Minister Bradley responds to WCO: “no comment”

Following the closing arguments of the Environmental Review Tribunal based on the appeal of the wind power project at Ostrander Point in Prince Edward County, Wind Concerns Ontario wrote to the Minister of the Environment Jim Bradley on an issue of grave concern.
  The MoE lawyer, Ms Sylvia Davis, was heard to remark that the reports of ill health from the appellants’ witnesses were not to be given any weight because they are “psychogenic,”* she said. In other words, a government lawyer was inferring that the witnesses’ reports of health problems–which the Tribunal in its decision found “credible”–were simply the result of psychological stress.
  It was heart-breaking for those witnesses who gave up their time to testify and reveal their private suffering, to hear a government lawyer dismiss their situations in this way.
  In our letter to the Minister, we asked, is this government policy? To blame confirmed health problems on the victims’ own mental state?
  And how does this mesh with other well intentioned, taxpayer-funded initiatives to de-stigmatize mental health issues?
  We received a response, sort of, today. Here it is:

Dear Ms. Wilson:
I have received a copy of your email of June 26, 2013 about my ministry’s policy regarding wind turbine noise and health.
I recognize your interest in issues relating to the approval of the development at Ostrander Point.  As you know, the decision of the Environmental Review Tribunal is currently under appeal.  I hope you will understand that it would not be appropriate for me to comment on matters which are currently before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Divisional Court.
Thank you for bringing your concerns to our government’s attention.
Yours sincerely,

Jim Bradley

 We will continue our fight to have the noise complaints that are registered by the hundreds followed up, and we will continue our fight to have the voices of the victims of wind turbine environmental noise heard.And we will continue the fight to halt the advance of these huge, noise-producing power generators that are completely inappropriate next to our homes and communities.

Jane Wilson

*This comes, of course, from a spurious paper by Chapman which alleges that there are no health problems, that people just worry themselves sick because they don’t like change.

Dr Jeffreys, Carmen Krogh and Brett Hroner respond to wind biz blogger

The current edition of the Canadian Family Physician journal contains a letter to the editor, responding to comment on the authors’ article published in the journal last May. The comments were made by pro-wind power and IBM employee Mike Barnard.
  The full article is available here.

Adverse health effects of industrial wind turbines

  1. Brett Horner, CMA
+ Author Affiliations

  1. Little Current, Ont
We are pleased to see the interest generated by our article in the May issue.1 Much of the feedback has been constructive and should help advance awareness of the health risks of placing industrial wind turbines (IWTs) too close to humans. However, the opinions expressed by blogger Mike G. Barnard deserve comment.2
The Society for Wind Vigilance is not an “anti-wind” campaigning organization. It is a not-for-profit organization, the purpose of which is to ensure safe positioning of wind turbine facilities based on human health research; educate through the dissemination of facts and references on the risk of adverse health effects of human exposure to IWTs; work constructively with interested parties to ensure that guidelines for wind turbine facilities will protect the health and safety of communities; and achieve vigilance monitoring and long-term surveillance regarding the risks to health of IWTs.3 Society board members are authors of peer-reviewed articles on the effects of IWTs.48

The term industrial wind turbine

Mr Barnard states that the term industrial wind turbine is “emotionally laden” and “propaganda terminology.”2
Our use of the term is not intended to invoke an emotional response, but to differentiate consumer turbines from industrial-scale turbines that have a blade radius of greater than 40 m, are greater than 140 m in height, generate multiple megawatts of electricity, and produce approximately 105 dBA of sound power.

see website for full article

Is renewable energy finished in Australia?

Here from the Guardian an interesting report from Australia: almost no mention of renewable sources of power, plenty of focus on fossil fuels, a promise to look into thorium as a power source, and once again, a promise to conduct a health study into turbine noise.

Coalition energy document focuses almost entirely on fossil fuels

Only reference to Australia’s $20bn renewable industry is repeat of promise to hold another investigation into the health impacts of wind farms

Construction Continues On Controversial Lake George Wind Farm
The Lake George Capital Wind Farm in Canberra. Photograph: Ian Waldie/Getty Images

The Coalition on Thursday unveiled its new energy and resources document, which focuses almost entirely on fossil fuel developments, promising to restore coal-fired power stations to profitability, boost exploration for oil and gas, and to produce another “white paper” on energy.
Other proposals in the document prepared by opposition energy spokesman Ian Macfarlane include an investigation into the use of thorium as a potential energy source of the future, and support mechanisms for the use of LNG as a transport fuel.
“Australians have a choice between a Coalition government that will give industry policy certainty and stability or a Labor government putting investment, jobs and economic growth at risk with erratic policies and taxation burdens on Australia’s most important industry,“ the document says.
However, the only other reference to the country’s $20bn renewable industry is the repeat of a promise made last December to hold yet another investigation into the health impacts of wind farms, and confirmation of a previously leaked commitment to require “real time” monitoring of wind turbine noise – a move that wind energy groups say would involve “crippling” costs.
There is no mention of renewables – least of all the “solar revolution” that state energy ministers admit is sweeping the country.
However, separate costing documents reveal sharp cuts to renewable support measures. This includes stripping the Australian Renewables Energy Agency of $150m over three years to fund the Coalition’s million solar roofs program, cutting a planned $40m program to support geothermal and ocean energy developments in regional towns, and cutting $185m from a “connecting renewables” program designed to support transmission infrastructure for renewables. The million solar roofs program – targeted for low income earners – will now feature a $500 rebate instead of a $1,000 rebate because of the fall in the cost of solar PV modules.
On wind, the energy document – in an apparent gesture towards the anti-wind members of its constituency – says: “Some members of public have serious concerns over the potential impacts of wind farms on the health of people living in their vicinity.
“The lack of reliable and demonstrably independent evidence on the subject of wind farms both adds to those concerns and allows vested interests on either side of the debate to promulgate questionable information to support their respective cases.
“We will implement a program to establish real-time monitoring of wind farm noise emissions to be made publicly available on the internet.”
The renewables industry has previously said that real-time monitoring would impose unbearable costs on the wind industry, and would be almost useless because of the inability to separate other noise in real-time.
Despite the fact that there have been 19 separate studies into wind farm health, including one by the National Health and Medical Research Council, the Coalition said it would establish either an independent NHMRC research program or an independent expert panel to examine and determine any actual or potential health effects of wind farms.
A previous study by the NHMRC in 2010 found that “there are no direct pathological effects from wind farms and that any potential impact on humans can be minimised by following existing planning guidelines”. A Senate inquiry into wind farm health fell largely along party lines, although it said it was unable to establish a direct link between ill health and the noise generated by wind farms.
The Coalition has said that the inquiry would be made in response to demands from anti-wind senators John Madigan and Nick Xenophon, who may hold the balance of power in a new Senate.
“This panel will be modelled on the Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development,” it says.
The new energy white paper will address issues of “energy security” and transparency that the Coalition says had not been addressed in the previous document.
It would also investigate the role of alternative transport fuel sources, including but not limited to biofuels, LNG, CNG and LPG, and another white paper would look at how the government would support Australia’s “world leading” expertise in petroleum and mining services industries.
The document says the Coalition would look into formalising the sale of uranium to India, and would also examine the potential use of thorium as an energy source, noting that Australia possesses an estimated 18.7% (489,000t) of the world’s identified resources.
“The primary source of thorium in Australia and globally is the mineral monazite. Thorium can be used as an alternative source of fuel for energy generation and possesses an energy content that can be utilised almost in its entirety,” it says. Thorium is often touted as a future energy source, although most experts say it is decades away from deployment.
Among other initiatives, the Coalition says it will provide $100m in incentives to boost mineral and petroleum exploration, and would convene an “urgent meeting” of state governments, gas explorers and producers and gas consumers to set in place “a workable gas supply strategy for the East Coast gas market to the year 2020”. This follows widespread warnings of a sharp jump in gas prices as the LNG terminal in Queensland begins exports, and of a potential gas shortage in some areas such as NSW.
The Coalition document noted that electricity generators across Australia have faced “huge losses” in value thanks to the carbon tax. It said these losses meant higher costs for consumers and taxpayers, although it didn’t explain how.
“The O’Farrell government has made it clear that its black coal-fired power stations will suffer a loss in value of at least $5 billion because of the carbon tax,” it said. “This is a cost that will be paid by New South Wales taxpayers already struggling with rising cost of living pressures.”
Leigh Ewbank from Friends of the Earth’s Yes 2 Renewables initiative says the anti-wind farm stance of some Coalition members is out of touch with mainstream views.
“All available public polling shows strong public support for wind farms,” says Ewbank. “The Coalition desperately needs to make a wind energy friendly policy announcement to reaffirm its commitment to Australia’s most affordable renewable energy source.”
• Giles Parkinson is editor of

Wind turbines: they’re not wind “mills” and they’re not fans either

There has been an interesting exchange of letters in the Belwood area over the last week, in the Wellington Advertiser newspaper.
Last week, a reader wrote this:

Stories about the turbine windmills intrigued me. But is there anyone out there that can explain the difference between these large “fans” and other fans that surround us?

Why do these windmills purportedly harm us, yet we see no problem with the much closer fans in the stove, in the microwave, on the ceiling, in our computers and vehicles?

Don’t these fans whirling about, making noise and impacting the air have an effect as well?

/Anita Zomer, GUELPH/

Here is a letter from area resident Robert Service, explaining the difference between wind turbines and what some people think they are.

Fans versus turbines


Dear Editor:
RE: Large fans, Aug. 30.
I’d like to attempt to describe the difference between a household fan and an industrial wind turbine for a previous letter writer.
The first difference is clearly size;  one is about six inches tall, the other is one quarter the size of the CN Tower.
The next distinctions lie in the intensity and duration of the noise pollution produced. Household fans are used over short periods and their use does not require the owner to abandon their home.
The industrial wind turbines, on the other hand, have laid waste to neighbourhood after neighbourhood, with the sound approximating a 747 landing at Pearson airport.
Another distinction can be seen in the control the homeowner has over the sound of the fan. A household fan can be turned off at the owner’s discretion, while the unfortunate neighbour of an industrial wind turbine factory is constantly subjected to the incessant and damaging effects of the machines. To add insult to injury, this is totally out of their control.
Quite frankly, I’d have no objection to my neighbour installing a new home fan. I hope I’ve helped clarify the writer’s understanding of the issue.
Robert Service, RR1 BELWOOD

UN ruling a “game changer” for wind power in the UK

The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe UNECE has released a startling decision that could well have repercussions as a precedent for Ontario. Responding to a complaint filed by a resident of Scotland, the UNECE ruled that the UK was not employing full public participation in environmental issues and further –hear this, Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Ministry of Energy–that the government should ensure that the full range of effects, both positive and negative, should be disclosed for wind power projects.
   The report is here.

Exclusive: UN ruling puts future of UK wind farms in jeopardy

Tribunal warns that the Government acted illegally by denying public participation

Plans for future wind farms in Britain could be in jeopardy after a United Nations legal tribunal ruled that the UK Government acted illegally by denying the public decision-making powers over their approval and the “necessary information” over their benefits or adverse effects.

The new ruling, agreed by a United Nations committee in Geneva, calls into question the legal validity of any further planning consent for all future wind-farm developments based on current policy, both onshore and offshore.
The United Nations Economic Commission Europe has declared that the UK flouted Article 7 of the Aarhus Convention, which requires full and effective public participation on all environmental issues and demands that citizens are given the right to participate in the process.
The UNECE committee has also recommended that the UK must in the future submit all plans and programmes similar in nature to the National Renewable Energy Action Plan to public participation, as required by Article 7.
The controversial decision will come as a blow for the Coalition’s wind-power policy, which is already coming under attack from campaigners who want developments stopped because of medical evidence showing that the noise from turbines is having a serious impact on public health as well as damaging the environment.
Legal experts confirm the UNECE decision is a “game-changer” for future wind-turbine developments in the UK. David Hart, QC, an environmental lawyer, said: “This ruling means that consents and permissions for further wind-farm developments in Scotland and the UK are liable to challenge on the grounds that the necessary policy preliminaries have not been complied with, and that, in effect, the public has been denied the chance to consider and contribute to the NREAP.”
The UN’s finding is a landmark victory for Christine Metcalfe, 69, a community councillor from Argyll, who lodged a complaint with the UN on the grounds that the UK and EU had breached citizens’ rights under the UN’s Aarhus Convention.
She claimed the UK’s renewables policies have been designed in such a way that they have denied the public the right to be informed about, or to ascertain, the alleged benefits in reducing CO2 and harmful emissions from wind power, or the negative effects of wind power on health, the environment and the economy.
Ms Metcalfe made the legal challenge on behalf of the Avich and Kilchrenan Community Council at the Committee Hearing in Geneva last December. She and the AKCC decided to take action after their experience of dealing with the building of the local Carraig Gheal wind farm and problems surrounding the access route, an area of great natural beauty.
The retired councillor said she was “relieved” by the UN decision. “We were criticised by some for making this challenge but this result absolves us of any possible accusations of wrong-doing… The Government needs to do more than just give ordinary people the right to comment on planning applications; they deserve to be given all the facts.”
A Department of Energy and Climate Change spokesperson said: “We are aware of this decision and we are considering our response. Wind is an important part of our energy mix providing clean home-grown power to millions of homes. Developers of both offshore and onshore wind farms do consult with communities and provide generous benefits packages.”
The Aarhus Convention: What is it?
The Aarhus Convention, or the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters, is named after the Danish city where it was first established by a UN summit.
It sets up a number of rights for individuals and associations in regard to the environment. People can request to know the health risks linked to the state of the environment and applicants should be informed within one month of the request.
It also ensures the public get a say in any environmental project such as a wind farm. Public authorities must provide information about environmental projects, and those affected by such schemes must be told if they are going ahead and why.

Wind power project announced for Quebec nickel mine

Here is a story today from the Globe and Mail announcing a wind power project for a nickel mine in Quebec’s Nunavik region.
  Many people (including the lawyers for Gilead Power at the recent Environmental Review Tribunal) try to characterize Wind Concerns Ontario and our members as being opposed to anything “renewable” or “green.”
  Not true.
  Here you have an industrial use of power generation from wind (note that otherwise, the mine would be totally dependent on diesel fuel for power generation) for an industrial use. There are several diamond mines in the Northwest Territories also using wind energy to generate power.
  These examples simply underscore how wrong-headed Ontario’s policy is regarding wind power: these industrial-scale turbines are more appropriate for an industrial use–they should never be placed near homes and schools.

Harper announces wind energy project for Nunavik mine 

Stephen Harper used the final stop in his annual northern Canadian tour to champion a project that would harness wind energy to help power a massive nickel mining operation in Quebec’s Nunavik region.
Remote communities and industry such as Xtrata Nickel Inc.’s Raglan Mine are dependent on diesel-based energy generation today.
   The Harper government has given $720,000 to TUGLIQ Energy Co. and Xstrata Nickel Inc. to study the feasibility of integrating wind energy into an existing diesel-based electricity system in Nunavik.
   The proposed system would generate energy from wind and store surplus wind energy through hydrogen, providing a stable and sustainable source of energy at Raglan Mine.
   If the plan works, a clean energy project could be operating at the mine by March 2016.
“Canadians … expect that Canadian resources will be developed with future generations in mind … in ways that make sensible use of energy and respect the environment,” Mr. Harper said.
   “If this technology works here in the way we hope it will, the implications for power generation across the North are enormous. In other words, it could be a ’Eureka!’ moment.”
   This project is one of the 55 that aim to produce and use energy in a cleaner, more efficient way. Support is being provided through Natural Resources Canada’s ecoENERGY Innovation Initiative.
Raglan Mine, located in the sub-arctic permafrost of Northern Quebec, was brought into production in 1997. Raglan employs almost 1,000 full-time workers, many of whom come from local communities.


Not a Willing Host communities heard at AMO

Representatives of the now 64 communities in Ontario who have declared themselves Not a Willing Host to giant wind power developments, made their voices heard yesterday at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario convention, in Ottawa. Questions were raised during the afternoon “bearpit” session, during which Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli appeared to contradict himself, by saying that preserving valuable Ontario farmland and the quality of rural communities was a priority and then later saying that wind power was necessary for the province. He also said that there is no chance of giving municipalities a “veto” on wind power projects.
   Enniskillen Mayor Kevin Marriott remarked later that he was appalled by the Minister’s “doublespeak.”
   The municipal representatives held a meeting later in the day, and discussed what the effects of wind power had been on their communities to date, and what options were left open to them as they struggle to protect the health and financial wellbeing of their citizens.
   Here is a report from today’s Ottawa Citizen. Comments are open at the time of writing.

Windmill opponents demand province give power to municipalities

By Teresa Smith, OTTAWA CITIZENAugust 20, 2013

Windmill opponents demand province give power to municipalities

Sixty-two Ontario communities have declared themselves ‘unwilling hosts’ to provincially approved industrial wind-power projects. They are demanding that Premier Kathleen Wynne’s government allow municipal governments to choose whether and where to put them.

Photograph by: Peter J. Thompson , National Post

OTTAWA — A coalition of 62 communities in Ontario have declared themselves “unwilling hosts” to provincially approved windmills and they’re demanding that Premier Kathleen Wynne’s government allow municipal governments to choose whether and where to put industrial wind projects.
A group of residents in North Gower, a region of Ottawa that the province pegged for a large-scale wind-power project, is supportive of the coalition’s demands, but Ottawa is not officially a member of the unwilling hosts coalition.
Progressive Conservative Party leader Tim Hudak told 1,600 delegates gathered at the annual Association of Municipalities of Ontario conference this week that, if elected, he would “scrap the Green Energy Act” entirely. If communities don’t want windmills, the municipality should not be “forced” to house “industrial wind turbines,” Hudak said.
New Democratic Party leader Andrea Horwath said “short-sighted” decisions on the energy file have created a needless backlash against wind power in communities that feel inadequately consulted.”
The Liberal government’s 2009 Green Energy Act gave the province control over the location of wind energy projects but, in May, the province announced changes that will require developers to work more closely with municipalities. Energy projects that are part of a co-op, owned by a First Nation or at least half-owned by a municipality, will get priority for the Feed-in Tariff program “which is good, because if the private company has community support already, then the project will be more successful,” said Kristopher Stevens, executive director of Ontario Sustainable Energy Association (OSEA).
To that end, Wynne has asked the OSEA, a non-profit organization, to raise awareness in communities slated for the turbine projects about the benefits of hosting, including the financial gains that can come from being power generators in a cash-strapped economy.
“It’s going to require a transformation in the way we think about energy,” said Stevens, who noted one of the best things about the Green Energy Act is that it supports smaller scale projects.
“What we want is to have lots of points of light — sort of like the Internet — so that if part of the system goes off, the rest of the system can isolate it and keep running.”
He said such a change would prevent blackouts like the one that happened in much of Eastern Ontario and the Northeastern United States 10 years ago. “What happened in Ohio affected everyone because were pushing power from one centralized place,” said Stevens.
So far, 62 municipalities across Ontario have declared themselves not willing hosts to wind-power projects, citing health problems and loss in property values as their main concerns.
However, while research into the issue is limited. Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, in a 2010 report, concluded that “the scientific evidence available to date does not demonstrate a direct causal link between wind turbine noise and adverse health effects.”
The report said that while some residents might find the sound and vibrations from nearby wind turbines annoying, the sound is not sufficient to cause hearing problems and there is no scientific evidence the vibrations cause health issues.

The report recommended that “community engagement at the outset of planning for wind turbines is important and may alleviate health concerns.”
Health Canada has launched a major study into the effect of wind turbines on health.
The Marlborough 1 project in North Gower is on hold until the province announces its new procurement process. However wind developer Prowind, headquartered in Germany, has said it intends to reapply when the new process is in place.
In a letter to Ottawa Wind Concerns, a North Gower anti-wind turbine group, Mayor Jim Watson reiterated that the province is responsible for granting approval for wind projects and called the regulatory regime “quite onerous.” However, before any project is approved, he said, the city “will review all documentation and information relating to the proposed development and fully participate in any such consultative process.”

Wind ‘farms’ not a success: letter to Hill Times

In this week’s edition of the Hill Times, following last week’s feature, the following letter to the Editor:

Ontario’s wind farms not a success

Published: Monday, 08/19/2013 12:00 am EDT
Last Updated: Monday, 08/19/2013 3:37 pm EDT

Bob Chiarelli is quoted in The Hill Times as saying “wind power produces no greenhouse gases and is part of a program of modernization of Ontario’s power system. It’s a tremendous success story” (“Critics call Ontario’s wind farms ‘a disaster’ in rural areas but Energy Minister Chiarelli says government is working with municipalities,” Renewable Energy Policy Briefing, Aug. 12),
   I beg to differ with that statement. Mr. Chiarelli is either uninformed or very disingenous and he is totally wrong. It takes several thousand tons of coal to produce one industrial wind turbine. How is that modernizing the system? Coal produces greenhouse gasses.
   Ontario has spent millions of dollars ($60-million in 2009) for the Bruce Power Plant not to produce power. We do not need nor can Ontario afford IWTs. It is all a financial disaster for Ontario.
IWTs were forced on us by the McGuinty/Wynne Liberals. They turned our rural area into an industrial zone.  
   As a result, we are “enjoying” our senior years surrounded by IWTs. We have tried to sell and move to a smaller property but no one is looking. The whole area is in turmoil as family members, neighbours and friends are about to start a class action law suit against the land owners and wind proponents. Many are suffering health problems related to IWTs and Mr. Chiarelli calls this a “success story?”
Frank and Helen Belbeck
Fisherville, Ont.

The Hill Times:critics call wind farms in rural areas a disaster

In this week’s edition of The Hill Times, is a profile of how wind power is being rolled out in Ontario.
    Wind Concerns Ontario president Jane Wilson is quoted as saying, wind power represents an almost insignificant portion of power supplied to the province, but the wind power installations themselves have a “huge impact on rural-small urban communities.”
    Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment Gideon Forman persists with the wind industry claim that there is no research showing direct effects to health from the noise and infrasound produced by the wind turbines: “there is annoyance for some people…but in terms of a direct causal effect between a wind turbine and health effects, we just haven’t seen it.”
   Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli is quoted by the Hill Times as saying wind power produces no greenhouse gases and is part of a program of modernization of Ontario’s power system. “It’s a tremendous success story.”
   The article is here.
   Letters to the Editor may be sent to

New website on the “human face” of wind in Ontario

A new website has been launched called the Human Face of Wind, which documents the stories of people and communities that are now living with wind power generation projects in Ontario.
The website features real-life accounts of what the local wind power projects have done to families and communities.
The host has also travelled extensively in Ontario and taken pictures—these are a far cry from the media photos (supplied by the wind industry) of single turbines all alone in a field, far from homes or schools or other buildings.
Visit the site today at:

turbines loom over small island

Turbines loom over Wolfe Island