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Posts Tagged ‘Beckwith’

We are ever-cautious about providing sound clips of industrial wind turbine noise because, honestly, your computer speakers cannot come close to giving you a realistic experience of the sound, and certainly not the infrasound or vibration, which has to be felt. This Youtube clip, recorded just last week (February, 2011) is useful, however, because the recorder has included visuals of sound measurement. The turbines—part of a NextEra (Florida Power and Light) wind turbine installation in Dekalb County, Illinois–exceed 61 dBA during this recording.

As you may know, Ontario legislation is that turbines cannot exceed an AVERAGE of 40 dBA; but they regularly do, and Ministry of the Environment staff say in answer to complaints that they are not trained or equipped to do measurement…actually, this week, members of Wind Concerns Ontario say their complaints are now not even being answered. Here is the video clip:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ERgFdRrp9M&feature=player_embedded

We wonder if people contemplating leasing their land for wind turbines have ever heard the turbine noise, or experienced the vibration. You should certainly want to before you get into a 20-year relationship with a corporate wind developer, who probably doesn’t live anywhere near you. Or a turbine.

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

You may also follow us on Twitter at northgowerwind

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Response from WCO on Court Ruling.

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Companies you never heard of are coming to Ontario to take advantage of the fact that the Ontario government is handing out money in baskets for wind and solar projects. Jobs, jobs, jobs? New “green” economy? Not for us: all the profits will be going to companies not based in Ontario.

Here’s a story about one: Fortress Energy based in Calgary is selling off its oil and natural gas assets to come to Ontario, and purchase smaller wind projects that are already assembled, i.e. options and leases have been signed with property owners.

http://af.reuters.com/article/energyOilNews/idAFL3E7DI1TL20110218

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UPDATE 1-Fortress Energy to become clean power producer

Fri Feb 18, 2011 8:04pm GMT

* Says to focus on renewable energy

* Says identified 10 FIT-eligible projects

* Shares up 12 pct (Adds details)

Feb 18 (Reuters) – Fortress Energy Inc said it plans to convert itself from an oil and gas producer, to an independent producer of clean power, sending its shares up 12 percent.

Fortress, which has been reviewing strategic alternatives since last year, plans to focus on renewable energy and low emissions gas-fired facilities in regions with growing demand for power where government-backed power purchase agreements are available.

In September, the company closed the sale of most of its oil and gas assets to Terra Energy Corp , including the Square Creek assets in Western Canada, for about C$34.6 million ($35.1 million) in a cash-and-stock deal.

Fortress hopes to benefit from the Ontario government’s 20-year energy plan which it unveiled in 2007, promoting the use of natural gas and renewable powers and replacing the use of coal fired generation by 2014.

The Ontario Power Authority introduced the feed-in-tariff (FIT) program in 2009 to encourage power developers to invest in clean energy facilities.

Fortress has identified 10 such projects with power capacity of about 500 megawatts, which it is reviewing for acquisition, it said in a statement.

Shares of the Calgary, Alberta-based company were up 12 percent at 14.5 Canadian cents Friday late afternoon on the Toronto Stock Exchange. ($1 = 0.985 Canadian Dollars) (Reporting by Gowri Jayakumar)

© Thomson Reuters 2011

northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

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CBC’s The Current did a documentary on the industrial wind turbines on Wolfe Island, near Kingston, today. Called “Beauty and the Beast” it purported to examine what has happened on the island during the leasing process for wind turbines and now, what the effects has been on the community.

Health problems? Not discussed.

Bird kills? The one farmer interviewed said he farms right up to the base of the turbines and he never sees any dead bodies. (Wow, that’s scientific.) Transalta’s own research on the hundreds of bird deaths? Not a mention.

At the end of the program the message you’re left with is that it’s a “generational thing”. Specifically, anyone over 50 objcets to the industrial wind turbines because they don’t like change. “I can respect that,” said Ian Baines, the developer who began the Wolfe Island project, sold out to the larger developer and who is now planning 100 turbines offshore. But, he said, I think in a generation we’ll see that change is good.

Good for somebody. But not everybody. Expropriation without compensation.

For more information on Ian Baines, and on the future plans for Wolfe Island and Amherst Island, go to: http://www.amherstislandwindinfo.com/wi-shoals.htm

To hear the audio go to http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent and click on featured audio on the right hand; it’s about 23 minutes long. (Forget about commenting, CBC closed the link to comments.)

Email us at northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

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A Spanish wind developer in New York State is threatening to cancel its plans for an industrial wind turbine development (you’ll never see us calling them “farms”) because the municipality is considering holding them to a contract that says any property value loss must be compensated for, by the developer.

Of course, they say that property values won’t decline. So why worry?

 Here’s the story:

Iberdrola Threatens To Leave

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 8, 2010
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HAMMOND – If Hammond adopts a wind law that requires Iberdrola Renewables Inc. to compensate property owners who see drops in their land values, the company says it will scrap plans to build a proposed wind farm.

“They’ve basically said if we pass this agreement, that they will pick up their tinker toys and leave the sandbox,” said Richard K. Champany, the wind committee member responsible for the proposal. Mr. Champany, a real estate attorney with offices in Alexandria Bay and Pulaski, said he didn’t anticipate this reaction from Iberdrola.

“It’s very infuriating,” he said, holding up the letter from Iberdrola. “I’ve attempted to mediate and make everyone happy. This is a very fair proposal. I didn’t expect this kind of reaction.”

“It also says they don’t have any experience with property values dropping,” said Michele W. McQueer, committee tri-chair, “and that they would like to discuss the proposal with us.”

I could care less what Iberdrola feels about the agreement,” said Ronald R. Papke, tri-chair of the committee appointed by the Hammond town board to draft a law regulating wind turbines. “If there aren’t any negative effects to property values, then they are no worse for wear if this agreement is included. We’re here to protect the citizens of Hammond.”According to Mr. Champany, his proposal calls for assurances from Iberdrola that if a property owner cannot get the appraised value of his/her home at sale because of the presence of wind turbines, then Iberdrola would be required to make up the difference.

“This agreement must be entered into within 90 days of the conclusion of the permitting process, and is good only for those properties falling within a two-mile range of a windmill,” he said. Additionally, according to Mr. Champany, the proposal calls for a one-time only “buyout clause,” which would give a property owner who was completely opposed to living near a turbine an opportunity to have Iberdrola buy their property outright.

For the purpose of the agreement, Mr. Champany said, a qualified professional appraiser, licensed in New York and not related to the property owner or with a relationship with Iberdrola, must conduct the appraisal. Comparable properties would come from the neighboring town of Alexandria, “where there are no wind farms due to the proximity of the Maxon Air Field.”

If both parties cannot agree upon the asking price of the property, Mr. Champany said, an appraiser with MAI certification must be selected by Iberdrola. He defined MAI certification as “the highest level of professionalism.”

According to Mr. Champany and the wind committee, the proposal was just that – a work in progress.

“These were my thoughts,” he said, “but I’m open to committee suggestion, as well as ideas from community members. I mean, we’re here to serve the best interests of this community, and to work together, right?”

The remainder of Tuesday’s meeting, chaired by Mrs. McQueer, was dedicated to ranking the quality of the committee’s collected documentation on the issues surrounding industrial wind energy development.

“We’re going to go through all of the documentation and rank them on a scale of one to three, with a one being the lowest level, and a three being the highest,” Mrs. McQueer said, revealing a pyramid-visual labeled “Hierarchy of Evidence.”

Mr. Papke objected, questioning the committee’s ability to rank its sources, as well as the usefullness of such an undertaking.

“We’ve all done a lot of research. I have about 10 reams of material I’ve collected during my own. This ranking of documentation is not going to be the sole basis by which we make our recommendations. A lot of it is subjective,” he said.

Dr. Stephen D. Sarfaty agreed with Mrs. McQueer that he felt the exercise would be valuable to the committee’s end result.

“We said we would consider any information from any source. If we rank them, it will undoubtedly help the committee with the charge we have been given,” he said.

“A systematic approach is necessary, otherwise, it’s an opinion-fest. Let’s take a less controversial area, go through the exercise, and see where it brings us.”

Frederick A. Proven pointed out that the committee is “running out of time.”

Mr. Papke lamented on the volume of resources and stated, “There’s an awful lot here, I would be hard pressed to say these are the facts.”

The committee decided to rank their documentation on environmental issues and, after about an hour of labeling the sources as a 1, 2, or 3, Mr. Champany asked, “Why are we doing this?”

“Because we agreed to,” Mrs. McQueer said.

The committee will meet again on Dec. 16 at 7 p.m. in the Village Community Center.

 http://www.ogd.com/article/20101208/OGD01/312089904/-1/ogd01

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Can you imagine the cost of having to buy out or compensat everyone within a 2-mile/4 km radius of an industrial wind turbine development, when you have deliberately CHOSEN to build next to hundreds of homes? Interesting.

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We are still reeling from the hypocrisy of Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan’s statements yesterday about Ontario’s power situation, rising electricity bills, and the Ontario government’s plans. The script seems to be following closely the recommendations of the Sussex Strategy Group which advised its “loose coalition” of corporate wind developers to focus on jobs.  People are willing to pay more for electricity the group said in a leaked communications strategy document, if they think it will result in more jobs and investment.

So what did Mr Duncan say? We refer to his appearance on TVOntario’s “The Agenda” the evening after his economic update. His mantra over and over was “cleaner air” and “more jobs”. He pointed to wind energy in particular and talked about “windmills”. The great thing about wind is, he said, after an initial investment once a windmill is “up and built you don’t have to pay for the wind.”

Absolute nonsense: the FIT rate for wind developers now is $0.13 per kilowatt hour, while consumers are being charged up to 9.9 cents per kilowatt hour. And solar is worse, with producers being paid 80 cents a kilowatt hour. Clearly, somebody is paying for something.

He spoke of a power utopia in which all energy is clean but it’s going to cost us a bit to get there. His 10% discount on electricity bills is to help “families be able to afford this transition.”

Ottawa’s Bob Chiarelli followed the playbook in more detail in an appearance on CBC radio’s Ottawa Morning. He said the McGuinty government plans to close ALL coal-fired power generation which is the “equivalent of getting 7 million cars off the road.” He mentioned jobs but kept coming back to health issues, and said Ontario needs cleaner air so people won’t be getting sick and kids won’t be having asthma attacks. “We’re asking the people to be partners in our investment.”

With multiple billions of dollars going to mostly foreign-owned corporate wind and solar developers, that is a significant investment. And one that’s not needed according to people like Tom Adams (former Energy Probe executive director) or Parker Gallant (a former banker) and a host of other experts. And the spectre of people getting sick and dying from “dirty coal”? Not true: Health Canada cannot find any connection between air pollution and hospitalizations for respiratory illness. Professor Ross McKitrick says that the true determinants of respiratory illness are income levels, and smoking.

Ontario’s own figures show that air pollution is on the decline in Ontario. Sources are pollution from the United States’ industry and coal-fired plants, and from Ontario’s own cars and trucks. So, the “equivalent of 7 million cars” being shut down isn’t actually going to take 7 million cars off the road…

The Ontario Power Authority was set to announce a new round of Feed-in Tariff contracts this week and is now saying “late November”. Now that the stage has been set with the ideas of clean air and lots of jobs (also not true), the announcement will like go ahead.

In the meantime, this from a letter from the Township of East Garafraxa in Ontario to Premier McGuinty, referring to the placement of turbines and the effect on that community: “Perhaps he [Energy Minister Brad Duguid] should talk to some of the residents who continue to report health implications and loss of property values and who live daily with the issues of the turbines and related transformers. Some of these people have lived their entire lives on these properties and now face moving to survive. The Province should listen to their concerns of sleep disturbance, dizziness, headaches, and a host of other symptoms, and study the health implications and financial implications to the residents and municipalities.” (Signed by Mayor Allen Taylor.)

We leave it to the pundits to analyze this further but we refer you to Wind Concerns Ontario http://windconcernsontario.wordpress.com

for further comments and stories.

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

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A Canadian epidemiologist testified at a Public Service Commission hearing in Wisconsin, on the health effects noted from exposure to the noise and vibration (infrasound) from industrial wind turbines. Note how simple it would be to do actual research on actual people, in his opinion. But instead, the Ontario government proffers a highly selective review paper as “research”, as did the wind energy lobby in Canada.

If the corporate wind developers were truly concerned about the health of Canadians (“Coal is killing people!” [it isn’t.] ) they would pay for a real study.

The link is provided if you wish to view a video of  Dr Phillips’ testimony, and a transcript of his remarks follows.

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

PSC: Please raise your right hand. Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?

Carl V. Phillips: Yes, I do.

PSC: OK, spell your name.

PHILLIPS: Carl V. Phillips, C-A-R-L, initial V as in Vincent- Phillips- P-H-I-double L-I-P-S

PSC: All right, go ahead.

I’m an epidemiologist and policy researcher.  I’m specifically expert in how to optimally derive knowledge for decision making from epidemiologic data.

I have a PhD in public policy from Harvard University, and I did a post doctoral fellowship in public health policy and the philosophy of science.

I’ve spent most of my career as a professor of public health and medicine, most recently at the University of Alberta and I currently direct an independent research institute.

I reviewed the literature on health effects of wind turbines on local residents, including the reports that have been prepared by industry consultants and the references therein, and I have reached the following conclusions which I present in detail in a written report that I believe will be submitted [to the commission].

First, there is ample evidence that some people suffer a collection of health problems, including insomnia, anxiety, loss of concentration, general psychological distress, as a result of being exposed to turbines near their home.

The type of studies that have been done are not adequate to estimate what portion of the population is susceptible to the effect, the magnitude of the effects, or exactly how much exposure is needed before the risks become substantial, but all of these could be determined with fairly simple additional research.

What is clear is there is a problem of some magnitude.  The evidence may or may not be enough to meet the burden of a tort claim about a specific disease, but in my opinion it’s clearly enough to suggest that our public policy should not just be to blindly move forward without more knowledge.

The best evidence we have—which has been somewhat downplayed in previous discussion—is what’s known as “case cross-over data,” which is one of the most useful forms of epidemiologic study when both the exposure and the disease are transitory.  That is, it’s possible to remove the exposure and see if the disease goes away, then reinstate it and see if the disease recurs, which is exactly the pattern that has been observed for some of the sufferers who physically moved away and sometimes back again.

With that study design in mind, we actually have very substantial amounts of data in a structured form, contrary to some of the claims that have been made.  And more data of this nature could easily be gathered if an effort was made.

Moreover, people’s avoidance behavior—their moving from their homes, and so forth—is a clear (what’s called) “revealed preference measure” of their suffering.  Such evidence transforms something that might be dismissed as a subjective experience or perhaps even fakery, to an objective observation that someone’s health problems are worth more than the many thousands of dollars they’ve lost trying to escape the exposure.

My second observation . . . is that these health effects that people are suffering are very real.  The psychologically mediated diseases that we’ve observed, and in fact overall mental well being, are included in all modern accepted definitions of either individual health or public health.  It’s true that they are more difficult to study than certain other diseases, but they probably account for more of the total morbidity burden in the United States than do purely physical diseases.  Therefore [they] should not be in any way dismissed.

Third, the reports that I have read that claim there is no evidence that there is a problem seem to be based on a very simplistic understanding of epidemiology and self-serving definitions of what does and what does not count as evidence.  I don’t think I can cover too much of this in the available time right now, but I explain it in detail in my report—why these claims, which probably seem convincing to most readers prima facie [at first glance], don’t represent proper scientific reading.  Moreover, the conclusions of the reports don’t even match their own analyses.  The reports themselves actually concede that there are problems, and then somehow manage to reach the conclusion that there is no evidence that there are problems.

And my final point, as I’ve already alluded to, is it’s quite possible to do the studies it would take to resolve the outstanding questions, and they could actually be done very quickly by studying people who are already exposed.

This isn’t the type of circumstance where we cannot really know more until we move forward and wait for years of additional exposure.  The only reason we don’t have better information than we do is that no one with adequate resources has tried to get it.

That’s the conclusion of my points.

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