Crane used to dismantle grid-scale wind turbine in Prince Edward County this week. Meanwhile, more going up south of Ottawa [Photo: Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County]
Contrast between North Stormont and Prince Edward County an indication of Ontario’s muddled electricity file
November 19, 2019
While people in Prince Edward County are celebrating the demise of the “White Pines” wind power project as government-ordered decommissioning of the industrial-scale wind turbines is going on this week, the people of North Stormont, south-east of Ottawa, are watching the behemoths go UP.
The White Pines project in Prince Edward County, developed by Germany-based wpd, was a controversial power project appealed several times by residents concerned about the environmental impact of the wind power generators and infrastructure on wildlife and people. The original plan was for 29 turbines; that was reduced to 27 after legal action and finally, to nine.
The new Ontario government passed legislation not long after taking office cancelling the power project — residents say it should never have been approved in the first place.
But now, more than 30 giant grid-scale wind turbines are currently being erected in North Stormont, near the communities of Finch, Crysler and Berwick by Portugal-based power developer EDPR. EDPR sold the project last year to Axium Infrastructure; that consortium also owns the K2 Wind power project in Huron County, which has been the subject of appeals, and post-operation, hundreds of noise complaints.
K2 Wind is currently under order by the Director of the environment ministry to implement and evaluate a noise assessment plan for more than 80 of its 140 turbines, which were found to be out of compliance with Ontario regulations for wind turbine noise emissions.
“Nation Rise” as the North Stormont project is called, was also the subject of appeals, and a last appeal was submitted to the Ontario environment minister six months ago. No word on the status of the appeal, nor on the status of a request for a stay of construction, filed in May.
Residents are concerned not only about noise (the project got to use old, pre-2017 noise assessment rules under the Wynne government), and also damage to the environment, especially a fragile or “vulnerable” water table.
The Nation Rise final approval came through days before the provincial election in 2018, despite the “caretaker” government convention which discourages major decisions during the election period. The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) also granted a Notice To Proceed days after the election, despite being warned by government leader MPP Todd Smith not to approve any more projects.
Now, the giant towers are rising in the quiet communities of North Stormont, as the power developer races to meet a December operational deadline. The local MPP Jim McDonell claims there’s nothing he can do about it—that Notice To Proceed meant the project had to go ahead.
Pre-construction liability for Nation Rise (i.e., the cost of the government cancelling the contract) was about $400,000. If it goes into operation, the people of Ontario will bear the cost of the project which will add more than $400 million to electricity bills, over the 20-year life of the power contract.
So, while the turbines go up, others — already approved and built — come down. And you’re paying for it all.
OTTAWA WIND CONCERNS
Turbine blades at Johnstown, destined for Nation Rise
Turbine components waiting for delivery to Nation Rise wind power project. Another $450 million to go on your hydro bill. [Photo: Leanne Baldwin]*
October 24, 2019
Ontario Premier Doug Ford gave his first interview after the federal election today, with host Bill Carroll on Ottawa talk radio CFRA.
The topic was how Ford could work with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after an acrimonious election campaign in which Ford was repeatedly used as an example of Conservative government dedicated to budget cuts, but the conversation included the cost of electricity in Ontario, and why hydro bills are set to go up next week, when the Ford government had promised to get them down.
“[The electricity file] has been very frustrating,” Ford told Bill Carroll. He put some of the blame on the McGuinty-Wynne governments which cut lucrative deals for wind and solar with “cronies” Ford said, and Ontarians are now stuck paying above-market rates for electricity.
“We’re trying to get a handle on it,” he said.
Meanwhile, despite a citizen appeal that cost the people of North Stormont, south of Ottawa, about $100,000 in legal fees as they brought forward numerous, serious concerns about the impact of grid-scale wind turbines on people and the environment, the 100-megawatt Nation Rise wind power project is under construction.
It will cost Ontario electricity customers more than $450 million over its 20-year contract.
And, in Chatham-Kent, another wind power project is being built: Romney Wind is being built by EDF of France. That will add over $250 million to electricity bills.
“If you set out to destroy the electricity file in Ontario, you could not have done a better job than they[McGuinty and Wynne] did,” Ford said.
*Note the pickup truck in the lower left corner of the photo—an idea of the scale of the wind turbines
How the wind power industry made a fool out of Ontario
Noise complaints unanswered, wells contaminated, a huge job ahead to unwind the damage
April 1, 2019
It’s now almost a decade since Ontario passed the Green Energy and Green Economy Act, which opened the door to industrial-scale wind power developments throughout the province, and heralded ten years of environmental impact … for nothing.
In fact, the province had already approved a gigantic wind power project in Melancthon, and racked up hundreds of noise complaints before the Green Energy Act was passed — the government went ahead anyway.
Today, we have high electricity bills which are harming ordinary families and discouraging business investment; the government has records of thousands of complaints about wind turbine noise and vibration (mostly unresolved); there are 40 or more families in Chatham-Kent who trace the failure of their water wells to construction and operation of wind turbines on a fragile aquifer there; and, we are seeing the environmental impacts that were brought forward in citizen appeals of Renewable Energy Approvals now becoming reality.
Ontario citizens spent close to $10 million in after-tax dollars to protect their communities from the onslaught of large-scale wind power, according to a survey Wind Concerns Ontario did of our coalition members.
The Ontario wind power disaster should not have been a surprise.
Auditor General Jim McCarty chastised the McGuinty government for never having done a cost-benefit or impact study on the wind power program; subsequently, current Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk estimated that Ontario electricity customers overpaid for renewable energy by $9.2 billion.
Guaranteed to fail
The program to encourage large-scale wind power (the province had a choice back in 2004 onwards to go for small-scale power generation–that’s not what they chose, guided by wind lobbyists) was based on ideology and was criticized by such informed analysts as Michael Trebilcock, who said “This combination of irresponsibility and venality has produced a lethal brew of policies.”
Economics professor Ross McKitrick predicted, “If the goal [of the Green Energy Act] was to promote industry and create jobs, it is guaranteed to fail.”
And Tom Adams, who said, “Urban Ontario, including city-bound journalists, are largely unaware of the corrosive effects some wind developments are having on communities, neighbourhoods, even families. This is expropriation without compensation.”
The jobs never materialized, electricity bills went up, a new phrase “energy poverty” was coined, businesses closed or left, and families were forced to leave their homes because of unbearable noise.
Noise complaints are so prevalent in Huron County that the health unit launched a follow-up study (results will be published later this year). Preliminary data showed that 60% of the people participating in the follow-up were experiencing problems because of wind turbine noise.
Wind Concerns Ontario presented the government’s own noise complaint data as evidence at the appeal of the Nation Rise power project last summer; the approval was upheld regardless of citizen concerns about noise, and damage to a provincially designated “highly vulnerable aquifer.”
Meanwhile, reports of noise are investigated on behalf of the wind power operators by the same companies who prepared the original noise impact assessments for them; one such acoustics firm even boasts that it created the government’s noise assessment protocol.
The fox is not only in the hen house, he built it to ensure easy access.
As Ontario’s new government struggles with all this (Energy Minister Greg Rickford told the Legislature last week that this is a “very difficult” file), there is little to laugh about in Ontario today as the spring winds blow, and families face more sleepless nights.
Citizens thought this power project was gone. Is it? [Photo: Ontario Farmer]
March 6, 2018
Citizens of The Nation are waiting for answers from the Ford government after it was discovered — by accident — that the Ontario Energy Board awarded a 20-year licence to generate electricity to the Eastern Fields wind power project.
Eastern Fields was on the list of 758 power projects cancelled by the Ford government last July, and a check with the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) shows that the power developer, U.K.-based RES Canada does not now have a contract.
On the other hand, when both Wind Concerns and community group Save The Nation checked with a Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks officer on the project status, the response was that it is in “technical review.” (This is an onerous process by which civil servants look at boxes on an application and see whether there is a check mark. Important information such as the presence of unstable Leda Clay in the case of the Nation Rise project, need not be assessed, or even known.)
Save The Nation put out the following news release, and is waiting for answers from the Ontario Minister of Energy, Greg Rickford.
In the meantime, says Wind Concerns Ontario president Jane Wilson, the citizens of The Nation lost seven valuable months in which they could have been gathering data on environmental impacts from the wind turbines. Wind Concerns Ontario has government records of thousands of reports about excessive wind turbine noise, which have not been resolved.
For immediate release
How Can a Cancelled Wind Turbine Project Receive a Licence to Produce Electricity?
ST-BERNARDIN – Save The Nation is seeking answers from the Ontario Minister of Energy, Greg Rickford, regarding the issuance of an Electricity Generation Licence to the ‘cancelled’ Eastern Fields industrial wind turbine project. The Ontario Energy Board issued the licence on December 6, 2018, even though Minister Rickford had announced the cancellation of Eastern Fields project on July 13, 2018.
“We were shocked to find out about this licence. We do not understand why or how a cancelled project can be issued a licence to produce electricity for a period of 20 years – until 2038. We’re also extremely disappointed that the Ford government does not seem to follow through with its announcement,” says Julie Leroux, spokesperson for Save The Nation.
Eastern Fields was one of 758 projects identified by Minister Rickford for wind-down on July 13, 2018, following a promise to cancel unnecessary and wasteful energy projects in order to cut hydro rates. “We’re asking Minister Rickford to confirm that this promise has been kept and that Eastern Fields Wind Farm LP is a dead project with no chance of ever moving forward. We also ask him to revoke the useless Electricity Generation Licence EG-2018-0213” adds Leroux.
The Electricity Generation Licence was issued on December 6, 2018. Incidentally, on that same day, the Ontario Government adopted the Green Energy Repeal Act, which will affect other acts and regulations, namely the Environmental Protection Act, the Renewable Energy Approvals Regulation 359/09 and the Planning Act when fully enacted.
Save The Nation is a grass-root movement that has been opposing the Eastern Fields industrial wind turbine project near St-Bernardin in The Nation Municipality and Champlain Township since it was publicly announced in June 2015. Save The Nation is not against green initiatives, but is fiercely opposed to the process that was used for the approval of renewable energy projects in Ontario under the Green Energy Act.
Power that could be produced “like a fly on the flank of an elephant” says energy watcher Parker Gallant
February 4, 2019
Last week, a news article appeared in the Nation Valley News reporting the local Conservative MPP, Jim McDonell’s response to a question asking on why the government hasn’t cancelled the 100-MW Nation Rise wind power project. Mr. McDonell said, “We’ve always been clear: We would cancel any project we could cancel economically,” and he added “… we just can’t spend a billion dollars to cancel a project and get nothing from it.”
The same day, a press release from the Ford government noted that Premier Doug Ford told people attending the annual Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) conference, that “We’re lowering electricity costs”.
I am at a loss to explain Mr. McDonell’s suggestion that cancellation of the Nation Rise IWT project would cost the same as the McGuinty/Wynne gas plant moves, but that’s what he said. It’s worth a look back at how this power project came into being, as it illustrates the disaster that has been Ontario energy policy for the last 15 years.
The Nation Rise wind project was one of five awarded contracts in March 2016; after that, its history gets really interesting … and very political.
Cost of the project
The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) at that time noted the average price for all the projects proposed was $85.90/MWh (or 8.5 cents per kWh). Over 20 years that would produce revenue of about $450 million, or less if their bid was lower than the average.
If the project were cancelled, no court would award them the full contract amount; it is more likely the government would be on the hook for perhaps 5 to10 % of that amount (on the high side).
There is no doubt that cancelling this project would save Ontario citizens hundreds of millions.
Timing of the approval
According to the Environmental Registry the Nation Rise entry for the Renewable Energy Approval or REA is dated May 7, 2018 and indicates it was loaded to the registry May 4, 2018. That is just four days before the writ was drawn up by former Premier Kathleen Wynne, formally announcing the upcoming Ontario election. It was known* the voting date would occur on June 7, yet the REA — a major decision — was given by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC). At that time, not only were polls forecasting a defeat for the Liberal government, “electricity prices” and hydro bills were a major election issue. The MOECC issued the decision anyway.
Is the power needed?
In 2015 (before the IESO called for more wind power proposals) Ontario had a huge surplus of generation. Our net exports (exports less imports) were 16.8 TWh (terawatt hours) or enough to supply almost 1.9 million average households (over 40% of all Ontario households) with their electricity needs for a full year. It cost ratepayers an average of 10.14 cents/kWh to generate that power which was sold for an average 2.36 cents/kWh, representing a cost of $1.3 billion to Ontario’s ratepayers.
Due to the highly intermittent nature of output from wind turbines, the IESO’s projections of long-term capacity use only 12% of the nameplate capacity for wind power installations when calculating their contribution to overall capacity. So for Nation Rise, the IESO is projecting that the useable contribution of the project will be 105,120 MWh — just .0765% of the IESO’s forecast power consumption of 137.4 TWh. That is a fly on the flank of an elephant, in my estimation.
Cancellation of Nation Rise would not affect the long-term supply of electricity for the people of Ontario.
Worse, adding more capacity, particularly from an intermittent source, could result in more spilling of hydro, more curtailment of wind power generation, additional nuclear shutdowns or steam-off, all of which would drive Ontario’s electricity bills rates higher.
Property value loss
The property losses in value caused by the presence of 33, 650-foot industrial wind power generators throughout the countryside in the Nation Rise project will be in the tens of millions of dollars according to a study which notes: “Using research completed recently by a land economist with the University of Guelph and published in Land Economics, Wind Concerns calculates that overall, the property loss for houses within 5 km of the 33 planned turbines could be $87.8 million. Using other research that is less conservative, however, the property value loss could be more than $140 million.”
A loss of either magnitude would impact North Stormont’s realty tax base leading to either significant drops in revenue for the township or realty tax increases as a multiple of the COL (cost of living).
And then there’s the water
One condition among many in the REA given to EDP/Nation Rise was related to identifying and mapping all water wells in the project area within a set range of any proposed equipment, meteorological tower or wind turbines. This was due to concerns about construction activities on the local aquifer. While EDP identified 444 wells, the community group says there are more than 800 homes within the immediate project. Water wells in other areas of Ontario and elsewhere have become contaminated allegedly due to drilling and vibrations from wind turbines. There is significant concern about contamination of the wells, and the assessment taking place.
North Stormont is dairy farm country, and each farm operation uses thousands of litres of water every day — what would be the effect on these businesses, and Ontario’s food supply, if suddenly, the water wells were not functioning?
Who is EDP?
EDP (parent of EDPR) is a Portuguese utility company partially owned by two of the Chinese government’s companies; China Three Gorges (23.27%) and CNIC Co., Ltd., (4.98%) and the former has been trying for several years to acquire the balance of the shares. That attempt is speculated to be off; however, a recent NY Times article suggested otherwise, based on discussions with Portugal securities regulator CMVM.
Where is democracy?
North Stormont, where the Nation Rise wind project is planned, declared itself an “unwilling host” in 2015, well before the award of the contract or the issuance of the REA. The people perhaps relied on promises made by former energy minister and Ottawa Liberal MPP, Bob Chiarelli, when in 2013 he declared: “It will be virtually impossible for a wind turbine, for example, or a wind project, to go into a community without some significant level of engagement”. Despite their council passing the unwilling host motion, and also joining the 117 Ontario municipalities demanding a return of local land-use planning for energy projects, the IESO still granted Nation Rise the contract.
There are many questions about this project and many reasons why it simply isn’t needed. Cancelling this contentious project is a perfect way to lower future electricity costs, directly.
*The Toronto Star reported in an article dated October 19, 2016 the next Ontario election would be on June 7th, 2018
End unnecessary wind power project and save $400 million: Wind Concerns Ontario tells Premier Doug Ford
A new wind power project will be a huge expense to Ontario consumers, and has worrisome environmental features, too. End it, Wind Concerns Ontario says.
October 31, 2018
At the meeting of the Standing Committee on Social Policy at Queen’s Park on Monday, October 29, the president of the wind power industry’s trade association and lobbyist, the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) spoke against ending the Green Energy Act in Ontario because, he said, wind power is now the cheapest option for power generation.
He claimed that contracts in Alberta now average 3.7 cents per kilowatt hour, which actually excludes support payments funded by carbon taxes in that province. We leave analysis of this almost certainly false claim to the usual analysts (Parker Gallant, Scott Luft, Steve Aplin, Marc Brouillette and others), but we have questions:
Why did Ontario contract for wind power at Nation Rise for 8.5 cents per kWh?
Why is this project going ahead at all, when there is no demonstrated need for the power?*
Why will Ontario electricity customers have to pay more than $400 million for a power project we don’t need?
The Nation Rise project in North Stormont (between Cornwall and Ottawa) is an emblem of everything wrong with Ontario’s renewables policy, under the former government. The 100-megawatt power project, being developed by wind power giant EDP with head offices in Spain, is minutes away from the R H Saunders Generating Station, whose full 1,000-megawatt capacity powered by the St. Lawrence River is rarely used.
Wind power, on the other hand, unlike hydro power, is intermittent and not to be relied upon — in Ontario, wind power is produced out-of-phase with demand (at night and in the spring and fall when demand is low).
And, it’s expensive.
Lawrence Solomon, executive director of Energy Probe in Toronto wrote Monday in the Financial Post that Ontario’s renewables are a significant factor in the mess that is Ontario’s power system. Renewables, he said, “which account for just seven per cent of Ontario’s electricity output but consume 40 per cent of the above-market fees consumers are forced to provide. Cancelling those contracts would lower residential rates by a whopping 24 per cent”.
Nation Rise may cost Ontario as much as $451 million over the 20-year contract, or $22 million a year.**
But there is more on Nation Rise, which again highlights the problem with many wind power developments — the dramatic impact on the environment for little benefit.
Serious environmental concerns have arisen during the citizen-funded appeal of the Nation Rise project, including the fact that it is to be built on land that contains many areas of unstable Leda or “quick” clay, and it is also in an earthquake zone. No seismic assessments were asked for by the environment ministry, or done. In fact, a “technical expert” for the environment ministry did not visit the project site as part of his “technical review” it was revealed during the appeal, but instead visited quarries outside the area.
He testified in fact that he didn’t even know Leda clay was present until after his inspection, until after he filed his report with the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, and until after he filed his evidence statement with the Environmental Review Tribunal.
Nation Rise received a conditions-laden Renewable Energy Approval just days before the writ for the June Ontario election.
It is Wind Concerns Ontario’s position that the Renewable Energy Approval for this project should be revoked, and the project ended, to save the environment, and save the people of Ontario hundreds of millions of dollars.
We don’t want to pay $400+ million for the power from Nation Rise.
*CanWEA and others neck-deep in the wind power game recite a statement purportedly from the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) in a Globe and M<ail article that Ontario will be in a power shortage in five years. This is false, of course, as the IESO hurried to correct.
**Thanks to Parker Gallant for these calculations.
Berwick area farm: 33 huge industrial wind turbines proposed, with risk to health, safety, environment and wildlife [Photo Dorothea Larsen, Kemptville]
September 12, 2018
The Concerned Citizens of North Stormont are hosting a special Country Breakfast-Brunch event this Saturday, September 15 at the Finch Arena, to offer information on the 100-megawatt “Nation Rise” wind power project, and to help raise funds for the citizen appeal of the power project.
The project is neither necessary nor wanted by the community.
The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) has stated that the project has met all the milestones; this is not possible as the project is under appeal, and is subject to a condition-laden Renewable Energy Approval. That approval was granted just three days before the writ for the recent Ontario election was drawn up.
In response to citizen concerns about damage to the aquifer and water supply and health impacts of exposure to noise emissions from the turbines, the power developer, EDPR of Spain, actually changed material aspect of the project in the middle of the appeal. The company announced in documents filed with the Environmental Review Tribunal that it was changed the method of construction to be used for the foundations, and changing the equipment type for the turbines.
The appeal has been halted for the moment but resumes next week with testimony on hydrogeology and risks to the environment.
Citizens of North Stormont are preparing for their appeal of the 100-megawatt wind power project, which begins Monday in Finch before the Environmental Review Tribunal
Wind turbine near Brinston, south of Ottawa: citizen reports of noise from industrial wind turbines are unresolved in Ontario [Photo: Ray Pilon]
July 22, 2018
In a bizarre fight which sees ordinary citizens marshalling scarce after-tax dollars to fight the Ontario government’s environment ministry to try to protect the environment (and safety and health), the Concerned Citizens of North Stormont begins its appeal of the 100-megawatt “Nation Rise” wind power project tomorrow, July 23rd.
The appeal goes before the quasi-judicial Environmental Review Tribunal, a panel that is part of the Environment and Lands Tribunals (ELTO) of Ontario.
Almost every single wind power project in Ontario has been appealed, but there have been few victories in a system apparently set up to favour the power developers. Most successful appeals were won on blatant risks to wildlife and the environment, and one on aviation safety (the completely insane Fairview Wind project, planned between two airports near Collingwood).
Despite decisions that note the pain suffered by people forced to live inside wind power projects, the Tribunal has refused to consider any risk to health from the huge industrial-scale wind turbines, that do emit a range of noise.*
The power developer, Portugal-based EDP, is represented by John Terry of international law firm Torys LLP; Mr Terry has also represented the wind industry lobbyist and trade association, CanWEA, in the past. The new environment ministry, now the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks or MECP, will also be represented by a team of lawyers.
The citizens’ group will be represented by lawyers from the environmental law firm of Eric K. Gillespie.
Risks to environment, safety and health
The community concerns filed with the Notice of Appeal include the danger to the area water supply (most of the project is on a “highly vulnerable” aquifer), safety from turbine operations, and health impacts from the noise from the industrial-scale wind power generators/turbines.
Tomorrow’s appearance will consist of Opening Statements, and a series of presenters including mechanical engineer Vern Martin, who will discuss safety concerns posed by the wind turbines and blades.
Tuesday, the themes are noise and health, and public safety, with Wind Concerns Ontario president Jane Wilson presenting data on the thousands of noise complaints lodged with the Ontario government which have not been resolved. Engineer William Palmer will present information on turbine events in Ontario related to debris and ice throw from the turbine blades.
Thursday will see appellant presenters discussing the risk to the aquifer and local water wells, posed by the foundation construction and wind turbine vibration.
The proceedings will take place in the Finch Community Centre and Arena, beginning at 9 a.m., and are open to the public.
Fund-raising for the citizen effort to protect the community is ongoing, please see the Go Fund Me link, here.
From the report on wind turbine noise by the Council of Canadian Academies, 2015: “Wind turbines are a particularly complex and distinctive source of sound, which can span a wide range of frequencies including low-frequency tones. …The evidence shows a positive relationship between outdoor wind turbine noise levels and the proportion of people who report high levels of annoyance. (“Annoyance” is employed here as a medical term denoting stress or distress. Annoyance is listed by the World Health Organization as an adverse health effect.)
Concerned Citizens of North Stormont leader Margaret Benke : power not needed, plenty of environmental dangers ahead
July 17, 2018
Residents of Berwick, Finch and Crysler, just 40 minutes south of Ottawa, are working day and night to prepare for their appeal of the Nation Rise wind power project, scheduled to begin next Monday in Finch.
The power project, planned to have a capacity of 100 megawatts of power (though wind power is typically less than 30% efficient) and would see more than 30 huge industrial wind turbines throughout the project area.
If it goes ahead, that is.
And that’s something many in the community are determined to fight.
The project was one of five new wind power contracts awarded in 2016 under the Large Renewable Procurement program (LRP). The 20-year cost of the contract, which will be added to Ontario electricity customers’ bills, will be more than $436 million, or almost $22 million a year. The new Ontario government pledged to cancel all five of those contracts and so far, has dispatched three of them, with an announcement last Friday.
Without formal cancellation, however, the community through a citizens group Concerned Citizens of North Stormont, is forced to proceed with its expensive appeal of the project’s Renewable Energy Approval. That approval, or REA, was given just three days before the writ period began for the recent Ontario election—an act that runs counter to the accepted idea that governments go into “caretaker” mode immediately prior to the election.
That is costing North Stormont residents thousands, but it’s costing all Ontario taxpayers, too, says Margaret Benke, spokesperson for the community group. “They have to send all those lawyers up here from Toronto, they have to stay somewhere, they have to eat — it all costs money, as they defend a bad decision made by the previous government.”
Why a bad decision? The majority of the power project would be built on land that is designated as a “highly vulnerable aquifer” meaning it is at risk for contamination by pollutants, and that the hydrogeology is such that the aquifer could be disturbed and wells for farms, homes and businesses could fail. That’s already happened near a wind power project in North Kent, and the new government has promised a public health investigation.
There are other environmental concerns about the project, including the risk of injury from blade failures and ice throw from the huge blades.
And then there’s the noise. The industrial-scale wind power generators produce a range of noise emissions which affect a significant portion of the population. The turbine noise can cause disturbance of sleep which results in other health problems; the unique quality of the turbine noise also results in “annoyance,” a medical term for stress or distress.
Almost every wind power project in Ontario has been appealed by Ontario citizens, and a few have been successful, but none on human health. At present, according to Wind Concerns Ontario, there are thousands of official reports of excessive wind turbine noise, almost none of which have ever been resolved.
The power developer, Portugal-based EDP Renewables, operates the South Branch wind power project in nearby Brinston; there have been noise complaints for that project, but they are unavailable under Freedom of Information requests because the Environment ministry’s Cornwall office did not follow procedures and issue tracking numbers for the complaints.
Wind Concerns Ontario president Jane Wilson, a Registered Nurse, says that situation “is an outrage. If it were anything else, like a model of automobile that had a few engine fires, or a food product that was contaminated, it would be recalled. In Ontario, this terrible situation is allowed to go on and on, with the Environmental Review Tribunal and the former Ministry of the Environment just letting it happen.”
“This appeal is the community’s last chance for justice outside of the court system or the Legislature,” says Wilson. “I hope the Tribunal will finally recognize its responsibility to this community, and rescind the approval for this project.”
Many analysts and commentators are now looking over the ruins of the Ontario government from the election last week, and pointing to the McGuinty-Wynne government’s disastrous handling of the electricity sector, particularly the ideology-driven push for renewables, as a factor.
Two Auditors General said Ontario had never done a cost-benefit analysis for its aggressive support of industrial-scale wind power and that we were paying too much — far too much — for the power. Which was intermittent and unreliable to boot, so it could never do what they said it would.
Now, Ottawa-based energy insider Steve Aplin says, not only was large-scale wind expensive it was also a waste of time: wind power has never been shown to reduce CO2 or carbon emissions.
Wind did not replace the power produced by Ontario’s shuttered coal plants, gas and nuclear did.
Read Mr Aplin’s excellent analysis here, but remember, a 100-megawatt power project was just approved for North Stormont, just south of Ottawa, and an approval is pending for another project east, in The Nation.
Neither community wants the power projects, there are significant environmental concerns, and Ontario doesn’t need the intermittent power produced out-of-phase with demand.