Wind Concerns Ontario is a province-wide advocacy organization whose mission is to provide information on the potential impact of industrial-scale wind power generation on the economy, human health, and the natural environment.
A resident of Dover Centre in Chatham-Kent is calling for leaseholders in wind turbine projects to be released from the non-disclosure or “gag” clauses that are preventing full awareness of the situation regarding contaminated well water in the region, says a resident writing in the Sydenham Current.
When the recent appeal of the North Kent 1 wind power project was dismissed, the only expert advice offered was the technical report completed by Golder & Associates, paid for by the wind power developer.
“What if accepting the wind developer’s Golder report the Mayor and Mr. Norton put all of Chatham township’s property at risk from an environmental stigma?” asks letter writer Peter Hensel.
” A stigma that the aquifer below would be contaminated with vibrations and is no longer capable of providing safe clean water. You think your property won’t drop like a stone in value? Think again.
“What if accepting the Wind developer’s Golder report the Mayor and Mr Norton allowed pile driven turbine foundations that increased the heavy metal concentrations in the source water – the water in the aquifer below Chatham township? What price do you put on your families’ health?”
The Environmental Review Tribunal refused appellant Kevin Jakubec time to have other experts review the Golder report, which jeopardized his appeal.
“It was only because the MOECC [Environmental] Tribunal Branch refused a time extension to let Mr. Jakubec bring in well test results from Dover into the Trubunal’s final hearing did Mr. Jakubec make the best of Tribunal process and took what gains he could get from the mediation.
“Ask Mr. Jakubec if he stopped investigating Dover,” says Mr Hensel. “Ask Mr. Jakubec if the Tribunal process is fair and that everything is neatly wrapped up now as Mayor Hope and [C-K legal counsel] Mr. Norton would want you to believe.”
Here is a paper from the Energy Collective, which includes a summary of noise regulations and setbacks. The writer’s conclusion is that worldwide regulation is needed, otherwise local regulation of noise is developed, with heavy influence from the wind power industry.
December 19, 2016
Europe and the US have been building onshore wind turbine plants in rural areas for more than 25 years. Anyone living within about 1.0 mile of such plants would hear the noises year-round, year after year. Those nearby people would be experiencing:
Decreasing property values.
Damage to their health, due to lack of sleep and peace of mind.
Living with closed windows and doors, due to year-round noises.
Exposure to infrasound.
The wind turbine noise problem is worldwide. Due to a lack of worldwide guidelines, various political entities have been developing their own codes for the past 30 years. The World Health Organization is finally addressing the lack of detailed guidelines regarding such noises.
World Health Organization Noise Guidelines: WHO, publishes detailed guidelines regarding various, everyday noises, such as near highways and airports, within urban communities and in work places. The guidelines serve as input to local noise codes.
In general, wind turbines are located in rural areas. When they had low rated outputs, say about 500 kW in the 1960s and 1970s, they made little audible noise, and the infrasound was weak. However, when rated outputs increased to 1000 kW or greater, the audible and infrasound noises became excessive and complaints were made by nearby people all over the world.
Worldwide guidelines regarding wind turbine noises are needed to protect nearby rural people, such as regarding:
The maximum outdoor dBA value, how that value is arrived at, such as by averaging over one hour, where that value is measured, such as near a residence, or at the resident property line to enable that resident to continue to enjoy his entire property.
How to measure, or calculate the outdoor-to-indoor sound attenuation of a residence.
How much setback is needed, such as one mile to minimize infrasound impacts on nearby residents.
The maximum dB value of infrasound, how that value is arrived at, where that value is measured.
How to determine the need for a 5 dB annoyance penalty.
The lack of such guidelines has resulted in various political jurisdictions creating their own codes. That process has been heavily influenced by well-financed, pro-wind interests, which aim to have the least possible regulation to maximize profits.
Comparison of Wind Turbine Codes: Below are some highlights from the noise codes of various political entities to illustrate their diversity:
1) DENMARK: Because Denmark was an early developer of wind turbine plants, its noise code is more detailed than of most political entities. It has a buffer zone of 4 times total height of a wind turbine, about 4 x 500 = 2,000 ft, about 0.61 km (no exceptions), and it also has the following requirements regarding outdoor and indoor noise:
For dwellings, summer cottages, etc.: 39 dBA (wind speeds of 8 m/s, 18 mph) and 37 dBA (wind speeds of 6 m/s, 13 mph)
For dwellings in open country: 44 dBA (wind speeds of 8 m/s) and 42 dBA (wind speeds of 6 m/s)
The belowregulations describe the methods and time periods over which sounds are to be measured:
Page 4, par 5.1.1 mentions averaging over various periods. Only the worst average readings of a period are to be considered for compliance.
Page 4, par 5.1.2 mentions a 5 dB annoyance penalty must be added to the worst average readings for a period for clearly audible tonal and impulse sounds with frequencies greater than 160 Hz, which would apply to wind turbine sounds.
Page 6, par 5.4 mentions limits for indoor A-weighted low frequency noise 10 – 160 Hz, and G-weighted infrasound 5 – 20 Hz.
“If the perceived noise contains either clearly audible tones, or clearly audible impulses, a 5 dB annoyance penalty shall be added to the measured equivalent sound pressure level” That means, if a measured outdoor reading is 40 dBA (open country, wind speed 6 m/s), and annoyance is present, the reading is increased to 45 dBA, which would not be in compliance with the above-required 42 dBA limit.
In some cases, a proposed wind turbine plant would not be approved, because of the 5 dB annoyance penalties. The noise of wind turbines varies up and down. The annoyance conditions associated with wind turbines occur year-round. The annoyance conditions associated with other noise sources usually occur much less frequently.
NOTE: The 5 dB penalty does not apply to indoor and outdoor low frequency and infrasound noises, i.e., 160 Hz or less.
– For both categories (dwellings, summer cottages, etc.; open country), the mandatory limit for low frequency noise is 20 dBA (Vermont’s limit is 30 dBA), which applies to the calculated indoor noise level in the 1/3-octave bands 10 – 160 Hz, at both 6 and 8 m/s wind speed. The purpose of the regulation is to ensure neither the usual noise, nor the low frequency noise, will annoy nearby people when the wind turbines are in operation.
Denmark’s Controversial Noise Attenuation Calculations: The controversy in Denmark is regarding the Danish EPA assuming high attenuation factors for calculating attenuation from 44 dBA (outdoor) to 20 dBA (indoor, windows closed) for frequencies above 63 Hz, which yield calculated indoor noise levels less than 20 dBA. The Danish EPA prefers assuming high factors, because they result in compliance, which is favorable for wind turbines.
However, acousticsengineers have made indoor field measurements (supposedly “too difficult to measure”, according to the Danish EPA), which indicate many houses near wind turbine plants have lower than assumed attenuation factors, which results in indoor noise levels greater than 20 dBA, i.e., non-compliance, which is not favorable for wind turbines.
However, the final arbiters should not be government personnel using assumptions, but the nearby people. Increasingly, those people are venting their frustrations at public hearings and in public demonstrations.
2) POLAND is considering a proposed a law with a 2.0 km (1.24 mile) buffer zone between a wind turbine and any building. That means at least 65% of Poland would be off limits to wind turbines. Future wind turbine plants likely would be offshore. …
Four years ago, Dr Robert McMurtry (former Dean of Medicine and Western University, companion of the Order of Canada) and independent health researcher (retired pharmacist and health care executive) Carmen Krogh published a “case definition” and diagnostic criteria as a diagnostic tool to help family physicians and others caring for patients who may have been exposed to wind turbine noise emissions. The paper was first published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, in 2014.
The diagnostic criteria, McMurtry and Krogh explain, were “intended to be used by licensed medical practitioners trained in diagnostic procedures. The case definition requires application of professional medical judgment and diligence including the conduct of a thorough history, physical examination and investigation to rule out alternative explanations” for the patient’s symptoms.
Dr. Robert McCunney and Dr David Colby, with two other authors, published a critique of the case definition which was published in 2015. Among other comments, the doctors alleged that Dr McMurtry and Carmen Krogh failed to give any “indication of potential conflicts of interest” in their original article.
McCunney and Colby fail to disclose wind industry payments
In the article published yesterday, McMurtry and Krogh responded that as health care professionals both were quite aware of the need to disclose any conflict of interest … there simply wasn’t any. Moreover, they wrote in rebuttal, “the obligation to state potential conflicts of interest would also extend to the authors McCunney et al. Any statement should include Drs McCunney, Mundt and Colby relationships with the wind industry including, but not limited to, payments received from the wind industry to serve as experts and/or prepare reports. ”
“The declaration by McCunney et al. is incomplete,” McMurtry and Krogh conclude, “as it omits disclosure of payments received for other services …”
Mathematical exercise could mislead
Other aspects of the McCunney group critique are discussed and refuted, and McMurtry and Krogh make the particular point that the “display of combinatorics” by McCunney and colleagues was an exercise in math that had the potential to “mislead readers as it fails to use the case definition as it is presented and intended.”
Wind Concerns Ontario welcomes the acknowledgement by Premier Kathleen Wynne of financial hardship imposed by her government’s energy policies, and has sent six recommendations for action that will provide immediate relief.
“We know that energy poverty in Ontario is real and worsening under this government,” says WCO president Jane Wilson. “Hundreds of thousands of people are having difficulty paying their electricity bills, and many are having to choose between ‘heat and eat.’ Meanwhile, corporate power developers are getting paid huge profits in Ontario – this has to change, now.”
Wind Concerns Ontario sent the Premier a list of recommendations:
Immediately cancel LRP II renewable power program. Currently “suspended,” its target was to acquire 1,000 megawatts (MW) of power, even though the government says we have a “robust” supply of power for the future. The cost of this new capacity would go straight to Ontario’s electricity bills
Cancel the five wind power contracts awarded under LRP I for 299 MW. This action will save ratepayers about $65 million annually and $1.3 billion over 20 years. Cancellation costs will amount to a small fraction of the annual cost, probably on the order of about $2 million, at most. In addition, cancelling approved but not yet built wind power projects, and the new FIT 5.0 program will also save money. Together, these cancellations can save ratepayers from future rate increases of nearly $4 per month.
Cancel “conservation” spending of $400 million annually. This action would have an immediate effect on ratepayers’ bills, reducing them by $5.50 per month or about $70 a year. Ontario’s ratepayers have already reduced their consumption from 157 TWh in 2005 to 137 TWh in 2015, for a significant 12.7% decrease.
Allocate the Ontario Electricity Support Program (OESP) to the Ministry of Community and Social Services. The OESP is essentially a social assistance program and it is questionable as to whether ratepayers should bear the burden of its costs. With an estimated annual cost of $200 million, the effect of this would be an immediate savings of about $4 per month on ratepayers’ bills, and an annual savings of $50. We recognize, however, that the move would impact the budgetary shortfall by a like amount so we recommend the following action.
Levy a tax on wind and solar power generation on a per-megawatt basis starting at $10 per/MWh. This would result in raising sufficient revenues to offset the OESP costs. The effective rate could be held at that level or increased in the event the OESP costs exceed the forecast $200 million per annum. The Auditor General previously reported the award value per MWh of the 20-year contracts to wind and solar power developers exceeded those in other jurisdictions by a considerable margin. The tax would serve as a recognition of those excessive margins. (Note: the wind power contracts also contain cost of living increases of up to 20% over the term of the contracts.)
Immediately reduce the Time of Use (TOU) off-peak rate. We recommend an immediate reduction in the TOU off-peak rate from 8.7 cents/kWh to 7.4 cents/kWh to encourage the shift of power consumption from peak to off-peak time in order to flatten daily demand.
“Poverty is a major factor in population health,” says Wilson, a Registered Nurse. “It is time Ontario takes action to help people now, and not cause further hardship for Ontario families.”
Wind Concerns Ontario is a coalition of community groups, individuals and families concerned about the impact of industrial-scale wind power development on the economy, on the natural environment, and on human health in Ontario.
Jane Wilson, President: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change has failed to regulate wind turbines for safety, mayor says. A full investigation is necessary
It’s been years since the Canadian Auto Workers union, now UNIFOR, allowed a wind turbine to be built at its education and recreation centre in Port Stanley — and it’s been years of complaints from local residents about the noise and vibration from the wind turbine.
What’s been done? Nothing.
More than 300 complaints have been lodged with the Ontario government and UNIFORS, to no avail. Promises to investigate and follow up have not been fulfilled.
The Mayor of the Town of Saugeen Shores says enough is enough; the government must do its duty and take action on this situation, now.
Last week, he wrote a letter to the Office of the Ombudsman, with a formal complaint about the government inaction in this matter, detailing all the broken promises and the failure to meet its mandate to the people of Ontario. Read the letter here.
Mayor Mike Smith wrote, it is “absolutely unreasonable for our community to have to continue to wait until spring of next year in hope that an audit of this turbine’s operation will finally be undertaken voluntarily by the proponent. At the time of writing we are advised that as many as 328 complaints have been filed relating to the operation of this turbine. If this audit is not done until June 2017, it will come four years and three months after the earliest potentially non-compliant test result …”
How many complaints must be filed? Smith asks, and how many more questionable test results filed before the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change finally takes action?
The MOECC has failed
The situation is indicative, the Mayor says, of “the larger failure of the MOECC to fulfill its role in regulating and overseeing the operation of industrial wind turbines in the Province of Ontario.”
He concludes by requesting a detailed investigation by the Office of the Ombudsman.
Wind power not held to the same rigorous standards for health and safety as other forms of development Jillian Melchior says, writing in Forbes. No health effects? “That wind power lobby claim isn’t honest,” she says
Even as Rhode Island makes history as the first U.S. state with an offshore wind farm, its people are not so fond of wind turbines sprouting up on land near where they live. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Wind’s double standard
October 21, 2016, Jillian Melchior
In September, 11 Wisconsin residents living near the Shirley Wind Farm filed notarized statements describing how nearby wind farms have abjectly affected their health. They noticed a marked difference when the wind farm powered off for a few days.
“I could finally sleep in my own bed,” said one resident, according to the Green Bay Press-Gazette. “I slept less and woke up earlier with more energy…it was as if a great weight was lifted off my shoulders.”
The wind farm’s neighbors have a simple request for the Brown County Board of Health: Simply do a bit more research to see if the science backs up what they’re saying they’ve experienced. Unfortunately, they face an uphill battle.
Welcome to the world of renewable energy, which has embraced a shocking double standard.
The environmental left has been unrelenting in its insistence that the federal government, states and academia exhaustively scrutinize all possible health risks from traditional energy extraction and generation. But when it comes to green energy, they don’t want the same standard of scientific inquiry.
“Wind energy enjoys considerable public support, but wind energy detractors have publicized their concerns that the sounds emitted from wind turbines cause adverse health effects,” says the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the trade group representing this largely subsidized industry. “These allegations of health-related impacts are not supported by science.”
That wind-lobby claim isn’t honest. The science examining wind energy and public health is still developing, yielding mixed, ambiguous evidence that merits further, unbiased inquiry. But the wind industry and its green allies are trying to shut down conversation and stagnate research by claiming the science is settled.
For instance, AWEA cites a report from Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), claiming that it “refutes” claims of health consequences from wind turbines.
But that’s not an accurate characterization of the report, which actually found “no consistent evidence” of an adverse affect—and concluded that “given the limitations of existing evidence and continuing concerns expressed by some members of the community, NHMRC considers that further high-quality research on the possible health effects of wind farms is required.”
AWEA also points to a similar 2010 report by Ontario’s chief medical officer of health. But though that study says the research has not yet established a “direct causal link between wind turbine noise and adverse health affects,” it also notes that “some people living near wind turbines report symptoms such as dizziness, headaches and sleep disturbance.”
Three years after the AWEA-cited Canadian report’s publication, an Ontario-based study, published in the official publication of the College of Family Physicians of Canada, documented how many residents near wind turbines “experienced symptoms that include decreased quality of life, annoyance, stress, sleep disturbance, headache, anxiety, depression and cognitive dysfunction.” …
In January 2014, John Terry, the lawyer for the well-funded wind power development lobbyist the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) told the panel of judges in an Ontario court at the appeal of a decision at Ostrander Point, that their decision was very important for the future of wind power development in Ontario because, he said, “This [a successful appeal] was never supposed to happen.”
One might think that he meant the approval process was so rigorous that wind power projects should pose no danger to the environment or to people and that’s why “this,” the successful Ostrander appeal shouldn’t have happened. But no, what he meant was, the rules and procedures attached to wind power development were supposed to be so iron-clad that mere citizens acting on behalf of the environment, wildlife and their own health, could have no hope of success. Lawyers acting for appellants have said, the test set up by Regulation 359-09 to prove serious harm to human health and serious and irreversible harm to wildlife was impossible to meet.
Except, now, that test has been met.
The successful appeals at Ostrander Point, White Pines, Settlers Landing and yesterday, Clearview, show that when proper attention is paid to the requirements to preserve the environment and actually balance development against potential harm, the wind power developments can be demonstrated to be in the complete wrong place.
But the wind power development industry, coached and encouraged by their huge lobbyist and the very compliant Ontario government, felt entitled to propose wind power projects wherever they found willing landowners. Such was the case at Clearview where the eight, 500-foot turbines were to be located near not one, but two aerodromes, the Collingwood Regional Airport and a private airstrip. WPD Canada felt so entitled to success and money that it believed it could locate huge turbines even where pilots’ safety would be in danger and where wildlife would almost certainly be killed.
The Environmental Review Tribunal decision was released Friday, October 7: yes, there would be serious harm to human health because of the risk to aviation safety and yes, there would be serious and irreversible harm to the endangered Little Brown Bat.
Paragraphs [149-151] are interesting: the appellants’ expert witness arguments were “informed and reasoned” the panel wrote, finding they had established “the evidentiary base to support their qualitative assessments.”
Although a remedy hearing is possible, the Tribunal expressed doubts as to the effectiveness of any measures proposed.
The Tribunal used very strong language in places in the decision, saying “it would be trite to say …” or “it is obvious …” and they noted the federal Ministry of Transport’s carefully crafted opinion letter on aviation safety at the airport.
The people of Ontario have despaired at times as wind power projects have been put in fragile environments, too close to people’s homes and workplaces, without any real demonstration of environmental benefit. Millions have been spent by ordinary citizens as they took on corporate Big Wind to defend—what? The environment against their own Ministry of the Environment.
One lawyer for the Ministry has often been heard to say “wind trumps everything.” She is wrong, as this latest decision demonstrates.
Actions taken in the name of preserving the environment must really do that, and not rely on ideology-based trite statements for justification. Ontario has still never done a cost-benefit analysis on its wind power program even though clearly, wind power has a high impact on the natural environment, on communities, and on the economy, without actual demonstrated benefits.
Clearview was a victory for all Ontario, and the environment.
October 5, 2016 — A new paper from acoustician Richard James and audiologist and professor emeritus Jerry Punch, just published in the journal Hearing Health Matters, confirms support for the idea that “acoustic emissions from IWTs [industrial wind turbines] is a leading cause of AHEs [adverse health effects] in a substantial segment of the population.”
The authors deal with 12 commonly held beliefs about wind power and health effects, promoted by the global wind power development industry, that do not support a connection between wind turbine noise and health problems. They conducted a comprehensive literature review, and review the findings of the most up-to-date studies, including the Cape Bridgewater study by acoustician Steven Cooper, which changed the language of wind turbine noise research.
A paper by Paul Schomer of the U.S. is quoted for example, and the authors conclude “some people affected by WTN [wind turbine noise] may be responding directly to acoustic factors, rather than to non-acoustic factors, as argued by Leventhall.” (page 21)
Canada figures in the paper with references to work done by Dr Roy Jeffery, Dr Robert McMurtry, and researcher Carmen Krogh, among others.
The authors wrote a ccovering letter for windaction.org in which they said,
Finally, let it not be said that either of us believes in making any less than the best possible effort to develop clean and efficient sources of energy. Rather, we hope that our article will be instrumental in promoting public health through a better understanding of the issues underlying the potentially harmful effects of audible and inaudible noise from industrial wind turbines when the turbines are sited too close to where people live and work.
Wind Concerns Ontario president at Huron County Board of Health meeting (Photo: Bob Montgomery, Blackburn News)
Wind Concerns Ontario was invited to make a presentation to the Huron County Board of Health in Clinton last week, to discuss partnership opportunities to advance a study of wind turbine noise emissions, building on the County’s own investigation process.
“This is the first research project, to our knowledge, that involves community groups, a public health unit, and a university,” said Wind Concerns Ontario president Jane Wilson.
Details of the project, which involves an association as well with the University of Waterloo School of Public Health and Health Systems, have been made available to members.
In sworn testimony at an environmental review tribunal, a Health Canada official confirmed industrial wind turbines — large, noise-emitting devices — are regulated by the Radiation Emitting Devices Act. So why isn’t it responding to hundreds of citizen complaints?
The federal government’s inaction on wind turbine noise is making Canadians sick.
It’s been a year-and-a-half since Health Canada’s $2-million study determined low-frequency acoustic waves from industrial wind turbines cause community annoyance.
According to the World Health Organization, unwanted noise, even at a moderate level, can lead to a myriad of adverse health outcomes, including stress-related symptoms such as sleep disturbance, elevated blood pressure, cardiac events and depression.
It’s a “green” form of radiation sickness.
Canada’s Radiation Emitting Devices Act (REDA) is supposed to regulate the design and operation of devices that emit radiation, such as microwave ovens and tanning beds. In sworn testimony at an environmental review tribunal, a Health Canada official confirmed industrial wind turbines — large, noise-emitting devices — are regulated by REDA.
REDA requires a manufacturer or importer of such a device to “forthwith notify the Minister” upon becoming aware its device is emitting radiations not necessary for the performance of its function.
On June 15, Barbara Ashbee of Mulmur, Ontario, together with hundreds of other Ontarians, sent an open letter to Health Minister Jane Philpott, asking why Health Canada has not insisted wind energy corporations report citizen complaints about noise radiation. She wants the minister to meet with her and representatives of citizens suffering from turbine noise radiations.
Ashbee wrote: “Many in Ontario and elsewhere have logged serious health complaints with proponents/operators of wind turbine projects, provincial and federal government ministries as well as wind turbine manufacturers … As previous ministers and current Minister Philpott have been informed, the adverse effects of wind turbines are not trivial.”
Access to Information records indicate wind energy corporations have reported no complaints.
Why is Health Canada not forcing wind turbine operators to report citizen complaints, as required?
Is the wind industry lobby that strong?
Why were Canadians not told wind turbine corporations are required to report citizen complaints to Health Canada? Were wind energy companies also not told about the REDA?
Why did Health Canada’s Wind Turbine Noise and Health study exclude people under age 18 and over age 79, the most vulnerable segments of Canada’s population?
Why do REDA regulations not include standards for the design and operation of wind turbines, as they do for microwave ovens, etc.?
Prior to the 2015 federal election, Canadians for Radiation Emission Enforcement (CFREE) asked candidates in wind turbine-affected Ontario ridings: “Will you support a moratorium on new wind turbines within 2 km of residences, until REDA regulations are updated to clearly stipulate wind turbine operators must comply with REDA, and to include scientifically proven safe setback distances?”
The survey revealed equal support from candidates of all four parties for a wind turbine moratorium. Only three candidates opposed it, but none were elected. In Ontario, the turbine setback is only 550 meters from residences.
Other countries are extending setbacks to safer distances. In Poland, the setback is now ten times turbine height. In closely settled Bavaria, it is now two kilometres. But there is no such action from Health Canada. No moratorium. No change in setbacks. No standards in REDA. More wind projects are planned. More Canadians are getting sick.
Openness and transparency are supposedly important to the federal Liberal government.
What will Prime Minister Justin Trudeau do about Health Canada’s inaction on wind turbines?