Nfld. & Labrador·Humour

Like a crown and anchor wheel possessed: Maybe there's such a thing as too much wind

What happens if people wish for economic development and then don't want it when it arrives? In a new satirical column, Edward Riche imagines the kind of letter he might receive.

If there is going to be some rising of the machines, it'll start here

An animated gif shows several wind turbines turning in a wide field.
Renewable energy sounds great to Edward Riche's imagined correspondent. Turbines in the backyard? Not so much! (CBC)

This satirical column is by Edward Riche, a St. John's writer.

I am sharing a note I received from Emile Marche, an acquaintance living on the Port au Port Peninsula, concerning the proposed wind energy development there.


Let me get out ahead of your forthcoming "I told you so."

I know you're going to do it, make me eat my words.

Yes I was, once upon a time, big on wind energy. I was indeed the one saying, "Why aren't they developing wind energy here, where it never stops blowing? Let's get on this renewable energy bandwagon."

But I was never, ever for wind of this dimension. I was talking about scattered-chickpea-in-the-salad degree of wind. This proposal is to the power of pease pudding and pot liquor.

Why does it have to be located out here, in an open area? Most weekends the brother-in-law, Pierce (you'll remember him having the foolish ears) and I are tearing all over the anticipated footprint in our quads or snow machines and much of it is pristine wilderness.

All those propellers going around and around and around, never stopping, one turning slowly backwards and behind it another spinning wildly clockwise, like some crown and anchor wheel possessed. Imagine seeing that with a few Lamb's and Cokes in you. The thought of it alone is making me queasy. I want to go green, but not around the gills.

A close-up shot of the blades of a wind turbine.
A proposal to develop wind power on Newfoundland's Port au Port Peninsula has brought a mixed reaction from local residents. (CBC)

Won't this forest of whirling props flummox and torment the drones that will soon be coming out of Stephenville Airport? Don't want to be poking a wasp's nest of flying robots. You know with Newfoundland's luck, if there is going to be some rising of the machines, it'll start here.

Has consideration been given to covering this wind farm? If this development was in St. John's I guarantee the townie elite, with their privilege and delicate constitutions, would make them put the whole thing under some kind of non-triggering, gluten-free dome.

Has anyone looked into the long-term effects of all these vibrations? When I was a youngster and my family got our first spin dryer, my oldest sister, Gert, ended up spending all her time in the laundry room and never married.

Ammonia! Hydrogen! Those are chemicals. Not sure I like the sound of that. When I said we needed some industrial development I was thinking something much less on an industrial scale. Why can't it be something like a dickie and mitten factory? Or a candy plant, making bull's-eyes and jaw breakers? Why not? (Loves a bull's-eye.)

That future was in the past

I cop to having said, "Hydrogen's the future," but that was in the past.

We all recognize there is an urgent need for jobs in the region but is that really a reason to rush into this.

It isn't that we want the project located elsewhere, especially if it means someone else will benefit from the economic activity. We want to know why we can't have these jobs without this project?

On this map of a proposed wind farm project on the Port au Port Peninsula, each red dot represents a wind turbine. (Government of Newfoundland and Labrador)

The business group behind it? Daresay they're in it for the money. Not taking a dime off the provincial government, no delusional Nalcor engineers or management kooks in the mix. Is this really us?

The view out here is generally that the project should go ahead as soon as possible, but not right now. People want the wind farm here, but not so close as anyone can see, hear or think about it.

I support the project in principle but I'm still iffy about the practice. Careful what you wish for, I suppose.

What did you used to call wind energy? "Open sky mining"? Maybe you had something.

From the best coast,

Emile Marche, Baie Difficile, Newfoundland and Labrador

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador


Edward Riche

Freelance contributor

Edward Riche writes for the page, stage and screen. He lives in St. John's.

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