Government wind farm noise measurements questioned by acoustics consultant

Ministry of Environment noise study for wind power project was done using average wind speed at a “particularly quiet site” says consultant hired by Kincardine: increase in sound from wind alone is “staggering”

Kincardine Independent, February 24, 2016

GROUNDBREAKING INFRASOUND STUDY RESULTS UNVEILED

By Barb McKay

An acoustics engineer is questioning the Ontario government’s methods for setting baseline sound limits for wind turbines after field testing was recently conducted in Kincardine.

Todd Busch, project manager for Swallow Acoustic Consultants Ltd., was in front of the Municipality of Kincardine council during its meeting last Wednesday to go over data from a study conducted within the boundaries of the Armow Wind Project last fall. Swallow was contracted by the municipality to study baseline acoustic and infrasound levels prior to the 92-turbine, 180-megawatt project becoming operational.

Engineers conducted interior and exterior sound testing at five homes within the project area between Oct. 30 and Nov. 14, 2015, using special microphones designed specifically to record infrasound (sound not picked up by the human ear). The sound measurements account for sound levels from wind in exterior testing.

Busch said when a noise impact study was conducted with audible sound testing for Armow Wind in 2013, engineers who did the study declared that the project would comply with Ontario Ministry of the Environment noise limits for industrial wind turbines. He said the study was done using an average wind speed at a particularly quiet site and a measurement of seven decibels was added to factor in sound levels at a higher wind speed. In the noise impact assessment summary, Busch said sound levels were calculated at between 37 and 39.8 decibels. The noise level limit set by the province is 40 decibels. Infrasound levels were not tested.

Busch said the report that was generated from the noise impact study did not explain why seven decibels was assumed for higher wind speeds and he questions the mehodology used to measure residual noise levels in the background environment. He does not believe the study factored in noise levels associated with wind and therefore is concerned the testing was compromised.

“We placed our microphones within 10 metres of where the noise impact assessment (study) microphones would have been,” Busch said. “A measurement of 39.8 decibels would be a candidate for scrutiny.”

Testing by Swallow generated acoustic sound levels of between 37 and 57 decibels outdoors and 20 to 40 decibels indoors. Infrasound levels measured between 57 and 88 decibels outdoors and 53 to 72 decibels indoors. He said the increase in sound from wind alone is staggering and should be explored further.

“We have been told many times from the provincial government that we can’t measure infrasound,” councillor Randy Roppel said. “Can you?”

“We did,” Busch replied.

Read the full story here

Health affected residents to present to Huron County Health Unit March 3rd

aboutus

“Can’t pretend these people don’t exist.”

Lakeshore Advance, February 24, 2016

Thursday, March 3, 2016 @ 9:00 a.m. at 77722 London Rd. in Clinton, ON., Jeanne Melady and Gerry Ryan will be making a presentation at the Huron County Health Unit on industrial wind turbines and the adverse health impacts experienced by Huron County residents. This meeting is open to the public. Please show your support by attending.

 Shaun Gregory from the Huron Expositor wrote an article in November 2015 entitled,“Residents say some children are allegedly receiving nosebleeds from wind turbines.” The article detailed a meeting between the wind company and the community in the St. Columban Wind project.  It was standing room only as thetestimonials from 14 households were read aloud and projected onto a screen. 

 In response, Huron County affected residents have been reaching out to one another and relaying similar experiences and forming informal support groups.  In Huron County, there are 6 Industrial Wind projects consisting of over 300 industrial wind turbines – St. Columban, Kingsbridge 1, K2, Varna Bluewater, Goshen, and Grand Bend. 

What was remarkable about the St. Columban community meeting was that the wind company admitted the health effects reported were common occurrences for most of the wind projects throughout the province.

Even Health Canada, and the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CANwea) have acknowledged that people living in the vicinity of wind turbines, at the distances permitted by the Ontario government, can result in a significant percentage of residents being highly annoyed by audible noise, and in particular low frequency noise – a tonal signal of sharply rising and falling pulses.  This contributes to well-known noise stress effects including: sleep disturbance, psychological distress, headache, tinnitus, ear pressure, dizziness, vertigo, nausea, visual blurring, tachycardia, irritability, problems with concentration and memory, panic, episodes of internal pulsation or quivering when awake or asleep.  In addition, it is recognized that chronic strong annoyance can lead to an increase in disease.

 A letter by the HCHU to a family with seven children under the age of 18, that began experiencing many of the above symptoms when the turbines became operational, was that the HCHU would “stay up to date on the latest evidence” and expressed that it would take many years of better measurements and of the people exposed to determine cause and effect. 

Currently, the health unit has no plans to gather and track health complaints of local residents living within these electrical generation facilities.  There is no mechanism in place to determine the scope and severity of the health problems being experienced by Huron County residents living in close proximity to poorly sited turbines. 

 As a community, it is unacceptable to continue to put our “heads in the sand” and pretend these people do not exist. They are our friends, family and neighbors.Ignoring the health impacts being experienced will only lead to further negative emotions including anger, disappointment, dissatisfaction, withdrawal, helplessness, depression, anxiety, agitation, or exhaustion.

 The presenters will be requesting the formation of a working wind turbine committee to include affected residents living in close proximity to industrial turbines.  The goal being to develop a method to accurately track complaints, produce a study to determine the scope and severity of the problem in Huron County, and to develop solutions.

 For more information, or to connect with health affected residents in your area, please contact: huronwindaction@gmail.com or phone (519) 529-7624.

Please show your support by attending on March 3, 2016 @ 9 am @ the HCHU.

Mike Stachura

How can we help people living with wind turbines? Poland Human Rights Commissioner asks

Rise of complaints about deterioration of health due to wind turbine noise emissions prompts Poland to act

stopwiakatrom.eu February 21, 2016

Poland’s Ombudsman stands up for the rights of residents living near wind farms

How can we help people who have wind turbines above their homes?

Earlier this month Poland’s Commissioner for Human Rights (CHR) addressed this question to three competent Ministers, for the Environment, Infrastructure and Construction, and Health, demanding that the rights of people residing in the vicinity of wind farms be adequately protected.

The official website of Poland’s CHR explains (in English) that:

“The Commissioner’s Office receives more and more letters from citizens complaining about a deterioration of their health due to the wind turbines’ influence, as well as about the wind farm locating and building procedures. During a meeting with dr. Bodnar, the residents of the Suwałki Region also expressed their concern about the safe placement of wind farms. The Commissioner has contacted the Minister of Environment, the Minister of Health and the Minister of Infrastructure and Construction on that matter.”
(https://www.rpo.gov.pl/en/content/rights-residents-living-near-wind-farms).

The page also includes links to a report on dr. Bodnar’s meeting with residents of the Suwalki region and to the three official intervention letters addressed to the Ministers for the Environment, Infrastructure and Construction, and Health.

How can we help people who have wind turbines above their homes?
„We visited the Suwalki region…
The Ombudsman to the Environment Minister Szyszko:
How can we help people who have wind turbines above their homes?”
Source: official website of Poland’s Ombudsman
– https://www.rpo.gov.pl/en/content/rights-residents-living-near-wind-farms

Importantly, this is the second time that a Polish Ombudsman has intervened on behalf of the people affected by the untrammelled construction of wind farms in Poland.

In August 2014 the then Commissioner for Human Rights, professor Irena Lipowicz, wrote a letter to Polish Prime Minister demanding the introduction of proper setbacks from residences. The letter stated that „since the current legislation does not provide for the minimum distances from residential areas to be observed in the siting of wind farms, there exists a risk of violation of the constitutional rights to the protection of health and to the legal protection of human life (Articles 68 and 38, respectively of the Constitution of Poland)”.

The 2014 letter further pointed out that:

“As numerous scientific publications demonstrate, wind turbines unquestionably impact human health by emitting low frequency noise, infrasound, acoustic and optical impacts or pulsation (…)
(Therefore,) the Commissioner for Human Rights asks for immediate action to be taken with a view to developing and systematizing technical norms that may afford an adequate level of protection to the health of residents living in the area adjacent to wind farms.”

This letter in Polish can be found here: http://www.brpo.gov.pl/pl/content/do-prezesa-rady-ministrow-ws-uregulowania-minimalnych-odleglosci-farm-wiatrowych-od-zabudowy

That letter sent to the Prime Minister Donald Tusk by Ombudsman Lipowicz in mid-2014 did not prompt the then coalition government of the Civic Platform and the Polish Peasant Party to take any significant steps to comprehensively address the regulation of siting wind farms in Poland. As a result, in early 2016 wind farms are still being built as close as 300 metres from human dwellings.

It is important to note that both Polish Ombudsmen, prof. Lipowicz in 2014 and dr. Bodnar at present, are appointees of the ruling coalition that lost power in the Fall 2015 to the Law and Justice Party. Moreover, the Law and Justice Party opposed the appointment of Dr Bodnar in 2015 on the grounds that his leftist views are not representative of the Polish public opinion. This shows that the issue of wind farm regulations transcends any political or ideological divides in Poland.

It is also worth recalling that former Prime Minister Tusk is the current President-in-Office of the Council of the European Union.

A regional newspaper Współczesna.pl interviewed some of the residents whose plight prompted Ombudsman Bodnar to intervene with the government ministers. One local resident, Elzbieta Pietrolaj, whose farm is surrounded by five wind turbines, one of which is located 450 metres from her home, said: “With the slightest breeze you can’t sleep a wink because of the booming noise”. The newspaper explains that Ms Pietrolaj is ailing. “I am constantly nervous. In these conditions it is difficult to get better.” (source: http://www.wspolczesna.pl/wiadomosci/suwalki/art/9414563,wiatraki-na-suwalszczyznie-mieszkancy-wiatraki-zabraly-cisze-marzenia-i-spokoj,id,t.html).

We encourage international media to contact the office of Commissioner for Human Rights for further information.

Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights
Aleja Solidarności 77
00-090 Warszawa
Poland
phone (+ 48 22) 55 17 700
fax (+ 48 22) 827 64 53
biurorzecznika@brpo.gov.pl

Article authored by: stopwiatrakom.eu
kontakt@stopwiatrakom.eu

Collingwood fears for aviation safety, to appeal wind farm

A plane hitting a turbine or being blown off course would meet [the test] for serious harm to human health, says lawyer

Simcoe.com February 18, 2016

Collingwood Regional Airport

Collingwood Regional Airport: an appeal will cost more than $100,000

The Town of Collingwood will be appealing the province’s decision to approve a wind farm south of Stayner near the Collingwood Regional Airport.

In a unanimous decision on Thursday evening, council instructed its legal counsel to draft and file a notice of appeal of the decision to the Environmental Review Tribunal. Last week, the province approved WPD Canada’s plan to construct and operate eight turbines west of Stayner.

Council received a presentation from its lawyer, Richard Butler of Willms & Shier. He said of the 199 renewable energy projects in Ontario, only two have been rejected. He said 120 have been appealed and only two have been overturned.

“The vast majority of appeals are either abandoned or unsuccessful,” he said.

The Environmental Review Tribunal is an arm’s length body that has the authority to confirm, amend or revoke a decision. He said appeals must be based on two criteria: the decision will cause serious harm to human health, or cause serious and irreversible harm to plant life, animal life or the natural environment.

“I think applications and approvals really speak to the uphill battle that opponents of wind projects face,” he said.

Butler said Collingwood would likely be appealing on the basis the turbines would cause harm to human health.

“A plane hitting or blown off course would meet serious harm to human health,” he said.

Butler said the municipality would likely need a risk assessment completed, which would determine the likelihood of a plane hitting a turbine. He said this could be done within a matter of weeks.

The town would need to prove “more likely or not, during the lifetime of the turbines, there would be a collision.”

Read the full story here.

No permit for illegal Falmouth turbines, says MD

FalmouthTurbines

The health problems are real

 

Falmouth, MA-area physician who specializes in psychiatry and who has training in sleep deprivation, Dr William Hallstein, has written a letter to local zoning officials. He urges them not to issue a permit for the Falmouth wind turbines which were illegally constructed, and for which a permit is now being sought.

Here is an excerpt from his letter:

The sensations are real and disturbing. It is totally clear to me that I could not live within the radius of influence of the turbines, and I have no idea how the neighbors who are in the turbine area can sustain a healthy quality of life. Against the backdrop of what I have learned from personal experience with the effect of the turbines I see the Town of Falmouth trying to crush the residents impacted by the turbines.

and

I am writing because I have witnessed Town of Falmouth officials and members of other boards trivialize symptom reports from people who are stalwart residents of the Town of Falmouth. I have witnessed attempts by town officials and other board members to discredit people whom I believe the wind turbines are hurting. Furthermore, all the Wind I neighbors I have examined are passionate about the need for sustainable energy in an effort to reduce fossil fuel dependence.

I see no honest way for the ZBA to issue a permit for the Falmouth wind turbines.

 

 

Read the entire letter to the Zoning Board here: Jan 2016 William Hallstein, MD letter to Falmouth

You may also wish to view a documentary on the Falmouth experience, prepared by PBS station WGBH here.

Wind turbine noise emissions and serious health effects: Dr Robert McMurtry OC speaks out

A key sign of adverse health effects due to wind turbine noise emissions is the fact people improve when they are away from the noise, eminent physician says

These are the latest installments in the series of videos produced for Save the South Shore in Prince Edward County, where two wind power projects have been approved, and endanger not only the natural environment but also human health.

The videos in the series include statements by Dr Robert McMurtry (former Dean of Medicine at Western University and a member of the Order of Canada) and Garth Manning QC (retired).

See the videos here.

Ontario turbine noise regulations not adequate: WCO to Environmental Commissioner of Ontario

Turbines at Port Alma: noise regulations not adequate, protocols not providing a complete picture, Wind Concerns says
Turbines at Port Alma: noise regulations not adequate, protocols not providing a complete picture, Wind Concerns says

February 5, 2016 —

Ontario’s current noise regulations are not thorough enough to protect the health of citizens, and proposed new regulations will be worse, Wind Concerns Ontario has informed Ontario’s new Environmental Commissioner (ECO) in a letter.

“The present regulation is built on the World Health Organization’s night time noise limit for road, rail and airport noise of 40 dB(A). The noise standard generated the 550 metre setback used by Ontario.  The effectiveness of that standard to wind turbines has always been questioned, but the learning from the impact of existing projects in Ontario on residents that are living among the turbines suggests that the current setbacks are not sufficient to prevent serious health issues,” president Jane Wilson wrote.

“We understand that the MOECC has received over 2,700 complaints about wind turbine noise [over a five-year period] but even with a Freedom of Information request, we have not been able to get even summary details on these complaints.

“No information is available on the follow-up that the MOECC has undertaken on these complaints or steps taken to address these real concerns.

“In most organizations, that level of negative feedback on a program would trigger a serious review of the policy that is triggering them,” Wind Concerns asserted.

While new regulations have been proposed there is no mention of infrasound or inaudible noise which the newer more powerful turbines now being built and proposed around Ontario produce, WCO said in the letter.

“The rating of wind turbines being installed in Ontario has increased considerably since the Ontario standards were established with no change in the regulations to ensure the protection of affected residents,” WCO said. “With the newer 3+-megawatt (MW) wind turbines involved in the most recent projects, reports coming to us indicate that health issues are surfacing sooner and the symptoms are more severe. ”

Recent research and reports, including one by the Canadian Council of Academies, indicates that use of the A-weighted measurement for noise does not provide a complete picture of wind turbine noise emissions. The letter cites the Cape Bridgewater study by Steven Cooper of Australia, and testimony by Dr. Paul Schomer at the appeal of the White Pines project, and states, this is further proof that the Ontario regulations are inadequate.

While the current view is that wind power projects may be beneficial to the environment, the fact is that due to the intermittent nature of wind power generation, more power generation from fossil-fuel sources is required, which may result in more greenhouse gas emissions, Wind Concerns Ontario said, referring to a report from the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers.

“Addressing these concerns should be an urgent priority,” the letter concluded.

To see the full letter, click here: letterforenvironmentcommissionerfinal

 

 

 

 

 

Ontario wind power policy failed rural communities, says university research team

“Top-down” policy ignored community concerns, health impacts, research team says

3-MW turbine south of Ottawa at Brinston: Ontario. Communities had no choice. [Photo by Ray Pilon, Ottawa]

3-MW turbine south of Ottawa at Brinston: Ontario. Communities had no choice. [Photo by Ray Pilon, Ottawa]

Ottawa Citizen February 3, 2016

By Tom Spears

Ontario brought in wind energy with a “top-down” style that brushed off the worries of communities where the massive turbines now stand, says a University of Ottawa study.

The 2009 Green Energy Act gave little thought to the transformation that wind farms bring to rural communities — problems that even revisions to the act “will only partially address,” writes a group headed by Stewart Fast.

Fast personally favours wind energy, “but only if it’s done right.”

In Ontario, he says, much of it wasn’t.

Read the full story here, including comments from Wind Concerns Ontario president, Jane Wilson.

Don’t sacrifice people’s health for green energy: Green Bay editorial Board

Imagine having to leave your home to protect your health. Leadership is needed, now.

Green Bay Press-Gazette editorial board statement, January 30, 2016

The most unsettling aspect of the wind turbine debate is that nothing has been settled, nor does it look to be anytime soon.

This is despite efforts over the years from those who say wind energy [sic] doesn’t affect the health of those who live near wind turbines, and those who blame it for sleep disturbance, motion sickness, headaches, nausea and more.

… The Board County Board of Health declared in October 2014 that the wind farm was a health hazard.

The result of that declaration? Nothing.

Read the full editorial here.

 

Wind power projects should be put to community vote: U Ottawa researcher

Dismissing concerns of communities not helpful, says research team. Sensitive landscapes need protection

Community protest at Dutton Dunwich.
Community protest at Dutton Dunwich.

Globe and Mail, January 25, 2016

Renewable energy developers – and those who regulate them – need to be more sensitive to the concerns of residents who are going to have massive wind turbines built near them, a group of Canadian academics says.

In a paper published Monday in the journal Nature Energy, the eight authors – six of whom are university professors or researchers – analyze why there is so much debate over the placement of wind turbines in Ontario.

Ontario has the greatest number of wind turbines of any province, and their construction has created considerable conflict between developers and those opposed to the installation of large industrial machinery in rural environments. Often these fights end up pitting neighbours against neighbours, and they can become big political battles at the municipal level.

Ontario has altered its rules since it first encouraged wind farms in its Green Energy Act in 2009, said Stewart Fast, a senior research associate at the University of Ottawa and one of the paper’s authors. But even though the new rules encourage more input from local governments and residents near proposed turbines, these changes haven’t been enough to stop the disputes, he said. …

Read the story here.

“The idea of some sort of community referendum on whether or not the municipality should support a project is probably a good thing.” –Stewart Fast, University of Ottawa