Posts Tagged ‘Windyleaks’

Many people believe that because there is a multi-step approval process for wind power projects in Ontario, there must be plenty of authoritative oversight along the way.


First of all, let’s be clear: we are talking about industrial-scale wind power generation here, not the little iconic wind “mills” you used to see on farms in Ontario and which are still used to create power for limited use, like a water pump. That’s as far from the current industrial wind power projects as you can get.

Under the Green Energy and Green Economy Act  or the GEA in Ontario, wind power developers create a proposal for a project, then apply for a Feed In Tariff contract. If they get that (and that process is a whole other story) then they can proceed to preparing a Renewable Energy Application (REA) for submission to the Ministry of the Environment. Their draft REA is reviewed by certain “stakeholders” and then eventually shown to the public for comment. The company is required to hold two information sessions for the public; these are typically merely Open Houses. There is no formal presentation, no question and answer period, and no sign that comments from the public are recorded in any form.

After that, the company submits the REA, gets a Certificate of Approval (the MoE is currently promising a one-month turnaround in the interest of speedy development) after which time the public has 15 days to appeal. As we saw from the Kent Breeze appeal in which a single citizen spent upwards of $150,000 to appeal the Suncor project in Chatham-Kent, the project proceeded even while under appeal, and by the time the decision was handed down in July 2011, was completed. (That project is now the subject of a $1.5 million lawsuit by a family who rapidly became ill after the project started.)

So the process is this:

-the companies do their own environmental screening according to the list of topics required in the regulations. They use private consultants (many of whom are members of the Canadian Wind Energy Association, a lobby group for the corporate wind industry) and do not seem to be required to provide information on those consultants’ credentials.

-the public has a limited time and frankly, limited ability to review and assess the assessments

-the environmental screening reports done by the corporate developers go to the Ministry of the Environment for review and approval. We have no idea the depth of the review process.

-There is no third-party, independent, professional review. Requests for “elevation” i.e., for a formal, full environmental assessment to be done by the Ministry of the Environment have been refused: not ONE has been granted since this began in 2006.

In short, the Ontario government believes so strongly that wind power is “good” and “green” it doesn’t really require a proper environmental assessment.

Worse: if environmental effects are experienced such as the bird kills at Wolfe Island (the developer TransAlta forecast 2 per year per turbine and has been surprised to find the rate exceeds 13 per turbine), the Ministry of the Environment simply RAISED the acceptable number of birds that could be killed.

Worse still: there is NO accepted methodology to measure environmental noise from industrial wind turbines—the MoE staff admit this! (See http://www.windyleaks.com )

That’s not acceptable to us.

Doesn’t sound very “environmental” either.

Wind power: it’s not what you think.

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We have a new name for “environmental” groups who claim that there are no health effects from the noise and infrasound (vibration) produced by industrial wind turbines—environmental noise deniers.

Because here is absolute proof of the problems these machines are causing, in a news story out of the U.K. Seismic noise being produced and wreaking havoc on sensitive equipment more than THIRTY-ONE MILES away?? The subsidy-seeking wind developer says it is confident it can remedy the problem, by hanging weights inside the turbine supports to minimize the vibration. Really.

Here is the story.

U.K. Opposes Wind Farms Over Nuclear Test Detection Concerns

Monday, Aug. 22, 2011

 The British Defense Ministry is objecting to private plans to construct wind farms on a significant swath of land in Scotland and England due to concerns the vibrations created by the rotating turbines would interfere with a nearby nuclear test detection center, the London Guardian reported on Friday (see GSN, June 8).

The ministry said “seismic noise” created by hundreds of proposed new wind turbines would undermine the effectiveness of advanced equipment at the seismological monitoring center at Eskadalemuir, not far from Lockerbie in Scotland. The center is part of an international effort to monitor for any illicit nuclear-weapon testing.

As a signatory of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, London is required to ensure the working order of the detection facility as part of efforts to deter nuclear proliferation, according to the Defense Ministry.

The site is a “unique facility in the U.K,” an unidentified ministry spokesman said. “It detects and accurately interprets seismic signals worldwide to detect nuclear explosions and deter the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Wind turbines can affect the readings.”

“The MoD would not object to a planning application without due reason,” the spokesman continued. “Objections are only raised where such action is considered vital to adequately protect MoD interests”

A government analysis determined that while the Eskadalemuir center could tolerate some seismic disturbance, the cutoff level had already been reached. The Defense Ministry is thus countering each new turbine proposal that is 31 miles or closer to the recording station.

The objection led local leaders in Carlisle this month to vote against a plan to erect six turbines in their community. The ministry in total is obstructing plans to construct wind farms that would cumulatively produce one gigawatt of renewable energy, according to developer REG Windpower.

The company is optimistic a compromise can be reached. One possibility would be to suspend weights inside the turbine poles to minimize the seismic disturbances created by the turbines. The ministry has said it would re-examine its stance on the turbines if a feasible remedy can be found (Rob Edwards, London Guardian, Aug. 19).

In Ontario, Windyleaks this week released another document obtained under Freedom of Information, in which yet another member of the MInistry of the Environment’s field staff reports problems with the noise produced by multiple turbines in one location. And yet, the approvals went on.

Visit http://windconcernsontario.wordpress.com

E-mail us at northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca


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Rick Conroy, editor of the Wellington Times—one of Canada’s last independently operated newspapers—has been outspoken on the “green” energy move by the Ontario government. In one of his earlier columns he famously wrote that no industrial wind turbine in the world can “power a toaster on its own”—they all need back-up from a tarditional power source. In the case of Ontario, that’s natural gas.

But we digress. Here is Rick’s most recent column, from last Friday.


It was another tough week for Dalton McGuinty on the energy file. First the European Union jumped on board the effort to force the Ontario government to open its renewable energy market to international suppliers.

McGuinty understood all along that if his dream of wind turbines on every horizon and solar panels on every pasture was to take root, he needed to promise jobs. Lots of jobs. He would call them green jobs.

He understood as well that these jobs had to be more than just a few weeks of bolting together components manufactured somewhere else. So he tried to kickstart a provincial wind and solar component sector. He did this by restricting the amount of foreign content (both goods and services) that could go into projects under his government’s FIT (feed-in tariff) program. Under his decree 60 per cent of the content of a solar project must be made up of domestic products and services by next year—50 per cent for wind projects.

These restrictions were in direct violation of world trade organization (WTO) rules, and McGuinty knew it. But he gambled that by the time the court heard any appeal a homegrown industry would have developed— ready to compete toe to toe with the world.

It didn’t happen. Nervous about shifting ground rules and manic management of the energy file in general, investment capital largely stayed away. Frustrated by the lack of action McGuinty jumped into bed with Korean industrial giant Samsung—promising billions of taxpayer dollars if they would please, please build windmills and solar panels in Ontario.

Desperate people make bad deals. It will take hundreds of millions of dollars for the next government to unwind the province from this arrangement.

In the meantime, first Japan and now the EU have launched appeals to overturn McGuinty’s indefensible protectionist tactics. Appeals they will win. McGuinty is running out of time. This folly too, and the cost of defending it, will end up on your electricity bill.

But matters got worse last week in an Ontario Energy Board hearing when Hydro One asked the regulator for a six-month exemption from meeting deadlines for assessing and connecting small renewable-energy projects. Nearly all of these are small solar home and farm-based projects.

Currently the province has received nearly 35,000 applications for small renewable projects (10 kilowatts or less)—22,821 have received conditional offers. But only 6,780, or less than a third, have executed contracts—meaning they are generating electricity into the grid and earning revenue. Tens of thousands of folks have been left hanging. Many have spent $100,000 or more on solar panel installations believing they had a deal. But with each delay their prospects of ever getting connected to the grid grow dimmer.

They should not have been surprised.

The fundamental hurdle with solar and wind energy is that it is intermittent and cannot be harnessed. It is a supply source that cannot be turned up or down to match demand. Electricity cannot be stored in grid scale amounts—so it must be produced when it is needed.

Nothing in our 60-year-old electricity grid is designed or equipped to manage generating sources that are pumping out electricity at 100 per cent one moment, zero another and 33 per cent the next. It is a physical and technical hurdle that had to be addressed first—before we squandered families” nest eggs and added billions of wasted dollars onto our electricity bills.

Then this week we learned that McGuinty knew all along that the noise from industrial wind turbines would have adverse effects on residents nearby— even those 550 metres away as prescribed by the Green Energy Act. This fact was revealed in a memo between Ministry of Environment officials last spring (See page 14). The document only came to light as a result of a freedom of information request.

Bit by bit the blind ambition McGuinty brought to the energy file is unravelling at his feet. The bureaucrats who once acquiesced to the premier’s wishes despite their better judgment—are now sitting on their hands. They are waiting for the self-destruction to be complete—waiting for the electorate to deal with the McGuinty government in October.

The wacky decision-making may end in October but the bills for nearly a decade of mismanagement of Ontario’s electricity grid will pile up for years to come. McGuinty’s enduring legacy.


E-mail us at northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca and catch the latest Windyleak at http://windyleaks.com


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Wind Concerns Ontario debuted its “Windyleaks” campaign today, leading off with an internal Ministry of the Environment memo that reveals government staff were well aware of the problems industrial turbines were causing … and that senior levels of government took recommendations and observations from field staff, and then did nothing about it.

More and more, it’s looking like the people of Ontario have grounds for a case of misfeasance against the Liberal government,especially Cabinet ministers.

Appalling. See the story and read the memo at



E-mail the North Gower Wind Action Group at northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

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