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.
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.
GERMANY: Germany’s new renewable energy law has passed through parliament in the second and third readings, in parallel with a law allowing each federal state to independently set the distance of wind turbines to the nearest houses.
The law has gone through despite additional last-minute demands from the European Commission made on 23 June.
Amongst other points, the commission had demanded that imported renewables electricity should not be subjected to the German renewables levy. It argues this has the effect of an import duty. (The intervention is believed to anticipate a European Court of Justice judgement due at the beginning of July 2014 on a dispute surrounding a Finnish wind station looking to participate in the Swedish renewables support system.)
Bavaria is setting a minimum distance of ten times the turbine height, which threatens to virtually rule out wind development in the state.
Both laws are to take effect on 1 August. Federal states setting minimum distances must do so before the end of 2015.
The new Renewable Energy Act caps onshore wind expansion at 2.5GW per year not including net additions from repowering projects. Offshore wind is limited to 6.5GW by end-2020, albeit with some flexibility allowed for installations to reach up to 7.2GW.
The law is a three-year interim measure, to be followed by new legislation setting out the rules for renewables tendering procedures beginning in 2017 and on market integration of renewables, according to federal economy minister Sigmar Gabriel.
In his 2008 book Doubt is their product–how industry’s assault on science threatens your health, epidemiologist David Michaels says he got the idea for the title of his book after reading the words of a cigarette company executive. “Doubt is our product,” the executive wrote, “since it is the best means of competing with the ‘body of fact’ that exists in the minds of the general public. It is also the means of establishing controversy”.
Michaels went on to write the following:
…Big Tobacco, left now without a stitich of credibility of public esteem, has finally abandoned its strategy, but it showed the way. The practices it perfected are alive and well and ubiquitous today. We see this growing trend that disingenuously demands proof over precaution in the realm of public health. In field after field, year after year, conclusions that might support regulation are always disputed. Animal data are deemed not relevant, human data not representative, and exposure data not reliable. Whatever the story…scientists in what I call the ‘product defence industry’ prepare for the release of unfavorable studies even before the studies are published. Public relations experts feed these for-hire scientists contrarian sound bites that play well with reporters, who are mired in the trap of believing there must be two sides to every story.
Maybe there are two sides–and maybe one has been bought and paid for.
This scenario is being played out today in Ontario with the wind power industry where not only are health effects from the turbine noise denied, the industry actually claims that wind power saves lives and therefore that the “overall benefit” of wind power supercedes any nagging little negative like people becoming ill from sleep deprivation and the stress and anxiety caused by the turbine noise and vibration. Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment has been complicit in this strategy from the outset: the decision to establish setbacks between turbines and homes was not based on any science at all.
In appeal after appeal, the evidence of health problems is brought forward, and the witnesses so convincing (despite the industry’s highly paid lawyers’ attempts with questions about their mental state) that members of the Environmental Review Tribunals comment on the authenticity of their accounts. In Bovaird v. Director, Ministry of the Environment, panel chair Heather Gibbs wrote in her decision that while the evidence presented did not show a causal relationship, she quoted from Erickson, specifically that “the present situation is closer to the hypothesis generating phase of scientific research than it is to the point where statements can be made on causation.”
In other words, in the view of the Tribunal, there isn’t enough evidence to support the conclusion of “serious harm” (a construct of the Green Energy Act and not a real principle of public health) … but at the same time, there isn’t enough evidence to say there ISN’T.
Today, Big Wind carries on, impugning the testimony of ordinary citizens who have nothing to gain by telling their stories except to have them heard, and presenting experts for hire whose goal is to produce doubt about the science we do have.
This is a shameful chapter in the history of Ontario.
Samsung isn’t giving up on plans for a wind energy project in Southgate.
Company representatives appeared before council on Wednesday with a new proposal.
Samsung is offering Southgate 15% equity in the 120-megawatt project. Company spokesperson Tim Smitheman said as an equity partner, Southgate could expect a net annual dividend of $905,000. That would increase the township’s annual revenue by 19% based on 2013 property tax collected.
The partnership in the project isn’t a gift. The township’s share of the cost for the 40 to 60 turbine development would be $10 million.
Smitheman said Samsung would secure a loan to pay for Southgate’s share. The township would repay the loan at a rate of $500,000 a year out of its dividend for 20 years.
However, even after the loan payments, Southgate would net $905,981 a year – a total of $18.1 million over 20 years.
In addition to the equity partnership Samsung and Pattern Development, the principal owners of the proposed project, would give Southgate $3.6 million over 20 years in a community vibrancy fund to support community, environmental and wellness initiatives.
The dividend, vibrancy fund and annual tax revenues of $250,000 from the wind energy project would net Southgate $26.7 million over the 20-year life of the project.
Smitheman said the only other community where Samsung has 15% equity agreement is Six Nation of Grand River, which has agreed to be host to a 250-megawatt wind project.
Southgate council could decide to include all or a portion of township residents as shareholders and divide the annual dividend payments among them, or it could use the money for operations and capital spending.
The township had a population of 7,190, according to the 2011 Canada census, the latest available.
Deputy-mayor Norm Jack wanted to know why Samsung didn’t include the equity partnership in its initial offer to the township earlier this year.
Smitheman said council hadn’t indicated it was interested in a partnership agreement and negotiations hadn’t progressed very far when council voted to declare Southgate an unwilling host community.
“We had only met once or twice with council when the unwilling host resolution came down. We felt we weren’t given an opportunity to put our best foot forward . . . having had the opportunity I think we would have submitted this earlier,” Smitheman said.
Barbara Dobreen, a Southgate resident who is opposed to wind energy projects in the township, said the latest offer still has too many unanswered questions.
“They are basing that number on a certain level of production. That 15% equity goes down as production goes down.”
She’s also opposed to dividing the dividend among residents. She prefers to see the township use the money as it sees fit.
“I don’t see it as good a deal as they are purporting it to be,” Dobreen said in an interview after Wednesday’s council meeting.
Coun. Kim Peeters said the money is attractive and would be well used, but worries there are too many hidden strings attached and…
A local study that concluded industrial wind turbines cause distress among people who live near them, is to be published in an online medical journal.
The report, which was co-authored by Grey Bruce Medical Officer of Health Dr. Hazel Lynn and epidemiological researcher Dr. Ian Arra, will be published in the online journal, Cureus. No date has been announced for publication.
“It gives a level of authority to a paper such as this,” said Lynn. “It basically gives it much more credibility in the science reading population.”
The review, entitled, Literature Review 2013: Association Between Wind Turbine Noise and Human Distress, came at the request of the Grey Bruce Board of Health in late 2012 after local residents who live near wind turbines asked the health unit to investigate potential ill health affects.
Lynn and Arra conducted an in-depth review of 18 of the most credible and up to date studies around the world on whether wind turbines affect people’s health.
Lynn and Arra’s report considered various types of studies from around the world related to noise exposure from the turbines and from infrasound exposure. They ranged from cohort and randomized studies, cases studies and series and even anecdotes and opinions. They came from medical, environmental and acoustic publications, all peer reviewed.
In February of 2013 they presented their findings to the board of health, concluding that there is “reasonable evidence that an association exists between wind turbines and distress in humans.”
Late last year it was announced the study was being peer reviewed for publication in medical journals. Cureus is a peer-reviewed journal based in San Francisco with an international editorial board.
Lynn said the review was originally submitted to the Canadian Medical Journal and others, but many of them want original research, so the process has taken a little longer than hoped.
“It took a little longer to find one that wants to do this kind of literature review,” said Lynn, who expects the review to now be quoted in a number of other journals.
In their review, the authors stressed that associating wind turbines to distress is not the same as hard evidence of cause and effect.
Prince Edward County farm owners Doug and Janet Murphy, have written a letter to the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, asking a question that exposes a serious conflict between the Environment and Agriculture ministries, regarding the placement of wind turbines.
According to documentation from Agriculture, farm owners are advised NOT to erect wind turbines near routes for migratory birds. And yet, say the Murphys, the Ministry of the Environment is not only allowing the siting of the White Pines project in Prince Edward County, it is encouraging it.
The Murphys are demanding an explanation and further, that plans to approve the project by wpd Canada be halted.
The Township of West Lincoln is renewing its call for a moratorium on industrial wind turbines in light of the HAF wind energy project not meeting setback requirements of the Green Energy Act. The township is also asking the province to order the removal of the four turbines in violation.
WEST LINCOLN —Zlata Zoretic can see three wind turbines from her bedroom window.
Her Twenty Road home is surrounded by the HAF wind energy project. The turbine closest to her home is a mere 640 metres away — just shy of 100 metres over the provincial setback of 550 metres. And thanks in part to the efforts of a local citizens group, Zoretic recently learned two of the turbines are even closer to her property than provincial regulations allow.
The West Lincoln Glanbrook Wind Action Group used a range finder to determine the distances of the five turbines from the property lines after a property owner raised concerns that one of the five turbines appeared closer than 95 metres from her property line. The Ministry of Environment has confirmed the group’s allegations that four of the five turbines infract the property line setback regulation stipulated in the Green Energy Act. Under the legislation, turbines must be the height of the tower, from base to hub from the property line — which in the case of the HAF project is 95 metres.
Two of the turbines are five metres too close to Zoretic’s property.
“Take them down,” said Zoretic outside West Lincoln council chambers Monday night, moments after the planning, building and environmental committee unanimously supported a resolution asking the province to do just that – and to immediately halt all wind projects in Ontario. “They shouldn’t be there in the first place.”
The motion, introduced by Alexander Micallef, comes a little more than a week after Ontario PC Leader Tim Hudak, MPP for Niagara West-Glanbrook, renewed his call for a moratorium and demanded the province take down the HAF project turbines in light of the setback violations.
“They are violating legislation in my opinion,” said Micallef on introducing the motion, which also asks the province to review the negative impacts of its Green Energy Act. “This is something this council and a lot of our constituents have a lot of concern with. It’s frustrating.”
According to the ministry, the HAF project cannot go online until the property line matter is resolved. And according to West Lincoln council, there is only way to resolve the matter: take the turbines down. The resolution also calls on the province to ensure all current and future wind farms comply with regulations – without any exceptions.
“It’s very, very disheartening,” said Coun. Lou DiLeonardo of the situation. “I wonder what would happen if people just started building houses, pools and sheds wherever they want.”
According to planning director Brian Treble, applicants have the option to encroach the setback regulations if they have written permission from the abutting property owner. Niagara Region Wind Corp., which has an application before the province for a 77-turbine project centred in West Lincoln, has chosen to take that route.
Proponents of the HAF project — which is jointly owned by Vineland Power Inc. and Rankin Wind Energy – did not seek permission and are now seeking to rectify the situation.
“Both are not fair. Both do not deal with the rules and the regulations of the Green Energy Act,” said Mayor Doug Joyner. “That’s what’s really upsetting to us in West Lincoln.”
Both council and its constituents are demanding the province right the situation.
“Nobody is above the law,” said a woman identifying herself only as Mrs. Sherman. “They should be held accountable.” …