August 31, 2010

Land owners leasing for wind turbines: is it worth it?

And the answer is, no. But it depends who you are.

Let’s tell you something first: do you know how much the corporate wind developers are getting for their turbines? After debt payment etc., they are going to make $300,000 to $400,000 per turbine, per year. (Figures from Dr John Harrison and others)

 What are farm owners getting? Well, since their contracts contain a virtual gag order, they’re not allowed to talk about any details (clever tactic for the corporate wind developers), so there is no clear idea, but some have been getting as little as $7,500 per turbine a year, while others are getting $10,000 or more…as much as $20,000 per turbine.

This is all due in Ontario to the huge subsidies the government is paying the wind developers. Wind itself, being inefficient, unreliable and inexpensive, doesn’t make any financial sense without the subsidies. Dragon’s Den star and fund manager Kevin O’Leary knows this and says he wouldn’t touch a wind developer as an investment.

Money aside, leasing land for wind turbines will tear your community apart. People you’ve known for years, helped out at haying time for example, will be upset with you. And later, when people start feeling the health effects from the noise and vibration, and when property values drop, you’ll be nobody’s friend.

Here’s a snippet from a farm owner testifying at the Public Commission on siting wind turbines in Wisconsin:

It’s been 2 years now with the turbines and everyone in the community is irritable and short, they snap back. The best of friends for 35 years, but everyone just snaps.  People are not really mad directly at the wind turbines or even know what they are mad about, they’re just mad, aggressive.

The closest one to my house is 3,000 feet away — way too close.

You don’t get sleep at night because they roar like at an airport. I get shadow flicker in my house, but down in the village of Johnsburg where those are about another 1,500 feet away from the turbines — oh probably 4,500 feet total those blades are throwing shadows right over all the house roof tops in entire village … that’s really bad.

All of our tv’s got knocked out too. I can only get local channels when the turbine is turned in a certain direction. 97% of the time, we got no reception. There is no mitigation either.

I go to the doctor and now I’m on a lot of different medications. I’ve been to the hospital a couple of times in the past two years with chest pains. And they just can’t figure out what it is, but now we’re all being diagnosed with wind turbine syndrome.

And I sure got it. It definitely causes depression. Memory loss is the worse issue. I see it so bad in myself and especially my parents who are older. But they are at the point where they just don’t care anymore because there’s nothing they can do anyhow.

My dad is a totally different person since these things went up. He stays in bed all day now. Even if he does get up to eat, he just goes back to bed. There is no will anymore. I ask the doctor — how are they doing this to us? He just says he doesn’t know.

We Energies called today and they are going to be spraying for weeds, so I asked if there were any more plans for windmills? They said, they don’t know. I told em … “This area is completely destroyed, it would make more sense to just put a few up around here as opposed to destroying the rest of the state.”

I got turbines and the money doesn’t pay off in the end. I’ve gotta spend more on cutting around those things and all them cables. It has destroyed my farmland.

I feel really bad for the folks who don’t have contracts cause they’re still all stuck. Even if a realtor wants to sell a place, the first question a buyer asks is if there are windmills in the area. They just hang up.

They should be paying everyone around who is affected, that way – everyone who wants to move could get out and move. So many want to move and leave, but they can’t sell their property. The developers deny devaluation, but it’s real … the ones without contracts lost half the value of their property and can’t move because they have no money, still trying to pay off their homes. At least if you got contracts and enough windmills, you can move out.

It turned out to be a real shocker. This whole thing is not right, it should not be done in small communities, but you know, these are just simple country folk who do just don’t say anything. Even if it’s bad, they just go along with it cause what else are they supposed to do?

If I could write out a check from all the money they gave me and give it back, wake up tomorrow morning and all the turbines be gone, that’d be the best thing that ever happened to me.

Considering leasing land for wind turbines: take care. And call a lawyer.

August 24, 2010

The “cunning dunces”

More pundits are weighing in on the true meaning of the Ontario government’s amazing flip-flop on subsidies for solar power. Can they really be that stupid? you might ask, or, what are they really trying to achieve. As Ottawa Citizen columnist John Robson puts it, they are dumb but smart all at the same time. Their goal? Not the environment, not your health, not Ontario’s prosperity: their goal is just to get elected again.

Here is the piece:

August 19, 2010

Who is OSEA anyway, and who is paying for them?

Parker Gallant’s most recent feature in The Financial Post is, like all his work, a must-read. This time, he exposes the possibility of taxpayer dollars going to a rather shady non-profit enterprise called the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association or OSEA, which purports to represent Ontario taxpayers/ratepayers and people interested in “clean” power.

Not likely. As Mr Gallant reveals, this is a shell game for the huge corporate interests involved in wind and solar, whose goal is to fleece every dime that can be made through power generation in this province.

Here is Mr Gallant’s piece:

You might want to also read a letter to the editor of the Manitoulin Expositor which puts this “green rush” in historical terms. Read it here:

Turbine output numbers are false predictions

To the Expositor:

One hundred and thirteen years ago, on July 17, 1897, The Portland docked in Seattle with some very rich prospectors. On board was over a ton of gold valued over a million dollars. This sparked the Klondike Gold Rush.

Between the discovery in August 1896 and the conclusion in 1898, 100,000 men flooded the Klondike hoping to get rich quick. The result was a very few rich men, the Han Hwech’in First  Nations people displaced and disillusioned, and an environment still scarred 113 years later.

Fast forward: Ontario passed the Green Energy Act and a “gold rush” is happening again. Large companies from around the world are carving Ontario’s windy locations into little pieces. The Ontario Government assists with subsidies and initiatives. They propose covering our rural
landscape with electricity-generating 40-storey-tall industrial wind turbines.

“Now I’m paying under 7 cents per kilowatt-hour and government’s paying the wind-generation  companies 13-plus cents. What will my electricity cost me?” you ask.

Our government is fuzzy-headed about additional numbers concerning wind-generated electricity.
On June 25 they published another document. I recommend you read it  online.

The Quick Facts section 2 states: “Since 2003, about 1,300 megawatts of renewable electricity
has come online in Ontario, enough to power 300,000 homes—or a city the size of Windsor.”

I was impressed until I got the facts. The government’s number of megawatts produced is based on 100-percent output as stated on a turbine’s capacity nameplate. However, when the wind blows too strongly or not enough, or maintenance is being done to turbines, no power is produced.
Down time is 70 percent to 75 percent, according to a British efficiency study.

Think of it like this: suppose your car engine has a manufacturer’s rating of 125 horsepower. Is it putting that out when the pedal is to the metal, passing a transport on a two-lane highway, cruising at 80 kilometres per hour, or parked in your garage? Although its potential is always 125 horsepower, seldom is that achieved.

Wind turbines seldom reach their potential nameplate capacity.

We can’t afford what our government has planned for us with wind-generated electricity.

We will all be hurt by this; some will lose good health, some will lose places they use for  leisure, others will lose their homes, and everyone will lose financially.

Our kids and grandkids are depending on us. Phone or email your MPP and tell the Ontario government, “Fix this poorly thought-out program before it’s too late.”

John Robson


August 17, 2010

Province does a backflip on solar–and consumers lose again

The Ontario government announced a few weeks ago that its microFIT program for solar-powered energy contracts was “unsustainable” and as a result was scaling back payment rates to the also unsustainable 50.8 cents per kilowatt hour from the sky-high 80 cents it promised. Much boo-hoing from people who counted on making money from this (from their fellow Ontario citizens, by the way) and from the companies who jumped on the subsidy bandwagon to make hay while the sun shone.

Anyway, as a result of pressure from the estimable Ontario Sustainable Energy Association or OSEA, headed by Kris Stevenson, reputed to be the architect of the Green Energy Act, the province has now done another about-turn and restored the 80 cent rate. Unbelievable.

Here is a summary of the situation from Parker Gallant, writing in The Financial Post. Be sure to check the links to the right to other stories about the Ontario government and the slough that is our current power system.

August 13, 2010

A farmer’s view on the Ontario power situation

One of the writers we admire is Ian Cumming, a Glengarry County farmer who writes a column called “Practical Farming” for the Ontario Farmer. In a recent edition he wrote about all the government subsidies for renewable energy production under the title “Sham economics”.

Referring to Ontario’s recent move to cut back on agreements for solar power from the egregious 80 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) to the only slightly less egregious 58.8 cents, Cumming remarks, “It’s a bitch when you run out of money and when it becomes apparent the project you’re involved with is smoke and mirrors at best. At worst it could be called an outright lie that there would not be a dramatic increase in energy costs to the consumer to pay for all this.

“In February 2009 then Energy Minister George Smitherman estimated electricity rates, with alternative energy, would increase by one per cent.

“These assurances were from a government which has granted our energy needs to a monopoly, which needs smart meters and HST to meet its never-ending need for increased revenues, to cover increasing costs. As of now, without alternative energy factored in, it costs three times as much per month to milk 60 cows than it does to milk 150, 10 miles to the south [in the U.S.].”

As for farmers’ input to the Green Energy Act, Cumming says “…Bette Jean Crews, the OFA president, proudly noted to me in an interview when this was enacted last September the OFA ‘was on the ground floor on this one.’ We know, and therein lies the problem. No one had the gumption to kick the table over on these card sharks.

“There are some simple economic lessons here. This alternative energy, like ethanol plants, is not a viable industry without government invention, intervention and funding. That’s the first clue to leave it all alone. But since farm organizations have painted themselves into the same corner, and now possess the same mindset, simple economic principles are ignored.

“The media ignoed their principles as well. Factual reporting would have included at least asking how an increase for power paid from five cents per kw to 85 cents resulted in only an estimated one per cent increase to consumers. A simpleton would have caught those numbers as false…

“All this sham economics has deeply divided communities and has become a joke. When the same agriculture organization that was, by its own words, “on the ground floor” when this was invented, organizes protests where farmers gather to shake their fists at a farming couple who by their own choice legally sold land for such projects, whose rules the OFA helped to invent, what else can you call it.”


To get in touch with the North Gower Wind Action Group, email and visit the group’s website at

August 4, 2010

CanWEA’s lobby efforts for profits

The corporate wind developers’  lobbying efforts and attempts to cover the truth with sugar frosting continue; last week president Robert Hornung had a letter published in The Manitoulin Expositor. Several people responded; here is one very well written summary of Hornung’s remarks.

Wind-energy proponents not keeping current with scientific evidence

To the Expositor:

Being concerned with the volume of errors and partial truths in Robert Hornung’s opinion piece, “Wind energy is clean, provides jobs and economic benefits,” that appeared in the July 14 Expositor, I searched original documents for my information. I’ll share as many points as space will allow.

The Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA)’s website describes the group as “a non-profit trade association that promotes the appropriate development and application of all aspects of wind energy.” Could this agenda bias the author’s (their president’s) comments?

CanWEA’s 420 members likely include companies proposing or building wind farms in your area.

The Ontario medical officer of health’s report from May 20 says there is no evidence available to date of a direct causal relationship between wind turbines and adverse health effects. This does not mean that this topic has been studied and they found that wind turbines cause no problems. The wind industry continues to misquote the report by omitting “available to date.”

They are not keeping up with the advances in knowledge. A recent scientific paper by Salt and Hullar links negative health effects caused by wind turbine proximity to human residences. Also, expert testimony by epidemiologist Dr. Carl Phillips, who reviewed the existing evidence, states, “It would certainly make little sense to conclude that there is definitely no problem, and those who make this claim offer arguments that are fundamentally unscientific.”

Mr. Hornung attempts to impress with real estate research from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (funded by the US Department of Energy). In their report on page 9 they state, “Relevance: Provides stakeholders in siting/permitting processes greater confidence in the likely effects of proposed wind-energy facilities, allowing greater consensus on often-contentious setback requirements and viewshed valuations.” Somewhat biased, don’t you think? [Website editor: this report has been widely criticized for its bias and unacceptable technique. “Meaningless,” was the opinion of one US appraisal expert.]

Their conclusion states that property values were not affected by the proximity of wind turbines.

However, a leading real estate valuation appraisal journal studied the same data, which revealed that 310 properties with a vista rated as poor sold for 21 percent lower than 2,857 properties with an average vista.

Lower value, lower assessment, lower tax base.

Going on, to quote Mr. Hornung, “Successful wind-energy development will result when the proponent and developer listens, understands, and responds to community needs. No wind-energy project can be successful without a strong base of community support.”

Unfortunately, the words of the community members have been nullified by 1) the Ontario government taking away the right of our elected municipal council to represent us and pass legislation to control wind farm companies and their use of our lands, and 2) the lack of response from the wind-energy companies to our requests for information and to have our questions answered. We often get either no response or a form letter in reply. This is not listening, understanding, and responding, Mr. Hornung.

Mr. Hornung has other inaccurate statements disguised as recent information. I am pretty sure many who read this letter do not believe everything that he is saying to downplay the seriousness of industrial wind turbines invading our beautiful rural area.

Our kids and grandkids are counting on us to search out the truth and protect our environment and heritage.

John Robson


Sticks and stones: but the truth will never go away

All we can say is, we must be getting somewhere, in our quest to explore and communicate a wider field of information about industrial scale wind power than is coming from the corporate wind lobby and the Ontario government. Why? Because the people who are in this for the money (they don’t care about the environment) or for the political power (they don’t care about the environment, either) continue to throw insults at those who haven’t bought their story about industrial wind turbines. They want to make people–typically from rural areas–look petty and small-minded. Uninformed, even.

From Prowind’s Bart Geleynse Jr claiming on a radio interview that people aren’t really getting sick from the noise and vibration from industrial wind turbines (they’re just an “annoyance” he said and anyway, “People are dying from coal!!”) to his statement that the North Gower Wind Action Group was an “activist minority”, and now the Toronto Star claiming that people critical of wind energy are “a small but vocal group,” the corporate wind lobby and its friends keep trotting out the insults and demeaning comments.

Well, we say, you can say what you like, but we’re persisting. And we’re not so small now, either, with over 40 municipalities in Ontario now passing bylaws/motions/resolutions. And citizens’ groups around the world getting the message out. Which is simply this: wind power doesn’t work. The only reason this phenomenon is occurring at all is outrageous government subsidies to the industry. AND industrial scale wind turbines do cause health effects for their involuntary neighbours. Simple, objective, properly carried out health studies are needed to confirm safe setbacks between homes and industrial turbine installations, but as Dr Carl Phillips says, the people who have the resources (i.e., the wind industry), don’t want to do it.

A similar situation is unfolding in Alberta where people living near oil development are experiencing a very unpleasant smell and the presence of volatile organic compounds in the air. People and animals are getting sick and the stuff is so thick that Windex won’t remove it from the windows…but there’s nothing wrong. Industry response? “There’s a certain type of hysteria that builds around these areas,” said Darin Barter of the Energy Resources Conservation Board in an interview with The Globe and Mail (“An omen or a fluke?” July 24, 2010). But those people near Three Creeks Alberta are fighting on.

As we will.

For more news daily, go to

and to contact the North Gower Wind Action Group, visit and email

August 3, 2010

Organized nursing eats the Pablum

The Registered Nurses Association of Ontario, according to today’s Toronto Star, is participating in activities to “help dispel the health fears being generated by a small but vocal group of wind critics.” They are working with the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE), an organization that has an altruistic-sounding name but which in fact has Gideon Forman as its spokesperson, who is clearly aligned with the corporate wind development lobby.

The Star article refers to the Canadian Wind Energy Association-funded “survey” which is supposed to show that a “vast majority” or none out of ten Ontarians support wind energy. Never mind that the survey was of just 1,300 people in a province of 13 million, and that few of those surveyed had much awareness of industrial wind turbines at all. (But still, when asked what the negative aspects of wind turbines were, the number one was “noise”.)

In the story, every nonsensical scare tactic is trotted out such as the notorious “coal is killing people” (even though this notion has been thoroughly debunked…and while it is true that coal could be cleaner, why not use technology to do that, rather than build multi-billion-dollar wind developments that harm people’s health in a new way?), and that industrial scale wind power is “clean and renewable.”

For the nurses’s association to fall in with the corporate wind developers in spite of all the evidence, if not to the contrary at least calling into question the safety of industrial wind turbine developments (we know they have it–the North Gower Wind Action Group has been working with them for months), is absolutely appalling.

And for the Star to have given any credence whatsoever to such an insignificant and deeply flawed, clearly manipulative “survey” (usually the media does not publish the results of online surveys as they are completely unreliable and not verifiable) is also appalling. They did note that the survey never asked people how they would feel about a wind turbine being located “next door” but then went on to repeat every industry-formulated spoonful of Pablum possible.

The wind industry is not about saving anybody’s lives or making the health of Ontarians better: it’s about making money, and nothing else. It’s hardly surprising then that they would use their considerable financial resources to shore up support; what is remarkable though is that this “small but vocal group” must be having some effect for them to keep on reaching into their bag of dirty tricks.

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and for North Gower Wind Action Group, or email

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