autism, autistic children and noise, EDF, Francois St Amour, Grant Crack MPP, Green Energy Act, Marc Bercier, Nation Twp, Not a Willing host, Ontario Farmer, RES Canada, signing leases for wind farms, wind farm, wind farm noise, wind farms Eastern Ontario, wind power, wind turbine noise
By Ian Cumming
Emotions were high the late afternoon of August 10 among the 200 or so folks who gathered outside the Nation Township Municipal Hall. They also lined the road beside, waving No Windmill signs, with most trucks and cars driving past honking support.
Doctors told mothers of ill children: you have to move if the turbines come
Two concerned mothers approached Ontario Farmer one the day before this protest, the other at the protest; one with an autistic son, the other with a daughter waiting for a heart transplant. Both said they were given medical advice that “we’ll have to move if the windmills come.”
The son, Michael, “who can hear a grasshopper deep in the grass that far away,” would be tormented beyond anyone’s comprehension, from the windmill swooshing sound that non-autistic people can barely sense, said his mother Susan, a former nurse. “When I drive by windmills I cry and choke with anger.”
Marc Bercier had windmills go up plus a substation on his land*, to the minimum sum of $95,000 per year for 20 years. A heck of an offer for a father who has two sons wanting to take over the operation.
“I’m pulling out of the windmill contract,” said Bercier recently. He detailed the venom that his family has faced for their decision to have windmills, including his elderly mother, when attending a public meeting the week before. [Editor: this was the huge meeting attended by 500+ people in St. Bernardin.] “I don’t want to put my family in that situation.”
The $22,000 he gets to keep as a down payment from EDF “wasn’t worth it,” said Bercier, “We value peace and family over money.” *
Even when he [Bercier] had gone public to Ontario Farmer (June 23) and other media this summer, detailing his contracts and the reasons for signing them, farmers who had done the same “attacked me, wanting me to keep quiet,” said Bercier.
Perhaps it was that self-imposed silence and the smoothness of the wind company EDF attempting a quick sales job for the community which contributed to the mounting opposition, said Bercier. “EDF didn’t do the real work with people.”
Phone call from the Liberal MPP
A last-minute pitch from EDF, which included offering to double the yearly stipend to the Nation Township from $150,000 to $300,000 per year on August 10, came the exact same day his council was meeting to reverse its earlier decisions to support the two projects [Editor: the writer fails to mention that there is a 150-MW project by EDF, and a 40-MW project by RES Canada being proposed] and declare itself an unwilling host, said Nation mayor Francois St. Amour. … The motion to reverse [Nation’s] earlier decision hadn’t even been on the agenda, but a call from local Liberal MPP Grant Crack to the mayor to deal with it, forced the issue ahead.
… [Developer EDF commented…] If people in the area have legitimate health concerns, we can certainly work with them and place the windmills so they are not affected, [Stephane Desdunes, director of development] said.
*Editor: you just don’t care about other people’s families and peace…
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500 residents crowd community centre: “this will destroy The Nation”
More than 500 residents of the municipality of Nation, about 45 minutes east of Ottawa, met on Wednesday night to learn more, and discuss action on two wind power proposals for their community: a 150-megawatt project by EDF, and a 75-MW project by Leader Resources.Among the speakers was Carmen Krogh, known internationally for her research on the impacts of wind turbine noise emissions on human health. A particular concern for Krogh, she expressed that evening, is the effect of the wind turbine emissions on children. Despite clear guidance from the World Health Organization and other bodies in public health about exposing children to possible harm, Ontario has proceeded to build wind power projects in communities close to homes.
Other speakers detailed the environmental impacts of the proposed wind turbine arrays, and commented on the degree of impact on the community for very little benefit.
Organizer Julie Leroux commented that the public was left out of a decision by council to support wind power; after signing an agreement to be an unwilling host as a member of the United Counties of Prescott-Russell, Nation then approved a motion of support for a wind power project by Sierra Nevada, in 2013. Nation’s mayor has gone on record in the agricultural media as saying he supported the current EDF proposal, and that Nation is a “willing host.”
We are not, said Leroux.
The community group Save The Nation requested time to make a presentation to Council but was not scheduled to do so now until August 31st; the deadline for wind power proposals under the new process is September 1st, the next day.
Questions and comments afterward were a clear demonstration not only that the community is already well informed on this issue, they are passionate about protecting their way of life, the social fabric of Nation, and the agricultural economic base.
“This will destroy the Nation, if it happens,” said one gentleman.
Another, who had travelled to Wolfe Island to see turbines to educate himself (Note: a better trip would be to Brinston, south of Ottawa, where EDP is operating 3-MW turbines in the South Branch power project), said he was shocked at the environmental impact of the wind power machines. “The foundations for these things are huge,” he said, “and they will never go away.”
If the wind power projects are approved said one young farmer, who said he was speaking for others in his demographic of 20s and 30s, it will destroy the local economy and way of life in Nation. “We’re leaving,” he said simply.
Organizers for the event and members of Save The Nation said that no members of Nation council attended the meeting as far as they knew but MPP Grant Crack’s executive assistant was there.
Breaking News: Wind Concerns Ontario has learned that Nation Council will be discussing the community reaction to the wind power proposals on Monday, August 10.
Ottawa Wind Concerns is receiving emails daily from residents of Nation Township as concerns mount about a large wind power generation project proposed by energy giant EDF.
The company claims as many as 160 farm owners have signed up, but residents say, those numbers don’t add up
Quoted in a recent article in Farmers Forum the mayor stated that Nation is a “willing” host to wind power, but again, residents say, all is not as it seems—that motion was passed years ago, without any notice to or discussion by residents. It is now being used to demonstrate community support for the wind power proposals.
A public meeting is being planned for Nation residents; we’ll keep you informed.
Wind Concerns Ontario signs and brochures are available from us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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By Ian Cumming
St. Isidore–With a September 1 deadline to apply to the Ontario government for a share of the provincial allotted windpower megawatts (MW), four wind companies held public information open houses in three eastern Ontario counties, detailing their area proposed projects.
Two of these were: the RES Canada presentation in Vankleek Hill for the 15-turbine, 40 MW Gauthier project on June 22, and the EDF EN Canada presentation for the 14-MW project in St. Isidore on June 23.
With EDF having a large number of solar and wind proects in 19 countries throughout the world, including scattered throughout the United States plus Alberta and Quebec, the company is looking to expand its presence in Ontario, says David Thornton, from stakeholder relations at the company.
Wind developer exec former McGuinty staffer
Thornton started as a staffer in Premier McGuinty’s office, was the former campaign manager for the Ontario LIberal Party, and over six years at Queen’s Park, was senior policy advisor for renewable energy at the Ministry of Energy, and also senior policy advisor for land use planning and municipal affairs at Municipal Affairs.
Thornton and his staff fielded questions from the audience.
“Who do you work for?” Thornton asked Sylvia [sic] Gagnon. “I work for no one,” Gagnon replied. “I live in North Glengarry and I’m against the invasion of our beautiful farmland by these monstrosities.
“I came here for answers and instead I’m talking to a lot of slippery people.”
The over 160 farmers signed up for the St. Isidore project “are more than who will get windmills,” said Thornton to Ontario Farmer. “That’s the way these projects work.”*
However, “all these farmers who sign up will be paid something, whether they get a windmill or not,” added Mark Gallagher from EDF.
The concept of also paying local supportive residents who have signed up a minimum of $1,000 per year** “was something I brought from Ireland,” said Gallagher. “They do that over there, pay people on a per acre basis.”
EDF pays the municipal taxes on the windmills, said Gallagher *** which would come to $150,000 per year on a project smaller than what they are proposing in St. Isidore.
He noted that, on top of that, they are committed to invest heavily in sports grants and other community projects over the next two decades. ****
The one farmer who held out from EDF, having 700 acres in the St. Isidore area as part of his 5,000 acres in two counties, gave a quick walk through scanning the posters and [said] “I’ve seen enough, I’m going home,” he told Ontario Farmer.
This is going to end badly
He said his instincts are telling him “this is going to end badly.
“It’s a business model based on a falsehood that can’t sustain itself. Some day people won’t be able to pay more on their hydro bills.”
The night before, in Vankleek Hill, the RES Canada presentation had fewer posters but the issues and the concerns for those attending were exactly the same.
“I have no idea where the Liberal government is getting the money for these things,” said local mayor [Champlain] Gary Barton at the RES presentation. Barton, unlike his counterpart in St. Isidore is not embracing the proposed project in his area.
However, under the Green Energy Act, “there is nothing I can legally do,” said Barton.
He recalled a specific face-to-face meeting several years ago [that] involved him and another local mayor with then Ontario Energy minister George Smitherman, expressing concerns about a large solar project in their area.
“He told us there is nothing you can do,” said Barton.
Electrical engineer Stan Thayer was at the RES presentation noting, “I’m not against anything. When I was at McGill in the 1970s we worked with solar panels and wind mills. I understand all this.
“But, I can’t afford it,” said Thayer. “Plus, the BS being presented to the public is wrong,” he said.
“No one has shown me facts from any windmill, no matter the size, making a profit,” said Thayer.
“They are using cosmic math,” he said. “Because we don’t know where they are getting their numbers. They don’t add up, multiply or divide.”
* It’s the way they work now: the new procurement process requires sign-off from adjacent landowners so developers are paying people.
** $1,000 a year for noise, vibration and changed property value?
*** Taxes on wind turbines (they are NOT “windmills”) are capped under the Green Energy Act at $40,000 per megawatt, in spite of the fact the turbines cost $2-3 million. The property tax revenue is less than 20 or so houses.
**** The wind developers get to choose where the money from their “vibrancy” or community funds go, and they like to choose sports so they can have their name plastered all over it as advertising.
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Wind power developer EDF revealed its project area map online and at the Open House held on June 23rd.
These maps do NOT represent lands actually under signed options, but indicate the area in which company representatives are looking for landowners to sign up to lease land for a future wind power development.
Landowners are advised to read all material related to leasing land for wind turbines, beyond what the wind developer may supply, and to consult a lawyer before signing ANY agreement.
The map is available here.
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Ontario Farmer, June 16, 2015
Farmers signing up for St. Isidore wind power project
by Ian Cumming
A 10,000-acre windmill project is being proposed near St. Isidore in Prescott County with many farmers already having signed leases.*
The 150-megawatt project is projected to run from Highway 417 north to County Road 10 and 16 in the Nation township, states a press release from the St. Isidore Wind Energy Centre, and affiliate of EDF Renewable Services.
“There are supportive landowners in the area that have already signed up,” said David Thornotn from EDF. …
The St. Isidore Wind Energy Centre is holing an information meeting for the public on June 23rd from 5 to 8 PM in the St. Isidore Arena, said Thornton.
A Ponzi scheme: local farmer
“I have 700 acres right smack in the middle of it and I think the program is stupid,” said a farmer who wished to remain unidentified. “It’s a Ponzi scheme that in the end has you buying your own power. They’ve been phoning me for a couple of years now to sign, but I won’t,” said the farmer. “Others have probably signed up…they want the money now not realizing that in the end it will cost them.”
People who work at the power dam in Cornwall “tell me that you would cry when you see all the water that we dump over the dam because we don’t need the power,” said the farmer. “And when these things become obsolete the companies will be gone or bankrupt…You’re going to have to clean your own tower up.”
…Local landowner groups have become involved over the St. Isidore and other nearby proposed wind projects said Beth Trudeau from that organization.
Municipalities can take action
Their response to the project will focus on making municipal politicians aware of the fact that the Green Energy Act does not prohibit them from ruling as to whether or not the projects can be constructed, she said.
“The municipalities are saying there is nothing they can do, and we intend to show them otherwise,” said Trudeau.
*The wind power generators at the utility or industrial scale are NOT “windmills,” they are wind turbines. This should properly say the wind power developers is “alleged” to have signed agreements with farm owners as it is a common tactic for the developers to encourage people to sign by telling people many others already have; also, at this stage, the agreements are likely an “option” and not a contract.
Wind power developer EDF has announced it intends to bid for 150 megawatts of wind power (50 turbines) on 10,000 acres of land it has optioned near St-Isidore, Ontario. Bids under the 2015 Large Renewable Procurement process are due September 1st. The company is promising 250 jobs “at the height of construction” and a total of four full-time jobs after the project begins. EDF is also promising $150,000 per year in municipal tax revenues and a further $150,000 per year in community benefits. (Taxes on wind turbines are capped at $40,000 per megawatt under the Green Energy Act; municipal benefits in the form of “vibrancy funds are typically less than 1% of the developers’ revenues; full-time jobs for wind “farms” are for highly trained technical staff). This proposal follows announcements by EDP Renewables and Invenergy, both proposing projects in Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry. The Independent Electricity Systems Operator or IESO has said there is no capacity on the grid in Eastern Ontario for these projects, at present. A public Open House is being held June 23rd in St Isidore; see the notice here.