NorthGowerWindTurbines

May 26, 2012

The madness of this venture

Just had a conversation with a small business owner in Manotick: the rising electricity bills are a severe punch to his business. And he deeply resents paying those bills when he knows part of the increases are going for huge subsidies for wind and solar power.

“It just makes no sense at all,” he said. “What kind of province will this be when the Liberal government is done? What will be left?”

Indeed.

Here are some local facts:

-wind power developers are subsidized about $500,000 per turbine per year. In North Gower, assuming 8 (though we don’t for a moment believe that) that is $4 million per year.

-there are no jobs. Wolfe Island has 3 jobs for 86 turbines, where do you think that leaves North Gower after the construction period is over? No jobs.

-research out of the U.S. is showing that the average property value loss for properties within 2 miles/3.2 km of wind turbines is 40%. For North Gower, that represents a $47 million property value loss for young families, seniors and other homeowners

-at $10-15,000 a year per turbine, the farm owner isn’t going to get rich on the lease payments, but the cost to the community is much much more

-wind power is not “green”, it requires fossil fuel back-up due to its unreliability and tendency to produce power out of phase with demand, i.e., when it’s not needed

-Ontario never did a cost-benefit analysis for this, or a business case study. The government simply doesn’t know what it’s getting into.

The Manotick store owner is right: this is just crazy.

July 25, 2011

Wind turbines: “Try living with one”

Here’s a letter to the Editor of Ontario Farmer, responding to a recent article that was pro-industrial wind turbines.

Dear editor:

I must respond to the letter by the members of S.A.C. Unlike them, I live directly 550 m from the proposed site of a 2.3 megawatt, 419-foot high wind turbine (w of 3 planned towers). I also live right next door to the neighbours who have had to wait many long months to sell their home,carried two mortgages at the same time and took $100,000 lLESS than an accurate value. Their home was situated on one acre of land, beautifully constructed, completely finished, about 15 years old with a shop most guys would die for, clean as a whip inside and out with very nice landscaping. The only reason they lost $100 K was because of the proposed wind turbine directly in front of their home. They also lost two prospective buyers prior to this deal because as soon as those buyers were informed of the wind project, they pulled out.

The wind project I speak of is the Whittington Wind Farm. They want to locate these towers at the bottom end of the optimum wind area; 264 homes are affected by these towers within a four-mile diameter of the central location. ‘Why’ is my question. Why do these large turbines need to be located in such a populous area? … There is a lot right with the green energy program in theory but there is a lot wrong with it in reality.

Diane Griffith

Mono Township, Ontario

June 10, 2011

Farmers Forum: solar and wind power reality bites

In this month’s edition of Eastern Ontario Farmers’ Forum, editor Patrick Meagher sums up the whole “green energy” picture, specifically the promises of jobs and money and a cleaner environment … and sticks a pin in the whole thing.

You can read the full article at http://www.farmersforum.com/JUNE2011/p6.htm  but here are some excerpts.

The Ontario feed-in tariff program .. offered seductive guaranteed prices way above market rates and indexed to inflation. You can earn 80 cents per kWh for your rooftop solar power. But a consumer buying electricity pays about 6.8 cents per kWh for usage up to 600 kWh and 9.9 cents after that. The catch is that we, the people, have to pay for it. The province has said that if you include the HST that started last July 1, you will be paying 42 per cent more in electricity fees by 2015. This is not all due to renewable fuels but you can bet they are low-balling.

Ontario’s experience as North America’s first green energy region is discouraging. We are now discovering other problems. The green energy revolution was supposed to generate jobs. According to the Vancouver-based think tank the Fraser Institute, renewable energy projects do create jobs but at the expense of other jobs. In Ontario, “the government has failed to take into account the jobs destroyed through higher electricity prices to small businesses and consumers,” noted a Fraser Institute commentary last month. “Several recent research studies on the European experience with feed-in tariffs have foudn that each job created by subsidized renewable energy comes at the expense of at least two or more jobs elsewhere in the economy.”

After 10 years of green energy in Spain and the U.K. independent studies found that for every renewable energy job created in Spain, 2.2 jobs were lost. Ouch. The Fraser Institute is thinking just as any good managers of a household would: if we can’t afford it, don’t buy it.

As for green energy cleaning up our air, what’s there to clean? The Fraser Institute notes that “75 per cent of Ontario’s electricity comes from nuclear and hydro power which do not generate emissions. Twenty-two per cent comes from coal and natural gas-fired power plants. Ontarians have paid hundreds of millions of dollars for installation of advanced emission control devices on those plants. [Blog editor note: a program the McGuinty goverment STOPPED.] As a result, Ontario air pollution levels have fallen dramatically since the 1970s and 1980s.

Solar and wind power are expensive job killers that offer few benefits other than making us feel goos about being environmentally friendly, even if they’re not.

There you have it: the lies and manipulation about air pollution, the environment, the economy—wind doesn’t work. Add to that the claim this week by the corporate wind developer proposing to build industrial wind turbine projects in Eastern Ontario, that wind power installations are “protecting against urbanization of rural areas.”  What does that even mean??? One thing: put turbines up and you sterilize your community against any kind of growth (and jobs) for the next 20 years.

E-mail the North Gower Wind Action Group at northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca check out local news at http://northgowerwindactiongroup.wordpress.com and follow on Twitter at northgowerwind

Community note: the award-winning documentary Windfall will be showing in North Gower on June 26 at 2 p.m., Alfred Taylor Centre. Admission $5 at the door; donations to cover costs gratefully received. To view the movie trailer, go to http://www.windfallthemovie.com

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 22, 2011

Haldimand Council carries resolution for moratorium on wind turbines

A Mayor with courage and integrity:

Haldimand Council carries resolution for moratorium on wind turbines.

March 8, 2011

Wolfe Island: not a turbine paradise

Recently, the corporate wind development lobby paid for an ad in Farmers’ Forum in which it was claimed by a restaurant owner on Wolfe Island, that life was great, profits were flowing, and tourists were flocking to Wolfe Island to see the turbines. The truth, of course, was that the restaurant mentioned is in fact closed and for sale, as is the hotel on the island, and two bed-and-breakfast establishments.

Nor, Farmers’ Forum has done a survey of Wolfe Island residents. We’re not entirely happy with the methodology and in fact the authors recognize and document their limitations, but the results are enough to show that Wolfe Island is no paradise of happiness with the 86 industrial wind turbines that now inhabit the island, near Kingston. Note especially the concerns about property values, and the 11 percent of people who say their health has been affected by the turbines.

It would have been better to survey people who spend ALL DAY and all night on the island, but…next time?

The story is here. Thank you, Farmers’ Forum.

http://www.farmersforum.com/MARCH2011/p1.htm

March 5, 2011

Views from farm country

Not everyone gets to see the newspapers  that serve the agricultural community, and they rarely post their entire editions online, so, with thanks to a local farm-owner, we offer excerpts from some letters to the Editor of Ontario Farmer, which appeared recently.

Peak soil as imminent as peak oil

The provincial government has made a first right step by halting any off-shore wind projects until “further research is conducted.” While the government’s motivation is more likely political than science-based [blog editor: like this WHOLE THING!!!] the very admission that more study is needed refutes their own staunchly defended position throughout the life of the Green Energy Plan.

If the science is lacking to back off-shore industrial installations, it is entirely foolish to allow any more land-based installations as well. Dr. Robert McMurtry has eloquently outlined human health concerns and has reasonably called for a halt to more turbine installations until proper scientific studies are done. Yet Dr. McMurtry’s calls have been ignored by the government, even though our minister of environment claims to put human health and the natural environment as his top priority.

Furthermore, there is a fundamental insanity about a policy that would allow the vast diminishment of such a fragile and finte treasure as our prime, class-one farmland. Less than one-half of one percent of Canada is class one farmland (roughly 12 million acres). Of that total, 4.9 million acres is in souther Ontario (Science Council of Canada).

Food prices around the world are skyrocketing and food shortages combined with high prices are causing riots and misery, and dstabilizing national governments. … nergy analysts often refer to the impending tipping point of “peak oil.” e are already roughly at our point of “peak soil” on a global basis. The amount of land currently in production comprises almost all of the capable land without cutting more forests, taking over conservation set-asides, or entering into dubious irrigation schemes. To paraphrase David Suzuki, our land, our water, our air, are sacred. They are not merely there to create profits for global corporations.

…Prime farmland should grow food, not industrial towers. A policy that decimates our foodlands cannot legitimately be termed “green energy.”

It is time for the government to stand down, and do proper research into the health, environmental, economic and social impacts of these industrial schemes.

John Drummond, Greenbelt Farm, Mitchell, Ontario

Have an open mind on energy, yes, but have wind, solar been studied enough?

…Since the green energy proponents have been installing windmills and solar panels as quickly as they possibly can and have truned a deaf ear toward any dissenting views, it is time for common sense to prevail. At the very least, further installation of these devices should be halted immediately pending an objective view of their effects on human and animal health, the economy and the environment by a credible and impartial source. We should not accept anything less.

George W. Arnold, Bobcaygeon

February 24, 2011

Gone with the wind: message to Queen’s Park

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

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