Monday, June 13, 2011

The Aesthetics of Power Generation

Neil Reynolds, one of the Globe's stable of conservative columnists recently commented on the aesthetics of wind power generation in Ontario. He is on to something here.

Wind generation differs from most other forms of power generation (other than 1960's nuclear) in that that infrastructure is not situated in distant locations out of sight of the consumers of the power. Even nuclear plants in Ontario are hidden carefully behind berms to make sure that they are not easily seen from the highways or nearby communities. Because of this proximity to major urban or suburban communities wind power has met with howls of outrage which largely relate to the whoosh of the blades and the unsightliness of the towers.

Oddly the same objections are not made to massive oil sands projects, shale oil development, coal bed methane production or hydro-electric reservoir creation. Could it perhaps be that these projects largely only affect aboriginal communities whose concerns about aesthetics maybe don't have the same political weight? Try picturing an oil sands project being built just outside of Toronto and you have your answer.

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