Wind farms and radar:Environment Canada posts map showing effect

What’s the weather going to be today? Any major storms on the way? Well, in the western portion of Ontario, where hundreds of wind turbines have already been built and still more are on the way, it will be tougher for Environment Canada to track weather systems, due to interference from the turbines.

Environment Canada has now posted a map to indicate the degree of interference at its Exeter radar station. See the map and full information here.

This map shows a view of the Exeter weather radar located at coordinates 43.37199° latitude and -81.38056° longitude. A circle is defined around the radar with a radius of 50 km. There is also a coloured region indicating the locations where a turbine is visible to the radar. As well, major cities and roads are shown. An explanation on how to view this map can be found in the section “How to view the map”.

Aviation safety and wind farms: you be the judge

On Saturday, the London Free Press published a story about the letter from NAV Canada to the wind power developer planning a power project in East Oxford, near Woodstock, Ontario.

Though the letter to the developer lists several concerns about the impact of the wind power project on radar and airport operations, a NAV Canada official was quoted as saying the problems could be corrected simply with “software.”

We invite you to read the actual letter from NAV Canada here, and see if you are satisfied that the wind power developer could achieve the mitigation measures necessary to ensure safety. 14-0925 NAV Canada GunnsHill

Key points from the NAV Canada letter:

“We have evaluated the captioned proposal and our analysis shows that all 10 of the proposed turbines are visible to the London Radar while turbines 4-10 are visible to the Hamilton Radar and turbines 1-3 are marginally visible to the Hamilton Radar with the following impacts:

·         a number of nuisance (false) primary radar targets in the wind farm geographical limits and its immediate vicinity.

·         a reduction to our capability to identify and track primary surveillance targets in the above mentioned area.

·         a reduced capability to provide traffic information to our aviation customers when a primary only surveillance target (s) is in the area.

·         an increase in the controllers’ workload in the affected area, and

·         a decrease in flight safety for aircraft operating in the area, especially in adverse weather conditions.”

The community group in East Oxford also notes that emergency medical transport by air to and from the nearby Woodstock hospital could also be affected by this wind power project.

NAV Canada’s mission statement reads, “Safety is our first priority.”

 

 

Wind farm appeals a “stacked deck”

Judges quash majority of turbine appeal

Setback issue to be argued Sept. 3
The Environmental Review Tribunal has ruled that only issues related to an amendment to the HAF Wind Energy Project will be heard next month. The majority of the issues raised in West Lincoln resident Anne Fairfeild’s appeal will not be argued.
Grimsby Lincoln News

WEST LINCOLN — The case against the five industrial wind turbines already spinning in West Lincoln is “still partially alive.”

Anne Fairfield, who appealed the province’s approval of the HAF Wind Energy Project, appeared before the Environmental Review Tribunal for a preliminary hearing last week. All of the issues raised in her original appeal were quashed, meaning only those mentioned in her appeal to the province’s subsequent approval of an amendment to the project will be heard at a hearing next month.

“They knocked out everything not mentioned in the amendment,” said Fairfield. “All we’re left with are property lines and the withdrawing of post construction raptor monitoring.”

Project proponents Rankin Wind Energy and Vineland Power Inc. had to submit an amendment to their application after it came to light that four of the five turbines were built closer to property lines than regulations allow.

According to the Green Energy Act, turbines must be located a minimum of a blade length from the nearest property — in this case, 95 metres.

The province approved the amended application June 20. Fairfield filed her appeal July 3.

Come Sept. 3 Fairfield will only be able to argue on the issue of property line setback infractions and post-construction raptor monitoring. The West Lincoln resident will no longer be able to present on issues of health, gas wells. hazardous waste and the impact on Charter rights — the issues Fairfield raised in her original appeal to the project’s approval.

Fairfield and members of the West Lincoln Glanbrook WInd Action Group met with Niagara West-Glanbrook MPP Tim Hudak Monday to discuss the upcoming tribunal.

Judges quashes majority of turbine appeal

West Lincoln-Glanbrook MPP Tim Hudak meets with constituents in resident’s home

Hudak was vocal in his opposition to the Green Energy Act in his time as PC Party Leader. He raised the issue several times at Queen’s Park on behalf of his constituents in West Lincoln and the province at large, calling for a complete moratorium on more than one occasion. He has called on the Minister of Energy, Bob Chiarelli, twice now to “do the right thing” in the case of the HAF project.

“If you had been caught speeding on Twenty Road, you wouldn’t get a redo,” said Hudak, speaking on the province’s approval of the amended application.

“It only makes sense for the government to follow its own laws.”

Hudak, fresh on the heels of his loss to Kathleen Wynne in the race to become premier, said he would do what he can to help his constituents but realizes his influence is not as strong as it could have been had the outcome had been different in June.

“My goal was to win the election and stop this thing in its tracks,” said Hudak. “I’ve met with Wynne and McGuinty, face to face like we are now, to say this is a bad idea for the province as a whole.”

Fairfield asked if the PC party would continue to push against the Liberal’s green agenda without Hudak at helm. Hudak said he appointed Lisa Thompson to the post of energy critic because her own riding of Huron-Bruce was home to several turbine projects. He was confident the party would continue to push against “one of the most destructive policy decisions in recent history.”

Hudak, like the half dozen residents gathered at Veldman’s house, did not have the same level of confidence the Environmental Review Tribunal would side with Fairfield.

“It’s an incredibly stacked deck,” said Hudak.

“ERTs don’t work,” said Fairfield, noting ultimately the decision will lie in either appeals court or in a judicial review, both of which she is prepared to more forward with.

Read the full story here.

Editor’s Note: the Environmental Review Tribunal Panel is NOT made up of “judges” but rather lawyers who are civil servants, employed by the Province of Ontario.

3 MW turbines prompt MoE wind farm noise investigation

Turbine base at Brinston under construction: 3-MW machines in operation
Turbine base at Brinston under construction: 3-MW machines now in operation

We have been following the South Branch wind power generation project for some time, as it is the first 3-MW turbine project to begin operation in Ontario—to be followed many others. Here is a report from AgriNews on noise complaints; the first complaint was expressed by a member of the community at the wind developers’ community liaison meeting, in April.
News August, 2014 Vol. 38, No. 8

Turbine neighbour prompts noise probe by ministry

By Nelson Zandbergen – AgriNews Staff Writer
BRINSTON  Leslie Disheau has her ear to the ground in South Dundas, and for 10 days last month, a very powerful ear trained on the sky around her Brinston home as well.

Ontarios Ministry of Environment and Climate Change installed the basketball-sized microphone atop a temporary 30-foot listening post in her backyard, along with a smaller meteorological tower.

The ministrys move was prompted by Disheau and partner Glen Baldwins complaints about nighttime noise emanating from two industrial wind turbines on either side of their place, one to their immediate northwest, the other to the southeast. Comprising part of the 10-turbine South Branch project that went into service earlier this year, both of the nearest units are less than one kilometre away from the home the couple shares with their two teenaged children.

But Disheau, candidate for deputy mayor in the municipal election and a fierce critic of the turbine industry, feared that developer EDP Renewables was intentionally slowing the two windmills to quiet them down while the ministry data-collection and audio-recording effort was underway with her participation.

The Houston-based firm almost immediately learned about the microphone on the day of the install, she said with some frustration.

Located just down the road from the projects main depot, it wasnt more than three hours after the arrival of two ministry trucks in her driveway that EDP called the same ministry to question the presence of those vehicles, according to Disheau.

She says the audio technician putting up the equipment learned of EDPs inquiry while talking to his office by cell phone, then told her about it.

Disheau expressed unhappiness that a mandatory post-construction noise report had yet to be publicly filed by the company itself, after putting the project into service in March.

In the meantime, over a 10-day period in July, the ministry captured its own sound data with Disheaus help. During those times she considered the turbines to be noisiest, she pressed a button inside her home, triggering the recording process via the outdoor microphone, which was tethered to audio equipment in a locked box.

Comparing the sound to that of a rumbling plane or jet, she got up at night when she couldnt sleep to push the audio recording button located at the end of a long cord connected to the stuff outside. She also kept an accompanying log as part of the initiative.

The noise is most acute, she said, when the direction of the wind causes the blades to swivel toward her home in perpendicular fashion.

She scoffed at regulations that mandate 500-meter setbacks to neighbouring homes, pointing out the rule doesnt take into account the cumulative, “overlapping” impact of multiple turbines that surround. Nor does the regulation change with the actual size of a turbine, she adds, asserting that, at 3-megawatts apiece, “these are the largest turbines in Ontario.”

Ultimately, the ministry will use the data collected by Disheau to create a report, which could potentially form the basis of ministry orders against the two offending turbines. “To shut them down at night so that people can sleep,” she said with a hopeful tone, though she also acknowledged the ministry may not issue orders. And even if it does, she expects the developer to appeal and appeal.

Disheau also said there are measures that municipal governments can undertake to curtail the noise, including a nuisance noise bylaw of 32 decibels, which recently survived a court challenge in another Ontario municipality. She espouses such a policy in South Dundas and will push for it at the council table if elected.

 

Read the full story here.

Special note to Brinston area residents and others in South Dundas, South Mountain area: the South Branch Wind Opposition Group has ceased operations for the time being; for more information or assistance, please contact Wind Concerns Ontario member group, Ottawa Wind Concerns at ottawawindconcerns@gmail.com or visit www.ottawawindconcerns.com

Wind farm noise complaints trigger MoE investigation

The wind “farm” or, as we prefer it, wind power generation project, in Brinston Ontario, is the first wind power plant to have 3-megawatt turbines operating … but not for long. Many of the other power projects such as those at Bluewater and in the Niagara Region are specified to have 3-megawatt turbines. Ontario still does not have any protocol for measuring infrasound or low-frequency noise (LFN) which these machines produce.

It is worth noting that Brinston has about 400 homes within 2 km of the wind power project and its 3-MW turbines; in the Niagara Region there will be 4,500 homes, and in Bluewater, more than 2,000.

Here is a report from Brinston where the turbines have been operating for only four months.

Noise complaints lead to monitoring

by Sandy Casselman, Winchester Press

BRINSTON – It has been more than six months since the blades of the South Branch Wind Farm turbines began to spin, leaving more than one nearby resident with some sleepless nights.

“I call when it gets to the point I can’t tolerate it anymore and I go to the basement [to sleep],” Brinston resident Leslie Disheau, former president of the South Branch Wind Opposition Group, said. “It is an issue and
I’m not the only person in town with the issue.”

Disheau, who is running for the Municipality of South Dundas’ deputy-mayor seat in this fall’s municipal election, has been staying close to home since the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) installed noise-monitoring equipment at her Brinston Road property last week.

“MOE contacted me and asked if they could put this noise monitoring equipment up,” Disheau said.

The two pieces of equipment measure wind speed and direction, barometric pressure, rainfall, and more, she said.

She has submitted three separate noise complaints so far. Every complaint must be filed with EDP Renewables’ project leader Ken Little and local MOE representative Terry Forrester to be officially registered.

During EDP’s first open community liaison meeting in March, a Brinston man spoke out about his own sleep disturbances, suggesting the turbines be shut off for a period during the early hours of the morning, beginning around midnight. At that time, Little confirmed that there had been one official complaint already registered. He also said an acoustic audit had been ordered, which he expected to get underway within two months of the meeting.

“EDP has not released their post-construction noise audit report,” Disheau said during an interview with the Winchester Press Fri., July 18.

In conversation with one of the MOE officials who installed the equipment, Disheau said she learned that the provincial authority also had not seen a report from EDP.

“They can take a long as they want,” she said, crediting the Green Energy Act with the responsibility for not specifying a deadline. “There is a 40-decibel limit [on the noise the turbines can make], and we have no idea if they’re in the threshold or not.”

To describe what the sound is like, she used Highway 401 versus airplane noise as an example, pointing out that the highway noise is more of a hum, and when she lived near it, the sounds did not bother her at all.
However, the turbines produce something more in line with the “drone of an airplane that goes into your head,” she said. “It’s a deeper tone, and that’s where you get the disturbance of sleep.”

Explaining the noise and its effects on her is not easy, she said, but it is similar to the sensation people get in their chest when listening to bass guitar.

Disheau said she explained her experiences to MOE’s acoustical engineer, adding that the sensations are at their worst when the blade tips of the turbine across the road (south of Brinston) and the one to the north behind her home (west of Brinston) are facing one another.

“The acoustical engineer said ‘yes, that it all makes sense,’ ” Disheau added. “This is not normal. You should not be in sleep disturbance in your own house.”

Meanwhile, Disheau is the only one in her home experiencing the effects of the rotating blades, as her husband, who shares the second-storey bedroom on the home’s vinyl-sided addition, is tone deaf, and her children sleep on the first floor of the brick-sided main house.

The noise-monitoring equipment is controlled by a switch, which has been placed inside Disheau’s home. When she notices the noise, she flips the switch and the machinery calculates and documents the findings.

“Once everything is taken down, the ministry guy goes through [the recordings] and writes his report,” she said, which will list the decibel readings for various weather conditions (wind speed and direction).

When asked what she hopes to accomplish through this procedure, Disheau said the findings could require that EDP shut down operations during specific times of the day or during specific wind conditions should they prove the decibel levels exceed the regulated amount.

 

Time for Transport Canada to act on wind farm safety

Small plane lands at Chatham-Kent airport
Small plane lands at Chatham-Kent airport

We understand that Transport Canada has recognized the seriousness of the situation in Ontario as regards aviation safety and wind turbines being built around airports. A committee has been struck and is now looking at recommendations and phasing in action.

Not a minute too soon.

The Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA) has been sounding alarm bells on this issue since 2009. Last year, CEO Kevin Psutka was engaged in correspondence with power developer wpd Canada over safety concerns at the Collingwood airport (See correspondence string here) and at one point accused the developer of “hiding” behind a consultant’s report on aviation safety that was actually prepared on the basis of very limited parameters.

In a note written in 2013, Mr Psutka states, “At least there has finally been an acknowledgement of the gap in the regulations. Transport Canada does not have to act on the recommendation but we can use this statement to further highlight to the provincial government that a ‘no objection’ statement from Transport Canada does not mean ‘no impact on aviation’. There should be a buffer zone around aerodromes and COPA made a recommendation during the development of the Green Energy Act to ensure that as part of every proposed project a thorough investigation is performed with a goal to minimize the impact on aviation. The gap in federal regulations, acknowledged by the Transportation Committee, indicates that until such time as Transport Canada makes the appropriate regulatory changes to protect aviation, the province has an important role to play in ensuring that the air transportation system, including smaller airports and aerodromes, is not adversely affected by windfarms.

“This is a safety and social issue that to date has not been given appropriate attention by the federal or provincial governments,” Mr Psutka concluded in his March, 2013 email.

This is another issue, like putting turbines where they will kill migrating birds, or bats which are so important to agriculture, or putting turbines next to homes and schools, that one would think would be governed by common sense, if not loftier ideas like the Precautionary Principle.

But it isn’t, not in Ontario, where you have government officials actually saying that the “overall benefit” of wind power generation trumps every other concern. Health, safety, even the environment–wind power beats all.

If the Ontario government won’t protect the people of Ontario, it is high time someone else in government did.

***

Email us at windconcerns@gmail.com

Wind farm issues hit the country fairs

ListowelFairFloat

Country fair season is beginning and with it, opportunities for rural communities to make known their dissatisfaction with the Green Energy Act in Ontario, and the invasion of wind power developers.

Yesterday, a float at the Listowel Fair demonstrated community concerns about hydro bills, health and property values, as a result of a proposed wind power project in North Perth. The Elma-Mornington Concerned Citizens group also launched a weather balloon* to show fairgoers the actual height of the turbines proposed for their community.

A weather balloon is worth 1,000 words
A weather balloon is worth 1,000 words

*Need a weather balloon for an event? We may be able to help. Email us at windconcerns@gmail.com

 

Letter to WCO from Premier Wynne

Received by email today, a response to our letter of June 19.:

Thank you for taking the time to share your kind words of congratulation. It is an honour and a privilege to continue serving this great province as Premier.

I have noted your comments on behalf of Wind Concerns Ontario and have shared a copy of your correspondence with my colleague the Honourable Glen Murray, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, for his information.

My colleagues and I are committed to building a brighter future for all the people of Ontario. We understand that being fiscally responsible is fundamental to our future, and that building a fair and inclusive society is at the heart of a more prosperous Ontario. These are the principles that will guide us as we work with you, and all our partners, to make Ontario a better place to live, work and raise a family.

When it comes to building opportunity for the people of Ontario and securing our province’s future and well-being, my colleagues and I want to hear everyone’s voice and listen to everyone’s input. That is why I am grateful for your ideas and suggestions.

Thank you again for your kind words. Please accept my best wishes.

 

Kathleen Wynne
Premier of Ontario

Study shows association between turbine noise and distress

The review paper prepared by physicians Hazel Lynn and Ian Arra, and associates, is now available. The paper documents a review of previously published, peer-reviewed studies of turbine noise and human health, and concludes that there is “reasonable evidence (Levels Four and Five)  supporting the existence of an association between wind turbines and distress in humans.”

The paper may be read here:Arra-LynnStudyMay2014

 

Wind power documentary reveals victim suffering

The documentary film Down Wind airs tonight at 8 PM EDT on the Sun News network.

Here is a column from journalist Jerry Agar on the film.

DownWindPoster

JERRY AGAR | SUN NEWS NETWORK June 3, 2014

It is heart wrenching to see and feel the pain of fellow Ontarians breaking down in tears as they explain how the Liberal government drove them from their homes.

But to understand how cold and callous our current political leadership is in this province, you need to experience it.

Rebecca Thompson’s documentary, Down Wind: How Ontario’s Green Dream Turned into a Nightmare (Surge Media Productions), airs on Sun News Wednesday at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m.

It is a story of reckless, agenda-driven politics resulting in shattered lives.

The Ontario Liberal government’s Green Energy Act isn’t just an economic failure; it is an act of brutal indifference to the human cost of politics.

A cost ignored by people living far from the thump of the giant wind turbines, secure in their downtown Toronto homes and politically correct theories; a safe distance from places like Ripley, Clear Creek and Lucknow, Ontario.

Many may not care – worshiping as they do at the altar of so-called green energy – that the jobs promised by the Liberals through their Green Energy Act were never delivered, while the cost of hydro skyrocketed.

But the human cost should matter to us all.

Giant wind turbines, as high as 50 storeys, with blades the size of a 747, were foisted on communities in rural Ontario with no consultation or agreement from the residents, their municipal governments having been stripped of their planning powers by the Green Energy Act.

Unlike politicians who pay lip service to “serving others” while stomping all over people’s lives and looking after themselves, Norma Schmidt spent her life in Underwood, Ontario in the actual service of others as a nurse and instructor of future nurses.

She and her husband spent their lives in the home they lovingly restored over the years; a place they had hoped to share with their grandchildren.

But Norma has been forced out of her home by severe migraines and depression, brought on by the relentless noise and vibration from the industrial wind turbines erected practically in her back yard.

She left both the job and the home she loved, escaping to a room in her daughter’s house.

It is not the life she worked all these years to achieve, and it is not what she deserves.

Do Norma’s tears, and those of others similarly affected, fall to no effect at the feet of Premier Kathleen Wynne?

Norma’s story is one among many, some of them told in Down Wind.

This is the same Dalton McGuinty/Wynne Liberal government that used public money to reward violent aboriginal protesters who seized private property and terrorized people in Caledonia.

That “occupation” continues today and the government, knowing that their voting base in Toronto couldn’t care less about some rubes in the country, keeps the issue quiet by caving into thugs, rather than protecting law-abiding citizens.

Would the government be as forgiving to people across rural Ontario if some were to blow up a few of the industrial wind turbines that have made their lives hell? Of course not.

There are no turbines thumping the night away in Don Valley West or Toronto-Centre.

It remains to be seen whether the people in such ridings, who overwhelmingly voted Liberal in 2011, will care more for their fellow citizens in rural Ontario this time around.

There are any number of political parties to support other than the Liberals.