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