Wind turbine noise complaints unheeded in Ontario

Complaint process for wind turbine noise inherited by the Ford government not effective

April 12, 2021

Wind Concerns Ontario has just released its latest report on how the Ontario government has responded to citizen complaints about excessive wind turbine noise from grid-scale wind power projects.

Warning: the contents of this report can make for difficult reading.

The excerpts of comments from people calling into the 24/7 Spills Action Centre telephone line, or sending emails to their local District Office of the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks are an alarming demonstration of the desperation felt by families forced with the wind turbine noise—some of them, for many years.

“We ache all over and can hardly function we are so tired. Please tell us what to do. Please respond.”

“Noise described as a ‘whooing’ sound, both heard and felt.”

“This continues to be horrendous.”

“Caller reports a pulsing roar.”

“This is the 65th time they have called.”

“We can’t go on like this.”

Polluted acoustic environment

One complaint documented was from a technician hired to do monitoring of bat populations near Bow Lake, who questioned whether he/she could continue the work due to the “acoustic pollution” from the wind turbines. The wind turbines were “generating unacceptably intrusive and potentially dangerous noise emissions into the natural environment,” the person reported. This is a “polluted acoustic environment.”

This report is based on Incident Reports created in 2018, received as the result of a request under the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act. The request was filed in January 2019; we received almost 4,000 pages of documents this past March. The report is fourth in a series, examining ministry response back to 2006.

It’s not working

The overarching conclusion from examining the complaint records as a whole is that Ontario’s complaint monitoring process, which the current government inherited from previous administrations, is not working. Key findings:

  • Complaints about wind power projects are part of the process government promised would ensure protection of health and safety. Robust enforcement of the regulations in response to these complaints will fulfill that responsibility.
  • In total, almost 6,000 files of complaints about wind turbine noise, vibration and sound pressure have been released to Wind Concerns by the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks.
  • 39 percent of complaints in 2018 noted adverse health effects.
  • The records show that complaints do not result in real action by the project operators, despite requirements of approvals for the project.
  • The process to accept and record citizen complaints is inconsistent, and information gathered is incomplete.
  • There appears to be no ministry-wide evaluation and review process for citizen complaints about environmental noise produced by wind turbines.
  • The report concludes with recommendations on how the complaint handling process could be improved as an enforcement tool, and could provide opportunities to act on other issues such as electricity costs.

 

Read the report here: Report on Noise Complaint Response 2018-FINAL.

contact@windconcernsontario.ca

Comments

Sommer
Reply

This confirms the level of frustration and despair that caused people to lose faith in the reporting process.
When finally more than half of the turbines in the largest project in Ontario were deemed non compliant for tonal noise, the turbines still were not derated.
Could someone please explain why the standards for compliance were altered, instead of derating the turbines?

Richard Mann
Reply

Wind turbines need to stop due to documented, ongoing, and cumulative health harm from infra sound.

Please see the following talk,
September 12, 2019. University of Waterloo.
Mariana Alves-Pereira (Lisbon, Portugal). “Infrasound and Low Frequency Noise: Physics & Cells, History & Health”.
Livestream:
https://livestream.com/itmsstudio/events/8781285

Despite repeated attempts to contact government, no one has responded to my requests.

Stan Thayer
Reply

Hi there Sommer.
I will not attempt an explanation to your question because regulations or standards are useless without enforcement.
I will say this,,,today, April 15th 2021, IESO is monitoring and distributing about 1 percent of the power requirement for Ontario from the 45 industrial windfarms. Since 0000 hours this morning 24 of those 45 had no output. At times less than 1 percent of the grid demand was produced which forced the other generating stations to top up and feed the thousands of off line windmills.
Derating the few that are operating would basically curtail what small amount they are contributing.
When maintenance costs are factored in along with manufacturing and installation the entire industrial wind turbine industry is a loss to any economy.
I have asked multiple people, from CBC reporters to engineers, to explain to me how one turn of a turbine blade can feed power to an average house for 24 hours as stated on many websites but no response as of noon today.
I am still waiting!
The saga continues!

Stan

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