January 29, 2010

Und now…Germany: wind energy is “devoid of economic and environmental benefits”

Oh boy.

A report just out from the Rhine-Westfalia Institute for Economic Research, an independent , non-profit reseach organization based in Essen, Germany, details the economic impacts from that country’s relentless pursuit of “renewable energy” in the hope of reducing dependence on fossil fuels and  creating jobs.

You can read the entire report (in English) here:

But what it says is this:

-Germany’s efforts led to its status as being the country with the second largest wind capacity in the world after the United States

-installed capacity is NOT the same as production or contribution; by 2008 wind contributed 6.3% to Germany’s electricity production

-the total cost has been 8.4 billion Euros or $12.4 billion US

-consumers bear the cost of renewable energy production

-there are cheaper ways to reduce CO2 emissions

-the German program in terms of job creation has been a “subsidization regime” that on a per-worker basis costs as much as  $240,000

In summary, “Although Germany’s promotion of renewable energies is commonly portrayed in the media as setting a ‘shining example in prviding a harvest for the world’ (The Guardian, 2007) we would instead regard the country’s experience as a cautionary tale of massively expensive environmental and energy policy that is devoid of economic and environmental benefits.”

And yet, down this exact same road Ontario goes, and with it, the people of North Gower, their enjoyment of their property and the rural environment, their health and well-being, and their investments in their homes.

Prowind must know full well the German experience and now they are here simply to fill their pockets with ratepayer and taxpayer money, while telling us that we must do it because “coal is killing people”.  Absolutely blind greed and arrogance.

To get in touch with the North Gower Wind Action Group, please email them direct at , by mail at PO Box 485 North Gower, or by fax at 613-489-3868

January 28, 2010

Wind turbine health effects only in Ontario? Not hardly

If you believe the wind industry, most people absolutely LOVE the wind turbines and appreciate the fact that wind energy is providing much needed power cheaply, cleanly, while producing lots of jobs. People who complain, they say, are an “activist minority”.

None of those things is true.

Wind energy is expensive and unreliable, and requires the use of fossil fuel to be established and to operate. The wind energy development we have seen all over the world will in time be revealed  as a huge scam.

And jobs? No way. In Spain, a study concluded, the jobs were created solely out of government subsidies, didn’t last, and cost tax payers hundreds of thousands of dollars for each job created; the jobs that were created came at the expense of other jobs in other sectors of the economy.


But what about the effects on people including the effects of the noise?

A conference is being held in Cardiff, Wales, soon about the health hazards of wind farms, as there have been “strong objections” to wind farms and complaints about noise and sleep disturbance. It is sponsored by the Institute of Acoustics and will feature U.K. Environment Minister Jane Davidson and Dr Geoff Leventhal.

Dr  Michael Nissenbaum of New York State, and a member of the advisory council at Wind Vigilance, wrote recently in the Rutland Herald in Vermont that in his study of residents of Mars Hill, 82 percent reported new or worsened sleep disturbances, as opposed to just 3 percent in his control group. Ninety-five percent perceived a reduced quality of life compared to zero in the control group. “There is absolutely no doubt in my mind, and that of other physicians who have reviewed the work, that people living within 3500 feet (1100 meters) of a ridgeline arrangement of turbines in a rural environment will suffer negative effects at similar rates.”

The research —proper research that actually involves examining and talking with people—is being done now. If the wind industry had a shred of decency or a drop of business acumen, they would stop locating turbines anywhere near people. Now.

To get in touch with the North Gower Wind Action Group directly, email , mail PO Box 485 North Gower ON   K0A 2T0 or fax 613-489-3868. Please sign the petition on our documents page and send it in, and/or donate to the cause, and ask for a lawn sign.

January 27, 2010

Just give a listen

Although we have been cautioned that linking to websites with recordings of wind turbine noise is not realistic because you’re not able to replicate the complete experience (i.e., the vibration—picture a wind turbine as a giant tuning fork) but on the other hand, we think, hearing a little bit or even a facsimile is better than nothing… and certainly better than the wind industry claims that there is no noise at all, or that it is a soft soothing sound.

Like the “voices of angels” according to the daft Tom van Dusen.

We digress.

Give a listen here to a recording from a wind turbine in Melancthon (UPWIND, mind) and appreciate, but then read on and realize that the Ministry of the Environment of Ontario is NOT doing baseline readings.

Well now it’s up to us to do that AND pay for it…but do it we must. Note the advice that this data will be available for citizens’ groups LEGAL and scientific advisors. For there will be law suits, no doubt about it.

Shall we say it again: Put the turbines where the wind is, not where the people are.

January 21, 2010

Obituary: Ontario


Passed away amid media fanfare at Queen’s Park in Toronto, January 21, 2010, after a long struggle with political expediency, business mismanagement (the auto sector) and generalized greed. Surrounded at her bedside by members of the Ontario Liberal government. Will be missed by Canada’s sister provinces and territories. Grieved by municipalities throughout Ontario who will now be subjected to unbridled development of solar and wind installations, hastened by a $7-billion deal with an Asian industrial consortium. As yet unaware of the consequences of the root causes of her death are Ontario taxpayers and hydro ratepayers.

In lieu of flowers please donate to the Ian Hanna fund at Wind Concerns Ontario ( ) and/or your local wind action group.

To contact the North Gower Wind Action Group, e-mail them direct at

January 20, 2010

First Nations opposes Manitoulin island wind development

Wow. In a breathtaking review of the facts and with concern for the health of its residents and the state of the landscape Aundeck  Omni Kaning First Nation has filed a Band Council Resolution stating its opposition to a proposed Northland Power wind turbine development. The band is calling for setbacks of 2 to 2.5 kilometers. From the reserve boundary, not individual houses. These people have done their homework.

Here is the story from the Manitoulin Expositor, but note how the wind developer trots out that widely discredited, industry-sponsored review, and how the town bemoans its lost tax revenues. (Which are pretty puny compared to what the developer would be making, and pretty puny when you consider the effects on residents’ property values, enjoyment of life, and possible health effects.)

Here is the story:

AOK_First Nation opposes wind farm on health grounds

Demands 2-2.5 km setback of turbines from reserve boundary

by Jim Moodie

AUNDECK OMNI KANING-As Northland Power, with input from the Northeast Town, finalizes its plan for a 43-turbine wind farm at McLean’s Mountain, nearby Aundeck Omni Kaning (AOK) has made it known through a recent band council resolution (BCR) that the First Nation is firmly against the project.

A copy of the BCR, approved by AOK council on January 12, was distributed late last week to the mayor and council of Northeastern Manitoulin and the Islands, along with a cover letter from AOK Chief Craig Abotossaway.

The leadership of AOK “feels that such a project is not supported by the appropriate information, such as health studies (and) setbacks, to base a sound decision with respect to the overall project,” writes Chief Abotossaway. “Therefore, the council of Aundeck Omni Kaning is vehemently opposed to any such project development.”

The resolution states that AOK “categorically opposes Northland Power’s wind-farm project proposal until such time as all encroachments of noise, low-frequency noise, health effects issues, and environmental concerns that will affect the health of our membership is (sic) addressed and to our satisfaction.”

That position is “regrettable,” according to Northland representative Rick Martin, particularly since, in his view, his company has not only gone to great lengths to meet all of the provincial requirements regarding health and environmental concerns, but has made a concerted effort to engage AOK, and other First Nations, in the planning process.

“We’ve repeatedly asked First Nations to meet with us and communicate their concerns,” he said. “We’ve sent letters, as required by the Renewable Energy Act process, and invited them to meet with us, but we’ve received no response.”

The business development manager believes this cold shoulder owes to one instance last year when Northland was unable to produce some documents that were requested by the United Chiefs and Councils of Manitoulin (UCCM). He said it was simply a case of not having the material ready at the time, but it was perceived as a snub-something Northland’s president, John Brace, tried to clear up through a letter of apology.

That olive branch evidently had little impact, as communication between the UCCM communities and Northland has not resumed since, but Mr. Martin maintained it’s not for lack of trying on the power company’s part. “I find it extremely important to get input from First Nation neighbours,” he said. “Nobody knows the lay of the land better than they do. And my great-grandmother is Cree, so I’m not anti-First Nation by any means.”

In the AOK resolution, the First Nation’s chief and council cite a number of reasons for opposing the project, including the community’s responsibility “as stewards of the land, valuing the natural environment and all living things.”

In particular, the First Nation feels “the setbacks identified in the project (don’t) meet the health and safety of the natural environment and lands surrounding our territories.” And “as such, we demand studies be conducted and implemented to assess the effects and uncertainties before industrial wind turbines are constructed next to the Aundeck Omni Kaning territories.”

More specifically still, AOK is asserting that buffers of 2-2.5 kilometres-as it argues is common in “various European countries around the world”-must be maintained between any turbine and the boundary of the First Nation.

That’s about four times the distance that Northland is presently required keep its towers from dwellings, let alone the border of a neighbouring reserve. According to the terms of the Green Energy Act, turbines must be 550 metres from any home.

Mr. Martin said AOK’s expectation regarding setbacks is new to him. “I’ve never seen this, and in all the discussions we’ve had with the Ministry of the Environment, it’s never been raised.”

If such a demand has merit due to a treaty stipulation or any other agreement worked out between First Nations and the federal government, he said he’s prepared to entertain the request, but he needs more information. “If it’s accurate, I need to know,” he said.

If it’s just a preference, based on perceived threats from audible and sub-audible turbine noise, Mr. Martin is confident that the First Nation community needn’t require a bigger buffer from the turbines than has been mapped out for any other part of the project area.

He points to a study that was recently completed by an expert panel for both the Canadian and American Wind Energy Associations (CanWEA and AWEA) concerning the noise emitted by wind turbines and its alleged health impacts.

The report, issued in December, found that “there is no evidence that the audible or sub-audible sounds emitted by wind turbines have any direct adverse physiological effects,” according to the executive summary of the study.

Additionally, the report concluded that “ground-borne vibrations from wind turbines are too weak to be detected by, or to affect, humans,” and that “there is no reason to believe, based on the levels and frequencies of the sounds and the panel’s experience with sound exposures in occupational settings, that the sounds from wind turbines could plausibly have direct adverse health consequences.”

Mr. Martin concedes that the study was funded by the wind-power industry, but insists that is no reason to disregard it, as the report’s authors are all experts in the field (they include a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in medical microbiology, and a professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Western Washington University, among other scientists versed in acoustics, audiology, and health), and their findings were delivered in an impartial manner.

As far as the Northeast Town is concerned, the wind farm remains a welcome development, as long as a few issues regarding use of municipal roads, and some other lingering questions regarding the project’s impact on local infrastructure and services, are ironed out, according to Mayor Jim Stringer.

“Discussions are ongoing, and we have to finalize an agreement on roads use,” he said. “We’re looking at the nuts and bolts of how road allowances will be used, for both a transmission line and access to turbines.”

The municipality has worked on agreements of this nature before, he said, albeit on a much smaller scale. “This is more complicated,” admitted the mayor.

Still, he’s optimistic that a satisfactory arrangement can be worked out. Northland was committed to providing information this week that would assist the town in hammering out a mutually acceptable deal.

“It’s pretty specific what we’re asking for,” he said. “It’s primarily to do with roads and other services.” Part of the proposed route for the Northland transmission line would follow Gammie Street and Harbour View Road in Little Current, he noted, and it’s essential for the town that this part of the development won’t put undue pressure on municipal resources or impact the existing sewer and water lines in the area.

Presuming these details can be sorted out, without the municipality being on the hook for a major expense or headache, Mr. Stringer feels the development can only be a positive one for the area.

In terms of tax revenue, “the estimate is $90,000 to $100,000 annually,” he said. That figure is based on “a value that the province comes up with, times the amount of energy each turbine generates.” And while this ratio could change down the road, subject to a variety of factors, Mr. Stringer said “there’s no indication that it would decrease. We assume it would remain at that number for 20 years.”

That injection of revenue would represent a 3-percent increase to the town’s tax base, said the mayor, adding that, if it was available this year, it would have nullified the increase in taxes that will collectively be borne by ratepayers (whose payments are poised to go up 3 percent, due to reassessment, even though the town isn’t hiking the rates).

As for AOK’s opposition to the development, Mayor Stringer said he and the other members of his council have received copies of the resolution, and will take it under advisement, but believes there is no compulsion to respond at the council level, unless a member of council makes it an issue demanding attention.

“As far as I understand, this is presented as information,” he said. “It’s possible some of the councillors supportive of the MCSEA (Manitoulin Coalition for Safe Energy Alternatives) position could choose to put a motion of support on the table, but last time this group approached council, they were not supported, so I’d be surprised if that would happen now.”

The AOK position could, however, end up protracting the process for Northland to gain a final leave to construct from the province, as adequate consultation with First Nations, and the resolution of concerns in this regard, is one of the criteria for approval.

January 17, 2010

Dr Harrison on wind turbines

Dr John Harrison, professor emeritus in ohysics at Queens University, has been one of the more outspoken experts talking about the realities of wind-generated power. In an article in the Kingston Whig-Standard appearing this weekend, he says that his journey to opposing the turbines began as an objection to what they do to the landscape—in his case, Amherst Island—and then, upon researching the issue, to realizing the true reason not to have wind turbines anywhere near people is because of the noise.

“…there are noise problems…there is a valid scientific basis for the noise problems, and the Ministry of the Environment and the developers are not interested in hearing about the noise problem,” he told the reporter.

When Wolfe Island residents asked for his help in reviwing the proposal for the 86-turbine development he found flaws in the developer’s data and told the consultants, Canadian Hydro and the Ministry. “They just ignored the whole thing. There is no check and balance in the system. Those measurements were worthless. The ministry accepted them.”

Today he says, “let’s install renewable energy, but let’s install it away from people.” He predicts that Wolfe Island residents, already experiencing health effects from the noise, will be getting buyouts from the wind developer as some residents of Kincardine have done…and they have to sign a gag order, which is why you don’t hear from them now.

We say, YES! That’s what we’ve been saying too.

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

January 15, 2010

Tom van Dusen’s angels

There’s something in his well water or maybe his propane tanks are leaking, but Tom van Dusen, gypsy journalist who works for The Ottawa Sun but also freelances for Ontario Farmer and Eastern Ontario AgriNews is still holding up that egregious industry-sponsored paper as proof that there are no health effects from industrial wind turbines.

Mr van Dusen says: 

The main complaint from the dissenters is that the turbines cause stressful and even hazardous noise pollution. We prefer to see it as a soothing hum akin to the voices of angels.

A recent study – yes, it was industry-generated – found absolutely no scientific evidence of negative auditory side effects created by industrial turbines. Not content, opponents are demanding that a government-funded study revisit all of the same ground. Let’s lay this to rest in 2010. The fact is that there is no proven downside to windmills!

A “soothing hum”. Let’s remember that Mr van Dusen visited one wind turbine installation once, and who knows what kind of day it was.

Contrast that with what the new organization, The Society for Wind Vigilance says about the industry-funded document (which is NOT a health study). (Vist them at

It is apparent from this analysis that the A/CanWEA Panel Review is neither authoritative nor convincing. The work is characterized by commission of unsupportable statements and the confirmation bias in the use of references. Many important references have been omitted and not considered in the discussion. Furthermore the authors have taken the position that the World Health Organization standards regarding community noise are irrelevant to their deliberation – a remarkable presumption.

There is no medical doubt that audible noise such as emitted by modern upwind industrial wind turbines sited close to human residences causes significant adverse health effects. These effects are mediated through sleep disturbance, physiological stress and psychological distress. This is settled medical science.

There are many peer-reviewed studies showing that infra and low frequency sound can cause adverse health effects, especially when dynamically modulated. Modern upwind industrial scale turbines of the types now being located in rural areas of North America require study. The extent to which infra and low frequency noise from wind turbines inside or outside homes causes direct adverse effects upon the human body remains an open question – there is no settled medical science on this issue as of yet.

Perhaps the most egregious conclusion is that no more research is required. That statement implies that the science is settled which quite simply is false. It also demonstrates a disdain for the scientific method itself.

There is but one conclusion: independent third party studies must be undertaken to establish the incidence and prevalence of adverse health effects relating to wind


turbines. Beyond that a deeper understanding of the potential mechanisms for the impacts must be elucidated in order to define the mechanisms by which the sleep disturbance, stress and psychological distress occur.

In contrast to the statement of the A/CanWEA Panel Review, our view is that a great deal of research is required for the protection of people’s health.

January 12, 2010

More on the noise and vibration from wind turbines

We have been advised that it is utterly useless to point people to YouTube and other videos with sound recordings of industrial wind turbines because no sound recording can accurately replicate the experience of being within meters of a turbine.

In our own experience, it is not the swoosh-swoosh that you hear, it is the kind of movement of the air or vibration that makes the difference. The turbines can produce the soft swishing noise or, as some have said visiting Melancthon, Amaranth or New York State, they can sound like running shoes in a dryer.

Here again, technology is improving but siting turbines is an absolutel priority. Putting them near homes and families is just asking for problems. So don’t.

Here is an interesting graphic from a U.S. newspaper that attempts to review some of the issues.

January 11, 2010

A new view on wind turbines

A new organization has been created and is a breath of fresh air in the confusion about the effects of wind turbines. Among the luminaries on its advisory board is Dr Robert McMurtry.

Especially interesting are their comments about the recently released industry-sponsored report which concluded that not only are there no health effects from the noise produced by wind turbines, there’s no need to study the issue further. Unproefssional and utterly unfounded.

Go to

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

January 9, 2010

Property assessment slashed in HALF? Let the legal games begin

In The Toronto Star today, a column by a Toronto real estate lawyer on the recent Assessment Review Board decision to reduce the assessed value of a property by fifty per cent, due to the reduction in value by being situated so close to a wind turbine development, specifically the transformer.

The lawyer’s conclusions? This sets an amazing precedent, that municipalities better think about. Yes, the Green Energy Act took  away your rights to plan your communities where renewable energy projects are concerned (and thus protect the health and property values of your citizens) and now, that’s going to affect your tax base, too.

He concludes that law suits and class action suits can’t be far behind. We predicted this! In North Gower, where residents could stand to lose up to $45 million in property value, it would be naive to think people are just going to stand by and let it happen. Or, to allow these huge machines to inject constant noise into our environment and keep us and our children awake at night.

The article is here:
For heaven’s sake, put the turbines where the wind is, not where the people are!
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