Green energy: not playing the role it was supposed to

Here from the Lucknow Sentinel, an opinion on what is being done to our fair province…and its fortunes.Lucknow is the location of the ongoing Drennan appeal of a Renewable Energy Approval.

Green energy not playing the role it was meant to

Tracey Hinchberger
By Tracey Hinchberger, Kincardine News Freelancer

A Wind Concerns Ontario 'STOP' sign is seen on a post in Bruce Township, while Enbridge Ontario Wind Power Project turbines spin in the background near the Bruce-to-Milton transmission corridor. Health Canada announced July 10, 2012 that a study would be conducted on the health impact of noise from wind turbines, with results to be published in 2014. (TROY PATTERSON/KINCARDINE NEWS/QMI AGENCY)
A Wind Concerns Ontario ‘STOP’ sign is seen on a post in Bruce Township, while Enbridge Ontario Wind Power Project turbines spin in the background near the Bruce-to-Milton transmission corridor. Health Canada announced July 10, 2012 that a study would be conducted on the health impact of noise from wind turbines, with results to be published in 2014. (TROY PATTERSON/KINCARDINE NEWS/QMI AGENCY)

Is this what “green energy” is supposed to look like? This is a question I keep asking myself, and would like to pose to Premier Kathleen Wynne and Minister of Energy Bob Chiarelli.
As a writer of an environment-themed column I should be pleased to see the fruits of the provincial government’s Ontario Green Energy Act sprouting up all over our municipality.
Instead, as yet another wind farm project has been approved for the area, I find myself dismayed. I am also heartsick for the residents who have fought so hard to oppose these developments and who will be impacted the most by their presence.
While I realize wind turbines utilize an unlimited resource and produce energy that does not create pollution (at least the operational turbine itself) I have never been convinced they are the Holy Grail of clean energy. There are too many cons, such as unstudied health risks, environmental impacts and effects on energy costs.
But some of the biggest concerns I have with the “green energy” the provincial government has been installing in Ontario are the unquantifiable costs.
What I think Queen’s Park has been ignoring is the impact this program is having on Ontarians’ lives.
By denying municipalities the right of refusal in their jurisdictions, and seemingly disregarding opposition to wind projects, an environment of distrust and anger has been created. Unwilling host communities have lost trust in the process, in the government and the corporations who are developing these installations.
By not giving a meaningful voice to individuals who are impacted by neighbours’ decisions to option land, animosity and distrust have been created between former friends.
Communities have been divided.
Too many reports of ill health effects and lives disrupted have come to the forefront. Too often these same families are left unable to escape because of their inability to sell properties that fall within the boundaries of wind developments.
Pro-wind agents will argue that no health effects have been proven. However, even if no physical impacts truly exist (which I’m not convinced is the case) what about the emotional and psychological effects on these families? What about the anguish people have faced, the feelings of helplessness as massive mechanical structures are erected around their properties, and the stress in knowing their homes are now largely unsellable?
The Kincardine area is already inundated with wind development. To the south there are the 38 turbines of Ripley Wind, to the north 115, when combining the towers of Enbridge Bruce and the handful from Huron Wind. From some vantage points in the municipality there are turbines in every direction for as far as the eye can see.
The recently approved Armow Wind project will see another 92 towers erected in the north east of the municipality, almost doubling the number of turbines already in existence north of town. Compounding this is the fact that these towers will be markedly bigger than those already in place.
What the government refuses to acknowledge is that these benignly labelled “wind farms” are in reality large industrial installations, huge pieces of machinery being erected in great numbers across our rural landscape, amongst people’s homes. The province is essentially turning our municipality into a big factory.
Lives in host communities are being impacted significantly, whether it is health-wise, financially or socially.
If I could, I would invite Premier Wynne and Minister Chiarelli to actually stand amongst the turbines, take it all in and attempt to comprehend the impact of masses of towers sprawling off in every direction, with scores more to come.
I would then ask them to look at every one of the lives that have been so wrongly disrupted, imagine their own loved ones in the same position and ask “is this really what green energy is supposed to look like?”

Results from U Waterloo RETH study: statistically significant

University of Waterloo Research Chair

industrial wind turbine (IWT) study results statistically significant

Oct. 24.2013/ At a recent symposium in Toronto facilitated by former Toronto Mayor David Miller titled Symposia of the Ontario Research Chairs in Public Policy, a poster entitled ‘Wind Turbine Noise, Sleep Quality, and Symptoms of Inner Ear Problems’ was displayed by Claire Paller, Phil Bigelow, Shannon Majowicz, Jane Law, and Tanya Christidis.
The research indicates statistically significant results for sleep, vertigo and tinnitus (excerpt):
“All relationships were found to be positive and statistically significant.”
The University of Waterloo – Ontario Ministry of Environment funded IWT health study was publicly displayed during the symposium on sustainability held at York University , Toronto on October 17, 2013.
It is reported that 396 surveys were included in the analysis (excerpts include):
“In total there were 412 surveys returned; 16 of these survey respondents did not provide their home address. Therefore, 396 surveys were included in the analysis.”
Of note is the acknowledgement that as the distance from the IWT increases, sleep improves:
“The relationship between ln(distance) (as a continuous variable) and mean Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) was found to be statistically significant (P=0.0096) when controlling for age, gender and county. This relationship shows that as the distance increases (move further away from a wind turbine), PSQI decreases (i.e. sleep improves) in a logarithmic relationship. Multivariate analysis involved assessing distance to the nearest wind turbine as both distance and ln(distance). In all cases, ln(distance) resulted in improved model fit.”
In addition the authors state that the relationship between vertigo and tinnitus worsened for those living closer to IWTs:
“The relationship between vertigo and ln(distance) was statistically significant (P<0.001) when controlling for age, gender, and county. The relationship between tinnitus and ln(distance) approached statistical significance (P=0.0755). Both vertigo and tinnitus were worse among participants living closer to wind turbines.”
The conclusion states:
“In conclusion, relationships were found between ln(distance) and PSQI, ln(distance) and self-reported vertigo and ln(distance) and self-reported tinnitus. Study findings suggest that future research should focus on the effects of wind turbine noise on sleep disturbance and symptoms of inner ear problems.”
Counties and projects in the study include:
§         Bruce (Enbridge project);
§         Chatham-Kent (Raleigh);
§         Dufferin (Melancthon);
§         Elgin ( Erie Shores );
§         Essex (Comber):
§         Frontenac ( Wolfe Island );
§         Huron (Kingsbridge); and
§         Norfolk (Frogmore/Cultus/ClearCreek).
Based on this evidence, it is not clear what the next steps will be for the Ministry of Environment. However, based on these results, evidence gathered by other researchers in Ontario and elsewhere supports these statistically significant findings.
Carmen Krogh BSc Pharm
Ontario , Canada

William Palmer testimony Adelaide ERT

As you know, appellant Esther Wrightman has had most of her witness list destroyed by wind developer NextEra and the Ministry of the Environment (the latter supported by taxpayer dollars to fight taxpayers). Engineer William Palmer was allowed to provide “limited” testimony at the hearings in London yesterday.
  Here is a lively account from Bob Lewis, excerpt courtesy the website Ontario Wind Resistance.

….They start out trying to reduce him as much as possible. They are ‘concerned’ about the ‘breadth’ of his planned testimony. They talk about his appearance at the Erickson hearing, that he wasn’t qualified as an expert. He pointed out that this was because the point became moot. He wasn’t DISqualified as an expert. This is how the game is played – they make insinuations hoping that the defense won’t be strong enough to save you or that you won’t be able to prove that it didn’t happen. It’s a game invented and tweeked and perfected by lawyers and it gives them good income but is really based on a dual of wits between different teams who have spent years mastering the arcane rules of the game – the law.
Then Nextera’s [lawyer] John Terry [of Torys LLP] makes his offer: We will let him speak without hassling him if you put him on as a presenter – no Expert status. Esther doesn’t have to even think about that. Or we can fight for his Expert status and risk losing him altogether. Or let him testify and they’ll decide later if he’s an expert.
Esther says, ‘He is a professional engineer. He IS an expert. What you suggest would reduce him to just someone like me.’
Qualifications: William Palmer is a professional engineer in the province of Ontario experienced in public safety, risk assessment, and environmental assessment related to electrical power generating systems, including wind turbines and advising and reporting specific to the professional engineering aspects of safeguarding life, health, etc,requiring the application of engineering principles.
He has taken courses at MIT in risk assessment of nuclear facilities. He was chosen by Bruce Power to train their people. Bruce is the largest nuclear power station in the world. He also did the risk assessment on the restart of units 3 and 4. Public safety is an essential part of being a professional engineer.
It would be boring to read, but it was fun to watch – as they tried to suggest he couldn’t be expert in this or that – he just kept coming up with more qualifications and experience. When they asked about accreditation, he took them through accounts of the qualifications for acoustical societies in Canada, US, and Europe – and he’s a member of all of them. Even when they brought up that he had been a member of the board of Wind Concerns Ontario, he countered that he had also been a member of CanWEA five years ago.
Nextera’s Terry had four problems with accepting his expertise: 
1.       He’s taking expertise in one area and applying it in another
2.       He’s learned a lot from self-study to achieve his qualifications (engineering degree from UofT)
3.       He’s been an advocate for anti-wind
4.       (Missed the last one – then another 30-40 minutes of crap.)

Jumping ahead to summation – Mr. Palmer outlined several reasons that he thinks the Director’s approval should be revoked – and most of these apply to all wind farms – not just this one.
1  – He says there will be harm to humans from shadow flicker generally, and with the turbines along the 402, for a distance of 8km, drivers will sometimes be exposed to five minutes of very distracting continuous shadow flicker and the OPP have already listed driver distraction as a major safety issue.
PANIC!! OBJECTION!! No mention of the OPP in the witness statement. Can’t use that!
So drop that – but Nextera is not required to do anything about shadow flicker. The REA doesn’t deal with it at all. It’s a serious flaw, so the approval should be revoked.
2  – Physical risk to neighbours – You can put a turbine within 60 m of a neighbour’s property. I have photos of ice falling further than that. Burning blades can go 200 m, he said. At mention of the Goderich turbine that burned, they asked if he had been there. He went and took photos. But did you actually see it burning?
One of the lawyers objects – he doesn’t see the Goderich failure in the evidence. Mr. Palmer says it’s in tab… but they can’t find it, and time is fleeting – he says, ok – I’ll say Ontario, not Goderich. Really – this is what these legal eagles are resorting to. And the MOE guy was really offended by Esther’s accusation of nitpicking.
He says that there’s a one in 14 million chance of winning the lottery and a roughly one in a thousand chance of failure so they shouldn’t be allowed to put them that close to a neighbour.
Lawyer asks if anyone has died yet.  Nobody. Except for the 33 during construction. There haven’t been more because most of the world’s turbines are older, smaller, and further from homes than these in Ontario.
Nobody’s died yet.
 Ontariocitizens are not protected from known events that have happened.
3   – Under REA rules, a leaseholder is allowed to VOID SAFETY RULES, which exposes to danger, family, children, employees, contractors, visitors and they have no voice in the matter.
4  – He quotes Ben Greenhouse saying that IWTs are needed to replace coal, reduce CO2 emissions, etc, and then he goes on to show that it’s not happening and CO2 output is actually up, so the reason for having them is invalid.
5  – MOE claims to be responsive and following the latest science but they fall very short in both instances.

6   – He said wind noise is different from other sound – more disturbing – the cyclical nature of it. At the Denver Noise converence, where MOE had people registered, there were 12 mentions of the special,unique quality of IWT sound. MOE denies any knowledge but even Vesta, a manufacturer, has made reference to it. People have complained about it all over the world and in the US, even 44% of LEASEHOLDERS found the sound bothersome.

Forbes Magazine: wind gets away with murder

Wind Energy Gets Away With Murder

The variable radial speed of wind turbines, up to 170 miles per hour can be lethal to birds and bats, especially our iconic bald eagle, seen here. Photo credit: John & Karen Hollingsworth, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

I’m not sure what all the fuss is about. So Wind Farms kill eagles. It’s not like we don’t kill beautiful endangered animals all the time. True, these are federally-protected and they’re an iconic symbol of our democracy. But hey, who minds using taxpayer dollars to kill a few icons?
I guess it’s the hypocrisy that galls. Under both the Bald and Gold Eagle Protection Acts and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the death of a single eagle is a felony, and the Administration has prosecuted oil companies when birds drown in their oily facilities, and fined utilities when birds are electrocuted by their power lines.

But, come on, everyone hates oil companies. And who even knows what a utility is.
So the Interior Department can be forgiven for never fining or prosecuting a wind-energy company that repeatedly kills eagles. And we taxpayers can be forgiven for subsidizing them to the tune of a billion dollars a year.
According to an estimate published in the Wildlife Society Bulletin in March almost 600,000 birds are killed by wind farms in America each year, including over 80,000 raptors such as hawks and falcons and eagles (Wildlife Society). Even more bats die as their lungs are inverted by the negative pressures generated behind the 170 mile-per-hour spinning blades.

Read entire article here.http://www.forbes.com/fdc/welcome_mjx.shtml

Shelburne Mayor: this has got to stop

Shelburne has been living with industrial wind turbines since 2006 so when the people there say wind power is affecting communities negatively, they have a point–they know what damage has been done. Now, the Shelburne mayor is reacting to the government’s plan to pay for curtailed production. If you can cancel gas plants, he says…
  Here is the Orangeville Banner story.

Shelburne mayor asks premier to cancel wind turbine projects

Orangeville Banner

Wind turbine projects should be cancelled in the same manner as power plants in the Greater Toronto Area, according to Shelburne Mayor Ed Crewson.
At county council on Thursday (Sept. 12), Crewson urged his fellow councillors to support a motion asking Premier Kathleen Wynne to cancel wind projects still in the development stage and reimburse investors.
His motion, which will appear on the county’s next council agenda, follows an announcement from the province that wind farm operators will be paid to not generate electricity.
“Someone’s got to say ‘This has got to stop’,” Crewson said. “This is not viable. It is not sustainable.”
Since 2006, Ontario has generated a surplus of electricity and wind farm operators were paid for power regardless of need.
As of Sept. 11, when supply exceeds demand, wind farm operators will be paid a reduced rate to cease generating power.
Crewson questions why the province is allowing new projects to develop, despite the lack of need for more energy.
“We don’t need the electricity and we’re paying a premium to get it,” Crewson said. “It’s our province and it’s our money.”
If the province is able to spend more than $500 million on cancelling power plants in Mississauga and Oakville, the government should do the same for project such as Dufferin Wind in Melancthon, according to Crewson.
“They should get paid too,” Crewson said. “The people who’ve invested the money to date should be compensated as those who invested money in constructing the gas powered facilities.”
Currently, wind power generates about 2,100 megawatts of electricity province-wide. However, that number will nearly triple when all wind projects connect to the grid.
“The cost of this is going to be just incredible as all these wind farms come into production,” Crewson said. “We’re the ones paying the cost.”
Dufferin Wind spokesperson Connie Roberts declined to comment on Crewson’s motion before receiving a copy from the county.
However, the company planning to construct 49-turbines in Melancthon endorsed the province’s announcement.
“Regardless of which political wind you listen to, the Ministry of Energy is ‘getting it right’ and making sure wind energy plays its part,” Roberts said in an email to The Banner.
She added reduced payments during times of oversupply are “an effective tool” for gas-fired, nuclear, and hydroelectric suppliers.
“The inclusion of wind energy as a dispatchable source of generation in the province’s electrical supply is a smart choice for Ontario and Ontarians,” Roberts said.
According to the Ministry of Energy, paying wind farm operators to not generate electricity will save Ontario at least $200 million every year.
“Supply and demand conditions vary throughout the course of a day,” said ministry spokesperson Andrea Arbuthnot in an email to The Banner. “We have to ensure that our electricity system is flexible enough to respond to changing conditions.”
The Ontario Power Authority will continue to honour existing renewable energy contracts to fill a possible upcoming void.
“Wind generators provide power for 20 years and will be an essential source of electricity for Ontario during the nuclear refurbishment period,” Arbuthnot said.

Property values “plummet” near wind power projects

Studies Show Land-Based Wind Turbines Cause Property Values to Plummet; Wind Wise Massachusetts Claims Study Showing Otherwise is Misleading

Published Monday, Sep. 16, 2013


FALMOUTH, Mass., Sept. 16, 2013 — /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — A national study that claims there is “no statistical evidence” that real estate prices near wind turbines are negatively impacted is misleading because it lumps homes close to the turbines with those miles away, according to Wind Wise Massachusetts (WWMA).
“The report’s own data found that homes located within one mile to the turbines decreased in value by 28 percent compared to homes located within 3 to 10 miles from the turbines,” according to Virginia Irvine, president of WWMA (windwisema.org), a statewide alliance of grassroots environmental groups and individuals.
“The study’s authors are just perpetuating the myth that wind turbines are not responsible for significant property losses,” she said.
“The report is also comparing apples with oranges as less than 2.5 percent of the more than 50,000 home sales analyzed in recently released Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory study were within one mile of the turbines and some were as far as 10 miles away,” Irvine said.  
In the widely publicized report, the authors stated in the abstract that “…we find no statistical evidence that home values near turbines were affected in the post-construction or post-announcement/pre-construction periods.”
The report -– A Spatial Hedonic Analysis of the Effects of Wind Energy Facilities on Surrounding Property Values in the United States –- was published by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in August.
Irvine said independent, comprehensive appraisals have found that land-based wind turbines can cause property values to plummet within two miles by 15 percent to 40 percent.
“There is a major difference between turbines in a power plant 10 miles from homes in the country to those that are less than one mile from homes in residential communities,” Irvine said.
“But the sad fact is that whether a wind turbine is near a solo home in the country or in a more heavily populated area, the homeowner is going to see a significant loss in the value of his home,” she added.
“Wind turbines near residential areas are devastating to home values,” according to Michael McCann, president of McCann Appraisal of Chicago.
He said his paired study analysis of homes near wind turbines in more than two dozen communities throughout the country “consistently have found homes losing 25 to 40 per cent of their value.
Contact:  Barry Wanger for Wind Wise Massachusetts, Wanger Associates, 617-965-6469, Barry@WangerAssociates.com
SOURCE Wind Wise Massachusetts

Report on ERT preliminary hearing on South Kent wind project

This report comes from the Chatham-Kent Wind Action group.

Report on the Preliminary ERT Hearing of Platinum Produce vs South Kent Wind
 
The second appeal of the South Kent Wind project began with a preliminary hearing in Blenheim yesterday (Sept 5). Robert Wright was the only tribunal judge presiding. Two lawyers (Bunting and Powell) were there to represent South Kent Wind, and at least 3 lawyers (Jacobs, Horner and ?) were there for the MOE as well as a representative or two for the minister of the Environment. The appellant, Platinum Produce, was represented by Graham Andrews (from the Gillespie firm).
   No one requested any status to present material or raise issues at the hearing.
   South Kent Wind began by seeking dismissal of the constitutional challenge raised by Platinum Produce as well as a complete dismissal of the hearing. This was echoed by the MOE who also said that the Tribunal was not the proper jurisdiction to raise constitutional issues.

   The proceedings continued as per normal while schedules, correspondence, etc were discussed… kind of like watching paint dry.
   Eventually Horner for the MOE began his argument regarding the need to strike the constitutional part of the challenge, that is– the right to life, liberty and security of person. His argument was that a company (Platinum Produce) has no direct standing to make such a claim, because it is a corporation, not a human.
Bunting for South Kent Wind continued with the same opinion that a corporation can’t raise a charter challenge.
   I’m not sure how things progressed after that as I had to leave. But here is a bit more background about the appeal…
   One of the turbines was originally located less than 550m from Platinum Produces’ permanent bunkhouse. This was not discovered until the last day of the first appeal of the project which took place about a year ago. South Kent Wind eventually moved 3 turbines and reduced the power rating on another in an effort to correct their mistake and meet the (inadequate) noise requirements for the bunkhouse. They had to reapply for approval which opened the door for Platinum Produce to file their appeal in an effort to protect the health and safety of its workers (some of which are migrants).
  BUT… what was the most revealing incident of the day came when I took a few photos. The leaseholders and at least one South Kent Wind employee in the audience, turned away!!!! Then they ran to the South Kent Wind lawyers to have the photos stifled. That really should tell you everything you need to know about the wind industry… those involved are guilty of harming others and don’t want their neighbours to know who they are.
Chatham-Kent Wind Action

Port Elgin citizen turbine impact presentations on video

Although the wind turbine at Port Elgin erected by the Canadian Auto Workers  has only been in operation for a few months, complaints of health problems from the environmental noise and vibration produced by the wind generator started almost immediately.
  This is a 90-minute video with presentations from residents. What is shocking is that this turbine at 50 kW is relatively small compared to the 2-3 megawatt machines now being built and proposed for Ontario.
  The video is here; the first quarter-hour gives you plenty of useful, if depressing, information.

Hoen (again): what a surprise

In spite of the fact that properties near wind power projects remain unsold, or take a long time to sell, and sell at reduced prices, the Ontario government, MPAC, and of course the wind power lobby organization all insist there is no effect on property values. On the one hand, we have the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) including wind power plants as a negative to be disclosed on the Sellers Property Information Sheet, and we have Realtors telling us buyers don’t even want to SEE the turbines, let alone live next to them, and on the other we have these industry-supported opinions that say, everything is just fine.

Ben Hoen has released yet another study on property values (the last one was roundly trashed, in particular by Sunak and Madelener of Aachen University) which this time seems to answer criticisms that past studies did not look at property values prior to the announcement of wind power projects.

In all the manipulation of statistics present in this report, there is one grain of truth: there is little data about properties very close to wind power projects, Hoen says. That’s because, Mr Hoen, you can’t measure what didn’t happen; expired listings are as important as sales, but they don’t register.

Here is an analysis of the study by Wayne Gulden.

Amaranth turbine fields; the area has been the subject of studies by Chris Luxemburger and Ben Lansink, both of whom found significant property value loss.