wind farms may cause health impacts: Australia’s PM agrees

The Guardian June 10, 2015

Tony Abbott finds windfarms visually awful and agrees they may have “potential health impacts”, and says the deal on the renewable energy target was designed to reduce their numbers as much as the current Senate would allow.

Speaking to the Sydney radio host Alan Jones – a long-term windfarm critic – the prime minister said: “I do take your point about the potential health impact of these things … when I’ve been up close to these windfarms not only are they visually awful but they make a lot of noise.

“What we did recently in the Senate was to reduce, Alan, capital R-E-D-U-C-E, the number of these things that we are going to get in the future … I frankly would have likely to have reduced the number a lot more but we got the best deal we could out of the Senate and if we hadn’t had a deal, Alan, we would have been stuck with even more of these things …

“What we are managing to do through this admittedly imperfect deal with the Senate is to reduce the growth rate of this particular sector as much as the current Senate would allow us to do.”

He said the RET had been “put in place in the late days of the Howard government” and “knowing what we know now I don’t think we would have done things this way, but at the time we thought it was the right way forward”.

The opposition leader, Bill Shorten, said the comments would create investor uncertainty. “There’s Tony Abbott at it again,” he said. “Now he’s anti-windmills.

“Renewable energy is part of Australia’s current energy mix … When you’re the leader of Australia you don’t always have the chance to, I think, just have thought bubbles. You’ve got to create investment certainty. What will the renewable energy investors in wind power now think, knowing Australia is run by a bloke who says he doesn’t like windmills?”

Members of the Association of Australian Acoustic Consultants told an inquiry into wind turbines on Wednesday that several studies had found no perceivable physical reaction to so-called infrasound from windfarms, as claimed by some residents living close the them.

In a report released in February, the National Health and Medical Research Council also concluded that “there is currently no consistent evidence that windfarms cause adverse health effects in humans”.

When the Coalition came to government the RET required 41,000 gigawatt hours of energy to be delivered from renewable sources by 2020. The government immediately commissioned a self-professed climate sceptic, Dick Warburton, toundertake a review.

This recommended drastic reductions to the RET but after a furious public and industry backlash the government was forced to enter negotiations with Labor and the Senate crossbench to reach a compromise. After lengthy talks they agreed that the RET be cut to 33,000GWh, with exemptions for energy-intensive industries such as aluminium.

But the environment minister, Greg Hunt, and the resources minister, Ian Macfarlane – who brokered the deal on the RET with Labor – insisted its primary aim was not to reduce the amount of renewable energy built, or to reduce the number of windfarms, but to prevent the industry from failing to reach the original target, which would then trigger a penalty price that would force power prices up.

“The critical part here is the potential for doubling what’s been installed over the last 15 years within half a decade and that’s a very good outcome for the environment, it’s a good outcome for the sector, but it means it will be done in a way that it can actually build rather than the risk of not achieving and then falling into a de facto, massive penalty carbon tax of $93 per tonne which nobody wants to see,” Hunt said in an interview in March.

In 2014, also speaking to Alan Jones, the treasurer, Joe Hockey, said he found wind farms “utterly offensive”.

“Can I be a little indulgent?” he said. “I drive to Canberra to go to parliament and I must say I find those wind turbines around Lake George to be utterly offensive. I think they’re a blight on the landscape.”

A Friends of the Earth renewables spokesman, Leigh Ewbank, said the prime minister’s comments proved the government’s energy policy was ideologically driven.

“The prime minister admitted to Alan Jones that his government has actively sought to stifle the wind energy sector … the prime minister’s admission proves once and for all that his government’s energy policy is ideologically driven,” Ewbank said.

And he suggested Abbott “defer to the experts” on the issue of windfarms and health. “There are now 24 reviews by credible bodies, such as the Australian Medical Association, that show wind energy is clean and safe.”

Andrew Bray, national coordinator of the Australian Wind Alliance, said continual government interference in renewable energy came at a cost.

“It deprives regional communities of economic opportunities they should be enjoying now and holds Australia back from becoming the renewable energy powerhouse we should be,” he said.

Labor’s environment spokesman Mark Butler said the prime minister’s “stunning admission” that “his goal was to put an end to the renewable energy industry confirms [his] utter lack of foresight”.

“It’s gobsmacking that Australia’s prime minister can be so short-sighted, and so out of touch,” Butler said. “Tony Abbott is an embarrassment and this will not help Australia’s participation in the negotiations at the upcoming Paris conference.”

The Greens senator Larissa Waters said: “We sort of knew this was his view but he came right out and said it this morning. This is a prime minister who does not like clean energy.”

11 ways Liberals are knocking Ontario down, not ‘building up’

Citizens know the truth: electricity bills are up as Ontarians pay for intermittent, expensive wind power
Citizens know the truth: electricity bills are up as Ontarians pay for intermittent, expensive wind power

Eleven ways ratepayers have suffered in 2015

The June 4th announcement from the Premier’s Office bragged about the 11 “bills” passed during the Spring Sitting and how “its four-part plan” will Build Ontario Up. Missing — or intentionally omitted —  are the many ways the current government has actually harmed Ontario, and socked it to electricity ratepayers.

The theme of the Premier’s announcement has been picked up by Liberal MPPs as they try to dazzle us with what they have supposedly accomplished.

Here are 11 ways the Liberals and their handling of the electricity sector have knocked Ontario down since the start of the year.

  1. Electricity rates increased again May 1, 2015 by multiples of the inflation rate, adding $144.00 to the average ratepayer bill.
  2. The Ombudsman’s report on Hydro One revealed that more than 100,000 ratepayers were affected negatively by the new billing system (no mention of the  “smart meter” program mess).
  3. We heard via the annual budget that the Liberals will sell off up to 60% of Hydro One and use a big part of the funds to build subways for Toronto, not to pay off the “stranded debt” as the 1998 Electricity Act requires, and that the government will dole out many of those shares as “freebies” to the OPG and Hydro One workers … even though Ontario’s taxpayers are the owners.
  4. Ontario’s ratepayers continue to be forced to subsidize renewable energy in the form of wind and solar when it’s not needed, which has resulted in record exports of electricity to NY, Michigan and Quebec. That will cost ratepayers $2 billion for 2015, the equivalent of moving four gas plants.
  5. The Ontario Energy Board recently disclosed that 570,000 households in Ontario (13% of the electricity customer base) are living in “energy poverty1.”.
  6. Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli called for another 500 megawatts of renewable energy despite the fact Ontario is exporting almost 20% of all electricity generated in the Province.
  7. Hydro One is seeking an exemption for “billing accuracy” for 170,000 or 14% of its customers.
  8. Despite the Health Canada Study and the report from the Council of Canadian Academies, confirming health impacts from wind turbine noise and infrasound, the Ontario Liberal government refuses to respond to questions of health impacts and adjust the setbacks, at least to meet international standards.
  9. OPG received the blessing of the Energy Minister and the OEB to be paid for spilled hydro, increased rates for unregulated hydro and increased rates to cover pension shortfalls that have added over $500 million to the cost of electricity — this affects all ratepayers.
  10. Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli, in defending the sale of Hydro One, stated the power distributor will perform better if privatized, basically admitting his Ministry is not equipped to oversee it despite the direct control his Ministry holds over it.
  11. No charges have yet been laid by the OPP in respect to the gas plant scandal.

There are many additional affronts to ratepayers that have occurred this year but we will stop at  the magic 11.  Someone could just as easily look at the mess Liberals have made of several other Ministries such as: Education, Natural Resources or Health, where services have been severely cut, or the Ministry of the Environment & Climate Change which is about to launch a “cap and trade” tax in spite of criticism from various analysts.

In view of all this it is truly baffling that Premier Wynne would dare to claim the following in her June 4, 2015 Press Release:   “Our plan is helping to support growth and job creation, and improve quality of life. I am proud of the substantial progress our government has made during the spring sitting to help ensure that everyone across Ontario has the opportunity and security they deserve.”

So, our Premier is proud of Ontario having the highest electricity rates in Canada, proud that we have driven our industry to other provinces and countries, and proud of high youth unemployment, among other stellar achievements.

© Parker Gallant,

June 9, 2015

1. Energy Poverty is described as utilization of 10% or more of household income to pay for the energy needs (heat and electricity) of the household.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not represent Wind Concerns Ontario policy.

Wind power consortium to bid 4 new wind farms in C-K, Haldimand

SWEB Development

From the companies’ website:

SWEB Development LP is proposing to submit four community-scale wind farm proposals to the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO)  under the IESO’s Large Renewable Procurement (LRP):

  • Three of these projects are sited in the Municipality of Chatham – Kent
  • One project is sited in Haldimand County

The LRP is a competitive process for procuring large renewable energy projects generally larger than 500 kilowatts. At the conclusion of the LRP I RFP, the IESO may award contracts for successful projects up to the specified procurement targets for each renewable fuel, 300 megawatts (MW) for wind, 140 MW for solar, 75 MW for waterpower, 50 MW for bioenergy.

In the coming weeks public community meetings (see below) will be held as part of the early community engagement requirements of the LRP. These public community meetings will present details about the projects and  the SWEB team will be available to answer questions and discuss the projects and the overall LRP process.

Should any of the proposed and here presented projects be awarded a contract, they would need to obtain all required permits and approvals and conduct any further required community engagement activities.

Upcoming events

SWEB is a partnership between WEB Wind Energy of North America, and Scotian Windfields; the partnership has already done work in Nova Scotia, taking advantage of the subsidy program there, and is now seeking to benefit from Ontario’s Feed-In Tariff (FIT) program under the 2015 Large Renewable Procurement (LRP) initiative.

Details on the four individual wind “farms” may be found on the website here.

NextEra wind ‘farm’ to destroy unique Dark Sky preserve

DSP Plaque

PostMedia Network June 10, 2015

KINGSTON, Ont. — A proposed 150-turbine wind energy project in eastern Ontario is being called a threat to one of Canada’s unique astronomical features.

Opened in the summer of 2013, the North Frontenac Dark Sky Preserve was 10 years in the making and holds hope of being a major tourism attraction for the area.

North Frontenac was the first municipality in Canada to be designated a dark sky preserve by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.

In a letter e-mailed to Ontario Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli and others, resident Chris Albinson wrote that asset could be under threat if the new wind turbines are built.

“Seventy-five wind turbines with associated light pollution would destroy the (economic development) objective and the tax base of the township,” Albinson wrote. “This a classic case of one arm of the government undermining the efforts of another arm of the government.”

NextEra Energy Canada, a subsidiary of Florida-based NextEra Energy, is proposing to build about 150 turbines, about a third to be constructed in North Frontenac.

A company spokesperson told council the project would provide $146,000 in municipal property tax revenue, upgrades to infrastructure and funding for recreation and community projects, along with between six and 10 full-time jobs.

In his letter, Albinson called for the Ontario government to reject the NextEra project. He questioned why a U.S. company was being allowed to possibly build a wind energy project in the area.

“Using Ontario taxpayer funds to subsidize a U.S. company that destroys an Ontario nature preserve seems grossly irresponsible, fiscally and environmentally,” he wrote.

When it was established, the dark sky preserve was hailed as an innovative use of something many people would overlook as an asset: a dark sky free of light pollution from urban centres.

Bon Echo area residents organize against wind ‘farm’

..and maybe soon, 150 turbines…

Residents of North Frontenac and Addington Highlands (also known as Land O’ Lakes area) have organized to fight the threatened 150-turbine wind power development by NextEra.

NextEra is the renewable energy arm of the U.S. power company, Florida Light and Power. As Parker Gallant has revealed in a post on this site, FPL is doing so well scooping up subsidy money here in Ontario, they have actually provided rate reductions to their customers in the United States.

See the website for the Bon Echo Area Residents Against Turbines here. The website is under construction and promises more detail later, but features a petition for signing now.

Citizens recently held a community meeting in Denbigh that included presentations by Parker Gallant and Carmen Krogh.

The group also has a Twitter account bearatorg and Facebook page.

Carmen Krogh to speak at Idea City


Every year for the past 16 years, broadcaster and innovator Moses Znaimer has held an event called Idea City.

Carmen Krogh will appear at this year’s vent, on June 18th.

June 18 schedule here.

More about Idea City:

Over the course of its 16-year history, the annual ideacity conference has more than earned its reputation as ‘Canada’s Premier Meeting of the Minds’. Playing host to a mélange of distinguished thinkers, from artistic talents and literary heavyweights, to innovative scientists and visionary entrepreneurs, ideacity is more than just a stage to air new concepts – it’s an incubator for inspiration.

Presented by Moses Znaimer each June, the convergence of those 50 unique intellectuals and adventurers invariably results in lively discussion and enlightenment. With only 600 spaces in the audience, ideacity benefits from an engaged and informed viewership, and a crowd that consistently matches our speakers’ enthusiasm and zeal.

As a result, the ideacity experience is as much about those attending as it is about those speaking, both onstage and off. The three-day gathering offers an unprecedented opportunity for audience members to mingle and connect with varied and distinguished presenters, including alumni such as Deepak Chopra, Margaret Atwood, Romeo Dallaire, Robert Kennedy Jr., Jann Arden, and Michael Ignatieff, is central to the conference.

Kawartha Lakes wind farms: we will “fight them all”

Kawartha Lakes This Week

MANVERS TWP- You have to hand it to the people of Manvers Township. They don’t go down without a fight.

And, they plan to legally challenge two more wind farms planned for the area; one approved and another expected to be.

Manvers Wind Concerns (MWC), a group of residents opposed to mega-wind turbines planned in three locations in the area, led the charge to fight wpd Canada’s Sumac Ridge project, which will see five turbines erected near Pontypool.

The Province approved that project in December of 2013 and MWC, the Buddhist Cham Shan Temple (which plans a four-Temple pilgrimage centre) and Cransley Home Farms Ltd. immediately appealed to the Environmental Review Tribunal.

That process took most of 2014 but the Tribunal ruled against the appellants. They then appealed to the Ministry of Environment for a judicial review and are awaiting that decision.

The Sumac Ridge appeal was handled by environmental lawyer Eric Gillespie, with help from dozens of volunteers with expertise in many fields mounting an impressive case during the hearing.

Ward 16 Councillor Heather Stauble has been front and centre in the fight to keep the wind turbines out; especially since the City of Kawartha Lakes is also opposed to them.

On May 7, the Province approved Settlers Landing Nominee Ltd.’s wind farm, known as Settlers Landing Wind Park, also planned near Pontypool.

Capstone Infrastructure’s Snowy Ridge wind park is planned to be built near Bethany, although approval for that project has not been announced to date.

One of the opponents’ main objections to the mega-turbines is many are to be built on the Oak Ridges Moraine, and provincial legislation is already in place prohibiting building on such a sensitive environmental area.

Coun. Stauble confirmed the community plans to fight all of the planned projects in Manvers. In an email, she said,

“All local projects are being appealed. The community has rallied to appeal the most recent project, Settlers Landing, beside Pontypool and on the Oak Ridges Moraine and, if approved, Snowy Ridge, near two local schools and the community of Bethany.”

There will be a meeting about the Snowy Ridge project on June 16 at 7 p.m. at The Ranch Resort, 252 Ski Hill Rd. in Bethany.

Power developer’s noise assessment fails legal requirement: Queens U prof

Map of proposed turbine locations on Amherst Island: developer has failed to meet legal requirements, says Queens University professor emeritus

Association to Protect Amherst Island, June 5, 2015

Dr. John Harrison, Professor Emeritus, Queen’s University, and Vice-President of Research for APAI explains that the most recent noise assessment report is inadequate for the following reasons:

  • The “warranted sound power” quoted by Siemens and Hatch does not correspond to the declared apparent sound power specified by the technical standard IEC 61400-11.
  • The version of IEC 61400-11 used is now 10 years out of date. This was pointed out by APAI in its response to the second modification noise
  • The DANAK measurements were made in a neutral atmosphere (ground roughness length = 0.05 metres). The predictable worst case scenario (Section 6.4 of the MOECC 2008 regulations) will include turbulence, refraction, a higher ground parameter and a higher wind speed gradient. This has been ignored in the
  • The assessment uses ISO 9613-2. This was never intended for sound sources as much as 150 metres above ground. Its failings were noted over a decade ago by Vestas. In addition, the authors of ISO 9613-2 were aware of its limitations and added an uncertainty of ± 3 dBA. This has been ignored in the
  • In a letter to the project manager of the Falmouth MA wind energy development Vestas affirmed that under certain circumstances the sound power could be 8 dBA above its specified sound power. This supports APAI’s contention that in the worst case scenario the sound power of the Amherst Island turbines will exceed that specified by 8 Adding 8 dBA will render the sound pressure level at almost all homes (285 of 301 existing and vacant) within the study area above the MOECC 40 dBA limit at a wind speed of 6 m/s.

Consequently, APAI recommends that the Technical Review Committee reviewing the Windlectric Renewable Energy Approval documents and modification to those documents reject the Windlectric Inc. Noise Assessment Report submitted by Algonquin Power in support of Modification 4. MOECC should require Algonquin Power to submit a revised design and Noise Assessment Report that complies with IEC 61400-11, the uncertainty specified in Table 5 of ISO-9613-2 and the predictable worst case scenario specified in section 6.4 of the 2008 MOECC Noise Guidelines for Wind Turbines. MOECC should further require Algonquin Power to post the new submission on the EBR for a minimum of sixty days for public review and comment.

Read the full assessment: Attachment 1 to APAI Response to MOD 4 Acoustic Assessment-2.

Consider neighbours in wind turbine lease decisions: WCO president

Consider your neighbours and community before signing wind turbine lease, says WCO: not true that there is no health risk president
Consider your neighbours and community before signing wind turbine lease, says WCO president: statements that there is no health risk are false

Ontario Farmer, June 2, 2015

Letter to the Editor

I was glad that writer Tom Van Dusen chose the word “balance in his account of the recent wind power information event in Finch, Ontario, where communities are now facing new power developments of 50-75 turbines.

Our view is that landowners’ decision to lease land for turbines must be balanced with the effect the power generators will have on their neighbours and community as a whole—these decisions cannot properly be made in isolation.

I would like to correct one statement attributed to me: I did NOT say that wind power projects should be located “in the middle of nowhere.” I believe I said that people live in Ontario’s North, too, and that the damage caused by wind power projects was not acceptable in these often fragile environments.

It is also not true that studies have shown “no risk” of health impacts. That evening I mentioned the Health Canada study which showed that 16.5% of people living within 1 km of a wind turbine had problems, and 25% at 550 metres (the Ontario legislated setback).

I also mentioned the Council of Canadian Academies report which said that Ontario’s methodology for noise measurement is not adequate, and that proper population studies have not yet been done, especially on vulnerable people such as children.

The Finch Lions’ Club provided a great service to their community by hosting the information event. Clearly, balance is needed in the information getting out to Ontario citizens.

Jane Wilson

Wind Concerns Ontario


Enerfin of Spain buys 100 MW Sydenham wind project

Windpower Intelligence, June 4, 2015

CANADA: Enerfin acquires up to 100MW Sydenham

Project acquired from Mainstream Renewable PowerSpanish developer Enerfin has purchased the up to 100MW Sydenham project in Ontario, from Mainstream Renewable Power. It plans to submit a bid by 1 September, into Ontario’s large renewable procurement process, which is seeking 300MW of wind capacity.