Letters

I am writing regarding energy plans for northeastern BC.

Another writer has rightly pointed out that the proposed coal plant is the worst of all possible options. This is a filthy way of producing electricity. If it is true that people are dying in Toronto from air-born pollution from coal fired plants on the American Eastern seaboard, the people of Dawson Creek should realize the proposed plant will be just 60 kilometers directly upwind from the city. This is cause for serious concern. Every other province in Canada has been aggressively replacing these outmoded and destructive forms of energy generation ? mostly with wind parks. Alberta is scrambling to generate more ?green? electricity because it is the number one producer of CO2 emissions in Canada, largely due to the fact that most of its electricity comes from coal and gas generators. With the recognition that global warming is the number one threat facing the world today, CO2 spewing coal plants are simply not an option any longer.

Contrary to popular misconception, hydro electric generation on the Peace River is not green power. It has significant environmental impacts. Some of these are: release of mercury into the downstream water system (released from decaying and submerged organic matter), release of very significant quantities of methane gas (a highly potent greenhouse gas), destruction of the Peace River Valley ecology and the Peace-Athabasca Delta (one of the most important wetlands for migratory waterfowl in North America), and local climate change that can be directly related to the creation of Williston Lake. Regarding viewscape, can the destruction of one of the region?s most beautiful valleys and construction of a massive industrial hydro dam really be better than elegant wind turbines distributed across the landscape?

The facts about wind generated electricity contradict many letters I have read recently. Wind is the cleanest way to generate large amounts of electricity, and the least harmful available to us at present. Wind is the most rapidly evolving energy technology in the world. Concerns about noise, bird kills, property values, etc seem to be based on outdated technology that is no longer being installed. Developments in the technology have largely addressed most of these issues successfully. Decades of experience around the world clearly show that effects on property values near wind farms are neutral or slightly positive. This is because wind farms are not ugly, polluting and dangerous, like coal, gas and nuclear power generating plants. And many people, like me, actually like the look of wind turbines because they see them as a symbol of hope for a sustainable future.

Sincerely, Barbara Swail

Dawson Creek