Follow the maze of wind power “green” connections!

maze

Too cold to go out and do anything today? Follow this little maze of agency connections for a little amusement, as created by Parker Gallant.

Follow along!

From the CanWEA page here:  http://windformycommunity.ca/

Click on “Health” at the top to go to:  http://windfacts.ca/your-health

Go to “Did you know” which has this question:  The Ontario Ministry of Environment estimates that shutting down coal will reduce health care costs by $3 billion annually” and you will see a link to:

OCCCAE – Facts and Myths Debunked and click on that link which takes you to:

http://www.occcae.org/archive_oct2011/facts-and-myths-debunked.php which has a full page of complete bunk!   In that site you will find all kinds of claims as to members, etc., but no names of anyone connected with the site.

Doing a Google search on “Ontario Citizens’ Coalition for Clean Affordable Energy” leads you to the following:  http://www.ontario-sea.org/Page.asp?PageID=122&ContentID=4259  where you find that the creator of OCCCAE is Michel Fortin and he is now the new “Director of Strategy and Member Services” at OSEA.  Fortin’s bio indicates he is a York Universitygrad (ditto for Stevens the ED of OSEA) who took “environmental sciences” just like Stevens.

Just a little incestuous!  Sure would like to know where OSEA gets all its money!

If you want to donate to OCCCAE you send your cheque to:

Ontario Citizens’ Coalition for Clean Affordable Energy
c/o Bennett Jones LLP
3400 One First Canadian Place
P.O. Box 130
Toronto  ON  M5X 1A4

NB:  Doing a “who is” search provides no information as to the ownership or administration of any of the above domains except for OSEA.  What are they hiding?

Wind farm noise study firm congratulated by acoustics professionals

New study explains why Ontario has gone from affordable electricity rates to among the highest in N America. Photo: Bloomberg
New study from Australia called ground-breaking and unique. Big Wind says it’s meaningless. As they would.

The wind turbine noise study completed by acoustics specialist Steven Cooper in Australia has had a resounding effect around the world: using a new methodology and working with the cooperation of the wind power company (who now is rushing to clarify it was not a “health” study), the results showing that wind “farm” neighbours are at greater risk for adverse health effects has been of great interest.

While the wind power industry has been denying the study’s relevance, news comes of congratulations from fellow acoustics professionals for Mr Cooper’s study.

We attach a copy of a letter of congratulations from another noise measurement firm in Australia, calling the Cooper study “a benchmark.” Use of the term “sensation” rather than noise, is “ground-breaking and unique,” writes Bob Thorne, PhD.

The letter may be read here: Thorne-B.-Cape-Bridgewater-study-NMS-congrats

 

Medical Officer of Health breached public health safeguard, say Haldimand-Norfolk residents

Turbines near Port Rowan: residents allege Medical Officer of Health has breached public health responsibilities
Turbines near Port Rowan: residents allege Medical Officer of Health has breached public health responsibilities

Ever since the turbines starting spinning in the Haldimand-Norfolk communities of Cultus-Clear Creek-Frogmore, people have experienced adverse health effects from the noise and infrasound/sound pressure produced by the turbines. Some people live with as many as a dozen or more turbines within a few kilometers.

In 2009, more than 70 residents signed a petition, with the claims that they had personally been affected by the turbines erected by AIM PowerGen (CEO Mike Crawley, later CEO of GDF Suez, and president of both the Ontario Liberal Party and the Liberal Party of Canada).

In 2014, residents asked the local Medical Officer of Health Dr Malcolm Lock, whether he had investigated the possibility of a health hazard as he is mandated to do under the Health Protection and Promotion Act.

In a letter delivered to a resident by post, Dr Lock claims to have”investigated” and found “no significant environmental issues.” He referred to correspondence from the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, and to the report from the Chief Medical Officer of Health for Ontario, which was published in 2010 but prepared in 2009, five years ago.

The report from the Chief Medical Officer of Health looked only at direct pathways for the cause of adverse health effects and did not investigate indirect paths. It also noted that there was a gap in information and recommended that further research be done.

Residents are claiming a “breach” in how public health is safeguarded by their local public health officials. See the full report here: 2015-01-28 Haldimand Norfolk public health update

Wind farm safety in consumer survey: where’s the context?

The truth is, survey respondents lack the knowledge to make judgments about wind power, especially on key issues like "safety." (Graph on wind farm accidents world-wide from Caithness Wind Farms
The truth is, survey respondents lack the knowledge to make judgments about wind power, especially on key issues like “safety.” (Graph on wind farm accidents world-wide from Caithness Wind Farms

Yesterday, I noted that the Nanos Research report for CanWEA finished with this quote:  “Positive impressions are supported by the perception that wind is a strong energy source for environmentally friendly and safe electricity.”

On page 15 of the Nanos report, the reasons the respondents chose wind power are itemized: 54.5% in the “very good” group rated it as a “Environmentally friendly and sustainable alternative,” while 3.6% in that group rated wind as “safe.”

Dissenting survey respondents said wind was “too expensive” (24.1%), and “unreliable and inefficient” (19.7%).  Amusingly, about 28% of the group rating wind as “very good” actually chose it for a variety of reasons that indicate they know little about it. For example, “because of what I have heard,” “I like it, it’s good” etc.  As the 18-29 age group and GTA residents are the biggest fans of industrial-scale wind, we might assume a goodly portion of that demographic shared the perception that it is “environmentally friendly” and “safe.”

So, let’s look at some of the findings in respect to those two perceptions.  One of the questions asked, found on page 16, is: “Please rate each of the following ways to generate large-scale electricity for communities, industries and businesses on a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is very weak and 10 is very strong.

The results as summarized were: “Wind electricity is second behind solar power and just ahead of hydroelectricity when it comes to being environmentally friendly.” The term “environmentally friendly” pops up in the report 34 times and the word “safe” or a simile 44 times, whereas the word “noise” only appears twice, as does the word “birds.”  (The word “infrasound” never appears.)

Interestingly, the Executive Summary says this: “Many participants openly admitted they lacked context to judge wind power, instead demonstrating an appetite for information about wind projects around the world and more details about controversial aspects such as claimed health impacts.”

The 119-page report fails to disclose how many of the responders represented those who “lacked context to judge wind power”!   One wonders why that detail was omitted, and how much that lack of “context” should affect the credibility of the survey!

Had the survey explored the knowledge level of responders as displayed on page 10 under the heading, “Attitudes about Wind,” where it states: “31.7% think that wind generation poses a greater risk to health and the environment than hydroelectric generation” the conclusions might have differed considerably from the 54.5% of the “very good” group, or the casual mention by some of the 32 people in the focus groups who said wind power was “Dangerous for birds and wildlife”.

On the issue of “safety” the question reviewed on page 16 above also deals with safety with this summary of results on page 19 sums up the findings:  “Safety is also something that distinguishes the energy sources. Nuclear by a significant degree is considered the least safe (5.2). Wind is seen as the third safest but only slightly less safe than hydroelectricity.”

The claim that wind is “safer” than nuclear is just one area where “perception” and “reality” part ways in this survey.  The Nanos Research report to CanWEA notes wind receives high marks for safety, but the truth is human fatalities from wind are not reported or only casually mentioned in the mainstream media when they occur.   Caithness Windfarm Information Forum has tracked data on all accidents related to wind turbines since 1980.  The number of fatalities as reported by Caithness  number over 100, whereas the number of fatalities related to nuclear power globally number approximately 50, including Chernobyl and Three Mile Island. The first nuclear power plant commenced operation in 1954, almost 30 years prior to the data in the Caithness site related to industrial wind developments.

Next, I  look at what we should expect the upcoming messaging to look like from CanWEA and the industrial wind developers in the Ontario Campaign, as they try to persuade the doubters and those who “lack context to judge wind power.”

©Parker Gallant

January 2015

Niagara Region Wind farm appeal: evidence shows damage to at-risk species and protected areas

The Monarch Butterfly: laws to protect it don't seem to apply to wind power development
The Monarch Butterfly: laws to protect it don’t seem to apply to wind power development

Loretta Shields, a member of Mothers Against Wind Turbines, presented at the appeal of the approval of the Niagara Region Wind Corporation wind power generation project yesterday, and outlined the many negative impacts on species at-risk, and environments such as woodlands that are supposed to be protected under Ontario legislation.

“There are so many issues,” Shields tells Wind Concerns Ontario. “For example, there is no evidence to show that winter raptor transects were conducted within the interior of the woodlands.  Sixty-two permits are required by the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority.  These are still pending.   There are 20 industrial wind turbines proposed in Blanding’s turtle habitat in Lowbanks, all on private property.  There are many properties within this habitat where ‘alternative investigations’ i.e., ‘roadside surveys’ were allowed.  The MNR is allowing this to proceed.”

Shields had prepared a 32-slide PowerPoint presentation for the Environmental Review Tribunal, detailing sections of Ontario legislation that ought to be applied to protect the environment and wildlife, but are being overlooked or ignored in order to allow the power development to proceed.

Shields also told WCO she was grateful to learn about the “many birds and raptors” in the project area during her investigations and audit of the wind power developer’s application documents: “a silver lining” to this event, she said.

Details on the hearing dates may be found here.

Shields’ PowerPoint presentation may be found here: Powerpoint for NRWC Appeal Jan 26

More details on what happened at the hearing may be found in this excellent report from Mothers Against Wind Turbines here with information on how to donate to this legal action .

Wind power in Ontario: starting with the “perceptions”

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Part II of  Prepare to be Persuaded: asking the question about impressions of wind power

The first question in the Nanos Research Survey conducted from May 25th to June 1, 2014 for CanWEA was this: “For the following ways of generating large-scale electricity/electricity used by communities, industries, businesses, please rate your impression as very good, somewhat good, somewhat poor or very poor.

The 500 telephone calls randomly made to 250 GTA residents and 250 “other” Ontario residents reaped the following results: respondents gave hydroelectricity a 86% “very good” or “somewhat good” response making it the clear winner; solar came in second with 70%, gas third with 68%, wind was fourth with 65% and nuclear close behind with 63%.

Now if one travels back to October 2007, an Angus Reid Strategies survey reported “89 per cent of respondents said that using renewable energy sources like wind or solar power was positive for Canada, because these sources were better for the environment.”

The fall from grace for wind as a generation source for electricity as perceived by Ontarians might be connected to this set of facts.

  • In 2007 Ontario had 500 MW of wind capacity
  • There were about 250 turbines (includes the iconic Exhibition Place turbine) in Ontario
  • By June 2014 there was about 3,000 MW of wind capacity in commercial operation, and 1,300 turbines (some 500 feet high) in many communities outside the GTA
  • The Ontario Power Authority has an additional 2,600 MW contracted for under development, which will add another 1,000 turbines in many other Ontario communities
  • the average price of electricity in 2007 was 5.4 cents/kWh and the average price of electricity in 2014 was 9.5 cents/kWh, a 76% jump from 2007.

Those facts coupled with the pain of higher electricity bills has made many in the province much wiser about wind power; presumably a few of them were among the 500 randomly called.

Actually, the Nanos survey report did not in fact provide the reader with the percentage of callers reached who were electricity ratepayers.  That knowledge might perhaps have painted a more dismal picture for the wind proponents at CanWEA; people who pay electricity bills directly have a better understanding of how the electricity system works, and how utility-scale wind developments have driven up our bills.

The Executive Summary after touting the 65% approval rating for wind power goes on to state,   “Positive impressions are supported by the perception that wind is a strong energy source for environmentally friendly and safe electricity.”  [My emphasis]

Next: Part III of this examination of the Nanos Research report to CanWEA, where we examine the issues described that will drive the key narratives CanWEA will pursue in their efforts to convince Ontarians of the wonders and benefits of industrial wind turbines.

©Parker Gallant

January 2015

Wind farm neighbours have greater risk of health problems: Australian study

This is a story provided by Wind Watch, which has access to a subscriber-only report from The Australian.

Turbines may well blow an ill wind over locals, ‘first’ study shows

Credit:  By: GRAHAM LLOYD. From: The Australian. January 21, 2015. ~~

People living near wind farms face a greater risk of suffering health complaints caused by the low-frequency noise generated by turbines, a groundbreaking study has found.

The study by acoustics expert Steven Cooper is the first in the world in which a wind turbine ­operator had fully co-operated and turned wind turbines off completely during the testing.

It opens the way for a full-scale medical trail that may resolve the contentious debate about the health impact of wind farms.

Funded by wind farm operator Pacific Hydro, the study was conducted at Cape Bridgewater in southwest Victoria where residents have long complained about headaches, chest pains and sleep loss but have been told it was all in their minds.

As part of the study, residents living between 650m and 1.6km of the wind turbines were asked to ­diarise what they were experiencing, including headaches, pressure in the head, ears or chest, ringing in the ears, heart racing or a sensation of heaviness.

Their observations were separated into noise, vibration and sensation using a one to five severity scale.

“The resident observations and identification of sensation indicates that the major source of complaint from the operation of the turbines would appear to be related to sensation rather than noise or vibration,” the report says. “For some residents experiencing adverse sensation effects, the impact can be exacerbated by bending over rather than standing, with the effect in some cases being reported as extremely severe and lasting a few hours.”

Mr Cooper said it was the first time that sensation rather than audible noise had been used as an indicator of residents’ perception of nearby wind turbines.

The report found offending sound pressure was present at four distinct phases of turbine operation: starting, maximum power and changing load by more than 20 per cent either up or down.

Mr Cooper said the findings were consistent with research into health impacts from early model wind turbines conducted in the US more than 20 years ago.

The relationship between turbine operation and sensation demonstrated a “cause and effect”, something Pacific Hydro was not prepared to concede, he said.

Survey participant Sonja Crisp, 75, said the first time she experience discomfort from the wind turbines, “it was like a thump in the middle of the chest.

“It is an absolute relief, like an epiphany to have him (Mr Cooper) say I was not crazy (that) when I am doing the dishes I feel nausea and have to get out of the house.”

David Brooks, from Gullen Range near Goulburn, NSW, said health concerns from wind farm developments were not confined to Cape Bridgewater.

The findings should be used as the basis for a thorough health study of the impacts from low frequency noise, he said. “Until this is done, there should be a moratorium on further wind farm developments,” he said.

Pacific Hydro and Mr Cooper agree that more widespread testing is needed. Andrew Richards, executive manager external affairs at Pacific Hydro, said: “While we acknowledge the preliminary findings of this report, what they mean at this time is largely unclear.

“In our view, the results presented in the report do not demonstrate a correlation that leads to the conclusion that there is a causal link between the existence of ­infrasound frequencies and the ‘sensations’ experienced by the residents.” Mr Cooper said the findings had totally discounted the so-called “nocebo” effect put forward by some public health ­officials, who said symptoms were the result of concerns about the possibility of experiencing them.

The Cape Bridgewater study included six residents over eight weeks in three houses.

One hearing-impaired participant had been able to identify with 100 per cent accuracy the performance of wind turbines despite not being able to see them.

Another Cape Bridgewater resident Jo Kermond said the findings had been “both disturbing and confirmation of the level of severity we were and are enduring while being ridiculed by our own community and society.”

Mr Cooper said residents’ threshold of sensations were experienced at narrow band sound pressure levels of four to five hertz at above 50 decibels.

The nominal audible threshold for frequencies of four to five hertz is more than 100 decibels. Mr ­Cooper said an earlier investi­gation into health impacts of wind farms by the South Australian EPA had been flawed by limiting the study to only one-third octave bands and not looking at narrow band analysis.

“By looking at high sensation and narrow band I have developed a methodology to undertake assessments using narrow band infrasound,” he said.

“We now have a basis on how to start the medical studies,”

Mr Cooper was not engaged to establish whether there was a link between wind turbine operation and health impacts, “but the findings of my work show there is something there,” he said.

Mr Cooper said Pacific Hydro should be commended for allowing the work to proceed.

“It is the first time ever in the world that a wind farm has co-­operated with a study including shutting down its operations completely,” he said.

Mr Cooper has coined the term Wind Turbine Signature as the basis of the narrow band infrasound components that are evident in other studies. He said the work at Cape Bridgewater had established a methodology that could be repeated very easily all over the world.

Pacific Hydro said it had conducted the study to see whether it could establish any link between certain wind conditions or sound levels at Cape Bridgewater and the concerns of the individuals involved in the study.

“Steven Cooper shows in his report, for the limited data set, that there is a trend line between discrete infrasound components of the blade pass frequency (and harmonics of the blade pass frequency) and the residents’ sensation observations, based on his narrow band analysis of the results,” Pacific Hydro said.

“However, we do not believe the data as it currently stands supports such a strong conclusion.”

The report has been sent to a range of stakeholders, including government departments, members of parliament, environmental organisations and health bodies.

The report may be downloaded from the following links:

The Results of an Acoustic Testing Program – Cape Bridgewater Wind Farm
Appendices A to H
Appendices I to J
Appendices K to M
Appendices N to P
Appendices Q to S
Appendices T to V

Source:  By: GRAHAM LLOYD. From: The Australian. January 21, 2015.

See also a story from January 21 in The Standard, here.

Ontario’s $12-million New Year’s Day hangover

House for sale in Detroit: not looking so bad. Might as well use the cheap Michigan power you're paying for anyway.
House for sale in Detroit: not looking so bad. Might as well use the cheap Michigan power you’re paying for anyway.

Happy New Year New York and Michigan!

Once again Ontario’s oh so generous ratepayers, ushered in the New Year by treating our neighbours to some very cheap electricity.  We were much nicer this January 1st than last year, as we exported a record 87,000 megawatt hours (MWh) at a bargain price.  That sale generated revenue of about $275,000 to offset a small part of the costs to Ontario’s ratepayers.  We exported 38,000 MWh more (+ 78%) than on January 1, 2014, and a year ago we generated $1,450,000 for the smaller number of MWh sold.

Wind was presumably a big factor in this year’s export sales as wind power developers also produced a record 58,800 MWh — power we didn’t need. That cost Ontario’s ratepayers of about $7.3 million, based on the estimated contract costs.  The cost falls to $7 million if we allocate the sales revenue from the exports just to wind, despite knowing other types of generation were included.

Back on January 1, 2014 wind generators produced only about 11,400 MWH so compared to 2014 wind power generation for January 1, 2015 increased by 47,400 MWh, or more than 400%.  Out of the 87,000 MWh exported, 62,000 MWh were sold to Michigan and New York for $4.41 per/MWh (not a weighted average) which accounts for the $275K of export revenue generated.

In total, January 1, 2015’s generation cost Ontario’s ratepayers $7 million (net) for wind, another $400,000 for curtailed wind, about $1.2 million for steamed off nuclear, almost $1 million for “embedded” wind and solar and about $3 million for the Net Revenue Requirement for those idling gas plants.

Put those all together and the New Year’s Day party left Ontario’s ratepayers with a $12.6 million hangover.

Happy New Year!

©Parker Gallant,

January 2, 2015