Credit: By Erika Doyle | Wicklow Times | Tuesday 23rd January 2018 | wicklowtimes.net ~~
Richard Hobson from Ballycumber is fearful for his children’s future after a huge wind turbine was installed right above his house. Ballycumber Wind Farm consists of six wind turbines near Tinahely in South Wicklow.
Richard says the light flicker and noise levels are the “worst possible things” for his two small boys with autism, one of whom has epilepsy and the other hypersensitivity. He says his story is a warning to others that companies can ‘quietly put plans in place to build crazy things…uncontested and at odds with the local communities’ wishes.”
Richard’s story began some years ago when he bought a run-down property on Ballycumber Lane. He applied to Wicklow County Council for planning permission for a 6 metre house but this was refused on the grounds it was ‘dominant and intrusive or incongruous in the landscape or an area of special amenity value’, something he says he finds particularly galling as “they have now allowed a 50-storey turbine to be built above my head.”
Richard and partner Elaine spent all their savings trying to get planning permission, “I was put through the ringer for reports on my house but Wicklow County Council refused on a “height” of 6m. Then when the banks collapsed, I refurbished the house on my week to week wages.
“My home was sold to a vulture fund who pulled every trick in the book but I fought them. We were just moving out of negative equity and now I see above me six skyscraper industrial turbines of 131m each.” Richard says his home has now been devalued to the tune of 40% and he has been left with no choice but to pursue his legal options.
Partner Elaine is devastated by the turn of events. As full-time carer to sons Sean and Daniel, both of whom have severe health conditions and special needs, Elaine feels the full impact of the turbines on a daily basis.
“The children want to be outside,” she said. “But after being out there for a while and being exposed to the noise, between 30 and 45 decibels, they get very stressed and upset. A lot of the time now I bring them elsewhere to play. It breaks my heart as we moved here to have space. We used to live in a housing estate in the city but it was too busy and dangerous. We thought we would have the space and tranquility of the countryside here. I’m heartbroken that this has happened. We have so many medical appointments with our boys and should be able to retreat into our safe quiet home. People who don’t have children with special needs can’t understand the effect something like this has on them.”
“The natural beauty is now gone”, adds Richard. “The peace and quiet is gone for the next 25 years and my home is now seriously and permanently devalued by a Windfarm company, a government body Coilte and a consortium of business people that live far from me and I guarantee wouldn’t tolerate a wind farm above them. It seems as though County Councils and politicians bend over backwards for big business and laws are only for little people not the big boys.”
Ballycumber Wind Farm consists of six wind turbines near Tinahely in South Wicklow and is owned by a consortium including local businessmen. It was granted planning permission by Wicklow County Council in 2013 and appealed to An Bord Pleanala who upheld the permission.
For the past five years the South Wicklow Wind Action Group (SWWAG), led by Richard More O’Ferrall have fought against the introduction of wind farms to their and other rural areas saying they should be located offshore. Mr More O’Ferrall told Wicklow Times that he was well aware of health issues arising from living in proximity (considered to be within 2km) of a wind turbine. “In many cases people must leave their homes. This is what happened in one case in Cork and the court case resulted in the wind farm admitting liability (a landmark High Court action taken by the Shivnon families against Enervon Wind Farm Services. The family claimed their health had been affected by noise from the turbines and Enervon admitted liability).
Mr More O’Ferrall also referred to a quote from Colette Bonner, Deputy Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health who said, “There is a consistent cluster of symptoms related to living in close proximity to wind turbines which occurs in a number of people in the vicinity of industrial wind turbines. These people must be treated appropriately and sensitively as these symptoms can be very debilitating.”
SWWAG have not given up their battle and say they will work with Mr Hobson while he considers his options.
Source: By Erika Doyle | Wicklow Times | Tuesday 23rd January 2018 | wicklowtimes.net
I attended a recent meeting in Linden concerning wind turbines and the current county ordinance. I came away saddened by all the conflict over this issue among neighbors and even within families over this issue.
I have always been opposed to county-wide zoning, but wind turbines seem a much worse threat to the county than zoning, since zoning only represents a raid upon our wallets, while wind turbines represent a danger to the health and safety of our neighbors and their children.
I was shocked to learn that our local ordinance allows children to play closer to the turbines than the operating companies allow their employees, except in cases of necessity.
I was saddened to hear allegations that some of our elected officials may have a monetary interest in wind turbines.
The county ordinance requires setbacks from the foundations of homes, rather than property lines. This seems to preclude anyone from building a dwelling on land between a current dwelling and the owner’s property line, which appears to be an unconstitutional taking of land without compensation.
The contracts with wind turbine builders have an allowance for $15,000 for decommissioning each turbine. This is not enough money to even get a crane to begin to take down one of these towers.
To add insult to injury, wind turbines are heavily subsidized by the federal government, because they are not and never will be economical to operate.
Finally, it is an insult to the people that our county commissioners have yet to put wind turbines on the agenda for a commissioners’ meeting.
Kincardine Council asked the MOECC(Ministry of the Environment & Climate Change) on December 6, 2017 what is being done about continued noise reports at the Enbridge wind power project for the past NINE YEARS! MOECC District Manager documents the history of incomplete reports, and reported health effects.
When Premier Kathleen Wynne announced 14 months ago that her government was suspending Ontario’s renewable energy procurement process, she and her Liberal colleagues were caught in the middle of a public backlash against skyrocketing electricity bills. Halting a costly plan that promoted wind turbine farms was a quick, convenient response. Indeed, Wynne’s own energy minister admitted Ontario didn’t need the electricity that would be produced by new turbines.
But there was a problem. Six months earlier, several wind turbine projects had been approved, and the September announcement didn’t mean they would be cancelled. The contracts would be honoured. Ontario would be allowing the development of wind turbines to produce electricity that wasn’t needed.
Among those projects are two in Chatham-Kent and another in Elgin County. One has become an enormous public relations problem for the Wynne government, while the other two have the potential to become the same.
The first project is almost complete; but the others should be halted before they begin.
The North Kent 1 wind project was mired in controversy even before Wynne announced suspension of the renewable program. Construction activity is believed to have fouled or clogged at least 16 water wells because of interference to the area’s unique geology. Residents with damaged wells have made arrangements to have clean water trucked to their property.
The problems at the North Kent 1 project have stirred up fears a few kilometres away, at the Otter Creek project. Work has yet to begin, but residents are worried the same problems will affect their water. They’re also worried proposed turbine towers, the tallest in Canada, will be erected in an important migratory bird flight path.
Local MPP Monte McNaughton (PC — Lambton-Kent-Middleses) wants Otter Creek halted.
“These turbines are being built to generate electricity we don’t need, and they’re only going to contribute to driving hydro prices even higher,” he said.
In Elgin County, meanwhile, residents in Dutton Dunwich continue to campaign against a wind farm that has yet to be built.
Kathleen Wynne may have hoped rural Ontario’s long-held discontent with the Green Energy Plan would be forgotten by the June 2018 provincial election. But that’s not about to happen as the remnants of that multibillion-dollar campaign, and its varied controversies, continue to be revealed.
The production for West Lincoln NRWF is in column AN
The production from Nov. 2, 2016 to Nov. 2, 2017 was 492,051 MW
To calculate the hourly production divide 492,051 by 8760 hours in a year = 56.17 MW/hr.
The production for the first year of operation for the West Lincoln NRWF is 56.17/230 (name plate capacity) = 24.42%
So the over build for industrial wind turbines as an energy generator is 400%. In other words you either accept that the production is ¼ of the nameplate capacity or you need 4 times the number of industrial wind turbines. You still have an intermittent energy source that will only produce energy when the wind blows and frequently produces energy out of sync with demand.
A key question for the decision makers becomes – are industrial wind turbines financial viable at 25%? When you consider that we have already down loaded 330 billion dollars of debt on our children and grandchildren in Ontario.
Here is an excerpt from a report on the recent meeting in Clinton, announcing the launch of the Huron County public health investigation into wind turbine noise.
A few notes: as far as we are aware, the “study” is actually an “investigation” under the Health Protection and Prevention Act of Ontario, in which reports of adverse health effects may be reported and investigated. The only association with the University of Waterloo was the review by the ethics committee of that university — the university is not involved in any other phase of the project.
Wind Concerns Ontario had proposed to carry out Phase II of the study which would involve follow-up measurements in homes identified as problematic by the Health Unit, as part of a research study by a multi-disciplinary team. Although federal government funding was not achieved for that proposal, efforts to fund that initiative are ongoing.
This project is the first of its kind in Ontario; it was initiated based on reports of adverse health effects by residents of Huron County made to their health unit, and is supported by them.
For more information about the Huron County Health Unit project please visit the website here.
Huron County Health Unit launches wind farm study
By John Miner
ONTARIO FARMER November 7, 2017
Huron County’s on-again, off-again study on the health impact of wind farms is moving ahead with warnings from the researchers about what it can’t accomplish.
Even if the results in the end definitely show that wind farms are damaging the health of residents, the county’s health unit will not be able to order the turbines stopped, a public meeting was told.
“We do not have the authority to curtail or shut down wind turbines. If you are thinking of participating in the study in the hope that we will shut down the turbines, we want you to understand we cannot do that,” Dr. Erica Clark, an epidemiologist with the Huron County Health Unit, announced at the start of a public information session attended by about 60 people.
Courts have determined that Ontario health units do not have the legal ability to issue orders to protect public health in cases where the provincial government has given that responsibility to another body, Clark said.
In the case of wind farms, the government has given the power to regulate wind turbines to the Ministry of the Environment, not public health units, she said.
Dr. Maarten Bokhout: “If research indicates there are health issues, that can be raised with the Ontario government”
Dr. Maarten Bokhout, Acting Medical Officer of Health at the Huron County Health Unit, said while he cannot step on the Environment Ministry’s toes and he does not have the power to write orders against wind turbines, the results of the study will be published online, including interim reports.
The health unit’s one-year study, established in collaboration with the University of Waterloo and reviewed by the university’s ethics committee, will look at how people are annoyed by noise, vibration and light [shadow flicker] from wind farms.
The goal is to establish how many people are bothered by wind turbines in the county and determine if environmental conditions that make the noise, vibration light and sensations from wind turbines worse.
The study will rely on residents living within 10 km of a wind turbine who volunteer to keep a diary of their experience within their own home.
Participants are asked to record their observations at least once a week.
The researchers will not be making any actual sound or vibration measurements for the study.
Huron County is home to more than 300 industrial wind turbines and some of the largest wind farms in the province.
Some residents have blamed the turbines for a series of health problems, including headaces, nausea, dizziness and insomnia.
Clark, who is principal investigator on the study, said they want participation from both people who have been bothered by wind turbines and those who haven’t experienced any problems.
The 10-kilometre study zone around wind turbines means thousands of Huron County residents are eligible to sign up for the project, including all of the towns of Goderich and Exeter.
See the print edition of Ontario Farmerfor a related story: Rural residents skeptical government would act on wind