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Posts Tagged ‘Bart Geleynse’

Prowind president Cathy Weston has a letter published in today’s Woodstock Sentinel-Review, the newspaper for people living near Prowind’s two southern Ontario proposed projects. Here it is:

Dear Editor,

Mr. Desmond’s grandstand statements about the effects of wind turbines on surrounding property values are anecdotal in nature and certainly do not hold true to scientifi c rigor. A recent study completed within Chatham-Kent concluded there is no statistical evidence to demonstrate that wind farms negatively affect rural residential market values. ( http://www.canwea.ca/pdf/talkwind/Proper tyValuesConsultingReportFebruary42010.pdf)

His comments about the lack of opportunity for taxation because “senior management” are shied away from areas with wind farms is unsubstantiated. He further neglects to remind readers that wind turbines themselves generate tax revenue for the community. Municipalities receive annual tax dollars for the duration of the wind farm based on the output potential of each turbine. Local governments also benefit indirectly from the improvements to roads and other infrastructure that wind developers must upgrade in order to complete development.

Further, development, construction and operation of wind farms bring additional income to the community in the form of jobs and income to the landowners. The development of wind farms on agricultural properties ensures that farming activities can continue for years to come by providing supplementary income to farmers, and protecting against urbanization of rural areas.

The Green Energy Act aimed to streamline the approvals process, to reduce duplication of time and effort in proposal review, and to offer a consistent approach to renewable energy development throughout the Province. That said, the uniqueness of each community in Ontario must continue to be respected. Prowind Canada considers local governments to be an important stakeholder in all projects, providing strong representation for the area. Township and county officials are consulted on all major elements of project development to ensure that their feedback and requirements specific to the community are incorporated into project design.

The wind energy industry is committed to responsible and sustainable development in Ontario and across the country. Setbacks in Ontario for wind turbines are among the most stringent in the world and are designed to protect health and safety of the public. In March 2011, the Ontario Divisional Court decision upheld the current regulations for wind turbine setbacks of 550 metres, stating that these distances were established through extensive public consultation, considering the views of a wide range of stakeholders.

Cathy Weston, President, Prowind Canada Inc.

You can make up your own mind but we have a couple of points for discussion:

-the Chatham-Kent property value study (also known as the Simmons-Canning report, paid for by the Canadian Wind Energy Association/CanWEA) was rife with errors; the authors couldn’t get the results they wanted so they ran analysis after analysis to come to their conclusion. It must be noted that the authors relied only on VIEW of the turbines as a potential factor affecting value; they note that noise and other effects could affect value but they did not study that. There are other studies that DO show a loss in property value such as Appraisal One Group, Chris Luxemburger (who has been a guest in North Gower), Michael McCann and more. For an interview with an Ontario Realtor discussing property values and industrial wind turbines, go to: http://www.bayshorebroadcasting.ca/news_item.php?NewsID=35521 His opinion? 25-40% drop in value. Note also that the Ontario Real Estate Association now lists power projects such as wind turbine installations along with garbage dumps and gravel quarries on its Sellers’ Property Information Sheet or SPIS.

-While it is true that the landowners leasing land for industrial wind turbines are paid for their leases, there are very few jobs associated with industrial wind power projects. Most of the jobs are in the very short-term for construction, and then afterward, there is only one job per 10 turbines at most, if you follow the example of other projects. At Wolfe Island, for example, three local jobs have been created, for 86 turbines.

-“Protecting against urbanization of rural areas”???????????? We fail to see how industrializing a village and its surroundings by installing an industrial wind power generation project is protecting anything.

Let’s have another quote from Prowind, shall we? Bart Geleynse, speaking to Mark Sutcliffe on Rogers TV, April 2010. Sutcliffe: Do the turbines make noise? Geleynse: “Of course they do; they’re power plants.”

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Bart Geleynse of Prowind, which has proposals in for six industrial wind turbine developments in Eastern Ontario, and two others elsewhere in Ontario, is responding to citizen reaction. Mr Geleynse wrote a letter to the editor of the Woodstock Sentinel Review last month. Here it is:

Dear Editor,

Several articles and letters to the editor have run in this paper over the past months challenging wind energy as a viable and healthy source of electricity generation. Of course, it is wonderful to see opinions freely expressed, but these pieces often valued anecdote over actuality. Given the importance of renewable energy to the present and future of our economy, our environment and our well being, the real story begs articulating through a simple examination of the facts.

The growth if wind energy around the world continues at a strong and consistent pace? Between 2000- 2009, a net amount of 65.1 gigawatts (GW) of wind power was installed in Europe while fuel oil, coal and nuclear capacity decreased by 13GW, 12GW and 7.2GW respectively. In 2009, more wind power was installed in Europe than any other electricity generating technology. Over 10GW of wind power was installed in 2009 while over 3GW of coal generation was decommissioned during the same period

Wind power is creating jobs and stimulating economies across North America as it continues to outpace the installation rate of all other electricity generation technologies year on year.

A sustainable supply of electricity will most certainly continue to include a mix of fuel types and technologies. In the context of the rising cost and increasingly uncertain supply of conventional fuel sources, wind power is a progressively essential and affordable component of that vital mix.

Ontario has set targets to replace the electricity from its coal-fired plants over the next few years with electricity from renewable sources. This is a highly achievable goal that comes with the benefits of significantly reduced pollution and increased economic activity in the province over both the short and long term. Further, it enables farmers and rural communities to play a direct and strategic role in our global energy future. The importance of this cannot be overstated.

Locally, the proposed Innerkip and Gunn’s Hill wind farms represent enormous potential benefit to stakeholders and their communities, including but not limited to:

120,000 MWh of locally generated electricity annually (approximately 14,000 homes, and greenhouse has emissions reduction equivalent to 8,903 hectares acres of forest each year)

Municipal tax revenue

$25,000 per year to local community groups

Annual revenue for landowners

Significant economic activity for local contractors during construction

Predictable and stable electricity costs throughout the project lifetime

So why is wind power attracting negative press? What should be made of the claims regarding wind turbines and their perceived impacts on humans and wildlife? Fundamentally, it is a matter of perspective. There is nothing in this world that exists without exacting some sort of influence on its surroundings; no method of generating electricity that doesn’t create some amount of environmental impact. The question is, which method impacts us the least? We live in a world of complex interdependencies across the spheres of environment, economics, and society, and a fair answer to that question must take all facets into consideration.

Turbines can be seen and are sometimes heard, and this might understandably annoy some people. However, the Ontario government has put in place some of the world’s most stringent regulations around the siting and operation of wind turbines in order to minimize this annoyance, and to strike a healthy balance between the clear benefits of a clean, cost-certain electricity source and the subjective costs of an altered landscape.

In May 2010, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health released a report concluding that, “according to scientific evidence, there isn’t any direct causal link between wind turbine noise and adverse health effects.” This is a strong statement that not surprisingly validates the global body of peer-reviewed evidence that has been published on the subject for decades. The real threat to our health, it seems, is maintaining the status quo. Burning coal, damming rivers, and coping with hazardous nuclear waste are activities that have significant negative impact on humans, wildlife and the environment, even to the point of premature death.

Getting to the heart of it, humans naturally resist change. Historically, some of the greatest technological advancements were opposed with passion and fervour that disregarded rational bounds. Change happens to us whether we wish it to or not, and progress will always involve overcoming that natural reticence to adapt to it.

Wind energy is safe, proven and effective, and it allows us all the opportunity to play a tangible role in moving toward a brighter future. One that embraces innovation, wastes less, and pollutes less for the sake of a cleaner, more secure and more sustainable life for present and future generations.

Sincerely, Bart Geleynse

Prowind Canada

———

So, there’s nothing wrong with industrial-scale wind turbines, it’s just that people “resist change”? That’s his opinion but in the rest of the letter, his facts are wrong: Europe is back-tracking on its commitment to wind power development because the economic forecasts turned out to be completely disappointing. Economic reports from Germany and Spain show that no new jobs were created as a result of wind power; Denmark has stopped giving subsidies to wind developments;the country that has the lowest CO2 emissions and the lowest cost of electricity for consumers is FRANCE, which relies on nuclear power. And setbacks? In Ontario Mr Geleynse’s “stringent restrictions” are for 550 meters between an industrial wind turbine and a home…in Europe, the setback is 1-2 km with 2 km becoming the norm.

The claim that wind can replace coal power plants is completely false; it would take many many thousands of industrial wind turbines even to approach the power produced by coal-fired power plants. Mr Geleynse also refers to the capacity of industrial wind turbines without mentioning that they rarely exceed 25% of their capacity. This is a fact. A report from the U.K. dated yesterday shows that the wind turbine installations there are operating at less than 25% capacity. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1303688/More-half-Britains-wind-farms-built-wind.html

Mr Geleynse also refers to the Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health report released in May of this year, as proof that there are no health problems from exposure to the noise and vibration from industrial wind turbines. This “report” was simply another review (carefully guided to use industry-selected papers) and not a health study in any way. It has been roundly criticized by medical experts. The question being asked, over and over, is: WHY isn’t anyone doing a proper health study, that actually looks at people and their complaints? Dr Carl V. Phillips, an epidemiologist, has said the reports to date are “self-serving”; the people who have the resources to do a proper study have chosen not to.

Mr Geleynse says the “real story” needs articulation of “the facts”. We agree there: indeed, it does.

And the facts show that wind doesn’t work. Ontario is racing toward a very expensive inefficient and ineffective form of energy generation that at the end of the day is going to be an expensive and ruinous debacle.

Mr Geleynse is not an economist; nor is he an environmentalist; he is not trained in health issues. He is a salesperson for Prowind, a corporate wind developer based in Germany. That is all.

For more news daily, please check http://windconcernsontario.wordpress.com and to email the North Gower Wind Action Group, northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

 

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Everyone should see this video interview with Dr Robert McMurtry (whose testimony the Government of Ontario did not want you to hear in the Ian Hanna challenge to the Green Energy Act).

Well worth it, and for the views of Prince Edward County which is about to “host” dozens of wind turbines.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkdYuGooVIM&feature=player_embedded

After watching please consider contributing to the Ian Hanna legal fund. Download the donation from from http://windconcernsontario.wordpress.com

Email the North Gower Wind Action Group at northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

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In the May edition of The AgriNews: “Prowind is also involved in a project planned for the North Gower area that is meeting with determined opposition from local residents, some of whom are concerned over what they maintain are health hazards posed by the giant turbines.”

“Determined opposition”? Yes, indeed.

And we don’t “maintain” there are health hazards, we know from the experience of other people in this province, in New York State, and in Europe that there ARE health hazards associated with sleep deprivation.

In the article, Prowind’s Bart Geleynse says the company (which has headquarters in Germany) is looking for local people to invest in the Brinston project, a 30 megawatt wind turbine installation. He said it “represents a much lower risk than regular development financing.” That is only because the province is paying such outrageous rates for the power; the minute the subsidies disappear, so does any reason for building wind turbine projects.

In her April 10 column in The Globe and Mail, Margaret Wente wrote: Welcome to the wacky world of green power, where misguided governments have sparked a massive corporate feeding frenzy (at taxpayers’ expense) to achieve little or nothing of any social benefit. …The heart of [the] strategy is to pay massive subsidies to wind, solar and other renewable energy producers–many of them large multinational corporations–for the next 20 years.”

She goes on to quote Britain’s George Monbiot who says, “The feed-in tariffs…are extortionate, useless and deeply regressive. The technologies the scheme will reward are comically inefficient.”

“Determined opposition”? Yes. For so many reasons.

To contact the North Gower Wind Action Group, email northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

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Interesting, isn’t it, how both the Ottawa Sun AND the Ottawa Citizen ended up interviewing a so-called North Gower resident who said the wind turbine development was a welcome addition to the community and would represent a mulit-million-dollar investment to North Gower? What are the odds that out of 200 people, both Ottawa papers would interview THE SAME GUY?

Never mind that his claims are patently untrue: there are NO jobs as a result of turbine construction as the developers use their own specialized construction crews to build and then their own crews to maintain—it’s often a condition of their insurance. Never mind that Ontario is already rich with a source of renewable enerhgy: hydro.

But Mr O’Connor will have none of it. He gets all his facts from movies and from the wind industry.

People attending the meeting noticed a young man trying very hard to get interviewed by the media. Not your average citizen.

Very interesting.

Email North Gower Wind Action Group at northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

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Perhaps the greatest compliment this wind action group has heard yet came last evening when a community member got up and said that too often, views on wind turbines can be very polarized, but that the panel discussion at the April 13th meeting was the most reasoned and informative he had heard yet.

And that was the tone of the evening. Reason. Information. Shared experiences. Truth.

To sum up:

Dr John Harrison, who has addressed international conferences on noise issues, said that there is a serious disconnect between Ontario’s regulations for wind turbine noise and what engineers and health experts know. He concluded that all things considered, i.e., low wind potential, the number of homes and families that could be exposed to the noise etc., he cannot understand the rationale for a wind turbine development in North Gower. “Why they keep putting these things on top of people in Ontario is beyond me,” he said.

Carmen Krogh documented health effects throughout the province being experienced by people living with wind turbines; she dealt with industry denial, likening their response to that of the tobacco industry which denied any ill effects from tobacco use for decades, despite medical research.

Lawyer Eric Gillespie spoke on the Ian Hanna case, the challenge to the legitimacy of the Green Energy Act in Ontario…legislation that has removed the powers of municipalities to plan and to protect their citizens.

Brampton Realtor Chris Luxemburger discussed results of his now six-year-old study of 600 properties in the Shelburne-Melancthon area which revealed the negative effects of industrial wind turbines on property value; he will soon release results of a new study, which involves 18,000 properties.

And last, retired teacher Stephana Johnston travelled for hours from her Long Point Ontario home to share experiences of living with industrial wind turbines. “The effects Dr Harrison explained to you are for ONE turbine,” she said. “When you have 18 of them around your house as I do, the effect multiplies. … I can tell you, no one in the wind industry is living with 18 turbines around their house.”

And now a correction: the CBC interviewed Prowind’s Bart Geleynse prior to the meeting and he said that the complaints of people like Stephana Johnston are “psychosomatic” and a “reaction to something new,”  “largely based on emotion.” The Prowind sales rep then claimed that the “majority” of the medical community says there are no health effects from wind turbines. This is not at all true: the biased review commissioned by the wind development lobby says that, but other studies clearly identify ill effects from the constant noise and vibration from wind turbines.

Finally, Mr. Geleynse said that Prowind has got approval for its environmental assessment and will have the turbines operating by 2013.  THIS IS NOT TRUE. In fact, according to our legal advisor,Prowind does not have environmental approval for the turbines proposed for North Gower-Richmond, and no decisions have been made by the Ministry of the Environment in Ontario. Further, Prowind has NOT been granted a Feed In Tariff contract with the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) and in fact this project is on a waiting list for transmission capacity. Mr Geleynse’s remarks were aimed at persuading citizens to believe this is a “done deal” and nothing further can be done about it.

Mr Geleynse also told the CBC that he had asked to speak at the meeting and was “turned down”. Not really: it was explained to him that we had a full panel of speakers on the issues (it was not a debate) and he was welcome to attend (but didn’t).

We would also like to correct the impression left by the story in The Ottawa Citizen that Councillor Glenn Brooks did not attend; he was in the audience though not at his reserved seat.

Two hundred plus people attended and more than 100 news signatures on the petition calling for health studies.

Onwards!

To get in touch with the North Gower Wind Action Group, email northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

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