Posts Tagged ‘North Gower Wind Action Group’

Here’s a letter to the Editor of Ontario Farmer  (July 26, 2011) which reveals some facts about the construction of today’s gigantic, industrial-scale wind turbines. If you are able to catch the film Windfall anywhere too, this subject is well-covered in the film (Kawartha Lakes, Bayfield and Smithville in the next few weeks). Some people–including to so-called “environmental” groups–believe that industrial scale wind power generation is completely without problems, and is a “clean” resource. They need to learn more.

Here is the letter:

Just how “green” and eco-friendly are industrial wind turbines?

Consider the reinforced concrete foiundation base used to anchor a turbine into the soil. A typical base can contain 250 to 650 cubic meters of concrete. The size of the base depends on the turbine height, the mass of the blades and gearing systems, and the foundation engineering requirements of the turbine.

A typical ready-mixed concrete truck holds eight to nine cubic meters each so that is a lot of truck loads to fill just one single base (30 loads minimum, 70 loads maximim). Each cubic meter of concrete typically has an average mass of 2,400 kg. Of that 2,400 kg, one can expect 355 kg will be cementing materials and the remanider will be water (130-150 kg), chemical admixtures (mass is negliglble) and aggregates (1,915 10 1,935 kg of stone and sand).

If wer suppose that the province were to follow through with their plans for 7,000 turbines in Ontario, that would require the following amounts of materals:

  • cement-621,250 tonnes to 1.615 million tonnes
  • water 262.5 million liters to 682.5 million liters
  • stone and sand- 1.636 million tonnes to 4.25 million tonnes

That is a staggering amount of resources.

All this material is extracted, mined, processed and transported using machinery that is either powered by ddiesel fuel, coal or electricity. Cement kilns are monster consumers of coal and natural gas. The bulldozers, crushers, screeners, trucks, railway cars and ships used to create and move this stuff all gobble countless thousands of liters of fuel.

The quarries needed to produce the cement and aggregates are stripped of their vegetation, and then they are rehabilitated (more fuel and energy).

Not to mention the construction roads and construction activity to access and develop all 7,000 industrial wind turbine sites, and the energy and efforts required to create a new electrical grid that is necessary to connect all 7,000 sites into the existing power supply grid.

…So, how “green” is all this going to be after all?

Replacing Ontario’s coal plants with industrial wind turbines substitutes one set of pollutants for another…is this protecting Ontario the way that [Environment] Minister Wilkinson would have us believe it is?

W. Dean Trentowsky, Mitchell, Ontario

Wind Turbines Under ConstructionBackbone Mountain, West Virginia. This was a forest-covered mountain top; the damage to the land will take decades to be reversed…if ever.

E-mail us at northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

Please visit http://windconcernsontario.wordpress.com and donate toward the important work being done there.

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Results of a new study on wind power generation from the U.S., summarized by author Robert Bryce in Forbes. Neat summary of the truth about wind power generation and its supposed effect on the environment: total fiction…or worse, a giant financial scam.

Here is the article.


A New Study Takes The Wind Out Of Wind Energy

Robert Bryce, 07.19.11, 05:00 PM EDT

Reality has overtaken green hope.


Facts are pesky things. And they’re particularly pesky when it comes to the myths about the wind energy business.

For years, it’s been an article of faith among advocates of renewables that increased use of wind energy can provide a cost-effective method of reducing carbon dioxide emissions. The reality: wind energy’s carbon dioxide-cutting benefits are vastly overstated. Furthermore, if wind energy does help reduce carbon emissions, those reductions are too expensive to be used on any kind of scale.

Those are the findings of an exhaustive new study, released today, by Bentek Energy, a Colorado-based energy analytics firm. Rather than rely on computer models that use theoretical emissions data, the authors of the study, Porter Bennett and Brannin McBee, analyzed actual emissions data from electric generation plants located in four regions: the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, Bonneville Power Administration, California Independent System Operator, and the Midwest Independent System Operator. Those four system operators serve about 110 million customers, or about one-third of the U.S. population.

Bennett and McBee looked at more than 300,000 hourly records from 2007 through 2009. Their results show that the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and other wind boosters have vastly overstated wind’s ability to cut sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxide, and carbon dioxide.

Indeed, the study found that in some regions of the country, like California, using wind energy doesn’t reduce sulfur dioxide emissions at all. But the most important conclusion from the study is that wind energy is not “a cost-effective solution for reducing carbon dioxide if carbon is valued at less than $33 per ton.” With the U.S. economy still in recession and unemployment numbers near record levels, Congress cannot, will not, attempt to impose a carbon tax, no matter how small.

AWEA claims that every megawatt-hour of electricity produced by wind turbines cuts carbon dioxide emissions by 0.8 tons. But the Bentek study shows that in California, a state that relies heavily on natural gas-fired generation, the carbon dioxide reduction from wind energy was just 0.3 tons of carbon dioxide per megawatt-hour. Further, the study found that in the area served by the Bonneville Power Administration, which uses a large amount of hydropower, the carbon dioxde reduction was just 0.1 ton of carbon dioxide per megawatt-hour.

The wind industry’s prospects are so bad that T. Boone Pickens, long one of the sector’s loudest advocates, has given up on the U.S. market. Pickens, the billionaire self-promoter who famously placed an order for some $2 billion worth of wind turbines back in 2008, is now trying to find a home for those turbines in Canada.

In addition, the wind industry faces increasingly vocal opposition in numerous countries around the world. The European Platform Against Windfarms now has 485 signatory organizations from 22 European countries. In the UK, where fights are raging against industrial wind projects in Wales, Scotland, and elsewhere, some 250 anti-wind groups have been formed. In Canada, the province of Ontario alone has more than 50 anti-wind groups. The U.S. has about 170 anti-wind groups.

While many factors are hurting the wind industry, the Bentek report, which was released today, undercuts the sector’s primary reason for existing. The Global Wind Energy Council, one of the industry’s main lobby groups, claims that reducing the amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere “is the most important environmental benefit from wind power generation.” For its part, the American Wind Energy Association insists that the wind business “could avoid 825 million tons of carbon dioxide annually by 2030.”

But if wind energy doesn’t significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions, then critics can easily challenge the industry’s hefty subsidies, which include the federal production tax credit of $0.022 for each kilowatt-hour of electricity. That amounts to a subsidy of $6.44 per million BTU of energy produced. For comparison, in 2008, the Energy Information Administration reported that subsidies to the oil and gas sector totaled $1.9 billion per year, or about $0.03 per million BTU of energy produced. In other words, subsidies to the wind sector are more than 200 times as great as those given to the oil and gas sector on the basis of per-unit-of-energy produced.

If those fat subsidies go away, then the U.S. wind sector will be stopped dead in its tracks. And for consumers, that should be welcome news.

The wind energy business is the electric sector’s equivalent of the corn ethanol scam: it’s an over-subsidized industry that depends wholly on taxpayer dollars to remain solvent while providing an inferior product to consumers that does little, if anything, to reduce our need for hydrocarbons or cut carbon dioxide emissions. The latest Bentek study should be required reading for policymakers. It’s a much-needed reminder of how the pesky facts about wind energy have been obscured by the tsunami of hype about green energy.


Note that the environmental claims put forward for wind power generation are not proving to be true. Note the increasing number of people around the world who are opposed to industrial wind power projects. Why? Not because they are “climate change deniers” but because WIND DOESN”T WORK. And, it industrializes communities, causes health problems and negatively affects property values.  The argument put forward by so-called environmental groups is that these costs are necessary to effect climate change. Small-scale community projects, yes. Huge industrial projects, no.


E-mail us at northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

The North Gower Wind Action Group believes in the responsible siting of industrial wind power development projects; we do NOT believe it is environmental or fair to locate these projects near homes and schools.


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It was official on Tuesday of this week, June 21–the application to appeal the earlier decision in the Ian Hanna case (the challenge against provisions of the Green Energy Act) was denied.

Mr. Hanna yesterday released a letter of thanks to all his supporters and to all who donated to the cause, almost $300,000.

It is troubling that someone could present so much good evidence about the nature of the setbacks in Ontario between industrial wind turbines and the centre of people’s homes (dubbed “noise receptors”) and that a tribunal would still support the existing 550 metres. In the same week, the Senate in Australia released a report that recommends much greater setbacks. For the project proposed in North Gower, for example, following the Australian recommendations by our calculations, would mean setbacks of 3.8 kilometres. In other words, goodbye.

But Ontario’s rural communities will not give up the fight against the industrialization of our communities, against our will and with no input from us. We will not give up the fight against people who are just in this to make a profit–they care nothing for the environment, for Ontario’s power needs, or for air quality. Jobs? They don’t care about that either: this is a short-term gig. Once the solar panels and turbines are built, those people will be out of here, in search of the next government subsidy.

Next: Kent Breeze. The decision is due in July.

E-mail us at northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca


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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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John Laforet addressed the Empire Club in Toronto yesterday and served notice to the corporate industrial wind business that the people of Ontario are onto their game and we are NOT standing down. In a masterful, at times whimsical, amusing and then downright forceful speech, Laforet debunked all notions that industrial-scale wind power generation is “green” and painted a horrifying picture of the costs to the people of Ontario in terms of health effects, lost property values, scarred landscapes, and horrendous taxpayer subsidy to a here-today, gone-tomorrow business sector.

He told the audience about what is planned for Thunder Bay: the blasting of the entire top of the escarpment there, including a 150-year-old significant sugar maple bush, to accommodate industrial wind turbines. “Does that sound green to you?” And Wolfe Island, where bird kills are now SIX TIMES what the developer estimated, and the problem is so bad that TransAlta has hired two people to collect dead birds: “Is that an example of Dalton McGuinty’s plan for green jobs in Ontario?”

His assertion that the industrial wind business is really all about natural gas (“Suncor, Enbridge, TransAlta—any of these names familiar to you??”) took many in the audience by surprise, as did his estimate of the billions the corporate wind industry would cost Ontario.

He told the wind business “you better be prepared to tell it to a judge” because the next step for communities and property owners in Ontario is the courts.

The result was a standing ovation.

What followed was a Q & A period with some questions being posed by the wind business, which Laforet parried back with whip-smart answers. Example: What is the basis for your claim that power rates are going to increase by 46% in Ontario? Laforet: Dwight Duncan said that: he’s the Finance Minister, I’ve got to think he’s got the reference behind him. Wind power has been in Europe without problem for 20 years, what do you say to that? Laforet: I say there are more than 400 community organizations against wind in 21 countries in Europe, what does that tell you?

Email us at northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca and follow us on Twitter at northgowerwind

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Good question.

Someone who saw the article in last Saturday’s May 21st edition of the Ottawa Citizen told us that he was not clear on exactly where the industrial wind turbines proposed for the area are going to go. The company’s map shows only “study areas” which are vague and—the company says—not up to date. The impression many people have is that the turbines will be quite a distance west of where most people live.

This is not correct. There is at least one proposed for south of Pollock Road just west of Fourth Line, and two between Fourth Line Road and Third Line, just north of the unused portion of Phelan Road.

With medical research coming in that shows health effects are being experienced within 3 km of industrial wind turbine installations (Nissenbaum, publication TBA), that means there is the potential for people to be disturbed by this particular array of turbines. Professor John Harrison, retired from Queen’s University, told us on viewing the map when he visited here for an information session that there was potential for “turbulence” as a rsult of the turbines proposed in North Gower, and he added, “There is no need to put these things on top of people.”

Dr Hazel Lynn, quoted in the Citizen article, said that the health effects from turbines are “consistent across the world.”

Will they make noise? A representative of the wind power generation facility company was interviewed by Mark Sutcliffe in 2010 and asked that question. The answer? “Of course they will: they’re power plants.”

To contact us, email northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

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We’ve been receiving calls and emails asking if Ontario Conservative leader Tim Hudak’s announcement that he will cancel the Feed-in Tarriff or FiT program means the end of proposed industrial wind turbine projects, specifically the one planned for North Gower-south Richmond.

It doesn’t.

What Mr. Hudak said was, if elected, he would end the program which pays exorbitant prices to power generators (13.5 cents per kilowatt hour or kWh for wind, up to 80 cents for solar, at a time when power costs about six cents per kWh in Ontario); any existing contracts would be honoured but no new ones signed.

To the best of our knowledge, the North Gower project is awaiting a test for transmission capacity; once that is complete, it may get a FiT contract, after which the corporate wind developer will follow the process prescribed in the Green Energy and Green Economy Act.

A lot can happen in in the four and a half months leading up to the provincial election.

To contact us, email northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

You can also follow us on Twitter at northgowerwind

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Tim Hudak announced today that if elected, he will cancel the Samsung contract and end feed-in tariff contracts for industrial wind power generation. See the story here: http://www.cp24.com/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20110510/110510_Green_Energy/20110510/?hub=CP24Home

Our response:



May 10, 2011

North Gower-Richmond citizens laud Hudak’s  plan to cancel wind contracts

Residents of a rural Ottawa community applaud Ontario Conservative Party leader Tim Hudak’s pledge today to cancel the feed-in tariff program for industrial wind power generation projects. A $20-million industrial wind project is proposed for North Gower and Richmond which, citizens say, would have transformed the quiet community into a power factory.

“This was never about the environment or jobs or stability of the power system,” says Jane Wilson, chair of the North Gower Wind Action Group, which represents several hundred local families. “These contracts for industrial wind power generation were about profits for the developer, nothing more. We know from other communities in Ontario that property values decrease by as much as 50 per cent for homes within two kilometers of a wind power project. For North Gower and Richmond, that would have meant a sacrifice of more than $45 million for our young families and senior citizens.”

Ontario’s feed-in tariff program rewards industrial wind developers with a subsidized payment rate for the power they produce, which is adding to Ontario’s climbing electricity bills. “Take the higher power bills and add the property value decline throughout Ontario,” Wilson says, “and you have a multi-billion-dollar taxpayer ripoff. We’re glad someone sees it for what it is.”

The North Gower Wind Action Group Inc. is a community group concerned about the potential for reduced property values and negative health effects from a proposed industrial power generation project that would be located close to hundreds of homes. The group is a corporate member of Wind Concerns Ontario, a coalition of more than 50 Ontario communities.

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In the April issue of Farmers’ Forum is an update on the Marlborough industrial wind project proposed for North Gower and Richmond; as we already knew, the project is waiting for transmission capacity to be assessed before it can get a Feed-in Tariff contract with the Ontario Power Authority.

Here is the story:

April 2011

North Gower wind turbine project stalled due to gridlock

NORTH GOWER — The wait continues for approval of a 20-megawatt wind project that would erect between eight and 10 wind turbines around the village of North Gower and south Richmond.

Prowind Canada Inc., a Kemptville-based company, first applied to the Ontario Power Authority’s Feed-in Tariff (FIT) program for a contract in November 2009. The project was rejected in the last wave of FIT approvals in early February because the OPA could not handle the power capacity. Now Prowind is waiting on a connection test that would take three to six months so the company can know when the capacity for the project might be available. Prowind has not received word when the connection test would commence but a spokeswoman said the company hopes it will start in April.

Five farmers in North Gower are involved with the project to have the wind turbines – which could be up to 600 ft. high – on their land. Corner View Farms, operated by brothers Ed and Rick Schouten, could have five wind turbines at their dairy operation. Farmers would share in the profits made by the wind turbines’ generation of power back to the provincial grid. They would also have access to the roads Prowind would build to the wind turbines, offering easier access to crops.


Here is the link.


Meanwhile, Ontario continues to dump power because it has an excess of power this spring; to date, Ontario has paid other jurisdictions to take the extra power off our hands, costing taxpayers millions of dollars.

In other news, the Ottawa Citizen today carries a report from the U.K. in which the government’s “climate change watchdog” says “heavy reliance on offshore wind could result in unacceptable increases in fuel bills.” The recommendation is to rely on nuclear power which produces no carbon dioxide. The story is on page C5 in The Citizen and originates in The Times.


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Terence Corcoran writes in this month’s edition of the Financial Post Magazine that government has no place trying to figure out which business will work best: they only mess things up. This echoes University of Toronto pr0fessor Dr Michael Trebilcock who has long criticized the Ontario government’s boosting of wind and solar as trying “to pick technological winners” which he says is doomed to failure.

Corcoran looks to classical economic theory for his advice. Recalling Adam Smith’s 1776 The Wealth of Nations, he says, “Trade takes place on comparative advantage among nations, making both sides winners, including importers. In economic trade, every horse wins. To try to rig the race is logically doomed.

“Another bit of anti-fad advice from Adam Smith is this: ‘No regulation of commerce can increase the quantity if industry in any society…It can only divert a part of it into a direction into which it might not otherwise have gone.’

“The green jobs theory is an attempt to do exactly what Smith warned against. In Ontario, home of North America’s most ambitiois green-energy program, the faddists claim the multi-billion-dollar subsidy regime for wind and solar power will create thousands of desperately needed new jobs. While it’s true that spending billions of taxpayer dollars on solar power would create jobs in the solar industry, those billions will have to come from somewhere. To use Smith’s word, they will have to ‘divert’ the money from electricity ratepayers. As the dollars are diverted, they will ultimately result in thousands of lost jobs in other sectors of the company.

“The green jobs fallacy has been exposed in Europe and the United KIngdom. A new study released last month by Verso Economics, a research firm based in Scotland, found that for every job created in the U.K.’s energy sector, 3.7 jobs are lost elsewhere. Whether that number is precise or not is beside the point. Smith’s economic principle holds that a non-market intervention that forces subsidies and benefits on uneconomic development cannot create jobs and development.

“That, in fact, is the simple but boring lesson to be drawn from all economic development fads. New growth, new jobs and econimic development cannot be created by destroying growth and jobs elsewhere.”


The North Gower Wind Action Group Inc. is a community group representing hundreds of families in the North Gower-south Richmond area of the City of Ottawa, and is a member of Wind Concerns Ontario Inc.

Follow us on Twitter at northgowerwind.

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