In a world facing climate change, wind power is the energy answer

“It’s never easy to find energy technologies that will satisfy everyone, but with the world facing ever-growing negative consequences of burning fossil fuels, we must weigh our options,” Suzuki said in a column in the Georgia Straight news magazine. “In doing so, wind power comes out ahead.”

Suzuki, who was a genetics professor before becoming a prolific science broadcaster, added academic studies show that concerns wind power causes health problems are simply not warranted.

“The peer-reviewed scientific research indicates that the sound from wind turbines, which generally falls into three categories (audible sound, low frequency, and infrasound), has little to no impact on human health,” Suzuki, 75, said.

Suzuki is the host of the award-winning Canadian television program, The Nature of Things, which is syndicated in many nations.

“Though we should always remain open-minded about new and emerging research on any issue, the evidence seems clear that wind turbines built with appropriate setbacks do not constitute a health hazard,” he said in the Georgia Straight. “And wind becomes a more attractive energy source when you consider the health impacts of the main energy alternative, burning coal and other fossil fuels.”

Suzuki added the Canadian Medical Association estimated that in 2008 Canada’s air pollution was responsible for 21,000 premature deaths, 92,000 emergency room visits, and 620,000 visits to a doctor’s office. “Even if you look only at the health impacts of Ontario coal-fired power plants, the numbers are significant and startling.”

His commentary was published one day after the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) welcomed the announcement by the Ontario Power Authority and the Ontario government to offer contracts to 19 new wind energy projects that would add 1,018 MW of new wind energy capacity to the Ontario grid.

A CanWea press release noted these new wind farm projects mean that Ontario’s Feed-in Tariff program is now facilitating development of more than 3,175 MW of new wind energy projects to provide clean electricity to power Ontario families and businesses.

“These new wind energy facilities will deliver well-paying jobs in construction, manufacturing and operations & maintenance, drive much-needed economic investment to rural communities, and provide new, clean and affordable electricity for all Ontarians,” said Robert Hornung, President, CanWEA.

Canada currently has 4,611 MW of installed wind farm capacity. Canada’s most populated province, Ontario is the nation’s wind energy leader with 1,656 MW in place.

By Chris Rose,