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.