Several members of Manvers Wind Concerns show up at City Hall to oppose wind turbine project
(KAWARTHA LAKES) They were on their feet applauding when it was over. City of Kawartha Lakes council voted 15-2 in support of a staff recommendation urging the Province to refuse an application for the Sumac Ridge wind turbine project in Manvers Township.
“They’re coming – unless you can stop them.”
That’s what Paul Reed of the Manvers Wind Concerns group told City of Kawartha Lakes council on Tuesday (Feb. 5), as dozens of people packed the public galleries in council chambers.
At a special council meeting, there were 18 speakers on the agenda. The overwhelming feeling is that wind turbines have a negative impact on health, property values, wildlife habitat and overall quality of life.
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:
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.
February 5, 2013
CANADA: The future of the wind industry in Ontario looks increasingly uncertain following the election of the new leader of the province’s ruling Liberal Party.
Kathleen Wynne will succeed Dalton McGuinty as Ontario’s Premier having campaigned on, among other issues, getting greater community buy-in for wind projects before they proceed.
Wynne’ election comes just weeks after the World Trade Organisation upheld complaints from Japan, the US and the EU, and found Ontario’s local content rules under its renewable energy feed-in tariff programme were discriminatory .
Despite Wynne’s ominous campaign..
The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) put out their press release January 11, 2013 that summarized the state of our electricity system for the year 2012. The release included statistics on where our kilowatt hours (kWh) came from, how much we consumed, how much we produced, what they cost us and how much we exported and imported. The release talks about kWh and also uses the term TWh (terrawatt hours) which is equivalent to 1 billion kWh.
During 2012 Ontario consumed 141.3 TWh, a slight decrease from 2011 when we consumed 141.5 TWh and our generators produced 151.8 TWh from various generation sources including nuclear, hydro, gas, coal, wind and other. As several articles have noted wind outproduced coal with production of 4.6 TWh versus 4.3 TWh from coal. Environmentalists cheered the news claiming a victory for what they perceive as somehow winning a race, or a gold medal, but they fail to acknowledge key aspects of their claimed right to ascend the podium. Wind production is treated special with wind granted “first to the grid” rights whereas coal is relegated to “last to the grid rights”. Coal is only called on to produce when we need it to protect the integrity of the system and avoid blackouts. The victory is therefore a hollow one, boosted by those steroids given the developers. Further, coal was there when we needed it, coming off the bench to stop the grid from being overwhelmed on those hot summer days when the giant blades on those turbines were just too weak to spin. Those 4.3 TWh that coal produced cost Ontario’s ratepayers about $100 million or about 2.6 cents per kWh versus over $600 million or about 13 cents per kWh for the wind production. Coal also didn’t need to be backed up by gas generation which wind needs when it fails to produce.
Wind also has a penchant for producing when we need it least being very productive in the Spring and Fall when our peak demand is at its lowest levels. As an example in April wind has operated at 41% of its capacity but we didn’t need it. In July it produced at only 14%. As a result of these bad habits wind production is often surplus to our demand and it or other generation must be either sold in the export market or clean hydro is spilled to protect the grid. We also steam off nuclear power (but still pay for what it might have produced) or pay those gas plants for simply sitting idle.
The IESO report noted that in 2012 Ontario exported 14.6 TWh of surplus power out of our total production of 151.8 TWh (2011 it was 149.8 TWh). If one quickly looks at what cash that might have generated for the ratepayers of Ontario it is a simple process to calculate. The IESO press release discloses that the wholesale price for electricity averaged 2.41 cents per kWh in 2012 equivalent to $24.1 million per TWh so exports generated revenue of about $351 million. The cost of those exports averaged 7.37 cents a kWh hour or $73.70 million per TWh according to that press release. So the cost to ratepayers to produce those exports was $1.076 million meaning Ontario’s ratepayers provided subsidies of approximately $725 million. That subsidy was equal to approximately 0.5 cents per kWh and is included in the “electricity” line of our hydro bills.
In addition to the foregoing, the ratepayers of the province picked up additional costs meant to provide cheaper rates to our largest industrial users. Starting in January of 2011 consumers were divided into two classes with large industrial electricity consumers referred to as Class “A” and the rest of us as Class “B”. What this class definition did was shift 5% of the GA (Global Adjustment) costs from large industry to households and small/medium sized commercial users. While 5 % doesn’t sound like a lot it is both significant and growing. The GA is the pot into which billions of dollars accumulate and includes the excess cost of wind, solar, gas, nuclear and other long term contracts. The GA is primarily the accumulation of the additional amounts paid to the generators in excess of the wholesale price (2.41 cents per kWh in 2012). As an example if we pay a wind developer 13.5 cents a kWh, 11.09 cents per kWh found its way into the GA. In 2011 the GA was $5.310 billion and in 2012 it was $6.456 billion. So in 2012 the GA grew by $1.146 billion or about 0.8 cents per kWh and is now almost double (at 4.6 cents per kWh) the wholesale price. If we look at the 5% the Class “B” customers picked up for 2012 it is about $320 million or 0.2 cents per kwh of total consumption.
If one couples the export support we provide of 0.5 cents per kWh with the 0.2 cents per kWh ratepayers pick up for the big industrial users it equals 0.7 cents per kWh which co-incidently is the same rate we pay for that other line on our hydro bills; the never ending “Debt Retirement Charge” (DRC) and in total added another $1 billion plus to our bills in 2012 under the “electricity” line!
Maybe its time for our local distribution companies to add an additional line to our electricity bills that highlights just how much we pay each and every month for those subsidies. There is hope that we may eventually see the dreaded DRC disappear however, there is little hope that the EAS (exports and class A subsidy) will. Looking ahead we will see it grow annually, much as it did during 2012.
Now that the Finance Minister and former Minister of Energy, Dwight Duncan has demonstrated how to make $3 billion disappear from our Provincial deficit he could perhaps find some more of that financial magic dust to rid our electricity bills of the GA which is accelerating as fast as he says the deficit is decelerating!
Just as we blame the poor for their poverty, we seem compelled to blame the victims of Big Wind for their own illness. Apostles of the wind industry, like Dr. Dora Mills, Dr. Robert McCunney and Australia’s Professor Simon Chapman, are only too happy to furnish the tacit explanations needed to justify blaming these victims for their own plight. These typically include psychosomatic causes, hypochondria, delusions, and other forms of mental illness. Interestingly, these “diagnoses” are always arrived at without benefit of examining a single patient, conducting an independent study, or even speaking with those suffering adverse health effects.
It is guilt is by reason of insanity. In this inverted logic, the victims are to blame, not the turbines.
In some cases, we are told the illness associated with these toxic monsters is actually caused merely by the negative perceptions created when someone is ill-disposed to renewable energy—as though anyone could be against such an idea in principle. This is the always-handy nocebo effect.
The justification for blame is particularly absurd and reprehensible because it flies in the face of a simple fact. Most of the people who become ill were actually in favor of wind energy; that is, until they gained firsthand experience of turbines spinning near their homes.
Why are so many ready to blame the victims of wind? Why so willing to receive these explanations without skepticism, without demanding the same scientific rigor demanded of wind critics? Dr. Ryan’s work is especially useful on this question. The answer is simple; it is a convenient form of social denial. People prefer blaming victims over taking responsibility for confronting the real issue.
A report out of New York state notes 2012 had the lowest electricity price in years – and then speculates on the reasons of low 2012 pricing, and the cause of high rates today.
The average price of wholesale electricity in New York state last year was the lowest recorded since the advent of a competitive power market 12 years ago.
The New York Independent System Operator, a nonprofit collaborative that runs the state’s wholesale electricity markets, says the average price per megawatt hour of electricity in the state was $43.23 last year, more than $5 lower than the previous low set in 2009.
Interestingly, wholesale prices in the Capital Region and all the way down to New York City and Long Island reached $150 per megawatt hour on Wednesday, which is unusual. It is possible that a problem with a transmission line could have caused the spike. The high pricing later spread all the way to the Finger Lakes.
The answer to today’s high rates is in overall demand in a number of connected markets. Most significantly, Quebec is setting consumption/demand records today.
The anwer to the low average rates has a lot to do with low natural gas pricing – but cheap imports from Quebec and Ontario are also relevant.
In an unfolding plot that is part “The Sopranos,” part “An Inconvenient Truth,” authorities swept across Sicily last month in the latest wave of sting operations revealing years of deep infiltration into the renewable energy sector by Italy’s rapidly modernizing crime families.
The still-emerging links of the mafia to the once-booming wind and solar sector here are raising fresh questions about the use of government subsidies to fuel a shift toward cleaner energies, with critics claiming huge state incentives created excessive profits for companies and a market bubble ripe for fraud. China-based Suntech, the world’s largest solar panel maker, last month said it would need to restate more than two years of financial results because of allegedly fake capital put up to finance new plants in Italy. The discoveries here also follow so-called “eco-corruption” cases in Spain, where a number of companies stand accused of illegally tapping state aid.
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Wisconsin Public Service Commission and the State of Wisconsin enact a moratorium to stop the permitting and installation of industrial wind turbines until further studies are done, solutions are found, and the State’s wind siting rule (PSC 128) is modified to implement standards that address ultra low frequency sound and infrasound from wind turbines that will protect the health and safety of residents.
Whereas, developers are in the process of attaining permits to build industrial wind farms statewide, and
Whereas, citizens living next to industrial wind turbines, including families living near Shirley Wind Farm in Denmark, Wisconsin, have made claims of suffering health issues potentially caused by low frequency noise and infrasound generated by wind turbines, and
Whereas, a report (Report #122412-1) released December 28, 2012, to the Wisconsin Public Service Commission by four acoustical consulting firms states that low frequency noise and infrasound created by wind turbines in the Shirley Wind Farm exists in some homes surrounding the wind farm, and
Whereas, the report (Report #122412-1) released on December 28m 2012 recommended additional study on an urgent priority basis, specifically:
a. A comprehensive literature search far beyond the search performed under time constraints of the initial report,
b. A retest at Shirley to determine the decay rate of ultra low frequency wind turbine sound with distance with a more portable system for measuring simultaneously at the three homes and at other locations,
c. A “Threshold of Perception” test with participating and non-participating Shirley residents…
There it was in black and white; the Renewable Energy Approval (REA) was granted by the Ministry of Natural Resources on December 20, 2012. The autograph at the bottom indicates Vic Schroter, P. Eng., Director 47.5, Environmental Protection Act, signed off on the REA to Ostrander Point GP Inc., as general partner for and on behalf of Ostrander Point Wind Energy LP. With the stroke of his pen Mr. Schroter, recently promoted from the position of Senior Noise Engineer, was unable to hear the noise from the 1500 people who choose to contact the Ministry with most objecting to the project. A plebiscite held in South Marysburg (where the turbines will be located) with an eligible voter turnout of 62% overwhelming (90.2%) voted against the project; but the “noise engineer” apparently was wearing earmuffs! The ability to kill, harm and harass birds, bats, blanding turtles, whip-poor-wills, flora, fauna was granted by a bureaucrat with a title that depicted someone operating to “protect” our environment but instead choosing to allow it to be decimated.
The Ostrander Wind Energy Park is a “nothing” in respect to the Liberal plans to inundate the Ontario countryside with these giant wind turbines that cause health problems, kill birds and bats and destroy nature and produce power when we seldom need it. Ostrander is a mere 22.5 MW project with nine 2.5 MW rated turbines. Those turbines will stand 525 feet tall and have blades with a sweep of 390 feet while they generate power. If they operate as all the other wind turbines do they will produce enough power to provide electricity to 20,500 homes for 29 % of the time those homes will need it-just don’t switch on the lights for the other 71 % of the time. The approximately 57,000 megawatt hours (MWh) they will produce in a full year was about half of what Ontario exported over the recent weekend. On Saturday and Sunday (January 19/20, 2013) Ontario exported over 90,000 MWh which was surplus to our needs so exactly why do we need these 22.5 MW is the question in everyone’s mind; and why place them in this sensitive nature area?
The approval granted by an individual within the Ministry of the Environment whose title with the words; “Environmental Protection Act” simply signed off on the approval to erect these turbines in a extremely sensitive “environmental” area of the county, an area globally known for it’s importance as an IBA (important bird area) and that is a mecca for naturalists due to its position on a migratory pathway as well as being a home to species at risk. This home to nature is shortly to be under attack, not from hunters or foragers but from a Government approved industrial wind developer. Those of us throughout the province who admire and want to protect nature stand in disbelief at the carnage that will unfold and that is a result of the Green Energy and Economy Act (GEA) passed by the GTA centric Liberal Party.
If there was ever a “line in the sand” in respect to an REA from the Ministry of Natural Resources, thousands, perhaps millions of Ontarians felt that Ostrander would be it! Instead, those opposed to the project must of necessity and common sense line up to fight the granting of the approval in front of a environment review tribunal who have yet to overturn a single previously approved REA.
Those in the County of Prince Edward who oppose this are shaking their heads in disbelief as are million of Ontarians throughout the Province.
Our politicians now have a good reason to repeal the GEA!
January 22, 2013
Sweetener doesn’t appear to work
Despite throwing out a sweetener – a promise of more than $8 million in local benefits for Snowy Ridge and Settlers Landing wind projects – Sprott Power got the same chilly reception from hundreds of people who attended the meeting.
The company has promised to form a community liaison committee prior to construction, to improve community relations and so locals can be informed.
They have also pledged to contribute $8 million toward local initiatives over the 20-year life of the the projects. They said there would also be property tax revenue for the City of Kawartha Lakes and local spinoffs from construction and operations.President and CEO Jeff Jenner said each project would pump $4 million into local coffers – 60% would be spent during the construction phase, buying local services; 20% would be spent on property taxes and 20% on community programs. Jenner estimated it would mean a couple of hundred thousand dollars a year.
Jenner said they are big supporters of all of the communities they are in For example, in Amherst, Nova Scotia, he said they support the hospital and YMCA.
He said here, they would like the community liaison committee involved in where money is spent.
Asked if he thought that would change anyone’s mind in Pontypool, Jenner said “I don’t think it will sway anyone here tonight.”
That was one thing he and Ward 16 Coun. Heather Stauble could agree on.
Stauble said they first heard about this offer at the Dec. 13 meeting. However, she said the company had been “a little vague” about details.