On Saturday May 12, 2018 the second annual retreat was held at Silverdale Hall in West Lincoln, Ontario. Topic for the day long event was community action against the negative impacts of wind power. This gathering has quickly become our place to network, share information, meet old friends and make new ones. Under skilled guidance of Georgina Richardson the day built on work accomplished and explored paths going forward. Attendees worked hard reviewing and goal setting while developing and setting into motion action plans.
The battle remains about protecting our homes, families and communities from realized negative consequences due to wind powered generation facilities. The fight has brought together so many people who remain united and committed in seeking justice.
Welcome everyone, special welcome to our MPP Todd Smith, Acting Mayor Dianne O’Brien and Councillor Steve Ferguson.
I am giving an update on what is happened in Ontario regarding turbines in the last year. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – not always in that order. Good Slide 3
In 2017, the media has been more outspoken about adverse impacts of turbines e.g.,
Two major networks, Global News and Radio-Canada, carried multi-part investigative reports this past year. The three-part Global News feature spurred questions in the Legislature and forced the then-minister to act on noise complaints for several Huron County families.
Fraser Inst. Publication Mid- April. They published Understanding the Changes in Ontario’s Electricity Markets and Their Effects criticized the GEA, speaking to it causing high energy costs, losing manufacturing jobs, and not improving the environment.
Auditor General criticized Liberal accounting practices re energy costs, fair energy plan; it was well covered in major newspapers
Noise from turbines consists of audible and low frequency noise/ infrsound –these affect brain waves but may be inaudible.
A team at University of Waterloo has created a special chamber in which infrasound can be produced, in the hopes that health researchers can determine unequivocally effects of infrasound at levels produced by turbines on people.
Australian Court (similar to our ERT) linked wind turbine generated LFN and infrasound noise with possible diseases including hypertension and cardiovascular disease, possibly mediated in part by disturbed sleep and/or psychological stress/distress – it found an established association between annoyance (used as a medical term) and some diseases that result from prolonged stress. They say effects of LFN include motion-sickness-like symptoms, vertigo, and tinnitus -like symptoms.
It was also established that the current method adopted by windfarms to measure noise (including in Canada) — the dB(A) scale, is not suitable for the task, as it does not measure the lower frequency range. The dB(A) scale averages out the sound levels, masking the highest levels and rate of change of noise that could be causing harmful health side-effects.
This is consistent with what the UK noise association said in 2006. 12 years ago.
MOECC still will not address infrasound. Slide 5
The Environmental Commissioner’s office wrote a report criticizing the government for approving 100% of turbine company permits to kill harm and harass endangered species. Slide 6
But – BAD they followed that up with one that makes superficial and false statements on the health impacts of wind turbines. She says there is no link between wind turbine noise and health effects — based on ERT conclusions. She does not say that it is next to impossible to win an ERT appeal on health. She said that noise impacts are controlled through setbacks and noise limits in the REAs.
What of the over 4500 records of health/noise complaints filed by people living near turbines in Ontario with the government since 2006? And the out-of-compliance turbines. This is important as if the local turbines are built, they may not be noise compliant. Slide 7 Bad-Turbines have been out of noise compliance with poor-to-totally lacking government response:
Port Elgin has one (Unifor) turbine – and have been complaining for years about the noise. Finally MOECC said that noise testing did show that it was out of compliance. A noise abatement protocol has to be put in place. The engineering report was filed with the MOECC in January, and then to the wrong Municipality in March – and finally to those affected. There is to be repeat testing in June–if it is out of compliance again -then what? Unknown.
Complaints regarding the Huron-Bruce Turbines in K2 Wind power project led to noise testing a year ago. Turbines were found to be out of compliance with Ontario regulations (April 2017). Since then, MOECC has done nothing.
Kincardine area has made multiple noise complaints over years, have been told testing is ongoing, but somehow, the tests are never completed, and the problem continues. In December they were told by MOECC that nothing was being done. And MOECC will not respond to complaints during an audit. The audit process started in December 2011 and is still not complete.
Last summer, a Brinston area resident wrote to Minister Murray about the complete lack of response to her reports of excessive noise (she has had to sleep in her basement on occasion because of the noise and vibration). An officer telephoned her and said:
Ministry staff were completely unprepared for wind turbine noise complaints.
They still don’t really know what to do.
They “lost” her records — even though she had so many reports that the MOECC actually installed equipment and did noise measurement for several days.
Last, it was too bad they lost everything pertaining to her situation and reports but it didn’t really matter, she was told because “You’re the only one complaining.”
With thousands of noise complaints recorded with the government unresolved, MOECC still refuse to acknowledge the problem, and refuses to look for causes.
Good: The MOECC finally admitted previous guidelines resulted in underestimating the noise at nearby homes – the modelling used to predict these impacts was wrong.
Last April 21, MOECC released a new protocol intended for “assessing noise from wind turbines that have already been built. It is used by industry and ministry staff to monitor compliance.” And compliance documents are to be publically available.
The result of non-compliance is: 1 – Remodel turbines; 2 – conduct a receptor audit at worst affected receptor from that turbine –or mitigation is required
Slide 9 Bad: However:
Still no recognition of low frequency noise. And, it hasn’t resulted in any effective changes.
Still – when WCO complained about the lack of response regarding noise and lack of a posted compliance report, they were told that the report cannot be posted as the turbine company’s documents are incomplete. (The turbines had been running for 3 years)
Although the government knows the modeling done by wind companies is wrong, they are allowing 5 new large-scale wind projects to follow the old guidelines. If they followed the new guidelines, about 3/4 of these turbines would have to be relocated or removed as they are predicted to be out of compliance with the new noise guidelines. At one project 11 of 12 would be out of compliance.
So in January, 5 affected communities filed a JR application against MOECC as surely, Ontario regulations and directives that limit the amount of noise any residence in the province should have to be followed. The claim is – transition provisions were put in place by the ministry to allow those wind turbine companies to use the old regulations without having to provide evidence that they were unable to comply with the new noise modelling guidelines (Dutton Dunwich, North Stormont, La Nation, and Wallaceburg)
Slide 12 Brilliant:
Wind Concerns Ontario taking Minister Murray to court May 18 for violating the Environmental Protection Act for permitting noise that causes adverse health events. According to WCO Access to information requests, of 4500 complaints noise/sleeplessness and other health-related effects received, few were followed up – only ~7% in 2015-16.
Slide 13 Ugly
In SW Ontario, in an area with sedimentary rock similar to that here, during and after IWT construction, well contamination has been reported – such that some wells are completely clogged, some failed simultaneously from pile-driving during construction. Some have not used their well for 4 years.
Before and after tests sent to Laboratories in Michigan show an exponential increase [in] turbidity among the affected wells, including [a] large proportion that can be attributed to black shale particles that are known to contain heavy metals, including uranium, arsenic and lead.
An ERT had warned that water wells in that area could be damaged.
A professional geologist said: the relationship between the installation of wind turbines and the contamination of wells is obvious. When you have a [pure] water source for years and [transforms] a few days after the construction of an industrial facility. You do not have to be a genius to see that there is a link of cause and effect.
He had agreement from geoscientist and geological engineer.
The project’s owner claims it has nothing to do with the problem.
MOECC’s response — While there’s been an admission that wells have indeed been contaminated, contamination can only be attributed to “unidentified factors.” They maintain that pile-driving activities associated with wind turbine development are not to blame. This conclusion was based on evaluations prepared by the power developer’s consultant.
MOECC say that you should only test your water for bacteria.
Quinte Region Proposed Source Protection Plan Version 8.1 Aug 2012: Section 2.4: “Due to the shallow soil conditions, the entire Quinte area was identified and mapped as a highly vulnerable aquifer. This designation was a direct result of the ease with which a contaminant can move into the underlying fractured bedrock aquifer.”
In 2017 alone, reported in the media:
181 accidents.* Note that there is massive underreporting. RenewableUK confirmed that of 1500 wind turbine accidents and incidents in the UK alone between 2006 and 2011, only 9% are on the global report. So there may have been more like 1800 accidents.
But it gives information on a cross-section of accidents: –
Of the 181, there were 17 fatal accidents, 13 injury accidents, 16 blade failure (blade or partial blade throws, travelling up to 1 mile), 24 fires, 14 structural failures (storm damage, tower collapse), 19 transport – related (biggest cause of public injury/fatalities, e.g. ram through a house, turbine parts falling off).
Turbine collapse in Chatham-Kent January
And in Germany, bits of blade travelled over 500 m –yes, the distance to neighbouring houses by Ontario regulations.
Slide 16 CONCLUSION
MOECC, MNRF – Apparently – still blind, deaf and dumb regarding turbine effects and violations
All rules and regulations can be broken for the precious GEA
Compliance is only met only if citizens fight (and pay) for it
Feds (Health Canada, Environment Canada) – no better
“Windlectric (AQN-T) was advised of the presence of a nesting Blanding’s Turtle on Front Road on Amherst Island in immediate proximity of collector installation. Instead of stopping work in accordance with its own protocol, the company continued to install collector lines, transport cement and use heavy equipment.
Honourable Chris Ballard, Minister MOECC, has been requested to require compliance and protect endangered species.
Blanding’s Turtles nest at maturity and live to be 70 to 100 years. The loss of one turtle or one nest devastates the species.
The ERT in its decision understood the grave harm to the population of Blanding’s Turtles and said without equivocation:
 Additionally, the Tribunal finds that the mitigation measures incorporated as conditions of the REA have all but eliminated the potential for turtle mortality and have minimized the potential for indirect impacts to habitat during the construction phase. The construction window of November 1 to March 31 for those portions of the Project closest to the coastal wetlands, and the window of September 1 to March 31 for the remainder of the Project, will ensure that construction takes place outside the period during which turtles are active outside of their resident wetlands. Additionally, in the rare event that a turtle remains active during construction, the Tribunal is satisfied that the exclusionary fencing to be used, mostly on private agricultural land, will ensure that turtles are not able to access construction areas.
 Despite having made this finding, due to the uncertainty around the location of temporary areas of flooding and water bodies, and recognizing that there is a chance that a turtle may nest on an access road while Project staff are not present and nests may remain hidden from view, the Tribunal makes two recommendations as follows:
a. that no access roads be used during any flooding events during the active season for Blanding’s Turtle in order to ensure that should any turtles be present that they are given time to vacate the access road before Project staff use it; and
b. that no road grading take place during the nesting season for Blanding’s Turtles in order to ensure that any road-side nests are unharmed as a result of grading activities on access roads.
 The Tribunal is of the view that these two additional measures will add an additional layer of protection in the unlikely event that a turtle finds itself, or nests, on an access road.
Windlectric Inc. has violated the timing restrictions every business day since April 1 and most recently has worked on Sunday.
What say you Robert Wright and Justin Duncan?”
To contact Minister Chris Ballard ,MOECC (Minister of Environment & Climate Change): Email:firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 416-314-6790 Mail: Ferguson Block 11th Flr, 77 Wellesley St W, Toronto, ON M7A 2T5
High winds raced bucking and veering across Ontario and lead to high wind warnings. A wind turbine blade failure was reported in Huron County. The trailing edge of the turbine blade was seen detaching itself when the alert was raised. The wind project was built in 2002 consisting of 5 Vestas V80.
The failure happened during high winds experienced on May 4, 2018. Local wind speed monitor at the location (about 10 km west of the failure site) showed a maximum of 27 m/sec at 7 metres elevation.
Wiarton weather station showed 10 metre wind speed max as SW 53 km/hr, gusting to 82 km/hr (23 metres per second)
Goderich weather station showed 10 metre wind speed max as 51 km/hr, gusting to 78 km / hr (22 metres per second)
Adjacent roadway to the turbine was reported as closed. It was not clear if any pieces of the blade were on ground at the time the photos below were taken.
Citizens’ group charges Environment Minister with violation of Environmental Protection Act
May 1, 2018, Toronto, 10:00 EDT – The president of Wind Concerns Ontario (WCO), a volunteer-led coalition of 30 community groups and many Ontario families, has filed a private prosecution against the Honourable Chris Ballard, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC), for violating Ontario’s Environmental Protection Act (EPA).
Private prosecutions are important tools in empowering private citizens to hold those persons in power to account.
The EPA prohibits anyone from permitting the “discharge of a contaminant into the natural environment, if the discharge causes or may cause an adverse effect.” Adverse effects listed in the EPA include “an adverse effect on the health of any person,” “harm or material discomfort to any person” and “loss of enjoyment of normal use of property.” (Section 14 subsections 1 and 2)
“We don’t take this step lightly,” says Jane Wilson, WCO President and a Registered Nurse, “but with the MOECC not responding to thousands of reports of excessive noise from wind turbines, which is affecting sleep and health for Ontario families, we had no choice. These are examples of adverse effects that Minister Ballard should not be permitting to continue.”
WCO recently received MOECC documents under a Freedom of Information request that showed thousands of unresolved reports of noise, many with staff notes about sleep disturbance and health impacts. Between 2006 and 2016, there were more than 4,500 recorded reports, 35% of which contained staff notes about adverse health effects; between 2015-2016, the MOECC response rate to the reports of excessive noise was less than 7%.
“Citizens report going without sleep for days, weeks, even months,” said Wilson. “Sleep disturbance is linked to other health problems such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Mr. Ballard, as steward of environmental protection in Ontario, is responsible for allowing this environmental noise pollution to continue.”
On April 30, 2018, Mr. Ballard was served with a summons to appear before the court on May 17, 2018.
“Ellen Andrew-Kasper says she struggles to stay awake when she drives because of lack of sleep; David Kennedy leaves home to avoid headaches caused by the flicker of light and shadow through his windows, and Valerie Vitali thought she was having neurological problems from the same light and shadow flicker.
The three South Shore residents have only one thing in common: they live within a mile of a wind turbine.”
““I don’t want to be a warrior,” Vitali said. “I just want to be a person who has lived here for 37 years and has a right to some peace and quiet.”
Residents fight to protect endangered Blanding’s turtles as unwanted construction of industrial wind proceeds with the invasion of Amherst Island. Ontario meanwhile fails to enforce its own rules and ruling of the Environmental Review Tribunal.
 Additionally, the Tribunal finds that the mitigation measures incorporated as conditions of the REA have all but eliminated the potential for turtle mortality and have minimized the potential for indirect impacts to habitat during the construction phase. The construction window of November 1 to March 31 for those portions of the Project closest to the coastal wetlands, and the window of September 1 to March 31 for the remainder of the Project, will ensure that construction takes place outside the period during which turtles are active outside of their resident wetlands.
Saturday afternoon over ninety members of the public attended an electrifying community information session on “Understanding Stray Voltage and Industrial Wind Turbines” held at Covenant Christian School in Smithville.
The keynote speaker was Mr. David Stetzer an electrician with 30 years’ experience. Stetzer specializes in power control in industry, municipalities, and motor control centers. For the last decade, Stetzer has focused his attention on power quality analysis and troubleshooting. He is a senior member of the IEEE (Institute of Electrical & Electronic Engineers), an expert witness in litigation suits in ground currents and power quality, co-author of peer reviewed papers in journals as well as a producer of the documentary ‘Beyond Coincidence: The Perils of Electrical Pollution’.
Stetzer attributes much of the dirty electricity – frequently referred to as ‘stray voltage’ that exists in Ontario – to the overloading of the single return wire in our power supply. Eighty percent of the power that returns to the substation is “dumped” onto the ground. We do not see, hear, feel, taste or smell electromagnetic energy. Yet the proliferation of electrical pollution creates problems for people who have a biological reaction to the poor power quality that is generated by industrial wind turbines, power transmission lines and distribution lines.
Any power generator in Ontario has an obligation to transmit ‘clean power’. Using an oscilloscope, it is possible to measure the pure sine wave of clean power and determine what harmonics, transients or intermediate frequencies which produce poor power quality or ‘dirty electricity’ are also present.
Tuned filters at the site of power generation prevent some of the distortion. But according to Stetzer the best solutions are to enforce current and existing codes and standards like the IEE519. Stop using the earth as a return circuit for the neutral current, by increasing the size of the utility’s Primary Neutral or utilize a 5-wire system to accommodate power returning to the substation.
Much of Stetzer’s work has been done with dairy cows to identify causes of decreased milk production. Poor production costs time, money and health.
As one member of the audience pointed out – industrial wind turbines are an intermittent power generator and only produce 28% of the nameplate capacity. “It’s like buying a one-titted cow” she said.
The second speaker was Carmen Krogh – a full time volunteer and published researcher regarding health effects and industrial wind energy facilities. She shared her preliminary research on why people in communities with industrial wind turbine generators leave their homes. Community members were invited to participate in a community-based study to explore the circumstances which may influence individuals and families to vacate or remain in their home when living near a wind energy project. Participation was voluntary, and 67 community members shared their experiences.
Based on preliminary results, sleep disturbance appears to be the most common reason people vacate. Other symptoms included: sensations such as pressure in the ears, chest, head, heart, bladder: ear problems such as tinnitus, burning, popping in ears; heart palpitations such as racing heart, increased blood pressure; headaches such as, migraines, stomach aches; nausea, vomiting, dizzy, vertigo; nose bleeds, skin infections, stress, anxiety, extreme agitation/ irritability, depression, cognitive, loss of concentration, and a sense of panic.
Krogh’s next steps are to finalize her data analysis and submit a number of papers for publication in peer reviewed journals. In addition, these findings will be shared with government authorities both domestically and globally.
Barb Ashbee – a member of the panel discussion – provided the victim impact perspective. Ashbee and her husband were happy, healthy involved community members before a wind turbine project started up near their home. The serious adverse health effects drove them out of their community. Testing in their home showed out of compliance noise, infrasound and electrical pollution. It was a battle to get any meaningful information or assistance from the government. After hiring a lawyer, they settled with the company, were able to relocate and their symptoms subsided after moving. Almost 10 years later, the anger and dismay at what the government is doing to citizens has not lessened as the toll rises. Ashbee continues to advocate for resolution for victims impacted by wind energy.
The supper speaker was Mr. Alan J Whiteley, an attorney for over 30 years. He has negotiated government defense contracts and served as counsel for the arbitration of international commercial disputes. Whiteley is legal counsel for the County Coalition for Safe and Appropriate Green Energy (CCSAGE) based in Prince Edward County, and is challenging various aspects of Ontario’s Green Energy Act via a Judicial Review.
According to Mr Whiteley, the Green Energy Act (GEA) has harmed the health of rural residents, the sustainability of the natural environment, water quality, local economies, rural roads, property values, municipal assessment taxes, heritage properties and the safety of residents and communities.
The implementation of the GEA is biased in favour of proponents of renewable energy projects and against individuals, communities and municipalities. In many cases the Ministries improperly delegate their statutory powers to others, and continually grant consent to renewable energy projects without any cost/benefit analysis.
Industrial wind facilities must be placed in rural agricultural areas of Ontario and the result has been an industrialization of rural Ontario. Unwilling host municipalities and their residents can not exercise sound planning principles with respect to industrial uses of land within their jurisdiction.
The Fire Protection and Prevention Act was changed to prohibit owners of abutting lands from claims for damages caused by fires originating from renewable energy projects.
The Assessment Act, deems the assessed value of a $2.2 million wind turbine tower at only 4.6% of the current value of the industrial wind turbine. This discrimination violates section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights, which guarantees equal protection and equal benefit of the law to all Canadians. The GEA contravenes several international conventions to which Canada is a party, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development.
According to Whiteley, the Canadian legal system faces an access to justice crisis. The Supreme Court of Canada has stated that there must be practical and effective ways to challenge the legality of state action. However, ordinary citizens have unequal access to costly justice that wealth can provide. Huge corporations can bully and manipulate the law in their own interests while ordinary citizens lack the means to begin a legal proceeding. If the traditional cost rules of the justice system are revised, citizens will regain their right to challenge government action.
The day provided information on issues that affects us all – dirty power and limited access to legal justice.
Catherine Mitchell – a concerned citizen
Information event held April 21, 2018 co- hosted by MAWT and WLGWAG