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 another2. He’s learned a lot from self-study to achieve his qualifications (engineering degree from UofT)3. He’s been an advocate for anti-wind4. (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.
I’m not sure what all the fuss is about. So Wind Farms kill eagles. It’s not like we don’t kill beautiful endangered animals all the time. True, these are federally-protected and they’re an iconic symbol of our democracy. But hey, who minds using taxpayer dollars to kill a few icons?
I guess it’s the hypocrisy that galls. Under both the Bald and Gold Eagle Protection Acts and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the death of a single eagle is a felony, and the Administration has prosecuted oil companies when birds drown in their oily facilities, and fined utilities when birds are electrocuted by their power lines.
But, come on, everyone hates oil companies. And who even knows what a utility is.
So the Interior Department can be forgiven for never fining or prosecuting a wind-energy company that repeatedly kills eagles. And we taxpayers can be forgiven for subsidizing them to the tune of a billion dollars a year.
According to an estimate published in the Wildlife Society Bulletin in March almost 600,000 birds are killed by wind farms in America each year, including over 80,000 raptors such as hawks and falcons and eagles (Wildlife Society). Even more bats die as their lungs are inverted by the negative pressures generated behind the 170 mile-per-hour spinning blades.
FALMOUTH, Mass., Sept. 16, 2013 — /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — A national study that claims there is “no statistical evidence” that real estate prices near wind turbines are negatively impacted is misleading because it lumps homes close to the turbines with those miles away, according to Wind Wise Massachusetts (WWMA).
“The report’s own data found that homes located within one mile to the turbines decreased in value by 28 percent compared to homes located within 3 to 10 miles from the turbines,” according to Virginia Irvine, president of WWMA (windwisema.org), a statewide alliance of grassroots environmental groups and individuals.
“The study’s authors are just perpetuating the myth that wind turbines are not responsible for significant property losses,” she said.
“The report is also comparing apples with oranges as less than 2.5 percent of the more than 50,000 home sales analyzed in recently released Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory study were within one mile of the turbines and some were as far as 10 miles away,” Irvine said.
In the widely publicized report, the authors stated in the abstract that “…we find no statistical evidence that home values near turbines were affected in the post-construction or post-announcement/pre-construction periods.”
The report -– A Spatial Hedonic Analysis of the Effects of Wind Energy Facilities on Surrounding Property Values in the United States –- was published by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in August.
Irvine said independent, comprehensive appraisals have found that land-based wind turbines can cause property values to plummet within two miles by 15 percent to 40 percent.
“There is a major difference between turbines in a power plant 10 miles from homes in the country to those that are less than one mile from homes in residential communities,” Irvine said.
“But the sad fact is that whether a wind turbine is near a solo home in the country or in a more heavily populated area, the homeowner is going to see a significant loss in the value of his home,” she added.
“Wind turbines near residential areas are devastating to home values,” according to Michael McCann, president of McCann Appraisal of Chicago.
He said his paired study analysis of homes near wind turbines in more than two dozen communities throughout the country “consistently have found homes losing 25 to 40 per cent of their value.
Contact: Barry Wanger for Wind Wise Massachusetts, Wanger Associates, 617-965-6469, Barry@WangerAssociates.com
SOURCE Wind Wise Massachusetts
This report comes from the Chatham-Kent Wind Action group.
Although the wind turbine at Port Elgin erected by the Canadian Auto Workers has only been in operation for a few months, complaints of health problems from the environmental noise and vibration produced by the wind generator started almost immediately.
This is a 90-minute video with presentations from residents. What is shocking is that this turbine at 50 kW is relatively small compared to the 2-3 megawatt machines now being built and proposed for Ontario.
The video is here; the first quarter-hour gives you plenty of useful, if depressing, information.
In spite of the fact that properties near wind power projects remain unsold, or take a long time to sell, and sell at reduced prices, the Ontario government, MPAC, and of course the wind power lobby organization all insist there is no effect on property values. On the one hand, we have the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) including wind power plants as a negative to be disclosed on the Sellers Property Information Sheet, and we have Realtors telling us buyers don’t even want to SEE the turbines, let alone live next to them, and on the other we have these industry-supported opinions that say, everything is just fine.
Ben Hoen has released yet another study on property values (the last one was roundly trashed, in particular by Sunak and Madelener of Aachen University) which this time seems to answer criticisms that past studies did not look at property values prior to the announcement of wind power projects.
In all the manipulation of statistics present in this report, there is one grain of truth: there is little data about properties very close to wind power projects, Hoen says. That’s because, Mr Hoen, you can’t measure what didn’t happen; expired listings are as important as sales, but they don’t register.
Here is an analysis of the study by Wayne Gulden.
Now that the media “Where were you when the lights went out?” pertaining to the black-out in north-eastern U.S. and Canada 10 years ago is over, we can take a look at what really happened (it wasn’t an Ontario event) and then be able to look at the comments being made by the current Ontario government and lobbyists in context.
Here from energy analyst and blogger Scott Luft, a posting from Cold Air.
Satellite photo from NOAA
Wind Concerns Ontario received a letter from Elections Ontario today from Director Maria Martins, advising us that following a full investigation, which WCO cooperated with at every step over the last 20 months, the conclusion is that the organization did not contravene the Election Finances Act of Ontario.
The complaint was lodged by Toronto activist Jude MacDonald, and pertained chiefly to a billboard purchased by a community group in Ontario that featured the WCO (then) URL, and images from news media on our website.
We are pleased that the this matter has concluded, and that now, all our members and member community groups can continue our advocacy work to inform the public on the potential negative effects of industrial wind power generation on human health, the natural environment, and Ontario’s economy.
Jane Wilson, President
Parker Gallant, Vice-president
Wind Concerns Ontario
It starts with an unfamiliar car in the driveway. Two people get out and approach your farmhouse. They knock, you open. “We’re interested in doing a study on the feasibility of wind turbines here,” says the taller one. “There’s no commitment,” adds the other, following a well-rehearsed script. Just like the travelling salesmen of yore, the Fuller Brush man or the FilterQueen vacuum guy, these folks have something to sell, a proposal – you can do your bit for the planet and make a little green while you’re at it. What’s not to like?
You invite them in to hear more, offer them coffee while you sit around your kitchen table, listen with interest as they lay out the numbers: $12,000 per year minimum per turbine and maybe as much as $18,000. You picture five slender poles with blades glinting in the sunlight and do the mental arithmetic: 60 to 90 grand a year for letting them use your land? Sure beats sitting on a tractor for 12 hours a day.
Problem is, they’re not slender poles, they’re industrial behemoths, five metres wide at the base, 100 metres tall to the hub with blades half again as high – 150 metres from toe to tip, as tall as a 40-storey building. In skimming the fine print, you also missed the part about the potential health and environmental impacts of turbines, and breezed past the language about not talking to anyone about the deal.
But you don’t realize this till later, after you’ve signed the lease, and by then your neighbours have stopped speaking to you and have formed a group to stop the wind project with whatever it takes, including filing a lawsuit, contacting reporters and meeting with local councillors and MPPs.