The harsh environment of wind swept Sable Island located off the shores of Nova Scotia famed for its wild horses has claimed the demise of wind turbines. The turbines are coming down. Sharing a place in the history of the island known as a graveyard for hundreds of shipwrecks on the Atlantic. The toll now includes five failed wind turbines.
By Aly Tomson The Canadian Press Sunday February 19. 2017
HALIFAX—The harsh conditions and extreme isolation of Sable Island has forced Ottawa to abandon a wind project on the iconic crescent-shaped sandbar — more than 15 years after it launched the initiative.
Parks Canada said wind turbines do not meet the needs of the windswept Nova Scotia island, famous for the wild horses that have roamed there since the 18th century.
“The wind turbines were part of a … project to reduce Sable Island’s dependence on fossil fuels, and were chosen based on the renewable energy technology that existed at that time,” the department said in an email statement about the million-dollar, overbudget initiative.
“Since then, there have been considerable advancements in the field of renewable energy systems.”
Dubbed the Graveyard of the Atlantic, some 350 vessels have wrecked on the island’s shores and hidden reefs since the mid-1700s. It is home to hundreds of namesake horses that have become synonymous with its romantic and untamed image.
Environment Canada launched the pilot project in 2000 — which would have seen the five wind turbines generate energy onto the grid of the island known for its shifting sand dunes and fragile environment.
But when Parks Canada took over management of the 40-kilometre-long island when it became a national park reserve in 2013, the wind turbines were not functioning.
“The project faced several delays due to the environmental sensitivity of the site and wildlife concerns, as well as the isolated and harsh conditions,” the department said, adding that the turbines were fully installed and running in 2006.
“Unfortunately, technical problems continued due to the harsh conditions and the inability to adapt the technology to the operations of the other infrastructure at the site.”
Through 48 years of development and policy work – eleven of them as Canadian ambassador to several Africa countries, and the last eleven as adjunct professor at Carleton and Queen’s – I have been convinced that the world faces an environmental crisis. The last thing I could imagine myself doing was, and is, to speak out against Green Energy.
Instead, I was at the forefront of those sent abroad by Canada to encourage democracy, human rights, the rule of law, transparency in business and government – and protection of the environment.
Now I am at home, teaching what I have learned to graduate students, and living on Amherst Island near Kingston. Yet even here, the issues of governance, sound policy and the environment are at the forefront – and are often overlooked or misjudged in pursuit of political and financial goals.
Yes, Amherst Island faces a calamity of governance and environmental policy. Ontario government approval has been given for the Island to become a 26-turbine wind farm. On an island no longer than 20 km and 7 km wide, this massive installation is to be pressed through despite the strong opposition of expert naturalists, environmentalists and the majority of the island’s 450 residents – very few of whom (no one knows the number because the question has never been asked) – want to see this jewel of migratory birds, natural beauty and historic heritage destroyed by what is apparently a moneymaking scheme designed by generating companies to attract and exist on government subsidies. In our hitherto-close Island community, only the few who have succumbed to opaque, secretly-negotiated offers will benefit: in return for the proverbial mess of pottage, (we are told, less than $10,000 a year) they would destroy their own heritage and that of their neighbours by accepting wind turbines on their land.
Decisions have been made which could be understood in many of the African countries in which I have worked, but in the Canadian context, seem dramatically out of place and counter-productive. A money-making scheme has been dressed up as pursuit of a noble environmental goal; a fiercely committed but far from wealthy group of Islanders and friends are pitted against substantial corporations with incomparable legal and financial resources and the promise of tax-payer subsidies. The result of this uneven battle could indeed be the destruction of the very environment that green energy is designed to preserve.
All this would appear to leave the Island community and the Island at the mercy of a provincial process which in itself is unbalanced, if not faulty. Many studies and indeed judicial findings have suggested that Ontario has a surfeit of electricity; that taxpayers’ subsidies for green energy to produce yet more electricity are misguided; and that destruction of the environment through construction of new docks and roads, a cement plant next to the public school, heavy traffic loads which our lanes cannot bear, knocking down 150-year old dry stone walls and other heritage – all are being pursued over the strenuous objection of residents and despite evidence of clear and lasting harm to the very environment green energy is supposed to protect.
Thus, though green energy is essential, and environmental concerns must be pre-eminent, the pursuit of provincial political objectives through robbing Canadians and Ontario of a valuable natural assets requires forceful public comment – not only from those immediately affected, but from those who are making the decisions and allowing it to happen.
I am compelled to speak out. I hope you will join me.
John Schram Amb (ret) John R Schram BA MA JD LLD Senior Fellow, Norman Paterson School of International Affairs Senior Fellow, Queen’s Centre for International and Defence Policy
About John Schram:
In his 36 years with the Department of Foreign Affairs, John Schram served in Nigeria and London, then worked actively in the South African struggle against apartheid and the transition to democracy. He was Director for Eastern and Southern Africa during the first South African elections and Canada’s participation in the Somalia UNITAF operation. From 1994 through 1998, he was high commissioner to Ghana and Sierra Leone and ambassador to Togo and Liberia; He was Canada’s ambassador to Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan and the Organization of African Unity from 1998 to 2002; and ambassador to Zimbabwe, Angola and Botswana from 2002 to 2005. He holds a law degree from the University of Toronto, and an MA in African Studies and honorary LLD from the University of Ghana. He now focuses on conflict resolution, peace building and development as Distinguished Senior Fellow with the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University, and the Queen’s Centre for International Relations at Queen’s University in Kingston.
Trish and Shawn Drennan are now self- represented in the latest challenge against the K2 wind project. The date for the motion to strike and dismiss their claims is currently set for January 19, 2017 in Goderich, Ontario. Support the fight with seats in the seats or drop a line to the Drennans directly. Fighting for justice for all who have been adversely harmed by wind power facilities.
Drennan’s Renew Wind Farm Lawsuit
Thursday, October 27, 2016 9:06 AM by Peter Jackson
Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh couple proceeds without a lawyer against wind farm.
Ontario Suspends Large Renewable Energy Procurement
Decision Will Reduce Electricity Costs for Consumers
September 27, 2016 9:00 A.M.
Ontario will immediately suspend the second round of its Large Renewable Procurement (LRP II) process and the Energy-from-Waste Standard Offer Program, halting procurement of over 1,000 megawatts (MW) of solar, wind, hydroelectric, bioenergy and energy from waste projects.
This decision is expected to save up to $3.8 billion in electricity system costs relative to Ontario’s 2013 Long-Term Energy Plan (LTEP) forecast. This would save the typical residential electricity consumer an average of approximately $2.45 per month on their electricity bill, relative to previous forecasts. No additional greenhouse gas emissions are being added to the electricity grid.
On September 1, 2016, the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) provided the Minister of Energy with the Ontario Planning Outlook, an independent report analyzing a variety of planning scenarios for the future of Ontario’s energy system. The IESO has advised that Ontario will benefit from a robust supply of electricity over the coming decade to meet projected demand.
Informed by the Ontario Planning Outlook, consultations and engagements will begin this fall with consumers, businesses, energy stakeholders and Indigenous partners regarding the development of a new Long-Term Energy Plan, which is scheduled to be released in 2017. As part of this plan, Ontario remains committed to an affordable, clean and reliable electricity system, including renewables.
Ontario has established itself as a North American leader in clean energy development, attracting billions of dollars in private sector investment and generating over 42,000 jobs in the clean technology sector. The province has about 18,000 MW of wind, solar, bioenergy and hydroelectric energy contracted or online and the electricity supply is now over 90 per cent emissions-free.
Responsible management of Ontario’s electricity system is part of the government’s economic plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan includes helping more people get and create the jobs of the future by expanding access to high-quality college and university education. The plan is making the largest investment in hospitals, schools, roads, bridges and transit in Ontario’s history and is investing in a low-carbon economy driven by innovative, high-growth, export-oriented businesses. The plan is also helping working Ontarians achieve a more secure retirement.
” Over the course of the last decade, Ontario has rebuilt our electricity system and secured a strong supply of clean power. Our decision to suspend these procurements is not one we take lightly. This decision will both maintain system reliability and save up to $3.8 billion in electricity system costs relative to the 2013 LTEP forecast. The typical residential electricity consumer would save an average of approximately $2.45 per month on their electricity bill, relative to previous forecasts. As we prepare for a renewed LTEP, we will continue to plan for our future and ensure Ontario benefits from clean, reliable and affordable power for decades to come.” – Glenn Thibeault Minister of Energy
Ontario’s new LTEP will be guided by a number of strategic themes including greenhouse gas reductions, innovation, grid modernization, conservation and energy efficiency, renewable energy, distributed energy and continued focus on energy affordability for homes and businesses.
At the end of 2015, Ontario’s installed wind capacity represented almost 40 per cent of all installed wind capacity in Canada.
Ontario is home to more than 99 per cent of all installed solar photovoltaic capacity in Canada.
Ontario successfully eliminated coal-fired electricity generation in 2014, the single largest greenhouse gas emissions reduction action in North America.
The Canadian Press – Shawn Drennan, part of a four-family fight against Ontario’s wind-turbine legislation, is seen outside court in London, Ont., on Monday, Nov. 17, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Colin PerkelWind turbines are like new neighbours who might drive you to distraction and out of your home because you have no legal way to deal with the situation, a packed Ontario court heard Monday.
In submissions to Divisional Court, a lawyer for four families fighting large-scale wind-energy projects compared the turbines to a neighbour who is always noisy and in your face.
“This neighbour never once ruptured your eardrums but that neighbour slowly drives you crazy,” Julian Falconer told the court.
“These turbines are those nightmare neighbours.”
The families are trying to get the court to declare provincial legislation related to the approvals of large-scale wind farms unconstitutional.
In essence, they argue, the legislation makes it impossible to scuttle a project on the basis of potential health impacts.
“The priority is to get the turbines up come hell or high water and that’s what they do,” Falconer said.
Governments love windmills, people who live near them hate them. The result is a beautiful recipe for lawyers.
Mr. Falconer is one of the country’s top constitutional and human rights lawyers. He represented the Smith family in a lawsuit into the death of Ashley Smith in custody. He worked on the Ipperwash Inquiry. He represented Maher Arar in a suit against the federal government over his rendition and torture in Syria. The list goes on. Point is, Mr. Falconer takes a special interest in holding government to account.
On Monday he’ll be taking on windmills. He wants Ontario’s Divisional Court to overturn the regulatory approvals of three projects, the St. Columban Wind and K2 Wind Energy project in Huron County, and the SP Armow Wind project near Kincardine, Ont.
His clients, who live near the projects, fear the noise and vibration of the wind turbines will trigger a host of serious health problems. Mr. Falconer will argue in court that Ontario’s process for approving wind farms violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Provincial legislation says anyone challenging a wind farm project before Ontario’s Environmental Review Tribunal must prove “serious harm” to human health. Mr. Falconer says that threshold is unfair because it is too high.
“The effects of wind turbines are felt in the most private and personal areas of residents’ lives, in their homes and beds, where the state has its lowest interest in intrusion,” Mr. Falconer submits in his written argument.
The Charter argument is a fairly new wrinkle in the fight against wind farms. But litigation itself isn’t. When the Divisional Court rules on the appeal, its decision will join the more than 30 Canadian reported court cases that have dealt with wind turbines — a number that shoots to nearly 100 when you include hearings before Canadian regulatory tribunals.
BIG WIND By Rico Michel http://www.dliproductions.ca/films/big-wind/ Margaret Welcome to the wacky world of green power, where misguided governments have sparked a massive corporate feeding frenzy (at taxpayers’ expense) to achieve little or nothing of any social benefit. — Margaret Wente, Globe & Mail
It has taken decades for us all to understand the pressing urgency of protecting the Earth’s environment by finding alternatives to fossil fuels. At last, the development of a green energy industry is presenting the opportunity to heal the environment… along with the opportunity to exploit it further. For politicians, going green provides a convincing election platform. For business, it offers the chance to make hundreds of billions of dollars. Green energy is the future and those who get in there first will benefit greatly. But not only honest players are championing this new industry. And nowhere is this more evident than in the massive development of industrial wind power.
Big Wind is a surprising and compelling documentary about the unprecedented rush to develop industrial wind turbines and how this is transforming the landscape in Canada and the world. The film investigates why governments are spending billions on wind power without first conducting health and environmental studies,why corporations are grabbing up precious farmland to put up hundreds of thousands of enormous industrial wind turbines, why people living near the turbines are falling ill, losing their animals and their farms,and whether these new “green” wind turbines are actually helping our environmental aims.
The rush to go green is pitting corporations against residents,government against citizens, neighbour against neighbour. Through the process the people are being stripped of their due democratic process.
Big Wind is a story of unethical political systems, corporate greed, and ordinary citizens who have had enough and are standing up to big government and big business. They are part of a growing revolution in rural communities in Southern Ontario and around the globe– people fighting to defend their homes, their way of life and the environment against Big Wind. It is a battle that will profoundly impact the green movement, as well as the well being of citizens in Canada and citizens worldwide for years to come.
It’s painfully obvious to Rural Ontario that our Provincial Government/Liberals are not listening and have no intention of listening to the concerns of it’s Rural Population.
The anti-wind movement has been patient. The anti-wind movement has been resilient. The anit-wind movement has not and will not go away, it has in fact grown in size and is more determined than ever to be heard!!
It is time for the FEDERAL Government to listen up!!Prime Minister Harper advocates for individual freedoms and accountable government. The Anti-wind movement calls on Prime Minister Harper and His Government to stop and take a close look at what is happening in Ontario!!
We lost the Provincial Election to the Liberals but if the PC’s want to stay in power on a Federal Level then they need to stop replying to calls for help by CANADIAN Rural Citizens with ” pass the buck responses.”
This from Jane Wilson of WCO…
One of our members got a quick response from her MP in answer to her email on the policy points regarding wind power in Ontario, and the 2015 election. Her MP told her that the federal government is doing a health study, and that is that: any other contact should be through the province of Ontario.
But we people at Wind Concerns Ontario do not give up!
Here’s what she wrote back:
Thank you for getting to us so quickly, but I beg to differ with your opinion that this problem is only a provincial problem. The federal government is also responsible for problems being initiated into rural Canada.
Yes, you have set up a Health Study, but the results will be too late for Canada. This study will not come out until sometime this year, (and the year is almost over) and then it will have to be studied and examined, etc.
It will take years for any positive change from this study, and from the correspondence we have had with Dr. Michaud, it seems he started with the premise that there is no problem because the onus of proving irreparable and irreversible harm is impossible to prove so anyone with concerns has “turbine hysteria”.
The Green Energy Act is structured in such a way that our municipality or its people will have no right in the matter.
And then, your government, who we support, is helping the Liberal & NDP view by washing your hands of responsibility.The PC’s must stand up for the rights of rural Ontario especially.
If you do not stand up for us, you will lose your majority to the Trudeau machine that is barreling down the road to the election by doing everything in their power to make our prime minister and the party look bad.
I am enclosing a letter which WCO has crafted to explain this situation to you. Please read it and study it. If you have questions, Wind Concerns Ontario (WCO) would be pleased to help you understand the situation.
IT’S TIME THAT YOU GET INVOLVED.
Such spirit! Also, respectful, with details, and emphasizing the need for action.
The voices of those from around the world who have spoke up are finally starting to be heard over the noise of the Industrial Wind Turbines. It truly is sad that a precautionary approach was not taken before exposing so many to Turbines. When will it be up to the Government to PROVE to US that IWT’s do not have a “Direct Casual Link to Adverse Health Effects on People” before being allowed to put up more in populated areas? Will it take another 10 years of suffering?
[Noise from modern wind turbines is not known to cause Hearing Loss, but the wind turbines may have adverse health effects on humans and my become an important community noise concern]
10 year Guinea Pig!!
[ Start with some “sleep deprivation” then add “cardiac arrhythmias, stress, hypertension and headaches, give that a stir and you have “Vibroacoustic Disease” or VAD. Which is occuring in persons who have been exposed to high level infra and low-frequency noise. (ILFN) for periods of “10 YEARS”!!! or MORE!
It is believed to be a systemic pathology characterized by DIRECT TISSUE DAMAGE to a variety of BODILY ORGANS and may involve ABNORMAL “Proliferation of Extracellular Matrices”]
[The energy generated by large wind turbines can be especially disturbing to the “vestibular systems” of some people, as well as cause other troubling sensations in the head chest or other parts of the body.]
[ Most relevant research has been conducted in Europe by “wind turbine manufacturers who typically don’t share with public.]
[…reports of the distressing effects on people living near utility scale wind turbines in various parts of the world are becoming common.]