July 31, 2010

In case you needed proof…

In case you needed proof that there ARE health effects from industrial wind turbines due to excessive noise, here’s a story from the New York Times today… a New York-based corporate wind developer is offering Oregon residents a hush fee, so they do NOT ever complain of noise and health problems.

And what’s the value of their property, enjoyment of their property, their health? $5,000.

Read it here.


So much for “community buy-in” and “engaging” communities for their support of “clean” “green” renewable energy…now it’s, OK we’re doing this anyway, you might as well take this money and shut up.

July 24, 2010

No business being in business

We heard the President of Ottawa’s Clearly Solar, Jim Cummings, on the CBC’s All in a Day, lamenting the fact that the price change paid by the Ontario Power Authority has meant that landowners who didn’t already have a FIT (feed-in tariff) contract with the OPA were now backing out of the deal in droves.

Mr Cummings also lamented what this would mean for his company and for the jobs that would have been created, with the delivery of ground-mounted solar panels in the area.

What this REALLY means is, that Mr Cummings and others like him were taking advantage of government/power authority subsidies that were clearly horrendously over-generous, and unsustainable. After the government got more than 16,000 applications for FIT agreements for solar, it realized it couldn’t afford this and dropped the price per kilowatt hour (kW) from 80 cents to 58.8.

It’s unsustainable at 58.8 cents!

Businesses like this and the corporate wind developers are all taking advantage of a government running down the “green” path (now being deserted in Europe after 15 years) handing out subsidies … it is clearly not a business that’s going to be around for the long term.

Here from the Globe and Mail today (July 26) an excerpt from their editorial on Ontario and its subsidy of solar power:

According to the province’s calculations, a small-scale, ground-mounted solar project could pay back its capital costs in just seven years, and provide a return on investment of 24 per cent – more than twice what rooftop installations earn. And this is guaranteed by Ontario for 20 years. Such outsized returns attracted thousands of opportunistic solar-power entrepreneurs. Many built before they received provincial contracts, simply to beat the rush. Not surprisingly, these disappointed folks are the loudest critics of the new regime.

Renewable energy is deserving of public support, both as a source of clean power and as an economic driver. And it is reasonable that preferential treatment will be necessary at the nascent stages of this industry. But government involvement must always be judicious. The average 2010 market rate for electricity in Ontario is 3.6 cents per kWh. Even a feed-in tariff of 58.8 cents per kWh is a massive level of support.

The virtue of solar power alone cannot justify government guarantees of outrageous rates of return. And due diligence ought to be as important for green energy entrepreneurs as any other investors. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

This situation is exactly the same for wind power. Lorrie Goldstein of SunMedia writes: 

The big problem is McGuinty has been offering a financial bonanza to industrial wind turbine developers by giving them heavily subsidized, 20-year power-generation contracts (wind energy isn’t viable without massive subsidies), one factor contributing to our skyrocketing electricity bills, expected to rise 25% by the end of next year.

All this for unreliable energy that must be backed up by traditional power sources.

It is indeed sad what is happening in Ontario today.

For news daily, check

for the North Gower Wind Action Group, go to and to email them

July 20, 2010

Survey says: Ontarians uninformed on wind energy

CanWEA or the Canadian Wind Energy Association, the lobby group for corporate wind developers in Canada, has paid polling firm Ipsos-Reid for a survey on opinions and attitudes on wind energy in Ontario. Clearly, this is another attempt to marginalize those who oppose  large-scale, industrial wind turbine developments by showing that they are in the minority. The implication is, because wind is “clean” and “green” and also provides jobs, “right-thinking” people are in favour of it, and anybody who doesn’t is in the minority.

Problem is, none of those things are true, and wind energy development will NEVER be an effective or reliable source of electric power in Ontario.

Here is the news release which hits on some of the survey findings.

New Ipsos Reid survey shows economic and environmental benefits leading factors

For Immediate Release

OTTAWA, July 15 – A new Ipsos Reid poll commissioned by the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) finds that nine in 10 Ontario residents support the production of wind energy in their region of the province for its economic and environmental benefits. The level of support remains high even when respondents were asked if a wind project’s location is within their own community.

“The poll found that 89 per cent of Ontario residents either strongly supported or somewhat supported wind energy in their region of Ontario,” said Sean Simpson of Ipsos Reid. “Most also agreed (86 per cent) that their municipal government should encourage and facilitate wind energy development, while a similarly high percentage (85 per cent) believe wind energy can provide economic opportunities and benefits.”

The poll also found that most Ontario residents think it is important that Ontario’s electricity supply become more environmentally friendly and that 87 per cent of those surveyed believe that wind energy has less impact on human health compared to other sources of electricity.

“This poll clearly indicates that wind energy enjoys broad support across the province, regardless of where residents live,” said CanWEA president, Robert Hornung. “Those polled clearly believe that wind energy not only brings environmental benefits but it can also play a vital role in spurring local and regional economic development. There is much to be optimistic about wind’s future in the province, and the poll reflects the fact that Ontario citizens believe in the promise of this growing industry.”

The poll is available online at The poll was conducted June 25 to 30, 2010. For this survey, a sample of 1,361 adults living in Ontario from Ipsos’ Canadian online panel were interviewed online, including residents in Southwest Ontario, Central Ontario, Northern Ontario, Eastern Ontario and the GTA. A survey with an unweighted probability sample of this size and a 100 per cent response rate would have an estimated margin of error of +/-2.7 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what the results would have been had the entire population of adults living in Ontario been polled.

For more information:

Ulrike Kucera
Media Relations Officer, CanWEA  
Direct: 613 234-8716 ext. 228  
Mobile: 613 867-4433

Sean Simpson
Senior Research Manager, Ipsos Reid Public Affairs  
Direct: 416-572-4474
Mobile: 519-571-3896

First off, a sample of 1,361 people represents 0.0001 percent of the population of Ontario. Hardly significant and certainly not a basis for claiming that “nine out of 10” Ontario residents support wind energy development.

The finding that people are still in favour of wind power even if a turbine development is planned for their own community is a bit of a stretch. The survey results show that 4 in 10 “are aware of wind energy developments (either proposed, in construction or already build [sic]) in your area.” BUT the majority of people surveyed are either “not very aware” or “not at all aware” of wind turbine developments in their area. More than half (or 56%) in fact, have no awareness of wind turbine developments in their area. The exception is the south-west, where only 32% were not aware. In the East, 58% are “not at all aware” or “not very aware” of wind developments. Did the “East” include Kingston? Prince Edward County???? Ottawa?

What does this high level of lack of awareness mean? That the people surveyed were not particularly well-informed.

We have learned that if people aren’t directly affected by industrial wind turbine developments, i.e., they think one is going to happen near them, they don’t have any motivation to learn about industrial wind turbines and the effects of large-scale wind development. In other words, until a turbine development plan shows up near their homes, all they know is that the turbines are “clean” and “green” and without problems. Which is not true.

Having said that, when the survey asked people to identify the chief problems with with turbine developments more than 1 in 5 (to use the pollster spin method of quoting results) or 23% put “loud/noisy/noise pollution” at the top of the list.

AND, when asked what the top benefits of wind energy are, the most often cited was “cheap/affordable/cost saving”. Which as anyone who has read even ONE article about wind energy development knows is not true.

The mention of the BP oil spill was specious, irrelevant and manipulative. Wind energy could never hope to replace oil as a source of energy in this country (and wait a minute, oil? electricity? How does oil enter into it when the Liberals want to replace coal?).

Our conclusion: the Ipsos-Reid survey shows one thing—how poorly informed the people of Ontario are about wind energy development, and about how the power authorities are investing taxpayer/ratepayer money.

We suggest a change in headline for the news release. Rather than “New Ipsos Reid survey shows economic and environmental benefits leading factors,” how about “Half of Ontario unaware of impending wind developments in their area”? Or, “Half of Ontario uninformed on wind energy”? Or, “Majority of people in Ontario brainwashed by the wind industry”?

For more information on the proposed industrial wind turbine development for North Gower and Richmond areas of Ottawa, please go to

July 19, 2010

“It’s not about energy; it’s about money.”

Tales of industrial wind turbine development from the United States, Ohio specifically, are revealed in this opinion piece from the Columbus Dispatch. Note the effect on the community, as some farm owners lease land for the turbines and others choose to preserve the quality of life.

Mike Harden commentary: Wind farm sows discord among friends

Sunday, July 18, 2010  02:59 AM

Robert and Diane McConnell, left, and Julia Johnson oppose planting 53 wind turbines in Champaign County farmland.

Mike Harden dispatch
Robert and Diane McConnell, left, and Julia Johnson oppose planting 53 wind turbines in Champaign County farmland.

URBANA, Ohio – One need not drive too far into Champaign County to recognize that 2010 will be a bumper year for corn and soybeans. As for harvesting the wind, the jury is still out.

Last week, the Ohio Power Siting Board essentially reaffirmed its decision to allow 53 wind turbines to be erected near here, despite the persistent objections of residents who are not convinced that the turbines – some of them approaching the height of the Washington Monument – will do any more than set longtime county residents at one another’s throats.

“One woman told me she couldn’t go to church anymore because she couldn’t stand to look at one of the people who has sold out” by leasing land for the turbines, Julia Johnson, one of those longtime residents, said last week.

These once were Champaign County farmers who shared a tremendous kinship as stewards of the land. If one were injured or fell ill, his friends would bring in his crops. They attended Grange meetings and social gatherings together. Their children signed up for 4-H and the Future Farmers of America.

The atmosphere has become so acrimonious that merchants who must sell to all community members have avoided any signs at their businesses suggesting favoritism to either side of the issue.

“There are certainly some people I will never trust again, and any friendship we might have had in the past is now gone,” said Diane McConnell, who, with her husband, Robert, owns farmland. “We will have five turbines right out the north window 700 feet from our property line.”

Those who want the windmills say they produce electricity without pollution, fit in with farming because crops can be planted around them and cattle can graze underneath, and will bring jobs to the county. But neither the McConnells nor Johnson believe that the quality of life in the Urbana area will be enhanced.

“Eighty percent of the revenue for those turbines will go overseas and will not benefit our economy at all,” Johnson said. EverPower Wind Holdings, the company developing the wind farm, is owned by Terra Firma, a British private-equity firm.

“It is not about energy. It is about money,” Johnson said.

The McConnells and Johnson also worry about safety. People living near wind turbines in other places have complained about headaches, sleeplessness and anxiety from the humming.

Could it be that in some now-forgotten, long-ago debate, some energy whiz proposed going after crude oil not only with land-based drilling but by employing offshore oil platforms as well? Surely, the question of safety arose.

If offshore oil drilling were scrutinized no more carefully than wind turbines have been, it was only going to be a matter of time before something happened.

It might be time for a good, ol’ Bible-thumping homily preached in a rural Champaign County church from Hosea 8:7: “They have planted the wind and will harvest the whirlwind. The stalks of grain wither and produce nothing to eat. And even if there is grain, foreigners will eat it.” [Blog editor note: Actually, the quote from the St James version is “For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it hath no stalk: the bud shall yield no meal:if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up.”]

Retired columnist Mike Harden writes Wednesday and Sunday Metro columns.

Link to the story here:

July 15, 2010

The cost of Ontario’s high electricity prices

Yesterday’s Financial Post carried several letters on the topic of power generation in Ontario, including a self-serving letter from Energy Minister Brad Duguid who was scrambling to explain the shift in price from 80 cents per kW to 58.8 cents, for power generated from solar. He repeats his mantra of Ontario moving from “dirty coal generation to clean energy renewables like wind turbines and solar panels.”  Still selling the dream to urban residents, who don’t get it: wind doesn’t work.

Anyway, one letter writer has some sense: Simon Schotsman of Mount Hope writes:

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty’s new Energy Plan extends 20-year contracts to “Green Energy Suppliers.” Long before the 20 years are over, manufacturers–and their workforces–will have left Ontario to affordable electricity locations. That is going to hurt us all. Therefore, municipalities that have and operate their own electrical infrastructures have an option to prevent this from happening.

The solution is very simple: Build your own power plants, singly or jointly with other municipalities. Do not copy Ontario’s example. Build flexible, reliable, 24/7 plants, able to operate as a basic as well as supply-on-demand electrical power.

When I write “reliable,” that excludes solar and wind. It can be done with “clean” coal, gas, biomass, conveting waste into fuel–a double saving– and by means of hyrdoelectric power, a source that is most economical in running and environmentally friendly.

If your rate structure is in the 5 cents to 7 cents per kWh, you are running a profitable operation and since you are no longer supplied by the grid, you have also eliminated the grid’s delivery charges, plus, on a much lower electricity rate, the HST charges will also be lower for your consumers.

A win-win situation.

So crazy simple it might work. Oh wait, in fact, it DID WORK for many years. Municipalities in Ontario, especially rural communities, have to turn back the clock and start taking care of themselves…the current Ontario government sees you as a resource plantation (thanks, Thomas Pawlick).

To contact the North Gower Wind Action Group, email

July 12, 2010

Take THAT: CanWEA and Dr David Colby!

More opinions—

Anyone who has been involved in health research knows what a travesty the Candian Wind Energy Association/American Wind Energy Association report on potential health effects from industrial wind turbines was, particularly the suggestion that people reporting effects are really just “annoyed” and upset (i.e., it’s all in their heads) and then, amazingly, something NEVER seen in medical research, the conclusion that not only are there no effects from exposure to industrial wind turbines, there is no reason to do any further research.

Appalling. Insulting. Unprofessional. And, you could say more, like politically motivated, deliberately obtuse, and more.

Well, now someone has said more and coming from him, the criticisms carry a lot of weight. You can download Dr Carl V. Phillips’ full report from Wind Concerns Ontario, but his comments about the report written by a panel of “experts” headed by Ontario’s Dr David Colby are amazingly to the point, and very critical not only of the quality of “research” behind that report but also the motivations for it.

Here are some of the highlights:

-there is ample evidence to conclude that industrial wind turbines cause serious health problems; compelling evidence has been overlooked

-questions could be answered if resources were devoted to finding the answer

-reports that claim no evidence of health effects are based on a “very simplistic understanding of epidemiology” … “they do not represent proper scientific reasoning

-various attempts to dismiss the evidence appears to be based on a misunderstanding of epidemiology and semantic games

-“the dismissal of the evidence is sometimes so bald that it seems like parody. … Colby et al. go so far as to write ‘ There is no evidence that sound at the levels from wind turbines as heard in residences will cause direct physiological effects. A small number of sensitive people, however, may be stressed by the sound and suffer sleep disturbances.’ Even if the latter characterization did not comically understate the evidence, these authors, within the space of a two-sentence paragraph, claim there are no physiological effects but note that there are observed cases of turbines causing a physical problem.”

-“Some of the attempts to dismiss the importance of the observed health problems are semantic games and belittlement, cheap tactics that are typically used to obscure the lack of legitimate scientific arguments.”

-“Language games like these tend to suggest an attempt to avoid direct discussion of the evidence that there really is a problem.”

-“It is notable that the Colby et al. panel did not include any population health researchers, even though the question they claim the report addresses is one of population health. Their expertise seems to be limited to the relevant physical sciences and clinical medicine.” [ Editor: note that while Dr Colby’s specialty is in infectious disease, he does claim to have some experience with sound and safety issues.] ” … they seem quite anxious to claim that we have seen the cases but they do not really exist, very unphysician-like behaviour.”

-the “errors paint a picture of authors who are dramatically overstepping their expertise and hoping that no reader will ever have the expertise to notice, and a forum like the present report in which to expose it.”

Wow. Had enough?

Puts into perspective comments from CanWEA execs, corporate wind developers and politicians. Recall that Prowind Canada’s Bart Geleynse Jr said in a CBC radio interview that people reporting health problems from turbines had “psychosomatic” problems.

Bullying. Obfuscating. Deliberate manipulation of the truth.

It is time to demand that Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health revisit this issue (her 14-page report published in May being based in part on the Colby et al. very flawed and distorted “research”) and start fresh with proper medical research.

Contact your city councillor, your MPP, the Premier.

The North Gower Wind Action Group may be contacted at

July 8, 2010

Ontario’s solar dream

Finally, the Ontario government has announced that it needs to “stand up” for the people of Ontario and protect them from … itself.

Apparently, the 80 cents per kilowatt hour offered to people for solar energy projects was such a great incentive that there was a flood of people applying, and the province has now realized it can’t afford to pay those rates for power. People who already got FIT approval are OK for the 80 cents a kilowatt hour for the next 20 years, but the others waiting approval will have to make do with a paltry 59 cents a kilowatt hour. (Hydro ratepayers are paying 9.9 cents a kWh at peak times.)

Energy Minister Brad Duguid was quoted by the CBC as saying the solar power producers were getting “exorbitant rates of return” and now, the Ontario government has to “stand up” for Ontarians.

Well, whose idea was this anyway??? And now, what about the obscene rates promised for unreliable, inefficient, high-impact wind turbines?

Here’s the story.

More news daily at and local news regularly at

July 5, 2010

As the temperature climbs, so does the folly

It will be interesting this week as temperatures in Eastern Canada climb over 30 degrees Celsius every day, and there is demand during the DAY for electric power to run air conditioners and fans, how well wind power will contribute to Ontario’s energy needs.

The answer: not much.

At the time of writing, out of Ontario’s capacity of 1085 megawatts (MW) of power produced by wind, all that is being produced is 256 MW. In specific, Princefarm with a capacity of 189 MW is producing ZERO at the noon hour; Wolfe Island is producing 23 MW out of a capacity of 198 MW.

And what is the anticipated peak demand in Ontario today? 24,351 MW. Wind isn’t even a drop in the bucket. And with hundreds of turbines already operating and yet producing this disappointing result, can you imagine HOW MANY there would have to be even to get to 5% of what Ontario needs?

Useless. Why is taxpayer/ratepayer money being spent on these high-impact developments when so little benefit is being realized? And when there are so many other costs such as declining property values and health effects? And Ontario’s scenic landscapes being ravaged for useless industrial wind turbines?

One more question: when the wind turbine developments that are actually in WINDY areas of the province produce so little (the average is about 20% of capacity) WHY is North Gower-Richmond, which CanWEA and the Canadian Wind Atlas note as “poor” or “marginal” for wind, even being considered?

More news etc daily at and local news regularly at

July 4, 2010

“Avian megadeath” and other features of wind

In the National Post this weekend a letter from a reader in Calgary who points out what it would really mean to have enough industrial wind turbines to replace a plant generating energy from another source, in this case an oil sands plant.

Avian megadeath certainly, and wholesale destruction of the landscape for very little return. Here is the letter:

Check in with the North Gower Wind Action Group at or

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