NorthGowerWindTurbines

February 25, 2010

In case you didn’t get it (what the wind biz is really all about)

This is one publication you’re not likely to see, but we did, and how very amusing! Turns out the European Union (EU) is none too happy with Ontario’s subsidization of wind developers as spelled out in the Green Energy Act. Right now, Ontario has cut a sensational deal with Samsung, an Asian consortium of wind turbine suppliers, and is also thinking of going into business with another large company, but in order for the McGuinty government to make good on its claims to be creating jobs in Ontario, eventually significant portions of the industrial wind turbines will have to be built in Ontario. You can read the article here:

http://www.embassymag.ca/page/view/eu-02-24-2010 

The EU is afraid that other provinces will go the way of Ontario and eventually take business away from European turbine manufacturers, chiefly those in Germany and Denmark. In fact, the EU says, Ontario may be breaking rules of agreements that Canada has signed on to:Under a section entitled “Message to be conveyed,” the EU alleges that the FIT program may not be consistent with Canada’s international trade obligations under the WTO or GATT. It also states that “the acquisition of electricity at above-market prices by OPA could constitute a subsidy to electricity producers.”

The document states that “this issue has been raised both with the Canadian federal government and with the government of Ontario in the framework of the [Canada-EU trade agreement] negotiations.”  This is serious stuff.

And it all points to one thing: this wind development business is not about providing electricity to the world (wind is inefficient and unreliable), it’s not about saving the environment (wind energy does not result in any reduction of fossil fuel use or CO2 emissions), it’s not about jobs either (very few are created) it’s about one thing: money. Money into the hands of foreign-owned manufacturers.

For the people of North Gower, it will mean noise injected into the environment, the rural landscape despoiled, property values reduced, and all because of the short-sightedness and greed of a few individuals, and a provincial government desperate for votes from its urban constitutency.

February 23, 2010

Environmental impacts

Heard on the CBC this morning a lot of hand-wringing about a proposed new footbridge over the Rideau Canal, and plenty of worries about what it’s going to look like. Too big? Too small? Will it interrupt the view of the Chateau Laurier?

As Ottawa is a very pretty city and the Canal is a world heritage site, these concerns are valid. Of course.

But what about the hideous scarring of the landscape by industrial wind turbines. Someone we know recently ventured onto Highway 89 for the first time in years and was thoroughly shocked at what has happened to the rural landscape there, with the hundreds of wind turbines in Melancthon and Amaranth.

And in North Gower? HUGE turbines at 626-feet tall are proposed, which will be visible (and likely audible) by everyone in North Gower proper and parts of south Richmond. We can only imagine what the impact of construction will be. Yet, we cannot seem to get the rest of this city to care.

We also hear of significant bird kills near Lake Erie, hawks in particular.

“Green” energy. Right.

To get in touch with the North Gower Wind Action Group (we are not it), email northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca or mail P O Box 485 North Gower K0A 2T0

February 22, 2010

The latest salvo: property values don’t decline

But they do. And anybody with half a brain cell knows it could not be otherwise, especially with reports of people throughout the province being unable to sleep because of the noise and vibration from poorly sited wind turbine developments, AND the fact that wind developers are having to buy people out because their homes have been rendered uninhabitable, due to proximity to wind turbines.

The Canadian Wind Energy Association knew it had to act when property owners affected by wind turbine installations were going to the Assessment Review Board and so sometime last year they contracted with Ontario real estate appraisers George Canning and John L. Simmons to do a study and produce a report.

The report was just released and imagine this: it claims there are no effects on property values from industrial wind turbines. Oh wait, what they said was “It could not be said that rural residential houses located in a viewshed sold for lower prices.”

In other words, just being able to see wind turbines was not a factor. No mention of noise or vibration or shadow flicker.

The report is deeply, deeply flawed for many reasons. The authors used four different methods to get to their specious conclusion, and the first three of them didn’t work. As Amherst Island’s Wayne Gulden writes, they employed a regression analysis which is questionable anyway, used too small a sample, and used too wide a range (some properties were more than five miles away from the wind turbines).

Gulden: “Canning sings the praises of regression analyses, runs his numbers and–quelle horreur–comes up with viz properties selling for almost 13 % less than no-viz properties. …if Canning stopped here CanWEA would never have published this study. So Canning goes to step number two. He massages the data, finding 20 no-viz homes that most closely match the 20 biz homes. He runs his numbers again and–another quelle horreur–the difference is 9%.”

It gets complicated here with talk about standard deviation etc., but basically what happened was Canning and Simmons kept running data through various computations until the sample was so small and the margin for error so large that it meant nothing, which they took to mean, there is no effect on value.

As Wayne Gulden remarks, in order to properly look at the property value, the appraisers would have to have looked at sales before 2004, which was when the project was announced. And how many of their study properties was that? Two. Out of 14.

Once again, bad science. We note that in their letter of transmittal, the appraisers thank a company called The IBI Group for providing them with information. IBI is a member of CanWEA and has done numerous projects for wind developers including Enbridge. So, we’re just absolutely positive the information given to Mr Canning and Mr Simmons (and since when do appraisers need to be fed information?) was objective and unbiased.

We could go on but what’s sad about this is that this report–although, curiously, it is not available on the CanWEA website–has been sent out to municipalities as “proof” that wind developments will not affect property values and the tax base. What is also sad is that two professional men who have had long careers in the appraisal business (Simmons started in 1962)and who now are still working, were co-opted by the greedy, mendacious wind lobby. In the sunset of their careers, the Canning-Simmons report will be infamous for its flawed methodology and simplistic, erroneous conclusion.

To get in touch with the North Gower Wind Action Group (we are not it) email northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

You can read Wayne Gulden’s critique of the report at

http://amherstislandwindinfo.com/canning-critique.pdf

February 19, 2010

Property values and wind “farms”

At least we know which issues sting. First health, so the wind industry trots out their nasty little review which concludes most unprofessionally that not only are there no health problems from living next to wind turbines, there is so little evidence of anything that no further studies need to be done.

And now, the other issue for Ontarians, is it true that property values will decline? Yes, yes, says the Appraisal One Group in Wisconsin; yes, yes, says Chris Luxemberger of Brampton, Ontario; and yes, say others around the world. In Ontario? No, no, says a CanWEA sponsored appraisal report, that studied the effect on properties in the Chatham-Kent area.

We will rely on an expert opinion on the report and provide that to you soon, but at first glance, it is professionally prepared to appear to conform to Appraisal Institute of Canada standards, but in the executive summary the authors say that they really didn’t have enough sales data and so had to employ “other” methodologies.

Early reaction from the Chatham-Kent community is that the effective date of the “appraisal” was May 2009…when the few turbines operating at that time had only been operating for a matter of weeks.

We heard from someone in North Gower that people would like more “facts” and less opinion, but getting true facts when the wind industry insists on obfuscation and confabulation can be difficult. We note also today that the esteemed Dr Robert McMurty (a professor emeritus at the University of Western Ontario) was described as a “notorious” anti-wind demonstrator. The doctor cares about the health effects of these structures and now, he’s being called “notorious”.

We say again, the truth must really be bad for the wind industry to engage in these types of activities.

To get in touch with the North Gower Wind Action Group (we are not it) email them at northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca and visit the website at http://northgowerwindactiongroup.wordpress.com

February 18, 2010

North Gower Wind Action Group

Filed under: Uncategorized — ottawawindconcerns @ 1:18 pm
Tags: ,

Please note that this is *not* the blog for the North Gower Wind Action Group. That is at:

http://northgowerwindactiongroup.wordpress.com

Their (new) email address is northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

February 17, 2010

Ontario’s new research chair: another slap in the face

The Council of Ontario Universities has announced its chair for Renewable Energy Technologies and Health, to be funded $1.5 million over the next five years … and the chair is an engineering professor. With NO experience in health or medical research. Just engineering.

So, for those who were waiting for the province to get serious about health studies related to wind turbines, you just got another slap in the face from this government, which is hell-bent on pursuing wind energy development without heed to any ramifications such as health effects.

Absolutely appalling.

The news release is here: http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/February2010/16/c2268.html

Here is a list of the professor’s research studies. If you can find any health research in there, congratulations.

Crystalline and Thin-film Photovoltaic Devices: Design and Fabrication Technology

Semiconductor Defects and Defect Passivation Technologies

Advanced Processing Technologies for Microelectronic Devices and Process Modeling

MEMS technology, Silicon Micromachining

Semiconductor Nanowires and Quantum Dots for Photovoltaics

Silicon Feedstock and Bulk Crystal Growth

Optothermal Processing in Thin-film Technology

Maybe, just maybe, they might take a paltry $100,000 out of the budget to do a sleep study as one Ontario doctor suggested. Maybe.

To get in touch with the North Gower Wind Action Group directly, email northgowerwindturbines@yahoo.ca

February 16, 2010

Wind turbines and property values: hiding the truth(2)

You may have read it here first: last year we posted about the U.S. Department of Energy’s so-called report on the effect of wind turbine developments on property values, which our own appraisal expert pronounced as so deeply flawed as to be utterly meaningless. If anyone was planning to use that in court, he said at the time, they’re out of luck. It’s useless.

Now, out of New Hampshire, U.S. appraisal expert Albert Wilson has offered up his opinion on the study. In a word, “ditto”. The study is meaningless and not done according any standard for preparing an opinion on property value.

Here are some of the points from Mr Wilson’s analysis:

“I have no opinion concerning the effect of wind power projects on residential property values,” Wilson told Windaction.org. “However, I was compelled to respond professionally when it became apparent that the latest report by the Department of Energy was predicated on flawed methods – flaws that are well known in the literature but apparently ignored or missed by the report’s authors.”

In his paper, “Wind Farms, Residential Property Values, And Rubber Rulers”[1] Wilson writes that the underlying methods used in the development of the DOE study raise serious questions concerning the credibility of the results. In particular, the authors failed to follow any of the well-developed and tested standards for performing regression analyses on property sales.

“There are literally thousands of possible real estate regression models. Absent published and recognized standards on the validation of data, model development and testing, and calibration of the model against the real world market, a regression may be nothing more than a rubber ruler that can be stretched to provide a desired result,” he wrote.

And since any hedonic analysis depends entirely on the accuracy and reliability of the regression used, if the underlying regression does not conform to recognized standards, Wilson argues there can be no independent assurance of that accuracy or reliability.

Offering specifics on the study’s flaws, Wilson is highly critical of DOE’s nationwide approach whereby thousands of real estate transactions were examined in communities surrounding wind power facilities spread across the United States. The authors consolidated all of these markets and treated them as the same with little consideration of basic differences. For example, sales prices in areas of declining population and therefore decreasing demand-a majority of the areas examined-are not directly comparable to sales prices in areas of increasing population and therefore increasing demand. Even within the ten communities identified in the DOE report, such aggregation of markets is questionable. In Washington State, which was used as the base for comparison to all other areas in the study, the authors aggregated the urban market of Kennewick with the rural market of Milton-Freewater — two very different areas some 42 miles apart!

Wilson was clear when he wrote, “The failure to recognize and account for the need for homogeneity of markets is a common failing of hedonics.”

You can read his entire report here:

http://www.windaction.org/documents/25681

But honestly, it just make sense that property values would decline in proximity of wind turbinedevelopments, particularly when now it is apparent the health effects are experienced by people within 2 km of turbines.

So let’s sum up:

  • taxpayer/ratepayer money going to an expensive and unreliable form of energy generation, and to foreign-owned corporations who are just about done fleecing Scandinavia and Europe
  • health effects are being experienced and increasingly reported
  • property values are declining by 10-50% depending on proximity and noise.

It is time the wind developers acted responsibly, not like the carpet-baggers they are.

February 12, 2010

Wind turbines:”A tax-funded disaster”

 The editorial in yesterday’s Welland Tribune didn’t pull any punches when it came to discussing Ontario’s headlong rush into the wind energy business. “Heading towards a tax-funded disaster of monumental proportions,” wrote editorial board member Andrew Watts. He noted that there is already evidence of health effects from industrial wind turbines which the wind lobby chooses to ignore, and in fact cover up with their ridiculous review study (which unprofessionally called for no more money to be spent on research. Gee, why, boys?).

Watts went on to characterize the Green Energy Act as a launch pad for the wind industry to “bypass already inadequate safeguards and legislation.”

The facts, Watts says are: wind produces low frequency noise that has effects on the health of people and animals; wind farms increase energy costs; and, wind turbines do nothing to reduce carbon emissions.

See the entire editorial here:

http://www.wellandtribune.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=2445244

And in other news, Melancthon, which in Ontario has been the beachhead (the Premier loves that word, makes him sound like a fighting man) of industrial wind turbines has now asked the Province of Ontario to halt turbine development until health studies are done, and the effect of the recent property value assessment (a 50-percent reduction due to proximity to a turbine transformer) is ascertained. Melancthon!  Right next door to Amaranth where the turbines started at 20 and now are heading for 200.

Here in North Gower, we’re trying to stop this terrible experiment before people’s health is affected, before livestock are affected, and before property values can be chopped away.

To get in touch with the North Gower Wind Action Group directly, email northgowerwindturbines@yahoo.ca

February 9, 2010

Birds and wind turbines (to say nothing of the bats and the people and the cows)

Prowind in its project documentation for Gunn’s Hill, in the Woodstock, Ontario area, claims that “the number of bird deaths per year due as a consequence [sic] of turbine collision is approximately two. This is insignificant compared to other sources of bird mortality such as collision with vehicles and buildings.” (They reference a study by James Ross, 2003, done at Pickering and published in Ontario Birds.) There is no mention of context: two birds per turbine? Two birds per turbine development? What?

In fact, Mr Ross’s study was of a SINGLE turbine at Pickering; he did go on to study another single turbine, the infamous Exhibition Place, also a singleton, but later did a study of 66 turbines elsewhere in the province.

Another study produced for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources among others, says that the bird kill rates are very low but that as yet, the data is extremely limited and further study is needed to confirm whether this low rate is in fact accurate. The authors then go on to trot out the housecat theory in which they state that the average domestic cat kills 26 birds a year.

How intriguing then to read a three-year-old study today about white-tailed eagles off the coast of Norway whose population has been decimated by a poorly sited wind turbine installation. Prior to construction of the facility, 19 pairs of the eagles nested on the Smola Archipelago. Only a single pair produced chicks in the 2006 breeding season, and nine eagles were killed in the 10 months previous to the count, including all the chicks. Doesn’t look good for the white-tailed eagle. Good thing there are no cats on that archipelago, too.

Yet another example of the wind industry cherry-picking (and not very well) “research” that serves to buttress their assurances to Ontario property owners, whilst their pockets are being picked clean.

February 8, 2010

People are asking: What can I do about wind turbines?

It’s amazing to us that, here in North Gower, Ontario, there are still people who are unaware of the proposed industrial turbine development for farmland that is very close to homes and other farms in the village, and to homes in part of Richmond. But there are people who haven’t paid attention or who thought the turbines would be all on one farm, and affecting very few, if any, “involuntary neighbours.”

Not so: if you consider that new setback regulations in Europe are for 2 km between turbine installations and homes (in Germany [Saarland] in fact it is 2 km from the boundary of a residential zone), and the fact that the Mars Hill,NY health study (not yet released) indicates in its preliminary results that 82% of people within 1.5 km of the industrial wind turbines are experiencing health effects, there are a lot of people in North Gower and Richmond who should be concerned.

So now, more people are asking what they can do.

First, join your local wind action group, wherever you are. (In North Gower, contact them at northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca )

Sign a petition asking for a moratorium on these developments until third-party, objective health studies are done—health studies that involve interviews and examinations of real people, not literature reviews.

Read more on the issue. In Ontario, go to http://windconcernsontario.wordpress.com 

Also:

 http://www.windvigilance.com

DONATE to the efforts: legal fees, mailings, advertising, sign purchase etc all costs money, currently being borne by volunteers.

CONTACT your City Councillor and your MPP. Don’t accept the “it’s out of our hands” response. True, the Green Energy Act essentially removed the ability of municipalities to plan their own communities and protect their citizens (how they let that happen is a mystery, but probably due to the green brainwashing that took place), but that doesn’t mean it’s right. If every affected municipality rose up and protested, something would have to be done.

Get lawn/window signs, talk to your neighbours, and above all learn as much as you can about this issue. When you start reading about it, you’ll learn that all is not what it seems. This is not about the environment, it’s about money and votes.

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