existence is that the immediate lakefront of Toronto is in the bailywick of Toronto Hydro and they have no better location than this poor one. Having a windpower facility would help their image and it may bring tax advantages. But it still is a pain for tenths of thousands of folks that have a negative impact. It would be fair to express that impact in dollar terms and include it in the cost/benefit analysis of the whole project. " I astrongly suspect that if one included the econic cost of the huge subsidies involved none of these wind farms would be considered. Perhaps in Europe where geographic distribution of population and other things to do with their economic structure may make it less of a stretch, but even there the cost-benefit analysis of these sources is questionable. And is even worse here when you include the different social/economic aspects of our societies.

I really have no argument with people if they want to put wind turbines up somewhere and pay for them themselves where it won't effect me, but the more I've looked into wind power generally, the more I get the impression it's a big sham, and won't solve the problems we have with fossil fuels (unless we all go back to living in caves)....


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 Post subject: Re: Blowhard nimbyism...
PostPosted: September 15th, 2010, 12:00 pm 
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Fascinating... Because the more I look alternative energy sources the more convinced I am that wind (where there is good wind like like along Lake Ontario, or on PEI, is a very practical and viable energy source.

Far more than the fantasy dream of solar. Wind costs significantly less, it doesn't utilize all the surface area of the land it is placed on, and its far more estheticaly pleasing than generation stations and huge tower networks. It has the potential for more distributed generation than current choices.

As far as noise goes, any large, modern unit is quiet. The noise of thw wind blowing typically exceeds the audible noise of the turbine when standing near it. At a distance if you can hear it then its either small or poorly designed. The large units on PEI can't be heard with the the windows closed in your car when parked literally at the base of the tower. The noise floor in a typical home from appliances etc. would easily drown it out if it were right next to the house. At a distance of 500m or more its not ever going to be an issue.

The photo of the ones in a row out west are older and quite small by modern standards.

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