The other day we were driving down the eastern shoreline of Lake Huron in Ontario. There you will find the expanse of this beautiful blue lake on your right, and on your left, neat farms, lazily dotted with beef and dairy cattle.
Every few miles, a small village slows you down to see its church and store. Cheese factories are frequent. This is beautiful countryside, and it is continuously freshened with the breezes off the lake.
Breezes? Well, maybe more like gales– wild currents that rake across the backs of those cows, tear shingles off the church roof and blow underwear off the line. And it’s those constant winds that have sparked a well-meaning thought: “Let’s fly kites!”
Well, actually, no. Rather “Let’s put up a 250-ft high tower with a giant fan on it and make electricity. For free!!”
Between the villages of Brucedale and Underwood we sighted over 100 of these gargantuan wind turbines from the road, spinning briskly in Lake Huron’s weather system. The turbines are quite magnificent. Sleek, gently contoured to catch the wind, painted a non-committal gray, they spin over the heads of the cows, and any humans who care to look up. By the way, parachutists, look down, too.
Trouble is, we realized that this oddity was taking hold, not just of the passerby’s curiosity and amusement, but of the local community’s real estate.
Imagine the legions of turbine sales reps trudging up dusty farm lanes, rolling out a snappy presentations on kitchen tables and mapping the landscape with these money makers. “Gee honey, you know we have a spot right behind the rose trellis out back.”
Wind farms contribute less than 4% of all US energy. Yet this prickly, twirling forest on Lake Huron dominates over 90% of the skyline.
And now, we marvel as the horizon is sliced into gusty shreds by giant butter knives.
Odd turn of events, isn’t it?