Farmers Forum on Wind farms: farmers were lied to

Not as advertised
Not as advertised

Wind turbine woes

September 2014, Farmers Forum

Farmers Forum surveyed a big chunk of Wolfe Island residents and found that 75 per cent approve of or are indifferent toward the 86 wind turbines they’ve been living with for five years.

There are only two wind turbine projects in Eastern Ontario–one in Wolfe Island and one near Brinston, south of Ottawa. But Wolfe Island, surrounded by the St. Lawrence River at one end and Lake Ontario at the other, is a captive crowd. We easily surveyed 200 of the 1,400 residents lining up for the Kingston ferry or working in the hamlet of Marysville.

With such a high proportion of residents surveyed–one in seven–we captured a fairly good picture of how people feel about those gigantic white gosal posts with their three imposing blades. Of course, having a visual of a turbine makes a huge difference. On many properties on the 29-kilometer long island, you can’t even see the turbines.* From other vantage points, you can see more than 10.

We found that money makes a difference. Those landowners (many of them farmers) hosting one or more turbines, are delighted with the $10,000 to $14,000 they earn each year per turbine just to look at them. The wind turbine company hands over another $100,000 to the island annually. Improvements to the local outdoor rink are one of the many benefits. It’s like getting paid twice for having the good luck of living at the right place on the right island at the right time.

Not surprisingly, wind power companies in other areas of the province are now offering “hush” money to Ontarians living near a proposed wind turbine project. As I’ve said before, if a company wants to pay me $14,000 a year to put a wind turbine on my property, I’d move the garage in order to accommodate them. Change their mind and offer the turbine to my neighbour and suddenly that turbine doesn’t look so good. It’s kind of an eyesore and doesn’t it affect bird migration? Could this be the health issues that we hear about or am I just sick at the thought that I just lost $280,000 of free money over 20 years? I think I know the answer. But when you offer to cut me in on the monetary benefits of my neighbour’s turbine, I’m suddenly all sunshine and happy thoughts.

This is not to say there aren’t honest-to-goodness health risks. Farmers Forum has no reason to disbelieve those survey respondents who complain of low-level noise when the wind changes direction.

We’re losing $24,000 an hour on wind

This brings me to my only real beef against wind power. As happy as I thought I would be to have a turbine, I don’t want  one.

They are the biggest money losers in the history of the province. Not for Wolfe Islanders or anyone else who gets a wind turbine contract. But for everyone else forced to pay an electricity bill. Electricity costs have already risen 12.5 per cent each year for the past five years. There are more than 1,000 operating wind turbines and another more than 4,000 to go up in the province. Ontario’s auditor general says we can expect another 40 per cent price hike over the next few years in our electricity bills. By 2018, every Ontario family will be paying an extra $636 per year to go green. And why? So the province can claim to be the first green province or state in North America? Big deal.

Wind turbines are incredibly inefficient. In a major report last year, the Fraser Institute noted that 80 per cent of the power generated by wind turbines occur when Ontario doesn’t need the power. So, while the province pays 13.5 cents per kilowatt hour, it often resells is for 2.5 cents south of the border. The report, Environmental and Economic Consequences of Ontario’s Green Energy Act, observed that data from the Independent Electricity System Operator show Ontario loses, on average, $24,000 per operating hour on wind power sales. Numerous companies, including Kelloggs and Heinz, have closed plants because Ontario companies pay more for power than any other jurisdiction in North America.

Not “green”

To make matters worse, a wind turbine can contain more than 200 tonnes of steel and Chinese factories need the mining of even more tonnes of coal and iron to make them. Writes David Hughes in his book Carbon Shift, “A windmill could spin until it falls apart and never generate as much energy as was invested in building it.”

So, you can’t even call wind turbines green energy. It’s appalling that farmers have been lied to about the benefits. We’re wasting billions on a phoney cause.

Patrick Meagher is editor of Farmers Forum and can be reached at editor@farmersforum.com

WCO editor’s note: Although Farmers Forum was clear on the limitations of their survey they missed several key points: one, by surveying only people at the ferry dock and in a coffee shop, they may have missed people who stay on the island all day, but more important, as the Island has turbines on one half and none on the other, it would have been absolutely critical to define where the survey respondents actually live. They didn’t. Another key factor in any survey of community residents living with turbines is the fact that many turbine contracts force landowners to sign a non-disclosure agreement—in other words, if they have anything negative to say about the turbines, they can’t talk.

Birders need to know dangers of wind farms

In danger: Lark Bunting
In danger: Lark Bunting

Almost everyone loves birds and this is the season for bird watching. Recent articles in newspapers such as The Ottawa Citizen have noted sightings of beautiful bird species such as the Lark Bunting on Amherst Island, and also of the concern for the Purple Martin population.

The proliferation of wind ‘farms’ along Ontario’s shorelines—Lake Erie, Lake Huron, Lake Ontario, and Lake Superior—is of grave concern to everyone in Ontario who is a true environmentalist. Other sensitive areas such as the Luther Marsh, are also being encroached upon by wind power development, despite federal government guidelines which clearly advise against siting power projects in such areas.

An article in the London Free Press recently made note of how critical Important Bird Areas or IBAs are to conservation of the natural environment and wildlife…but there was not one word about the IBAs threatened by wind power all over Ontario. The Ministry of the Environment lawyer Sylvia Davis remarked at the appeal of the Ostrander Point decision in January that, it doesn’t matter if a few birds or animals are killed—“wind power is an important public infrastructure project” that outweighs everything.

We disagree.

We think lots of other citizens of Ontario do, too.

 

Nature Canada www.naturecanada.ca

Ontario Nature www.ontarionature.org

Bird Studies Canada www.bsc-eoc.org

 

 

 

Podcast of wind farm danger to Golden Eagle coverup

Well, it was probably killed by a cat
Well, it was probably killed by a cat

Here from yesterday’s appearance by Anne Dumbrille of Prince Edward County, a director with the community group the County Coalition for Safe Appropriate Green Energy or CCSAGE Naturally Green, is a podcast of the interview.

Dumbrille obtained documents via FOI that show the wind power developer, even with very limited survey data, knew there is a danger to the at-risk Golden Eagle, and covered it up; the company’s report was never made public.

Podcast here.

Wind farms additional threat to declining purple martins: Nature Canada

Purple Martin being banded in Ottawa for research

Don Butler, Ottawa Citizen, July 8, 2014

Putting a “backpack” on an unwilling purple martin is just about as tricky as it sounds. Yet Nature Canada hopes doing so might shed light on the calamitous decline in the birds’ numbers in Ontario in recent years.

“The population is just plummeting,” Nature Canada spokesman Paul Jorgenson said Tuesday at the Nepean Sailing Club, where one of the largest colonies of purple martins in the region nests in two highrise “bird condos.”

Since 2005, the number of purple martins in Ontario has dropped from about 25,000 to an estimated 15,000 today. Similar declines have been recorded across Eastern Canada and the American northeast.

Purple martins — which nest only in man-made houses throughout much of North America — are the largest of nine swallow species that breed in Canada and the United States.

“We have no idea whether the problem lies here, in their wintering grounds (in Brazil) or somewhere in between in transit,” says Jorgenson. “This is really one of these big mysteries that we’re trying to solve.”

To that end, Nature Canada, in partnership with York University and the University of Manitoba, has launched an initiative to track 65 purple martins from Ottawa and the Kingston area. …

Some of their roosting spots are along eastern Lake Ontario, including Wolfe Island, home to a large array of industrial wind turbines.

According to some studies, those turbines kill 50 to 100 purple martins annually, Cheskey said. “That’s a pretty high proportion.”

With more wind farms proposed on nearby Amherst Island and Prince Edward County, which are also on the migration flyway, the threat could increase.

Winds farms, says Cheskey, “just can’t go everywhere. There should be certain no-go zones.” If turbines start killing birds and damaging biodiversity, “to me it’s no longer green energy,” he says.

Read the full story and take the opportunity to comment here.

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

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

Dear Mr. Murray, new Minister of the Environment,

I would like to congratulate you in your re-election and as the new Minister of the Environment. I was impressed to see your experience as Minister of Transportation and as a former mayor. At the same time I understand what challenges you will be facing in this new position dealing with the incompetence you are inheriting within that department, handed down through the entire inappropriate process created in the Green Energy Act.

This Act took away municipal powers and sidelined 21 other Acts of protection for the environment, human and wildlife habitat for the sake of wind energy development as first priority. This is also why the Liberals are facing a rebellion in rural Ontario by residents who have been ignored and bullied with no consideration as citizens in this province. I would like to suggest that you now have the opportunity to start the change of perception of your political party by doing the right thing.

First of all, you need to give back municipal powers.

Secondly, you need to cancel projects such as the Port Ryerse Windfarm that are suspect to violating any of the environmental or heritage protections within the Green Energy Act or perceived to have possible health problems for people in the area.

Thirdly, you need to change the setbacks to a minimal 2 km. from any residence.

This will be a start. I would also suggest that you back away from wind energy altogether because of the associated problems. I live in Port Ryerse, Norfolk County where we have had wind turbines since 2003 in the west part of the County. We saw the problems of IWT’s as the early experiments with wind energy were being made. We know firsthand about their inefficiency as an energy source, the way many people got sick and had to leave their homes or couldn’t sell them and sometimes sold at a huge loss as well as the inappropriate setbacks for these monstrosities. We now have another project on the eastern part of the County with 13 turbines right around a new development for retirement living, with a golf course to come and a beautiful spa and restaurant. Very sad for the people who bought there or those already living there when it comes time to sell their homes as they have already lost 25-40% of their value which is now common anywhere these things have been built. From the pier in Port Ryerse looking over the water landscape one can actually count 36 of these ugly blights on the landscape over Port Dover including the ones in Haldimand County.

Now we are in the process where you get to approve or cancel a project smack dab in the middle of the County’s lakefront to destroy entirely the landscape of Norfolk County right within the inner Bay of Long Point across from a World Heritage Biosphere Reserve and a cultural heritage landscape which was delineated in a report done for our County back in 2006 called the Untermann-McPhail report or now renamed the Lakeshore report.

Again this information has been sidelined because of the Green Energy Act and taking away municipal powers. In Norfolk County, as with many other areas of rural Ontario, we have many rivers and old dams in need of repair. We also have a local company called Green Bug out of Delhi, Norfolk County putting in hydroelectrical facilities with the Archimedes Screw around the world. They presently have a F.I.T. contract and are awaiting approval from the M.O.E. Our Council and our Heritage Committee I sit on have approved this project we deem to be safe, viable and not interfering in wildlife or human habitat. This is the kind of project we favour for our municipality and we have many other dams in need of repair this could be adapted to.

We do not want to be bullied into any more wind energy which will destroy our lakeshore landscapes and tourism as well as kill our eagles and songbirds and harm our residents and their property values. We also have 3 solar farms which already provide plenty of energy on the grid and have not posed the scale of problems like wind. The municipalities need their powers back to site appropriate electrical facilities according to their own resources and long-term plans.

Attached are some of the reports sent in to the environmental assessment group Stantec and to the M.O.E. to provide information that was not found in any reports of the wind company, UDI Renewables or Boralex. The application was flawed from the beginning when UDI made his application for the F.I.T. contract stating that this project was ”purely surrounded by agricultural land with no significant waterways, heritage or wildlife”. How can anyone miss Lake Erie? At the first public meeting with the company I asked, “What about that eroding cliff?” The answer I got from Uwe Sandner of UDI was, “What cliff?” Our cliff has been dangerously eroding over the last 100 years and especially in the 70’s and 80’s with the high waters of Lake Erie. It is a bluff of 50 feet deep which is seen from Port Dover’s pier by many tourists and locals as an iconic landscape which gave the town its name based on the “White cliffs of Dover”.

I would really like to see an end to the battle between the GTA Liberals and the rest of the province. It is time to end the war against rural Ontario. You have this opportunity. Will you side with the people or the bully money-hungry wind companies with more tribunals and lawsuits? It is time to give back municipal powers, respect those that have declared themselves “Not a Willing Host”, and save Historic Port Ryerse and rural Ontario from more devastation and energy poverty.

We will await the decision from the M.O.E. with the hope that finally there will be a change within the newly elected provincial government to start listening to and respecting its citizens and that this project and others will be CANCELLED utilizing your powers to do the right thing.

Sincerely, Shana Greatrix

Port Ryerse

Golden Eagles almost certain to perish in Ontario wind farm

Golden Eagle

Government’s timing of document release suspicious; community to report to the Ombudsman of Ontario

July 7, 2014

A Prince Edward County citizens’ group, the County Coalition for Safe Appropriate Green Energy (a Not For Profit organization) or CCSAGE, has documented the failure of a wind power developer and the Ontario government to disclose the truth about the impact of a proposed wind power project on migrating Golden Eagles. The Golden Eagle has been designated a “species at risk” in Ontario.

According to the CCSAGE document, prepared by Anne Dumbrille, although only six nesting pairs have been identified in Eastern Ontario, the fact is the majority of Golden Eagles migrating throughout Eastern North America, pass through the narrow area in Prince Edward County.

But: ” wpd [the power developer] surveys reported an average of four Golden Eagles a day on each of the three days they surveyed,” says Dumbrille, “and most were flying at the wind turbine blade height. We know from information in the Species At Risk report and from the Ministry of Natural Resources website, that most, if not all, the Eastern North American population of Golden Eagles will pass through the turbine zone, if they are permitted on the south shore of Prince Edward County.

“It will be a killing zone,” Dumbrille adds.

CCSAGE contends these facts were not made available to the public during the comment period on the project and that, despite a requirement to respond to Freedom of Information requests within 30 days, CCSAGE did not receive the information it requested on the developer’s Species At Risk report until the first business day after the comment period had closed.

“Environment Canada has a guidance document (Wind Turbines and Birds) that lists 11 criteria for a site where turbines should not be sited,” says Dumbrille.  “All those criteria are met in the south shore of Prince Edward County.”

CCSAGE says its findings call into question the so-called technical review conducted by both the ministries of Natural Resources and the Environment.

Wind Concerns Ontario will be submitting the CCSAGE report with the Office of the Ombudsman of Ontario today, as part of an ongoing complaint process related to fairness and transparency of the wind power project approval system in the province.

Email us at windconcerns@gmail.com

Contact CCSAGE at http://ccsage.wordpress.com/naturally-green/

Read the CCSAGE report here: Golden Eagles Funnel Through Turbine Zone in Prince Edward County

 

Wind on the agenda:Thunder Bay-Atikokan candidates meeting

Wind power was front and centre during the recent all-candidates’ meeting in the riding of Thunder Bay-Atitokan. Irene Bond of the Nor’Wester Mountain Escarpment Protection Committee reviewed the decision by the government of Manitoba not to approve any new wind power projects because power generation from wind is inefficient, expensive, and out of phase with demand, and then asked the candidates for their views.

See the Liberal candidate response at minute 9, NDP at 5:15, PC at 8:46, and the Green at 7:42, but it is important to listen to the first question too, from the Fort William First Nation Chief on the topic of the judicial review of the wind power project, and the need for community consultation.

See all the videos here.

We must add that Mr Mauro seems uninformed; while he says the government is scaling back on large wind power, the fact is the government has announced that under the new procurement process for large scale wind power, 300 megawatts will be contracted for in 2014 alone. There are 55 wind power projects from the old procurement process right now, totalling $22 billion in cost to the province.

Down Wind documentary airs June 4

Sun News has announced the debut of its “Down Wind” documentary. The news special, hosted by Rebecca Thompson, will air June 4th.

A promotional trailer is available here: http://www.downwindmovie.com/

The film was funded by crowd source; $30,000 was raised in three days to finance production.

Ontario government promises natural heritage protection

A news release from the Ontario government today. This is interesting in light of wind power projects in East Oxford, Prince Edward County, and on Amherst Island—to name a few—where heritage properties and the natural environment have been “studied” by consultants hired by the power developers.

Ontario Liberal Party


Last fall, the Ontario Liberal Party began an open, collaborative, and dynamic policy development process that has engaged Ontarians from every corner of the province.

Through Common Ground, 12,000 Ontarians came together in person and online to share their priorities and crowdsource solutions to strengthen the economy, create good jobs, and build a fairer Ontario.

Today we’re pleased to announce that an idea proposed by Ken Schmidt through the Common Ground process – the protection of our Great Lakes – will be an important component of our plan for cleaner and more livable communities.

In government, we introduced the Great Lakes Protection Act. Today Premier Kathleen Wynne announced a package of commitments, informed by Ken Schmidt’s pitch to Common Ground, to keep the Great Lakes clean and preserved for future generations. The package includes a plan to re-introduce and pass the Great Lakes Protection Act, tackle algae problems, and work with farmers to reduce nutrient run-off.

Ontario Liberals will also take steps to encourage smarter growth across the province by giving citizens more say over planning decisions, increasing access to trails, expanding the Greenbelt, redeveloping Ontario Place as a site for recreation that’s free of condos, and investing in a cycling strategy that will encourage more people to choose cycling for recreation, tourism or transit.

Ontario Liberals believe that our natural heritage should be protected for future generations and we’re proud to follow through on this important commitment that the Common Ground community helped shape from the ground up.

Sincerely,

Yours,

Steven Del Duca
Sumi Shanmuganathan
Platform Co-Chairs

 

 

US-based NextEra racks up wind power project number 7 with Jericho approval

Middlesex-Lambton community group considering an appeal

Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment issued a Renewable Energy Approval (REA) earlier this week for the company’s proposal to build a 150-megawatt wind farm spanning Lambton Shores, Warwick Township and North Middlesex.

Some final details still need to be worked out, but construction of the Jericho Wind Energy Centre is expected to begin as soon as possible, said Ben Greenhouse, director of development with Nextera Energy Canada.

The project has been in the works since 2008, he said, and was submitted for ministry approval 14 months ago.

“We’re excited,” he said, noting a laydown yard — headquarters for construction — will soon be built on Thomson Line, north of Jericho Road and south of Northville Road.

But not everyone is enthused about the approval.

Lambton Shores resident Marcelle Brooks, with the Middlesex-Lambton Wind Action Group, has been a vocal opponent of the project.

It was a sad day when she saw the approval, she said.

“It was just devastating that our voices simply aren’t being heard.”

Concerns raised about whether turbines are being set back the required 550 metres from residential properties, and environmental concerns about nesting eagles near powerlines, haven’t been adequately addressed, she contends.

Concerns have also been raised about wind turbines affecting tundra swan migration, and the potential health impacts to people living nearby.

Brooks said she was planning to convene a meeting Wednesday with people affected by the project — connecting to Hydro One’s distribution system — to talk about options.

Read the full story here