Residents living near noisy wind turbines are sleeping, feeling better since the machines have stopped
May 27, 2022
The gigantic wind turbines at Ontario’s newest wind power project have been off for almost a week, since the “derecho” storm crossed the province.
Residents living beside turbines in the Nation Rise power project are reporting to Wind Concerns Ontario that they are noticing relief from symptoms such as headache, pressure in the ears and chest, ringing in the ears, and feelings of anxiety.
Those with diagnosed cardiac problems such as high blood pressure and elevated heart rates are also feeling better.
And, they can sleep.
“I used to have to have a nap every afternoon,” said one resident, who said she usually feels exhausted all the time from being wakened frequently in the night. Since the turbines have been off “I have slept unbelievably well.”
Others under the care of cardiologists for what they describe as “racing” heart beats and, in some cases, evidence of heart attacks, also say they are feeling better this week, and feel that their heart health has improved.
One person living near Crysler who has not only turbines but also the transformer substation nearby reported: “all heart palpitations are gone, NO STINGING PAINS Heart is beating normal blood pressure is normal all in 4 days as the turbines stay off“.
Documented harm to health
All these symptoms are consistent with what health investigators have documented as adverse health effects or harm to health from exposure to wind turbine noise emissions–audible and inaudible.
In 2014, Dr. Robert McMurtry and health researcher Carmen Krogh published “Diagnostic criteria for adverse health effects in the environs of wind turbines” in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. The symptoms they identified from their review included the following.
Three or more of the following frequently occur or worsen following the initiation of IWT [industrial wind turbines]. If the symptoms described in second-order criteria (b and c) are present, no further symptoms or complaints are required for the probable diagnosis. Based on the authors’ experience,10 the following list provides an indication of the more common symptoms:
- Difficulties with balance
- Ear ache
- Difficulty in concentrating
- Problems with recall or difficulties with recall
- Enlarged heart (cardiomegaly)
- Mood disorder, i.e. depression and anxiety
- Feelings of distress
- Regulatory disorders
- Difficulty in diabetes control
- Onset of thyroid disorders or difficulty controlling hypo- or hyper-thyroidism
Symptom disappearance an indication of harm
A key indicator that harm is being caused could be what happens when people leave their home environment, they wrote: Significant improvement away from the environs of wind turbines and a revealed preference for sleeping away from home serve to distinguish between AHE/IWT from other conditions.
The Nation Rise wind power project is owned by EDPR and Pikwakanagan First Nation. The operator, EDPR, failed to submit an acoustic audit in December, as was required by its Renewable Energy Approval or REA. The audits are required to verify compliance with noise regulations.
The project operated for three months without this verification, until it was granted an extension by the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks. All audits are now due for the project in mid-June.
Meanwhile, the City of Ottawa, perhaps 40 minutes away from Nation Rise, has created a strategy for electrification and “Net Zero” in its Energy Evolution document. A model in the strategy calls for 3,200 megawatts of wind power or more than 700 industrial-scale wind turbines in the rural areas of that city.
And the Government of Ontario will soon release a Request for Proposals for 1,000 megawatts of new power generation, some of which might be from wind energy.
Meanwhile, the problems with existing wind turbines have not been addressed: the government has thousands of files* of reports of noise pollution and other effects from wind turbines, but enforcement is lax.
Wind Concerns Ontario did a review of operating wind power projects to determine the status of the required audits to verify compliance: only 43 percent have completed and accepted audits.
It is a violation of the Environmental Protection Act or EPA of Ontario to cause an adverse effect. “Adverse effect” is defined in the Act.
“adverse effect” means one or more of,
(a) impairment of the quality of the natural environment for any use that can be made of it,
(b) injury or damage to property or to plant or animal life,
(c) harm or material discomfort to any person,
(d) an adverse effect on the health of any person,
(e) impairment of the safety of any person,
(f) rendering any property or plant or animal life unfit for human use,
(g) loss of enjoyment of normal use of property, and
(h) interference with the normal conduct of business; (“conséquence préjudiciable”)
Next will be the effects experienced by people living near Nation Rise wind turbines as the turbines resume operation, as one expects they will.
People are reminded to report any effects to the Ontario environment ministry by calling 1-866-MOE-TIPS or by using the online reporting tool here Report Pollution | Ontario.ca (gov.on.ca) Be sure to include descriptions of any health impacts or harm being experienced.
*Wind Concerns Ontario has several requests under Freedom of Information including noise reports for 2018 (being redone), 2019, 2020, 2021, as well as a special request for noise complaints for Nation Rise for 2021. None have been fulfilled yet. Other reports have been prepared on noise complaints for 2006 to the end of 2018.