June 16, 2011

Eaglewatch: corporations invading communities

This report from native news watch group Eaglewatch, June 16, 2011:

From the Eagle Watch #154

Mining the Wind:  Who Would’ve Thunk It??
Detailed Report
June 16, 2011

In the early days after Contact, we Indigenous were shocked when the Colonizers wanted to sell the land from under us.  We objected vigourously.  To us Real and Original People/Nishnaabe/Ongwehonweh, the land contains the bones and dust of our ancestors.  It is not to be sold but the Newcomers sold it anyway.  Then they wanted to sell the water.  We were shocked and we objected.  We continue to object but they are doing it anyway.  Now they want to sell the wind.  We were shocked and now we are objecting.  Who would’ve ever thought the wind would become such an issue?

Over the past few weeks, we at the Eagle Watch, have scoured the internet for information on industrial wind turbines.  There’s lots out there and quite a growing debate. 

We profiled two wind developers, Prowind and Horizon Wind Inc, both of whom want to set up wind “farms” in Ontario.  What a misnomer!  It’s more like mining with all the associated damage and pollution.

There are many other big wind developers but these two are typical.


With growing opposition to wind turbines being placed near people’s dwellings, the promoters will be looking for more places to put them in the bush, that is on Indigenous communities.  Watch out for that term, “remote location”.  It usually means dumping their toxic and wasteful projects on our land, on our doorstep, in our face.  They don’t care how it harms us.  They presume to act with impunity because they get away with it all the time.

Two well known environmental organizations, Greenpeace and the Sierra Club SUPPORT the mega wind projects.  Some people are surprised and outraged about this.  We have long been aware of the self-serving hypocrites who shelter under the banner of Environmentalists.  Many environmentalists support depopulation.

How much space does one wind turbine need?

“The GE 1.5-MW turbine, with a 70.5-m rotor span, therefore requires at least 48 acres per tower in a single line perpendicular to the wind (32 acres/MW) or 123 acres per tower in an array (82 acres/MW). Each Vestas V90 1.8-MW turbine, with a 90-m rotor, requires 78-200 acres (43-111 acres/MW). Tom Gray of the American Wind Energy Association has written, “My rule of thumb is 60 acres per megawatt for wind farms on land.”

Horizon aka Horizon Legacy Energy Corporation aka Horizon Wind Inc. aka Horizon Wind Limited Partnership and Big Thunder Windpark Inc., aka Big Thunder Windpark Limited Partnershp
Fort William First Nations and the City of Thunder Bay

Toronto based, private firm, Horizon Legacy Energy Corp. wants to put up about 20 wind turbines on the Fort William First Nation Nishnaabe territory pristine wilderness outside Thunder Bay Ontario, not far from the US border.   

The Fort William First Nations community is home to about 1500 people.  The colonial puppet Band Council signed an agreement in 2007 with Horizon Wind.  The Nishnaabe people were not informed.  They were not consulted and did not give their consent.

Thunder Bay already signed some deal with Horizon who are now sueing the city for $126million for reasons that are not clear.  Many Thunder Bay residents now vigourously oppose the wind project.

Horizon president and CEO Anthony Zwig was in for a real surprise on May 30, 2011 when the Fort William Nishnaabe filled their community hall to oppose the destructive wind project.  They had a lot of questions for Tony and they had plenty to say to him.

On June 1, a letter written by a Fort William Nishnaabe appeared in the NetNewsLedger.  In part, it reads:
“We, the Anishinabek peoples of Fort William First Nation, have had most of our lands and much of our way of life taken from us by settler society. Indeed, more than 8,600 acres of land has been taken by settler society for settler projects since we established our reserve.  We are literally surrounded by lands that have been destroyed by settler projects. Because of this, we live with all the problems consistent with colonial oppression, including social, psychological, environmental and political pathologies. Due to this legacy, WE WILL NOT GIVE ANOTHER INCH.

“The proposed location for the Big Thunder Wind Park is in prime moose habitat. Our reliance on moose for physical and spiritual sustenance depends on healthy moose habitat surrounding Loch Lomond lake. We have seen time and again that settler projects that meet provincial and/or federal standards do little to protect our sacred relationship to moose and other animals. We gain our identity from relationships to our lands and our animal relatives; though this relationship is hard for settler society to understand, we are ready to protect it. We will not let another settler project compromise moose habitat in our traditional territory…”

Tony “Huff and Puff” Zwig is a prominent and affluent Toronto … philanthropist and patron of the arts just like Murray Koffler, founder of Shoppers Drug Mart and the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business CCAB.  Tony and Walter Zwig and Murray and Tom Koffler are lifetime members of the board of governors at the Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. 
The Nor’Wester Mountain Escarpment Protection Committee opposes Horizon’s Big Thunder wind project in and near Thunder Bay.  They will be hosting a screening of the film, Windfall on Thursday June 23, 2011 at the Community Auditorium in Thunder Bay.

Another concern to the Fort William Nishnaabe is a company called Sky Power putting in a 45,000 panel solar installation on Fort William territory.  The scale of such a project is also detrimental to wildlife and people who depend on our relations for survival.

Prowind vs North Gower, Carleton Place, Brinston, South Dundas Township, United Counties of Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry, Shanly, Township of Edwardsburg-Cardinal, United Counties of Leeds & Grenville.

These settler communities are all on Ongwehonweh territory between the Ottawa and St. Lawrence Rivers.  Once productive farmland for early settlers, the family farm today is an “endangered species”.  Farmers struggle to earn a living from the soil.

Prowind is a German company with a Canadian subsidiary now based in Hamilton, Ontario.  Prowind has 16 wind projects all over Germany and is now expanding into at least 8 other countries.  This includes England, Ireland, Italy, France, Australia and Romania. 

Johannes Busmann, a certified dairy farmer and lawyer, founded Prowind in 2000.  He knows how to talk to farmers.  Prowind Canada is run by money-loving Cathy Weston, president and Juan K. Anderson, project manager and aerospace engineer.  Prowind likes to start the project and then sell it to someone more willing to deal with the headaches.

A North Gower farmer agreed to rent his land to Prowind for some wind turbines.  Now, Prowind wants to sell the project to him.  Prowind is trying to develop other wind projects in the area.

The resistance to the Prowind wind turbine installations is organized under the name, North Gower Wind Action Group (NGWAG) which is related to Wind Concerns Ontario.  These people are concerned about quality of life and how wind turbines affect property values.  NGWAG is hosting the screening of Windfall on June 26 in North Gower, about 20 minutes outside Ottawa.

The big wind projects cause a number of problems.  Here’s our short list of things we learned and then some more details about the related health issues.

1.  Wind turbines are extremely ugly to look at.  We think that Beauty should be a part of our Lifestyle.  Wind turbines also cause strobing, flickering and reflection of sunlight that is a health issue for some people.  The wind turbines being built keep getting bigger and bigger.

2.  Wind turbines make hideous noise, often loud and steady like a speeding train that never arrives.  It’s hard on the nerves literally.  Wind turbines make infrasound which the human ear cannot hear but the body feels it.  People like airline pilots already get vibro-acoustic disease (VAD) from constant exposure to low frequency sound. Wind turbines emit electromagnetic radiation of various frequencies that can be harmful to health on a cellular level.

3.  As more and more farmland is being used for wind turbines, developers are turning to the bush.  They want to cut down trees and build more roads.  Wind turbines need regular maintenance so they must be easily accessible.  This is destructive to all the creatures and Life in the bush.  It is murderous to Indigenous people who get their livelihood from the bush.

4.  Wind turbines adversely affect birds, bats and other creatures.  The wind turbines on Wolfe Island and those proposed for nearby Amherst Island are located on the migratory routes of many threatened and endangered bird species including raptors like the Bald Eagle.  The presence of the turbines causes the birds to avoid these locations where they normally find food.  The Kingston Field Naturalists are studying this issue.

5.  There are potential dangers of chunks of ice falling from wind turbines or being flung great distances by the rotors.  Anyone could get hit.  Fires are also possible and have happened.  The wind turbines contain plastics, resins and other substances that are very toxic when burned.

6.  The promoters of wind turbines always tell you they can power so many homes and produce so many mega watts.  But do they?   Wind is not a constant so it is impossible to predict how much wind will occur during any given time frame.   Just how efficient are the turbines at harnessing the wind’s energy?  A simple fact of physics is that when electrictiy is produced in one place and transmitted to another place, it loses power in the transmission. 

7.  There are security and communications concerns that the wind turbines interfere with microwave transmission and radar including at airports.  Why then this big industrial wind turbine facility going up at Kingston Ontario, the east end of Lake Ontario near to the busy Canadian air force base and international airport, Trenton, less than an hour’s drive to the west???

8.  Proponents claim that industrial wind projects will provide jobs.  Beyond the construction, this does not appear to be true at all.  A minimal number of technicians and mechanics maintain the turbines once in place.

9.  In the end, the wind turbines with so many moving parts will break down into useless garbage in about 20 to 25 years.  The steel rubble will lie with the crumbling concrete pads, motionless and quiet at last.  The emboldened animals will creep forward to examine the debris.  Plants will pop up and vines will creep over the miles of wires, batteries, broken switches and plastic shards.  People will shake their heads, amazed at how foolish their fellow humans can be.

For news of North Gower-Richmond, please go to

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  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 check out local news at 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

November 9, 2010

Economist: Ontario is in sad shape

You can see this article at the Wind Concerns Ontario website, or here in its entirety:

Ontario economy adrift

By: Livio Di Matteo

Ontario economy adrift

Those whose television memories stretch back to the 1960s may well remember the robot from Lost in Space who whenever faced with a threat to his unaware young charge would immediately intone “Danger, Will Robinson.” Ontario’s premier, who has been seemingly unaware of the impact of his energy and economic policies on the province’s economy, would do well to take heed from the danger signs provided by the recent update to provincial GDP numbers. The new numbers from Statistics Canada show that as a result of the recession, real gross domestic product in 2009 fell in every province except Manitoba. Moreover, the declines were steepest in Newfoundland and Labrador, Saskatchewan, Alberta and Ontario.Being in the company of so many poor performers will not be a suitable defence for Ontario’s economic record for two main reasons. First, while Ontario’s decline was smaller than Newfoundland, Alberta and Saskatchewan — those provinces can blame their drop primarily on the fall in natural resource commodity prices — namely oil. Ontario’s key natural resource sector — forestry — while hit hard over the last decade, is not as important a sector to Ontario as oil and gas is in these other provinces and their economies will see growth as oil and gas prices recover.Second, Ontario’s dismal performance is on top of a decade of dismal performance when it comes to per capita output growth. Ontario has become a laggard in per capita GDP, which was highlighted when it entered the ranks of the “have-not” provinces and began to collect equalization. A survey of statistics for the last two decades show that Ontario’s share of total provincial GDP has declined from 42 per cent in 1990 to 37 per cent in 2010. More ominous, the bulk of that decline has occurred since 2000 — largely coinciding with Dalton McGuinty’s decade of political power. Whereas in 1990, productive Ontario’s share of national output exceeded its population share, we now are witnessing the sorry spectacle of the reverse.When Ontario’s economic productivity performance is examined in terms of real per capita GDP, it emerges that Ontario’s output has stagnated for an entire decade. Between 2000 and 2010, real per capita GDP in Ontario actually declined by eight per cent. While one may wish to ascribe this to the impact of the recession and the global financial crisis since 2008, the fact remains that Ontario’s performance was the worst of all 10 provinces. Indeed, over the first decade of the 21st century, eight out of 10 provinces experienced an increase in their real per capita output while only Ontario and New Brunswick saw declines. Even Quebec, which has been the historical poor economic sibling to Ontario, saw its real per capita GDP grow six per cent during the decade. Since 2000, Ontario’s real per capita has gone from being 25 per cent above the provincial average to barely at the provincial average. From having the second highest real per capita GDP in the country (second only to oil rich Alberta) it is now the fourth highest. It is no wonder that Ontario is now receiving equalization payments.Ontario’s economy appears to be adrift in economic space with its government oblivious to the real state of its economy and seemingly unable to get a grip on economic and fiscal policy. While global economic circumstances have played a part in Ontario’s predicament, Ontario’s regulatory and interventionist government policy culture has not helped much. Witness the initiatives of recent years: the messianic closing of cost-effective coal plants and implementing higher cost wind and solar energy initiatives in the name of the environment, raising minimum wages, implementing and then rescinding eco-taxes, timing the arrival of the HST with a recession, sequestering large land areas of the province’s north from economic development.In the midst of all the economic carnage, the Ontario government is presiding over a massive hike in electricity costs — an energy source that used to be the foundation of Ontario’s economic advantage. Add to this the fiscal deficit and a net debt that is expected to reach $240 billion by 2011, and one has an economy that is on the verge of being unable to deliver the standard of living that its citizens have come to expect. That Ontario’s future economic welfare is in a clear and present danger is a sad understatement.Livio Di Matteo is professor of economics at Lakehead University. 

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 9, 2010 A13

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 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.

For more news daily, go to

and for North Gower Wind Action Group, or email

July 31, 2010

In case you needed proof…

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

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

Read it here.


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

July 24, 2010

No business being in business

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

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

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

It’s unsustainable at 58.8 cents!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is indeed sad what is happening in Ontario today.

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