NorthGowerWindTurbines

January 25, 2011

CanWEA on CFRA

CanWEA’s CEO Robert Hornung appeared on CFRA (580 radio in Ottawa) this morning, following the station’s interview with Ian Hanna yesterday. Mr Hanna, of course, is the applicant in the legal case asking for a judicial review of the Green Energy Act. (Evidence in the case on Mr Hanna’s side is available at http://www.windconcernsontario.org )

It is strange that when host Mark Sutcliffe asked what evidence CanWEA would be presenting in the case Mr Hornung didn’t respond that in fact, the case is wrapped up and has now gone to the panel of judges for a decision.

His points:

-“tens of thousands” of turbines are operating in Europe with no problems.

-Ontario’s 550-meter setback is the most stringent in North America

-the Green Energy Act was created with the “best” evidence

-medical experts have not been able to find any link between wind turbines and health problems

-Canada’s wind industry is “responsible” and would never do anything that harms people

Our response:

Europe:there are 675 community groups in France opposed to wind turbine development; in fact, there are 410 federations of anti-wind development groups in 21 countries in Europe. That’s NOT “no problems.”

Ontario’s 550-meter setback may indeed be stringent in North America but that doesn’t make it right: there is no scientific study justifying that setback. On the other hand, there are studies suggesting a setback of 1-2 km. Of course, that won’t work in Ontario: a setback greater than 550 meters is all about geography, not health—if setbacks were greater than 55o, no turbines would be built in populated areas at all.

At the time of the creation of the Green Energy Act, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment had NO capability of measuring the noise produced by industrial wind turbines. The setbacks and regulations were based on modelling, not actual experience.

Medical experts have not been able to find a link between turbine noise and health effects. He means the Arlene King report. Let’s recount a few other things that Dr King put in her report.

-wind turbine noise was perceived as more annoying than transportation or industrial noise at comparable levels

-…there is no widely accepted protocol for the measurement of noise from wind turbines, [so] current regulatory requirements are based on modelling

-ice throw launched far from the turbine may pose a significant hazard

-…sound measurements at residential areas around wind turbines and comparisons with sound levels around other rural and urban areas to assess actual ambient noise levels prevalent in Ontario is a key data gap that could be addressed.

In other words, Dr King left the door open for more research; she also said she examined the scientific evidence “to date” (although Dr Carl Phillips says there is enough evidence that shows health effects already) but didn’t say she wouldn’t look at more or new evidence.

As for Canada’s wind industry being “responsible” we offer no comment. As John Laforet told the 125 people in North Gower last weekend, “Do the science! Prove it!”

We await the verdict of the panel of judges.

More news daily at http://www.windconcernsontario.org

January 17, 2011

Confessions of a Greenpeace founder

From today’s Vancouver Sun, an opinion from Patrick Moore, one of the founders of environmental group, Greenpeace.

Hair short now, and a little grey, he realizes a number of the beliefs his organization held, and evolved, are not correct. Here is what he believes today, some of which has relevance to Ontario’s incredible rush to wind energy development, to the detriment of Ontario’s rural communities.

I believe:

– We should be growing more trees and using more wood, not cutting fewer trees and using less wood as Greenpeace and its allies contend. Wood is the most important renewable material and energy resource.

– Those countries that have reserves of potential hydroelectric energy should build the dams required to deliver that energy. There is nothing wrong with creating more lakes in this world.

– Nuclear energy is essential for our future energy supply, especially if we wish to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. It has proven to be clean safe, reliable, and cost-effective.

– Geothermal heat pumps, which too few people know about, are far more important and cost-effective than either solar panels or wind mills as a source of renewable energy. They should be required in all new buildings unless there is a good reason to use some other technology for heating, cooling, and making hot water.

– The most effective way to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels is to encourage the development of technologies that require less or no fossil fuels to operate. Electric cars, heat pumps, nuclear and hydroelectric energy, and biofuels are the answer, not cumbersome regulatory systems that stifle economic activity.

– Genetic science, including genetic engineering, will improve nutrition and end malnutrition, improve crop yields, reduce the environmental impact of farming, and make people and the environment healthier.

– Many activist campaigns designed to make us fear useful chemicals are based on misinformation and unwarranted fear.

– Aquaculture, including salmon and shrimp farming, will be one of our most important future sources of healthy food. It will also take pressure off depleted wild fish stocks and will employ millions of people productively.

– There is no cause for alarm about climate change. The climate is always changing. Some of the proposed “solutions” would be far worse than any imaginable consequence of global warming, which will likely be mostly positive. Cooling is what we should fear.

– Poverty is the worst environmental problem. Wealth and urbanization will stabilize the human population. Agriculture should be mechanized throughout the developing world. Disease and malnutrition can be largely eliminated by the application of modern technology. Health care, sanitation, literacy and electrification should be provided to everyone.

– No whale or dolphin should be killed or captured anywhere, ever. This is one of my few religious beliefs. They are the only species on earth whose brains are larger than ours and it is impossible to kill or capture them humanely.

Dr. Patrick Moore is a co-founder and former leader of Greenpeace and chair and chief scientist of Greenspirit Strategies Ltd. in Vancouver. His new book, Confessions of a Greenpeace Dropout: The Making of a Sensible Environmentalist, is available at http://www.beattystreetpublishing.com

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/opinion/Confessions+Greenpeace+founder/4073767/story.html#ixzz1BKUkpCXK

January 7, 2011

Ontario Liberals play connect-the-dots

On Global TV last evening, January 6, there was a promo for an upcoming news story about how people in the Greater Toronto Area or GTA are very upset about the daily traffic gridlock, and how much time they are spending in their (idling) cars, getting to and from work each day.

We will leave aside any discussion about the transit system, flexible work hours, living close to where one works etc., to make these observations:

-the Ontario Liberals’ voter base is in Toronto

-Toronto is concerned about traffic and air pollution (they are right to do so: Ontario’s air pollution is from cars and to a lesser degree, pollutants coming up from the U.S. due to industry and coal power plants there)

So, when the Liberals defend their egregious subsidies for wind and solar they chant “Coal is killing people” and “Closing the coal plants will be the equivalent of taking 7 million cars off the road.”

Except, it won’t. Economist and university professor Ross McKitrick has observed that: closing Ontario’s two biggest coal power plants won’t make the slightest difference in air quality; our air quality is already pretty good; and last but most important, the kind of pollutants produced by the coal plants and cars are DIFFERENT.

In other words, the only equal to taking seven million cars off the road IS taking seven million cars off the road.

But the Ontario government persists.

While we’re playing with numbers and ideas, here’s another one: rural communities represent about 20 percent of Ontario’s population. So, if only a certain percentage of those people are exposed to industrial wind turbines, and of those if only 15 percent are bothered or made ill, that’s an acceptable risk, politically, isn’t it? Especially when you have three million people in Toronto breathing car exhaust, and being told that closing the coal plants will help with that.

As for the rurals, just get rid of their ability to say or do anything. Thomas Pawlick wrote in The War in the Country, well before the Green Energy Act which removed planning powers for renewable energy projects from municipalities, that “The goal also appears to be to weaken or eliminate the very basis of democracy at its roots; that is to say, at the level of municipal government, where voters have traditionally had the greatest direct influence on and control over their communities.” (p.4) He goes on to quote Roger Epp, professor of political studies at the University of Alberta who says, to government, rural people are simply “in the way.”

Well, we keep gathering by the hundreds to protest the industrialization of our communities, especially when it is clear there is a duplicitous political agenda.

***

Public meeting in North Gower, Time for the truth about wind,  hosted by three area community groups: January 23rd at 2 p.m.

January 3, 2011

Life with the turbines in Massachusetts

This is an account of living with industrial wind turbines in Falmouth, Massachusetts, in the form of a letter written by a resident. Note that the turbines operating in Chatham-Kent are 2.3 MW and the ones proposed for North Gower-south Richmond are 2.5 MW, and further, we believe what’s proosed for Brinston/Spencerville are more powerful still.

Here is the letter.

http://www.jeffersonleaningleft.blogspot.com/2011/01/what-living-with-industrial-wind-is.html

What living with industrial wind is like in Massachusetts.

(This letter published with permission from the author)
 
December 25, 2011
 
Dear Madam and Sirs,
 
As I write this, sitting at my desk looking out over my snow-covered woodland garden in the rear of my property, I also have a clear view of Falmouth’s Turbine #1 and the huge red crane that is assembling Wind Turbine #2. Every window on the back of my house has a great view of the Falmouth Industrial Park turbines.
 
I have a feeling of being overwhelmed by these machines. Nobody deserves to be subjected to this torment. Nearly every waking hour is spent being aggravated by it or aggravating over what to do about it, or medical appointments because of it, or talking to people calling me about it or who come to my house to see it for themselves, or meetings to do with it, or Internet exchanges dealing with it, or seminars and symposiums on it, or reading articles and books about it.  All this on top of my investing nearly $7000 fighting my own town over it.
 
I want my life back, and I am more than willing to fight for it. Persistence pays. The town sewage odor issue took 20 years. This is no less important to me. This is a matter of basic human rights. I learned one thing with the sewer issue:  that town officials are not forever. Replacements can be seated soon enough, and not all people are mindless.
 
This is Christmas Day. What is so outrageous about wind turbine nuisance is that it continues each and every day. Christmas, Thanksgiving, every holiday, every special occasion. It takes zero time off from annoying people. It is a negative mood setter. Have friends over for a cook-out:  no one likes this noise.  Some of us are driven insane by it. What otherwise could be a perfect day in the garden becomes a day of resentment and anger towards the town and another fist full of pills taken for depression, anxieties, and hypertension.
 
Thank you for the opportunity to speak at your Board of Health, December 20th, meeting. I do not agree with one board member’s analogy of wind turbine noise vs. botulism, and how the one affecting everyone and the other only some people makes the wind turbine detriments more complex to deal with.   What about blade and ice throw?  There is a proper, safe distance to setback even though the ice or blade would not hit everyone.
 
Actually “the hit” of ice or blade would affect fewer people than the noise does. Just because the victim would bleed from the physical hit does not lesson the impact on the victim who is suffering from noise induced anxiety, depression, and pain.
 
What do you say when you find him hanging on the turbine fence with a .357 round in his head?

You are responsible for the the health of all the citizens of Falmouth, including the ones who are sensitive to the noise, shadow flicker, strobe lights, and whatever other annoyances are caused by wind turbines or anything else in Falmouth. Your list of duties clearly includes noise. The U.S Environmental Protection Agency says that “noise is a significant hazard to public health,” and finds that an absolute noise limit fails to adequately protect the public health.
 
Many communities have adopted a rule that adequately protects the public health by establishing a relative standard that limits the noise caused by the operation of a wind energy system to no more than 5dBA above the ambient noise level (as measured at any point on property adjacent to the parcel on which the wind energy system is located). The Falmouth boards should have been looking into this back in 2004 when the wind turbine was being proposed. There was plenty of information back then to realize the detrimental effects of industrial wind turbines when sited too close to populations. The wind industry disclosed only the bright side of the picture.  Town officials either had their eyes closed or outright just “hoped” that things would turn out okay.
 
Not enough research was done, or at least not heeded.  The town took a huge risk, and now the consequences must be faced
.
You dither around wasting time. You do not need peer reviewed studies from Canada or Denmark or Australia to prove to you the detrimental affects of industrial wind turbines on human beings. You have your own neighbors living right here, in Falmouth, whom you can speak to in person.
  • You can stand by their houses
  • You can look in their medicine cabinets
  • You can review their medical records
  • You can witness their beds moved down to their basements
We are suffering right here in Falmouth in real time!  After every meeting, when the turbine issue is yet again postponed, we hear Neil Andersen and Colin Murphy cry out “What am I supposed to do until then?
 
I have received several calls from Alfreda Wring, who lives on Dove Cottage Road in Falmouth. She says I described the noise perfectly in one of my (local) newspaper letters, and says how distraught she is over the noise of the wind turbine.
 
One could not make up her story. She complained to her doctor that she could not sleep because of the turbine sound. He told her to get earplugs.  Then, while she was attempting to put them in, she tripped on her bedspread, fell, and broke her hip.  That resulted in her having to go into a nursing home.
Then there is John Ford, who testified at a Cape Cod Commission hearing how terrible the noise is for him at over 3200 feet from Falmouth’s turbine #1. Look at this list, and think about it:
 
Larry and Jill Worthington, Brian and Kathryn Elder, Neil and Elizabeth Andersen, Colin and Jennifer Murphy, Richard and Charlotte Nugent, Gyongyi Szabo, Gyorgy Frendi, Kathie and Day Mount, Mark Cool and Annie Hart Cool, Todd and Terri Drummey, Malcolm Donald, Beth Underhill, Chris Alves, Donna Hamblin, Douglas Smith, Loretta O’Brian, Maddi Tunidor, Nicole Mant, Patrick O’Conner, Robert Sagerman, Sue Hobart, Vincent Myette, and Barry and Diane Funfar.
 
These are all Falmouth people with real problems resulting from the town’s irresponsible turbine siting. We all want our lives back. You are contributing to driving these people out of their minds and out of their homes. You are contributing to diminishing their life, and most certainly their quality of life.

And this list of harmed and suffering Falmouth citizens continues to grow. Turbine 1 is still in its first year of operation and Turbine 2 has not yet begun to operate. And just wait until the actual tax bills are mailed out.  People will not have to be bothered by a medical ailment to claim a tax abatement over the proximity of the wind turbine.  Falmouth will lose more in tax revenue than it gains in electricity generation.
 
And what has the town figured into their bottom line to offset vandalism? This is a huge problem anywhere these machines are forced into peoples backyards. There is a reason many European countries with more than two decades of experience with industrial wind turbines have now implemented regulations requiring setbacks of 1 to 1.1.5 miles.
 
It is an obvious fact that some of us are more sensitive to the particular character and quality of the sound generated by the turbine. This has been observed in many studies and been amply re-confirmed by many of us abutters of Falmouth’s wind turbine. If I were the only affected person, I would simply pack up and move away.  But there are many others. We have been clearly violated; our quality of life, our well being, our physical and mental health has been adversely affected.
 
The town will not alleviate this problem by shutting the wind turbines down between midnight and 3AM, when the wind is supposedly over some certain speed.  This is the town’s mitigation recommendation to date. (Further aggravating this is Acting Town Manager Heather Harper, when she berates us complainers for undermining the financial viability of her pet project.) Fact is, I am bothered in the daytime, others are bothered at night, some are annoyed 24 hours per day.
 
Severe annoyance leads to all manner of negatives:  stress, anxiety, depression. irritability, anger, migraines, nausea, emotional turmoil, broken concentration, blurred vision, dizziness, hypertension, nervousness, sleep disorder, palpitations, tiredness, suicide.  One does not need a medical degree to produce this list.
 
I am 64 years old. I have been happy, sad, depressed, suicidal, at war, at peace, and everywhere in-between. This town is driving some of us crazy. (I am enclosing an article that is one of the best I have seen as to why there are such wide differences in perception of wind turbine noise.)
We have real issues. We have been harmed. Nothing is being done. At the very least these machines need to be shut down until a final solution is made.
 
All the town officials and town boards act like the noise problem from Turbine #1 is just going to disappear. Meanwhile there is wind Turbine #2 under construction, which anyone with half a mind knows will make the noise problem only worse.
 
This is ludicrous! This is local government at its stupidest!
 
Megan Amsler, in a recent Falmouth Enterprise article, highlighted areas in town where (energy) efficiencies can be raised, and pointed out that one such area is the current wind turbine which has been shut down at various wind speeds and times of the day to address noise concerns from neighboring residents. She says this has cost the town roughly $35,000 in generation—as though the noise problems we abutters experience are only an impediment to the town’s financial bottom line. On the contrary, that wind turbine should not be in the town’s finances! It was built without the necessary special permit, sited irresponsibly, and is being operated with no regard for many citizen’s rights or well-being. Were it not for the ‘green communities’ hysteria, we would not be in this predicament.
 
The 1.65 MW turbines are too big for their site.  Houses are too close.  The homes were here first, some over thirty years. Our environment has been changed from a peaceful community, to being severely bothered and annoyed by an industrial power plant.  How simple is that to grasp?  Shut the turbines down and move them to a proper site.  Everyone knows this!  It’s time for the town to throw in the towel and admit a mistake was made.  Call it a day.  Sell them before everyone catches on and realizes the inefficiencies of wind power.
 
Persistence and “what is right” will win this issue.  I have no doubt as to the outcome.
 
Sincerely,
Barry Funfar
Falmouth, MA

 

For an account of life at Chatham-Kent, go to http://northgowerwindactiongroup.wordpress.com

Blog at WordPress.com.