Dufferin Wind appeal is dismissed

[523] The Tribunal finds that the Appellants have not established that engaging in the Project as approved will cause serious and irreversible harm to plant life, animal life or the natural environment.
[524] The Tribunal finds that the Appellants have not established that engaging in the Project as approved will cause serious harm to human health.
[525] The Tribunal finds that the Appellants have not established, on the facts of this case, that the renewable energy approval process violated the Appellants’ right to security of the person under section 7 of the Charter.
Appeals Dismissed 
Good afternoon,
The decision with respect to the above noted file is issued on December 23, 2013.
The Tribunal will not be mailing a copy of the decision to the parties.
The decision will be available on the Tribunal’s website: http://www.ert.gov.on.ca

New U.S. study be economist shows no property value loss near turbines

One of the things that rankles the corporate wind development lobby is the fact that property values are negatively affected for properties near wind power generation projects. This is proveable. And it is numbers on a page, not stories which can then be dismissed with the industry’s usual response which is, people are stressed, they don’t like change, they’re old and don’t understand that we need to save the environment, etc. etc. etc.
   The Huffington Post released this story on Christmas Eve, a report of a new study done by an assistant professor at Rhode Island University, which apparently shows that there is no loss of value. Or, there is but it is so small that you can put it down to “margin of error.” The study, done by a PhD in economics, was funded by the state’s department of energy. Rhode Island, as you may be aware, is looking at a massive offshore wind power development.
    We will be bringing you analysis of this study when we have commentary on the full paper. However, there are clues already to the complete meaninglessness of the study. The authors themselves report:

“One challenge in estimating the effects of wind turbines on housing prices is that most wind
turbines were built within the past few years, and there are relatively few property
sales in the immediate vicinity of wind turbines (or for that matter, at other specific locations) in such a short time period. We expect that the precision of estimates will increase over time, as more transactions occur. Hence, we recommend that that the analysis be repeated in a few years when a more robust data set with additional property transactions become available.”

 In other words, no sales. Hard to measure what didn’t happen.

Here is the news story.

Wind Turbines Don’t Have Negative Effect On Property Values, Study Finds

12/24/13 08:23 AM ET EST


SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (AP) — A University of Rhode Island study has found that wind turbine construction and operation doesn’t appear to have a negative effect on the property values of nearby homes.
Economics professor Corey Lang determined that proximity to a turbine has no statistical effect on property values after analyzing sales prices of 48,000 homes from the last 15 years. He compared homes near one of the state’s 12 turbines and homes far from them.
He found the turbines may cause a drop in property values of 0.4 percent for homes within half a mile of the structure, well within the study’s margin of error.
Lang presented his findings last week. The Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources funded his research.
He says a similar study is underway in Massachusetts.

More information on Corey Lang here from the university website: http://web.uri.edu/enre/corey-lang/

Community undaunted: Manvers community to file appeal today

Storm or no storm, wind opponents will file an appeal by Dec. 24  

Credit:  Storm or no storm, wind opponents will file an appeal by Dec. 24; Manvers Wind Concerns is leading the charge against the decision for wpd Canada to build five wind turbines | Kawartha Lakes This Week | December 23, 2013 | www.mykawartha.com ~~
Manvers Township residents opposed to a recently approved wind energy project near Bethany are determined to meet the Dec. 24 deadline to file an appeal to the Province.
Ward 16 Councillor Heather Stauble said there is a team in place working hard to prepare the appeal, and much of that work was already done “because the community was prepared for the possibility the project would be approved.”
Coun. Stauble said when wpd Canada’s Sumac Ridge five wind turbines were approved earlier this month, the Province virtually ignored the 2,874 comments from the public opposing the project.
She said the deadline to appeal changed to Dec. 24, and the weekend’s severe ice storm that hammered the region has made filing its appeal in Toronto “challenging,” but confirmed it will be done.
The councillor added that given the number of people who submitted comments to the Province, “it would not look good at all if they don’t grant the appeal.”
Following the filing a request for an appeal, a Notice of a Preliminary Hearing date will be sent to every individual or organization who filed a comment with the Environmental Registry, Coun. Stauble said.
“Any individual or organization may then apply for status as a party, participant or presenter at the environmental tribunal anytime up to four days before the preliminary hearing date.”
In an email sent to her constituents, Coun. Stauble advised residents who live in the area and any individuals or organizations who have an interest can express their concerns at the tribunal. A lawyer is not necessary for this process.
She said there is no guarantee the group — headed by Manvers Wind Concerns — will win the appeal, but remains hopeful the multi-million dollar Cham Shan Buddhist Temple planned for the City may carry some weight.
The four temples, one in Cavan-Monaghan (almost completed) and three more planned in the City, is overseen by the Buddhist Association of Canada and represents a meditational pilgrimage that mirrors the same in China.
Coun. Stauble, noting the project could represent an investment of up to $100 million and is in jeopardy, as the Buddhists feel the wind turbines would have a negative impact on a temple promoting peaceful meditation.
“They have made it clear they will not build the remaining three temples” if the wind project goes forward, she said.
Coun. Stauble recalled a recent meeting with Minister Bob Chiarelli, also attended by local MPP Laurie Scott “where we were told there would be more discussion” before wind projects for the City were approved. Pointing to current legislation protecting the environmentally sensitive Oak Ridges Moraine, Coun. Stauble said by approving wind energy projects, the Province “is overriding its own legislation.”
She added this will be “a Christmas [the community] will never forget.”
For those who would like to know more about the legal Appeal or would like to make a financial contribution, contact manverswindconcern@gmail.com or visit http://manverswindconcerns.wordpress.com.

Source:  Storm or no storm, wind opponents will file an appeal by Dec. 24; Manvers Wind Concerns is leading the charge against the decision for wpd Canada to build five wind turbines | Kawartha Lakes This Week | December 23, 2013 | www.mykawartha.com

Parker Gallant: see wind power for what it really is

Ontario energy policies not based on cost-benefit analysis

This letter appears in today’s Ottawa Citizen from Parker Gallant. It was written in response to an opinion piece published by the Citizen last week, by Environmental Defence executive director Tim Gray, who made a number of claims including that wind and solar were being scapegoated for rising electricity bills in Ontario.
The letter is not available online at the time of posting.


Direction on energy

Re: stop making green power the scapegoat December 17

The time has come to recognize wind and solar power generation for what it really is: intermittent, expensive and economically disastrous for Ontario. Wind turbines produce power 29 per cent of the time at the wrong time of day an season, when we consume much less power. Would anyone purchase a product that only works 29 per cent of the time?
  It is interesting that in his opinion piece, Tim Gray, executive director of Environmental Defence, would claim energy prices will only rise two per cent while Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli forecast rate increases of more than seven per cent for the next five years. Wind and solar produced four per cent of Ontario’s generation but cost ratepayers 160 per cent more per kWh than other generation, including nuclear, which supplied 56.4 per cent of Ontario’s generation.
  Wind and solar frequently fail to produce any electricity and must be backed up by other generation, including gas and nuclear. That means Ontario must double up on plants to produce electricity to ensure reliability.

 In the first 10 months of 2013, 
electricity exports cost Ontario’s 
ratepayers $1.2 billion.

  When wind and solar produce unneeded power they are paid not to produce or Ontario exports the surplus power at a cost to ratepayers, while spilling hydro and steaming off nuclear, and pay gas generators to be at the ready. In the first 10 months of 2013, electricity exports cost Ontario’s ratepayers $1.2 billion.
   The climate crisis claimed by Environmental Defence is a tempest in a teapot and has been called that by scientists throughout the world, including many from Canada. The EU have recognized the economic costs of wind and solar, reducing subsidies and curtailing additions to those generation sources.
  Ontario’s direction on energy is putting the province in a disadvantaged position as one of the highest-cost provinces. We are without the ability to attract energy intensive jobs because our electricity prices are among the highest in North America.
  Ontario is a “have-not” province, and one of the reasons is our inane energy policies driven by false ideologies, perpetrated on our politicians by unscientific deities.
Parker Gallant
Vice-president, Wind Concerns Ontario

Goulais bay appeal concludes; Ontario awaits ruling

The appeal of one of two wind power projects in Ontario’s Algoma region has concluded; a ruling may not come down for months.

Appeal completed; ruling could take months

By Elaine Della-Mattia, Sault Star

(QMI Agency file photo)
(QMI Agency file photo)
  • A decision into the appeal of the Goulais Wind Farm project may not be rendered until mid April.

An Environmental Review Tribunal heard arguments for more than two days earlier this week from opponents who don’t want to see a wind farm created in Goulais.
The appeal was filed by Heyden resident Doug Moseley with the assistance of Lake Superior Action Research Conservation (LSARC) and the law offices of Eric Gillespie. The appeal was also supported by the Save Our Algoma Region (SOAR) groups.
In October, it was announced that the Goulais Wind Farm project had been approved by the provincial government.
The decision, posted on the Ontario Environmental Registry, said the renewable energy approval has been issued to SP Development Limited Partnership to engage in a renewable energy project for a Class 4 wind facility that will have a total capacity of 25 MW.
The 11-wind turbine facility must be built and operational within three years.
But opponents argued that the industrial wind turbines are harmful to human health and disruptive and destructive to the natural environment and wildlife habitat.
They also argued that the wind turbines contribute to the rising cost of electricity and are totally unnecessary to produce clean energy in Ontario.
Involved parties will file their final written submissions to the tribunal by Jan. 20 and a decision on the appeal is expected to be made before April 22.

Read the full story here.

Michigan turbines out of compliance: acoustics report

This story is interesting because of the acoustician’s findings and also, the opinion from Ontario’s own HGC and Brian Howe.

Safety of Wind Turbines

‘The only way you can build wind power in Michigan is to inflict harmful noise levels on people’

By Jack Spencer | Dec. 13, 2013

A 476 foot tall windmill stands 1,139 feet from the Shineldecker house in Riverton Township in Mason County.

Local officials and Consumers Energy are at odds over whether a wind plant located south of Ludington meets safety standards.
Those living close to the wind plant continue to be exposed daily to the turbines and their apparent negative impact on health and quality of life.
Allegations that Lake Winds Energy Plant has significant safety issues are not new. On April 1, area residents filed a lawsuit claiming noise, vibrations and flickering lights generated by the 56 turbine facility are adversely impacting their health. Dizziness, sleeplessness and headaches are among the symptoms noted in the lawsuit.
Less than six months later, on Sept. 12, Mason County’s Planning Commission determined that the wind plant is not in compliance with safety guidelines. That decision is being appealed to the Mason County Board of Appeals by Consumers Energy, which has a huge investment in the $250 million wind facility.
Two separate reviews support the planning commission’s contention that the wind plant is out of compliance.
One study was conducted by Rand Acoustics of New Brunswick, Maine, in June 2011, which was more than a year before the wind plant went into operation. It was prepared at the request of Cary Shineldecker, who lives near the wind farm with his family. Shineldecker is now among the Mason County residents involved in the lawsuit. He and his wife said they sleep in the basement of their house to escape from the turbine noise.

Read the full story here.

Andy Frame: the wrong people in power got fired

Energy consultant Andy Frame, writing in The Hamilton Spectator, says that Ontario’s problems run far far deeper than OPG and some high-salaried employees: Ontario’s power system is a disaster, he says—firing a couple of execs will do nothing.

Hydro rates: The wrong target got zapped

The Ontario auditor general’s report has highlighted high salaries and pension plans at Ontario Power Generation. The report has made big headlines and Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli told Jake Epp, OPG chairperson, that he wanted a strong response. A few hours after the report, three top OPG executives were fired.
The wrong people were fired.
It is clear that the response was to avert attention from the fact that the chairperson and members of the board of directors of OPG are responsible for appointing the president to set employment contracts and conditions.
Chiarelli and Premier Kathleen Wynne know that the chair and the directors are government people who carry out the directions of the shareholder, the government of Ontario. The board appoints a president who hires the executive and sets their salary. The board sets the pension benefits for OPG.
Lawyers know you fire people for cause, criminal acts or other serious actions damaging to a corporation. When does having a high salary become cause? The three executives were fired so there would be a strong response to the auditor general. They have become scapegoats, and have been wronged to make the government look good.
When the executives were terminated, Epp said their severance would be negotiated. They were fired without cause and are due a high severance payment, probably more than $1 million each. This will be another part of your hydro bill.
This hydro cost story is just the latest in a series of decisions made by the 10-year-old Liberal government. The first was to shut down all Ontario coal plants and “go green”. Coal was out; wind and solar power were in. The Green Energy Act was passed to make the government look green.
Twenty-year contracts were signed for windmill projects at high rates. They provide little energy. Many 20-year fixed-rate “take or pay” solar contracts were signed. Many solar energy generators could not be connected to the grid. Little energy is being delivered. A deal with Samsung cost $250 million and few of the jobs promised have been delivered. Natural gas generating plants were promoted, and some cancelled. Cost: $1 billion.
A major item in their plan was a special deal with Bruce Power to sell power to the system at a rate of twice of that paid to the OPG.
These actions are part of their electric power system political plan. The government makes all the decisions and forecasts higher rates. Customers have no influence. They must pay their hydro bill.
The cost of government decisions is delivered to the customer by way of the Ontario Power Authority that operates the Global Adjustment Fund. Remember Oakville and Mississauga power plants and the sites chosen by OPA as directed by the government? Much of the cost will be paid by the Global Adjustment Fund.
In June, a report showed that the cost of regular electrical generation and delivery in Ontario was 2.82 cents per kwh and 6.41 cents for the Global Adjustment Fund. Seventy per cent of the total cost for electricity (the Global Adjustment Fund) results from paying for contracts, windmill and solar systems and directions by the government — decisions made for their political power plan.
The hard evidence appears in a summary of energy costs across Canada. A headline: High power costs cost industry users in Ontario 123 per cent more than in Montreal. A comment from an industrial leader: “Ontario has become an island of high priced electricity in North America.”

Read the full story here.

MacLeod demands Energy Minister act on electricity bills

This letter was sent to Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli yesterday by PC Energy Critic Lisa MacLeod, MPP for Nepean-Carleton. If you want to help, write to your MPP, and ask that he or she add his or her voice to Lisa’s, and demand justice for the citizens of Ontario. Here is the letter.

Transparent Logo
Open Letter
Minister of Energy, Bob Chiarelli

Dear Minister,

Tonight’s television and radio news broadcasts in Ottawa were a sad testament to the utter failure of this Liberal government’s energy policies.

In fact it is an indictment of a litany of energy policy failures.

Wind energy from the over zealous subsidies to the sole sourced Samsung contract for wind turbines has been a costly failure which you still hide the true costs of from the public.

The gas plant debacle and subsequent cover up whose impact is still not felt will penalize rate payers in this province for decades.

The OPG is a scandal plagued organization that has been the subject of an Auditor General’s report that resulted in universal outrage. It is only made more horrendous by the fact that
the Liberal cabinet has known about abuses here for several years and done absolutely nothing.

Now Hydro One is threatening to disconnect honest hard working Ontario families in winter ahead of Christmas because of its failures to bill in an appropriate and timely manner and to the terrible failure of so-called ‘smart meters’ which truly have been more trouble than they were worth. I could go on but won’t at this time.

This letter is meant to draw your attention to the plight of Ontario families ahead of Christmas and in the midst of a series of winter storms. If any of these Ontario families are disconnected at this time or during this winter due to the incompetence of Hydro One or the failure of its questionable systems including smart meters it would be an injustice and a tragedy for which the government will bear ultimate responsibility. The government has no one to blame but themselves. You as Minister need to act and you need to act now.

I expect by Monday you will issue a public directive to Hydro One to either clean up its act or that you will clean house. The Legislature may not be sitting but I will still continue to hold you and the Liberal government to account for your energy failures.


Lisa MacLeod, MPP
Ontario PC Energy Critic 



Health effects the focus of Armow ERT

Here from Bayshore Broadcasting, a report on the first official day of the Armow Environmental Review Tribunal hearing. The audio clip is of engineer William Palmer.

Health Effects at Wind Turbine Tribunal

Friday, December 20, 2013 7:00 AM by John Divinski
Hearings into an appeal against a wind project, centred on medical testimony

There is audio for this story.

MP3 - click to open

click to open MP3 version
or click the play button to listen now.

(Kincardine ) – Much of the first day of hearings by the Environmental Review Tribunal into an appeal against the Armow Wind Project in the Kincardine region centred on qualifications of a presenter and whether or not anecdotal medical testimony would be allowed without formal medical diagnosis.
Retired engineer Bill Palmer was the subject of questioning by counsel for the Director, Ministry of the Environment, Danielle Meuleman and counsel for the Approval Holder, Samsung Pattern, Sarah Powell and appellant counsel Asha James.
Palmer says after the submissions from the three parties, the tribunal reserved judgement as to whether or not Palmer can testify as an expert.
The MOE and Samsung Pattern have concerns in that area.
Palmer says he’s asked to be qualified as a professional engineer to testify about the public safety and acoustic issues that will relate to the Armow project.
Earlier in the day, the tribunal dismissed any effort to exclude medical evidence that wasn’t backed up by formal medical diagnosis.
ERT Chair Marcia Valiante said witnesses could testify to personal health effects and symptoms but they could not draw conclusions from those events.
Appellate lawyer Asha James says she believes the tribunals decision is the correct one.
The hearings come as a result of an appeal by Ken and Sharon Kroeplin who charge the Armow wind project could be a major threat to their health.
The Kroeplins say one of the more than 90 turbines to be constructed will be within 600 metres of their home.
The hearings are continuing today and an additional three weeks have been set aside in January, beginning on the 6th.
The Armow Wind project was approved by the province in October.

Niagara area residents concerned about gas wells near turbines

From Niagara This Week.

Residents fear turbines will impact gas wells

Distribution lines pose no threat says engineer

Grimsby Lincoln News

WEST LINCOLN — All Anne Fairfield and Ed Engel want for Christmas is to see the turbines near their rural home ordered down.
The West Lincoln couple has filed an appeal to the province’s approval of the HAF Wind Energy Project based on the Canadian Charter of Rights of Freedoms. The couple claims the province’s approval of the project is in direct conflict with their right to enjoy their property.
While they wait for decisions on two Charter appeals currently before the Environmental Tribunal, they watch in fear as work continues on the five turbine project.
The couple’s most immediate concerns relate to the installation of distribution lines near a known gas well.
“This is where the danger lies,” said Fairfield. “This case has reached a point where the health and safety of a very densely populated rural area of West Lincoln and Hamilton is threatened if no immediate action is taken.”
“It will not bode well for anyone if that is the case,” she said.
An engineer for Rankin Construction, the company tasked with installing both the turbines and distribution lines, however, says the gas wells pose no threat.
“Gas lines and underground electrical infrastructure are collocated in road allowances throughout Ontario with far less than five metres clearance as standard practice,” said Jordan Beekhuis, engineer. “There is no reason to be concerned with the location of this gas well.”
Beekhuis said the gas well was identified in a report by consultant Morrison Hershfield.
“I have confirmed with them that the well was identified and does not pose a risk,” said Beekhuis.
Fairfield called the Ministry of Labour over concerns for the workers installing the lines. Beekhuis confirmed a ministry official visited the site and did not identify any concerns.
Beekhuis said workers are not yet burying the lines. Workers are currently installing underground pipe for the distribution lines to be installed in at a later date. Beekhuis said the lines that will be installed underground are the same as those on overhead poles running down the same street. The decision to bury the lines was made at the request of West Lincoln council.
“Locating these lines underground rather than collocating them on poles with the existing lines was at the request of the township as council made clear to staff that they wanted all lines buried,” said Beekhuis, noting the routing of the lines was designed by a professional engineer and was reviewed by the township and a third-party consultant.
“Gas mains are located far closer to buried electrical than 5 m on a regular basis and must also cross one another to get out to houses,” Beekhuis said. “This is a regular part of installing and maintaining underground infrastructure in roads throughout the province and I see no reason for anyone to be concerned as the location of this gas well is very clear.”
Fairfield and Engel are awaiting the outcome of cases similar to theirs.
Farmers Shawn and Tricia Drennan have filed an appeal to a 140-turbine project near there home in Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh Township under the Environmental Protection Act. They claim the potential wind farm violates their right to security of the person under the Charter as well as expose them to potential health problems.
To date, all Environmental Review Tribunal decisions have maintained that effects of wind turbines do not meet the legal test of harm.
Win or lose, Fairfield and Engel know the case will make its way to the Supreme Court — either at the request of the Drennans or the developer.
There is a movement across Ontario among groups like the West Lincoln Glanbrook Wind Action Group — which Engel and Fairfield are members of — to unite the fight.
The Drennan case, should it be successful, will set a precedent and will assist all appeals and legal challenges to follow — including Fairfield and Engel’s. The challenges, as Engel and Fairfield can attest, are costly. To date, the tab is roughly $25,000. A legal fund has been established by the WLGWAG in support of the charter challenge. For information visit www.wlwag.com
WCO note: for more information on the Charter challenge, please go to our ERT and legal actions tab above, and follow the link.