Too good to be true? The newly elected Ontario Government lead by Premier Ford has announced it is repealing the Green Energy Act (GEA). At first flush this should be a good thing and cause for tremendous celebration for wind warriors opposed to the harmful impacts of wind powered complexes especially for those families and individuals who have been raising alarms about adverse health impacts. The GEA is the statute that has enabled renewable energy projects in Ontario to be built, operated and home for regulatory capture under prescribed regulations. But…. Is the announced Bill 34 an elaborate switch and bait hiding the powers of the disastrous Green Energy Act in another statute?
Careful reading of the bill is generating the realization that moving the meat and potatoes of the GEA into another law doesn’t remedy all what is wrong with renewable energy projects powered by wind.
It is enough to have a mother take to drink. Anyone got a buck for a beer?
“Ontario’s Green Energy Act was a horror for business, a gross invasion of municipal authority, and sent successive auditors general to whatever is the chartered accountants version of a hospice centre”
“…deprived Ontarians of natural justice, turning neighbour against neighbour as developers quietly signed deals to lease privately-owned lands in rural communities for massive wind turbines and solar farms, with the projects then sprung on those communities as a fait accompli, in which they had no meaningful say.”
“Although the full effect of the legislation will be evident only when regulations become available, Bill 34 is another initiative in the government’s campaign to restrict further renewable energy development in Ontario”
“All the partisans for and against the Green Energy Act (GEA) screaming about the act’s demise are missing the forest for the trees. Premier Ford’s new legislation claiming to repeal McGuinty’s signature legislative legacy preserves the core of the original GEA.”
“BILL 34 REPEAL GREEN ENERGY ACT OR IS IT??? Please share – people need to know…And let’s be honest and non-partisan about this…if the PCs are repealing the Green Energy Act why is there residue of the Green Energy Act being put into other legislation?”
Fishermen’s houses burned to make way for wind farm
3-year-old dispute continues in coastal community of Oaxaca
Twenty houses were set on fire Wednesday as a dispute flared up over a proposed wind farm in the Oaxaca coastal municipality of San Francisco del Mar.
Municipal authorities and a community of fishermen are at odds over the Boca Barra wind farm, which was first proposed three years ago. The indigenous fishermen of Pueblo Viejo have strongly opposed it, refusing to give up 15,000 hectares of coastal land.
Yesterday, the municipal representative in Pueblo Viejo, Francisco Álvarez, led a group of supporters to the beach where they set fire to some 20 palapa-roofed houses belonging to the fishermen.
The latter filed a formal complaint and then proceeded to block access to Pueblo Viejo and cut off the town’s electrical power.
The fishermen claim that Álvarez wants to force them to leave the land so the municipality can grant it to the wind farm project. They also charged that Mayor Froylan Gaspar Pedro was behind the arson attack.
The municipality has claimed that the wind farm will be “for the benefit of all.”
The state deputy secretary for political development, Carlos Ramos, said his staff have traveled to the coastal municipality to arrange negotiations between both parties. Two previous attempts to negotiate a solution have failed.
No arrests were reported after the arson attack or the suspension of the town’s power supply.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The number-one challenge of our times is to separate the wheat from the chaff. To assist in this task, we are blessed with more information than ever before – but we are also simultaneously burdened with more misinformation than any prior generation has ever had to deal with. We look back and wonder how trusting citizens were so easily victimized by snake oil salesmen, but today, in the golden age of cons, we are being duped on a daily basis.
As a representative matter (and a national issue of great significance), let’s look at what’s happening with industrial wind energy.
The primary reason why wind energy has been a success has nothing to do with wind energy! Instead, its success is 100% due to the fact that wind energy proponents are masterful lobbyists. If one reads The Business of America Is Lobbying, it’s apparent that the wind industry has used every trick in the book, and then written some of its own.
For example: Wind lobbyists have successfully infiltrated our language with totally inaccurate and misleading terminology, such as “wind farms” and “clean energy.” Neither exists.
For example: Wind marketers have successfully portrayed their product as “Free, Clean, and Green” – despite it being none of those. The reason they have coined these malapropisms is simple: those who control the words control the narrative.
For example: Wind salespeople have successfully convinced financially distressed communities that hosting a wind project will be a economic windfall – even though numerous studies from independent experts indicate that the net local economic impact could well be negative.
For example: Wind-peddlers have successfully sold technically challenged local representatives that the wind-developer is their friend and business partner – even though these sophisticated and aggressive entrepreneurs typically look at these rural people as rubes and marks, and their number-one focus is to make as much money as possible, at the rubes’ expense.
For example: Wind developers have successfully persuaded much of the public that wind energy is an inevitable matter, so fighting it is a lost cause. The reality is that in many cases, local communities can effectively defend themselves by simply passing a proper wind ordinance.
For example: Wind-supporters have successfully imparted the belief that a certain wind project will power 20,000 homes – even though that project will not actually power a single home 24/7/365.
For example: Wind advocates employ a sleight-of-hand tactic to dismiss noise complaints by claiming that “wind turbines don’t make any more noise than a refrigerator.” The fact is that the main acoustical concern with wind turbines is the infrasound generated (which is below our level of hearing). So discussing the audible part of turbine noise purposefully distracts from the serious inaudible (but still very much experienced) noise issue.
For example: Wind propagandists say that wind energy is saving the environment – even though the evidence indicates that it is environmentally destructive on multiple fronts.
For example: Wind-promoters have successfully conveyed the idea that wind energy is a low-cost option of electricity – even though when all its costs are fully accounted for, wind energy can be three to five times as expensive as traditional electricity sources.
For example: Wind advocates have successfully communicated the notion that using more wind will directly result in the closure of coal plants – even though 10,000 wind turbines could never equal the performance of even a single coal facility.
For example: Wind-boosters have successfully disseminated the impression that wind is a major and essential contributor to preventing climate change – even though there is no empirical scientific proof that wind energy saves any consequential CO2.
For example: Wind champions have successfully relayed the conviction that the DoD Clearinghouse assures us that wind projects will not adversely affect the mission or operational readiness of our military or our national security – even though the DoD Clearinghouse was set up to accommodate wind energy (not the military), and the actual process is much more about promoting political correctness than protecting our national defense.
I could go on and on, as the list of wind lobbyists’ deceptions is distressingly long. That said, there is an additional major falsehood that needs to be exposed: that there is such a thing as wind energy by itself. This seemingly innocuous deceit is actually extraordinarily important.
The fact is that there is no such animal on the grid as wind energy by itself. What actually typically exists is a “Wind+Gas” package. This is mandated by the inescapable reality of wind energy’s unrelentingly unpredictable and uncontrollable output. No conventional source of electrical energy has these characteristics, so none need this special augmentation.
The importance of understanding this reality is that when we are talking about wind energy economics or environmental consequences, the only truthful analysis is objectively and comprehensively looking at the results of the Wind+Gas package.*
For example, it should be apparent that wind energy (i.e., the Wind+Gas package) is not a CO2 zero-emitter. In fact, due to other technicalities (never acknowledged by wind lobbyists) some studies have concluded that gas (combined cycle) by itself produces less CO2 than the Wind+Gas package.
Let me restate that extraordinary finding: gas can produce less CO2 than wind energy does!
Is the success of wind energy due to the sophistication of the con artists they’ve engaged or to our gullibility? In either case, the takeaway is that lobbyists are not reliable sources of information, especially when it involves significant money, our health, or our national security. The bottom line is that wind energy is palliative pabulum, not suitable for prime time.
Everybody loves renewable energy, right? That’s what surveys tell us with global support for renewable energy consistently polling above 80 percent.
But don’t tell that to the people of the Province of Ontario, Canada. On June 7, the electorate handed a stunning defeat to its Liberal Government after 15 years of reign. The election winner: Conservative Doug Ford, brother of Toronto’s infamous crack-cocaine smoking mayor, Rob Ford. The issue in the forefront of voters’ minds: sky high electricity prices.
Ever since the Ontario Government invoked its Green Energy Act in 2009 to transition away from coal power to wind and solar energy, electricity prices have risen a whopping 75 percent. In Ontario, electric bills have become as frequent a topic of water-cooler conversation as apartment rents are in Manhattan or San Francisco.
Without question, on every measure of ratepayer protection Ontario is an egregious case of how not to design a renewable energy program:
Most Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) rates set not by competitive bidding but instead by Government decree at levels as high as $C 80.2 cents ($US 62 cents) per kWh for 20 years
No mechanism to automatically adjust FIT rates downward as capacity deployment thresholds were reached
Domestic Content requirements that raised domestic equipment prices above global average selling prices
A rule that ratepayers still provide FIT payments for energy even when energy production is curtailed
An allowance of five years after FIT contract execution for facility construction, creating windfall gains for developers as equipment costs declined while preventing ratepayers from participating in any of those savings. How did Ontario get their renewables policy so wrong?
The mothers and their children took a walk on May 27, 2013 protesting the Summerhaven Wind project that was under construction at the time. We marched together providing a record and demonstration of our non consent to the wind project. It also spiked a lot of interest from the Ontario Provincial Police and wind project security. The police decided they needed to be present with a marked police escort and their undercover members.
Mothers Against Wind Turbines remains firm in giving a thumbs down to industrial wind. We have not remained silent. We will not remain silent. No still means no.
On Saturday May 12, 2018 the second annual retreat was held at Silverdale Hall in West Lincoln, Ontario. Topic for the day long event was community action against the negative impacts of wind power. This gathering has quickly become our place to network, share information, meet old friends and make new ones. Under skilled guidance of Georgina Richardson the day built on work accomplished and explored paths going forward. Attendees worked hard reviewing and goal setting while developing and setting into motion action plans.
The battle remains about protecting our homes, families and communities from realized negative consequences due to wind powered generation facilities. The fight has brought together so many people who remain united and committed in seeking justice.
Welcome everyone, special welcome to our MPP Todd Smith, Acting Mayor Dianne O’Brien and Councillor Steve Ferguson.
I am giving an update on what is happened in Ontario regarding turbines in the last year. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – not always in that order. Good Slide 3
In 2017, the media has been more outspoken about adverse impacts of turbines e.g.,
Two major networks, Global News and Radio-Canada, carried multi-part investigative reports this past year. The three-part Global News feature spurred questions in the Legislature and forced the then-minister to act on noise complaints for several Huron County families.
Fraser Inst. Publication Mid- April. They published Understanding the Changes in Ontario’s Electricity Markets and Their Effects criticized the GEA, speaking to it causing high energy costs, losing manufacturing jobs, and not improving the environment.
Auditor General criticized Liberal accounting practices re energy costs, fair energy plan; it was well covered in major newspapers
Noise from turbines consists of audible and low frequency noise/ infrsound –these affect brain waves but may be inaudible.
A team at University of Waterloo has created a special chamber in which infrasound can be produced, in the hopes that health researchers can determine unequivocally effects of infrasound at levels produced by turbines on people.
Australian Court (similar to our ERT) linked wind turbine generated LFN and infrasound noise with possible diseases including hypertension and cardiovascular disease, possibly mediated in part by disturbed sleep and/or psychological stress/distress – it found an established association between annoyance (used as a medical term) and some diseases that result from prolonged stress. They say effects of LFN include motion-sickness-like symptoms, vertigo, and tinnitus -like symptoms.
It was also established that the current method adopted by windfarms to measure noise (including in Canada) — the dB(A) scale, is not suitable for the task, as it does not measure the lower frequency range. The dB(A) scale averages out the sound levels, masking the highest levels and rate of change of noise that could be causing harmful health side-effects.
This is consistent with what the UK noise association said in 2006. 12 years ago.
MOECC still will not address infrasound. Slide 5
The Environmental Commissioner’s office wrote a report criticizing the government for approving 100% of turbine company permits to kill harm and harass endangered species. Slide 6
But – BAD they followed that up with one that makes superficial and false statements on the health impacts of wind turbines. She says there is no link between wind turbine noise and health effects — based on ERT conclusions. She does not say that it is next to impossible to win an ERT appeal on health. She said that noise impacts are controlled through setbacks and noise limits in the REAs.
What of the over 4500 records of health/noise complaints filed by people living near turbines in Ontario with the government since 2006? And the out-of-compliance turbines. This is important as if the local turbines are built, they may not be noise compliant. Slide 7 Bad-Turbines have been out of noise compliance with poor-to-totally lacking government response:
Port Elgin has one (Unifor) turbine – and have been complaining for years about the noise. Finally MOECC said that noise testing did show that it was out of compliance. A noise abatement protocol has to be put in place. The engineering report was filed with the MOECC in January, and then to the wrong Municipality in March – and finally to those affected. There is to be repeat testing in June–if it is out of compliance again -then what? Unknown.
Complaints regarding the Huron-Bruce Turbines in K2 Wind power project led to noise testing a year ago. Turbines were found to be out of compliance with Ontario regulations (April 2017). Since then, MOECC has done nothing.
Kincardine area has made multiple noise complaints over years, have been told testing is ongoing, but somehow, the tests are never completed, and the problem continues. In December they were told by MOECC that nothing was being done. And MOECC will not respond to complaints during an audit. The audit process started in December 2011 and is still not complete.
Last summer, a Brinston area resident wrote to Minister Murray about the complete lack of response to her reports of excessive noise (she has had to sleep in her basement on occasion because of the noise and vibration). An officer telephoned her and said:
Ministry staff were completely unprepared for wind turbine noise complaints.
They still don’t really know what to do.
They “lost” her records — even though she had so many reports that the MOECC actually installed equipment and did noise measurement for several days.
Last, it was too bad they lost everything pertaining to her situation and reports but it didn’t really matter, she was told because “You’re the only one complaining.”
With thousands of noise complaints recorded with the government unresolved, MOECC still refuse to acknowledge the problem, and refuses to look for causes.
Good: The MOECC finally admitted previous guidelines resulted in underestimating the noise at nearby homes – the modelling used to predict these impacts was wrong.
Last April 21, MOECC released a new protocol intended for “assessing noise from wind turbines that have already been built. It is used by industry and ministry staff to monitor compliance.” And compliance documents are to be publically available.
The result of non-compliance is: 1 – Remodel turbines; 2 – conduct a receptor audit at worst affected receptor from that turbine –or mitigation is required
Slide 9 Bad: However:
Still no recognition of low frequency noise. And, it hasn’t resulted in any effective changes.
Still – when WCO complained about the lack of response regarding noise and lack of a posted compliance report, they were told that the report cannot be posted as the turbine company’s documents are incomplete. (The turbines had been running for 3 years)
Although the government knows the modeling done by wind companies is wrong, they are allowing 5 new large-scale wind projects to follow the old guidelines. If they followed the new guidelines, about 3/4 of these turbines would have to be relocated or removed as they are predicted to be out of compliance with the new noise guidelines. At one project 11 of 12 would be out of compliance.
So in January, 5 affected communities filed a JR application against MOECC as surely, Ontario regulations and directives that limit the amount of noise any residence in the province should have to be followed. The claim is – transition provisions were put in place by the ministry to allow those wind turbine companies to use the old regulations without having to provide evidence that they were unable to comply with the new noise modelling guidelines (Dutton Dunwich, North Stormont, La Nation, and Wallaceburg)
Slide 12 Brilliant:
Wind Concerns Ontario taking Minister Murray to court May 18 for violating the Environmental Protection Act for permitting noise that causes adverse health events. According to WCO Access to information requests, of 4500 complaints noise/sleeplessness and other health-related effects received, few were followed up – only ~7% in 2015-16.
Slide 13 Ugly
In SW Ontario, in an area with sedimentary rock similar to that here, during and after IWT construction, well contamination has been reported – such that some wells are completely clogged, some failed simultaneously from pile-driving during construction. Some have not used their well for 4 years.
Before and after tests sent to Laboratories in Michigan show an exponential increase [in] turbidity among the affected wells, including [a] large proportion that can be attributed to black shale particles that are known to contain heavy metals, including uranium, arsenic and lead.
An ERT had warned that water wells in that area could be damaged.
A professional geologist said: the relationship between the installation of wind turbines and the contamination of wells is obvious. When you have a [pure] water source for years and [transforms] a few days after the construction of an industrial facility. You do not have to be a genius to see that there is a link of cause and effect.
He had agreement from geoscientist and geological engineer.
The project’s owner claims it has nothing to do with the problem.
MOECC’s response — While there’s been an admission that wells have indeed been contaminated, contamination can only be attributed to “unidentified factors.” They maintain that pile-driving activities associated with wind turbine development are not to blame. This conclusion was based on evaluations prepared by the power developer’s consultant.
MOECC say that you should only test your water for bacteria.
Quinte Region Proposed Source Protection Plan Version 8.1 Aug 2012: Section 2.4: “Due to the shallow soil conditions, the entire Quinte area was identified and mapped as a highly vulnerable aquifer. This designation was a direct result of the ease with which a contaminant can move into the underlying fractured bedrock aquifer.”
In 2017 alone, reported in the media:
181 accidents.* Note that there is massive underreporting. RenewableUK confirmed that of 1500 wind turbine accidents and incidents in the UK alone between 2006 and 2011, only 9% are on the global report. So there may have been more like 1800 accidents.
But it gives information on a cross-section of accidents: –
Of the 181, there were 17 fatal accidents, 13 injury accidents, 16 blade failure (blade or partial blade throws, travelling up to 1 mile), 24 fires, 14 structural failures (storm damage, tower collapse), 19 transport – related (biggest cause of public injury/fatalities, e.g. ram through a house, turbine parts falling off).
Turbine collapse in Chatham-Kent January
And in Germany, bits of blade travelled over 500 m –yes, the distance to neighbouring houses by Ontario regulations.
Slide 16 CONCLUSION
MOECC, MNRF – Apparently – still blind, deaf and dumb regarding turbine effects and violations
All rules and regulations can be broken for the precious GEA
Compliance is only met only if citizens fight (and pay) for it
Feds (Health Canada, Environment Canada) – no better