“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
Spring has returned and with it turkey vultures ( Scientific name: Cathartes aurahave). These raptors soar long distances riding high on thermals of air with long outstretched wings. They hunt not by sight, but by an acute sense of smell searching for carrion to feast upon. Social, gregarious and highly intelligent they are often seen flying, feeding and roosting in communal groups.
One of their unique forms of protection against threats is the ability to projectile vomit acidic stomach contents at will. Difficult birds to launch from the ground they take running leaps to lift off and can jettison stomach contents to lighten their weight to aid becoming airborne. They are meticulous about their personal hygiene and serve an essential function as clean- up crews for the environment.
A kettle of turkey vultures seen thermalling in the blade sweep of an Enercon wind turbine part of Niagara wind project. (Video filmed April 2018)
Notice the wind turbine blade sweep movement results in driving a bird downwards out of a soaring climb.
Turbine blade sweep is part of increasing environmental habitat fragmentation and disruption created by wind facilities construction and operations. Mortality strikes (kills) occur in airspace directly disrupted by turbine blade sweeps. As increasing numbers of wind turbines are erected increased adverse environmental impacts are occurring for avian species. Habitat disrupted or avoidance= habitat loss.
Impacts are not only local but include those on a global scale. Flying the global flyways has become an even more dangerous journey with annual migrations spiked with increasing 1000s of wind turbines. Wind power is disrupting avian movements and prefered habitat use on a local and world-wide basis which begs the question: How sustaining and green is that?
Energy consumption is a driver of economic growth. Policymakers in Ontario have made poor policy decisions, resulting in rising electricity costs, lower employment, and lower competitiveness, while achieving minimal environmental benefits. This publication presents a series of collected essays that critique the reasoning behind Ontario’s electricity policy changes and spell out the long term consequences.
Ontario’s main policy shift began around 2005 when the government made a decision to begin phasing out coal. The next major step occurred in 2009 when the government launched its Green Energy Act (GEA). The centerpiece of the GEA was a Feed-In-Tariff program, which provides long-term guaranteed contracts to generators with renewable sources (wind, solar, etc.) at a fixed price above market rates. In order to fund these commitments, as well as the cost of conservation programs, Ontario levied a non-market surcharge on electricity called the Global Adjustment (GA). Between 2008 and 2016, the GA grew more than 70 percent, causing a drastic increase in electricity prices. The high cost associated with aggressively promoting renewable sources is particularly troubling given the relatively small amount of electricity generated by these sources. In 2016, renewable sources generated less than 7 percent of electricity in Ontario while accounting for almost 30 percent of the GA.
Ontario’s decision to phase out coal contributed to rising electricity costs in the province, a decision justified at the time with claims that it would yield large environmental and health benefits. The subsequent research showed that shuttering these power plants had very little effect on air pollution. Had the province simply continued with retrofits to the coal plants then underway, the environmental benefits of the shift to renewables could have been achieved at one-tenth the cost.
The issue of rising electricity costs in Ontario can be partly attributed to the imbalances between supply and demand of electricity. Between 2005 and 2015, the province decided to increase its renewable capacity to facilitate the coal phase-out. However, since renewable sources are not as reliable as traditional sources, the government contracted for more natural gas capacity as a back-up. Meanwhile, the demand for electricity declined, partly due to rising electricity costs. The increase in the total installed capacity, coupled with lower electricity demand, has resulted in excess production being exported to other jurisdiction at a significant loss.
As a result of these structural shifts and poor governance, electricity costs have risen substantially in Ontario. Ontario now has the fastest growing electricity costs in the country and among the highest in North America. Between 2008 and 2016, Ontario’s residential electricity costs increased by 71 percent, far outpacing the 34 percent average growth in electricity prices across Canada. In 2016, Toronto residents paid $60 more per month than the average Canadian for electricity.
Ontario’s skyrocketing electricity rates also apply to the province’s industrial sector. Between 2010 and 2016, large industrial users in Toronto and Ottawa experienced cost spikes of 53 percent and 46 percent, respectively, while the average increase in electric costs for the rest of Canada was only 14 percent. In 2016, large industrial users paid almost three times more than consumers in Montreal and Calgary and almost twice the prices paid by large consumers in Vancouver. Some select large industrial consumers were granted rate reductions but still paid higher rates compared to large electricity users in Quebec, Alberta, and British Columbia.
Soaring electricity costs in Ontario have placed a significant financial burden on the manufacturing sector and hampered its competitiveness. Compared to multiple comparable American and Canadian jurisdictions, Ontario has exhibited the most substantial decline in its manufacturing sector over the past decade. Overall, Ontario’s high electricity prices are responsible for approximately 75,000 job losses in the manufacturing sector from 2008 to 2015.
Given the critically important role that affordable energy plays in economic growth and prosperity, the authors urge the Ontario government to pursue meaningful policy reforms aimed at lowering electricity costs for all Ontarians.
Elmira Aliakbari;Kenneth P. Green;Ross McKitrick;Ashley Stedman
In the article “Renewable Energy’s Dilemma” (CC Jan. 22), Candice Goodchild introduced the perspective of a grassroots group in Chatham-Kent, Ontario called Water Wells First. This group was formed to protect the sensitive aquifer in the area from vibration damage caused by the construction and operation of industrial wind turbines (IWT). I am a member of that group, and I would like to share my story with you.
My family and I live inside the footprint of the North Kent Wind 1 (NKW1) project, built in the northeast part of Chatham-Kent, Ontario. The wind farm is built and managed by Pattern Energy (out of Texas) and Samsung (out of Korea). We live on an acre of land, surrounded by farmland. We have enjoyed quiet country living that included an unlimited supply of good, clean water from our well. However, last summer, during the construction of the NKW1 project, our property was surrounded by three pile drivers. The particular style of construction for industrial wind turbines requires the use of piles to support the foundations. In this case, 18 to 24 piles are used for each of the 34 wind turbines in this project. Three turbines were erected within one kilometre of our house.
Pile driving began on July 27, 2017. The next day, while my husband was in the shower, the water stopped running. Upon investigation we found that the sediment traps we had installed on our water line were choked with thick, black sediment – something we had never seen before.
Chatham-Kent sits on a unique geological bedrock formation called Kettle Point Black Shale. The aquifer that feeds hundreds of wells in Chatham-Kent is shallow and quite fragile. It rests on that black shale, trapped in layers of glacial sediment. Black shale is known to naturally contain lead, mercury, arsenic and uranium.
In 2012, the East St. Clair wind project was constructed in northwest Chatham-Kent, which has the same black shale formation as other areas of the county. Many well owners in the area experienced the same black water we found in our well.
Investigation by private citizens and scientists hypothesized that the vibration from pile driving and the operation of wind turbines had disturbed the aquifer under the East St. Clair project, causing the release of sediments into the aquifer. As a result, the water turned black from the shale particles. When the NKW1 project was to begin, farmers and residents from the area mobilized to inform government officials about the potential danger to the aquifer from pile driving. This became the group Water Wells First. Our warnings and pleas were ignored, and construction began.
Today more than 20 wells within the footprint of the NKW1 project are experiencing black water. Many of these families had received water tanks from the wind company, which was required by the Renewable Energy Act permit – an alternative water supply in the case of any well issues during construction. Our family has had a tank on our property since the first weekend of August. It froze during the coldest winter days, and ran dry when there were delays in delivery, or when the hose leaked. At the time of writing, we have been informed that the tank will removed from our property by the end of March…
The people of Chatham-Kent aren’t stupid and it makes us a little angry when the powers that be assume we are.
The news this week about the EBS Geostructural Consultant blog that had a key phrase removed regarding the company’s advice to Hydro One about using micro-piling methods instead of deep piling to avoid “potential for driven pile installation to cause issues with nearby active water wells” is disturbing on so many levels.
First, the advice to Hydro One is proof at least one government agency used alternative methods of pile-driving to avoid disturbing area water wells, with the blessing of the Ministry of the Environment, as the blog states.
Second, it refutes the claims by the North Kent One wind farm that there couldn’t possibly be any connection between deep pile driving methods used to construct the turbine foundations and the complaints of sediment contamination in several water wells in the project area.
And finally, removing the line referring to water wells doesn’t make us “unsee” the information. We now know at least one government agency – Hydro One – sought advice on how to construct towers with the least impact to area wells and went with that advice, keeping in line with the company commitment to “identify and evaluate environmental risks to ensure that hazards are eliminated or controlled” as it states on its website.
So asking us to disregard what we read because it wasn’t being “used properly” and expecting us to believe this advice is not in any report to Hydro One is utterly ridiculous and, frankly, insulting.
If Samsung and Pattern are going to stick to their assertion their construction methods couldn’t possibly be the problem for well owners, and if the environment ministry and municipal officials are going to buy into that when other sources say otherwise, it is time for us all to demand better from our deciison makers.
The well owners have been dealing with dirty water for long enough. We need to start questioning why the environment ministry and the municipality are letting the turbine companies dictate what we consider unsafe for our rural residents, and why these well owners have to fund their own investigation into the potential carcinogenic sediment in the water the government insists is safe to drink.
And because our chief medical officer of health says so isn’t a good enough reason. Until the governments – local and provincial – step up and demand answers from an unbiased third party, we will continue to be treated as naïve sheep who need to be neither seen nor heard.
My wife and I live south of 72, in Hopkinton. We are totally against the North Ridge Wind Project and the expansion south of 72.
Do I feel the wind law is strict enough? No, but there has already been enough compromises on our part.
Time after time the majority of residents have voiced they are against this project.
And, yes, we all know what we signed and do know what a PILOT is, so please stop insulting our intelligence and insinuating that these signatures are not legal residents.
I commend the three women on Hopkinton town board for wisely listening to the majority of your constituents and the Wind Advisory Boards recommendations.
Unfortunately, I question if the two men on the board have drank the Kool-Aid.
One’s dad is a lease holder so ethically must recuse himself and the other being Hopkinton’s fire chief and Avangrid publically stating thousands of dollars ear marked for the fire district, appears he may have some ethically questionable motives and perhaps he should also recuse himself.
A no brainer: Guaranteed 100 percent assessment. If you own a shack or a mansion — we each pay the same assessment. This company has a lot more money than any of us and if this is such a good financial deal for our town, lets guarantee that by making them be fair to each of us.
Pay your full 100% assessment like we all do!
When all is said and done and Avangrid has packed their bags and “gone with the wind,” we will still be here. We have thrived for over 200 years and will continue to thrive.
As our elected town representatives: Will you be able to hold your head high knowing you took your position to represent and protect the majority of the towns people in the highest regards?