The recently-aired Sun News Network documentary Down Wind requires extensive fact checking and context clarification on its portrayal of wind energy. Documentaries have a well-earned reputation as sources of positive social influence; yet Down Wind chooses instead to try to sway viewers by ignoring overwhelming scientific evidence and global experience.
Wind energy provides substantial economic benefits to rural communities, and is a) cheaper than new nuclear power, b) cost-competitive with new hydroelectric development and c) promises long-term price stability relative to the commodity and carbon price risks facing natural gas generation. Renewables like wind energy are not key drivers of rising electricity bills: firm Power Advisory LLC confirms that wind energy accounted for only 5 percent of the increase in electricity bills between 2009 and 2012, with the bulk of rising rates due to upgrades of older power plants and transmission systems.
Wind energy is recognized by progressive governments around the world as an integral part of a modern electricity grid that is more decentralized, nimble and flexible than traditional forms of generation in responding to changing economic and environmental circumstances.
Wind energy is also universally recognized as one of the safest and most environmentally friendly sources of electricity generation. CanWEA and the wind energy industry work closely with communities and individuals, as well as with regulatory agencies, to ensure wind energy developments are constructed and operated in a responsible and sustainable manner; respecting the community and the local environment.
CanWEA was neither interviewed nor contacted during the making of this documentary. Had the filmmakers requested, CanWEA would have provided a wide body of scientific, economic and health information. Based on regular consultation with experts in energy, science, acoustics and medicine, CanWEA provides credible information on wind energy to facilitate well-informed discussion on wind energy’s value in our society and economy.
CanWEA’s global industry-first Best Practices in Community Engagement and Public Consultation recognize the right of every individual to play an active role in any new development in their area. The Best Practices were informed directly by municipal officials and community stakeholders. CanWEA continues to work with wind energy project developers to build on past efforts and to ensure continuous improvement.
CanWEA and Canada’s wind energy industry welcome a fact-based debate on energy choices. It is regrettable the documentary does not provide balanced, expert views on a wide range of important issues impacting our environment, human health and the future of our electricity system.