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.
The battle to stop the Grand Bend Wind Farm from proceeding will be fought with claims industrial wind turbines harm human health.
The Municipality of Bluewater is asking that approval of the $380-million project north of Grand Bend be revoked in a filing published Tuesday on the Ontario Environmental Registry.
A joint project of Northland Power and two First Nations, the Grand Bend Wind Farm would consist of 40 industrial wind turbines located about a kilometre from the popular Lake Huron shoreline in a 15-kilometre stretch.
In its appeal of the approval, Bluewater asserts industrial wind farms are known to cause a range of health effects in five to 30% of the population, including sleep disturbance, headaches, dizziness, nausea and visual blurring.
The wind farm also is being challenged by an individual who is arguing the approval violates his right to security of the person as guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Though the appeals are expected to take about six months to be dealt with, previous wind farm challenges on the grounds of health concerns have failed, including objections to the Bornish Wind Farm constructed south of Parkhill in Middlesex County.
Northland Power has said it will not undertake major construction work on the Grand Bend Wind Farm until the appeals have been settled.
My letter is in response to the little article (Shetland Times, 11th July) inserted on behalf of Harry Jamieson, Linda and Pete Glanville, Andrina Tulloch, John Johnson, Bruce Benson, Veda Tait, Tony Erwood, Alistair and Kate Christie-Henry, Kenny Johnson, Laughton Johnson, Chris Bunyan, Cavy Johnson, Kaila McCulloch, John Dally, Marianne Tarrant, Will John Anderson, Richard and Victoria Gibson and Jim Dickson who are all imploring people not to stand in the way of the windfarm development.
To the named supporters of the windfarm, I would ask, since we know that the mining of rare earth minerals in China is poisoning the land, lakes and people, how can they equate this with nice green energy? These rare minerals are components modern turbines depend upon.
Supporters must believe this wretched toxicity is acceptable.
These named supporters are aware that children in the windfarm areas will be exposed to infrasound. So after their bedtime story these little children can cuddle their pillows and receive maximum auditory stimulation. The pillow will block audible sound but not infrasound.
Supporters have found this to be acceptable.
The named supporters obviously have no concerns for the physical and psychological ill health that the windfarm occupants will be subjected to when the turbines become operational. Clearly the supporters have a better understanding of the detrimental health effects than Dr Sarah Taylor whose report supports the evidence that individuals living on windfarms will be affected.
The windfarm supporters find this acceptable.
I will not insult the windfarm supporters intelligence by suggesting that they were perhaps unaware of the above. Thankfully there are still many decent people who do not find these facts at all acceptable.
I have only touched on some of the reasons why I will never support this development.
Surprisingly no one in the above supporters group will have to live in the windfarm.
Three citizen groups have been allowed to appeal wind farm projects in court
France Anderson, Ontario Farmer, July 2014
Three West Coast citizens’ wind groups have gotten leave to jointly appeal wind turbine projects under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The three Ontario groups—SWEAR (Safe Wind Energy for All Residents), HEAT (Huron East Against Turbines), and HALT (Huron-Kinloss Against Lakeside Turbines)—which oppose wind farms near Goderich, St. Columban and Kincardine respectively, will be able to jointly appeal the projects by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment.*
They will be represented by Falconers LLP, and the appeal to the Divisional Court of Ontario is to be heard November 17, 18 and 19, 2014.
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is the government’s promise to every man, woman and child in Canada that they will have security to conduct their affairs and lives in relative peace.
Falconers, which specializes in human rights and constitutional law firm [sic], is arguing that the provincial government did not exercise due diligence with regard to human health when it crafted the Green Energy and Economy Act.
“The government says that massive industrial wind turbine developments are safe. We, the people, are holding them accountable,” explains Dave Hemingway, the president of SWEAR.
“If this Charter challenge is successful, it will set a precedent and will assist all appeals and legal challenges going forward,” says Gerry Ryan, the president of HEAT.
“This action has the potential to shift the burden of proof from the need to prove direct and serious harm to human health to the need to prove the possibility of harm,” which is “a lower and more reasonable threshold,” says Kevin McKee, the president of HALT.
Falconers is also seeking a conjoined stay of proceedings to halt progress of K2, St. Columban and Armow projects until the appeal is heard.
Hemingway said they hope to know the date for the hearing regarding the stay “relatively soon.”
Meanwhile, the commissioning of the Varna Wind LP Farm by NextEra Energy Canada** is underway. This project comprises 37 GE model turbines that stand 80 meters high and support blades 50.5 meters across. The project on private lands was of Highway 21 along the Lake Huron Shoreline, in the Municipalities of Bluewater and Huron East, has 60 MW total capacity.
*Editor’s note: Of course, the projects are approved by the Ministry of the Environment. The developers, however, for the projects are: Capital Power/Samsung/Pattern; Veresen; and Samsung/Pattern, respectively.
**NextEra Canada is not a Canadian company; neither is Samsung, Pattern, and Veresen.
For more information on the Charter challenge and to donate funds, please go to SWEAR’s website.
Or, more succinctly, people who do dangerous things often don’t survive their own stupidity.
Sadly, when it comes to building wind turbines near airports, the consequences of a foolish act performed in the name of the flawed Green Energy Act are borne by innocent people who had no part in the stupid decision.
Two rural airports in this province are facing the serious consequences of wind turbines sited too close to their runways.
Transport Canada recently issued an order forcing the removal of eight turbines near Chatham-Kent’s airport. And Collingwood airport is fighting a plan to place massive turbines close to its runway.
A spokesman for Transport Canada said the turbine company, GDF Suez, was asked to voluntarily comply with its Airport Zoning Regulations (AZR) and remove or lower the turbines.
“When this was not achieved, Transport Canada issued a notice requiring the company to lower or remove the wind turbines in compliance with the Chatham AZR. The notice to enforce compliance with the Chatham AZR has been issued because eight wind turbines contravene the height limits and voluntary compliance was not achieved,” said Jana Regimbal by e-mail.
The company has until Dec. 31 to comply with the order.
Chatham-Kent-Essex MPP Rick Nicholls said this is not about a dislike for wind turbines. It’s a question of public safety.
“AZRs are put in place for a reason,” he told me. “On a beautiful clear day, for someone operating a small aircraft it’s probably not an issue. But what about on a foggy or windy night, and someone is not familiar with Chatham airport and has to fly into it under distress?
“I have concerns about that,” he said.
A spokesman for GDF Suez says the company plans to appeal.
“We do expect to formally object to the order by Transport Canada,” said Bonnie Hiltz. “There have been multiple studies done on this project both by ourselves and by the airport and all of those studies have been consistent that there is no safety issue with regards to the turbine location.”
She says the turbines are in a “no-fly zone,” south of the airport.
“Since they have been operating, there have been no issues in more than a year,” she said.
Under Transport Canada rules, airports have an imaginary circle about four nautical miles wide and 500 feet high in which no tall obstacles are allowed to be built.
Tory interim leader Jim Wilson is angry the Wynne government hasn’t changed its mind about allowing 500 foot tall wind turbines on the flight path to Collingwood airport and the Creemore aerodrome in Clearview Twp.
“When she was running for the leadership, Premier Kathleen Wynne said she would go back and make sure that the Ministry of the Environment reconsidered the path they are on and we see no evidence to date, no communications from the government,” Wilson said.
The chair of the Collingwood airport board says the plan to build turbines as tall as the TD bank towers in downtown Toronto poses a safety hazard for planes flying in and out of the airport.
“They’re too close to the airport and they’re potentially dangerous,” said Charlie Tatham in a phone interview.
He scoffed at suggestions planes could change their arrival and departure procedures to dodge the turbines.
“That’s unsafe on a day when there’s poor visibility and someone’s trying to make it into the airport,” he said.
“On top of that, these things (the turbines) are painted white.”
Environment Minister Glen Murray was not available for comment.
How stupid can it get? You put white turbines on a flight path of an airport in the snowbelt.
Faced with appeals against its $380-million project hugging the Lake Huron shoreline, the developer of the Grand Bend Wind Farm is applying the brakes.
Some preliminary work for the wind farm will likely start later this year, but major construction now won’t begin until the appeals are settled, said Gord Potts, director of business development for Northland Power.
“Our company policy is not to do much during an appeal process,” Potts said Wednesday.
Work likely will be limited to clearing sites, building some access roads and preparing to install transmission lines, he said.
“I wouldn’t expect we will see any foundation work for turbines or anything like that,” Potts said.
The appeal process is expected to take about six months.
If it wins against the appeals, Northland anticipates the Grand Bend Wind Farm will start commercial operation in the first quarter of 2016.
The Grand Bend Wind Farm is a joint project of Toronto-based Northland Power and the Aamjiwnaang First Nation at Sarnia and Bkejwanong First Nation at Walpole and involves installation of 40 turbines on 2,400 hectares of land.
It was given the green light by the Ontario Ministry of Energy in late June, but the approval can be appealed to the Ontario Environmental Review Tribunal.
On Monday the municipal council of Bluewater, where the majority of wind turbines will be located, voted to file an appeal.
Potts said Northland Power had been hopeful the project wouldn’t be appealed given the failure of all but one appeal against other wind farms in Ontario.
That single victory is now being challenged in the courts.
“One would think that after a while those opposed would lose their appetite to fight this fight, but they haven’t yet,” he said.
Bluewater Municipality has retained Toronto lawyer Eric Gillespie to file their appeal by the deadline of Saturday.
Oak Ridges Moraine wind project a threat to Ontario’s water
The provincial government should revoke its approval of a wind project on the Oak Ridges Moraine and stop allowing development to take precedence over the protection of our water
By: Maude Barlow and Cindy Sutch Published on Mon Jul 07 2014, Toronto Star, Comment
The Sumac Ridge wind project is the first industrial wind project approved on the environmentally sensitive and protected Oak Ridges Moraine, the rain barrel of southern Ontario. The approval sets a precedent to open up the Oak Ridges Moraine for other wind projects and industrial development of all kinds. The project is currently under appeal before the Environmental Review Tribunal and has received a record number of 43 requests for status from community and First Nation groups.
Sumac Ridge is one of five proposed wind projects on the Oak Ridges Moraine that residents have been fighting for the last five years. Community members have spent significant amounts of time and money trying to protect and preserve the moraine. When the Sumac Ridge wind project was posted on the Environmental Registry, 2,874 comments were registered. Frustration with the process is mounting along with the fees of lawyers and experts hired to prepare for the Environmental Review Tribunal.
While wind power is a sustainable green energy alternative to the environmental harms associated with fossil fuels, as with every industrial development, it can have important impacts in vulnerable areas and these must be fully assessed. The Sumac Ridge project and the other proposals will require the construction of access roads, clear-cutting of significant woodlands and the delivery of thousands of truckloads of gravel, sand and concrete onto the moraine. The Oak Ridges Moraine is one of the last continuous green corridors in southern Ontario. The remnants of tall grass prairie and oak-pine savannas in the eastern portion of this ancient landform are globally threatened ecosystems and may be impacted by wind development.
The Sumac Ridge wind project will be located in a part of the moraine that provides both terrestrial core and corridor habitat and is a critical refuge for birds, bats, threatened and/or endangered plants and animals, and numerous species at risk. Most importantly, it is a high aquifer vulnerability zone, a groundwater recharge area and at the headwaters of the Fleetwood Creek and Pigeon River. The Ministry of the Environment must revoke its approval of the Sumac Ridge project and stop allowing industrial development to take precedence over the protection of our water.
There is no time to lose. The world is running out of accessible clean water. We are polluting, mismanaging and displacing our finite freshwater sources at an alarming rate. We need a new water ethic that places water and its protection at the centre of all policy and practice if the planet and we are to survive.
This new water ethic should honour four principles.
The second principle is that water is a common heritage of humanity and must be protected as a public trust in law and practice. Water must never be bought, hoarded, sold or traded as a commodity on the open market and governments must maintain the water commons for the public good, not private gain.
The third principle is that water has rights, too, outside its usefulness to humans. Water belongs to the earth and other species. Our belief in “unlimited growth” and our treatment of water as a tool for industrial development have put the earth’s watersheds in jeopardy. Water is not a resource for our convenience, pleasure and profit, but rather the essential element in a living ecosystem. We need to adapt our laws and practices to ensure the protection of water and the restoration of watersheds, a crucial antidote to global warming.
Finally, while there is enormous potential for water conflict in a world of rising demand and diminishing supply, water can bring people, communities and nations together in the shared search for solutions. Water can become nature’s gift to humanity and teach us how to live more lightly on the earth and in peace and respect with one another.
Let it start in our own backyards.
Maude Barlow is the national chairperson of the Council of Canadians and served as senior adviser on water to the 63rd president of the United Nations General Assembly. Cindy Sutch is the Chairperson of Save The Oak Ridges Moraine Coalition in Ontario and a Director of The Oak Ridges Moraine Foundation.
I would like to congratulate you in your re-election and as the new Minister of the Environment. I was impressed to see your experience as Minister of Transportation and as a former mayor. At the same time I understand what challenges you will be facing in this new position dealing with the incompetence you are inheriting within that department, handed down through the entire inappropriate process created in the Green Energy Act.
This Act took away municipal powers and sidelined 21 other Acts of protection for the environment, human and wildlife habitat for the sake of wind energy development as first priority. This is also why the Liberals are facing a rebellion in rural Ontario by residents who have been ignored and bullied with no consideration as citizens in this province. I would like to suggest that you now have the opportunity to start the change of perception of your political party by doing the right thing.
First of all, you need to give back municipal powers.
Secondly, you need to cancel projects such as the Port Ryerse Windfarm that are suspect to violating any of the environmental or heritage protections within the Green Energy Act or perceived to have possible health problems for people in the area.
Thirdly, you need to change the setbacks to a minimal 2 km. from any residence.
This will be a start. I would also suggest that you back away from wind energy altogether because of the associated problems. I live in Port Ryerse, Norfolk County where we have had wind turbines since 2003 in the west part of the County. We saw the problems of IWT’s as the early experiments with wind energy were being made. We know firsthand about their inefficiency as an energy source, the way many people got sick and had to leave their homes or couldn’t sell them and sometimes sold at a huge loss as well as the inappropriate setbacks for these monstrosities. We now have another project on the eastern part of the County with 13 turbines right around a new development for retirement living, with a golf course to come and a beautiful spa and restaurant. Very sad for the people who bought there or those already living there when it comes time to sell their homes as they have already lost 25-40% of their value which is now common anywhere these things have been built. From the pier in Port Ryerse looking over the water landscape one can actually count 36 of these ugly blights on the landscape over Port Dover including the ones in Haldimand County.
Now we are in the process where you get to approve or cancel a project smack dab in the middle of the County’s lakefront to destroy entirely the landscape of Norfolk County right within the inner Bay of Long Point across from a World Heritage Biosphere Reserve and a cultural heritage landscape which was delineated in a report done for our County back in 2006 called the Untermann-McPhail report or now renamed the Lakeshore report.
Again this information has been sidelined because of the Green Energy Act and taking away municipal powers. In Norfolk County, as with many other areas of rural Ontario, we have many rivers and old dams in need of repair. We also have a local company called Green Bug out of Delhi, Norfolk County putting in hydroelectrical facilities with the Archimedes Screw around the world. They presently have a F.I.T. contract and are awaiting approval from the M.O.E. Our Council and our Heritage Committee I sit on have approved this project we deem to be safe, viable and not interfering in wildlife or human habitat. This is the kind of project we favour for our municipality and we have many other dams in need of repair this could be adapted to.
We do not want to be bullied into any more wind energy which will destroy our lakeshore landscapes and tourism as well as kill our eagles and songbirds and harm our residents and their property values. We also have 3 solar farms which already provide plenty of energy on the grid and have not posed the scale of problems like wind. The municipalities need their powers back to site appropriate electrical facilities according to their own resources and long-term plans.
Attached are some of the reports sent in to the environmental assessment group Stantec and to the M.O.E. to provide information that was not found in any reports of the wind company, UDI Renewables or Boralex. The application was flawed from the beginning when UDI made his application for the F.I.T. contract stating that this project was ”purely surrounded by agricultural land with no significant waterways, heritage or wildlife”. How can anyone miss Lake Erie? At the first public meeting with the company I asked, “What about that eroding cliff?” The answer I got from Uwe Sandner of UDI was, “What cliff?” Our cliff has been dangerously eroding over the last 100 years and especially in the 70’s and 80’s with the high waters of Lake Erie. It is a bluff of 50 feet deep which is seen from Port Dover’s pier by many tourists and locals as an iconic landscape which gave the town its name based on the “White cliffs of Dover”.
I would really like to see an end to the battle between the GTA Liberals and the rest of the province. It is time to end the war against rural Ontario. You have this opportunity. Will you side with the people or the bully money-hungry wind companies with more tribunals and lawsuits? It is time to give back municipal powers, respect those that have declared themselves “Not a Willing Host”, and save Historic Port Ryerse and rural Ontario from more devastation and energy poverty.
We will await the decision from the M.O.E. with the hope that finally there will be a change within the newly elected provincial government to start listening to and respecting its citizens and that this project and others will be CANCELLED utilizing your powers to do the right thing.
Notice the swirls (the black spots) due to localized aerodynamics dumped off the blades, like what you get of the end of a paddle worked in water. Those swirls by themselves aren’t the infrasound acoustic waves (pressure pulsations) traveling away from the turbine at the speed of sound. The swirls are slow-moving in comparison.
Pressure pulsations are emitted every time a blade passes in front of the tower. The blade passing frequency and its harmonics are in the infrasound range.
Let’s take an example: at the maximum rotational speed of 15 revolutions per minute, the blade passing frequency is:
15 rpm × 3 blades = 45 passings per minute
per second, it is: 45 / 60 = 0.75 passing per second
The frequency in Hertz is equal to the number of passings per second: f = 0.75 Hz.
Harmonics are integer multiples of the fundamental f:
⇒ All these frequencies are indeed in the infrasound range (frequencies < 20 Hz).
For years, people have been told that infrasound you cannot hear cannot affect you. This is completely WRONG.
As the inner ear DOES respond to infrasound at levels that are not heard, people living near wind turbines are being put at risk by infrasound effects on the body that no-one presently understands. Until a scientific understanding of this issue is established we should not be dismissing these effects, but need to be erring on the side of caution.”
Alec N. Salt, Ph.D. — Department of Otolaryngology – Washington University – School of Medicine – St. Louis, MO 63110
By Jack Spencer | Michigan Capitol Confidential, June 28, 2014
The Lake Winds Energy Plant in Mason County.
Michigan’s 51st Circuit Court has ruled that Mason County was justified in determining that wind turbines at the Lake Winds Industrial Wind Plant near Ludington are too noisy.
In his June 16 decision, Judge Richard Cooper denied Consumer Energy’s appeal to have the court overturn the county’s finding that the wind plant was exceeding the county’s established decibel level limits.
In a highly technical explanation, Judge Cooper said it was reasonable for the county to take into account the impact of maximum wind speeds that are not outside the norm. He also rejected the argument that excessive noise levels occurring only during certain periods of time should be allowed.
Lake Winds is a 56-turbine facility located south of Ludington. It was the utility company’s first wind plant project in Michigan. Residents who live near the $255 million plant began complaining of health problems shortly after the turbines began operating. They filed a lawsuit on April 1, 2013, arguing that noise, vibrations and flickering lights emanating from the wind plant were adversely affecting their health. Among the symptoms noted in the lawsuit were dizziness, sleeplessness and headaches.
In September 2013, the Mason County Planning Commission determined that the wind plant was not in compliance with safety guidelines. CMS Energy, which is the parent company of Consumers Energy, then appealed that decision to the Mason County Zoning Board of Appeals and lost. In January, CMS took the case to court and it has now lost again.
CMS spokesman Dennis Marvin said the utility has yet to decide whether it will appeal Judge Cooper’s decision to the Michigan Court of Appeals.
“Obviously, we were disappointed by the decision,” Marvin said. “We are still evaluating whether or not to appeal. In accordance with the court’s ruling we are cooperating with Mason County on our mitigation plan.”
Citizens paid for independent noise testing that showed the power plant would be out of compliance
Mason County has hired experts to continue tests at the wind plant. However, because wind speeds are generally low in the summer the testing isn’t likely to resume until September, at the earliest. Under the mitigation plan, affected wind turbines are now operating at reduced power levels to lower the sound level.
“CMS energy has no one to blame but themselves,” said Kevon Martis, director of the Interstate Informed Citizens Coalition, a non-profit organization that is concerned about the construction of wind turbines in the region. “The citizens living inside Lake Winds wind plant paid for independent noise studies of the project before it was built. Independent analysis demonstrated that the turbines would not only exceed the noise ordinance as proposed by CMS and adopted by Mason County but that the turbine noise would create widespread complaints and result in legal action by those subjected to this industrial development in a rural environment.”
In his 2008 book Doubt is their product–how industry’s assault on science threatens your health, epidemiologist David Michaels says he got the idea for the title of his book after reading the words of a cigarette company executive. “Doubt is our product,” the executive wrote, “since it is the best means of competing with the ‘body of fact’ that exists in the minds of the general public. It is also the means of establishing controversy”.
Michaels went on to write the following:
…Big Tobacco, left now without a stitich of credibility of public esteem, has finally abandoned its strategy, but it showed the way. The practices it perfected are alive and well and ubiquitous today. We see this growing trend that disingenuously demands proof over precaution in the realm of public health. In field after field, year after year, conclusions that might support regulation are always disputed. Animal data are deemed not relevant, human data not representative, and exposure data not reliable. Whatever the story…scientists in what I call the ‘product defence industry’ prepare for the release of unfavorable studies even before the studies are published. Public relations experts feed these for-hire scientists contrarian sound bites that play well with reporters, who are mired in the trap of believing there must be two sides to every story.
Maybe there are two sides–and maybe one has been bought and paid for.
This scenario is being played out today in Ontario with the wind power industry where not only are health effects from the turbine noise denied, the industry actually claims that wind power saves lives and therefore that the “overall benefit” of wind power supercedes any nagging little negative like people becoming ill from sleep deprivation and the stress and anxiety caused by the turbine noise and vibration. Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment has been complicit in this strategy from the outset: the decision to establish setbacks between turbines and homes was not based on any science at all.
In appeal after appeal, the evidence of health problems is brought forward, and the witnesses so convincing (despite the industry’s highly paid lawyers’ attempts with questions about their mental state) that members of the Environmental Review Tribunals comment on the authenticity of their accounts. In Bovaird v. Director, Ministry of the Environment, panel chair Heather Gibbs wrote in her decision that while the evidence presented did not show a causal relationship, she quoted from Erickson, specifically that “the present situation is closer to the hypothesis generating phase of scientific research than it is to the point where statements can be made on causation.”
In other words, in the view of the Tribunal, there isn’t enough evidence to support the conclusion of “serious harm” (a construct of the Green Energy Act and not a real principle of public health) … but at the same time, there isn’t enough evidence to say there ISN’T.
Today, Big Wind carries on, impugning the testimony of ordinary citizens who have nothing to gain by telling their stories except to have them heard, and presenting experts for hire whose goal is to produce doubt about the science we do have.
This is a shameful chapter in the history of Ontario.