Posts Tagged ‘wind power’

At the meeting in South Branch last evening, Prowind’s new president made his first appearance, at least in Eastern Ontario, and for Prowind. Jeffrey Segal was formerly vice-president of development and construction with Gengrowth. He is a resident of downtown Toronto, and lives within a kilometer of the iconic (and useless) wind turbine at Exhibition Place. (750kW compared to 2 MW or more; 299 feet, compared to 626 for the proposed South Branch and North Gower turbines)

Although the community in South Branch had requested an open Question and Answer format for this, the second-last public meeting for the 30-MW project, the day before, Prowind demanded that all questions be submitted in writing (e-mail accepted) by noon the day of the meeting. As it happened, questions were accepted from the floor, but no discussion or rebuttal of Prowind’s answers was permitted. A limited form of “community engagement” to be sure.

Some of Prowind’s answers to the questions.

-Health effects: there won’t be any because Ontario’s regulations are safe. (Environmental Review Tribunal found otherwise and recommended more research, and examination of Ontario’s regulations.)

-Property values: no effect. (Incorrect.)

-“annoyance” is personal. (Incorrect. The medical definition of “annoyance” is stress that can range to the severe, causing indirect health problems.)

-setbacks in other jurisdictions “political” (Incorrect. Australia moved to 2 km after a Senate inquiry into health effects)

The new president has had experience with wind power generation projects in the Chatham-Kent and Essex areas of Ontario, and claimed that people there “love them.” Interesting then that the Environmental Review Tribunal took place in Chatham-Kent, that another legal action is taking place by a family who say they have been made ill by Suncor’s Kent Breeze project there. And that there is a citizens’ group protesting wind power projects http://maynardrehab.com/ckwag.org/

The real problem in all this is that our provincial government is allowing this to continue apace. At the same time as it is crowing about the safety afforded by its new regulations under the Green Energy Act, a project in Grand Valley was allowed to proceed under the old rules, in 2011!

Email us at northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca and check out http://www.windconcernsontario.net for ongoing news stories and authoritative papers and presentations.

Donations to our efforts welcome.


Read Full Post »

In the most recent Energy News, a good summary of what the recent decision of the Environmental Review Tribunal examining the appeal by Katie Ericson of the approval of the Kent Breeze industrial wind power project.

The post is here, and below: http://www.canadianenergylaw.com/2011/07/articles/renewable-energy/highly-anticipated-ert-decision-issued-for-erickson-v-director-ministry-of-environment/

Highly anticipated ERT decision issued for Erickson v Director, Ministry of Environment

Posted on July 28, 2011

On July 18, 2011, The Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) issued its highly anticipated decision in Erickson v Director, Ministry of Environment. The ERT found that the applicant in this case did not meet the burden of showing that the project will, more likely than not, cause serious harm to human health. However, the decision is by no means a conclusive endorsement of the safety of wind turbines.

The high-profile appeal alleged that Suncor’s Kent Breeze Wind Project (Project) posed negative human health risks as approved by the Minister of the Environment (MOE) under Ontario Regulation 359/09 (REA). Over 17 days between February 1 and May 26, 2011 the ERT heard testimony of leading experts from around the world on the potential health effects of wind turbines.

The Project in question is a 20 MW Class 4 Wind Facility consisting of eight wind turbine generators in the Chatham-Kent region. On November 10, 2010, the MOE issued an REA to the Project under section 47.5 of the Environmental Protection Act (EPA). Shortly afterwards, that decision was appealed by Katie Erickson and the Chatham-Kent Wind Action Group. The appeal alleged that the Project posed negative human health risks including unsafe exposure to low frequency noise and shadow flicker. Additionally, the applicants raised concerns associated with the adverse visual impact of turbines, the negative risks of ice-throw and turbine failure.

In a detailed 223-page decision the ERT found that the applicants had failed to demonstrate that the Project will, more likely than not, cause serious harm to human health. However, the ERT explicitly acknowledged the risks and uncertainties associated with wind turbines and noted that the science behind the health effects of wind farms is in its infancy and is neither exhaustive nor conclusive. The ERT observed that continued research will resolve some of these concerns.

The ERT also noted that the question is not simply whether wind farms will cause serious harm to people, but is a question of degree: “what protections, such as permissible noise levels or setback distances, are appropriate to protect human health”? In this regard, the decision appears to find the REA regulations sufficient in the context of Kent Breeze Project. However, the ERT refused to confirm the adequacy of the REA process more generally. As such, while Erickson may at first blush appear as a victory for the renewable energy developers, the debate may be far from over.

The applicants will have until August 18, 2011 to appeal the ERT decision to the Divisional Court on a question of law.

“Environmental” groups take note.

Read Full Post »

One of the things the wind power proponents enjoy doing, especially for the urban dwellers who believe that wind power generation is clean and green and inexpensive, is to claim that no one in other countires is having a problem with exposure to industrial-scale wind turbines and the noise and infrasound they produce.


Last month, Denmark announced it is not putting up any more onshore turbines because of the health problems and noise complaints; we know that people in every other country in the world with wind turbines are having problems, too. Now, here is a news release from Australian physician Dr Sarah Laurie, whom we had the pleasure meeting at the recent First International Symposium on the Global Wind Industry and Health Effects.

November 16, 2010

Media Release   

Doctor Advises Clean Energy Council to Admit Adverse Health Effects of Wind Turbines

Former Rural GP, Dr Sarah Laurie condemned a report released by the Clean Energy Council last week as lacking integrity for not admitting  that some rural Australians are indeed becoming very ill, when they live or work adjacent to wind turbines.

“The major issue for families living in the vicinity of wind turbines is noise for extended periods of time leading to chronic sleep deprivation, which itself is associated with all sorts of health problems including heart disease, high blood pressure, suppressed immunity, difficulties concentrating and depression” said Dr Laurie.

The Clean Energy Council commissioned SONUS report acknowledged that complaints generally relate to concerns regarding noise and health related impacts.

Dr Laurie is now the Medical Director of the Waubra Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation committed to the independent study of health effects of wind turbines on rural communities.

The foundation is concerned at the absence of any published independent peer reviewed studies showing wind turbines are actually safe in close proximity to people over the longer term.

There is however, mounting evidence across the world that these turbines do cause major health problems, identical to those described by Dr Nina Pierpont and Dr Michael Nissenbaum at an international conference in Canada in October attended by Dr Laurie.

“I have now interviewed over 40  people in rural Australia who have been affected by wind turbines, with the same symptoms”.

“The reality for some neighbours of wind turbines in Australia is that they become extremely unwell.  Some have been forced to leave their family homes, farms and livelihoods as they can no longer work their land.  Others are unable to leave, as their main asset is their house and land, which becomes unsaleable” said Dr Laurie.

The SONUS report states that only a few field studies on noise annoyance among people living close to turbines have been conducted and further investigations have been recommended.

The Waubra Foundation believes there is an urgent need for independent academic acoustic and medical research into this important area before more turbines are constructed close to people’s homes and workplaces.

“We call on the government and the wind industry to commit to funding these independent studies without delay,” concluded Dr Laurie.

Contact Dr Sarah Laurie  08 8636 2051 or 0439 865 914

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

Read Full Post »

Just days after we have the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association’s Kristopher Stevens ranting against Parker Gallant in The Financial Post, claiming green energy is responsible for jobs and wealth in Ontario, we have the truth: a global picture of wind power development as a “House of Cards.” Here is the article by Steve Goreham. Executive Editor of this publication is Robert Bryce, author of Power Hungry, also one of the speakers scheduled for the conference in Picton, October 29-31.

Wind energy’s house of cards

Steve Goreham

The Energy Tribune

The International Energy Agency (IEA) recently issued their 2009 Wind Energy Report. Brian Smith, chair of the IEA Wind Executive Committee, states that wind member countries “installed more than 20 gigawatts of new wind capacity” (nameplate capacity). The report was written by representatives of 20 member countries, consisting of 14 European nations, Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, Mexico, and the United States.

The report is very optimistic about wind energy’s prospects. Member nations report on “how they have progressed in the deployment of wind energy, how they are benefitting from wind energy deployment, and how they are devising strategies and conducting research to increase wind’s contribution to world energy supply.” But a deeper analysis shows that the wind industry is a house of cards built on a foundation of sand.

The house of cards is a global industry based entirely on subsidies, price guarantees, and mandates. Wind generation systems are not deployed anywhere in the world without extensive government financial or mandated support. Fourteen of the 20 IEA member nations use feed-in tariffs (FITs) to force utility companies to buy electricity from wind farms at above market rates. Examples are FITs used by Finland, Germany, Greece, Netherlands, Portugal and Spain, which are set in the range of 7.8-12.1 Eurocents per kilowatt-hour, equal to 11.2-17.4 U.S. cents per kilowatt-hour. These are subsidized wholesale prices, yet significantly above the average U.S. retail price of 9.7 cents per kilowatt-hour. Nine of the twenty nations mandate that utilities supply a percentage of electricity from renewables. Nations that have provided little government support for wind, such as Japan, Korea, Mexico, and Norway, have seen little growth in installations.

In the U.S., the 2009 Recovery Act authorizes a direct cash grant of 30% of the total value to wind projects. Alternatively, the federal government provides a 30% investment tax credit, or a 2.1 cents per kW-hr production subsidy. State governments add loan guarantees, further investment tax credits, and the forbearance of property and sales taxes. Twenty-nine states have enacted Renewable Portfolio Standards to force utilities to purchase renewable energy, primarily wind. These mandates raise the price of wind energy, a further subsidy to the industry. In total, taxpayers are subsidizing 30-50% of the price U.S. wind energy installations. Wind must be subsidized because it is much more expensive than electricity from coal, natural gas, hydroelectric, and nuclear sources. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, wind-generated electricity is about 80% more expensive than coal-fired power, and off-shore wind is significantly more expensive. The IEA representatives from Denmark and the United Kingdom estimate costs for offshore wind at roughly double the cost of onshore wind. The planned Cape Wind project in Nantucket Sound reportedly will deliver electricity at a whopping 27 cents per kW-hour, compared to the Massachusetts average price of 16 cents per kW-hour and the U.S. average of 9.7 cents.

US Electricity Generating Costs

Advocates claim that subsidies are needed to help wind energy move down the learning curve to become cost competitive with other technologies. But wind turbines have been deployed for more than 20 years. As of 2009, the United States had installed about 33,000 wind turbine towers. World installations have exceeded 140,000 turbines. When will this cost competitiveness be achieved?

Despite the growing number of installations, total wind energy costs are increasing. Wind installation costs per kilowatt-hour decreased from the early 1990s until 2001, but have been rising since. For example, U.S. installations reached a cost low of $1,285 per kw-hr in 2001, but have since risen steadily to $2,080 per kw-hr in 2009, an increase of 62%. It’s unlikely that electricity from wind will ever be competitive with conventional fuel sources.

A close read of the IEA Wind Report reveals issues with actual wind turbine operating lifetimes and maintenance. Wind turbines that were installed in the 1990s are now being replaced in Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, and other nations. In the harsh weather environments of high-wind corridors, many of these turbines have not reached the 20-year lifetimes claimed by manufacturers. In comparison, operating lifetimes for coal-fired power plants consistently reach 50 years.

Very costly repairs are often required to maintain wind turbine operation. Japan reports that lightning hits and typhoons have damaged “a considerable number of wind turbines,” finding that on average, each turbine will fail three times over its 20-year life. Denmark reports that each turbine’s gearbox must be replaced on average four times during its lifetime, costing about 20% of the price of a wind turbine.

The story of Denmark is illustrative. Over the last 20 years, Denmark has installed 5,100 wind towers, one for every thousand citizens. A map with a black dot for each wind farm shows that 300-foot-high steel and concrete towers can be seen from almost every field, farm, hill, and seashore of this nation. In 2009, these towers provided only 767 megawatts of electricity, less than the output of a single conventional coal-fired power plant. This single power plant would occupy the space of one black dot on the map.

wind farms in denmark

Wind towers provide only about 10% of Denmark’s electricity, but contribute to electricity rates of 28 Eurocents per kilowatt-hour, the highest in Europe and four times the U.S. price. Yet, Danish government officials are proud of their wind system. Why would they install 5,000 towers instead of one coal plant? It’s because they believe they are reducing global warming.

In fact, the global wind industry is built on a foundation of sand—the hypothesis that man-made global warming is destroying Earth’s climate. The IEA report contains repeated statements about carbon emissions saved by wind installations in each nation. Yet, mounting satellite temperature data, new studies of ocean cycles such as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, and research on solar activity, show that global warming is due to natural cycles of the Earth,not man-made greenhouse gas emissions. Should global warming alarmism fail in its efforts to promote wind energy, the subsidies will disappear, and the house of cards will collapse. Then the world will be left with 140,000 silent monuments to Climatism.

Steve Goreham is Executive Director for the Climate Science Coalition of America and author of Climatism! Science, Common Sense, and the 21st Century’s Hottest Topic.The link is here:


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

Read Full Post »

Here from the Globe and Mail, a report on Ontario’s debt situation, relative to that of California. Remember that California went through a period of horrendous fraud related to power companies, Enron being one of them. (What does ENRON stand for? Electricity Nightmare Ripoff–Ontario Next?)

Ontario, like California, going for broke

Neil Reynolds
From Wednesday’s Globe and Mail
Published on Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2010 6:00AM EDT

Now, let’s see. According to the state treasurer, who should know,

California (population 36.4 million) has sovereign debt of $60-billion (U.S.) – $1,650 per person. Investors rate California’s 10-year bonds as slightly less risky than Croatia’s. Reputable academic analysts anticipate bankruptcy. (As Bill Watkins, director of the Center for Economic Research and Forecasting at California Lutheran University, put it: “California is now more likely to default than it is not to default.” )

On the other hand, Ontario (population 13 million) has debt of $220-billion (Canadian) – $16,900 per person – an economy with roughly one-third the people and roughly 10 times the per-capita debt. California would need more than $600-billion (U.S.) in debt to equal Ontario. So why does no one appear fussed by Ontario’s record-setting accumulation of debt?

Investors require a risk premium on a 10-year Ontario bond only marginally higher than they require of a Government of Canada bond: 50 basis points or less. (A basis point is one-hundredth of one percentage point.) The comparable risk premium on a 10-year California bond is 450 basis points – or 100 basis points higher than on a Portugal bond or an Ireland bond.

There are a number of explanations for the apparent indifference to Ontario’s debt (though the province’s bond rating has been cut in the last year) compared with that of California. The simplest one is the least plausible: that California’s books are crooked. How could California, so heavily audited, conceal significant debt? When The Sacramento Bee newspaper endeavoured to document California’s total debt obligations (including municipal debt), it stopped counting at $500-billion – more than eight times the debt officially reported by the state treasurer.

Here at home, Canadians know without equivocation that Ontario is far too big to fail – far more so than a couple of big U.S. banks or, for that matter, the state of California. By itself, California is the world’s eighth-largest economy but it represents only 15 per cent of the U.S. economy. Ontario represents 35 per cent of the Canadian economy. A bankrupt Ontario is a bankrupt Canada.

In any serious economic crisis, the federal government would assume Ontario’s debt (as it would similarly assume Quebec’s debt). This is moral hazard, of course, the kind of insurance policy that encourages Ontario and Quebec to borrow excessively – and, indeed, recklessly.

The U.S. government might well bail out California, too, in case of default. But California does not have the heft, in relative terms, of either Ontario or Quebec. Like tiny Rhode Island, California has only two federal senators. Congressional power has been migrating for years to lower-taxed southern states. (Based on the current U.S. census, for the first time, California could lose one or more congressional seats.) Furthermore, California is required by its own constitution to balance its books. Thus the state can’t go bankrupt; it must – sooner or later – either increase taxes or cut services. It can only issue so many funny-money IOUs of dubious constitutional validity.

Another possible explanation is simply that California’s debt is now in play, a gambler’s game. In this scenario, by aggressively trading insurance policies (credit default swaps) on California’s debt, investors have made it the most-insured debt in the U.S. – and, in the process, have momentarily exaggerated it.

Investors buy 10-year Venezuelan bonds – provided they get a return of 14.7 per cent. They buy Greek bonds for a return of 10.7 per cent. They buy California bonds for a return of 6.8 per cent – only somewhat less risky than corporate high-risk “junk” bonds (average yield: 8.7 per cent). In contrast, they buy Ontario debt for a return of only 3.3 per cent. This California-Ontario gap remains resiliently irrational. In one of these economies, the fear-factor calculation has gone wrong.

Although California’s economic policies (high spending, high taxes) are destructive, this is mainly a political drama. Democrats will not cut spending. Republicans will not raise taxes. As messy as this left-right struggle gets, California will almost certainly pay its bills, one way or another, in the fullness of time.

Will Ontario? The province has a distinctly different problem: It must now borrow more and more to accomplish less and less. It takes some sophistication to conceal this divergence. Ontario’s effective interest rate – the rate it pays, on average, on all of its debt – is 4.5 per cent. Interest payments will thus cost the province $10-billion (Canadian) this year on its $220-billion debt. Ontario needs half its deficit to make its interest payments.

In 2000, Ontario’s effective interest rate was much higher (8 per cent), its debt much lower ($114-billion). In 2000, interest payments cost $8.8-billion. Ontario, in other words, has used low interest rates to finance higher debt. Any increase in interest rates now will have profoundly disturbing consequences. Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty conceded the other day (in another context) that his government has made “some mistakes.” Really? D’ya think?


North Gower Wind Action Group is at northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

Read Full Post »

In today’s Citizen an article about the rapidly rising price of electricity in Ontario. As Tom Adams says, everyone should be outraged.

This is particularly outrageous in Ontario where we already have “renewable” energy in the form of hydro-electric power. The province could choose to do more in the way of conservation (as recommended in the David Suzuki Foundation report, Kyoto and Beyond), and to upgrade existing facilities including, yes, coal. Technology exists today to make coal a much cleaner source of energy.

The article is here: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/technology/Hydro+prices+going+like+rocket/3428382/story.html

Read Full Post »