December 31, 2009

Farmers: you are advised to check the facts

Somewhere among the pie-in-the-sky claims made by Prowind about how the wind turbine developments will actually add to the bucolic nature of the rural landscape, is the statement that farmers can use their land right up to within a couple of feet of the base for each turbine, and that the base doesn’t  take up much space.

Here is a photo taken by the CBC of the base for a turbine being constructed right now near Harrow, Ontario. THAT is how big the base really is (some of it will be underground when they backfill the earth). This base is for a turbine that is 120 meters high—the ones planned for North Gower are much larger.

What are the effects on the water table of a thing like that?

Green and clean, right?

The AIM Harrow Wind Farm in Essex, Ont., includes 24 turbines, each requiring a massive concrete pedestal base like the one pictured above.

December 29, 2009

Editorial:time for independent (i.e. not paid advertisement) health study on wind turbines

From today’s Ottawa Sun, further comment on the CanWEA/AWEA “study” (which will go down in communications history as how NOT to dispel negative ideas about your industry), and another call for a proper, independent, REAL study of the health issues that can result from the constant noise and vibration from industrial wind turbines, sited too close to homes.

To fully satisfy the public, the province should commission an independent study to find out if there are any health effects related to wind turbines.

Recently, an industry-funded review concluded that the sound coming from wind turbines is not harming the public’s health. Dr. David Colby, the acting medical officer of health for Chatham-Kent, was one of seven members of a “five-star, internationally known” panel that reviewed “substantial” existing scientific literature on wind turbine sound and possible health effects for the Canadian and American wind energy associations.

The panel determined the sound wind turbines make isn’t any different from what can be heard in a typical urban environment, Dr. Colby said.

“And they’re not loud,” he said. “There’s really no plausible mechanism that they could cause health effects and there’s no evidence that they do.”

While the review will certainly allow the public an opportunity to look at more literature on the issue, an independent study commissioned by the province is what is really needed to ease public concerns. The study needs to gather up-to-date data from individuals living near wind turbines and investigate the health effects being reported.

Colby’s statement to Sun Media that “there’s no evidence to indicate that money should be wasted on such a study, which will never satisfy people anyway” is a weak defence.

Health issues are being reported by some individuals living near wind turbines. Because the technology is relatively new to Ontario, the government needs to undertake a study now so that data can be gathered from the past two or three years in areas where the turbines have been in use.

Dr. Colby says the “unrestricted study” was conducted with no limitations on panel members and that the associations did not instruct them to ignore any findings or to come to any particular conclusions. That’s refreshing to hear, but an independent health study by the province is a relevant and necessary step for an industry that is so new to Ontario.

As this green technology takes off across the province, the public needs to be reassured there are no health risks associated with it.


You can see the editorial here.

To get in touch with the North Gower Wind Action Group directly, email or mail messages/donations to P O Box 485 North Gower  Ontario K0A 2T0

December 28, 2009

“The Canadian Leadership vacuum”

Randall Denley of The Ottawa Citizen writes in the December 27th edition that “Canada’s political leadership scene is as bleak as a January landscape. … All we have for leaders is a group of pipsqueaks and bullies.”

He reviews the national scene and then gets to Ontario’s Dalton McGuinty who is currently enjoying an 18-per-cent approval rating. That’s due to the $24.7 billion deficit, the HST and the “truth-bending” on election promises, Denley says. He doesn’t even mention the rape of Ontario’s countryside in the name of “green energy” which is really business interests.

(Question, if this is all about producing clean renewable energy, WHY is NextEra, which is owned by Florida Power and Light, in Ontario? It’s not about producing clean energy for the citizens of Florida. It’s not about saving lives from the effects of air pollution…it’s about the money our provincial government is handing out like Hallowe’en candy.)

Denley concludes that “…our governments too often think thay can limit the damage by hiding the information they do have. Sorry, it doesn’t work. What we desperately need are leaders who have fresh ideas, a real sense of the common good and a willingness to tell the truth. In a country of 33 million people, surely we can generate a couple of dozen people like that. Even one would be a start.”

For those of us facing the onslaught of improperly sited industrial wind turbines, we desperately need such a leader in government or opposition. Fresh ideas? Not wind turbines: when they have been installed at breakneck speed in Europe they have proven not to be a good idea, for the economy, for the people, for power generation—nothing. An awareness of common good? That isn’t wind turbines. Telling the truth? The Ontario government isn’t telling the whole truth about wind turbines and the wind developers certainly aren’t.

Interesting sidebar. Right next to Denley’s column is an Ontario government announcement of information sessions on protecting species of birds, animals and plants at risk of extinction. Location? Alfred Taylor Centre in North Gower, a few kilometers away from where 626-foot giant towers will be killing birds and bats, and producing 40dB of noise, 24 hours a day.

Species at risk? Include people who love the rural countryside and who are now being victimized by people who see Ontario’s landscape as a resource plantation. Including the farmers who we thought had pledged to manage the land.


Put the turbines where the wind is, not where the people—and the birds and the animals—are.

To get in touch with the North Gower Wind Action Group directly, email

December 27, 2009

Sign the world petition

There is a petition being signed throughout the world, asking for 2 km–or more–setbacks from wind turbines. You may click to it here.

Interesting, the proponents say in really quiet areas and in areas with rolling hills, setbacks of 3-5 kms may be more appropriate.


Click away!

For more information or to contact the North Gower Wind Action Group directly, email

December 26, 2009

Dairy farming and industrial wind turbines

We heard that the people leasing land for the wind turbine development here care about their dairy cows and think that if there are adverse effects on the herd from the turbines, they’ll just change their mind and get the turbines shut down.

If you’ve signed a lease, that may not be possible. If you’re thinking that way at all, you really need a lawyer’s advice.

So what are the problems with industrial wind turbines and dairy cattle? You need to go to Youtube and watch the interview with Lincoln WI farmer Scott Smrynka. If you can’t, the summary of his comments are:

-problems with the cattle include reduced milk production, problems with calving, and health problems generally with the herd.

-he’s having cows die. He autopsies every cow/calf that dies and says the vets have found inflamed hearts, problems with kidneys and liver. There has also been an increase in infections, which could be due to immune system problems.

-vets observing his herd noted that the cattle are lying down for only 8 hours a day instead of the 12-16 they should be. “The cows don’t want to lie down.”

-Smrynka actually meters the flow of electricity through the floor in his barn. The cows are on a triple layer of rubber stall mats…and they still won’t lie down as long as they used to.

-vets also noticed that about 1/3 of his herd are now lame, because they are standing for prolonged periods.

-he says its like the cows are “being microwaved from the inside out”.

His comment on industrial wind turbines and the developers. Stop them, and “You gotta do this before they get their foot in the door.”

The video is available at

More information for farmers and people considering leasing land for wind turbines is available at

Put the turbines where the wind is, not where the people–and the animals–are.

Icy day brings questions

It’s an icy day here in North Gower, with a freezing rain warning in effect all morning and into the afternoon on this Boxing Day, 2009. While the thoughts of many go back to the ice storm of 1998-1999, others may gaze out over the beautiful landscape, imagining what it will look like (and sound like) after the industrial wind turbines go in … and think, what about ice on those things?

Good question.

Actually, it is something that has to be considered and already has been in European jurisdictions, with some recommendations for safety. Basically, ice falls directly below the turbine rotors but ice “throw” can occur too. The research that has been done is based on analysis of turbines that are 200-400 feet in height… we have absolutely no idea what the ice shed would be from the 626-foot wind turbines Prowind has planned for North Gower.

Here is the conclusion from a report on the risks associated with ice shed and throw.


The experience and the results of many calculations show that during operation small fragments are hitting the ground in a larger distance than those with a big area whereas from stopped turbines the larger pieces can be transported wider than small ones. However, provided that the turbine is operating the area of risk is larger than at standstill. In both cases the wind direction is an important parameter for the assessment of possible risk and an important parameter for the control systems concerning its behaviour during icing events. Ice sensors and also ice detection by using power curve plausibilisation or two anemometers – one heated, one unheated – is not reliable enough at the moment and needs to be improved. …

In Germany and Austria ice throw/fall prediction reports are required by the building authorities of some districts, especially in the inland and mountainous regions. Together with the increasing number of wind turbines at these sites the number of ice throw reports for building permission increases. It is to be expected that in connection with this, the number of experts and competing companies will increase as well and will improve the knowledge.

As a general recommendation it can be stated that wind farm developers should be very careful at ice endangered sites in the planning phase and take ice throw into account as a safety issue. Each incident or accident caused by ice throw is an unnecessary event and will decrease the public acceptance of wind energy.


The full report may be viewed here:

And there’s that idea again: poor siting of wind turbine installations will lead to poor public acceptance of the use of wind as an effective power source. Putting eight huge wind turbines so close to hundreds of homes in North Gower just doesn’t seem like a good idea for anyone. Except the wind developer.

Put the turbines where the wind is, not where the people are.

To get in touch with the North Gower Wind Action Group directly, email them at

December 24, 2009

Property values and wind turbines

Up to now, there has been only one successful application in Ontario to have a property assessment reduced because of the impact of the proximity of wind turbines on value.

But lawyers always thought there were going to be more. (It appears people are reluctant to admit to the drop in property value, another thing the turbine installation developers count on.)

But no more. This week, an Ontario resident was successful (?) in having the assessed value of his home and property reduced … by FIFTY PERCENT.

Fifty percent. Mind you, he was close not only to the turbines but also two transformers which are also very noisy, but still the idea is there: the proximity of wind turbines is very disturbing due to the noise and your property value does decline. How could it not?

This is just the beginning. And in North Gower, where the potential for the drop in property values is in the area of $45 million, don’t think property owners are going to sit around and do nothing.

To get in touch with the North Gower Wind Action Group directly, please email them at Download the petition to ask for INDEPENDENT health studies on wind turbines from our documents pages here.

Put the turbines where the wind is, not where the people are.

And Merry Christmas to all.

December 21, 2009

Our “closed minds”

A spokesperson for Prowind claims that they gave people what they wanted—a health study–and because we have “closed minds” nothing they do will ever be enough.

This will be short and sweet.

You have no idea who you are dealing with. The people in North Gower are very well educated and many are professionals who regularly either review or actually do research. We are engineers, executives, nurses, librarians, technologists in a variety of fields and, yes, farmers.

That CanWEA/AWEA review was not research; it was a review paper prepared with a pre-set bias.

To get in touch with the North Gower Wind Action Group directly, email

To download and sign the petition that asks government to do independent, third-party research into the noise that wind turbines produce and the health effects, please go to our documents page here.

December 19, 2009

How did that conversation go?

In the days after the release of the CanWEA/AWEA review report in which it is claimed there are no health effects from the noise produced by industrial wind turbines, there has been a great deal of criticism. We recommend you go to to read the joint statement by Dr McMurtry and Dr Nissenbaum for a professional critique.

But, we’re just wondering: what kind of conversation occurred when the powers that be at the wind energy associations came up with this public relations move? Here’s how we imagine it might have happened.

Stan: OK, so why I asked you here today is, we’ve got to do something about all these citizens’ groups. They keep asking for health studies to show that there are no problems with the wind mills, and they’re getting a fair bit of media play on this. We’ve got to do something. Plus that New York doctor’s book is coming out end of November or December. Got to take the wind outta her sails.

Dan: Why don’t we just get somebody to do a health study? Go to some university or other, give them some grant money?

Stan: Are you crazy? We can’t actually do a health study.

Dan: Oh.

Stan: No way.

Dan: We can’t just talk to some people who are OK with them, you know, happy, I guess the people who are getting money for them?

Stan: No. What if you got some people from Wisconsin or New York or California…no. No people.

Dan: Doctors?

Stan: No. You ever seen that Youtube video of the shadow flicker in Wisconsin?

Dan: The one where the dog is hiding under the kitchen table? (shudders)

Stan: Yeah.

Dan: I can’t even watch the whole 2 1/2 minutes of the video…

Stan: Exactly. OK, so what we need here from you and the communications department is some kind of a report that looks like a health study, sounds like a health study, has some doc names on it, and it comes to the conclusion that not only are there no health effects from wind turbines–er, mills—but that everyone who says there are is nuts.

Dan: OK. We can do that. We’ll get some experts?

Stan: Yep. Couple of doctors because it’s supposed to be about health and then some sound guys, whatever. Make sure they have attachments to universities or institutes or whatever looks good. A “blue ribbon” panel. I never did get what that means but it sounds good.

Dan: European?

Stan: No. They’ve been doing this for 20 years over there and they already know all the problems. Like in Germany where setbacks are now over half a mile, or more. They’re even shutting the turbines down at night in some places because of the noise.

Dan: But night is when the things actually work. Of course, nobody needs the power then, either.

Stan: Yup. Anyway, can you get this going? We need to have something to show all the whiners out there, and to tell the farmers, don’t worry, we’re taking care of it, you don’t have to worry that your community is going to hate you or anything because you give us your land for wind mills.

Dan: OK, a health study that isn’t a health study, says there’s no problems, and everybody who says there is is crazy. Or not getting any money.

Stan: That’s it.

Dan: We’ll get right on it.

December 18, 2009

Ingrateful basterds: why don’t they like our (snigger) health study?

We were going to detail all the flaws in the review report released this week jointly by the Canadian Wind Energy Association and the American Wind Energy Association…but it’s not worth it. The paper is so flawed it is ridiculous, in the true sense of that word. A couple of points:

-it is NOT a health study. The authors (or rather, the PR folks at the wind energy associations who really wrote this for the “experts”) conclude that there are no “controlled studies with case-control or cohort-methodology” …but stand behind this tired old review of the existing research

-the Canadian doctor on the list of authors is an acting medical officer of health whose specialization is in infectious disease (He has already been warned by the College to disclose that he has no expertise in whatever field would be appropriate to comment on noise and wind turbines.)

-the acoustic experts claim no connection to health effects…how would they know? They’re not health professionals.

-no people who are reporting being disturbed by the constant noise were interviewed, and neither were any physicians who are treating them

-they used publications that were not “peer-reviewed” but when anyone opposed to turbine installations near homes does that, they are discredited

-one of the noise experts behind the study refers to his own work more than 10 times. That’s a “no-no” in serious research.

-the language used in the conclusion is very unprofessional and clearly aimed at at least one other work (Pierpont)

In short, wind energy associations, we’ve been asking for research and this isn’t it. Our question is, now that you’re going around saying “They asked us for research, here it is and they don’t like it!” why are you so afraid to do the REAL, third-party, independent, MEDICAL research, like proper sleep studies???


To get in touch with the North Gower Wind Action Group directly, email them at or

To get the petition asking for PROPER health studies, go to our documents page.

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