Category Archives: Animals and turbines

Lake Erie ecosystem under threat by off shore wind turbines

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The Blade|By:Steve Pollack|August 11, 2018

Proposed Icebreaker wind project is not what it seems

It is hard to know where to start dissecting the slick spin-doctoringrecently published in The Blade’s Op-Ed pages by LEEDCo, the Lake Erie Energy Development Corp., which wants to erect North America’s first freshwater offshore wind-turbines in central Lake Erie off Cleveland.

So-doing would reach far beyond the scope of a newspaper “op-ed.” Beth Nagusky, LEEDCo’s director of sustainable development, is a master at cherrypicking and parading obscure statements as a fait-accompli. Her contentions about the goodness of the proposed six-unit Icebreaker Wind power-generation project, some seven miles offshore, lie between premature and erroneous.

RELATED: Turbines are part of a clean energy future for northern Ohio

They are a masterful act of dissembling, distraction, distortion, and deception. Perhaps “MisLEEDCo” would more appropriate.

Ms. Nagusky has posited that Icebreaker’s towering turbines would kill few birds and bats, a claim that simply does not hold up under scrutiny. This is shown clearly for anyone who assesses it thoughtfully.

LEEDCo is betting on the glitter of such buzz-words as “economic impact, jobs, and clean energy” to substantiate its stance that somehow the pre-construction research on Icebreaker’s impact is all said and done and we can gleefully ride off into a lovely green-energy future. Wrong.

It claims that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has declared the project a low risk to birds and bats. Wrong again. The Service ruled that the project only posed a low risk to a few particular endangered species. It rejected the initial Icebreaker environmental assessment (EA), citing several insufficiencies in regard to birds and bats. The final EA has yet to be filed. No one, including LEEDCo, has seen it yet.

Among other unsettled issues, the required technology to monitor post-construction bird and bat mortality simply does not exist. And additional studies, including meaningful radar studies of migrations through the turbine zone, should be mandatory.

In its sugarcoating, LEEDCo ignores saying that the initial six units are just the tip of the iceberg. If the Ohio Power Siting Board and related agencies give the green light, this project opens a Pandora’s Box to hundreds or thousands more turbines on Lake Erie and the other Great Lakes. Any negative impacts would be magnified by orders of magnitude.

The state of New York has issued a moratorium on offshore wind for just such considerations, as has the province of Ontario, which alone has put 1,250 proposed offshore Erie wind turbines “on hold” while it assesses Icebreaker deliberations. Do you think that the giant Fred Olsen Renewables, of Oslo, Norway, would bother with building just six units here? The big money lies in hundreds. A proposed “buildout” after Icebreaker may run to 1,600 turbines.

So this really is not just six little old turbines and a few dead birds and bats. The migratory pathway and wintering grounds of millions of birds, and migratory bats as well, lie in the paths of a potential phalanx of towering 500-foot rotors. Out of sight, out of mind, is no justification.

LEEDCo is counting on the public not bothering with facts. Ms. Nagusky singled out Black Swamp Bird Observatory (BSBO) for its criticism of poor, incomplete science that LEEDCo’s hired-gun consultants have proffered about unknown and likely devastating impacts of arrays of offshore turbines. This in the heart of what the National Audubon Society and BirdLife International has declared a Globally Important Bird Area.

The Ohio Power Siting Board staff has attached a daunting list of conditions to its preliminary analysis. Last October, contrary to LEEDCo pretentions, the USF&WS argued that a still-unapproved environmental assessment is insufficient. Instead a more serious, detailed, environmental impact statement should be drawn. Yet LEEDCo proselytizes incorrectly that a waffling preliminary assessment means that Icebreaker is clean and green.

BSBO’s analysis has been dogged over many months. Its conservation committee includes a professional engineer, an environmental law attorney, and no less than three lifetime professional wildlife and fisheries biologists. Contentions down Cleveland-way that the anti-LEEDCo campaign is an animal of the beleaguered coal industry is just another distraction. The project needs to stand on its own scientific merits, not smoke-and-mirrors……

This project should be stayed unless or until it can assure minimal wildlife impacts based on the most rigorous science. The public should thoughtfully educate itself on the project before forming opinion. Icebreaker is the first small wave in a floodtide. Read the record, not just a “windustry” spin-doctor’s selective fantasizing.

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Fairness for the people

turbine tallOP ED: Who deserves fairness and equity?

 

By Gary Mooney|The Times|July 25, 2018

Since 2007, County groups and individuals have been fighting wind turbine projects in PEC on environmental, human health, cultural heritage and economic grounds. We are grateful that the PC government has taken decisive action to cancel wpd Canada’s White Pines wind project.
In a recent open letter to Premier Ford, Dr. Hartmut Brosamle, CEO of wpd AG, asks for reconsideration of the government’s decision to cancel White Pines, because the cancellation is causing the company “serious damage through no fault of its own”. Some comments are appropriate regarding fault.

wpd Canada and, by extension, its German parent wpd AG, have exhibited major failings or faults with regard to their pursuit of the White Pines wind project:

WRONG LOCATION
wpd originally chose a location that is the last stretch of undeveloped land on Lake Ontario, on a major bird migration route, much of it within an Important Bird Area. This area is home to multiple endangered species, including Blanding’s turtle and little brown bat. As well, the South Shore is an area of significant cultural heritage value, dating back to UEL days.

SECRET DEALS
wpd instructed its sales agents to sign up landowners to host wind turbines secretly, with no notice to the community, and required those landowners to agree to nondisclosure of contract terms.

BIASED CONSULTANTS
wpd hired consultants who provided it with incomplete and flawed reports to legitimize the project, especially with regard to environmental issues and cultural heritage concerns. Citizens’ groups and individuals had to hire their own lawyers and consultants and launch appeals costing about $700,000 to present the other side.

PLEBISCITE
wpd ignored the results of a 2012 plebiscite in South Marysburgh Ward, where the project is located. Ninety per cent of those who voted (turnout similar to that for municipal elections) rejected wind turbines in their ward.

NO ENGAGEMENT
wpd never engaged in a real two-way dialogue with the community; instead it proceeded most of the time as if the County was unpopulated.

COUNTY COUNCIL
wpd ignored the position of PEC Council, which declared itself in 2013 to be an unwilling host to wind turbines.

BREACH OF CONTRACT
wpd failed to deliver 75 per cent of the contracted capacity required by its FIT contract, and failed to meet contract deadlines.

UNDERESTIMATION
wpd underestimated the resolve of local groups to protect County residents, the natural environment and cultural heritage, and the many County residents who funded their efforts.

PROVINCIAL ELECTION
wpd ignored the fact of a coming provincial election and an anticipated change of government to one opposing the Green Energy Act and wind turbine projects.

RECKLESS DECISION
wpd made a reckless decision to proceed with construction of the downsized project without final approval by IESO. Wpd is the author of its own misfortune.

Via the Green Energy Act, the Liberal government suspended democracy as regards renewable energy development and, for nine years, completely ignored the wishes of citizens and municipalities. The PC government was elected in part because of its willingness to listen to the people.

Despite all of the failings listed above, Dr. Brosalme asks for “fairness and equity” for wpd. How many such failings are necessary to disqualify wpd from reconsideration of the government’s decision: only one? maybe three? even all ten?

We in the County have been seeking fairness and equity regarding wind turbine projects for more than a decade, involving many thousands of hours of volunteer time. It’s the government’s choice, and we are grateful that it has made a choice “for the people”.

Finally, it is important to acknowledge the strong support that Todd Smith has provided to our community and our cause since he became MPP in 2011. It’s been good to know that he’s had our back at Queen’s Park.

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7 Steps to Repeal Green Energy Act

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Mother’s Against Wind Turbines Inc. (MAWTI), is calling for an immediate moratorium on the operations of current wind energy facilities in the province and the cessation of approvals of future projects. We have prepared the following brief which has been delivered to the Premier Doug Ford, as well as mailed to all MPP’s with a portfolio and a mailed copy was also sent to each MPP that is an assistant to a minister with a portfolio.

Please consider our document and distribute as you determine.

7 Steps to Repeal Ontario’s Green Energy Act 2009- MAWTI

International Wind Turbine Noise Conference 2019

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Enercon Wind Turbine- Niagara Wind  located in Southern Ontario

2019 Theme and Subjects

When: June 12-14, 2019   Where: Lisbon

Consolidating our Knowledge

In 2019 we would like to devote a part of the conference to consolidating what we know. As Bo Sondergard said when I suggested that to him “there is no single point in time, our knowledge is always on the move”. That’s true, but I think it would be a good time to try to pull together, perhaps in literature reviews, what we know about:

  • Propagation
  • Annoyance and other effects on people
  • Predicting background noise level
  • Amplitude Modulation
  • Modelling Source Noise

And, of course, what we don’t know – so where the research energy should go next.

Otherwise, we still want general papers and here are a few areas where more work is required:

  • Does background noise vary with seasons?
  • How well does background noise mask turbine noise?
  • Small turbines – they can be as much a problem as large.
  • Cyclical Pitch Control. Can it help reduce AM or overall sound power?
  • How do meteorological conditions affect propagation?
  • More dose response tests on turbine audible noise to allow us to produce more robust regulations.
  • More ways of reducing trailing edge noise.

And, of course any other subjects that are useful to further the knowledge of Wind Turbine Noise.

Dick Bowdler

May 2018

More Information: International Conferences on Noise 2019  

Fight to Save Endangered Turtles from Wind Turbines

blandings-turtle 3Residents 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.

[325] 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.

Extraction from ERT Ruling:15-068 HIRSCH V. ONTARIO (MOECC)  

Global News April 25, 2018:
https://globalnews.ca/video/embed/4168160/

Turkey Vultures vs Niagara Wind

turkey vultureSpring 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. 

global flyways

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?

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No Wind Turbines on Lake Erie

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Lake Erie Shoreline

Cleveland.com|Letter to Editor|December 27th, 2017

By Other Voices
I am concerned about the proposed wind turbines in Lake Erie. The foreign company that wants to do this is intends to make money off our natural wind patterns by selling electricity to CPP. They do not care about the impact that this project has on us, or the local ecosystem. They just want profits.
Here are my concerns:

1. Placing these unsightly turbines in the lake would have an impact on fish. They could disrupt natural areas that support perch, steelhead, and walleye.

2. They could impact the migratory patterns of birds and local avian species such as bats and terns. They could have a negative effect on local birds like seagulls, barn swallows, and herons.

3. They have been banned in Canada.

4. They are ugly. Who wants to look at an awesome Lake Erie sunset with a wind turbine in it?

5. They create a huge navigational hazard to boaters. These turbines are proposed off a prime boating area NW of Cleveland. The 26,756 registered boaters of Cuyahoga county do not want to navigate around these obstructions during their relaxing day on the lake.

No turbines!

Jim Herold,

North Olmsted