Not many things bring together a community like an Industrial Wind Energy Installation. In Illinois, the Concerned Citizens for the Future of Clinton and DeKalb Counties have banned together to fight Industrial Wind. Their lawyers took NextEra and the wind industry’s parade of “experts” to task in sworn testimony.
In Michigan’s Thumb, their “Wind Capital” has their own group of citizens calling themselves the Interstate Informed Citizen’s Coalition who helped to discover that townships could call for a referendum vote on whether or not they wanted any more wind energy. 12 townships, 12 votes, 12 times the answer was a resounding NO.
Vermont is working on enacting a much stricter IWT noise ordinance as well as setbacks 10x the height of the turbine. Minnesota has a similar bill in the works.
Oklahoma ended its wind subsidies early because of the overwhelming cost of Industrial Wind. Their former Governor Frank Keating released a statement saying that he regrets his part in funding Industrial Wind.
There are over 300 groups that have been formed for the singular reason of opposing Industrial Wind in North America alone. Europe and Australia have many groups of their own. They are people who may have thought that Industrial Wind was good or at least benign until they educated themselves, or where educated by their close proximity to turbines. There is well over a decade of testimonials, documentation, expert witness accounts and research into the negative impacts of Industrial Wind. The wind industry also has come up with its own testimonials, documentation, expert witness accounts and research that seeks to reframe or refute all the opposition’s evidence just as tobacco companies have done. Why are these negative impacts still listed within their contracts if there are not major problems?
People like to say that landowners can do whatever they want to on their own land but you know that is not true. If what you are doing (or not doing) negatively impacts your neighbor whether it be the length of your grass or the number of vehicles in your yard, it is not allowed. In our townships where the wind development is being proposed only a few people were willing to sign over land where they actually live. 4-5 people alone were responsible for signing over of the land for the proposed installation. That leaves 100s of people directly impacted but left with no choice to opt out.
Lastly people equate turbines with CAFOs. If they are allowed to annoy neighbors then Industrial Wind should get the same right is how the thinking goes. Our Planning and Zoning Board asked for mile setbacks for IWT, same as CAFOs but the wind companies said that they would leave. Our Supervisors shortened the setback to bring in revenue. Their first consideration needed to be people impacted, not the money to be made. Though industry supported with tax money is like cutting off the top foot of a blanket and sewing to the bottom to make it longer.
Bats are being killed at a rate by wind power plants that have experts raising the alarm about sustaining population levels (in blunt terms for some bat species- extinction level threat). In Ontario 3 of our 8 species of bats are considered critically endangered and are facing possible extinction. Kills by wind turbines add to existing pressures for their survival. Evidence mounts daily and it has the wind industry on the defensive. It is more than convenient that a recently study of a woodlot being steward by an Ontario landowner was reported not to have any bats detected. Bats which are so numerous that Theo Heuvelmans has had to hang a bamboo curtain over his home’s entrance to stop them from flying into his home. What other industry is allowed to kill, harm and harass endangered species? Wind power is allowed to not only self evaluated risks but once the projects are built they employ the clean- up crews to collect any found bodies and self report the deaths. Time for being polite and time to say it out loud- bull! It stinks.
Study says winged critters not detected in woodlot near where turbines to be erected
DRESDEN – To put it politely, Theo Heuvelmans doesn’t believe the results of a yet-to-be-seen study that says there are no bats in a 36-acre woodlot on his property near here.
As of Friday, Heuvelmans still hadn’t heard or received any information about what biologists found after they went through his woodlot several times last spring and summer ahead of the North Kent 1 industrial wind farm project which is about to be built nearby by Samsung Renewable Energy and Pattern Energy.
However, he was astounded when The Chatham Daily News informed him on Friday that the newspaper had received a response that no bats were found in the area.
“They’re telling me there’s no bats here? I can’t believe it,” Heuvelmans said.
“The study found there were no bats detected on his property,” according to an e-mail The Daily News received from Pattern Energy’s media spokesperson.
The e-mail also noted the firm that completed the study will be reaching out to Heuvelmans to discuss their findings with him.
The Daily News has requested a copy of the study or to be able to speak with someone about it.
Heuvelmans recently contacted The Daily News after growing frustrated that repeated calls to try to get information about the study have not been returned.
For the past five years he has had to put up a bamboo curtain and a screen to the entrance of the alcove that is part of the entrance to his home, because it attracts so many bats.
“This is the only way I could keep them out,” Heuvelmans said.
He initially refused a request by the wind farm developers to have his woodlot be studied. However, he noted company officials with AECOM Canada, an engineering consulting firm hired by the wind developers to study his woodlot, persisted and told him if bats were present it could impact where the turbines are built.
Heuvelmans agreed, hoping the presence of the bats would result in the wind turbines being constructed further from his woodlot.
However, judging from roads recently built on nearby fields, it appears two turbines will each be constructed within 300-400 metres of the woodlot – one on the west side and another to the north.
Heuvelmans said he put up several bat houses in the woodlot and nearby meadow about a year ago, with the hopes of moving the bats away from his home. He also admits he hoped it would help ensure the turbines would be built farther from the woodlot.
Heuvelmans also said he was told if bats were found in the woodlot, the turbines could be shut down at night to accommodate that.
He is worried that the turbines will negatively impact the wildlife living there, noting great horned owls are regularly seen flying from the woodlot to another nearby bush.
Heuvelmans questions why the turbines can’t be built farther way from woodlots. He would also like to see the Municipality of Chatham-Kent, which is purchasing a 15 per cent stake in North Kent 1, take a more active role in protecting these kinds of areas.
However, the approvals for industrial wind farms are provided through the Green Energy Act, which is under the jurisdiction of the province of Ontario.
Back in the 1960s, Yale psychology professor Stanley Milgram conducted a research experiment whose results shocked the nation.
Participants were told that they were taking on the role of ‘teacher’ in a study of methods to improve learning. An authority figure told the ‘teacher’ to administer increasingly powerful electric shocks to a ‘learner’ in the next room whenever a question was answered incorrectly. There actually were no shocks and the learner was part of the research team, but the ‘teacher’ heard increasing cries of pain with each ‘shock’ administered. Even as the intensity of the shocks approached the maximum of 450 volts, the authority insisted that the shocks should continue – that the anguished screams, the banging on the wall, the pleas about heart conditions, and ultimately the ominous silence from the other room should all be ignored.
It was believed that most people would defy the authority figure once they became aware that the shocks were seriously harming another person. But that was not the case: almost 2/3 of participants continued to obey the authority figure, administering ‘shocks’ until the very end.
I was reminded of the Milgram experiments recently while attending two Public Service Board hearings on new proposed sound limits for industrial wind facilities. Because there have been problems, a lower standard of 35 dBA, (down from 45 dBA) has been proposed. (The World Health Organization recommends 30 dBA.)
Those who live close to Vermont’s existing industrial wind facilities have described a range of symptoms that include sleeplessness, headaches, ringing ears, and nausea. For fifteen months, Shirley Nelson, who lived less than a mile from the Lowell wind project, kept detailed recordings of decibel readings (from a monitor installed at their home by the developer, Green Mountain Power) and the health effects she and her husband were experiencing. Entries from her ‘noise diary’ clearly demonstrate the sustained and cumulative adverse effects of living near the turbines at the previous standards.
The Therrien family, who lived near the turbines in Sheffield, pleaded for years for relief – from the PSB, the wind developer, the town of Sheffield, former governor Shumlin and other state officials – to no avail. Their symptoms? “Disturbed sleep, headaches, tinnitus (ear ringing), sense of quivering or vibration, nervousness, rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure, nausea, difficulty with concentration, memory loss and irritability.”
At the Montpelier hearing, the lawyer who represents the proposed Swanton Wind project told the Board to ignore these symptoms – dismissing them as coming from “complainers” and “outliers” whose testimony was just “anect-data”. Instead, he said, the Board should focus solely on submitted peer-reviewed studies that show no health impacts from proximity to industrial wind facilities
In other words: trust authority; ignore the pleas from the other room; continue administering the shocks.
What about other peer-reviewed studies showing that infrasound from industrial wind turbines does affect human health? And it’s hard to dismiss as mere “anect-data” the fact that deteriorating health forced the Therriens and their two young children to abandon a home they loved.
At the hearings, several residents of Lowell (perhaps believing that new standards would threaten their cash cow) not only implied that their neighbors were lying about the health impacts they’ve experienced, but claimed to live much closer to the turbines – with no ill effects – than they actually do. And the few supporters drummed up by VPIRG and industry promoter Renewable Energy Vermont callously waved off the impacts on humans, wildlife, land and water. Some actually called for raising the noise standard to make it easier on the industry.
Reading from talking points generated by VPIRG, someone commented, “There are only eight families complaining….”
What is the magic number that will elicit empathy from VPIRG? Thirty families? A hundred?
In the Milgram study, the pain the ‘teachers’ believed they were inflicting was justified by the supposed benefit of a better understanding of human learning. In Vermont, the justification from developers is that industrial wind is a ‘clean’ solution to climate change. And there are politicians, ‘environmental’ celebrities and non-profit organizations willing to put on a white coat and hold a clipboard to pose as the ‘authority’ on the industry’s behalf.
But for those who find clear-cutting, blasting, and bulldozing mountain ridgelines, degrading water sources, eliminating wildlife habitat, and killing birds and bats ‘clean’ and ‘green’, take a look at before-and-after photos of entire valleys in China destroyed by the mining of rare earth metals, a critical component in industrial wind turbines. Where there were once thousands of acres of carbon-sequestering grasslands there are now mountains of toxic sludge. Four thousand tons of material must be mined to produce the two tons of metals needed for each 3-megawatt turbine.
Production tax credits, the sale of renewable energy credits, and the requirements of state renewable energy portfolios have made the buildout of industrial ‘renewables’ very profitable for corporations, even when the climate benefits are marginal or non-existent. Utility law professor Kevin Jones at Vermont Law School describes all this as a ‘shell game’ that has actually led to an increase in Vermont’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Clever marketing has induced some of us to engage in moral relativism, ethics without substance, and environmentalism at the cost of its soul. If you find yourself arguing in favor of throwing someone under the bus because your favorite pop-‘environmentalist’ says it’s necessary, ask yourself what you would have done in Milgram’s lab.
You have to see it to believe it. You have to see it to understand the intrusive severe nature of trespass for residents whose homes are now adjacent to industrial wind turbines. You have to see it to gain an idea of the damaging effects of being exposed to strobing shadow flicker in the most private of places your home.
““As it stands, shadow flicker is annoying and annoyance is a serious health issue under the World Health Organization.”
Wind facilities are NOT good neighbours.
Dashwood couple’s problem with shadow flicker raises ire
Filmed April 28 and then uploaded, the video of the shadow flicker his parents live with at their RR 1, Dashwood home has been viewed over 44,000 times and has been shared 740 times.
Metzgar filmed and then shared the video to draw attention to the conditions in which his parents have had to endure from a nearby wind turbine. The turbine is placed 667 metres away from their home, but the shadows from the rotating blades reach their home on County Rd. 83 in Huron County.
“Most people admire a beautiful sunset, my parents not so much,” Metzgar says in the video.
The video has drawn comments from around the globe, but more importantly for Metzgar, it’s also drawn the attention of Northland Power, which owns and operates that wind turbine and others. Northland has promised to investigate, and has even offered to provide some blinds for the occupants “until a permanent solution” can be found.
The senior Metzgar have lived with the flicker problem – without complaint – since the turbine became operational in 2016. They didn’t want to be interviewed about the situation.
But their son believes the flicker needs to be corrected. Indeed, he said his parents can’t watch television without their viewing being interfered by the movement of the turbine blades.
“My parents have never been complainers,” Metzgar said. “And they don’t wish to be seen as such. They don’t have any hope that complaining will get them any results. I, however, have heard them mention the shadow flicker numerous times but never experienced it until last month. I was under the impression that the flicker is the same as what I’m experiencing at my home. That flicker lasts for about 45 minutes, and since we are not using the east part of my house in the morning for prolonged times, I just took notice of their complaints and never thought it was this extreme.”
Big ‘Green’ and Mean: A Wind-Energy Giant Attacks Small-Town America
by ROBERT BRYCE May 2, 2017 4:00 AM @PWRHUNGRY
The world’s biggest wind-turbine company has filed lawsuits against five rural governments because they stand between it and millions in tax subsidies.
NextEra Energy, which bills itself on its website as “the world’s largest generator of renewable energy,” is suing a tiny municipality in one of Oklahoma’s poorest counties. In mid February, NextEra, which operates 110 wind projects in 20 states, filed lawsuits in both state and federal court against the town of Hinton, population: 3,200. Why is the wind giant suing the Caddo County town? Simple: Hinton stands between NextEra and nearly $18 million per year in federal tax subsidies. NextEra isn’t suing only Hinton. Since last October, the wind giant has filed lawsuits against five rural governments from Oklahoma to Michigan, all of which have imposed limits on wind-turbine development.
The company has also filed a libel suit against Esther Wrightman, a Canadian activist who opposed a project NextEra wanted to build in Kerwood, Ontario. Wrightman’s offense? She called the company “NexTerror” and “NextError” on her website, ontario-wind-resistance.org. That libel suit, filed four years ago, is still pending.
To be certain, the oil and gas industry has filed lawsuits against local governments that have sought limits on hydraulic fracturing. The difference is that NextEra is using taxpayers’ money to fund its courthouse mugging of small-town America. Between 2008 and 2015, according to a recent report by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, NextEra accumulated profits of $21.5 billion but didn’t pay a dime in federal income taxes. Over that time frame, only ten other American companies received more in tax subsidies than NextEra. Nor does it appear that NextEra will be paying federal taxes any time soon. In its 10-K filing for 2016 with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company reported $3 billion in tax-credit carryforwards that it can use to directly offset tax liabilities in future years. Remember, tax credits are more valuable than a deduction from revenue or accelerated depreciation. As my accounting consultant (and brother) Wally Bryce, a CPA, reminds me: “You’d much rather get a tax credit because it applies dollar for dollar against what you owe the government.”
NextEra wants more tax credits. And it’s litigating to get more. But each lawsuit NextEra files against a yet-smaller rural town or yet-smaller website owner provides another example of the backlash against Big Wind and, even more appalling, how Big Wind is using the issue of climate change as an excuse to make a run on the Treasury. Since 2015, more than 130 government entities in states from Maine to California have moved to reject or restrict the encroachment of the wind industry. And while other wind companies have also sued small towns, none can match NextEra’s scorched-earth tactics……
Ireland’s wind industry has been put on notice. Damages and costs will be decided for the families adversely harmed by the noise emitted from wind turbines. The implications for the industry will no doubt reverberate worldwide. (Read prior court ruling by following link below)
“Can you imagine what our environmental groups could achieve, given the number of people with a good focused knowledge of environmental compliance, and not necessarily a lawyer or somebody with deep enough pockets to be able to afford a lawyer? We could really put the brakes on unsuitable development and the rape of our countryside.”
Ontario has had years to respond to the knowledge that industrial wind turbines are exceeding noise limits. Regulations that the wind industry lobbied for.
In Huron-Bruce county residents continue to battle government to enforce existing regulations to protect and preserve health from intrusive noise of industrial wind turbines. The document below is just one example of many submitted to Ontario from adversely impacted residents:
The pressure continues to mount on the MOECC (Ministry of Environment and Climate Change). The turbines are emitting noise above regulated limits with tonal qualities. Ontario on their own admission and as on the public record- will use the ‘law’ to enforce protections. Do the right thing.
SHUT DOWN THE TURBINES NOW!
Tests Find Some Huron Bruce Turbines Exceed Noise Regulations
The MPP for Huron Bruce has called on the province to shut down all industrial wind turbines that fail to comply with noise regulations.
Lisa Thompson says test results released April 7 indicate that the noise levels of turbines near two Huron Bruce residences exceed Ministry of Environment noise guidelines.
The results also acknowledged the possibility that tonal noises are being produced.
However, instead of agreeing to shut down the turbines, Environment Minister Glen Murray claimed the law is being enforced and complaints are being dealt with quickly.
“It has taken two years get these results. The next round of testing could take at least another year and a half,” says Thompson. “I don’t know what this minister thinks quick means, but suffering for three and a half years before anything gets done doesn’t sound quick to me.”
“The Black and Stachura families as well as other families across Ontario have been suffering for far too long from the impacts of IWTs which were built too close to their homes.” said Thompson. “The Minister needs to acknowledge the test results and once and for all do right by the people of Ontario affected by industrial wind turbines.”
She calls on the Minister to acknowledge the test results, and do the right thing.
“This brings us to indefatigable wind warrior Esther Wrightman, an Ontario wind turbine refugee who fled to New Brunswick. Last year she filed a Freedom of Information request (FOI) with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry in order to obtain the wind industry’s mandatory bird and bat mortality reports. In January she finally received “loads” of them, for a hefty fee. The mortality numbers are disturbing. Esther writes:
As the bird and bat mortality reports are slowly uncovered, the numbers just seem to get worse and worse. I never imagined it could get this low, but then again nobody was releasing this info to the public, so how were we to know?”