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Posts Tagged ‘Brinston’

People travelled from Edwardsburgh-Cardinal, Lanark County, Amherst Island and North Gower and Richmond yesterday to see the award-winning documentary film by Laura Israel, Windfall. The film follows the story of the people of Meredith in upstate New York, as they contemplate leasing land to two wind power development corporations for industrial wind turbines.

Featured weere interviews with residents of Tug Hill New York where there are 170 turbines; they talked about what the power project has done to their community and how some people’s health has been affected.

Interesting comment by a person in Meredith, on government subsidies for industrial power projects: “If they gave us the $3 million, we could [use small-scale local power projects] get this entire town off the grid.”

The audience gave a round of applause after the film was over and several people had questions for Laura, who was with us via Skype. She gave the news that New York State last week passed legislation that is similar to the Green Energy Act, which means local council no longer have control over industrial developments such as wind power generation projects; as well, she said, Meredith is now threatened by shale gas exploration and development, which has caused problems elsewhere.

Windfall is showing in several other communities in Ontario; for a schedule and to see the movie trailer, visit:

http://www.windfallthemovie.com   

 

To email us for information and future events, northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

 

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Here is a report from Lichfield in the U.K., where a concerted effort by citizens about an industrial wind turbine project proposed by German firm Prowind, has resulted in a recommendation to reject the proposal. The turbines were to be 420 feet (compared with 626 feet proposed for North Gower-Richmond). Here is the story, dated today, March 8, 2011.

Council officials recommend rejecting plan for new wind farm near Lichfield

Plans for a new wind farm near Lichfield have been dealt a blow after planning officers recommended the project be rejected.

German company ProWind had drawn up the scheme for the 420-ft high turbines near Haunton. However Lichfield District Council officials have highlighted three reasons why the development should be rejected when the authority’s planning committee meets on March 14. The reasons for refusal have been highlighted as:

  • Adverse impact on local landscape, which is not outweighed by the benefits of the proposal.
  • Adverse impact on the amenities of neighbouring residents which is not outweighed by the benefits of the proposal.
  • Substantial harm to the setting and significance of Dunnimere Farm, a Grade II Listed Building which is not outweighed by the benefits of the proposal.

Staffordshire County Councillor for Lichfield Rural East, Matthew Ellis, said:

“This is significant and welcome news and reflects well the views made during what was a very effective community campaign by several hundred people. 

“Clearly these are strong recommendations which I hope the planning committee will adopt. If they do, the company do have the option to seek a Public Planning Inquiry.”

…….

The story and a link to the actual council report is here: http://thelichfieldblog.co.uk/2011/03/07/council-officials-recommend-rejecting-plan-for-new-wind-farm-near-lichfield/

“Adverse effects … on neighbouring residents.”  We’ll be watching for the results of the meeting on March 14th.

northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

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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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Financial Post editor Terence Corcoran writes about what the Ontario government is doing with taxpayers’ money in the interest of being “green” and creating a “clean” power source (except, we already had one, nuclear at about 50%, and hydro) that will also somehow miraculously create 50,000 jobs.

Note: a caller to CFRA yesterday asked, why isn’t the money going to help people do small-scale energy-saving or energy-producing projects at home? Point taken: small-scale solar and wind, also geo-thermal, could help conserve power but it is too expensive for most people…why not help with that?

Terence Corcoran: Ontario burns up more green cash

National Post

National Post

A massive solar energy project in Sarnia, Ont.

  February 24, 2011 – 7:46 pm

Ontario’s green jobs come at a cost of up to $207,000 each

North America’s only feed-in-tariff smokestack, a renewable energy program that burns money to generate electricity, announced fresh incinerations Thursday. The Ontario Power Authority (OPA), a euphemism for the Liberal Cabinet of Premier Dalton McGuinty, said it has signed contracts worth $3-billion with suppliers of wind and solar power.

Ontario Energy Minister Brad Duguid, who issues all the Cabinet directives telling the power authority what do to, said new contracts with a handful of subsidy-seeking corporations are inspired by a higher authority. “There’s no doubt Ontario has stepped up to Obama’s challenge, and together we’ve become a global clean-energy powerhouse,” Mr. Duguid said.

Exactly what U.S. President Barack Obama has to do with squandering billions of Ontario taxpayers’ dollars wasn’t clear. The intent, likely, is to take the spotlight off the McGuinty government. This is Ontario’s second major allocation of wind and solar power contracts under its feed-in-tariff scheme. As a growing number of Ontario voters have come to appreciate, wind and solar power don’t come cheap.

For $3-billion, the OPA said Ontario electricity consumers will get four wind farms with a capacity of 615 megawatts (MW) and 40 solar power projects with a capacity of 257 MW. Total official capacity: 872 MW, assuming the winds blow and the sun shines. They don’t, most of the time, which reduces the actual output from those cash-burning operations to about 200 MW.

The economics of wind and solar are so bad that the power authority’s news releases tend to avoid getting too deep into the numbers. Assuming the new facilities do consistently produce 200 MW, that would be enough electricity to power 200,000 homes in the province. At $3-billion, that works out to a capital investment of $15,000 per home — a lot of sunk capital per home for electricity.

For about a third of the cost, say $1-billion, local energy companies could build a gas-fired generating station that would actually produce 872 MW of electricity. Gas plants require inputs — gas and labour — when operating. But even after factoring in operating costs, the price of electricity from gas is currently around 7.5¢ a kilowatt hour, a bargain compared with the prices Dalton McGuinty’s Cabinet has guaranteed to pay wind and solar operators: 13.5¢ a kWh to wind farms and 44.5¢ to solar plants.

To draw attention away from these numbers and their billion-dollar subsidy implications, the OPA and the government — and the giant corporations who aim to make a killing off these deals — prefer to talk up job numbers. “These projects,” said the OPA news release, “represent an estimated 7,000 direct and indirect jobs.”

What do 7,000 direct and indirect jobs mean? More important, what are Ontario ratepayers/taxpayers getting for the massive cash infusion into renewable power? Bruce Sharp, a consultant at Aegent Energy Advisors, did some rough estimates. “If you take the 7,000 direct and indirect jobs at face value and assume they are manufacturing and construction jobs with a duration of two years, then we have 14,000 man-years of such jobs,” Mr. Sharp said.

Another assumption is that the wind and solar operations require some ongoing manpower over the next 20 years. “I made some wild guesses and came up with an estimate of 650 ongoing operating and maintenance jobs, for a 20-year total of 13,000 man-years.” The total number of jobs, therefore, is about 27,000 man-years over 20 years.

Over that 20-year period, Mr. Sharp estimates, electricity ratepayers will be paying higher costs — or subsidies — worth somewhere between $4.1-billion and $5.6-billion. Average subsidy for each of the 27,000 man-years of work: between $152,000 and $207,000.

No account is taken of the jobs lost in the vast transfer of money from the pockets of ratepayers to the solar and wind industries. Overall, there are no employment gains in any of these artificial industries.

Also lost in the verbal dance of government officials are the national and international corporate interests who are cashing in on the green-energy bubble and the climate-change crusade. Companies like SkyPower Ltd., self-described as Canada’s leading solar-energy company. It landed 13 of the newly awarded Ontario solar projects, totalling 148 MW or about half the 257 MW of new capacity. At $6-million per MW, SkyPower is looking at investing about $800-million in the project.

SkyPower has a history that includes being a unit of the now defunct Lehman Brothers, the New York financial crisis leader that had a disproportionate interest in riding the climate-change bandwagon. After surviving that debacle, SkyPower emerged to find new backers, including Deutsche Bank, the German financial powerhouse that recently released a distorted report that misrepresented climate science, as a vehicle to promote its green lending apparatus.

Renewable energy may seem like an energy play to some, but it often looks more like a real estate game. One of the other contract winners was Penn Energy Renewables Ltd., subsidiary of a real estate company based in Pennsylvania. Deals are constantly being announced among companies, with large firms buying small solar operators. One reason may be the rapid write-offs allowed under tax laws for large companies that have the ability to write off against other income. Such write-offs can apparently raise the annual return on investment to as much as 22%.

Whatever the numbers, Ontario’s renewable energy tariffs are creating a business sector built on subsidies and on the backs of taxpayers and ratepayers. No real net jobs are being created, the costs are high and the impact on climate is too small to measure — so small that the government has never produced a carbon accounting.

…..

No account is made of the lost productivity when people become ill from the turbines, and no account is made of the lost property values.

northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

Please view other Eastern Ontario community group websites:

http://southbranchwindoppositiongroup.wordpress.com

http://sites.google.com/site/beckwithresponsiblewindaction/

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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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Not so long ago, all you heard in the agricultural newspapers in Ontario was how wonderful the opportunities to host industrial wind turbines on your farm property were. The income was going to “save the family farm” we were told, and there would be no difference whatsoever to farming the property; some farm owners were quoted as saying they farm right up to the bottom of a turbine, with no problems.

Today, not so much: in fact the contracts property ownersare signing are confidential (it’s a condition of signing that the property owner cannot discuss terms), difficult to get out of, and contain many clauses that restrict activity. Farm owners have learned that the wind companies retain the right to come on their properties at any time, to remove trees if they need to, build roads, and restrict construction of any buildings on the farm property. (A sample contract is available at the Wind Concerns Ontario website at http://windconcernsontario.wordpress.com ).

A round-up of articles and letters from the last week shows a diversity of opinions.

Shane Mulligan, Project Manager for the Local Initiative for Future Energy or LIFE, writes  in Ontario Farmer that every village could have an industrial wind turbine. “Yes, there seems to be evidence that wind farms have impacted the health of some folks, especially in the Ripley area. Wind Concerns Ontario and others have made much of these claims and are calling for more studies, larger setbacks, and suspension of building until turbines are ‘proven safe’. Safe compared to what? Every energy technology carries some impacts and uncertainties, and somebody is always ‘downwind’.”  Mr. Mulligan’s co-operative is at least in favour of community involvement in wind projects, a situation now made impossible by the Green Energy Act.

Economics professor Ross McKitrick writes in Ontario Farmer that Ontario’s rush to build wind turbines as salvation for jobs and the economy is reminiscent of the Brian Peckford Newfoundland government’s 1987 plan to boost the economy by subsidizing the building of massive hydroponic greenhouses. “Cucumbers did start appearing,” McKitrick writes. “The problem was each one cost $1.10 to grow and the wholesale market price was just over 50 cents. The greenhouse went bankrupt and ceased operations by 1990. The jobs vanished and the province was left with $14 million in debts to pay.”

Wind developer salespeople “have found in Dalton McGuinty their own Brian Peckford. They convinced him we can become a world leader, not in green produce but ‘green energy.’ Common sense has been jettisoned and the checks are flowing.

“We already have green energy,” McKitrick writes. “Most of our electricity comes from non-emitting hydro or nuclear generation, at a fraction of the cost of wind- and solar-generated power. By the government’s own data, Ontario air pollution has fallen dramatically since the 1970s through the use of scrubbers and automobile technology.”

“Green energy salesmen bamboozle gullible governments into signing checks in return for empty promises of jobs and growth. As the bills mount, prices rise and the economy sags, the inevitable unravelling begins. It will happen here too. The only question is how many jobs will disappear, and how much economic hardship we will put up with, before having the common sense to shut the scam down for once and for all.”

Last, Tom Van Dusen, who attended the North Gower meeting January 23rd, writes in Ontario Agri-News:

February 2011, Vol. 35, No. 2

AgriNews Interactive http://www.agrinewsinteractive.com

Turbines put wind up opponents
By Tom Van Dusen

The Prince Edward County resident who challenged in Ontario Superior Court the placement of industrial wind turbines hopes to hear a decision within several weeks.Ian Hanna outlined his case Jan. 23 to a coalition of some 125 turbine opponents gathered in North Gower. The next day, Hanna was in a Toronto courtroom making his case.

As a taxpayer, he said he resents incentives being handed out by the provincial “green fairy” to encourage construction of windmills without any scientific basis for their locations.

The meeting was convened by the North Gower Wind Action Group, Beckwith Responsible Wind Action Group and Spencerville’s South Branch Wind Opposition Group, all of which are resisting proposed wind farms in their areas.

To get them in the mood for the discussion, participants upon entering the hall were greeted with a loud background drone said to have been recorded from wind turbines in Maine by a landowner living about 1 km from the nearest one.

If he wins the case, Hanna and his backers anticipate that planned wind power projects will be put on hold across the province until “proper” medical studies are conducted which they expect will lead to minimum setbacks of 1.5-2 km between turbines and residences as opposed to the current 550 metres.

“This will kill many projects plus perhaps force rectification/compensation for built projects,” supporters say in a pamphlet seeking donations to the Hanna legal cause.

It’s the proximity of the industrial windmills and the constant drone they create which can make life miserable for rural residents, said Janet White of Wolfe Island in Lake Ontario south of Kingston which is now home to 86 turbines.

White said “slick” companies have created a rift on the island between residents who accepted windmills on their property and those – such as herself – who didn’t. Few jobs and little in the way of general economic benefit have resulted from the wind power project, the sometimes emotional mother of three children added, stating she feels she’s now living “under the thumb of big industry.”

Hanna’s big bone of contention is with the Green Energy Act which he says doesn’t contain authoritative guidelines for the appropriate siting of turbines because “there’s no good evidence as to when they’ll be safe or not.” His case dates back to early 2009 when environmental attorney Eric Gillespie was retained.

In addition to a multitude of ailments said to be caused by proximity to turbines such as sleeplessness, stress, hypertension, and tintinitus, Hanna and his followers cite livestock health, safety, environmental degradation, and decline in property values among drawbacks of windmills in the neighbourhood.

“People are suffering from living too close to turbines,” Hanna said who allowed that he himself isn’t close to a wind farm. “They’re sick, they can’t sleep and they can’t sell.”

……………….

More people are thinking and learning; that’s all we ask.

northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

You can follow us on Twitter at northgowerwind at Twitter.com

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In advance of our public information meeting, Sunday January 23rd at the community centre in North Gower, co-hosted with the South Branch Wind Opposition Group and the Beckwith Responsible Wind Action Group, we offer the following review of wind power in Ontario. Speakers are Ian Hanna who has launched a lawsuit against the Ontario government, Wind Concerns Ontario president John Laforet about the effect of the Green Energy Act on democracy in Ontario, and Wolfe Island resident Janet White on life in the middle of an industrial wind “plant.”

The truth must be told about industrial wind power development

Last fall, a strategic communications document prepared by a government relations and communications consulting firm was leaked to the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party.  It outlined a  campaign for a coalition of renewable energy developers to fight  opposition to renewable power projects. The writers noted that Ontario residents are expressing “fury” as a result of escalating electricity prices and concern about the cost of renewable energy projects. “It will be critical to ‘confuse’ the issue,” the strategy stated, and referred to “noisy activists” and “editorial positions” to be countered with a coordinated media campaign.

Why are the lobbyists for corporate wind developers worried? Because people in Ontario are mad as hell and not going to take this anymore. As more and more Ontario communities are facing industrial wind turbine projects (often romantically called wind “farms” or wind “parks”) there is rising public opposition to these sprawling industrial installations. To date, more than 50 Ontario municipalities have passed a resolution or bylaw seeking to restore the local planning powers that were removed by the Green Energy Act – the Act that notoriously superceded 21 pieces of legislation such as the Heritage Act and the Greenbelt Act in order to pave the way for renewable projects.

Also last fall, more than 1,000 residents gathered in Fergus, Ontario to protest a planned wind development, and last spring hundreds gathered on the lawn at Queen’s Park. In fact there have been about two such protest meetings occurring every week in Ontario, in towns such as Meaford, Orangeville, in Prince Edward County and the Niagara area. In Ottawa, hundreds of North Gower and Richmond residents signed a petition asking for a halt to wind developments, and for independent health studies.

People have reason to be concerned. As physicians and scientists addressing the recent First International Symposium on the Global Wind Industry and Health Effects noted, there are health effects being experienced around the world by people who are forced to live near the turbines, due to noise and infrasound.  Results from a case-control study of residents in two Maine communities will soon be published, which show a significant relationship between proximity to turbines and impacts on health, using validated health measurements. Ontario’s setback of 550 metres is increasingly at odds with the rest of the world, and was branded by Dr. Alex Salt, a researcher in ear physiology, as “insane.”

We’re being told that closing coal-fired power plants is because coal is dirty and Ontario’s air pollution is “killing people.” The truth? Ontario’s air pollution has been declining steadily for decades. Moreover, more than 90 per cent of air pollution in Ontario comes from the United States and from cars and trucks in southern Ontario. Closing Ontario’s two coal plants will make little difference to air quality.

There is more truth to be told. Wind power is expensive and unreliable, producing power mainly at night when it isn’t needed. And wind isn’t “green”—the construction of these 50-storey monster turbines has significant environmental impact for very little return. The European experience with wind power is also not as advertised: both Germany and Spain now report a net loss of jobs and a negative effect on the economy as a result of their experience with subsidized wind development. The chief benefit is not to the community, but to the bottom line of the corporate wind developers.

Ontario already has renewable power in the form of hydro and the technology exists to improve the effectiveness of existing power generation. As of today, without considering the current IWT plants that are sometimes operating in Ontario, we are one of the cleanest power generating jurisdictions in the world. We don’t need to jeopardize the health of thousands of rural residents and scar Ontario’s beautiful countryside with turbines. It’s time for the truth about wind power.

Meeting: 2 p.m January 23rd, Alfred Taylor Centre, 2300 Community Way, North Gower

northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

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