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Two information events were held in North Stormont last week; a panel discussion on wind power issues, hosted by the Lions’ Club in Finch on May 6, and in Crysler on May 7, the first Open House on the North Stormont wind “farm” hosted by power developer EDP Renewables.
We have already reported on the Lions’ Club event and doubtless the media will be along shortly, too; we have reports from people who attended the EDP event.
Apparently, the power developer had brochures available on health and property value impacts. Here is the “other side” on these issues.
The wind power lobby is focusing on the Health Canada study which, they say, claims no “causal link” between wind turbine noise and health effects. The truth? The Health Canada study was not designed to find a causal link, so, surprise! What it DID find, however was that significant numbers of people are distressed by the turbine noise and infrasound (low frequency or inaudible sound). In Health Canada’s PowerPoint presentation of its results, the following points were made:
- as wind turbine noise levels increased, so did respondents’ annoyance (distress)…this was a statistically significant finding
- in comparison to aircraft, rail or road traffic noise, annoyance/distress due to wind turbine noise was found to begin at lower levels, e.g., ~35dBA
- the prevalence of wind turbine noise annoyance/distress was higher in Ontario than in PEI (the other area studied) and,
- wind turbine noise annoyance/distress in the Ontario sample persisted up to distances between 1 and 2 km–in PEI this was restricted to
In fact, the Health Canada study found,16.5% of people within 1 km of a turbine experienced annoyance/distress, and at 550 metres, that went up to 25%
More recently, the Council of Canadian Academies released their report, a literature review on wind turbine noise, with the following important findings:
- the evidence is sufficient to support a causal association between exposure to wind turbine noise and annoyance
- standard methods of measuring sound may not capture low-frequency sound characteristic of wind turbine noise (in other words, the way Ontario is measuring turbine noise–and not measuring infrasound at all–is not adequate to protect health)
- there is limited evidence to establish a causal relationship between exposure to wind turbine noise and sleep disturbance (which is known to cause health effects), and
- knowledge gaps prevent a full assessment of health effects of wind turbine noise–proper population studies, especially studies of sensitive populations such as children, have not yet been done.
Did EDP Renewables present these facts at their Open House?
We’ll keep this short: we’re betting EDP brandished the recent study done by Richard Vyn of the University of Guelph, which is supposed to prove that property values around wind turbines don’t change. Aside from the fact that this is nonsense, and Vyn’s study was poorly structured—that’s not what he says!!! In fact, Vyn cautions the reader that there were significant limitations in how he went about his study and this [his conclusion] does not preclude any negative effects from occurring on individual properties. Read more analysis of the Vyn report at Wind Farm Realities.
The wind power developer is taking care to be seen to address the issues of health and property values, but they are being very selective in their choice of reference material (and in the coming federal election, you might ask candidates WHY the federal government used taxpayer money to create a misleading, attractive colour brochure to help the wind industry)
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NOTE: This post certainly got us a lot of attention from the wind power industry. A wind industry communications officer from the UK accused us of causing harm to people by putting this information out there (he claimed people with real illnesses would not seek treatment because they will think instead it’s just wind turbine noise–absolutely unjustified and frankly, stupid); he was seconded by pro-wind physician George Crisp from Australia, and they were joined on Twitter by Chris Young, board member with the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association and employee of NorSun Energy in Ottawa. Mr Young pronounced us as “irrelevant.”