The billions of dollars that Ontario taxpayers have put in the coffers of wind energy companies isn’t enough, apparently. One wind farm powerhouse is now trying to curb landowners’ rights.
Engie, formerly known as GDF Suez, has tens of thousands of acres of wind farms in southwestern Ontario, situated on land leased from local farmers, generally.
Farmers can make several thousands of dollars per year off of these turbines. In fact, many of them only agree to take them on because they know that if they don’t, their neighbour will.
These landowners have been issued a formal request from Engie to ban hunting on their property.
For those in the country, hunting for rabbits and other small game on farm property is pretty common. But now, Engie wants the practice stopped.
A spokesperson for the company told the London Free Press that the decision was in response to “incidents (that) are of grave concern.” She also referred to them as “extremely dangerous.”
One such incident was a case of vandalism of a wind turbine earlier this year — three rounds were shot into a Chatham-Kent turbine. Dangerous? Maybe, but it wasn’t a hunting mishap.
The other was a case where an employee reportedly heard gun shots. Try driving out through the country and not hearing gun shots on a nice day.
These 300 to 500 feet tall turbines require maintenance rather often, and understandably Engie doesn’t want its employees trekking through a battlefield to access them. Any maintenance workers would be visible from a kilometre away, and no licensed and trained hunter would hunt in a manner that endangers any of them.
This isn’t about safety, but power. The provincial government has given these wind companies such a gold-plated contract, they have started to feel like they can call the shots on privately-held Ontario land.