Wind energy has been called the most divisive issue ever in rural Ontario. I’m not sure that’s true, and it’s hard to quantify.

But there’s no doubt wind energy — or more specifically, the turbines that turn wind into energy — has raised hackles with citizens here and elsewhere in rural Canada, and with farm organizations concerned about health and the environment.

As evidence, look at the reaction to wind energy from the Ontario Federation of Agriculture.

In January, it issued a missive urging the province to stop approving new wind energy projects. The federation says wind energy pits rural Ontarians against each other. Escalating concerns about industrial wind turbines means the province should suspend further development until farm families and rural residents are assured that their interests are adequately protected, according to the federation.


OK, but what about this: the pro-wind energy group, the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA), said last week Canada is on track for another record year for wind energy development in 2012. Rural Ontario, the home of what the wind-energy cautious federation says is a hotbed of wind-energy consternation, will lead the way for new installations. And, says CanWEA, farmers will continue their pivotal role as land-lease holders in the wind energy system.

Indeed, CanWEA predicts about 1,500 megawatts of new installed capacity will be added in Canada this year. The country is sixth in the world for new installed wind energy capacity, and how has 5,403 megawatts of total wind power, enough to service more than 1.2 million homes.

I write about this issue in my Urban Cowboy column in the Guelph Mercury.