69!!! Not a Willing Host communities in Ontario

Billings Township (on Manitoulin Island) passed a resolution on September 16 to the effect it will not accept the installation of any industrial wind turbines.The council said it required assurance that the power generators were “benign.”

This is the most recent municipality to declare its non-acceptance of huge wind power projects since the Premier first stated earlier this year that her government would only put wind power projects in communities that were willing. It is important to note that these 69 communities are members of the 90 or so Ontario communities that could be involved in wind power.

 

 

 

Charter Challenge info meeting October 8

Join the Oppose Belwood Wind Farm group on Tuesday, October 8th for an important meeting about legal strategy.

 

Here from leader Janet Vallery:

Over the past several years many rural communities have been investigating their legal options in the fight against wind industrialization. Recently there has been a development that could be beneficial to all communities led by Barrister Julian Falconer.  The case is based on the merits of a Charter Challenge of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

 

Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms states that: “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.”  The Appeal states the right to security of a person and principles of fundamental justice have been violated.

 

Julian will be joining us in Belwood by teleconference to provide details on the case and the progress made to date.

 

This is an opportunity to get first hand information on the status of the case as well as to discuss how we can work together to raise the necessary funds to support it.  The Belwood group is organizing this meeting because they believe the claim is a viable legal option.  After the presentation, their community will vote to determine financial support.  Other communities at risk from wind turbines are welcome to participate as the legal action has the potential to benefit all of us in rural Ontario.

 

Place:       Pine Meadows Retirement Community (Grand Hall)

Address:  8473 Wellington County Road 19 (between Fergus and Belwood on the north side of Lake Belwood)

Time:       7:00pm

Date:        Tuesday October 8th

 

If you plan on attending please contact Janet Vallery at jvallery@everus.ca

Longer setback requirements in Germany

A new post on the German Energy Blog notes a number of German states with more stringent setback requirements than Ontario’s.
The latest being 1 km.

On 12 July 2013 representatives of the Saxon State Ministries of Economics and of the Interior signed a joint “Decree on Minimum Distances between Residential Housing and Priority Areas and Other Areas Suitable for Wind Power”. The decree essentially stipulates a general minimum distance of 1,000 metres between residential housing and wind power plants, a press release issued by the State of Saxony says.

This would help to “reduce conflicts between immissions and adverse affects on the landscape on the on hand and the need for a moderate and sensitive expansion of wind power”, the statement says.

Judging from the press release (the decree is not available yet), the minimum distance seems to refer mainly to immission control law and seems stricter than in other German states. The Bavarian wind power decree points out that the Federal Immissions Control Act does not stipulate a minimum distance, pointing out that below a distance of 800 metres an expert opinion on the noise caused by the wind power plant (Lärmschutzgutachten) would have to be submitted. The wind power decree of the State of Baden-Württemberg states that regional planning authorities should observe a minimum distance of 700 metres from areas in which housing can not only be permitted by way of exception when designating priority zones for wind power.

The State of Saxony also informed that it plans to submit an amendment of the Federal Building Code (Baugesetzbuch) together with the State of Bavaria that would allow the federal states to set minimum standards to residential housing depending on the height of the wind power plant.

The entire article may be read at the German Energy Blog

Dr. Kouwen’s Grey Highlands Study and Sustainable Shetland Update: Wind Wise Radio

Wind Wise Radio has posted preparatory material for tonight’s Wind Wise Radio program featuring “Dr. Nicholas Kouwen, P.Eng, Distinguished Professor Emeritus University of Waterloo.”

Dr. Kouwen’s Grey Highlands Study and Sustainable Shetland Update Wind Wise Radio:

WWR advises discussion will reference this graph

Dr. Kouwen’s groundbreaking work over the past year has revealed that the Ontario Ministry of Environment’s noise limits are being exceeded a majority of the time near industrial wind turbines (IWT’s) at locations in Grey Highlands, ON, Canada. Furthermore it appears the MOE model is flawed and “substantially underestimates” wind turbine noise. We spoke with Dr. Kouwen about his methodology and ongoing work.
Dr. Kouwen’s full report can be found here.
The flawed Ministry of Environment Guidelines here.

View at Wind Wise Radio:

(note… they record the programs and you can listen at any time afterwards, even if you haven’t reviewed the material)

CanWEA Spins Truths

When presented with a statement that says: “We are pleased to see that more than 80 % of respondents were not at all disturbed by wind turbines, but we would like to see a higher figure.” most people would quickly agree that the remaining 20% of respondents must have been disturbed!

Put that statement in the hands of the wind spinners however, and the claim is made that;

“A June 2012 survey from the Danish Ministry of Energy, Climate and Buildings, however, showed that 83 per cent of Danes support continued development of wind power both on- and offshore.”

This is how CanWEA viewed the commentary on that June 2012 Danish survey and reported on it in a press release on February 8, 2013 where they try to discredit the CBC documentary “Wind Rush” that had been presented the previous day on the “Doc Zone”.  The documentary was critical of industrial wind turbines principally because they cause health problems because of “noise” issues. The documentary didn’t examine the costs to ratepayers, nor the requirement to back up wind generation with fossil fuel generators, nor the effects on the natural environment through the killing of birds and bats, nor did it look at the negative effect on property values that industrial wind turbines have!

The documentary dealt only with the health issues and it was damning, particularly in Ontario where it suggests the government rushed ahead without proper due diligence in respect to siting wind turbines because of inadequate setbacks.  The documentary also featured commentary from highly regarded Dr. Nissenbaum, a member of the advisory group, with the Society of Wind Vigilance.  CanWEA’s press release comments that much of what Dr Nissenbaum has researched “has been reviewed by experts at the first Environmental Review Tribunal.” The apparent illusion they are trying to create with that statement is unknown but I believe the inference is that Dr. Nissenbaum’s research was overwhelmed by the experts of the pro-wind segment.  What CanWEA don’t say in their press release is that those “experts” were hand picked by the Renewal Energy Approval (REA) holder’s high priced Bay Street legal counsel to ensure they would sway the Environmental Review Tribunal.  Despite that the Tribunal found; 

“This case has successfully shown that the debate should not be simplified to one about whether wind turbines can cause harm to humans. The evidence presented to the Tribunal demonstrates that they can, if facilities are placed too close to residents. The debate has now evolved to one of degree.”

CanWEA’s efforts are aimed at stifling debate and to continue the proliferation of industrial wind turbines throughout rural Ontario. They claim in the same press release; “As the voice of Canada’s wind energy industry, CanWEA supports the responsible and sustainable development of wind energy.”

Based on the way CanWEA spin their critique of “Wind Rush” it is the opinion of this writer that “responsible” doesn’t include how they spin information. CanWEA took that negative Danish report indicating that 9% (115 humans) of the 1275 people surveyed who stated they were “disturbed by wind turbine noise “to a major extent,” or are “moderately” disturbed and claim the Danes think wind turbines are great.

Is this the renaissance of the “Marlboro Man” holding a wind turbine instead of a cigarette or can we simply put it down as wind spin?

Parker Gallant,
February 11, 2013

Some things Never Change: Old news about Wind Energy, Same Old Problems

If one is to believe the constant and consistent views emanating from CanWEA, AWEA, and all the other WEAs (wind energy associations) from around the world, wind energy is great: wind is free, wind is non polluting, wind is non-evasive, wind turbines are ascetically pleasing, wind turbines are a tourist attraction, wind does not kill as many birds as cats, noise from wind turbines doesn’t cause health problems and wind turbines don’t cause property values to fall and above all wind development creates jobs.

The CanWEAs of the world tell us to look at Germany, Spain or Denmark as prime examples of their preaching. The latter of course is the modern birthplace of electricity generation from wind turbines and hosts two major manufacturers; Vestas and Siemens. According to a recent article Vestas and Siemens together employed slightly more then 12,000 people in 2010. Now if one travels back a decade ago, another article “The Danish Dilemma” published in 2002, reported that there were almost 14,000 people employed in the wind turbine manufacturing sector in Denmark. At the end of the year 2000 Denmark had installed wind capacity of 2300 MW and at the end of 2012 this had grown to 4,162 MW yet the number of jobs had dropped.  Despite the foregoing evidence from the “birthplace” of the modern wind turbine market, CanWEA in their “WindVison 2025” paper, was forecasting 52,000 jobs if Canada would simply target the 20% level of production they alluded was the amount of electricity the Danes generated from wind turbines. The trouble is the Danes only consume about 7% of the electricity generated from wind turbines and the rest is exported at cheap prices because it generally presents itself when its not needed. Germany is the main beneficiary of that cheap power and sells expensive power back to the Danes when those wind turbines are fallow.
Many of our ruling elected politicians actually believe the rhetoric from the CanWEAs of the world about job creation, emission free renewable energy, particularly when wind turbines are mentioned. The Ministry of Energy has consistently ramped the job numbers up in their press releases beginning from the day former Energy Minister, George Smitherman claimed Ontario would create 50,000 jobs by the end of 2012 through the the Green Energy Act. The last press release that spoke about jobs was from current Energy Minister, Chris Bentley dated December 14, 2012 where he claimed 28,000 jobs had been created. Trying to find those jobs however is impossible whereas examples of jobs reputedly created and then lost are quite visible. One example is WindTronics where the Provincial Liberals handed them a grant of $2.7 million in September 2009 but by March 2012 they had left Ontario to do their manufacturing in Michigan.  Another is Siliken who closed their Windsor solar manufacturing plant in May 2012 and yet another is DMI who closed their tower manufacturing operation in Fort Erie. Collectively those three closures represented 600/1,000 jobs which this writer assumes are still included in the 28,000 claimed by Minister Bentley.

Of course the falsehood about job creation is only one aspect of renewable energy and for rural Ontario the bigger issues relate to health and the effect on property values when those turbines suddenly pop up. The WEAs of the world all claim no effect is felt for either of those issues but from the dated “Danish Dilemma” report it would appear that those claims have been around for well over a decade. The wind proponents, using their wealth, have managed to hide the negative news from the gullible politicians. The following is an excerpt from that decade old Danish report that shows those effects on health and property values have been around for quite a while:

Mounting disquiet
In addition come complaints from the immediate neighbours of wind turbines, electricity consumer organisations, and knowledgeable and less knowledgeable citizens. There are warnings to solicitors and estate agents about reduced property values close to turbines (LNtV, 2000a) and also mounting protests against specific site developments (Andersen, 2001a). In this country of only 5.3 million people, over 600 complaints to the Environmental Complaints Board about wind turbines were submitted between 1998 and August 2000, of which 60 cases were upheld. In rural areas, most complaints related to impacts mainly associated with aesthetic and environmental considerations, shadow cast, glinting effects and noise, although a few cases were concerned with infringements of local regulations (Pihl-Andersen, 2000).

The IWTs being erected in Ontario would dwarf most of the 6,200 turbines (Danish Energy Agency) that were then located in Denmark at the start of this century and germinated those 600 complaints. Those 6,200 turbines had a total rated capacity of about 2,400 MWs meaning their average individual capacity was less then 400 kWs or only 50% of the iconic 350 foot 700 kWh Exhibition Place turbine. Their height was approximately 50 metres (195 feet) which is less then half of most 1.5 MW turbine heights. The 2 MW or 2.5 MW industrial wind turbines being erected throughout Ontario are taller still; reaching over 500 feet in many installations. To put the latter in context for people in urban communities, the City of Toronto has only 28 buildings taller then 500 feet.

Now for many people in Denmark the problems caused by those [little] wind turbines back in the late nineties led to regulations being established by some of the Danish counties as the following excerpt from that “Danish Dilemma” report indicates: 

In an assessment of the location of a turbine in the landscape an evaluation must be made of the interaction between the turbine and landscape elements such as churches, burial mounds, characteristic landscape forms and the distance to groups of buildings”]. Turbines may no longer be erected within 500 metres of dwellings.”

So even though some Danish counties were establishing 500 meter setbacks over a decade ago, for wind turbines half the height and a quarter of the capacity of current IWTs, the best Ontario’s politicians and bureaucrats could come up with for setbacks was 50 meters more!

It becomes painfully obvious that the concept of research never crossed the minds of those Ontario bureaucrats or their Liberal political masters when they were rushing to set Ontario’s ratepayers up; to reward the developers, cause health problems, reduce property values, kill birds and bats, damage our tourism industry and drive our electricity bills up! In Denmark over a decade ago they even upheld 10 percent of the complaints submitted, whereas in Ontario thousands of complaints are simply ignored by the Ministries of Health, Natural Resources, Environment and Energy.

At least the residents of Denmark have retained some democratic rights unlike Ontario where we have seen ours exorcised by the current authoritarian government.

Parker Gallant,
February 5, 2013

Effects of industrial wind turbine noise on sleep and health Nissenbaum MA, Aramini JJ, Hanning CD – Noise Health

A new study study on sleep disruption due to Industrial wind turbines, by Michael A Nissenbaum (Northern Maine Medical Center), Jeffery J Aramini (Intelligent Health Solutions – Guelph), and Christopher D Hanning (University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust)

Abstract
Industrial wind turbines (IWTs) are a new source of noise in previously quiet rural environments. Environmental noise is a public health concern, of which sleep disruption is a major factor. To compare sleep and general health outcomes between participants living close to IWTs and those living further away from them, participants living between 375 and 1400 m (n = 38) and 3.3 and 6.6 km (n = 41) from IWTs were enrolled in a stratified cross-sectional study involving two rural sites. Validated questionnaires were used to collect information on sleep quality (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index – PSQI), daytime sleepiness (Epworth Sleepiness Score – ESS), and general health (SF36v2), together with psychiatric disorders, attitude, and demographics. Descriptive and multivariate analyses were performed to investigate the effect of the main exposure variable of interest (distance to the nearest IWT) on various health outcome measures. Participants living within 1.4 km of an IWT had worse sleep, were sleepier during the day, and had worse SF36 Mental Component Scores compared to those living further than 1.4 km away. Significant dose-response relationships between PSQI, ESS, SF36 Mental Component Score, and log-distance to the nearest IWT were identified after controlling for gender, age, and household clustering. The adverse event reports of sleep disturbance and ill health by those living close to IWTs are supported.

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