NorthGowerWindTurbines

May 2, 2011

Property values and industrial wind turbines

We know that neither the provincial government in Ontario nor the industrial wind power generation industry care about the health of people who are unwillingly exposed to the noise and vibration from industrial wind turbines, and we know they don’t care about birds because they persist in planning to build in such sensitive areas as Amherst Island, Ostrander Point, and the north shore of Lake Erie, but it appears they do still care about one thing and how the public is going to react: property values.

When homeowners find that it is impossible to live in their homes due to the constant noise and the developers finally step in and buy the properties, the homeowners have to sign contracts that say they cannot discuss the terms of their settlement, with anyone.

How upsetting then that details of the recent sale of five homes in the Ripley area became public. The homes were sold to a numbered company which, it was discovered, was “owned” by executives with the wind developer.

Well, it turns out, there is a reason for all that. It’s not that the homes are now uninhabitable and perhaps worthless (THAT would be a very bad message when the government is saying the wind industry is bringing prosperity to Ontario). No, it’s that people are not able to “deal with change.” If they’ve lost the view of their “favourite apple tree” they apparently go all nutty and cash in what is probably the biggest investment of their lives.

Here is a report from the Saugeen Times.

http://www.saugeentimes.com/477%20Liz/Wind%20companies%20plan%20to%20remarket%20homes%20May%201,%202011/Template.htm
 
Acciona to re-market homes near Ripley, says Austin
By Liz Dadson
 

Acciona Wind Energy Canada plans to re-market the homes it purchased near Ripley, says community relations manager Paul Austin.

He was responding to an article in the Kincardine Times last week, stating that the Huron-Kinloss Against Lakeside Turbines (HALT) group had discovered the sale of four of the five homes owned by people who had been fighting Acciona and Suncor (co-owners of the Ripley Wind Power Project). The residents said they could no longer live in their homes because of health concerns due to the wind turbines.

The article quoted HALT president Mac Serra as asking why, if there are no health concerns, is the wind company purchasing the homes of the victims?

Serra also noted the purchase was by 2270573 Ontario Inc. One director of this company, listed on the transfer, is Alejandro Salvador Armendariz, manager of Acciona Solar Energy LLC, and the other is Christina Ellerbeck, manager, marketing and business development, renewable energy, Suncor Energy Services Inc.

Austin says there is nothing unusual about Acciona and Suncor operating as a “numbered” company to complete the transaction. “That’s normal practice,” he says. “There is nothing secret about this. It happened six weeks ago and we called all the key stakeholders (including local councils) to let them know.”

In fact, he said the decision to purchase the homes stemmed from feedback the company received from the community.

“We have done extensive studies and tests,” says Austin. “We’ve had independent experts in, and officials from the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and the Grey Bruce Health Unit. There is no link between wind farms and these health concerns.”

After discussions with leadership people, community members and landowners, the company decided the only way to resolve the dispute with the neighbours was to purchase and re-market their homes.

“This is an example of the company standing up to be a good corporate citizen,” says Austin. “It’s a way to show leadership. Even though there is no link between the wind farms and health problems, the residents were persistent with their concerns and they weren’t going away.”

The company plans to sell the houses at market value. “It’s the best resolution we could think of, given the discussions over the past two years,” says Austin.

He says the company has had an independent real estate appraiser in to evaluate the properties and will now work with local realtors to sell them. “We’ve already had expressions of interest.”

Austin says the entire problem centres on people’s inability to deal with change.

“If you’ve lived somewhere for years and then somebody comes along and builds a structure beside your home so you can’t see your favourite apple tree, you get upset,” says Austin. “But the next person coming in to buy your home, doesn’t care about that view. He’s more concerned about the house and the property.

“It’s the same with wind turbines. We have a high level of confidence that we can sell these houses.”

And once sold, that would address one more concern, regarding property values, says Austin. “We see that as a positive.”

April 20, 2011

Ontario’s Green Energy Act: Case for Repeal

It’s all here: the phoney economic forecasts, the effect on property values, the McGuinty government’s betrayal of democracy in this province. Take 14 minutes, and listen.

Ontario’s Green Energy Act: Case for Repeal.

March 10, 2011

North Gower resident writes a letter

One of the questions we are asked is, how do you know that your community group represents a wider view from the community? Well, aside from the several hundred people who signed the petition that went to the Ontario legislature via MPP Lisa MacLeod, and the 300+ families on our e-mail list, and the 125+ people who come to our information meetings, the countless volunteers working daily on this issue, I guess we don’t know what everyone is thinking.

In the Smith’s Falls EMC today is a letter to the editor from a North Gower resident. She writes:

Dear Editor:

I wish to volunteer my two cents into what is becoming an endlessly revolving argument about the wind turbine farms.

First off, not all of us in the North Gower area are against the Wind Turbine project being proposed for this area. I know from personal experience that wind turbines can perform well here. That being said, if viable scientific evidence can be established into the ill effects of this type of farm, then certainly additional precautions should be implemented – whether it be an increased setback from homes, or possibly smaller or fewer of the turbines.

The Ontario government has illustrated that it can change its mind if such evidence comes to light, as shown by the recent hold on the installation of off-shore wind turbines.

I certainly don’t think that this means that the whole concept or use of wind turbines should be scrapped – this would be extremely short sighted behaviour, given that we do need to stop relying on non-renewable resources for our hydro and energy.

Now is the time to be developing alternative energies to sustain our power requirements – when we can take the time to do it properly, and improve on them.

Debbie Gervais

North Gower

We’re not sure where this resident lives in relation to the proposed industrial wind development, and neither can we know how informed she is, but she has a few facts wrong:

-there is already valid scientific evidence that if the turbines are located too close to people’s homes, people can experience sleep deprivation and then ill health effects

-the Ontario government is standing firm that its 550-meter setback is “safe” despite evidence from around the world in countries that already have turbines, that a setback of 1-2 km is better (note that other countries such as Germany have setbacks between zones, not between the base of a turbine and the centre of a house, as Ontario does). The truth is, the 550-meters is more about geography than health: if we had a 1 km setback, there would be NO turbines in southern and eastern Ontario because of the way the roads and concessions are laid out.

-a proper scientific study is needed to have an evidence-based setback. Ontario now has such a research project ongoing, but it is headed by an expert in electrical engineering, and they plan to take 5 years to come to a conclusion. Ontario will be long done with populating its rural areas with turbines by then.

-industrial wind turbines are a flawed technology–they are intermittent and require fossil-fuel back-up; this is why Ontario is also building natural gas-fired power plants at the same time as it is encouraging wind power development.

-we’re not sure what the “personal experience” with wind turbines would be in this area, given that the Canada Wind Atlas states the area is “poor” to “marginal” for a wind resource. Since we don’t have any industrial-scale turbines here, her experience would have to be with a small wind mill. THAT, i.e., small scale, is an appropriate use of wind power development, NOT 626-foot industrial towers.

-this is industrialization of a rural community that, because of the Green Energy Act, is not getting to have its say. What it could do to property values is expropriation without compensation.

Last, of course everyone wants a clean and effective power system in Ontario. But wind doesn’t work. We don’t see why the people of North Gower have to participate in an experiment that will see no benefits to our community and which is really all about profits going to an offshore corporate developer. “Take the time and do it properly”? WE AGREE!!!!

And, we’re not alone: dozens of Ontario communities have now passed resolutions or motions objecting to industrial wind turbine projects and asking for their planning powers to be returned, AND for independent health studies.

northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

View of turbines at Melancthon, near Orangeville, Ontario.

December 10, 2010

Jumping on the green bandwagon–bad idea

National Post columnist David Grainger has an extensive piece in today’s paper, dealing with notions of what’s “green” and what’s not. Electric cars he says, can’t replace internal combustion autos across the board and anyway, where does the electricity come from. Wind and solar he says, not such an environmentally friendly option. What is surpirsing though, is his statement that the U.S. plans to build lots more coal-fired power generation plants… if that’s true, because 90% of the precursors for what air pollution we do have in Ontario comes for the U.S., Ontario’s moves to get off “dirty coal” will all be for absolutely no result.

Here is the article:

http://www.nationalpost.com/opinion/columnists/bandwagon+doesn+always+carry+answer/3956116/story.html

September 18, 2010

“Are you frying your eggs at 4 am yet?”

Lawrence Solomon, executive director at Energy Probe asks that question and a few more in his column today in The Financial Post. Noting that Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty is under fire for the smart meter program (which is supposed to cost $2 billion but is more like $ 10 billion) which, critics say, makes no economic sense for consumers. We can’t win in other words.

“Mr McGuinty isn’t in this for the money–if he was, he wouldn’t be closing economical coal plants while sinking cash into money-losing nuclear plants and money-losing long-distance transmission lines to carry power from money-losing industrial wind farms. These and his other money-losing initiatives will causeOntario’s power prices to double or triple should he get his way.”

Unfortunately, as Mr Solomon points out, the technologies are going against Mr McGuinty’s grand plans: “…power from wind turbines can’t be dispatched to customers when customers need it–the wind has a mind of its own. To make matters worse, the wind tends to blow best overnight when it’s least needed [Ed.: and when the turbines’ involuntary neighbours are trying to SLEEP].”

So, what he’s doing instead is using time-related power rates to “punish people and businesses,” says Solomon. But the punishment isn’t enough. “Too few people are frying their eggs before 7 a.m.–the time at which the punishment starts–and too many are cooking their dinners at 7 pm, smack dab during peak punishment period.”

Remember what ENRON stands for: Electricity Nightmare Ripoff Ontario Next.

Not added into this scenario at all is what the cost of declining property values will mean for communities throughout Ontario.

See the entire article here.

http://opinion.financialpost.com/2010/09/17/lawrence-solomon-are-you-frying-your-eggs-at-4-a-m-yet/

September 13, 2010

“The Green Energy Act needs to be scrapped”

Here is a post from Paul McKeever (president of the Freedom Party) on his blog, about the state of power generation and politics in Ontario. The opinions are strident but the facts are there:

You’re in for a Shock: Disturbing New Facts About Ontario’s Green Energy Act

September 7, 2010 by Paul McKeever 

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty is telling everyone that his decision to increase the price of electricity is “responsible” because it will force consumers to pay for the power they consume.  It will end an irresponsible old subsidy, he implies, but that implication is false.  In reality, his price hike is designed to pay for an irresponsible new subsidy.

Forty-two consecutive years of Progressive Conservative (“PC”) rule gave Ontario ridiculously expensive nuclear power generators.  To avoid voter backlash, the PCs hid the actual cost of nuclear electricity from consumers.  Billions of dollars in government debt were racked up so that electricity bills could be kept artificially low.

In 1998, the Harris government passed legislation to end that irresponsible subsidy by adding a debt retirement charge to electricity bills.  It also eliminated price controls on the retail price of electricity.  The resulting prospect of getting a reasonable return on investment led the private sector to begin planning the construction of privately owned and operated generators that would replace Ontario’s aging, government-owned fleet.

However, as the election of 2003 approached, vocal opposition to higher (i.e., actual) electricity costs led Harris’ PC successor, Ernie Eves, to again hide the actual cost of electricity.  He imposed a 4.3 cent price cap.  The remaining cost of electricity would be paid with government debt and taxes.  Within a couple of weeks, McGuinty, who initially condemned Eves’ new subsidy, supported it.

Eves’ re-imposition of price controls had a massively negative impact that continues to plague Ontario to this day. The price cap, and the evidence that Liberals and Conservatives were both willing to fiddle with market prices, scared the private investors away before their shovels hit the ground.

With prices being subsidized, consumers had no reason to reduce their electricity consumption.  The resulting black-outs and brown-outs of the summer of 2003 handed the McGuinty Liberals a majority government in October of that year.  At the end of that October, McGuinty largely ended the irresponsible subsidy by increasing the price cap.  He explained that, in the approximately 11 months since the cap was introduced, the subsidy had already cost the taxpayer $700M.

In 2003, Ontario often had to import expensive U.S. power to meet Ontario’s power demands.   Yet, in the face of such a shortage, McGuinty pandered to clean air advocates by promising to close Ontario’s workhorse coal-powered electricity generators by 2007.

In 2005, McGuinty introduced a new, irresponsible subsidy to encourage private sector investment in the construction of gas-powered electricity generators.  Specifically, he offered them contracts pursuant to which they would be paid for their electricity at a rate approximately three times that paid for electricity generated by coal-powered plants.  Rather than cranking up taxes to build new generators, McGuinty would crank up the cost of electricity to cover the cost of the subsidy.

Even with the subsidy, it would be years before the new gas-powered plants were operational.  Faced with the continuing threat of black-outs and brown-outs, the McGuinty government decided to buy time by imposing limits and penalties on electricity consumption.  Most symbolically, he vowed to ban incandescent light bulbs by 2012.  He paid for “Power Wise” commercials in which David Suzuki steals incandescent bulbs from porches, and breaks into homes to steal beer fridges, all so as to convince us that such theft and coercion is necessary not so as to cope with a politically-caused power shortage, but to save the earth.

In 2006, McGuinty’s political time-buying would get some help.  Al Gore’s junk science thriller, “An Inconvenient Truth”, transmitted to the masses the green cult’s irrational fear that “human CO2 production” (a code phrase meaning “capitalism”) will kill us.   For every politician, that fear would be the gift that keeps on giving.  So long as a new tax or fee or regulation could be characterized as one needed to reduce CO2, many voters would support it.  McGuinty could now ban Edison’s bulb, and introduce “green” fees and regulations with political impunity.

By 2006, Ontario’s high taxes, high labour costs, and potentially higher electricity costs were driving industry and commerce out of the province.  The business exodus reduced power consumption more than a million light-bulb snatching Suzukis could ever hope to.  The dramatic reduction in demand left Ontario with more than enough electricity to meet its needs even during peak consumption periods.

By 2008, the drop in demand for power had introduced a new problem: “surplus baseload generation”.   When Ontario’s “baseload” nuclear, coal, gas, and hydro generators generate more electricity than is being demanded, the excess electricity must be eliminated from the grid.  One option is to reduce generation, but only coal and hydro plants are capable of getting back up to speed quickly enough to meet increased demand after a few hours of low demand, and McGuinty is closing the coal plants.  Another option is to export excess power to U.S. buyers at discount prices.  When the U.S. will not buy the discounted surplus electricity, Ontario now pays the U.S. to take it (i.e., it “sells” the electricity for a “negative price”).

In 2009, the McGuinty government introduced the Green Energy Act.  Echoing the misguided subsidy for gas-powered generators, the Act introduced even larger subsidies for private companies who supplied wind and solar power to the grid.  Specifically, pursuant to the “feed-in tariff” (a.k.a. “FIT”) system, they would be paid for their electricity at rates as much as 16 times higher than the price of conventional electricity.   Moreover, wind and solar power generators would be given priority: consumers would be forced to buy up all of the expensive wind and solar power before meeting their remaining power demands with relatively inexpensive electricity from coal, gas, hydro or nuclear generators.   With artificially high prices and priority, private investors could now make a killing on otherwise money-losing solar and wind power generation.  Not surprisingly, thousands of private sector companies – including many farmers located in ridings that have usually voted PC – have signed up to get their cut of the loot.

Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator is now predicting that the additional power from wind and solar generators will make those expensive and wasteful episodes of surplus baseload generation more frequent for years to come.  It is expected that, to cope with the more frequent periods of low demand/excess electricity, wind and solar power generators will be taken off-line from time to time.  However, consumers will still have to pay the wind and solar companies for the power they do not deliver while off-line.  In a nutshell: McGuinty’s Green Energy Act will leave consumers paying the US even more to ditch excess electricity while simultaneously encouraging the construction of even more solar and wind power generators whose owners will be paid not to generate electricity during the periods of excess electricity that their wind and solar generators cause.

To deal with public outrage over soaring electricity prices, McGuinty now falsely implies that Ontario consumers are guilty of not paying the full cost of the electricity they are already consuming, and that he is merely raising prices to put an end to that irresponsible practice; that he is being “responsible”.  The inconvenient truth he thereby tries to disguise is that, for purely self-serving political reasons, his government is jacking up our electricity bills to pay for unneeded energy that we will not consume.

If we are to have an affordable and reliable supply of electricity in this province, we must learn from Ontario’s political history.  For electoral reasons, PC and Liberal governments have imposed price controls that have scared away private investment in power generation.  The result has been government debt and the payment of outrageous subsidies to the private sector.

Going forward, a system of affordable and reliable electricity requires elected officials who will not repeat the politically self-serving fiascos of Ontario’s past and present governments.  The Green Energy Act needs to be scrapped.  It is plain to see that the contracts made pursuant to it are immoral and unconscionable: they should not be honoured. Ontario’s government needs to allow prices to be determined by supply and demand.  And, to end the discouragement of private investment in affordable electricity generation, Ontario’s government needs to establish guarantees that it will not regulate prices, that it will not subsidize any form of generation, and that priority will be given to purchasing electricity from generators who offer it for the lowest price.

None of these desperately needed steps will be taken by a Liberal or PC government.  One cannot expect McGuinty to repeal his own Green Energy Act.  PC leader Tim Hudak is not about to alienate thousands of new wind and solar power-producing voters in PC-friendly ridings by repealing the Green Energy Act.  Instead, he is promising to repeat a PC fiasco of the past: sticking the taxpayer with the cost of even more unaffordable nuclear generation.  Fortunately, the least expensive power of all is the ballot.

Paul McKeever is the leader of the Freedom Party of Ontariopmckeever@freedomparty.on.ca

April 27, 2010

People be damned:we met the requirements

A tale from Grey Highlands this week as International Power informed council that it had received approval for its Plateau Wind Project and that the industrial wind turbines would be delivered and erected this fall.

This in spite of the fact that Grey Highlands has asked the province for a moratorium on turbine development until further research is done on the health impacts from the noise and vibration produced by the turbines.  The company says it has met all regulatory requirements to date, including those that pertain to public meetings.

In other words, wind developers can say they want to be part of a community and that they want community acceptance, but in truth, all they want is those turbines up and running, and to get that Ontario ratepayer cash in their pockets.

It is absolutely critical that the people of Ontario do whatever they can to stop these developments that are, to quote Dr John Harrison, “right on top of people” now, because once the projects get approval, there is no stopping them, whatever truths may be revealed in the future.

The story is here:

http://www.simcoe.com/news/article/805730–wind-turbine-project-moving-forward

The protest in Toronto is scheduled for April 28th at 11:00 a.m., followed by a private member’s bill being introduced in the Legislature.

To get in touch with the North Gower Wind Action Group, email them at northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

March 23, 2010

The mythology persists

Our horoscope for the day said we should maybe take a day off from trying to get other people to see clear on issues…but how can you when people—well-meaning and otherwise educated and informed people—have been so misled.

Chatting with a health care professional today we told him about the North Gower-south Richmond proposal for wind turbines and he paused for a moment and said, “Well, I suppose they’re not nice to live near, but these are the things we have to do if we are to have clean energy, aren’t they?”

Most decidedly NOT. As Lawrence Solomon of Energy Probe put it, writing in The Financial Post last March, “Ontario’s Green Energy Act should more accurately be called Ontario’s Gangreen Act.
No piece of legislation in memory will do more to simultaneously undermine Ontario’s economy and environment. This one act rolls back decades of environmental gains in the energy sphere and opens the door to a future of environmental outrages.”

Studies from Denmark and Spain show that CO2 is not reduced, not one single fossil-fuel-burning energy plant has closed because of wind development, and there are NO new jobs, just jobs stolen from other sectors which results in no net gain in productivity or economic development. And, once the government subsidies stop, so does wind development, because that’s really what it’s all about.

Oh, and the air pollution question? Now that’s even in doubt, based on a study out of the University of Guelph, released last week. Pollution in Ontario comes from the United States and from CARS (the Ontario Power Authority’s VP of Communications Ben Chin has said that.)

The mythology of wind persists: the people in Ontario, New York State and other locations where they are now suffering the effects of wind turbines will tell you, they used to believe, too … until the turbines started up.

Such madness on a scale never before seen. Leslie Frost, John Robarts, Frank Miller—the great premiers of Ontario are spinning in their graves.

To get in touch with the North Gower Wind Action Group (this is not it) email them at northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca or visit http://www.northgowerwindactiongroup.wordpress.com

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.

December 15, 2009

Health research done? Don’t think so.

The Canadian Wind Energy Association and the American Wind Energy Association announced that they have the conclusions of a study on health effects from the noise/vibration produced by wind turbines and of course, according to The Toronto Star, turbines get a “clean bill of health.” In fact, the report concludes, not only are there no real effects in terms of illness from the constant noise, the reports of illness might be the result of media coverage…”anticipatory”, they claim.

We will refrain from further comment until we’re reviewed the report in its entirety, not just a news release. But it is interesting to see some of the names, for example the Medical Officer of Health in Chatham-Kent, who is a member of this review panel, and who conducted a review of the literature (much of it produced by and/or funded by wind proponents) and already came to the conclusion that there are not health effects from wind turbine noise.

A hand-picked selection of experts?

To get in touch with the North Gower Wind Action Group directly, please email them at chubbsworth@yahoo.com

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