Wind Concerns Ontario is a province-wide advocacy organization whose mission is to provide information on the potential impact of industrial-scale wind power generation on the economy, human health, and the natural environment.
Time is of the essence as Kincardine council looks to conduct background noise studies before the Armow Wind project begins operation.
Council has directed staff to report back as soon as possible in order to issue a Request For Proposal to hire a consultant to conduct background acoustic and infrasound tests in the project area.
CAO Murray Clarke says they need to move quickly because the 180-megawatt Armow project is nearing completion.
“The Armow project is planned to be plugged in and operating before the end of the year, so clearly in order to gather benchmark or background data, it must be done before the turbines are spinning,” says Clarke.
Council passed a resolution in 2013 to create a fund of up to $100,000 per year of tax revenue from Armow project for independent noise testing, but background testing is not included in the 2015 budget, so staff will report back with funding options.
Deborah Morris of Huron-Kinloss Against Lakeshore Turbines says they’re urging Kincardine council to consider expanding its noise testing pledge to include the Enbridge wind farm in Bruce Township, as well as three other small wind farms proposed in the municipality.
However, Mayor Anne Eadie says council is focusing on the Armow project for now because of the tight timeline.
TILBURY – A renewable energy company is finding a willing host in Chatham-Kent and nearby Lakeshore, but the same can’t be said for Leamington.
EDF EN Canada Inc. is proposing to develop 100-megawatt wind energy project, to be called Romney Wind Energy Centre, that would span more than 10,000 acres covering the southwest corner of Chatham-Kent, north of Wheatley, a large section of Leamington, as well as a sliver of the easterly boundary of Lakeshore.
The company hosted an open house at the Tilbury Memorial Arena on Wednesday to provide details of the proposed project to the public.
Mark Gallagher, a senior developer with EDF EN, said the company has attained a willing host agreement with Chatham-Kent, which will generate $8 million in revenues for the 20-year life of the project, including a 15% equity partnership agreement with the municipality.
The deal includes paying Chatham-Kent $2,500 per megawatt installed, which would equal about $150,000 a year, as well as $2.1-million equity deal, $56,250 in annual property taxes and a $180,000 annual maintenance contract for Entegrus, the municipal-owned electrical utility.
Lakeshore, which has only agreed to be a willing host for the connection line, would see a $500,000 benefit over 20 years.
However, Gallagher said Leamington has a non-willing host resolution in place, and is not willing to budge on that position when asked to consider this project.
He said the company is still evaluating its position on Leamington.
He noted the project is still feasible with only Chatham-Kent and Lakeshore involved, generating 60 megawatts of power. This reconfigured design would see about 20 turbines erected in the southwest corner of the municipality.
There are several landowners in Leamington who are willing to host a turbine on their property. A total of 10,000 acres have been secured for the project, with 6,000 acres having been signed in the last six months, Gallagher said.
“It’s pretty good take up,” he said, adding they are still in negotiations with some landowners in the area.
Gallagher said many people who initially balked at having a wind turbine on their property have changed their mind.
“We’re getting a lot of calls from people who . . . missed the opportunity the first time around and now they want to be part of the project,” he said. “They’ve seen them up and running, they realize there’s actually no issues here.”
However, only a fraction of that land will be required, because only a limited number of turbines could be erected in the area due to the various environmental and municipal setbacks in place.
While some municipalities are taking advantage of the economic benefits from wind projects, Gallagher said, “there’s still opposition out there to wind.”
Under Ontario’s Green Energy Act, companies don’t need a municipality to be a willing host, but Gallagher said the new procurement system for renewable energy projects favour those that are welcomed by the community.
David Thornton, associate – stakeholder resolutions for EDF EN, said notices for the meeting were sent out to property owners 550 metres beyond the project area.
“That’s the call for the meeting, come out and ask questions,” he said. “We, obviously, want to hear the feedback.”
Gallagher said a key issue that the company plans to address is the aviation lighting on the turbines, which are the blinking red lights that annoy many people at night.
He said the company has committed to spending $10,000 per turbine to install the latest radar technology that would only activate the aviation lights if a plane is in the vicinity.
“It’s just one more way we’re trying to make it acceptable in the community,” Gallagher said.
The company plans to submit its proposal to the Independent Electricity System Operator by Sept. 1, but doesn’t anticipate finding out if it has been successful until at least Christmas.
If accepted, EDF EN would have up to four years to obtain all the environmental approvals and permits, Gallagher said this is very early in process, noting there would be many more open houses and a lot more notification would take place.
An independent scientific committee should be created to set national standards on the level of sound emitted by windfarms, the final report of a Senate inquiry into turbines has recommended.
States that refuse to adopt the national limits should be barred from receiving renewable energy certificates, it said.
The independent expert scientific committee on industrial sound should report back to state and federal health ministers on the health effects of proposed windfarms, the report by the select committee on wind turbines said. If the project poses a risk, it should not be accredited.
It wants the productivity commission to look at the how wind-generated electricity affects retail electricity prices, and is urging that the Clean Energy Regulator release any information it has proving that wind power is reducing the amount of carbon emissions.
Labor released a dissenting report, labelling the recommendations “reckless, ridiculous and irresponsible”.
Committee member and Labor senator Anne Urquhart said its main aim is the crippling of the renewables industry.
“This isn’t just an attack on wind – Australia’s entire renewable energy industry would pay the price,” Urquhart said. “The majority report is belligerently deaf to the expert advice that wind energy is not only safe, but it is affordable and should play a critical role in Australia’s transition to a low-carbon economy.”
“I fear this report will only serve to feed the prime minister’s blind obsession with destroying an industry that promises billions of dollars of investment and thousands of jobs in regional communities,” Urquhart said.
“If the government follows through on the recommendations in the majority report it will just cement Australia’s place as a global climate pariah with regional communities and the environment paying the price.”
The final report also recommends that the national health and medical research council should research the ill health effects of wind turbines, a syndrome for which no evidence has been found.
“The committee believes there is an urgent need to put in place a central point of expert scientific advice on the risks of wind turbines to human health,” the report said.
The Australian Medical Association refused to front the inquiry and has said that “there is no accepted physiological mechanism where sub-audible infrasound could cause health effects”.
The report criticised the AMA’s decision not to give evidence, and hammered the research council for taking the advice of “Big Wind”.
“There are glaring planning and compliance deficiencies plus growing evidence, domestic and international, that infrasound and low frequency sound from wind turbines is having an adverse health impact on some people who live in the vicinity of windfarms. This is not something a responsible government can ignore,” he said.
Up to two dozen more wind turbines are being proposed again for an installation in the middle of Essex County, and critics can’t be blamed for being unenthusiastic about the new plan. GDP Suez Canada Inc. is behind the Blue Sky Wind Project, its second proposed wind farm for the same area.
The latest, slightly downsized proposal is to erect 20 to 25 turbines southwest of the Town of Essex. The installation would be roughly enclosed by a triangle formed by Walker Road on the west, South Malden Road on the southeast, and on the northeast by Highway 3 between Oldcastle and Essex.
A similar GDP Suez proposal for 27 turbines failed to win the support of the Town of Essex in 2012. But under Ontario’s blatantly pro-turbine approval process, that doesn’t necessarily end a project.
The Ontario government has suspended normal planning rules in the case of renewable energy projects, allowing proponents to trample local concerns all over the province. The Liberal government grudgingly began to allow more local input two years ago. But their attempt to mollify the critics still denies residents real veto power over unwanted projects.
After its last rebuff, GDP Suez said it was “determined” about the project. It’s opponents are, too. And this time they have an additional weapon at their disposal: cost.
Wind farm opponents invariably cite the alleged health effects caused by vibration and strobe effects. There is also alleged noise pollution. Finally, the visual impact of the looming machines is considered an imposition by many, and too many birds are said to be killed by the machines.
But isn’t the economic impact of wind turbines the issue of biggest concern to the most people? Turbines are a hugely expensive way to produce limited and unreliable power. The more that are approved, the higher everyone’s bills will be. They cause economic hardship and job losses. That should be reason enough to oppose adding two dozen more to the local grid.
Ontario’s controversial green energy schemes have saddled consumers and employers alike with growing bills, with little to show for them other than a questionable green pride on the part of the government of the day.
Wind farm owners are well rewarded for their investments, the farmer landlords a little less so. But consumers are stuck with paying hundreds of millions above market rates for the power produced, and one employer after another has cited rising rates as a reason they aren’t hiring. To add insult to injury, consumers are even forced to pay to dump wind power at a loss into the U.S. grid when it isn’t needed, because the contracts are so one-sided.
Essex County has embraced efforts to green the grid and accepted the installation of 170 turbines between Amherstburg and Tilbury. But if the main effect of them is merely higher power rates, perhaps enough is enough.
Source: The Connection, MP Lobb’s riding newsletter, No. 6
Some people in the riding of Huron-Bruce have reached out to me many times because of concerns about the operation of industrial wind projects in proximity to their homes.
These concerns are validated through peer reviewed research published internationally. As the Chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health (HESA) I take these reports very seriously.
According to David Michaud PhD, principal investigator for the Health Canada wind turbine noise and health study 2014, the Radiation Emitting Devices Act (REDA) has authority over wind turbine emissions in the form of electromagnetic waves or acoustical waves.
Upon investigation I believe the REDA has a system in place to make sure those with wind turbine health and noise complaints are heard at the federal level. The REDA, which is a federal law, states the following:
6. (1) Where a person who is the manufacturer or importer of a radiation emitting device becomes aware, after the device has left the person’s premises, of the fact that the device
(a) does not comply with the standards, if any, prescribed under paragraph 13(1)(b) and applicable thereto, or
(b) creates a risk to any person of genetic or personal injury, impairment of health or deathfrom radiation by reason of the fact that it
(i) does not perform according to the performance characteristics claimed for it,
(ii) does not accomplish its claimed purpose, or
(iii) emits radiation that is not necessary in order for it to accomplish its claimed purpose,
the person shall forthwith notify the Minister.
Each person who believes they are suffering as a result of a wind turbine project operating in their vicinity should contact the importer/proponent of the project and/or the manufacturer of the actual wind turbines in the project.
You can copy my office on your email messages in order to keep a record.
In addition you can view the REDA in its entirety at the Canadians For Radiation Emissions Enforcement website
to find out more about the REDA law created to protect Canadians from electromagnetic waves or acoustical waves.
I am sure many have already sent letters to the Minister of Health, Rona Ambrose, but the process outlined in the REDA may be more effective.
Many have already heard from various federal ministries that electricity generation is not a federal responsibility. However, the health and safety of Canadian citizens is the responsibility of the Government of Canada.
I hope you have a wonderful summer and please continue to share with me your ideas to help make Huron-Bruce the best it can be.
Innergex Renewable Energy Inc. has scaled back and moved its proposed wind farm north of the city.
Innergex spokesman Francois Morin said Friday the firm is now proposing a 110 megawatt wind farm instead of a 140 megawatt project and that the site has been shifted about four kilometres to the east to address concern raised by cottagers.
As a result of the move, Morin said the project is no longer located in Merrick Township, and is now being proposed for a Crown land within the Townships of Lockhart and Mulock.
He said the changes are the result of consultation and additional wind data in the area.
Morin said the project also remains outside of a 15-kilometre radius of Jack Garland Airport, despite an official response from NAV Canada indicating up to five turbines would be permitted within that boundary.
“We made a commitment to the city and want to honour that,” said Morin, referring to concerns raised earlier about the potential interference of the wind farm with radar equipment and flight paths.
He said NAV Canada has since evaluated and provided an official response to Innergex’s original proposal, suggesting the firm could adjust the project to include only five turbines within the 15-kilometre radius, or leave the proposal as is and help pay for upgraded radar equipment.
But Morin said the firm plans to keep its commitments to both the city and area cottagers.
A public meeting regarding the proposal – which is referred to at the Gidaabik Wind Project – is set for Aug. 20 at the Davedi Club from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m.
Morin said the firm plans to submit two proposals to the province under its Large Renewable Procurement program, which is expected to award contracts this year for wind and solar, hydroelectric and bioenergy projects.
But he said both proposals are for the same site and are virtually same, other than how they will connect to the grid. And Morin said only one of the proposal will be able to move ahead.
North Bay council this week passed a motion in principle following in-camera discussions to support a solar farm of up to 75 megawatts on a 300-acre site north of Four Mile Lake.
Morin acknowledged that Innergex’s proposed wind farm is in a sense competing against that project, as well as numerous others in the region, including some in the Sudbury area, because of limited capacity.
He said there is about 150 megawatts of capacity in the region, noting the province plans to approve a total of 300 megawatts of wind and 140 megawatts of solar energy in Ontario. Because the call for proposals is province-wide, Morin said there may not be any project in the North Bay area approved, nor any in Northern Ontario.
If it comes down to a wind project versus and solar project, however, he suggested wind in most instance win because it is much cheaper.