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.

Ontario pilots concerned about aviation safety near turbines

CTV London
Published Tuesday, May 6, 2014 6:13PM EDT
Fears have re-ignited in southwestern Ontario after a fatal plane crash involving a wind turbine in South Dakota that left four people dead.
Garry Sheperd has been flying for over 30 years. He’s a seasoned pilot, and he’s not pleased about the wind turbines he’s now sharing the skies with.
“The ones we’ve got coming to our backyards here are 400 feet at present, but the new generation are 500 feet. In Europe they’re over 700 feet and it’s just a matter of time before there’s a conflict.”
Four men were killed in April after their plane apparently collided with a wind turbine in South Dakota during foggy weather.
And Sheperd fears that he and his fellow pilots are just as at risk, especially those flying in and out of the Kincardine Municipal Airport, where 10 of 92 soon-to-be-built turbines in the Armow Wind farm could be flight risks.
“We pilots have been adamant that these aircraft and these turbines don’t mix.”
But the company disagrees, Jody Law of Pattern Energy says, “At Armow, we have worked closely with the federal regulatory agencies to ensure that the project will be in complete compliance with all safety regulations and standards.”
In fact, the Armow Wind farm has been approved by all provincial and federal bodies.
But it’s not just the size or the fact they are spinning that concerns pilots. Sheperd explains it’s an invisible force unique to turbines that can cause problems flying past.
“As the blades turn there are vortices that come off them and rotate downwind…so we’re climbing up through that invisible hazard and we shouldn’t have to do that.”
Eight turbines near the Chatham airport were ordered removed by Transport Canada last June for safety issues, but remain standing.

WCO: MPAC study a “self-serving” exercise

WIND CONCERNS ONTARIO

STATEMENT ON MPAC 2012 ASSESSMENT BASE YEAR STUDY: “IMPACT OF INDUSTRIAL WIND TURBINES ON RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY ASSESSMENT IN ONTARIO”

April 25, 2014

The Municipal Property Assessment Corporation or MPAC, the independent property assessment body which reports to the Ontario Ministry of Finance, released its long awaited report on the effect of industrial wind turbines on property assessment in Ontario in mid-April.

Anyone waiting for this report, which was more than a year late in coming, was disappointed: despite studies done by real estate appraisers in Ontario showing significant loss in value for properties near wind turbines, MPAC said it “cannot conclude any loss in price” due to proximity to a wind turbine.

Wind Concerns Ontario consulted with several individuals including real estate appraisers and finance professionals about the MPAC report.

“It’s just a self-serving, bureaucratic  exercise in mathematics done by MPAC for their government masters,” said Wind Concerns Ontario president Jane Wilson. “The study was done by assessors, not appraisers—this was not a real-world study using on-the-ground valuation techniques such as direct comparison to property sales.”

In fact, Wilson said WCO’s advisors point out that the MPAC study actually does show a property value loss of 25%. “They claim there is no value loss, but then they present a chart that shows there is, and the effect extends out as far as five kilometers,” Wilson said.

What they left out

What MPAC left out of the study is more interesting than what’s in it, says Wind Concerns Ontario.

Here’s a summary:

-MPAC studied areas near turbines 1.5 megawatts or larger in capacity—this excludes areas with older, less powerful but still large-scale turbines; these are areas where studies by independent real estate professionals have indicated significant property value loss.

-MPAC used only sales after 2008, which means for areas like Kincardine and Ripley, the damage was already done, and is reflected in the data they are using for comparison

-MPAC chose not to include properties that are now vacant, such as those that have been purchased by wind power developers as they have become uninhabitable

-MPAC left out the sales that would have been most informative, i.e., those that sold for significantly less than their assessed values and surely demanded some further investigation before being dismissed.

-MPAC as assessors study sales data only—there is no data on houses listed for sale that do not sell, or which are on the market for extended periods of time

U.S.-based real estate appraiser Mike McCann examined the study and concluded that the assessors went against their own professional standards for assessment methodology: “the IAAO (International Association of Assessing Officers) standards discourage regression analysis and instead recommend the use of paired sales methodology, with direct, detailed comparisons of individual sales data, near and far from the environmental disamenity in question,” he said. MPAC’s regression studies actually show a loss of property value, he explains, when the raw data is sorted by distance, yet the authors somehow concluded there was no impact on value.

The real meaning of MPAC’s report

Prior to the Green Energy Act being passed in 2009, countless municipalities asked the Ontario government for economic analysis of the impact of wind power projects on their communities. “They never got that,” says Jane Wilson. “And the Auditor General in his 2011 annual report said Ontario never did a cost-benefit analysis for the impact of wind power generation projects on Ontario’s economy—we never got that either.

“This government doesn’t want the public to know the true impact of its decision to rush into large-scale industrial wind power on Ontario’s small towns and rural communities—property value loss would be one metric of just how badly this decision has harmed our economy.”

Instead, Wilson says, “ MPAC obliged its government masters by coming up with this flawed and self-serving study that was designed to produce a specific result, which will doubtless now be used by the government and its wind power industry partner to put a ‘chill’ on requests for re-assessment, and on legal actions based on lost property value.”

CONTACT

Jane Wilson WCO.president@gmail.com

MPAC study available here.

MPAC sales chart showing loss of value: http://www.mpac.ca/pdf/AppendixD2.pdf

 

 

 

.

 

U.S. Superior Court judge orders turbines off: “irreparable harm”

From Falmouth, this story.

udge Orders Falmouth to Run Wind Turbines on 12-Hour Schedule

By: Christopher Kazarian, November 22, 2013
Two of Falmouth's wind turbines, one at the Falmouth Wastewater Treatment Facility (left) and the other at the Falmouth Technology Park, as viewed from the Chapoquoit Beach parking lot.

GENE M. MARCHAND/ENTERPRISE – Two of Falmouth’s wind turbines, one at the Falmouth Wastewater Treatment Facility (left) and the other at the Falmouth Technology Park, as viewed from the Chapoquoit Beach parking lot.

Barnstable Superior Court Judge Christopher J. Muse has ordered the town to operate its wind turbines at the Wastewater Treatment Facility for 12 hours per day except on Sundays starting today.
The preliminary injunction was filed late last night and requires the town to turn off the machines from 7 PM to 7 AM daily. Additionally, Judge Muse’s decision calls on the turbines to be turned off on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.
The move follows what was a supposed agreement reached two weeks ago in Barnstable Superior Court between Falmouth’s attorneys and lawyers representing neighbors living near the turbines. That agreement—to reduce the operating hours of the turbines from 16 hours per day to 12 hours per day as a temporary move toward a more comprehensive settlement—was tied to the town’s appeal of the Falmouth Zoning Board of Appeals decision in May upholding Neil P. and Elizabeth Andersen’s claim that the wind turbines constitute a nuisance. The Andersens live near the turbines on Blacksmith Shop Road and have been outspoken in their criticism of the machines and impacts they have had on their lives shortly after the first, Wind 1, became operational in March 2010.
Since that time selectmen have refused to return to the 12-hour operating schedule, something that the board’s chairman Brent V.W. Putnam announced at Town Meeting last Wednesday.

This morning Town Counsel Frank K. Duffy Jr. said he was unsure why the board could not come to an agreement on the matter. “In the end we wound up exactly where we would have been, turning them on from 7 AM to 7 PM,” he said.
In his ruling Judge Muse wrote that the “town’s actions, (or inactions), require this court to employ its direction in ruling upon the Andersens’ motion…”
He later noted that the Andersens “have a substantial likelihood of success on the merits of their position that the ZBA’s decision that both turbines created a nuisance” and that if the court did not file a preliminary injunction “the Andersens will suffer irreparable physical and psychological harm.”
Judge Muse said that while the town may suffer financial penalties for the reduced energy production of its turbines, the Andersens would benefit from his proposed operational model, noting that “they will experience sufficient periods of time to sleep and relax in their home, with a commensurate increase in the use and enjoyment of their impacted property.”
Mr. Duffy said the town has the right to appeal Judge Muse’s injunction within 30 days. He said he believed that Town Manager Julian M. Suso would be asking selectmen to hold an executive session to discuss that matter further.
If the board does not vote to file an appeal, he said, Falmouth would have to wait until Judge Muse either releases the preliminary injunction or the court case goes to trial. Mr. Duffy said this case is not scheduled to go to trial until December 2014 at the earliest. “For what it is worth we will continue talking to neighbors about reaching a solution,” he said.

In an article written by Garth Manning*, QC, human rights lawyer Julian Falconer says that Ontario’s Green Energy Act violates human rights, due to the potential health effects from wind power generation projects, encourage and subsidized by the Ontario government through the act.

 Toronto human rights lawyer Julian Falconer argues that the GEA and the government’s approval of wind projects “implicates their right to security of the person” as guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights, in view of potential health impacts. These health impacts were noted on Oct. 17, 2013 when the Ontario government’s Research Chair for Renewable Energy Technologies and Health at the University of Waterloo reported a statistically significant correlation between proximity to industrial wind turbines and sleep deprivation, tinnitus and vertigo. The government of Ontario has been widely criticized, even by its own agencies, for its roll out of the GEA four years ago. Ontario’s Auditor-General reported in 2011 that a cost-benefit analysis was never done and there was no impact study of the effects on property values, tourism and health. Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner and Ontario’s Environmental Review Tribunal opposed the effect of industrial wind turbines on wildlife at Ostrander Point. Economists, health care providers, mayors, and those affected have consistently made their views known, but concerns have fallen on deaf ears. 

Read the full article here.

Garth Manning QC is Chair of CCSAGE, the County Coalition for Safe and Appropriate Green Energy. He has had a long and prestigious career in the law and was awarded the Louis St Laurent aware by the Canadian Bar Association for his contributions to the profession. He resides in Prince Edward County.

Minister Chiarelli answers questions about siting wind power plants. Sort of.

Here from The Independent, is the responses received by the newspaper to a set of questions put to Ontario Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli, on the new procurement process for large-scale wind power projects. The announcement of the new process has been delayed.

Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli answers turbine questions

Posted : Business, Featured, Front Page, News.

wind turbines and lines

Editor’s note: The Independent recently requested an interview with Ontario Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli about the concerns about industrial wind turbines. We submitted five questions and here are the unedited responses forwarded by the minister’s office.
When will the province outline how it will handle FIT program?
The Large Feed-in Tariff (FIT) program is being replaced with a new competitive procurement process for renewable energy projects.  We asked the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) to develop a new competitive procurement process for future renewable energy projects larger than 500 kW, which will take into account local needs and considerations before contracts are offered.
The OPA has engaged with the public, municipalities, Aboriginal communities and other stakeholders to help inform the identification of appropriate locations and siting requirements for future renewable energy projects.  The OPA has reported back to the government with interim recommendations and additional engagement activities will occur later this year.
We need to make sure our approach is balanced and considers the views of local communities while ensuring the long-term sustainability of Ontario’s electricity system. We expect to have more information on this once the province has updated its Long-Term Energy Plan later this year.
Is it deliberately ignoring those opposed to wind energy projects?
We’re moving forward with renewable energy in a balanced (way).  We listened very extensively to the public and we’re changing the way we procure renewable energy projects to respond to community concerns while continuing to encourage a strong renewable energy sector in this province.
Will the government return planning authority to municipalities on Green projects?
The Ontario government is making key changes to increase local control over the siting of renewable energy projects. As a former Mayor and Regional Chair, I understand how important it is for communities to be involved in decision making from the beginning.
Our government wants to ensure that future renewable energy projects will be built in the right place at the right time. That’s why we are replacing the current Feed-in-Tariff program for large renewable energy projects with a competitive bidding process, tailored to the needs of communities. Potential developers will need to work directly with municipalities to determine appropriate locations and site requirements for any future large renewable energy project.
Our government will also provide up to $90,000 for municipalities to develop Municipal Energy Plans. These plans will help municipalities better integrate energy, infrastructure, growth and land use planning to support economic development, increase conservation and identify energy opportunities.
Finally, we’ll work with municipalities to determine a property tax rate increase for wind turbine towers.
If municipalities declare themselves “Not Willing Hosts” is it a guarantee there will not be wind energy projects in their municipalities in the future?
Recent changes will ensure that municipalities have more say over renewable energy projects.  Through the priority points system municipalities will have increased influence over the siting of projects through the prioritization of applications that have demonstrated municipal support.  Developers that work closely with municipalities and have broader support will receive points during the application process, helping those projects move forward.  During the recent round of Small FIT contract awards, over 98 percent of the successful applications received municipal council support resolutions.
These recent changes also gives municipalities more tools and enables them to participate directly in the FIT program
Municipal energy plans will give municipalities a much stronger role in identifying local energy needs and opportunities. Municipal Energy Plans are comprehensive strategies to align infrastructure, energy and land use planning.
The competitive procurement process will ensure that renewable energy developers work directly with municipalities, before contracts are awarded, and that large renewable energy generation is targeted regionally, based on system needs.  This process will better integrate renewable energy into our communities and economy, encouraging growth in the renewable energy sector and respecting communities.
Will there be a moratorium on the [wind] current projects until the two-year federal health effects study is complete as many municipalities have asked?
The government is committed to protecting the health of residents in communities that are home to renewable energy projects.  We have taken a cautious approach when setting standards for wind turbine setbacks and noise limits to protect Ontarians.
Large-scale wind energy projects in Ontario are subject to the Renewable Energy Approval (REA) regulation, which includes minimum setbacks for wind energy projects, and minimum requirements for environmental studies and community consultation activities.  Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Arlene King undertook a review of the potential health effects of wind turbines. Her 2010 report stated that there is no scientific evidence to date to support claims that wind turbine noise cause adverse health effects.
The Ministry of the Environment continues to review emerging scientific, health, acoustics and engineering studies to ensure Ontario’s REA regulation remains in line with the latest and best in science. The ministry also continues to support further research by funding, through an agreement with the Council of Ontario Universities, a Research Chair for the ongoing study of Renewable Energy Technologies and Health.

….
Translation: if we decide your community is getting a wind power project, you’re getting a wind power project. You can have “say” but the word “no” will not be allowed.
Obviously, at the time some person in the communications warren answered The Independent’s question, the results of the Renewable Energy Technologies and Health were not known—it will be very interesting now to see  what the Minister does with that, keeping up as he is with the “latest and best in science.”
See also the blog Smithville Turbine Opposition Party for more comment. http://smithvilleturbinesoppositionparty.ca/news/energy-minister-bob-chiarelli-answers-turbine-questions/