Amherst Island wind farm appeal begins

Planned devastation of Amherst Island, wildlife and Ontario economy
Planned devastation of Amherst Island, wildlife and Ontario economy

CKWS-TV, October 16, 2015

(See website for video clip; transcript follows)

THE “ASSOCIATION TO PROTECT AMHERST ISLAND” HAS LAUNCHED AN APPEAL AGAINST THE PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT’S DECISION TO ALLOW 26 WIND TURBINES TO BE BUILT ON THE ISLAND. A PRELIMINARY HEARING BEGAN TODAY — TO HEAR REQUESTS FROM OTHER GROUPS AND INDIVIDUALS WHO WISH TO SPEAK AT THE UPCOMING TRIBUNAL. NEWSWATCH’S JONNA SEMPLE EXPLAINS.

GATHERED IN THE ST. JOHN’S CHURCH HALL IN BATH MEMBERS OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW TRIBUNAL HEAR FROM THOSE WHO WANT TO SPEAK AT THE UPCOMING APPEAL HEARING.
THE ASSOCIATION TO PROTECT AMHERST ISLAND HAS LAUNCHED AN APPEAL OF THE PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT’S APPROVAL OF WINDLECTRIC’S TURBINE ENERGY PROJECT.

WE’RE QUITE CONFIDENT THAT THE PROJECT HAS BEEN DISIGNED TO MEET ALL THE REQUIREMENTS AND THAT IN THE COURSE OF THIS PROCEEDING IT WILL BE DETERMINED THAT THE PROJECT DOESN’T MEET THE TESTS UNDER THE ERT HERE.”

TODAY 3 GROUPS AND 1 INDIVIDUAL RECEIVED PERMISSION TO MAKE STATEMENTS WHEN THE APPEAL PROCESS GETS UNDERWAY LATER THIS YEAR.

“THE CONSERVATION AUTHORITY HAS NOT TAKEN AN OVERALL POSITION ON THE AMHERST ISLAND WIND ENERGY PROJECT. IT HAS CONSISTENTLY RAISED CONCERNS WITH RESPECT TO OWL HABITAT ON AMHERST ISLAND.”

THE KINGSTON FIELD NATURALISTS ARE ALSO PLANNING TO SPEAK ABOUT THE POTENTIAL EFFECTS THE TURBINES COULD HAVE ON THE ENVIRONMENT AND BIRDS.  ONE MOTHER WAS ALSO GIVEN PERMISSION TO SPEAK ABOUT HER WORRIES OVER THE CONSTRUCTION HAPPENING TOO CLOSE TO AN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL.

“THE GOVERNMENT ACKNOWLEDGES THE CEMENT PLANT WILL BE RELEASING CONTAINMENTS TO THE ATMOSPHERE SURROUNDING THE PLANT, WHICH IS INCLUSIVE OF THE SCHOOL. SO THAT’S SULFUR-DIOXIDE, CARBON-DIOXIDE, YOU KNOW THINGS WE GO TO GREAT LENGTHS TO PROTECT CHILDREN FROM.”

“DESPITE THE APPEAL AND THE CONCERNS SOME HAVE ON THE NEGATIVE IMPACTS OF THE PROJECT – THE PROJECT MANAGER BEHIND THE WIND TURBINES REMAINS OPTIMISTIC.”

“OUR EXPECTATION IS THAT THE E.R.T. WILL FIND IN THE PROJECT’S FAVOUR AND UPHOLD THE PERMIT AND WE’LL START CONSTRUCTION IN EARNEST FOLLOWING THAT IN THE SPRING AND BE COMPLETE BY EARLY 2017.”

A THIRD GROUP WILL BE SPEAKING IN FAVOUR OF THE PROJECT AT THE HEARING. THE CITIZENS OF AMHERST ISLAND FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY IS A GROUP OF ABOUT 120 PEOPLE, MOST WILL HOST A WIND TURBINE ON THEIR PROPERTIES. WITNESS STATEMENTS AT THE TRIBUNAL WILL TAKE PLACE THE FIRST WEEK OF DECEMBER. THE APPEAL PROCESS IS SET TO WRAP UP AT THE BEGINNING OF FEBRUARY.
JS CKWSNEWSWATCH

ToughonNature

Economic impact of wind farm on Collingwood airport a concern

Ontario: "mitigation [for aviation safety] may reduce usability" of the Collingwood airport. In other words, this is one stupid place to build a wind power project.
Ontario: “mitigation [for aviation safety] may reduce usability” of the Collingwood airport. In other words, this is one stupid place to build a wind power project.
Simcoe.com, October 17, 2015

The Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) is concerned that the wind farm near Stayner proposed by WPD could have an “economic impact,” on the Collingwood Regional Airport.

In a letter obtained by simcoe.com from Mohsen Keyvani, supervisor of team 5 of the environmental approvals branch for the MOECC, sent to Khlaire Parre, director of renewable energy approvals for WPD Canada, the ministry is calling on the company to complete an “economic impact analysis,” by Nov. 9. In his letter, Keyvani said the MOECC expects the analysis to include input and engagement from the Collingwood Regional Airport.

“The MOECC is concerned about the project’s potential economic impacts on the Collingwood Regional Airport resulting from the operational impacts that Transport Canada has indicated will occur at the airport,” Keyvani wrote. “In its comments to the MOECC, Transport Canada has indicated that in order to maintain aviation safety at the airport, if the project were to be implemented, it will be necessary to raise the limits of the instrument approach procedures which may result in impacts on aerodrome operations at the airport.”

This letter came on the heels of one sent by Transport Canada to the MOECC in November 2014.

“In conclusion, based on the information reviewed, it appears there would likely be an operational impact on both the Collingwood and Stayner aerodromes,” wrote Joseph Szwalek, regional director of civil aviation, for the Ontario Region of Transport Canada to Hayley Berlin, manager of service integration environmental approvals access for MOECC. “There are aerodromes in Canada where obstacles are located in proximity to runways, and depending on their location, have continued operation with the establishment of specific procedures, and the marking, lighting and publication of these obstacles. However, it should be noted that such mitigation can result in a decrease in the usability of the Collingwood and Stayner aerodromes. The Department also wishes to emphasize that it is critical that planning and coordination of the siting of obstacles be conducted in conjunction with an aerodrome operator at the earliest possible opportunity.”

Mississauga-based WPD Canada has submitted a proposal to construct eight wind turbines on private property bound by Airport Road, County Road 91, Nottawasaga Concession 6 and Nottawasaga Sideroad 18-19.

The project was accepted as complete by the MOECC in December 2013 but WPD is still waiting on approval.

Kevin Surrette, WPD spokesperson, told Simcoe.com the company has filed an application with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Toronto to force the government’s hand.

“They have a service window of six months, once the applications have been deemed complete,” he said. “Obviously, we’d like them to approve it, but at this point we’re just saying ‘please make a decision about our application.’ They’re performing their due diligence to make sure all the information is correct and the applications are good.”

Surrett says the company’s analysis shows both the airport and the wind project could “co-exist.”

“Throughout the project, we’ve engaged an aviation safety expert, we have more than 35 years experience working with Transport Canada, with NAV Canada,” he said. “He did an analysis of our project and the Collingwood airport and he concluded that both our project and the airport could safely co-exist.”

Australia’s first Wind Commissioner has ties to renewables industry

Australia's wind industry says appointing a commissioner to ensure complaints are dealt with is a waste of time
Australia’s wind industry says appointing a commissioner to ensure complaints are dealt with is a waste of time

The Guardian, October 9, 2015

The Turnbull government has appointed an academic and company director with strong ties to climate and renewables research as its new “wind commissioner”, in a move the clean energy industry says should help return the wind energy debate to “sensible”.

Andrew Dyer serves on the boards of Climateworks Australia and the Monash University sustainability unit. The government says his primary role will be to “refer complaints about windfarms to relevant state authorities” – which are already responsible for dealing with them.

The wind commissioner was promised by the former prime minister Tony Abbott in response to a Coalition and crossbench-dominated Senate committee report into the alleged health effects of windfarms. The senators demanded moves against wind energy in return for their essential votes on changes to the renewable energy target, which went beyond the deal the government had struck with Labor.

The Clean Energy Council’s chief executive, Kane Thornton, said he hoped Dyer’s appointment – and appointments to a new scientific committee on wind – would “return a more sensible tone to the debate, which had entered some strange territory during the recent Senate inquiry into windfarms.

“We expect that these new appointments will help to blow away some of the conspiracy theories about windfarms that have been championed by a small number of federal senators over the last few years.”

Dyer serves on multiple boards including Climateworks – a body that aims to facilitate substantial reductions in Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions over the next five years – and the Monash University sustainability institute. The institute brings together academics from all disciplines to tackle “climate change and sustainability, and their intrinsic multiple crises”, as well as the question of how the Australian economy can become carbon neutral.

Dyer will sit in Hunt’s federal environment department. His role does not appear to involve determining the veracity of any complaints but rather passing them on to the state authorities and collating scientific information.

When Abbott pledged to appoint a wind commissioner, he told the radio announcer Alan Jones he found windfarms visually awful, agreed that they might have “potential health impacts” and said the deal on the renewable energy target was designed to reduce their numbers as much as the current Senate would allow.

“What we did recently in the Senate was to reduce, Alan, capital R-E-D-U-C-E, the number of these things that we are going to get in the future … I frankly would have liked to have reduced the number a lot more but we got the best deal we could out of the Senate and if we hadn’t had a deal, Alan, we would have been stuck with even more of these things …

The Australian Conservation Foundation’s chief executive, Kelly O’Shanassy, said it was “sad to see the federal government continuing to contribute uncertainty to Australia’s burgeoning clean energy industry.

“There have been no less than eight studies conducted at the federal level in the last five years into wind energy and every single one has found no evidence of wind farms making people sick.”

………..

In other news, the government also appointed the first independent science committee:

The government has also appointed an independent scientific committee to conduct research into potential medical impacts of turbines which will be headed by acoustician and RMIT Adjunct Professor Jon Davy. The other members are:

Associate Professor Simon Carlile, Head of the Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory, School of Medical Science, University of Sydney and Senior Director of Research at the Starkey Hearing Research Centre, University of California Berkeley, USA.

Clinical Professor David Hillman, Department of Pulmonary Physiology and Sleep Medicine at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital Perth, WA.

Dr Kym Burgemeister, Acoustics Associate Principal, Arup.

Natural Resources approved wind farm permit, endangers Wood Turtles

ToughonNature

Soo Today, October 7, 2015

Wood turtles are known for their sculpted shells, colourful legs and equally colourful personalities.

They are highly valued as pets.

Formally known as Glyptemys insculpta, the wood turtle is classified as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species.

It’s similarly listed as endangered under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act.

Ontario’s wood turtles are at risk from international pet poachers, habitat loss and degradation, skunks, foxes and household pets, to say nothing of the threat of being rendered into road kill by motor vehicles.

Add to this the wood turtle’s late maturity, slow growth and its poor reproductive success, and you have a serious situation.

There are, apparently, wood turtles in the vicinity of the Bow Lake Wind Farm.

So far as your provincial government is concerned, these are secret turtles.

So much so, that SooToday is designating them as Bow Lake Windfarm Ninja Turtles (BLWNTs).

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry doesn’t want you to see them, know how many there are, where they are, where they aren’t, what they eat for breakfast or even anything about the methods used to look for them.

When someone tried recently to learn more about the BLWNTs, ministry officials fought beak and claw to prevent release of the information.

The original decision to withhold information about the turtles was appealed.

Ontario’s Freedom of Information and Privacy Commissioner finally ordered the government’s herpetologists out of their shells.

Last month, as Batchewana First Nation and BluEarth Renewables, Inc. were preparing to commission the 36-turbine Bow Lake project, Sherry Liang, Ontario’s assistant commissioner of information and privacy, was at a workshop at Sault Area Hospital, discussing the Bow Lake turtle decision as a recent precedent in provincial information-access law.

Here’s what the requester asked for:

“Produce a copy of any data collected or reports produced, including photographs or other visual evidence, by [the ministry] from 2008 to 2013 with respect to populations of wood turtles, snapping turtles, or Blanding’s turtles, including but not limited to any ‘tag and release’ program, in the 38 Mile Road area north of Chippewa Falls, Ontario and the area known as Bow Lake, Ontario, including the area of [details regarding four] townships…”

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry released little of the requested data, citing sections of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Endangered Species Act that allow information to be withheld if it “could reasonably be expected to lead to killing, harming, harassing, capturing or taking” a living member of an endangered species.

“Poaching is one of the most insidious threats facing wood turtles,” the ministry argued. “While the populations within Sault Ste. Marie District have been fairly stable, warnings have been issued by local enforcement officers for possession of species-at-risk/ non-species-at-risk turtles, as well as one charge laid for the illegal possession of wood turtle within the district.”

“Sharing the specific location information of this population could reasonably be expected to result in the taking or harming of wood turtles…” the ministry said.

But the data withheld by ministry officials went far beyond specific location coordinates.

They also refused to disclose information about:

  • information about where wood turtles were not found
  • a description of the use of dogs in locating turtles
  • a description of river and road terrains
  • transmitter details
  • information about bird nesting sites or actual sightings of birds
  • information describing other species
  • information about camera locations
  • information about vegetation
  • approximate location of a turtle sighted by a local person with no indication as to how this relates to the actual location of wood turtles
  • positions where weather observations were recorded
  • codes or acronyms severed from email chains

The Freedom of Information and Privacy Commissioner’s office wasn’t having any of it.

“The ministry also withheld charts, photographs and maps, without providing representations as to how disclosure of these records could reasonably be expected to lead to the locating of wood turtles,” snapped adjudicator Diane Smith. “Nor is it apparent to me that these documents reveal the specific location of wood turtle populations.”

Smith pointed out that much of the ministry’s data was old, dating from 2006 to 2012, with no explanation of how it might adversely affect turtles in 2015.

The ministry didn’t indicate how many turtle-possession warnings it issued, when it issued them, or the turtle species involved, Smith said.

As for the single charge laid for illegal possession of a wood turtle in the Sault Ste. Marie area, the ministry offered no further information about the charge or the outcome of court proceedings.

“I find that the ministry has not provided sufficient evidence that disclosure of the information at issue in the records could reasonably be expected to lead to the killing, harming, harassing, capturing or taking a living member of the wood turtle population,” said Smith. “Most of the information is vague locational information referring to general, imprecise locations.”

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry was ordered to release its BLWNT data by May 29 of this year.

Searching for truth on the wind power issue

Float at an Ontario fall fair: talk to the people actually living with wind turbines
Float at an Ontario fall fair: talk to the people actually living with wind turbines

Letter to the Editor of Ontario Farmer, September 29, 2015

(Excerpted)

Ian Cumming’s search for truth about wind turbines attracted my interest. A longtime admirer of his critical thinking skills, his ability to uncover the hidden, and his talent for research, tells me he is onto uncovering the great untruths of industrial wind turbines.

In his article “Looking for truth” of September 15, 2015 [not available online], he presents several truths. However, he makes some grave basic research mistakes. Having spent six years going to meeting[s] to learn about wind turbine issues, informing myself through knowledgeable people, travelling backroads to talk to people living next to turbines, I can tell Mr. Cumming is in the early stages of his research.

In his article, he identifies the most apparent truth of all: energy companies and the farmer/leaseholders are in this purely for the money, read “greed”, with no regard for neighbours or state. Cumming’s area of growth: what is the neighbor of the leaseholder getting out of this arrangement? I question how that farmer is manipulating or ignoring the truth, the truth that 550 meters away, a 170-meter (approximately 525 feet) structure is towering over my home.

…He contradicts himself by telling people to speak the truth and then when they do he calls them hypocritical, through his reference to a meeting beginning with the swooshing sound of a turbine. He suggests that the sound is exaggerated. Interestingly, a day before I read his article, a farmer who lives within 800 meters of two turbines said, “Tom, you won’t believe it. I was standing beside my tractor, engine running and the jet-sounding turbine was louder than theb tractor.”

That was my first-hand research.

Later [in his article], Mr. Cumming presents an inverse error by stating that he heard nothing standing beside a huge windmill in a county in New York. The inverse error: if I am standing beside a turbine, I do not hear any sound, therefore turbines do not make any sounds. My research would ask, how long were you beside that turbine? The people I have talked to who live around the turbines say that wind direction and speed, atmospheric pressure, and time of day all influence the amount and kind of sound. *

Several people have told me the sound is the worst between 3 am and 6 pm when the usual ambient noise is the least. Sound travels the farthest at night–when people are trying to sleep. Mr Cumming was probably not doing his sound research at that time of day.

His concluding example demonstrates that he is a novice wind turbine researcher when he referred to New York veterinarians with multiple problem-free herds next to 28 wind turbines for over a “decade.” My research tells me that 10 years ago, the largest turbine was about .6 to .8 megawatt. The local ones are 2.2 megawatts, newer ones proposed 3 megawatts, over twice the size of the ones 10 years ago!

I suggest that he find several herd with turbines of that magnitude within 55 meters, operated by sleep-deprived farmers and find out the health problems on those farms.

His concluding statement, “Is demanding the truth from either side too much to ask?” is the saddest part of the article.

The Truth: the misguided deceptive Smitherman-McGuinty-Wynne Ministry of the Environment are aware of human health problems, bird and bat killing, infrasound noise, transient voltage, yet they continue to approve new projects, with cost-benefit analysis or regard to local municipal planning. That is the truth.

I encourage Cumming to continue his research for he is good at questioning the right people for the answres he seeks. The easiest place to start: go to a farming community that has wind turbines and talk to as many people as possible who live near them. That is what I did. That research is solid. But remember when researching the truth from the wind companies, 50 years ago we wondered if the truth was that smoking caused cancer. Not possible, said the tobacco corporations.

Tom Melady

Stratford Ontario

  • Editor’s note: the quietest place is right under a turbine.

A note about writer Ian Cumming; he is himself a farmer, not a journalist, who farms in Glengarry County. glengarryfarms@sympatico.ca

 

Wind power developer records protesters in Prince Edward County

WPD’s slogan: “Wind has no limits.” Apparently, greed doesn’t either

MILFORD Ont., September 28, 2015—

As more than 300 residents of Prince Edward County gathered on Sunday to protest the assault on their community and the environment by two wind power projects (Ostrander Point and White Pines, both being appealed) Germany-based wind power developer wpd Canada recorded the event, including speeches given by various presenters.

“Shame on them,” says Paula Peel, secretary for the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County (APPEC).

If the power developer’s presence recording people was meant as an intimidation tactic, it didn’t work, Peel says.

The organizers did a brisk business selling T-shirts and protest signs, she says. “If you didn’t come to the rally with a T-shirt or sign, it’s likely you left with one.”

“The one thing wpd will take away from our rally is that the fight is only just beginning.”

 

Contact APPEC and read more here.

Fighting for the environment in Prince Edward County

More than 30 people gathered at historic Mount Tabor in Prince Edward County to protest wind power projects
More than 30 people gathered at historic Mount Tabor in Prince Edward County to protest wind power projects

County Weekly News, September 28, 2015

PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY – They’ve fought the fight for 14 years and pledge to fight another 14 and then some.

A couple of hundred people gathered Sunday afternoon at Milford Fairgrounds for a rally organized by the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County (APPEC) in the continued effort to keep wind turbines away from the municipality’s south shore.

With two developments slated for Athol and South Marysburgh wards, including 36 turbines, rally-goers heard from a number of local politicians, they must continue the battle in an effort to keep the region turbine free.

South Marysburgh Coun. Steve Ferguson told the crowd the developments equated to a loss of democratic rights.

“In 2012 Steve Campbell wrote an article… the article went on to explain the resolve of the people of South Marysburgh to take a stand against the loss of democratic rights in this ward – a vote was held and an overwhelming majority voted against industrial turbines,” he said. “But we came together as a group and a community and expressed an opinion – we’ve made an impression.”

Ferguson said it was important to have as many local residents as possible show up for appeal hearings for the wpd Canada White Pines (27 turbines) and Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) hearings for Gilead Power’s (nine turbine) Ostrander Point development.

“The pre-hearing for wpd set for earlier this month was set back because residents had not received proper correspondence indicating how they could participate,” Ferguson said. “The ERT, which begins again for Ostrander Point on Oct. 27, — it’s crucially important that we fill every seat in that (Demorestville) hall every day and ditto for (White Pines) when that resumes in Wellington in November. We have to have a strong presence to let the Tribunal know just how the people in South Marysburgh feel.”

Prince Edward Field Naturalists president Myrna Wood said the developments threaten wildlife and natural habitat in the region.

“Today, the endangered species list in Ontario stands at 217 and the main reason of species decline is habitat loss,” she said. “We humans take over the lands and waters they need and now is the time for us to preserve the remaining habitats for their survival – that is Prince Edward County’s south shore which is one of the last remaining habitats. It provides food and shelter for millions of birds that travel from South America to Canada’s north and back again every year. Constructing these turbine projects will destroy hundreds of hectares of shrubs, trees and wetlands on which the birds depend.”

Prince Edward – Hastings MPP Todd Smith agreed, telling the crowd he was disappointed to see the effects of another development in Ontario.

“I was visiting Huron County where they have hundreds of turbines erected and I was shocked not to see a single bird flying there,” he said. “There was nothing – it was dead and that’s exactly what is going to happen in Prince Edward County if these (projects) proceed. What it has done is rip apart the community with friends no longer being friends and families even being torn apart. It’s doing the same thing here and on top of all that – we don’t need the power.”

As a sign of solidarity and protest, rally-goers joined hands and formed a circle around Milford’s beloved Mount Tabor Community Theatre.

APPEC chairman Gord Gibbons said if a planned turbine is erected just south of the theatre, it will damage the village’s heritage forever.

“It’s planned for just behind the property here and it would have devastating effects on this community,” he said. “It simply cannot be allowed to proceed.”

 

Environment Canada wins right to have turbines stop during extreme weather

Environment Canada Exeter weather radar station. (JOHN MINER, The London Free Press)

(Photo: John Miner, Exeter radar station)

Radar operations affected by the turbines

London Free Press, September 27, 2015

Environment Canada can’t block wind farms from being built close enough to throw off its weather radar readings, but it’s won the right to order turbines curtailed during severe weather in Southwestern Ontario, documents obtained by The London Free Press show.

Under a 32-page agreement negotiated with NextEra Canada, Environment Canada can order the Florida-based wind energy giant to reduce wind farm operations in extreme weather that could jeopardize public safety.

Following a call from Environment Canada to its operation centre in Juno Beach, Fla., Next­Era has 20 minutes to “feather,” or adjust, turbine blades back in Ontario so they won’t contaminate radar readings, according to the agreement provided to The Free Press under the federal Access to Information Act.

The curtailment can last up to an hour, but can be extended by Environment Canada if dangerous weather conditions — Southwestern Ontario is located in a tornado alley and heavy snow belt — persist.

Ground Zero for industrial turbines in Ontario, with the biggest and largest number of wind farms in the province, Southwestern Ontario has been a hotbed of rural opposition to the highrise-sized installations, which took off after the Liberal government began signing sweetheart deals with energy companies — paying them far more for their electricity than consumers pay — under its Green Energy Act in 2009.

But while much of the opposition to wind farms has come from activists concerned about health, land values and control over where the towers can be built, which the province took away from municipalities, the contamination of weather radar readings by spinning turbine blades — known as “clutter” — is an international concern.

Scientists in United States and Europe have shown that a weather radar signal bounced off a spinning turbine blade can appear to be a rotating cloud or tornado.

The wind farm operations can also distort precipitation estimates.

“It is an issue worldwide,” said Anne-Marie Palfreeman, manager of Environment Canada’s national radar program.

While Southwestern Ontario depends on Environment Canada’s only radar station in the region, in Exeter, north of London, for severe weather alerts, the agency has no jurisdiction over where potentially distorting wind farms are built, Palfreeman said.

“All of the decision-making as far as where wind farms are, is provincial legislation,” she said.

Wind turbines located within five kilometres would be a major concern, since the towers themselves can block the radar signals, she said.

“What we do is ask them, ‘Please, do not build within five kilometres’,” Palfreeman said.

Wind farms built within 50 km show up on the weather radar and can distort what meteorologists see on their screens, she said.

The closest wind farm to the Exeter radar station is NextEra’s Goshen Wind Energy Centre. One of the Goshen turbines is about 14 km west of the weather radar.

When Ontario’s Energy Ministry green-lighted the Goshen project, it made the approval conditional on NextEra reaching an agreement with Environment Canada on measures to reduce the wind farm’s radar interference.

In addition to Goshen, a spokesperson for NextEra said the company has now reached agreements with Environment Canada covering its Bornish, Jericho and Bluewater wind farms, all north of London and within 50 km of the radar station.

“We can assure you that in case of a severe weather event, as determined by Environment Canada, we would abide by the terms in these agreements,” Joselen Bird of NextEra said.

Palfreeman said it’s the weather forecaster’s call if the wind farms need to be curtailed during a severe weather event such as a tornado.

“If they think they need the proponent to feather their blades for us to be able to properly see what is going on, they will ask for it,” she said.

While the Goshen wind farm started operation earlier this year, none of the severe weather events since has required Environment Canada to make the call to NextEra.

Palfreeman said Environment Canada is testing two software packages to see if the distortion caused by wind turbine blades can be reduced.

As part of the agreement between Environment Canada and NextEra, NextEra was required to provide Environment Canada with a performance bond.

The amount of the bond was removed from the copy of the agreement provided to The Free Press by Environment Canada, which cited sections of the Access to Information Act that allow it to withhold financial and commercial information provided by a third party, and contractual details that could interfere with negotiations.