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.
A renowned researcher specializing in noise emissions and their effect on the human body, will be speaking at the University of Waterloo on September 12.
All are invited and there is no charge for the event.
Speaker: Mariana Alves-Pereira
Title: Infrasound & Low Frequency Noise: Physics, Cells, Health and History Date: Thursday September 12, 2019
Time: 1 pm
Location: University of Waterloo, Room: DC 1302 (Davis Centre)
Speaker Bio: Mariana Alves-Pereira holds a B.Sc. in Physics (State University of New York at Stony Brook), a M.Sc. in Biomedical Engineering (Drexel University) and a Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences (New University of Lisbon). She joined the multidisciplinary research team investigating the biological response to infrasound and low frequency noise in 1988, and has been the team’s Assistant Coordinator since 1999. Recipient of three scientific awards, and author and coauthor of over 50 scientific publications (including peer-reviewed and conference presentations), Dr. Alves-Pereira is currently Associate Professor at Lusófona University teaching Biophysics and Biomaterials in health science programs (nursing and radiology), as well as Physics and Hygiene in workplace safety & health programs.
Her most recently published paper concerns low-frequency noise and infrasound, and how outdated regulations are failing to protect health.
Host: Associate professor Richard Mann, http://www.cs.uwaterloo.ca/~mannr
New from the Fraser Institute is a report on renewable energy and the consequences of political encouragement of variable power sources.
The abstract is below but be sure to read the full report. A paragraph of page 6 is particularly damning of Ontario’s energy policy:
” … proponents of wind and solar power intentionally misrepresent the advantages of these technologies by focussing attention solely on the costs and benefits obtained whenever electricity is being generated. The costs of wind and solar power are considerably higher and the environmental benefits much lower when account is taken of the impact these technologies have on an entire electricity system. Ultimately, consumers do not pay for electricity generated using wind and sunlight but for electricity that is delivered to them continuously by the electricity system as a whole. Therefore, when VRE is introduced into an electricity system, ratepayers are interested in its system-wide impact, not just the cost of the wind and solar power entering the grid. The additional conventional generating capacity required to provide back-up electricity supply when VRE capacity is not generating electricity because of a lack of wind or sunshine is a significant incremental cost to the system.”
Generating Electricity in Canada from Wind and Sunlight: Is Getting Less for More Better than Getting More for Less?
Using wind and sunlight to generate electricity is controversial. Advocates urge increased reliance on these variable renewable energy (VRE) sources because they are seen as a low-cost way of mitigating a looming climate-change crisis. Critics take the opposite stance, claiming wind and solar power are costly, and the environmental benefits negligible at best. Some Canadian provinces have gone to considerable lengths to encourage adoption of these technologies, but the results have been mixed.
This study shows that both positions contain elements of truth. Electricity generated using wind and sunshine is relatively inexpensive. However, once the capacity is in place, it is only available at certain times of the day and/or when the weather cooperates. But consumers require a reliable electricity supply and integrating VRE into existing electricity systems while maintaining a continuous and reliable supply is complicated and costly, both financially and environmentally. Electricity consumers and taxpayers are interested primarily in the financial burden that results from efforts to increase electricity generating capacity using VRE sources. This includes the costs wind and solar power impose on the electricity system as a whole, not just the cost of the VRE-generated electricity supplied to the grid.
The incremental financial costs to the system fall into three basic categories: first, augmenting existing conventional generating capacity so that it is able to compensate for the unreliable supply of wind and solar power. Second, ensuring that the necessary investment in conventional generating capacity is forthcoming although the VRE in the system makes it impossible to use this capacity efficiently. This requirement is usually satisfied either with a capacity market or contracts with suppliers of conventional generating capacity. Third, adding transmission grid capacity and the configuration of grid services required to integrate VRE into the electricity system. Each category has repercussions for the environment. Cheap electricity from wind turbines and solar panels paradoxically results in larger bills for electricity users and taxpayers. Higher utility rates for businesses and households and higher taxes and cutbacks to public services dampen economic activity and reduce living standards.
Compared to conventional power sources, small and variable amounts of electricity are generated when wind and solar energy are captured and transformed by a dispersed array of VRE installations. Large areas of land, often in remote locations, are required. This inevitably results in significant additional costs in terms of delivery infrastructure (for example, high-voltage power lines) and back-up power generation (for example, natural-gas-powered turbines) that would not otherwise be incurred. The first part of this study examines how electricity systems work in order to evaluate the contradictory claims made about VRE. Whether or not wind and solar power are clean and cheap depends on how the evaluation is framed. Critics point out that the economic and environmental costs of the electricity generated using wind and solar technologies can be quite different from the impact of this source of electricity on a system-wide basis.
The second part of the study shows how the system-wide costs and benefits of adding wind and solar power to an existing electricity system are affected by the policies of provincial governments, the cost of electricity, the conventional generating assets already in place, and the structure of the electricity system. Comparing experiences with VRE in different provinces illustrates the importance of these factors.
Cross-Canada comparisons show that electricity utilities themselves are usually best placed to determine whether or not the system-wide cost of these technologies is justified. Prior to 2015, Alberta demonstrated how a competitive wholesale market for electricity determined the extent to which wind and solar energy is economically feasible. Neither is the involvement of provincial governments necessarily a bad thing. Prince Edward Island has successfully integrated a substantial amount of wind power into its electricity system under unique circumstances: a provincial Crown corporation operates several wind farms but the rest of the electricity system is privately or municipally owned. Problems arise when dramatic increases in wind and solar power receive political sanction and the economic consequences are underestimated or ignored. A bold initiative to increase wind and solar generating capacity in the Ontario electricity system backfired badly, leading to soaring electricity rates for both consumers and manufacturers. Between 2015 and 2019, the Alberta government worked towards installing even more wind and solar capacity than had proved politically and economically unsustainable in Ontario, but the electorate allowed that government only a single term in office.
A policy should be judged by whether or not the chosen means have delivered the promised ends. Our review of Canadian wind and solar energy policy shows that they led to consequences consistent with those in other jurisdictions: ramping up electricity production using these power sources results in increased costs for taxpayers and consumers when account is taken of the impact these technologies have on the electricity system as a whole and, when done on any significant scale, generally negative and unnecessary environmental consequences.
On July 19, MPP Monte McNaughton (Lambton-Kent-Middlesex) announced that the Ontario government had struck a five-member panel of scientists to investigate whether there is a link between the vibrations from wind turbine construction and operation and the disturbance in more than 80 wells in Chatham-Kent. Mr. McNaughton made the announcement with fellow MPPs Rick Nicholls and Bob Bailey at a news conference.
The news release is as follows:
July 19, 2019
Ontario Conducting Health Hazard Investigation
Province Creates Independent Panel of Scientists to Investigate Water Wells, Fulfilling Commitment
Chatham Kent — Ontario’s government for the people has formed an expert independent panel to investigate well water in Chatham Kent, MPP McNaughton announced today.
The five-member independent panel will determine if the water from private wells in Chatham-Kent is safe for consumption.
“Our government made a promise to strike this panel,” said McNaughton. “Today we are fulfilling that promise.”
The five-member independent panel will consist of four experienced toxicologists and one local geologist. All members are independent from government and are experienced toxicology professionals that have served on advisory committees.
The panel is empowered to take a fresh look at new samples collected from certain water wells in Chatham-Kent where residents have raised questions about water quality. Samples from up to 189 private wells will be taken by a third-party business and tested by a commercial laboratory.
The announcement fulfills a government commitment.
“Barely one year after this promise was made, we are fulfilling it,” said McNaughton. “And we’re doing it in a way that will inspire confidence from the people of this community. People can trust the results this independent panel delivers.”
The five independent experts comprising the panel are:
Dr. Keith Benn, PhD – A local geologist and past professor of geology at University of Ottawa.
Dr. Glenn Ferguson, PhD, QPRA – An environmental health scientist with 25 years experience in toxicology, epidemiology, and human health risk assessment.
Dr. Shelley A. Harris, PhD – An epidemiologist and associate professor at University of Toronto who specializes in exposure measurement.
Dr. Ron Brecher, PhD – A specialist in toxicology, risk assessment and risk communication.
Mark Chappel, MSc, DABT – A toxicologist with significant experience in supervising and managing comprehensive toxicity studies.
“This is welcome news for the people of Chatham-Kent, who raised the effect of wind turbine construction on the water at appeal as a concern,” said Wind Concerns Ontario president Jane Wilson. “That appeal was withdrawn because the proponent sprung a consulting report on the appeal and the Tribunal refused to allow the citizens time to examine it — they were left with no choice, and no chance for real presentation of the issues.”
Wilson, a registered nurse, said she hoped the independent panel of scientists will be free to examine water samples and review the experience of the families’ whose water wells have been affected.
“The response of some authorities, including the local Medical Officer of Health, is that the wells were not of good quality to begin with. That’s absurd and defies belief, when you have dozens of wells fail in a short time,” said Wilson.
Wilson added that the same consultants who claimed there would be no problems in North Kent, were also called upon to refute citizen concerns in North Stormont, where the 100-megawatt Nation Rise wind power project is currently under construction. At appeal, citizens produced experts who said there were problematic turbine locations within the project; the province has designated the entire project area as a “highly vulnerable aquifer.”
Medical Officer of Health tells international audience that “the notion that extensive fracturing of bedrock could result from piles is ludicrous.”
June 25, 2019
Speaking at the 2019 conference on wind turbine noise in Lisbon, Portugal earlier this month, Dr. David Colby took on “allegations” of disturbance of well water by wind turbine construction and pronounced the situation as impossible.
Dr. Colby was listed simply in the conference programme as being associated with Western University (he is an associate professor of microbiology and immunology) but did not list his position as Medical Officer of Health for Chatham-Kent.
In decidedly un-academic language he began by stating that “allegations of water well interference, sediment infiltration and aquifer contamination due to ground borne vibrations from wind turbine construction and operation have been levied against a wind farm in Chatham-Kent, Ontario, Canada.”
Dr Colby’s paper is simply a recitation of evidence provided by the wind power proponent/operator and by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment at the appeal of the project. He states that the appeal was withdrawn, implying that there was no basis for it. In fact, the proponent sprang a technical report on the Appellant during the proceedings and the Tribunal refused to allow the Appellant (appearing without legal counsel) time to review the report — the Appellant was left no choice but to withdraw.
Relying on a technical report prepared for the wind power operator by Aecom Canada and the original environment ministry assessment, Colby concluded that “water quality in the study area of Chatham-Kent was poor from the outset.
“There is no evidence that water wells are being systematically affected by construction or operation of wind turbines,” Dr Colby concluded.
Not content with negating the complaints of dozens of property owners in his public health jurisdiction, Dr Colby also took a swipe at citizens in North Stormont, where one of the main concerns is that the 100-megawatt “Nation Rise” wind power project is being built on an area deemed by the province to be a “highly vulnerable aquifer.” He cited the fact the appeal was dismissed by the Environmental Review Tribunal as more proof that there is no association between wind turbines and well disturbance.
But that’s not what groundwater experts say.
In the current issue of the journal of the Ontario Groundwater Association, “Turbidity and Turbines” is the feature article, which includes an interview with hydrogeologist Bill Clarke.
“There is no doubt in my mind this is well interference,” Clarke said.
Joel Gagnon, professor in Environmental and Earth Sciences at the University of Waterloo was also interviewed about testing he and a team of students carried out on the Chatham-Kent affected wells. Where Dr Colby states outright that not only is there no problem with the well water, it’s actually impossible that there could be, Professor Gagnon says “there is a lot of uncertainty.”
He wants more investigation into the issue.
The Groundwater article says that there are not more than 80 water wells affected in Chatham-Kent. Hydrogeologist Clarke is concerned about the future, and worries the situation could become a “tragedy.”
“Why not stop,” he says, “reflect on what we don’t know.”
As everyone in Ontario knows by now, the Ford government shuffled its Cabinet this week.
Key changes for Wind Concerns Ontario community group coalition and individual members are the following appointments:
Environment, Conservation and Parks: Jeff Yurek
Energy: Greg Rickford
Energy, Associate Minister, Bill Walker
Former Environment minister Phillips is now in the Finance Chair, and he knows from working with us that wind power does not bring any bonanza to Ontario’s economy; similarly, former Finance minister Vic Fedeli, now responsible for the critical Economic Development file, knows that too, and he also knows the promise of thousands of wind power jobs is false.
The fact is, we have moved in Ontario from having a (Liberal) government in which NO MPPs had wind turbines in their riding (one almost did, Grant Crack/Eastern Fields project) to a government in which 14 MPPs have active wind power projects, and several others were supportive of community fights against proposed projects.
New environment minister Yurek has been very involved with his community and wind turbines, and associate energy minister Walker stood up while in Opposition many times, describing the problems with wind turbines and demanding a return of local land-use planning. “No means No,” he told Premier Kathleen Wynne in the Legislature in 2013.
We are heartened by the comments made to us at our recent Queen’s Park event, and by the promise of these new appointments, going forward.
A doctor who denies health impacts and a connection to disturbed water wells, an industry insider, and a researcher who claims there is no association between wind turbine noise and adverse health effects, are all speaking at an international Wind Turbine Noise conference this week. Whatever will they say?
June 12, 2019
Tomorrow, June 13, at 0900 EDT, Dr. David Colby will deliver a presentation at the Wind Turbine Noise 2019 conference #WTN2019 in Lisbon, Portugal.
Dr. Colby, who is Medical Officer of Health for Chatham-Kent, where there have been allegations of contamination of water wells by particulate matter during wind turbine construction and association with vibration from turbine operation, is presenting a talk titled “Wind Turbines and Groundwater Contamination – an analysis.”
Dr. Colby told Chatham-Kent media that he was not travelling to this conference as a Medical Officer of Health, but rather as a private citizen, and paying expenses himself.
There are many concerns about Dr. Colby’s talk, not the least of which is despite the absence of an investigation into the allegations of contamination, which Chatham-Kent residents have been calling for, is that he has on more than a few occasions claimed there is no relationship between the wind turbine construction in North Kent and any changes in wells and the water supply.
In a story in Farmers Forum, in which MPP Monte McNaughton said the government has asked the Chief Medical Officer of Health for the province to look into the situation, Dr. Colby is quoted as saying there was “no evidence” of a relationship between the turbines and disturbed wells.
In an interview published today by the Chatham Voice, Water Wells First leader Jessica Brooks said that with dozens of wells now contaminated, patience with government inaction is waning.
According to research by Water Wells First, Brooks said, the black shale, contained in the water from the disturbed wells, is a material considered an Environmental Hazard in Canada because it has been shown the particles contain heavy metals such as arsenic, mercury, lead and uranium.
The toxins in the particles may become bioavailable when digested in stomach acid.
“A 2016 joint report between Cancer Care Ontario and Public Health Ontario acknowledged that Ontarians are in fact getting cancer each year from environmental carcinogen exposure. The report specifically acknowledged the heavy metal arsenic, which causes a cancer burden on Ontario’s beleaguered health care system each year,” Brooks said.
The content of Dr Colby’s address is unknown; however, he told Jessica Brooks earlier this year that he is simply reviewing publicly available information, including an analysis by Aecon, involved in construction of the North Kent wind power project.
Later tomorrow, Dr Colby is chairing a panel discussion titled “Impact on People.” He has testified as an expert witness for wind power proponents in the past during legal and quasi-legal proceedings.
Also presenting at this conference is Payam Ashtiani, whose firm Aercoustics boasts that it developed the compliance protocols for wind turbine noise for the (previous) government, and now regularly completes audits of wind turbine noise to assess compliance, and Dr. David Michaud (not a medical doctor), one of the authors of the Health Canada noise study.
“We get it” ministers tell community leaders from Ontario rural communities
June 2, 2019
Ontario’s Minister of Energy and Northern Development Greg Rickford attended an event at Queen’s Park sponsored by MPP Daryl Kramp (Hastings-Lennox and Addington) and hosted by Wind Concerns Ontario this week with his colleague Rod Phillips, Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks.
Minister Rickford said the two are working together on responding to citizen concerns and reports of noise and other adverse effects from the thousands of industrial-scale wind turbines that were forced on Ontario communities by the McGuinty-Wynne governments.
“It won’t happen overnight,” Minister Rickford said, but we are dedicated to helping communities with concerns and problems with wind turbines.
In recent days, the environment ministry has determined that two large wind power projects are not in compliance with provincial noise regulations. K2 Wind is out of compliance and now the subject of a Director’s Order to implement a noise abatement plan within the next two weeks, and further, to establish firm dates for new audits to demonstrate compliance to the revised noise protocol by mid-July.
The Director has also stipulated that K2 Wind, which is owned now by Axium Infrastructure, must review resident complaints as part of its response.
The Order, the requirements for immediate noise abatement, and the acknowledgement of resident concerns mark a significant departure from how complaints were managed by the previous government, which treated the wind power operators as their “Client” and failed to respond to the majority of complaints. Response to complaints about noise and other effects is a requirement of Renewable Energy Approvals.
The “Windlectric” project on Amherst Island was also determined to be out of compliance; Wind Concerns Ontario is unaware of a Director’s Order for that project.
The Energy Minister said that cancelling the contracts with wind power operators was difficult and likely not possible, but the government was taking other action to deal with problems. Minister Phillips said they are very aware of the problems being experienced.
“We need more material from you,” he said, speaking to community leaders from across Ontario.
Many of the MPPs who have wind turbines in their ridings attended the event including Lisa Thompson (MInister of Education), Rick Nicholls (Deputy Speaker), Laurie Scott (Minister of Labour), Sam Oosterhoff, Jeff Yurek (Minister of Transportation) and of course, Daryl Kramp, who sponsored the information event. Other MPPs attending were Daisy Wai, Belinda Kalaharios, Michael Parsa, Robin Martin and Effie Triantafilopolous (both Parliamentary Assistants to the Minister of Health), Dave Smith, Doug Downey, Goldie Ghamari, Logan Kanapathi, Vijay Thanigasala, Will Bouma, Jim McDonell, and Jane McKenna.
Senior staff members for MPPs also attended the event.
“When the Green Energy Act was passed in 2009, Premier Dalton McGuinty promised action to address any concerns about health and safety associated with wind turbines,” said WCO president Jane Wilson. “That’s not what happened — today, we have thousands upon thousands of complaints filed with government about noise and other effects, and the former government did almost nothing.”
Minister Lisa Thompson, who was environment critic while the PC party was in Opposition, told WCO president Jane Wilson, “I think about this every single day–I have been with you from the beginning.”
MPP Rick Nicholls, who has many turbines in his Chatham-Kent riding, said the reality of wind turbines has resonated with the public which no longer believes the mythology about impact-free, “green” wind power generators. He referred to the defeat of the pro-wind Chatham-Kent mayor as a sign of the public’s changed attitude.
“I think they get it that there are concerns,” said Stewart Halliday of Grey Highlands, who is vice-chair of the Multi-Municipal Wind Turbine Working Group, and who came to represent municipal concerns about noise and safety issues. “They reassured us and now they are starting to take action with K2 and Amherst Island.”
Posters were presented around the room, outlining major concerns and suggestions for government action. A slide show featured pictures from wind turbine projects all over Ontario including Amherst Island, Bow Lake, K2 Wind, Bluewater, Belle River, and Chatham-Kent.
A WCO member and resident of West Lincoln wrote to WCO after the event to say “spirits were uplifted” for area residents after the ministers’ statements and recent actions by the MECP.
One of Ontario’s largest wind power projects, K2 Wind, a 140-turbine project in the Township of Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh in Huron County, has been found out of compliance with conditions of its Renewable Energy Approval, and Ontario noise regulations.
The operator for the project has been issued an Order by the Director of the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks to act immediately to develop and implement a Noise Abatement Plan and further, to conduct an acoustic audit to confirm compliance.
The K2 Wind power project began operation in 2015; documents obtained under a Freedom of Information request by Wind Concerns Ontario show that the Ontario Liberal government had received more than 400 complaints about wind turbine noise and other adverse effects by the end of 2016. 
Residents have continued to complain about the project and earlier this year, testing took place at several homes where families have persisted in filing reports of excessive noise and vibration/sensation.
The Provincial Officer’s Order instructs K2 Wind Ontario Inc. to undertake various actions related to the project. By June 14, they are to have developed and implemented interim abatement measures to bring the project into compliance with the Noise Performance Limits of the project. A range of options were provided for these changes including:
Limiting the number of hours during a twenty-four (24) hour period during which the Equipment operates;
De-rating the wind turbines to reduce the Sound Levels emitted from the Equipment; or
Curtailing the operation of the Equipment under specific conditions, such as wind speed and direction.
Details of the changes made are to be provided to the Ministry by June17.
In addition, the project operator is to engage an Acoustical Consultant who is to prepare and submit a Noise Abatement Action Plan (NAAP) by July 19. This NAAP is to include:
Mitigation measures to ensure that the Facility is operating in compliance with the Noise Performance Limits;
Detailed timelines for the implementation of the NAAP: and
The submission and the timeline for completion of a new I-Audit, including Tonal Assessments, to verify that implementation of the NAAP have achieved compliance with the Noise Performance Limits
The Order is unusual in the history of the Ontario government managing complaints about wind turbine noise and other emissions, says Wind Concerns Ontario president Jane Wilson. “Up to now, resident complaints have been largely ignored by the Ministry. The documents we received showed the response rate had actually declined, and the Ministry did not seem prepared to take any action at all against the wind power operators, who are classified as the ‘Client’ in Ministry documents.
“This is a departure in tone and intent,” Wilson says.
In closing arguments at the appeal of the Nation Rise wind power project last August, Ministry lawyer Paul McCulloch claimed that evidence presented by Wilson based on the government records of noise complaints was not to be taken seriously by the Environmental Review Tribunal because the complaints (though recorded by government Environmental Officers who are also classed as Public Officers under the Criminal Code of Canada) should have been supported by medical opinion.
In a letter to Carla Stachura, a homeowner living among K2 Wind turbine who has been stalwart on filing reports of wind turbine noise, Environmental Officer Natasha Munn stated: “The ministry has directed Pattern Energy to review the information from your complaints as part of the overall assessment. The information submitted will be assessed using the 2017 Compliance Protocol for Wind Turbine Noise.”
“That is really important,” says Jane Wilson. “Resident reports of excessive noise are to be taken seriously and evaluated, as stipulated in the Renewable Energy Approvals.”
Noise abatement has been required before, notably in the case of the Unifor turbine in Port Elgin, a problematic turbine that has been de-rated twice, and now operates at 300 kW — while the complaints keep being filed with residents, regardless of abatement.
A noise abatement plan was suggested, but not ordered, for multiple turbines in the Melancthon project but there is no evidence in government records that this ever happened, and complaints continue to be filed.
It is unclear what effect if any this Order could have on the Nation Rise project which is now in Direct Appeal to the MInister; while K2 Wind’s new audits will be assessed against the newer 2017 noise limits while Nation Rise (also owned in part by Axium Infrastructure) was allowed to submit its renewable energy application using the old limits, despite not having specified the turbine models to be used.
 Wind Concerns Ontario has also requested records from 2017 and 2018, neither of which have been fulfilled.
 Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks, Provincial Officer’s Order, 8710-BBPJA8, dated May 23, 2019.
See also a recent article on how the failure to act on citizen complaints about wind turbine noise is a serious failure in public health surveillance: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/331174238_Wind_Turbine_IncidentComplaint_Reports_in_Ontario_Canada_A_Review-Why_Are_They_Important