Wind Energy Setbacks & Noise Complaints in Alberta 2000-2013

By Paul Gipe

A recent study by the Pembina Institute found that there have been only six complaints about wind energy in the province during the 12-year period surveyed.

Five of the complaints were about noise, one was about aviation obstruction lighting (navigation lighting).

This is of interest because commercial wind energy development began in Alberta earlier than in any other Canadian province. Commercial wind turbines have been operating in Alberta for more than two decades.

The study’s findings are also of interest because during a five-year time period there have been, on average, 800 complaints per year about the province’s oil & gas industry.

Though Alberta is third in installed wind capacity in Canada—behind Ontario and Quebec—the province has the most wind energy per capita in the country.

In light of efforts by opponents of renewable energy to increase setbacks from wind turbines, it is noteworthy that Alberta municipalities—despite their long experience with wind energy—use minimal setbacks.

Survey of Complaints Received by Relevant Authorities Regarding Operating Wind Energy in Alberta by Benjamin Thibault, Tim Weis, and Eli Angen, Pembina Institute, Edmonton, Alberta, July 26, 2013.