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Posts Tagged ‘North Gower wind farm’

We just visited Prowind’s website for an update—there is none, there never is–and were delighted to see the little sidebar of facts about wind power is still there. Cute little factoids pop up like, Wind power development  increases by 30% every two years.

Here are some facts of our own.

Wind power generation efficiency declines by 2 percent a year; by the end of the 20-year contract, the turbines are producing next to nothing, unless they have undergone expensive replacement of the nacelle and the blades.

Wind power efficiency is about 24 percent; solar is about 13, and nuclear is about 80 percent for 40 years. However, wind power developers typically peg the efficiency rate much higher. Algonquin Power, for example, claims an efficiency rate of 37 percent for some of its projects, and depicts a straight line rate of efficiency throughout the 20-years of its contract for government/taxpayer subsidies. This is not illegal; it’s up to investors to do their own research and discover the pie-in-the-sky claims.

Each large-scale wind turbine contains over a ton of “rare earth,” a material that is being mined in China with disastrous environmental consequences, and which is causing people to be made ill. At the end of the life of a large-scale wind turbine, the rare earth and all the toxic hydraulic fluids in the nacelle must be disposed of as toxic waste. With Ontario heading for more than 6,000 of these machines, where are we going to put all that stuff.

Wind turbines leak oil: just Google that and see the photos of the brown-streaked turbine towers.

Wind power developers claim that farm owners can farm right up to the turbines and can treat it just like a “very big tree,” said one company. The most of Ontario’s valuable farmland that is being used is 2 acres, they say. Not so: farm owners are finding out that despite the contract terms, as many as 12 acres of land are being used up, for access roads and equipment.

North American insurance companies are starting to have to explain to people who have leased land for large-scale turbines that they are no longer insured for property insurance or third-party liability. The risk is too great and, the insurance companies say, the property owners have no control over who’s coming on their land and when, so–no insurance! Specialty insurers will probably take over, at much greater premium costs.

The taxpayer-paid subsidy for the average large-scale wind turbine in Ontario si about $500,000 per turbine, per year. In return, the people of Ontario are getting: higher electricity bills, the bill for the transmission lines being built to service the wind power, the bill for power not to be produced when we don’t need it, lowered property values, dead birds and bats, and reduced attractiveness of some of Ontario’s most beautiful landscapes.

Email us at northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

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Paul Mahon, editor of Ontario Farmer, has covered the issues in the current edition of the paper.

“There are many flaws in logical thinking in the ongoing discussions about wind energy,” he writes. [Editor: he means wind power; wind energy is the actual wind, which can be used to create power. But we digress.] “Without logical thinking we cannot come out with the best outcome.

“There is too much dependence on the all or nothing argument that wind is either all good or all bad, presumably because it is a singular issue. It is not a singular issue, it is at least three separate issues.

“The first issue is, is it a health risk? Are people in proximity to turbines suffering direct health problems? If it is found that turbines do cause health problems, then adequate safeguards need to be built in so that turbines do not have the chance to affect health. If existing turbines are affecting health, remedial measures need to be taken.”

First of all, it’s already been proven that the environmental noise and vibration (infrasound) produced by industrial-scale wind turbines do cause harm to human health (Decision of the Environmental Review Tribunal, July 2011). The health effects from environmental noise have been documented for other types of noise (traffic, airports, etc.) and the effects of infrasound too have been studied. For some reason, when it comes to wind turbines–and we’re talking big ones, not the little toys that exist in some places, and certainly not the iconic but useless turbine at Toronto’s Exhibition Place–these threats to health go away, courtesy the lobbying efforts of the global wind industry.

Editor Mahon uses the word “direct” and we’re not sure whether he understands what he has done. A “direct” health effect from a wind turbine would be if one of them fell on you, or if ice thrown from one of the rotor blades hits you (and that can happen). Rather it is an indirect pathway that has the effect. In other words, the noise causes you to lose sleep and in turn sleep deprivation causes health effects such as headache, raised blood pressure, and more. Similarly, the infrasound or vibration causes changes in the air pressure which in turn cause problems in the inner ear and affect people’s balance.

Thamesville resident Lisa Michaud, a Cornwall native who recently travelled back from Thamesville to speak to an audience in Brinston (Prowind’s South branch 30 MW project), told us that her otherwise healthy 20-year-old son can no longer work as a roofer as the vibration has severly affected his balance. Lisa posted in Facebook today about her drive home from a public meeting: “The drive home from Essex was excruciating! Sudden severe head and ear pain and pressure from the moment I hit highway 8… Had to stop at the Comber Timmy’s for a moment as I felt like vomiting & passing out… So weird it subsided somewhere between Chatham & Ridgetown but kicked me the moment I entered my house!”

Next issue, Paul Mahon says is property values. Unfortunately, he has fallen for the wind developer lobby group propaganda which is that it’s not that there is a serious problem with the turbines, it’s whether people like seeing them or not. Which is part of the problem, with the flashing red lights and all, but certainly not the whole problem. “It affects the ambience,” he writes. Well, yes. Having your formerly quiet rural community suddenly changed to an industrial wind power generation facility certainly affects the ambience just a tad. There are by now dozens of studies that show property values in the proximity of industrial wind turbine projects decline, by as much as 50% … with some properties losing all value.

Mr. Mahon makes the point that just because something worked well elsewhere doesn’t mean it will work here, and he refers to Germany. Now, it must be said that in Germany they have not dumped turbines right on top of people as Ontario has, and to say that there is no opposition to wind turbines in Germany would be completely inaccurate. In fact, the worldwide march against turbines in 2010 began in Berlin.

He concludes with this excellent advice: “Some of these logical questions might have been better researched BEFORE the turbines were built. Because, the truth is, we are years into it already and we still do not know.”

Indeed.

……….

Marlborough 1 project status: awaiting ECT.

FIT program review announcement possibly next week from the Ontario government.

Join our email list at northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca and follow us on Twitter at northgowerwind.

News through the day at Wind Concerns Ontario http://www.windconcernsontario.ca

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March 8th, 2012

Ms. Lisa MacLeod: It’s my absolute pleasure today to stand in this House to support my colleague from Huron–Bruce, Lisa Thompson, in her call for this McGuinty Liberal government to place a moratorium on further wind developments until appropriate studies have been in place and completed.
Because, Mr. Speaker, I can tell you, representing a large suburban rural riding that is on its way to being assaulted by this McGuinty Liberal government, that we expect in our rural communities to have locally-based decision-making restored to our communities. We expect that that subsidy for the FIT program is going to be ripped up so that our seniors and our small businesses don’t have to continue to subsidize their crazy experiments with energy.
We know that there have been lots of complaints from our community all our communities right across Ontario that there may be health and environmental effects because of this energy scheme of Dalton McGuinty’s. That’s why the Ontario PC caucus will stand firmly behind the member from Huron–Bruce, and we’re challenging other members from rural communities in this chamber to do the right thing. If you don’t vote for this motion today, you’ll be opposed to rural Ontario. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

UPDATE: the vote was lost 45-28. Liberals and NDP opposed. Lisa Thompson MPP looked across the House and said, You’re all from cities, this will never happen to YOU!

Thanks from the people of North Gower-Richmond-Kars to Lisa MacLeod for standing up for us today.

NEW DATES: March 22 Queen’s Park, Tim Hudak’s bill to end the FIT program; March 23rd and March 24th in Ottawa; April 3rd Toronto, rally at the FIT conference

Email us at northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

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Yesterday we countered a wind developer’s claims that property values do not decline near industrial wind power projects and we referred to a number of real estate appraisers’ opinions that they do. Here is a letter to The Ottawa Citizen from Michael McCann of the U.S., which lays out the case pretty well.

From:  McCann Appraisal, LLC

To:  The OttawaCitizen.com

January 25, 2011
I am writing regarding the Ian Hanna case being heard presently in Ontario, and to offer a little more information and insight than was described in Lee Greenberg’s article today (1-24-11).

My expertise is not in health issues, but there is a direct relationship between those impacts and my professional studies of real estate impacts.

For example, numerous families have been forced to abandon their homes due to the factual impacts to health, sleep disturbances and the like, which the Canadian Wind Energy Association and the American Wind Energy Association prefer to dismiss as “concerns.”  Many others have been unable to sell their homes due to the presence of nearby turbines, and which a growing list of realtors and estate agents report as being the deciding factor in would-be buyer’s decisions to look elsewhere.

There is a measurable and significant loss of values within 2 to 3 miles, and noise impacts have been broadcast as far as 5 miles or more, in some instances, with 1 to 2 miles being commonplace. Value losses have been measured at 20% to 40%, with a total loss of equity in some instances.

Wind developers have been known to buy out the most vocal neighbors who refuse to roll over and play dead when they are initially ignored, and then turn around and sell those same homes for 60% to 80% below the appraised value—thus confirming value losses by their own actions.

Other developers have avoided future liability by bulldozing the purchased homes.

In fact, wind developers and the existing Canadian setback are even inadequate to protect neighbors from ice throw or from sections of turbine blades, which are documented as occurring up to half a mile from the turbines, and I have personally heard of a blade throw (piece) that went about 1 mile.

Regardless of these facts, the wind industry often tries to convince the siting decision makers that safety issues are satisfied by setbacks of 1.1 X the height of turbines (550 meters in Canada), as if preventing a toppling turbine from landing on a neighbors house is the correct standard.

It is obvious what is happening here: The wind industry is playing a numbers game, under the assumption or actuarial calculations that it is less costly for them to fight a number of lawsuits from citizens who do not have deep pockets, than it is to buy out the property they need to create huge projects.

The solution is simple, also: Mandate that all property they seek to encompass with industrial overlays be purchased outright, so people have an option as to whether they choose to live in a large, noisy industrial setting.

I am quite certain any of your staff can confirm my factual comments by simply driving to any number of projects and counting the abandned and for sale homes, talking with a few remaining neighbors, etc. Maybe start with the Clear Creek project, where a dozen homes are reported abandoned, due to proximity of about 3 dozen turbines. The list will grow as large as time devoted to research of this issue will allow.

Like most other people, I initially assumed that wind energy would be a good trend. Unlike most people, I have expended something on the order of 2,000 hours looking into it, and my findings are quite contrary to the “positions” of the wind industry and their lobbyists. However, even the wind industry’s counterpart to my profession, Mr. Ben Hoen, has now gone on record saying that Property Value Guarantees should be used for nearby homeowners, and that “if wind developers won’t guarantee that, then they really don’t have a leg to stand on.”

Your publication can do much to bring the truth to public view, and I am available to answer any questions you may have. Also, you have my permission to publish this letter as you see fit.

Incidentally, if you Google my name + Adams County, Illinois, you will find a lengthier report which provides more details of property value impacts, along with public documents on buyouts made by Canadian Hydro of turbine neighbors homes.

Respectfully,

Michael S. McCann
McCann Appraisal, LLC
500 North Michigan Avenue, Suite # 300
Chicago, Illinois 60611

Real Estate Appraisal & Consulting

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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:

 

NEWS RELEASE

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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Try as they might, the industrial wind developers can’t seem to get people to believe that their giant, noise-producing machines don’t have any effect on property value. Both the Canadian and the U.S. wind development lobby groups have commissioned deeply flawed studies to prove there is no effect, but the public isn’t buying it.

This week, a landmark case in Ontario, where a retired couple, on their own save for their real estate agent, is going head-to-head with MPAC over the assessment on their house on Wolfe Island. The island, as you may know, now has 86 industrial wind turbines—the people there were told there would be about 20. The Kenneys had retired to Wolfe Island, hoping for a few years on the formerly beautiful island (it looks like a power plant now–oh wait, that’s exactly what it is), hoping for the value of their property to increase modestly, providing them with some more money for later years in their retirement.

Not to be.

This story comes on the heels of the report of five homes in the Ripley area being purchased by the corporate wind developer, which claimed that some people just can’t adapt to “change” and that perhaps because their view of their favourite “apple tree” has been lost, they are selling out. Insulting … and ridiculous.

Here is the story from the Whig-Standard.

http://www.thewhig.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=3109128

By the way, in case you are swayed by the arguments that such sacrifices are necessary for job creation, and for air quality in Ontario, two facts: 1. only 3 jobs were created on Wolfe Island and the net result of the wind power generation project has been a decline in the Island’s economy; and 2. Ontario has very good air quality—what persists comes from south of the border and from CARS. That said, today, May 5th, air quality is “good to moderate” in Ontario, including Toronto which is “very good.” http://www.airqualityontario.com/reports/summary.cfm

The North Gower Wind Action Group Inc. is a community group in the North Gower-south Richmond area of Ottawa, where an industrial wind power generation project has been proposed. We are a corporate member of Wind Concerns Ontario Inc. Contact us at northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

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