Column full of hot air

Mark Walker’s column “Winds of change prove costly” (Nov. 11) is full or errors and confusion

Mark Walker’s column “Winds of change prove costly” (Nov. 11) is so full or errors and confusions, I hardly know where to begin.

He writes that “in every jurisdiction where wind farm projects have been developed, area residents face huge increases in electric bills”. There is simply no evidence for this. We all face increases to our BC Hydro bills, throughout the province, primarily because upgrading the big hydro dams has been put off and now we have to pay up.

He writes that “these things have been failing for nearly 35 years.” And yet around the world, wind turbine installations are set to grow to 240,000 MW by 2012, all financed by investors. Does that tell you they are failing or going broke? It simply ain’t so.  He writes that wind turbines “kill far more birds and bats in a season than the oil sands has in its history.” The average wind turbine kills less than one bird a year. How many birds did your neighbour’s cat kill last year? Our roads are littered with dead birds due to motoring, so let’s keep things in proportion. Are we going to ban all cars and cats because they kill birds?

He writes that “if one believes that carbon dioxide is a pollutant, or driver of climate — beliefs for which there is no evidence”. No evidence? Only if you steadfastly refuse to read the scientific literature. If you believe that global warming is caused by sun spots or cosmic rays, I recommend a quick review of 173 climate myths that are listed at www.skepticalscience.com.

He writes that wind farms typically generate between five and 15 per cent of the stated capacity. Not so. The usual performance is around 30 per cent for new wind turbines.

And finally, he writes that “these projects are simply not viable without significant government subsidies, in the form of grants, incentives in the form of tax breaks and market price distortions” — but the plain truth is that wind energy producers in B.C. receive not a cent in subsidy or grant.

Guy Dauncey, president

B.C. Sustainable Energy Assoc.