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Posts Tagged ‘wind farm Richmond’

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In ads in The Ottawa Citizen and in this week’s Manotick Messenger, the City has invited people in Ottawa’s rural villages to participate in its rural review process and attend workshops. Meetings are planned for: Ashton, Munster and Fallowfield; Kars and Burritt’s Rapids; Manotick; Greely; Osgoode; Metcalfe; and, Vernon, Kenmore and Marionville.

North Gower is not on the list. Why? Because a Community Design Plan was already developed, with plenty of input from the community, and it was approved by Ottawa City Council in January 2008. The plan may be found on the City’s website at:

http://www.ottawa.ca/city_hall/ottawa2020/official_plan/vol_2c/north_gower/index_en.html

The problem: a few months after that, Germany-based Prowind Canada appears with a proposal for industrial wind turbines for the North Gower area. Although the explanation is that the turbines (626-foot/190-meter tall structures to generate power from wind energy) will be far away from the actual village, the truth in subsequent years is a bit different: in fact, several of the turbines will be not far from the village boundary, and quite close to many homes in a North Gower subdivision. (What is “quite close”? Since many jurisdictions in Europe are now using a 2-km setback, the turbines will be within 2 km of many homes in North Gower and Richmond.)

Pegged at $20 million, and with industrial structures that will be seen–and experienced– at a distance, this is easily the largest development project ever for North Gower/south Richmond. And yet, it’s not in the Community Design Plan. Industrialization of the area was anticipated and planned for, to be located near the 416 and Roger Stevens.

So, the Community Design Plan is not to be revisited until 2013, but today we have a curious situation: a $20-million industrial power generation project is proposed for the area, but not even contemplated in the current design plan. Is that appropriate? Especially with reports of health effects, reduced property values and abandoned homes in areas where they already have industrial wind turbines?

Questions? Comments? The City is asking for feedback: “Get ready to talk about your village at the workshop.” According to the City’s notices, the telephone number is 613-580-2424 extensions 23463 or 43011, or you may send a fax to 613-580-2459, or email the Planning and Growth Management Department at the City of Ottawa, at plan@ottawa.ca

(Of course, the Green Energy Act supercedes 21 pieces of legislation in this province and has removed the ability of municipalities to plan for renewable energy projects, but that hasn’t stopped more than SEVENTY Ontario municipalities from taking steps to protect their residents: they’re asking for a moratorium on industrial wind development and they are taking what steps they can such as withholding building permits, establishing their own setbacks from turbines, and promising to enforce local noise bylaws.)

“Time to talk about your village”? Indeed it is.

northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

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According to Energy Probe executive director Lawrence Solomon, writing in today’s Financial Post, “the largest grass roots movement in the western world today is no longer anti-nuclear, it is anti-wind.”

We’re proud to be part of it.

Read the reasons why at http://opinion.financialpost.com/2010/10/12/ontario-power-lesson/

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Members of the North Gower Wind Action Group and Dr John Harrison of the Society for Wind Vigilance appeared as guests yesterday on CHUO Radio’s “Five O’Clock Train” show. Here is a link to the podcast:

http://trainradio.blogspot.com/2010/09/wind-justice-in-ontario-canada-green.html

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Mayoralty candidate Jim Watson held a rural town hall in North Gower last evening, and discussed several of his campaign ideas especially his idea for a borough system to deal with local issues.

During the question period following his talk, the subject of the proposed industrial wind turbines for North Gower arose. Mr Watson became very firm, and grim, and implied that one of the questioners was opposed to all green energy if she was opposed to wind power. He then laid out his position which was that if the Chief Medical Officer of Health for Ontario said there are no health effects, then there are no health effects.

That’s it.

Of course, Dr King’s “report” (which was simply another review of selected literature–not one actual person was spoken to or interviewed) has been widely criticized and is the subject of a 55-page analysis (available at http://www.windvigilance.com ).

He did say, if elected Mayor, he would consult with the City solicitor about options re: noise bylaws etc to protect residents from excessive noise.

This is an issue that is very important to the residents of North Gower and south Richmond and is worth discussing with Mr Watson in detail; his campaign slogan is that Ottawa deserves better leadership. Indeed we do, and we also deserve a leader who is open to ideas other than the party line of the Ontario Liberal government.

To contact Mr Watson go to his website at http://www.jimwatson.ca

The North Gower Wind Action Group can be reached at northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

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For many of us, it’s been exactly a year since we visited the North Gower Wind Action Group’s display in the community booth at the North Gower Farmers’ Market and discovered that the proposed wind turbine development, long rumoured to be “somewhere” west of North Gower, was in fact right smack beside the village boundaries, and close to hundreds of homes in North Gower and south Richmond.

Most of us were completely uninformed about the industrial turbine installation as it was proposed, and about wind energy in general. Who could blame us? The province of Ontario and the corporate wind lobby have devoted huge sums of money and plenty of marketing expertise to promote wind energy as “clean” and “green” and the province’s salvation in terms of job creation and power generation.

Now, a year out, with the reading and listening and learning we have done, we know what is truth, and what isn’t:

-the province’s setbacks are not based on any science whatsoever and are actually political; if setbacks were 1-2 km as they are in Europe, there would be NO industrial wind turbines in southern Ontario. But they have to be, because that’s where the transmission capacity is, and where the power is being used.

-the Green Energy Act, far from being legislation to encourage environmentally-friendly sources of energy production, is a deft move by corporate interests and the Ontario government to completely remove the planning powers of Ontario municipalities where these projects are concerned. Now, in the City of Ottawa, you can object to your neighbour installing a dormer on his house that will affect your property, but your rural neighbour who wants to erect 626-foot industrial wind turbines that will affect you, your health and your property values, can go ahead. (An example more to the point occurred a few years ago when an Island Park resident wanted to put up a small wind turbine in his back yard but was prevented from doing so for “safety” reasons; now, with the Green Energy Act, he could do it without restriction, but says he doesn’t want to upset his neighbours.)

-the corporate wind industry cries “coal is killing people” when scientific studies have shown that not to be true. Pollution in Ontario is due to industry, pollution from industry south of the border, and from cars. People who take ill in Ontario due to smog are made ill because of the heat and other health problems. Not coal. And yes, we should clean up coal: so let’s use the technologies that exist to do that. Same thing for hydro: gear it up.

-wind doesn’t work. Someone described wind industry as being like a car that’s running out of gas just when you need it the most. In fact, wind turbines NEED fossil fuel back up to function.

-job creation is a myth: studies done in Spain, Germany and Denmark show that their economies have suffered because of wind development, and that jobs are merely taken from other sectors. In Ontario, the only jobs created will be connected to manufacturing sites in southern Ontario (a political move to take the place of the defunct auto plants, but which will never employ those numbers of people)…as for construction of wind turbine sites, any local jobs created will be temporary.

-industrial wind turbines do make noise and cause sleep disturbance for some people. This seems particularly true for people living among arrays of multiple turbines. Health studies have shown that noise that disturbs sleep such as from traffic causes health problems; to pretend that the same isn’t true for wind turbines is deceitful. The corporate wind industry, however, can buy medical opinions apparently. But somehow, while they have $250,000 to fight the people of Arran-Elderslie, they don’t want to spend the $100,000 it would take to do a simple sleep study.

-the corporate wind lobby is very rich and very powerful, and protective of the millions they stand to make from Ontario citizens’ subsidies to this non-viable industry. Who says wind doesn’t work? Dragon’s Den’s Kevin O’Leary; the Globe and Mail’s Marget Wente; the National Post’s Terence Corcoran. One estimate is that every Ontario family will pay approximately $1800 in subsidies to the corporate wind industry.

-it’s a myth that Ontario communities and citizens can do nothing. We can empliy a variety of legal means, one of which is helping out the Ian Hanna legal challenge to the Green Energy Act.

A year of being angry in North Gower, a year of fighting for our community against big business interests that do NOT have the environment in mind, and that are focused only on profits.

The fight continues.

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

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A Windmill Silhouetted Against A Cloudy Sky Stock Photothe past…

Once you’ve explored the issue of industrial wind turbines, their effects on the health of involuntary neighbours and on the environment and landscape, one thing begins to really rankle: when the uninformed and the corporate wind lobby call them “windmills” … or when their locations are called “wind farms” or “wind parks.”

Romantic, but completely untrue.

Dr Robert McMurtry in his video interview (See Eight Minutes of Truth, below) pointed out that if the turbines for Prince Edward County are constructed, the County will have more structures the size of office towers than Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa combined.

Which got us thinking: there are 8 to 10 (nobody really knows at this point and the people who do aren’t saying) 626-foot, or 190-meter industrial wind turbines proposed for the area of the Village of North Gower and south Richmond. They would be twice the size of the Peace Tower, or equivalent to the Calgary Tower, or a 50-storey office building. How many 50-storey office buildings does Ottawa have? NONE.

North Gower will go from being a quiet rural village, home to hundreds of families and family farms, to an industrial enclave with 8 to 10 huge structures that will be visible day and night for a considerable distance.

Of course, what they look like is the least of the issues: we know from areas like Clear Creek that multiple turbine installations create noise and vibration which can very disturbing to people within a 2 km radius.

The “windmills” of times gone by weren’t like that: when thinking about the North Gower-Richmond wind turbines, remember, this is strictly an industrial use of the land for profit, and nothing else. This is “high-impact” industry. Wind power is expensive, unreliable, intermittent and ultimately, ineffective. Government subisidies are the only motivation here.

For more news daily, see http://windconcernsontario.wordpress.com

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

what an industrial wind turbine looks like

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There is a lot of buzz these days as corporate wind developers are fighting back against the growing resistance to industrial wind turbines on several counts: there are problems for the involuntary neighbours of the machines such as health effects and declining or outright erasure of property values, and on the larger scale, Ontario ratepayers/taxpayers are paying for a technology that simply doesn’t work and can NEVER live up to the promises made for it.

One comment made by the pro-wind faction is that, if wind turbines are so bad, then why don’t we hear from the people who have leased their land for the huge industrial machines. Very simple: their contracts do not allow for them to speak about any aspect of their agreement with the corporate wind developer.

Another comment is that industrial wind turbines are good for farmers. And the answer to that is, no, they’re not. Just listen to the video of a Wisconsin-based farmer who “hosts” three turbines. He says his crops are suffering, his health is suffering, the community has been torn apart, and he goes on to describe a dismal situation. (See the video at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzh106w1lRA&feature=player_embedded#!

Again, from Wisconsin, a property owner who says the corporate wind developer told him “bold-faced lies” about the noise. The first day they turned on, he says, “[it sounded like] I had a jet airplane over my house … and it didn’t go away.” He says his community will never be the same, neither will his life: “They stole from me.” His house is for sale. http://www.windaction.org/videos/28235

You may also wish to read the account of a property owner in New York State, who had previously been critical of those opposed to industrial wind turbines. Listen to what he says now: http://www.livinginnewyork.org/cohocton_lessor_hal_graham_complaining_about_noise

And, an Ontario property owner who lives near the International Power Corp “Frogmore Wind project” has just learned that her custom-built dream home is now unsellable and probably worthless. Here’s how she describes the situation in her community:

We, in the Clear Creek/Cultus/Frogmore industrial wind turbine zone who live surrounded within a 3-km radius by 18 Vestas, 1.65 MW IWTs, are a dense enclave of ~ 140 houses, 300 residents of which 70 signed a petition last year saying that they WERE affected by those 18 IWTs. Because we have 10 +/- abandoned houses, 10 +/- vacant houses for sale,
9 +/- occupied homes for sale and 8 seasonal homes, there is much scope for study and research.

That’s 37 families out of 140 who are significantly and negatively affected by 18 industrial wind turbines. (One wonders at the prospect for North Gower: 10 turbines at 2.5 MW and 626 feet tall, located in part of hilly topography that we know from research in other locations has an effect on how and where the noise travels. We also know if the developer gets approval, they won’t stop at 10. While at Clear Creek/Frogmore, homes are within 3 km, in North Gower-Richmond, virtually the entire village, including the public school, will be within 3 km of turbines, based on some maps produced in the past by Prowind.)

All this for wind power which can barely squeak out megawatts of power, and at best operates at below 30% capacity. Right now, 10:30 a.m. on July 13, on Wolfe Island where residents say the quality of life has been utterly lost, the turbines are generating 59 MW out of a capacity for 185 MW. At Amaranth, the output is ZERO (capacity 200 MW).

What it does produce is profits for the corporate wind developers.

What can you do?

-Let your City Councillor and MPP know that you want the City of Ottawa (or your city, wherever you are) to get control of development BACK; it was taken away by the Green Energy Act.

-Learn more about industrial scale wind power

-Learn more about how electricity is generated, marketed and sold in Ontario—it’s a worrying situation.

-DEMAND that the Chief Medical Officer of Health for Ontario put aside her report published in May, and undertake new, proper health research together with the Ontario Research Chair, Dr Sivo Sivoththaman (For details, see http://northgowerwindturbines.wordpress.com )

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

and check out news stories daily at http://windconcernsontario.wordpress.com

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When it comes to industrial wind turbines there is plenty of talk about the health problems due to sleep disturbance as a result of the noise the machines produce (and vibration), about declining (or erased) property values, about the destruction of the landscape, but there is one argument that is not an opinion, it’s a fact:

WIND DOESN’T WORK.

The promises of “clean” energy, jobs, etc., all false. One of our members pointed us to this blogsite where the author analysizes the IESO data. It’s a very interesting story:

http://viewsfromscience.blogspot.com/2010/07/monthly-wind-report-june-2010.html

Wind doesn’t work.

According to Parker Gallant, writing in The Financial Post, “McGuinty has not delivered on one of his ideals [cheap green power, no coal plants] and instead has brought in electricity costs that are the most expensive of any province (except PEI) and higher than half the American states. At the same time, Ontario’s public sector electricity debt continues to increase.”

Who’s paying for this experiment? YOU are.

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

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One of our members/supporters asked recently about land near Hunt Club and why it couldn’t be used for industrial wind turbines, as it’s close to transmission lines etc. There are a lot of reasons why that wouldn’t work (the fact that wind energy is a complete scam being top of the list) including closeness to the airport etc., but among them is the fact that that land is considered the greenbelt and is immune to development.

Or so the people north of Toronto thought, about their greenbelt lands.

Turns out the McGuinty government is trying to push through construction of a natural gas power generation plant in the area north of Toronto, specifically near the market gardens of Holland Marsh. How does the province plan to do this? Simply by passing a regulation to the Planning Act, making this power plant exempt from rules for the greenbelt.

Like the Green Energy Act, this new regulation will remove any planning powers the municipalities have, and citizens will have no choice…and no say.

“This should scare the living Jesus out of everybody in the province,” said Jamie Reaume, head of the Holland Marsh Growers Association. If the Greenbelt isn’t sacred, he argued, “this means this can be done anywhere, any time.”

Ontario Energy and Infrastructure Minister Brad Duguid says that’s not what the government intends.

Read the full article from the Globe and Mail here:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/toronto/province-pushing-through-greenbelt-power-plant/article1590343/

To get in touch with us, email northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

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Here are some thoughts on the health effects from Dr Michael Nissenbaum who has been conducting a study of the residents living near Mars Hill. As those who attended our April 13 information meeting will know, early results of his study show that the majority of people living in proximity to the industrial wind turbines there are experiencing effects on their health.

As you read this, bear in mind the topography of the North Gower-Richmond area, which is an internationally known site because it is a drumlin field.

Wind Turbines, Health, Ridgelines, and Valleys

Author:  Nissenbaum, Michael

It is a medical fact that sleep disturbance and perceived stress result in ill effects, including and especially cardiovascular disease, but also chronic feelings of depression, anger, helplessness, and, in the aggregate, the banishment of happiness and reduced quality of life.

Cardiovascular disease, as we all now, leads to reduced life expectancy. Try and get reasonably priced life insurance if you are hypertensive or have suffered a heart attack.

If industrial wind turbines installed in close proximity to human habitation result in sleep disturbance and stress, then it follows as surely as day follows night that wind turbines will, over the long term, result in these serious health effects and reduced quality of life.

The question is, then, do they?

In my investigation of Mars Hill, Maine, 22 out of about 30 adults (‘exposed’) who live within 3500 feet of a ridgeline arrangement of 28 1.5 MW wind turbines were evaluated to date, and compared with 27 people of otherwise similar age and occupation living about 3 miles away (Not Exposed).

Here is what was found:

82% (18/22) of exposed subjects reported new or worsened chronic sleep deprivation, versus 4% (1 person) in the non-exposed group. 41% of exposed people reported new chronic headaches vs 4% in the control group. 59% (13/22) of the exposed reported ‘stress’ versus none in the control group, and 77% (17/22) persistent anger versus none in the people living 3 miles away. More than a third of the study subjects had new or worsened depression, with none in the control group. 95% (21/22) of the exposed subjects perceived reduced quality of life, versus 0% in the control group. Underlining these findings, there were 26 new prescription medications offered to the exposed subjects, of which 15 were accepted, compared to 4 new or increased prescriptions in the control group. The prescriptions ranged from anti-hypertensives and antidepressants to anti migraine medications among the exposed. The new medications for the non exposed group were anti-hypertensives and anti-arthritics.

The Mars Hill study will soon be completed and is being prepared for publication. Preliminary findings have been presented to the Chief Medical Officer for Ontario, and have been presented to Health Canada, by invitation. Earlier partial results were presented to the Maine Medical Association, which passed a Resolution calling for caution, further study, and appropriate modification of siting regulations, at its annual meeting in 2009.

There is absolutely no doubt that people living within 3500 feet of a ridgeline arrangement of turbines 1.5 MW or larger turbines in a rural environment will suffer negative effects.

The study was undertaken as a pilot project to evaluate for a cluster of symptoms after numerous media reports, in order to present data to the Maine Medical Association, after the Maine CDC failed to more fully investigate.

While the study is not perfect, it does suggest a real problem that warrants not only further more detailed investigation, but the tenderest caution, in the meantime, when decisions on how to site industrial wind turbines are made.

What is it about northeast USA ridgelines that contribute to these ill effects, and how can they be avoided?

Consider, the Northeast is prone to icing conditions. Icing will increase the sound coming off of turbines by up to 6 dBA. As the icing occurs symmetrically on all blades, imbalance detectors do not kick on, and the blades keep turning, contrary to wind industry claims.

Sound is amplified coming off of ridgelines into valleys. This is because the background noise in rural valleys is low to begin with, increasing the sensitivity to changes, particularly the beating, pulsatile nature of wind turbine noise, and sound sources at elevation do not undergo the same attenuation that occurs from groundcover when noise sources are at ground level. The noise travels farther and hits homes and people at greater amplitude that it would from a lower elevation. Even though this is not rocket science, it was conclusively proven in a NASA funded study in 1990.

Snow pack and ice contribute to increased noise transmission. Vermont valleys have both, I believe.

Preconstruction sound modeling fails to take the tendency of the homes that people live in to respond and vibrate perceptibly to sound at frequencies that the occupants of the dwellings cannot necessarily hear. They hear, and feel, the walls and windows rattle, and the floors vibrate, in a pulsing manner at a frequency or the turbine rpm.

When preconstruction modeling fails to take the pulsatile nature, propensity for icing, and ridgeline elevation into account, as well as a linear as opposed to point source of noise, problems can be expected. What distance is safe? It depends on the terrain, the climate, the size of the project and the turbines themselves. Accurate preconstruction modeling with safe targets in mind is critical. The WHO says that 30dbA is ideal, and noise levels of above 40dbA have definite health consequences. At Mars Hill, where affected homes are present at 3500 feet, sound levels have been measured at over 52.5dbA. The fiasco there has been acknowledged by the local wind energy company, and by a former Maine governor.

Vermont would do well to learn from the affected people in Mars Hill.

I have seen the preliminary plans for the planned Deerfield Wind Facility, and have particular concerns regarding the dwellings to the north and northeast of the northernmost extension of the turbine layout. These homes are well within a mile, generally downwind, and downhill from what I am told may well be 2 MW turbines (or larger?), in a snowy and icy part of the Northeast.

The parallels to Mars Hill are striking.

We know that preconstruction sound modeling failed at Mars Hill. No matter what the preconstruction modeling at Deerfield shows, the real world experiment at Mars Hill suggests that there will be problems for homes at the setbacks that seem to be planned for Deerfield on the attached image.

The people who live within 3500 feet at Mars Hill are truly suffering. Learn from Mars Hill. It is not a matter of not having wind turbines. It is a matter of putting them where they will not affect people’s health.

Newer technology to accurately measure sound at a quantum level improvement in temporal, frequency and amplitude resolution over commonly used acoustician’s equipment now exists, though it is costly and not readily available. But it will be widespread, soon, well within the tenure of the individuals responsible for making siting decisions today.

Avail yourselves of these findings and familiarize yourselves with the new technologies. You will not only be future proofing your current decisions, you will also be helping people who would otherwise end up too close to industrial wind turbines escape the fate of the exposed residents of Mars Hill, and many other sites in North America (Mars Hill, Maine, merely represents the first small ‘controlled’ study).

I have seen the results of this cutting edge equipment, and how it has revealed drastic short duration excesses over allowed sound levels, levels that set homes vibrating and rendering them unlivable, but also levels of lower frequency transient noise at the audible level, that demonstrates not only failure of preconstruction sound modeling as currently practiced, but also the inadequacy of the measuring tools in the toolkit of the everyday practicing acoustician-consultant who generates reports for industry and local government.

—Montpelier, VT, May 7, 2010

Michael A. Nissenbaum, MD
University of Toronto (MD), McGill University (Specialty Diagnostic Imaging), University of California (Fellowship)
Harvard University Medical School (junior faculty, Associate Director of MRI, BIH)
Currently, Radiologist, NMMC, Ft. Kent, Maine

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