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.
ONTARIO ENVIRONMENT MINISTRY TO REPEAT WIND POWER MISTAKES
August 22, 2017
Wellington, Ont. —
Applications for approval of new, huge wind power projects now being filed with the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate should be denied, says Wind Concerns Ontario.
“There have been so many problems and mistakes with the government’s wind power program that not a single new project should be approved,” says Wind Concerns’ president Jane Wilson.
Recently, problems with well water have been revealed in the Chatham-Kent area, where vibrations from turbine construction and operation have disturbed the shale bedrock resulting in toxic heavy metals such as arsenic contaminating water, making it undrinkable.
On August 21st, Chatham-Kent council voted to demand a halt to construction of a new wind power project.
The Otter Creek project by French power developer Boralex is proposed to be built on the same geologic formation and there are questions as to whether it could also create water problems.
Turbine noise is an ongoing concern: Wind Concerns received MOECC documents earlier this year showing that the ministry has had thousands of complaints about excessive noise and vibration from operating wind turbines, but has not resolved any of the problems. Complaints about noise emissions from the turbines continue, often beginning as soon as the power projects begin operation. Citizens affected report sleep disturbance for weeks at a time, and other health problems such as headaches, dizziness, and cardiovascular symptoms.
“The Ministry doesn’t seem to be learning anything from reports of problems created by wind power projects,” says Wilson. “Their own field officers have documented issues with existing noise regulations and observed health effects, and now we have people with formerly pure well water turning black, but the MOECC continues to receive and approve these huge power projects based on the same regulations that have proven to be flawed.
“If the MOECC were a private business, they would acknowledge these mistakes and problems, and work to resolve them — that’s not what this government is doing.”
Wind Concerns filed a document recommending the Otter Creek project, now in review, not be approved. The turbines proposed have never been used and there are no actual noise output measurements for them, WCO says of the project which will operate immediately north of Wallaceburg.
“The modelling documents filed with their approval request are just estimates based on estimates,” says Wilson. “That’s not good enough to assure citizens of Wallaceburg their health will be protected.”
WCO says that projects not built yet should also be halted, such as the North Kent II, where water problems persist, and Amherst Island, to name two, where a tiny island community will be exposed to noise emissions from 26 50-storey high wind turbines and endangered wildlife will be affected.
The damage to the environment and to human health is inexcusable, WCO says, especially when the power projects are not needed. According to a report by the Council for Clean & Reliable Energy, 70 percent of Ontario’s wind power is wasted as it is produced out of phase with demand, and Ontario has a surplus of electrical power.
Math lesson # 2 for Bob Chiarelli—Calculating the cost per megawatt hour of Ontario’s power
January 5, 2016
Open “Tongue in cheek” letter to:
The Honourable Bob Chiarelli, Minister of Energy, Queen’s Park, Toronto
Dear Minister Chiarelli:
First, I hope you and your family had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Second, I hope you found the time to make it through the exercises I described in my recent letter so you now understand the difference between “profit” and “loss” in respect to the energy portfolio.
With that behind you, I believe it’s time for a second math lesson. We will again use the chart for November 12th, 2015 prepared by my friend Scott Luft. See below.
This lesson is focused on allowing you to understand how the cost per megawatt hour (MWh) by generating source can be calculated using the chart Scott prepared versus the IESO daily summary which is not at all as transparent as Scott’s.
Let’s start! Note the second portion of the chart with the subject line “IESO Transmission (Tx)”. The first heading “Nuclear” is a reflection of the generation source and on this day it provided 58.1% of all generation. How to get that calculation is simple. Look at the first line; add the “Ontario” column of the generation of 429,668 MWh to the 2nd line “est. Distribution (Dx)1.” giving you 447,177 MWh. Divide it into Nuclear total of 259,444 MWh and you get 58%! Including curtailed it becomes 61.8%.
Now let’s calculate the cost of each megawatt hour of Nuclear generation. We will include “est. Curtailed” in our calculations as it is generation that could have been delivered, but because IESO was concerned with the grid crashing it was “curtailed” i.e., not produced. Bruce Nuclear has the ability to “steam off” and that is what they were told to do, because wind/solar was generating too much power at a particular point in the day. Now the total of nuclear generation plus the curtailed (steamed off) nuclear is 276,301 MWh and that should be divided into the last line “Cost ($000s)” of $18.062 million —which demonstrates each MWh of nuclear cost $65.37/MWh. Still with me, I hope!
OK, so let’s calculate the cost per MWh for hydro: that was 86,965 MWh + est. Distribution (Dx) of 1,867 MWh and curtailed (spilled) of 208 MWh for a total of 89,040 MWh. Divide that into the “Cost” of $4.671 million and you will see the cost per MWh was $52.46. Hydro contributed 20.2% of Ontario’s total generation (ignoring curtailed generation) this day, so combined with nuclear those two sources generated or curtailed/steamed off 78.2% (365,341 MWh) of all electricity generated in the province, and 100.4% of total Ontario demand (refer IESO daily summary) of 363,960 MWh.
Hope you are paying attention Bob. Here’s why: our exercise up to now doesn’t include generation from wind, solar, gas, biomass or biofuel sources, yet they were were completely CO 2 free! Worth pondering, eh?
Now, time to look at costs of those other sources of generation. Let’s start with gas and its role in providing “peaking power”! On this day, gas provided 5.5% of Ontario generation (including “est. Distribution (Dx).” The calculation: 24,511 MWh divided by 447,177 MWh = 5.5%. The cost of those megawatt hours is simply: divide the “Cost” of $5.360 million by 24,511 MWh, giving a shocking total of $218.68/MWh!
Contracting for gas plants is to back up wind and solar generation when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine!
Here is an example that requires some math calculation so read this carefully before trying the calculations. Specifically let’s review the TransCanada 900-MW gas plant (planned but canceled) for Oakville (most of the $1.1 billion cost) and moved to Bath! The OPA contract (negotiated by the OPA) will pay them $15,000 per MW per month to be “at the ready.” The annual cost of the 900 MW is $162 million (900 MW X $15,000 X 12 = $162 million).
Bob, what the foregoing means is that if that plant produced just one (1) megawatt hour of electricity in a year, the cost would be $162 million.
Now let’s do a “what if” exercise: assume it will operate at 10% of rated capacity of 900 MW which means it will produce 788,400 MWh (10% X 900 MW X 8760 [hours in a year] = 788,400 MWh). Actual generation costs from the gas peaking plants are based on the cost of the natural gas fuel plus a small mark-up but we will ignore those latter two costs in the next calculation just to keep it simple. Here we go: if you divide the annual cost of $162 million by 788,400 MWh, your answer should be $205.50/MWh. Pretty expensive, eh?
The requirement to back up industrial wind turbines is old news as noted in a Memorandum submitted to the U.K. Parliament which stated: “Dr Paul Golby CEO of E.On UK, says 90% whilst Mr Rupert Steele of Scottish Power says, “Thirty Gigawatts of wind maybe requires twenty-five GW of backup.” In other words, that means, if you contract for 1,000 MW of industrial wind generation you need a 900 MW gas plant to “back-up” its capacity!
So, doing math is important: you can see that you are almost doubling up on the cost of producing a single MWh of electricity.
That brings us to the actual cost of wind generation on the chosen day in November.
On November 12, 2015 (refer to Scott Luft’s chart) wind produced 63,203 MWh, i.e., the lines “IESO Transmission (Tx)” + “est. Distribution (Dx)” equals 63,203 MWh. On this day wind produced 14.1% of Ontario’s generation at a cost of $153.55/MWh (based on the calculations applied above) —or at least this is what one would assume. That is an assumption you shouldn’t make though, Bob, and I will try to explain why. Adding curtailed wind production (13,500 MWh) to the 63,203 MWh produced would reduce the per MWh cost to $126.52/MWh, but, and it’s a big but—it doesn’t include gas back-up costs. Now pay attention!
The outstanding contracts for gas generation total about 9,000 MW of capacity and the contracts guarantee them (including the 2,100 MW of Lennox owned by OPG) a monthly price similar to the TransCanada contract mentioned above. So, knowing that, let’s assume the “average” contracted price is only $10,000 per MW per month. Bearing that in mind the backup for wind (solar to a lessor extent) is costing Ontario ratepayers $1.080 billion annually to be on “standby”! In other words, if they produced one (1) MWh in a year the cost would be $1,080,000,000. Shocking eh? If operated at 100% of rated capacity (which they can’t) they would produce almost 79 TWh (terawatts2.) or over 50% (9,000 MW X 8760 hours in a year) of Ontario’s annual consumption.
OK, now back to Scott’s chart of November 12 and let’s figure out the full cost. On November 12, gas generators operated at around 11.3% of capacity (79 TWh divided by 365 days in a year = 216,438 MWh and 24,511 MWh divided by 216,438 MWh = 11.3%). The cost of that day’s gas generation combined with wind generation would be $171.75/MWh, i.e., combined cost of $15,065,000 divided by combined generation of 87,714 MWh (ignore the curtailed generation) = $171.75/MWh. Now that cost coupled with the losses of $7.9 million from our exports of 74,352 MWh (cost of $108 per/MWh3.) Nov. 12th, produces a combined cost of $279.75/MWh or 4.3 times the cost of nuclear generation.
At this point, Bob, I hope you have grasped the math so I won’t go through the exercise for Scott’s other headings of biofuel, solar etc. I will leave you to work those out on your own.
I certainly hope this exercise gives you sufficient math skills to at least understand the basic steps you should go through before making either rash remarks or issuing directives to IESO telling them what to do. Instead perhaps you could instruct them to produce information similar to what Scott Luft produces. The latter would also back up your leader’s wishes or intent to be “transparent” for the taxpayers and voters in Ontario.
Good luck with the math exercises and with demonstrating your Ministry’s intention to become more transparent.
Wind Concerns Ontario has written to the Green Energy Approvals section of the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, following testimony from acoustics experts at the appeal of the White Pines wind power project last week. We demanded that the MOECC review the testimony of the witnesses, specifically that Ontario’s noise regulations are inadequate to protect health, and apply the information to the current review of noise regulations for wind turbines in Ontario.
The letter has been received and acknowledged.
The letter follows.
Senior Program Advisor
Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change
Environmental Programs Division, Modernization of Approvals Branch, Green Energy Approvals,
135 St. Clair Avenue West Toronto Ontario M4V 1P5
November 20, 2015
RE: NOISE GUIDELINES FOR WIND POWER PROJECTS
We are aware that the comment period for the proposed amendments to current noise guidelines for wind power projects has closed; however, there is testimony being given at the appeal of the White Pines project in Prince Edward County that is germane to your review, and should not be overlooked.
Several experts in acoustics, who have technical experience measuring the noise and low frequency noise emissions from wind power projects, have testified over the last few days to the following key points:
The Ontario regulations are inadequate to protect health
The Ontario regulations rely heavily on A-weighted measurement which is not adequate or appropriate (this fact was already mentioned in the federal government funded report from the Council of Canadian Academies)
Wind power developers’ predictions for noise are not always accurate and again, seek to conform to the inadequate regulations of the Ontario government
The Health Canada study of wind turbine noise and health clearly shows there are problems after 35 dB
What follows is a citizen report of testimony given by Dr Paul Schomer, an eminent acoustics professional.
APPEC’s health appeal continued on Day 10 with expert witness Dr. Paul Schomer testifying before the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) on the White Pines wind project. The remainder of the day was spent making adjustments to the schedule following WPD’s abrupt announcement that it was dropping an appeal of the disallowance of two turbines (T7 and T11) by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC).
Dr. Schomer, a former Standards Director of the Acoustical Society of America with 48 years’ experience in noise measurement, was qualified by the ERT as an expert in acoustics. He told the Tribunal that all residents in the White Pines project area will be affected by audible and inaudible sound and a number of residents will be seriously affected. The effects reported by people living near wind projects are similar in nature to the effects experienced by participants in a 1985 University of Toronto study on infrasound.
At lower levels and at higher levels of pure tone some participants experienced nausea and dizziness. However, when overtones were added at higher levels, participants experienced headaches and fatigue. Dr. Schomer considers that internationally-accepted noise standards and protocols are being flouted in Ontario. For example, A-weighting is not supposed to be relied on when sounds have low-frequency content such as those emitted by industrial wind turbines.
Canada is one of the countries that voted for this rule. He also calls for changes in current Ontario regulations to adjust up to 10 db(A) for wind turbine noise in rural areas. Other suggested adjustments include up to 3 db(A) for weather conditions and 3 to 4 db(A) for locations downwind of turbines.
Dr. Schomer is highly critical of WPD’s current predicted average sound as it merely indicates that 50% of the time 50% of the residents will be exposed to sound above or below the limit. The wind industry should be held to a higher level of accountability: db(A) limits should be met 95% of the time.
Dr. Schomer pointed to a very important figure in the Health Canada Report. Only 1% of people are shown to be highly annoyed at 30 – 35 db(A) sound levels. However, at 35 – 40 db(A) the number jumps to 40%. Dr. Schomer sees this as evidence of a community response to wind turbine noise, and that what Health Canada says, what independent acoustic experts say, and what communities say should carry weight in Ontario.
Through experience Dr. Schomer has found that when community responses disagree with the physics, the physics is usually wrong. This has been confirmed by his involvement in six studies of wind farms, including the 8-turbine Shirley Wind Farm in Wisconsin where three families abandoned their homes and about 60 other people reported adverse health effects.
We would ask that the Ministry be certain to review and consider this important evidence in its review of the noise guidelines for wind power projects, which are in no way “farms.”
Just this past week, Wind Concerns Ontario has learned of seven families forced to leave their homes in the area of the Goshen project; another half-dozen families are leaving their homes behind in West Grey. This is all due to the noise experienced.
This is a matter of grave concern, and we hope the government is sincere when it says its mission is to “protect the environment” which also means, the environment people live in.
Ottawa energy economist Robert Lyman has looked at the amount being spent (taxpayer dollars) by the United States to support renewable energy development, including wind power.
The dollar amounts are simply staggering. Look too at the amount of power generation being achieved, for the taxpayer money spent.
United States Subsidies for Wind and Solar Electricity Generation
How much do electricity consumers and taxpayers in the United States pay to help companies that produce industrial wind turbines and solar power equipment sell their products to electrical utilities? Some useful information on this subject came to light in March 2015, when the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) published a report entitled Direct Federal Financial Interventions and Subsidies in Fiscal Year 2013. The report can be read online here:
The report was prepared in response to a request from the U.S. House of Representatives. It focuses on both U.S. federal government subsidies to electricity production in general and subsidies to federal electric utilities. It does not include information on the programs of the U.S. states governments, 33 of which now impose Renewable Energy Standards that require electrical utilities to increase energy production from renewable energy sources. The report aims to provide data, not to draw conclusions or discuss policy issues. Most of the data compares the subsidy levels in 2013 to those in 2010, the date of the last EIA report on this subject. All figures are in U.S. dollars.
Here are the highlights.
In 2013, subsidies to fuel and technologies used for electricity production totaled $16.1 billion, compared to $11.7 billion in 2010. Subsidies to transmission and distribution totaled $1.2 billion in 2013, compared to $10.9 billion in 2010.
Subsidies to renewable energy for all uses totaled $15.0 billion in 2013, compared to $15.6 billion in 2010.
Wind and solar energy are the two largest recipients of subsidies.
In 2013, wind energy received $5.9 billion, of which $4.3 billion was in the form of direct expenditures (i.e. grants and contributions), $1.6 billion was tax expenditures (e.g. deductions and write-offs), and $49 million was research and development.
In 2013, solar energy received $5.3 billion, of which $3.0 billion were direct expenditures, $2.1 billion were tax expenditures, and $284 million were R&D.
Electricity-related subsidies increased 38% between 2010 and 2013, from $11.8 billion to $16.1 billion, largely as a result of a $4.2 billion increase in support for solar energy.
Wind energy received the largest share of direct federal support in 2013, accounting for 37% of total electricity-related subsidies.
Support for Smart Grid and electricity transmission represented the largest portion of electricity-related R&D subsidies. Nearly 39% of 2013 R&D expenditures were devoted to researching the electricity grid’s capability to accommodate larger shares of electricity from intermittent sources.
Renewables, excluding biofuels, received 72% of all electricity-related subsidies in 2013, yet accounted for 13% of generation capacity and 4% of actual generation.
Supporters of renewable energy often compare subsidies to renewable energy to those for nuclear energy and for oil and natural gas.
In 2013, U.S. federal subsidies to nuclear energy totaled $1.7 billion, down from $1.9 billion in 2010. Of the 2013 figure, $406 million were spent on R&D and $1.1 billion were tax expenditures.
Nuclear energy accounted for 1141 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity generation in 2013, 28% of the U.S. total.
In 2013, subsidies to oil and natural gas totaled $2.3 billion (down from $2.7 billion in 2010), of which almost all were tax expenditures.
Tax expenditures are largely incentives to invest and often involve the involve the deferral of taxes to later years conditional on reinvestment.
Federal government grant to wind power project questioned
Wind power forcing electricity bills up and business out of Ontario
Toronto, July 22, 2015
Wind Concerns Ontario (WCO) has written a letter to Tony Clement, MP for Parry Sound-Muskoka, questioning the rationale for a $3-million grant of taxpayer funds to a large wind power generation project near Parry Sound in his riding.
The announcement came less than a week after the Fiat-Chrysler CEO visited Ontario and chided Premier Kathleen Wynne on the province’s lack of competitiveness for manufacturing. Renewable power sources such wind and solar are widely credited with causing Ontario’s electricity costs to soar, while providing an unreliable, intermittent source of power.
Wind Concerns estimates that the Henvey Inlet project will cost Ontario $2.3 billion over the 20-year contract for the project.
Wind power also does not create the number of jobs promised: most are short-term during the construction phase.
“We’re asking for clarification of the government’s policy on wind power,” says WCO president Jane Wilson. “On the one hand, we have countless reports, including two Ontario Auditors General statements, that say we desperately need a cost-benefit analysis for Ontario’s renewables program, and then we have two federal studies that point out potential health impacts from the noise emissions from the large-scale wind turbines, and on the other, we now have more taxpayers’ money going to support another project.
“What’s the government’s policy on wind power?”
Wind Concerns Ontario is a coalition of community groups and individuals concerned about the impact of large-scale wind power development on the natural environment, the economy, and human health.
Wind Concerns Ontario has prepared a brochure on the question of health impacts from the noise and sound emissions from utility-scale or large-scale wind turbines used to generate power.
Scientific knowledge of the emissions from these turbines is advancing rapidly, the coalition of community groups and individuals says; it is now time for the wind industry to stop using outdated studies like the Chief Medical Officer of Health’s 2010 report to deny the adverse health impacts that occur as a result of exposure to wind turbines.
“The Health Canada study is being used in Open Houses for wind farm proposals throughout Ontario right now as developers try to assure communities there are no health impacts from their power developments,” says Jane Wilson, president, Wind Concerns Ontario. “The truth is, the Health Canada study did report a significant response relationship between wind turbine noise and high annoyance–annoyance meaning stress or distress, which is an adverse effect in itself.”
These and other studies mean that the Ontario setback of 550 metres is not adequate to protect health, and neither is the regulated noise level of 40 dBA.
“It’s time to act to protect health in Ontario,” Wilson said.
To subscribers of Ontario Farmer, please take note: in the opinion column by Tom Van Dusen on a wind power information meeting held recently in Finch, Ontario, Wind Concerns Ontario president Jane Wilson is quoted as saying Ontario ought to put wind “farms” in isolated areas where they won’t bother anyone. Mr Van Dusen then quoted the CanWEA representative Tom Levy as rebutting the statement, citing transmission costs when power is transported over great distances.
Mr Van Dusen’s recollection of the remarks is false: what Wilson said, in response to a question from the floor about why wind “farms” aren’t simply located in the North, was that people live there too, and the significant environmental damage done by wind “farms” was a factor, everywhere, including the North. Mr Levy did add the issue of transmission costs.
Wind Concerns Ontario will be sending a letter to the Editor of Ontario Farmer to correct this misstatement by Mr Van Dusen.
Despite a claim by staff in the Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety Branch of Health Canada in a meeting with Wind Concerns Ontario last November, that data from the Wind Turbine Noise and Health study would be available to Canadians, via universities and research projects, the health ministry is actually rebuffing attempts to use the data for independent study.
Staff attending that meeting included project director David Michaud and policy director Tara Bower.
As part of his submission to the Australian Senate inquiry into wind turbines, associate professor Richard Mann of the University of Waterloo makes note of a paper recently presented at an international noise conference in Glasgow, and further mentions the fact that access to the taxpayer-funded Health Canada data has been refused.
Professor Mann states:
Our research paper has just been presented in Glasgow, Scotland. The citation is: J. Vanderkooy and R. Mann. “Measuring Wind Turbine Coherent Infrasound”. Wind Turbine Noise 2015, INCE/EUROPE, Monday 20th April to Thursday 23rd April 2015. Glasgow, Scotland. Link: http://www.cs.uwaterloo.ca/~mannr/WTN2015.pdf
Repeated requests to Health Canada, either to work together, or to study the data independently, have been denied. Accordingly, I have filed the following “access to information” request, listed below.
A-2015-00042: Wind Turbine Noise and Health Study. MG Acoustics was contracted by HC to study infra sound. Request all correspondence between HC and MG. Also request all raw data collected by MG for this contract. This includes all microphone, microbarometer, vibration, weather station, and turbine operational data (turbine orientation, RPM, power output, wind speed at turbine, etc). Note: Informal request made to David Michaud (March 2, 2015), redirected to Stephen Bly (March 9, 2015), and ultimately rejected by Stephen Bly (March 24, 2015)
Health Canada spent $2.1 million on the wind turbine noise and health study; the conflicting conclusions were published in a summary paper in November 2014, and also in a colour brochure (which has been very helpful to the wind power developers).
The Government of Canada also spent $1.75 million on a study aimed at the logistics of rolling out wind power across Canada, which included a payment of $650,000 approximately to the wind power lobbyist, the Canadian Wind Energy Association.
Meanwhile, the Government of Ontario recently told Wind Concerns Ontario that it has received over 2,800 noise complaints since 2009; health complaints related to turbine noise are reported separately.
Not everyone exposed to the infrasound produced by utility-scale wind turbines gets sick from it. But those who do, can get really ill, acoustics specialist Kevin A. Dooley told a packed audience at Wind Concerns Ontario’s conference Saturday, in Guelph Ontario.
Testing of infrasound inside and outside homes confirms that the infrasound produced by large wind turbines is “symmetrical,” Dooley said, and provides a false cue to the human body which results in “sensory conflict.”
A sensory conflict occurs, Dooley said, “when sensory inputs from one or more senses conflict with other sensory inputs. Since infrasound is and has always been associated with motion in an atmosphere, sensory detection of infrasound without other motion cues will cause sensory conflict in some people, leading to motion sickness symptoms.”
These conclusions are supported by work done and published in 1985 by David Nussbaum, Dooley explained.
About 15 percent of people exposed will experience dizziness, nausea, headaches and other symptoms, he said. “That’s in line with the recent Health Canada research, which shows 16.5 percent of people in close proximity showing distress.”
Mr Dooley, who has more than 100 patents to his name for technological solutions to problems with noise and other issues, has published several papers on wind turbines and infrasound.
The research is there, he said. The wind power companies say that there is no link between the infrasound produced by their turbines and human health, but that is incorrect, he said.
What is needed now, Dooley concluded, is research done by “an independent institution” so that government policy and regulations can be altered to protect the health of residents forced to live near wind turbines.
For more information on Mr Dooley and his research, go to his website.
Received by email today, a response to our letter of June 19.:
Thank you for taking the time to share your kind words of congratulation. It is an honour and a privilege to continue serving this great province as Premier.
I have noted your comments on behalf of Wind Concerns Ontario and have shared a copy of your correspondence with my colleague the Honourable Glen Murray, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, for his information.
My colleagues and I are committed to building a brighter future for all the people of Ontario. We understand that being fiscally responsible is fundamental to our future, and that building a fair and inclusive society is at the heart of a more prosperous Ontario. These are the principles that will guide us as we work with you, and all our partners, to make Ontario a better place to live, work and raise a family.
When it comes to building opportunity for the people of Ontario and securing our province’s future and well-being, my colleagues and I want to hear everyone’s voice and listen to everyone’s input. That is why I am grateful for your ideas and suggestions.
Thank you again for your kind words. Please accept my best wishes.