It starts with an unfamiliar car in the driveway. Two people get out and approach your farmhouse. They knock, you open. “We’re interested in doing a study on the feasibility of wind turbines here,” says the taller one. “There’s no commitment,” adds the other, following a well-rehearsed script. Just like the travelling salesmen of yore, the Fuller Brush man or the FilterQueen vacuum guy, these folks have something to sell, a proposal – you can do your bit for the planet and make a little green while you’re at it. What’s not to like?
You invite them in to hear more, offer them coffee while you sit around your kitchen table, listen with interest as they lay out the numbers: $12,000 per year minimum per turbine and maybe as much as $18,000. You picture five slender poles with blades glinting in the sunlight and do the mental arithmetic: 60 to 90 grand a year for letting them use your land? Sure beats sitting on a tractor for 12 hours a day.
Problem is, they’re not slender poles, they’re industrial behemoths, five metres wide at the base, 100 metres tall to the hub with blades half again as high – 150 metres from toe to tip, as tall as a 40-storey building. In skimming the fine print, you also missed the part about the potential health and environmental impacts of turbines, and breezed past the language about not talking to anyone about the deal.
But you don’t realize this till later, after you’ve signed the lease, and by then your neighbours have stopped speaking to you and have formed a group to stop the wind project with whatever it takes, including filing a lawsuit, contacting reporters and meeting with local councillors and MPPs.
Of hundreds of credible studies around the world on wind energy, none conclude there is no association between the towering turbines and adverse health effects.
That’s what Grey-Bruce medical officer of health Dr. Hazel Lynn and her researcher, Dr. Ian Arra, will present to the public health board Friday.
The report follows plaintive calls last fall from local residents who live near wind turbines for the health unit to investigate potential ill health effects.
Lynn has been asked repeatedly over the years by municipalities and residents to conduct a study on how turbines might be affecting people’s health, which they say include migraines, insomnia, heart palpitations and other symptoms. She has rejected the requests because of the time and cost involved and because the health unit is not a research institute.”
But last September, after an emotional delegation appeared before the health board, Lynn agreed to do a comprehensive search of the most current and credible studies available.
“(The conclusions are) not new, but it’s further confirmation that these are not NIMBYs, these are people affected by these things,” Lynn said Tuesday in an interview. “All of the studies rejected the null hypothesis that there was no association. Every one of them found that there was an association.”
Please continue reading at the Owen Sound Sun Times:
There is a poll at the end of the article: “Do you believe wind turbines can make people sick?”
Related: .pdf of report presentation slides
A FEDERAL magistrate has accepted that wind farms slash the value of surrounding properties, saying she found it “hard to imagine” any prospective buyer could ignore such development.
In a decision believed to be the first time an Australian court has recognised the adverse financial impact of wind farms for neighbours, magistrate Kate Hughes ruled a property would be worth 17 per cent less if a 14-turbine facility were erected next door.
For one part of the property, in regional Victoria, she accepted a 33 per cent fall in value was likely.
The ruling came in a family law case published this month amid separation proceedings for the couple who own the property.
Ms Hughes heard two separate valuers had agreed the wind farm would have a negative effect on the adjacent property, which the couple has divided into three blocks. “The expert value of the three blocks of land varies significantly depending on whether or not it is assumed the proposed wind farm will go ahead,” Ms Hughes said in her judgment.
“The impact of the proposed wind farm is apparent from the valuation report.”
Complete article at The Australian (subscription)
An article by Paul Morden, in the Sarnia observer, quotes the program’s writer/director as stating “…obviously there is a problem,” and notes, “While wind energy is the subject of the film, it’s really about science.“
WIND RUSH A Look at the Wind Turbine Controversy on CBC TV’s Doc Zone, Thursday, February 7, 9PM
Driving by a wind farm, looking at the rural houses, it’s easy to be skeptical about the talk of wind turbines making people sick. We’re told that wind turbines are good and green. So how could those people living by them have an issue?
But there is a problem—and it’s there because some governments and wind companies didn’t do their homework before installing megawatt after megawatt of huge industrial machines. And as a result there are people living among the turbines who are suffering.
In the new documentary film WIND RUSH, produced for CBC Doc Zone by Toronto’s 90th Parallel Productions, the battleground for the pro and anti wind forces is southern Ontario. The government there pledged to wean the province off coal fired generation plants and replace them with green wind energy. WIND RUSH will be broadcast on Thursday, February 7 at 9PM (9:30PM NT).
But as soon as the turbines went up in places like Wolf Island, Amaranth and Bruce County, people realized they could hear them. Sometimes it was like a whisper, but other times it sounded more like a jet taking off.
And then it got worse.
New turbines started coming in at two and three times the size of the old ones. And they were even louder. It led to chronic sleeplessness for many people living close by—and that can lead to diabetes, depression and heart disease. Others were affected in their inner ears by low-level sounds that set off their equilibrium. Doctors started seeing patient after patient complaining of the same sets of symptoms. And then people started to realize that no one had done any significant human health studies before giving the green light to the turbine farms.
WIND RUSH takes viewers to southwestern Alberta, where wind has been an energy staple for more than twenty years. There is plenty of room for humans and windmills to coexist—a stark contrast to Ontario, where the same prairie technology was installed in a dramatically different landscape. The film then moves to Denmark, a country long considered the poster-child for the wind energy movement. But as WIND RUSH reveals, the relationship between the Danes and turbines has soured.
WIND RUSH talks to people on either side of the turbine divide, and then turns to scientists to try and determine what has gone wrong. In the next several years the turbines will double in size again—bigger, louder and more powerful. But without sufficient research have the people who live among the wind farms been forgotten?
WIND RUSH is produced by 90th Parallel Productions of Toronto. Gordon Henderson is Executive Producer. WIND RUSH is produced, written and directed by Andrew Gregg.
For further information, etc. please contct:
Publicist, WIND RUSH
November 22, Ottawa
Wind Concerns Ontario president Jane Wilson was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal in Ottawa as a “Champion” of rural communities. Presenting the medal was the Member of Parliament for Nepean-Carleton Pierre Poilievre, who has been very supportive of constituents’ fight against a large wind power development which will be close to hundreds of homes.
“Jane is a registered nurse and the current president of Wind Concerns Ontario,” he said. “She has been a powerful advocate for health and safety in the rural communities when it comes to the development of industrial wind turbines.”
“I am very honoured to receive this award,” Wilson said, “and it has been my privilege to speak on behalf of the communities and people whose lives are being altered by these huge power projects. There are many, many people working to protect our homes and families, and quality of life in Ontario. We will continue.”
Other recipients at the ceremony was a past-president of the Ottawa Federation of Agriculture, the former Mayor of Rideau Township and member of Ottawa City Council, and a teacher who advocated the Agriculture in the Classroom program in Eastern Ontario.
Effects of industrial wind turbine noise on sleep and health Nissenbaum MA, Aramini JJ, Hanning CD – Noise Health
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.
Here are the addresses of residents (near the wind project) who were granted assessment reductions of over $100,000 by MPAC in the Township of Wolfe Island from 2008 until Jan. 2012.
82 – Oak Point Rd. -$118,000
23 – Nine Mile Point Rd. – $143,000
429- Nine Mile Point Rd. -$119,000
433 -Nine Mile Point Rd. -$117,000
496 -Nine Mile Point Rd. – $107,000
136 – Lucas Point Lane – $101,000
Some of these properties are on Wolfe Island and the rest are on Simcoe Island. Simcoe Island is located just off the west end of Wolfe Island where the Wind Project is sited (see map attached). According to an e-mail I received from Gail Kenney (the prominent resident appealing their ARB decision on Wolfe Island) the Wind Project can be seen and heard from most of the south shore of Simcoe Island. She indicated that property sales have all but shut down on Simcoe Island. She now has this list from MPAC as well (they did not have it at the time of their ARB hearing).
The Kenney’s MPAC assessment appeal was reported on a number of places, including here.
Notably, and unusually for a property assessment appeal, MPAC had a lawyer as did the Township of Frontenac Islands.
Perhaps the lawyers were procured not because MPAC felt the Kenneys were wrong, but because they felt the Kenneys were right.
…some real estate agents report that they can’t even get prospective purchasers to look at properties situated within several kilometres of a proposed wind project.
Consider your own situation. Would you buy such a property — at the right price or at any price, or would you look elsewhere? In an October, 2011 CBC News poll, two-thirds of respondents said that they would not live near wind turbines.
When there are few potential purchasers, market values become depressed, perhaps severely. The general consensus is that the market value of a home within 2 km of a wind turbine will be depressed by 20% to 40%, depending on how close and how many turbines. In an extreme situation (e.g. 10 turbines within 2 km) a home may not be sellable at any price.
[This link] provides further links to more than 50 articles on property values near wind turbines, including several on the topic of market value guarantees…
However, if you only have time to read one article, it should be this one, published by CBC News on October 1, 2011 and titled Ontario wind power bringing down property values .
“The previous NDP and Conservative governments have left our energy sector a disaster. So imagine my surprise when I heard a conversation that took place last Friday on Metro Morning. These are the folk, the NDP, who used Hydro to buy a rain forest in Costa Rica and they cut our lifeline by cutting a lucrative contract to Manitoba.
The Tories as well squandered a North-American-wide economic boom and failed at the same time to renew our generating capacity, and yet I wonder why. I wonder if it’s because Mr Tom Long received over $2 million in a contract; Mr Paul Rhodes got more than $800,000; Michael Gourley received more than $4 million; Leslie Noble received more than $300,000; and Jaime Watt received $800,000. Maybe they were too busy signing contracts to keep our lights on.
But better still, the member from Rainy River has taken up hydro hypocrisy. Throughout the election, and for years, the NDP has been demanding that coal-fired plants in Ontario be closed or converted. They even put it in the 2007 pledge for their platform. They wrote the Ontario Clean Air Alliance as well to close all the plants. It was their promise. At least it was until Mr Hampton, the member for Rainy River, cried to keep the coal plants open. He even said he ran on keeping the coal plants open – unbelievable.”
“My question is for the Minister of Energy. People in Oakville have been shocked recently by allegations of impropriety at Hydro One. They were troubled to hear that during the term of the previous PC government, people who were well known to be friends of the government were awarded lucrative, untendered contracts. Minister, can you outline to the people and businesses in my riding what process you plan to use to ensure that contracts are awarded in an open and transparent manner, unlike the previous government’s method of dealing with contracts?”
“The first step we took was to make sure that, unlike the Conservative government, we won’t treat Hydro One and OPG like our own private country club; that’s ended. Their record on hydroelectricity: no new generation in eight years; a price cap that cost the taxpayers of Ontario $850 million; no renewable electricity in Ontario; no development under your administration. But all the while they had money for their friends and contacts, people who didn’t have to go through a tender, people who would work for a year or two and go off and get all kinds of goodies.
Well, those days are over, thank goodness. This government’s bringing change to electricity. We’re bringing safe, secure, reliable new supply at an affordable, predictable price for the people they ignored for eight long, painful years.”
“Speaking of growth, we embrace our responsibility to bring forward a plan that will ensure Ontarians have a lasting, reliable supply of clean and affordable electricity.”
“ On paper, Hydro One and OPG have only one shareholder, the province of Ontario. In fact, there are about 12,112,000 shareholders, the total population of our province. These 12 million shareholders will find it much more difficult than other shareholders to understand what is happening at Hydro One and Ontario Power Generation because they don’t receive annual reports and, of course, they don’t attend stockholder meetings. They must rely on us, members of Parliament, the government, as their only proxy to keep close watch on these companies and to protect their interests, the interests of Ontarians, these 12,112,000 people. Doesn’t this give us a much more onerous task than the directors of any other public company? Of course it does. Are we not more responsible for surveillance, not less? Is it not more important then that all of us in government have an absolute duty to be more resolute, more demanding and more ethical than any other shareholder or director?” and this;
“We will make certain that some of the money we will force Hydro One and Ontario Power Generation to spend more wisely will go to initiatives that include aggressive conservation, new and greener sources of supply and an accountability to help us meet our objectives of cleaner air, consumer protection and a sustainable supply of electricity for generations to come.” and this;
“This bill is an important and integral part of the stand of the Liberal government. It means we’ll be able to take the dollars and apply them to health, education, our seniors and long-term care. It will make a difference in terms of the compensation that will come. It will make a difference in terms of what will happen in the future for the children in this province.”