Wind farm noise complaints trigger MoE investigation

The wind “farm” or, as we prefer it, wind power generation project, in Brinston Ontario, is the first wind power plant to have 3-megawatt turbines operating … but not for long. Many of the other power projects such as those at Bluewater and in the Niagara Region are specified to have 3-megawatt turbines. Ontario still does not have any protocol for measuring infrasound or low-frequency noise (LFN) which these machines produce.

It is worth noting that Brinston has about 400 homes within 2 km of the wind power project and its 3-MW turbines; in the Niagara Region there will be 4,500 homes, and in Bluewater, more than 2,000.

Here is a report from Brinston where the turbines have been operating for only four months.

Noise complaints lead to monitoring

by Sandy Casselman, Winchester Press

BRINSTON – It has been more than six months since the blades of the South Branch Wind Farm turbines began to spin, leaving more than one nearby resident with some sleepless nights.

“I call when it gets to the point I can’t tolerate it anymore and I go to the basement [to sleep],” Brinston resident Leslie Disheau, former president of the South Branch Wind Opposition Group, said. “It is an issue and
I’m not the only person in town with the issue.”

Disheau, who is running for the Municipality of South Dundas’ deputy-mayor seat in this fall’s municipal election, has been staying close to home since the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) installed noise-monitoring equipment at her Brinston Road property last week.

“MOE contacted me and asked if they could put this noise monitoring equipment up,” Disheau said.

The two pieces of equipment measure wind speed and direction, barometric pressure, rainfall, and more, she said.

She has submitted three separate noise complaints so far. Every complaint must be filed with EDP Renewables’ project leader Ken Little and local MOE representative Terry Forrester to be officially registered.

During EDP’s first open community liaison meeting in March, a Brinston man spoke out about his own sleep disturbances, suggesting the turbines be shut off for a period during the early hours of the morning, beginning around midnight. At that time, Little confirmed that there had been one official complaint already registered. He also said an acoustic audit had been ordered, which he expected to get underway within two months of the meeting.

“EDP has not released their post-construction noise audit report,” Disheau said during an interview with the Winchester Press Fri., July 18.

In conversation with one of the MOE officials who installed the equipment, Disheau said she learned that the provincial authority also had not seen a report from EDP.

“They can take a long as they want,” she said, crediting the Green Energy Act with the responsibility for not specifying a deadline. “There is a 40-decibel limit [on the noise the turbines can make], and we have no idea if they’re in the threshold or not.”

To describe what the sound is like, she used Highway 401 versus airplane noise as an example, pointing out that the highway noise is more of a hum, and when she lived near it, the sounds did not bother her at all.
However, the turbines produce something more in line with the “drone of an airplane that goes into your head,” she said. “It’s a deeper tone, and that’s where you get the disturbance of sleep.”

Explaining the noise and its effects on her is not easy, she said, but it is similar to the sensation people get in their chest when listening to bass guitar.

Disheau said she explained her experiences to MOE’s acoustical engineer, adding that the sensations are at their worst when the blade tips of the turbine across the road (south of Brinston) and the one to the north behind her home (west of Brinston) are facing one another.

“The acoustical engineer said ‘yes, that it all makes sense,’ ” Disheau added. “This is not normal. You should not be in sleep disturbance in your own house.”

Meanwhile, Disheau is the only one in her home experiencing the effects of the rotating blades, as her husband, who shares the second-storey bedroom on the home’s vinyl-sided addition, is tone deaf, and her children sleep on the first floor of the brick-sided main house.

The noise-monitoring equipment is controlled by a switch, which has been placed inside Disheau’s home. When she notices the noise, she flips the switch and the machinery calculates and documents the findings.

“Once everything is taken down, the ministry guy goes through [the recordings] and writes his report,” she said, which will list the decibel readings for various weather conditions (wind speed and direction).

When asked what she hopes to accomplish through this procedure, Disheau said the findings could require that EDP shut down operations during specific times of the day or during specific wind conditions should they prove the decibel levels exceed the regulated amount.

 

Airports and wind turbines: what could possibly go wrong?

ChAtham Airport

Christina Blizzard, QMI Agency, July 10, 2014

TORONTO – Darwin understood these things so well.

Survival of the fittest.

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.

What could possibly go wrong?

Ask Darwin.

Read the full article and comments here.

Port Ryerse resident to Environment Minister Murray: please stop wind farms

Somehow this got missed in the report
Somehow this got missed in the report

Dear Mr. Murray, new Minister of the Environment,

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.

Sincerely, Shana Greatrix

Port Ryerse

Study shows association between turbine noise and distress

The review paper prepared by physicians Hazel Lynn and Ian Arra, and associates, is now available. The paper documents a review of previously published, peer-reviewed studies of turbine noise and human health, and concludes that there is “reasonable evidence (Levels Four and Five)  supporting the existence of an association between wind turbines and distress in humans.”

The paper may be read here:Arra-LynnStudyMay2014

 

Wind power documentary reveals victim suffering

The documentary film Down Wind airs tonight at 8 PM EDT on the Sun News network.

Here is a column from journalist Jerry Agar on the film.

DownWindPoster

JERRY AGAR | SUN NEWS NETWORK June 3, 2014

It is heart wrenching to see and feel the pain of fellow Ontarians breaking down in tears as they explain how the Liberal government drove them from their homes.

But to understand how cold and callous our current political leadership is in this province, you need to experience it.

Rebecca Thompson’s documentary, Down Wind: How Ontario’s Green Dream Turned into a Nightmare (Surge Media Productions), airs on Sun News Wednesday at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m.

It is a story of reckless, agenda-driven politics resulting in shattered lives.

The Ontario Liberal government’s Green Energy Act isn’t just an economic failure; it is an act of brutal indifference to the human cost of politics.

A cost ignored by people living far from the thump of the giant wind turbines, secure in their downtown Toronto homes and politically correct theories; a safe distance from places like Ripley, Clear Creek and Lucknow, Ontario.

Many may not care – worshiping as they do at the altar of so-called green energy – that the jobs promised by the Liberals through their Green Energy Act were never delivered, while the cost of hydro skyrocketed.

But the human cost should matter to us all.

Giant wind turbines, as high as 50 storeys, with blades the size of a 747, were foisted on communities in rural Ontario with no consultation or agreement from the residents, their municipal governments having been stripped of their planning powers by the Green Energy Act.

Unlike politicians who pay lip service to “serving others” while stomping all over people’s lives and looking after themselves, Norma Schmidt spent her life in Underwood, Ontario in the actual service of others as a nurse and instructor of future nurses.

She and her husband spent their lives in the home they lovingly restored over the years; a place they had hoped to share with their grandchildren.

But Norma has been forced out of her home by severe migraines and depression, brought on by the relentless noise and vibration from the industrial wind turbines erected practically in her back yard.

She left both the job and the home she loved, escaping to a room in her daughter’s house.

It is not the life she worked all these years to achieve, and it is not what she deserves.

Do Norma’s tears, and those of others similarly affected, fall to no effect at the feet of Premier Kathleen Wynne?

Norma’s story is one among many, some of them told in Down Wind.

This is the same Dalton McGuinty/Wynne Liberal government that used public money to reward violent aboriginal protesters who seized private property and terrorized people in Caledonia.

That “occupation” continues today and the government, knowing that their voting base in Toronto couldn’t care less about some rubes in the country, keeps the issue quiet by caving into thugs, rather than protecting law-abiding citizens.

Would the government be as forgiving to people across rural Ontario if some were to blow up a few of the industrial wind turbines that have made their lives hell? Of course not.

There are no turbines thumping the night away in Don Valley West or Toronto-Centre.

It remains to be seen whether the people in such ridings, who overwhelmingly voted Liberal in 2011, will care more for their fellow citizens in rural Ontario this time around.

There are any number of political parties to support other than the Liberals.

Turbine noise health report to be published today

“…association exists between wind turbine noise and distress in humans…”

A comprehensive report based on a literature review will be published today in the online journal Cureus. www.cureus.com

Dr Ian Arra, associate medical officer of health for Grey-Bruce, will present the paper today at a meeting of the Canadian Public Health Association in Toronto.

The results of the review are: “The presence of reasonable evidence that an association exists between wind turbines and distress in humans. The existence of a dose-response relationship (between distance from wind turbines and distress) and the consistency of association across studies found in the scientific literature argue for the credibility of this
association. Future research in this area is warranted as whether causal relationship exists or not.”

Take wind power health problems seriously, scientists told

 

Conference warns health effects of wind turbines should be taken seriously

Sleep disturbance emerging as major public health concern, particularly affecting children and older people

Pamela Duncan, Irish Times, May 23, 2014

Alun Evans, Professor Emeritus of Epidemiology in Queens University, Belfast said it was “quite possible” if the Dublin array, a proposed €2 billion project which would see 145 wind turbines constructed 10km off the east coast, goes ahead that up to two million people could be exposed to infrasound, a “sizeable minority” of who could potentially experience sleep disturbance.  Photo: David Sleator/The Irish Times

Alun Evans, Professor Emeritus of Epidemiology in Queens University, Belfast said it was “quite possible” if the Dublin array, a proposed €2 billion project which would see 145 wind turbines constructed 10km off the east coast, goes ahead that up to two million people could be exposed to infrasound, a “sizeable minority” of who could potentially experience sleep disturbance. Photo: David Sleator/The Irish Times

Health studies into the effect of wind turbines on those living in their vicinity must be explored to prevent potential health problems, a conference on public health heard yesterday.

Alun Evans, Professor Emeritus of Epidemiology in Queens University, Belfast was speaking at the 2014 Summer Scientific Meeting at the Royal College of Physicians the second day of which was held in Dublin yesterday.

He said it was “quite possible” if the Dublin array, a proposed €2 billion project which would see 145 wind turbines constructed 10km off the east coast, goes ahead that up to two million people could be exposed to infrasound, a “sizeable minority” of who could potentially experience sleep disturbance.

Prof Evans said there was “clear evidence” that, as the size of wind turbines had increased, so has the infrasound and low frequency sounds generated by them and that they were now emitting “serious amounts of noise”.

“When you measure them with the correct filters you find they are producing noise levels which are far above what’s supposed to be permitted,” he said.

He said while many people are not affected, that others could experience sleep disturbance, adding this in turn leads to increased blood pressure which he said is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

Prof Evans said that, while he did not want to sound alarmist, the effects were such that they needed to be taken seriously and investigated further.

Quoting a 2009 WHO report on night noise, Prof Evans said sleep disturbance was emerging as one of the major public health concerns of the 20th century and something which particularly affected children and older people.

He said sleep was “absolutely essential, central to the normal physiological function of the brain and the body” and was necessary for facilitating learning. …

Read the full report here.

Turbine noise and health study to be published

Results to be presented at public health conference next week

Turbine study to be published

By Rob Gowan, Sun Times, Owen Sound

Wednesday, May 21, 2014 4:26:20 EDT PM

A local study that concluded industrial wind turbines cause distress among people who live near them, is to be published in an online medical journal.

The report, which was co-authored by Grey Bruce Medical Officer of Health Dr. Hazel Lynn and epidemiological researcher Dr. Ian Arra, will be published in the online journal, Cureus. No date has been announced for publication.

“It gives a level of authority to a paper such as this,” said Lynn. “It basically gives it much more credibility in the science reading population.”

The review, entitled, Literature Review 2013: Association Between Wind Turbine Noise and Human Distress, came at the request of the Grey Bruce Board of Health in late 2012 after local residents who live near wind turbines asked the health unit to investigate potential ill health affects.

Lynn and Arra conducted an in-depth review of 18 of the most credible and up to date studies around the world on whether wind turbines affect people’s health.

Lynn and Arra’s report considered various types of studies from around the world related to noise exposure from the turbines and from infrasound exposure. They ranged from cohort and randomized studies, cases studies and series and even anecdotes and opinions. They came from medical, environmental and acoustic publications, all peer reviewed.

In February of 2013 they presented their findings to the board of health, concluding that there is “reasonable evidence that an association exists between wind turbines and distress in humans.”

Late last year it was announced the study was being peer reviewed for publication in medical journals. Cureus is a peer-reviewed journal based in San Francisco with an international editorial board.

Lynn said the review was originally submitted to the Canadian Medical Journal and others, but many of them want original research, so the process has taken a little longer than hoped.

“It took a little longer to find one that wants to do this kind of literature review,” said Lynn, who expects the review to now be quoted in a number of other journals.

In their review, the authors stressed that associating wind turbines to distress is not the same as hard evidence of cause and effect.

Read the full story here

UWO study: life not good for turbine neighbours

Western University researchers calling on governments and wind farm developers to avoid feeding war of words 86

By John Miner, The London Free Press

Wednesday, May 21, 2014 8:02:11 EDT PM

In a study published in the journal Environment and Planning, the Western geography department researchers found people who have raised health concerns and other objections to wind turbines are denigrated, dismissed and ostracized by supporters of the developments in their communities.

They also endure shots by senior politicians, such as former premier Dalton McGuinty, who dismissed health concerns as “unreal.”

The treatment only makes the situation worse for individuals with concerns, said associate geography professor Jamie Baxter, one of the study’s authors.

“If you get right down to the micro level of the community, life is not good for these people,” Baxter said Wednesday.

It was in face-to-face interviews researchers heard supporters of the turbines making light of the problems of those opposed, with comments such as “A lot of people live to be annoyed” and “Well, you know, I guess if you stood here long enough you’d get dizzy looking at them . . . watching those blades go around.”

Health concerns reported by opponents included pain, dizziness, sleep deprivation and loss of balance.

The study found the majority of people in both communities supported the existing wind farm projects within the communities — 80% in Port Burwell and a statistically significant lower 63% in nearby Clear Creek.

But the researchers said the support was more “pragmatic” than “enthusiastic.” Most in favour said it was simply a “better alternative” than other energy choices. Those opposed were quite emotional, expressing anger, disappointment and frustration. …

Take the poll, read the full story and comments here

First Nations at odds with Horizon wind

CBC News, Thunder Bay

May 21, 2014

Fort William FN Chief Georjann Morrisseau

An Ontario court has declined to intervene in the Big Thunder wind farm project, after Horizon Wind applied for a judicial review, saying court applications by Fort William First Nation against various government ministries had created confusion.

Horizon wanted the province to approve the project, but company director of Community and Public Affairs Kathleen MacKenzie said a judge on Friday decided not to issue any instructions to the Ministry of the Environment.

“The court didn’t think it was appropriate for it to … step in at this point,” she said.

“The court elected not to order any action from the MOE — not further consultations, not an end to consultations. It just said it was not going to substitute its judgement for that of the ministry.”

But Fort William First Nation said in a recent press release the divisional court judge in Toronto denied Horizon’s request for immediate approval of the wind farm.

Fort William Chief Georjann Morriseau was not available Tuesday night for an interview with CBC News, and the MOE could not immediately be reached for comment.

The First Nation will be in court next month seeking an injunction to stop the project, pending consultations with the community.

But Horizon remains undeterred.

“We are going to continue to wait for the MOE to make a decision … And we are expecting ultimate approval of the Big Thunder Wind Park,” MacKenzie said.

Story and comments here.