“It was kind of crushing to discover that the things I believed in weren’t real, first of all, and then to discover not only are the solar panels and wind turbines not going to save us … but (also) that there is this whole dark side of the corporate money … It dawned on me that these technologies were just another profit center.”
LOS ANGELES (AP) — “What if alternative energy isn’t all it’s cracked up to be? That’s the provocative question explored in the documentary “Planet of the Humans,” which is backed and promoted by filmmaker Michael Moore and directed by one of his longtime collaborators. It premiered last week at his Traverse City Film Festival.
The film, which does not yet have distribution, is a low-budget but piercing examination of what the filmmakers say are the false promises of the environmental movement and why we’re still “addicted” to fossil fuels. Director Jeff Gibbs takes on electric cars, solar panels, windmills, biomass, biofuel, leading environmentalist groups like the Sierra Club, and even figures from Al Gore and Van Jones, who served as Barack Obama’s special adviser for green jobs, to 350.org leader Bill McKibben, a leading environmentalist and advocate for grassroots climate change movements.
Gibbs, who produced Moore’s “Bowling for Columbine” and “Fahrenheit 9/11,” didn’t set out to take on the environmental movement. He said he wanted to know why things weren’t getting better. But when he started pulling on the thread, he and Moore said they were shocked to find how inextricably entangled alternative energy is with coal and natural gas, since they say everything from wind turbines to electric car charging stations are tethered to the grid, and even how the Koch brothers are tied to solar panel production through their glass production business.
“It turned out the wakeup call was about our own side,” Gibbs said in a phone interview. “It was kind of crushing to discover that the things I believed in weren’t real, first of all, and then to discover not only are the solar panels and wind turbines not going to save us … but (also) that there is this whole dark side of the corporate money … It dawned on me that these technologies were just another profit center.”
Both know the film is going to be a “tough pill to swallow.” It was a difficult eye-opener for them as well……
Although the findings will be disheartening, both Gibbs and Moore say they hope that it inspires people to reset and start thinking differently.”
“Now we can begin to come up with the right solutions that might make a difference … The film doesn’t have the answers but it will get us asking a better set of questions,” Gibbs said. “I really do trust that when millions of people are discussing an issue, answers will emerge … This is what we do as humans, we solve problems, but we’ve got to have the right questions.”
End of life for the Pickering wind turbine. Ironically its demise serves as a metaphor for illusions peddled that wind turbines are a viable means for on demand electricity generation. Waiting for the winds to be just right (not too fast or slow, or no wind) turbines fueled by the wind produce out of sync with demand. It is also plagued by generation that is variable and intermittent in nature. Introducing wind powered generation creates increased need for fossil fuels (usually gas) for back- up generation capacity that can be there when needed. Turbines have an eye watering, otitic throbbing 20 years or less operational life cycle.
Later this year, Pickering residents will see a change as they stroll along the Waterfront Trail at Alex Robertson Park. Ontario Power Generation’s wind turbine has reached its end of life and will soon be dismantled.
While the turbine has produced clean, renewable energy for many years, it’s important that we make smart investment decisions that will return good value for Ontario. And because the cost to replace the turbine’s older parts is too high, and leaving the turbine in place but not operating would present a safety concern, we’ve made the decision to move forward with dismantling it.
Did you know?
The turbine has operated for almost 20 years
At full power, it could produce enough energy to power about 330 homes
While located beside the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station, it’s actually operated and maintained by our Niagara Operations team
Once work begins it will take about two weeks to dismantle the wind turbine. We’ll publish the date here once it’s been determined.
Recent article published in the Hamilton Spectator about Ontario’s electricity generation sources has generated lively feed back and thought provoking comments.
Published Hamilton Spectator|May 3, 2019
Afterthoughts pulls together reaction to specific Hamilton Spectator stories. These opinion submissions follow the April 30, 2019 feature Who’s powering Hamilton?
Afterthoughts: Not all power generation created equal
Wind turbines and solar are intermittent energy sources that only produce power when the wind blows or the sun shines
From Catherine Mitchell:
Your article failed to mention that not all energy generation is created equal. Because the industrial wind turbines and solar are intermittent energy sources that only produce power when the wind blows or the sun shines, they only produce a portion of the name plate capacity.
Industrial wind turbines produce 28 per cent of the name plate capacity. (It’s a bit like putting a one-titted cow on the dairy production line or buying seed with a 28 per cent germination rate.) Solar is worse with 13 per cent production of name plate capacity.
The downside of renewable energy is that “non-polluting” wind energy is culpable for air pollution (gas plants on standby and smelting), ground water contamination (toxic effluent and ground disturbance), electromagnetic pollution, noise pollution (infrasound), radioactive waste (rare earth mining), and toxic waste” (Each blade made of fiberglass produces 6 tons of toxic waste). In addition to the loss of habitat created by the huge footprint required for installation of industrial wind turbines and solar fields.
We are currently under utilizing our hydro energy production to accommodate wind and solar. So the question becomes if we under utilize hydro to accommodate wind and solar — is any of the flooding being caused because water is being held back? The dam is a man-made restriction so blaming ‘climate change’ may not be the correct answer.
For example — the Ottawa River is one of the most highly regulated rivers in Canada, with over 50 major dams and hydroelectric generating stations scattered throughout its tributaries and mainstem. If you count all the smaller water control dams in the river system, there are hundreds of dams throughout the watershed.
The Ottawa River and its tributaries flow right into the St. Lawrence and the spring run-off often causes flooding with a particular affect on Quebec towns and cities. The amount of water is all controlled by the Saunders dam and is the responsibility of the St. Lawrence Seaway Authority. Because water is held back it also causes flooding in many parts of Ontario.
I am not sure the people experiencing the recent flooding care if it is a result of mismanagement by the St. Lawrence Seaway Authorities or underutilizing hydro energy, either way this could be a man-made disaster.
Aftermath of giant wind turbine explosion filmed by drone close up
Rumble / Creative Visuals – Giant wind turbines have been springing up on horizons all over North America for the past decade. They have been around much longer than this, but they are becoming more commonplace as we seek an alternative to fossil fuel and nuclear power. Still controversial, these turbines present a viable way for power to be derived from wind, a completely renewable resource with no end. Opponents to wind power are concerned over appearance, health concerns, costs, effects on land value, and the affect on humans and animals that live in close proximity. Those in favor of harnessing wind power point to the obvious problems associated with other power sources. The debate rages on and we have yet to fully investigate both sides of the argument.
Similarly, people stand divided on the aesthetics of giant wind turbines. Some see them as majestic structures that are magnificent to behold. Others see them as an eyesore among the natural features of the landscape. But regardless of one’s opinion, there is no denying that their sheer size and structure is a marvel of engineering and technology. To look up at something that towers more than 400 feet above us, creates a sense of awe and wonder. The cost to erect such a turbine is approximately four million dollars. The blades alone cost almost one million dollars and they weigh a staggering 12,000 pounds. They are made with layers of fiberglass pressed together in a long construction process that requires extreme precision. Yet, these massive blades are designed to spin and generate electricity from wind.
This giant wind turbine was erected almost three years ago between Pontypool and Bethany, two small towns in southern Ontario. They are much like many other wind turbines that have been erected, but there is one big difference here. In April of 2019, one of the blades on this one exploded, sending huge sheets and chunks of fiberglass shrapnel raining down. Other sections hung precariously, fluttering in the wind. The cause of the explosion has not yet been determined. A drone was sent up near the tower to film the blade close up, producing this video that gives us a rare and fascinating look at the damaged blade and the pieces that hang from the hub. The wind turbine has been shut down for obvious safety reasons to await repair. The cost to dismantle and replace this turbine will also be staggering.
Ironically, the drone that was filming this disaster experienced an unexplained loss of control and it came in contact with the turbine tower, resulting in it making a high speed descent to the concrete below. The drone was completely smashed in the incident, but the footage that was recorded prior to the crash was recovered.
I often get this question: “Why have people vacated their homes, or are feeling sick, around windmills in Brown County”. This is not a unique scenario. Very large industrial-scale wind turbines placed irresponsibly close to families’ home have similar impacts worldwide. The impacts do not discriminate between young or old, rich or poor. Some people are more susceptible to the negative impacts (one consistent correlation is people who are sensitive to motion sickness).
This German video does a pretty good job describing the issue. Please note that the turbines in this video are MUCH smaller and less impactful than the 8 Duke Energy wind turbines in Glenmore that were unanimously declared a Human Health Hazard by the Brown County Government Board of Health.
Duke’s turbines in Brown County are among the largest in the country placed among the closest to homes. They are 493 feet tall and have 2.5 Megawatt generators (One megawatt = 1,000 kilowatts = 1,000,000 watts). You will also note that the turbines in this German video are over 700 meters (over 2,100 feet) from homes – the turbines in Glenmore are as close as 1,100 feet from homes.
Wisconsin Public Service (owned by We Energies) purchases the power from this project and it is regulated by the Town of Glenmore who apparently refuses to enforce the clear and protective language in their own ordinance and conditional use permit. Families are living away from the homes they still own; residents who can not move away have submitted affidavits attesting to the fact that they continue to feel severely ill when around the spinning turbines; and little is being done to bring any relief.
It breaks my heart to hear callous comments from well intentioned people that have not experienced the impacts in these homes first hand or even taken the time to talk with the impacted residents. The question I ask these people who don’t understand is why would people make this up. People do not leave the homes they still own and maintain for no reason. They do not want to sleep and do homework in their basements because it is the only place in their homes where they can get a little relief. They do not enjoy coming forward only to be the subject of ridicule and voluntarily devaluing their homes. The symptoms our neighbors express are shared world wide.
Even those profiting from renting land to wind developers have sued them because of claims of the unlivable conditions around the turbines. This is a social justice issue – Shirley Wind in Glenmore is arguably one of the most studied wind farms in the country and ample evidence is known on the conditions around these particular turbines. If you would like to know more, please don’t hesitate to call or write me – I can direct you to those that can provide the answers and have first hand experience. Hope some of this information is of value.
Thank you for reading this long post.
Steve Deslaurie, Brown County Supervisor
April 5, 2019
The Green Energy Act is far from being repealed in Ontario. The Charter Challenge led by CCSAGE continues on with the recent filing of a Notice of Application to proceed filed in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.
Wanna work in the clean green, environmentally sustainable renewable energy field? Gotta a lead on a job for you!
Wildlife Field Technician–19400000926
Tetra Tech Inc. is a leading provider of consulting, engineering, and technical services worldwide. Our reputation rests on the technical expertise and dedication of our employees—17,000 people working together across disciplines and time zones to provide smart, sustainable solutions for challenging projects. We are proud to be home to leading technical experts in water, environment, infrastructure, resource management, energy, and international development. Tetra Tech combines the resources of a global, multibillion-dollar company with local, client-focused delivery in 412 locations around the world. We offer competitive compensation and benefits and are searching for innovative people to join our teams.
Tetra Tech, Inc. is currently seeking a Wildlife Field Technician working as an avian and bat fatality monitor near Minot, ND. Field work for this part-time position includes working 35-40 hours every other week in spring, summer, fall, and once each month in winter.
The field work begins mid-March 2019 and continues through March 2020, with the possibility of a second year of surveys. Fatality monitoring applicants must be willing to commit to 3 full field days every other week, including daily travel to and from the field location. The technicians will be responsible for their own housing throughout the study period.
ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:
The primary responsibility of this position is to implement a post-construction fatality monitoring program at an operational wind facility
The program is inclusive of fatality searches, adhering to standardized protocols as trained, and keeping detailed datasheets
Candidates who have previous field experience with birds and/or bats are preferred
Candidates must be able to walk for extended periods of time, be able to effectively handle exposure to weather extremes, and interaction with bird and bat carcasses
Field technicians may work independently and must be able to communicate and coordinate effectively with other field crew members, Tetra Tech supervisors, and site management
Field Technicians will be required to follow all wind facility-specific and Tetra Tech safety protocols and will be expected to provide their own suitable footwear (reinforced-toed hiking boots) and weather appropriate field gear
Salary will be commensurate with experience
EDUCATION, EXPERIENCE AND QUALIFICATION:
Bachelor’s degree in natural resources, wildlife management, wildlife biology or equivalent degree preferred
Individuals currently seeking degree and/or other enthusiastic workers are encouraged to apply
Good bird and/or bat identification skills for species in the region
Prior field experience with wildlife
Must be able to work independently and with others, and interact positively with project managers, clients, and landowners
Experience with 4×4 vehicles, valid driver’s license and clean driving record
Valid driver’s license is required
Skilled use of topographic maps, GPS units, and other field equipment
Must be able to follow instructions from manager and collect precise and thorough data
Must be able to work with electronic data collection protocols and data submission timing requirements
Must be skilled with communication, have the ability to maintain positive attitude and to accept guidance and constructive criticism
Investigation into driving record will be conducted upon hire
Driving record must meet standards set to operate motor vehicle on behalf of Tetra Tech
Background check will be conducted on final candidates
Candidates must be able to pass drug screen prior to employment
In their zeal to replace “dirty,” coal-black energy sources with “green” “renewables,” climate-change doomsayers neglect the health hazards of wind and solar, states Physicians for Civil Defense president Jane Orient, M.D.
The mining of the rare minerals needed for photovoltaic cells and the generators in wind turbines, and the production of the steel and concrete for the towers, are neither clean nor green, she stated. Much of the environmental impact and human cost is exported, as to China and Africa. The U.S. no longer mines rare-earth elements.
By 2050, the amount of solar panel waste in the world, already at 250,000 metric tons at the end of 2016, could reach 78 million metric tons, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). When panels are broken, as by hail, tornadoes, or hurricanes, pollutants such as lead or carcinogenic cadmium can be almost completely washed out of the fragments by rainwater over several months.
Wind turbines have been called the “rotors of sickness,” and the German Ministry of Environment has been accused of covering up evidence of harmful levels of infrasound, sound at too low a frequency to be heard. Effects include reducing cardiac muscle strength. Infrasound affects the inner ear and the brain and can cause sleeplessness, emotional reactions, and many other distressing symptoms. It has been investigated for use as a weapon.
Rooftop solar panels have caught fire, and nearly destroyed an apartment complex in Holland, while releasing toxic fumes. Wind turbines have been described as a “perfect incendiary device.”
“Regulators and politicians ignore the devastating environmental impact on the huge land areas needed by wind and solar farms,” Dr. Orient said, “while imposing costly requirements on other energy sources for relatively trivial effects.”
“Energy poverty due to unreliable and unaffordable energy is also a major health threat,” she added. “Carbon-based fuels supply 80 percent of the world’s energy. Why are they not considered ‘green’? The carbon dioxide they release is essential for life and is measurably greening the earth.”
My name is Ruby Mekker. I am not one of your constituents but today I read a letter written by one of your constituents, Barb Ashbee in 2009. It is attached and I encourage you to read it.
The very sad outcome is that nothing has changed since 2009.
Sylvia, the PC Party of Ontario repealed the Green Energy Act Dec 3, 2018 and the same day introduced ERO 013-4265 (as well as two others). This proposed regulation will grandfather ALL “in-process” and “existing” wind projects under the old Green Energy Act. This is NOT what the PC Party promised the people of Ontario. What is described in Barb’s letter is still occurring in YOUR riding; nothing has been done to help these people. Approving ERO 013-4265 will condemn these people to the “hell” they have been living as described in 2009. When did democracy die in Ontario? We believed the new majority PC Party would keep their promises still posted on their web site. To date any actions of the PC Party towards people living with industrial wind turbines have been nonexistent.
Yes, we acknowledge the PC party did cancel many “green” projects but chose not to cancel the pre construction Nation Rise Wind project in North Stormont (only 1 of 2 LRPI projects not cancelled even though this project had its key milestones approved by IESO hours before the writ was dropped). Presently, we the constituents are demonstrating to Ministers Rickford and Phillips how and why this project must be cancelled. If allowed to proceed the majority PC Government of Ontario will have allowed another part of Ontario to be put in jeopardy; Nation Rise Wind project is located on recognized highly vulnerable aquifers, the West Quebec Seismic Fault, vibration sensitive Leda clay; all of which the proponent did not report to the Ministry of Environment. Need I go on….
Sylvia it is time that like Tod Smith, you, Lisa Thompson, Monte, Bill Walker, Sam Oosterhoff, Rick Nicholls, Randy Hilliard, Toby Barrett do what you asked the Liberals to do in Lisa’s 2012 Private Member’s Bil, in Sam Oosterhoff’s 2017 Private Member’s Bill AND in the 2018 campaign; stand up for YOUR constituents; do your fiduciary duty; DO NOT allow ERO 013-4265, address the issues. As Monte so eloquently said in 2012,”I believe in democracy. I believe in giving a voice to rural Ontario.” Monte, too, has let his constituents down.
Ruby and Joe Mekker
Former residents of Smithville, Ontario
Open Letter – Barb Ashbee, November 2009
No one asked for this. Nobody looked to have their life and homes exposed in the news, trying to explain how the most promising form of renewable energy was causing such destruction of their family.
Sleep deprivation, headaches, migraines, heart palpitations, tinnitus, pressure in the ears, sores that won’t heal, dangerously high blood pressure and the list goes on. This was not the plan that any of these quiet and unassuming rural families had in mind, but this is what they got. And countless months later it continues. Nobody wanted to get sick; nobody wanted to be forced to leave their home, the place they raised their children, the place they intended to live out their retirement. Not one of them asked for this. In almost all cases, these symptoms were non-existent before the start up of the wind farm.
And when it was discovered these wonderful, planet saving industrial machines were actually hurting them and their family, not one of them would anticipate there would be no help for them.
As they read in the papers how our government was running to help other citizens who found themselves in all manner of troubling circumstances through no fault of their own, there they sat, waiting, ignored and ridiculed for admitting they needed help against the giant industry that the government had hyper-promoted in their ambitious scheme to ’save the planet’.
Who are these people, the green supporters cry out? NIMBY’S! They’re trying to stop our efforts to help the world! NIMBY’S! They don’t like change! They don’t want them in their backyard! Sorry, but nothing could be further from the truth. As a matter of fact, the vast majority welcomed wind farms as much as anyone. Some even boasted how proud they would be to participate at such close hand, to be able to help make a difference, to assist in providing clean, renewable energy.
But when the troubles started, the government looked the other way. When the troubles started, the government ran the other way, fingers in ears, la la la. There was no time for anyone or anything to stop this magnificent much needed multi-million, make that billion, dollar program and so they chose to ignore and abandon those who asked for help. They simply did not respond. As a matter of fact, some of the residents were subjected to blatant derision from their MPP. The people asked their local town council for help. They asked the Ministry of the Environment for help. They asked the Public Health Unit for help. They asked the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure for help. They even asked the Premier of Ontario directly for help. Nothing happened. No one responded. No sir, what they got from the Premier of Ontario was a loud and strong message that he was not going to let any NIMBY’s slow down his cause.
Thrown into the already brewing mess was the Green Energy Act. Sounding like a wonderful piece of legislation that would help this province and in turn, the country achieve the desired energy saving goals, it turned out to be a complete removal of rights for Ontarians; the complete dismantling of democracy in one piece of legislation. What most people didn’t know or pay attention to, was what the Premier and his two Ministers were trying to push through at lightning speed would affect everyone, not just the rural residents. And oh, how it does!
And so the letters flowed and the meetings started; ministry workshop meetings, presentations at the legislature’s standing committee hearings, public input at the local government held meetings, written submissions to the Green Energy Act Registry. Thousands of letters, documents and studies by a bevy of very astute and credible professional engineers, doctors, health professionals, lawyers, electrical engineers, professors, all manner of Ontarians with and without degrees, from all walks of life and, of course, the residents who were already being affected, already sick and getting sicker by the terribly close proximity of the wind turbines and electrical groundwork. All of these people at a grassroots level, taking no money for their time or for their obvious expense of preparing and printing papers and running around the province to government meetings and rural town hall meetings. All of these people doing the research that the government should have done before they started down this road, showing what a miserable failure simple lack of planning creates. All of these people trying to inform the government of the very serious issues with the wind farms.
Yet in the space of maybe 45 days or so, since the last submission date to the Green Energy Act Registry, designed for public input and reaping some 1300 submissions alone, this government said they had seen enough. They’d had enough time to look through all of the information submitted; the very complex engineering reports, noise studies, the reams of information on health effects, turbine failure, viability of wind as an energy source and the safe requirements for setbacks that would keep all citizens out of harms way. They repeatedly refused all requests by health professionals requesting the government slow down and conduct a proper independent health study to determine the health effects. They had also heard the victim statements, pleading with the government for help, to please listen to them, warning them to not put anymore people in the position that they found themselves in, through no fault of their own. It all fell on deaf ears.
There was no way that these Ministers were going to slow down. No matter how many people tried to warn them, they were not going to let anyone stop them in their plan to spread their wind turbines far and wide across every rural inch of the province and ringing the Great Lakes shorelines. No sir, they were going full speed ahead.
They took away the rights of all citizens of Ontario. All citizens, not just some. They overruled the professional planners who understand and know the ramifications of setbacks and public space planning so that they have no say in the municipality anymore. They overruled the town councils and Mayors who have no say in their own backyards anymore, the place they know much more intimately than any Minister, or developer.
They overruled everyone and everything. No one has ever seen the likes or speed of a piece of legislation like this before.
They ignore all of the facts brought before them, ignore and abandon the over 100 known victims, some of whom spend their days in restaurants trying to escape the conditions, who sleep in their cars with winter coming, who are billeted in a single room in a motel with children and more on the way, paid for by the wind developer. People with children, the children not knowing or caring about politics or landscape sightlines, but who bang on their ears with their fists asking Mommy to stop the noise, and young children who now complain of headaches. People with a new need for prescription sleeping pills and people who have lost everything. They’ve lost their livestock, their horses, their income, their way of life and the right to live in their own house. Children have had to move away. They live with relatives; they live by the goodness and grace of understanding strangers who offer them a place to stay. But in even larger numbers than these, are the ones trying desperately to stay in their own home, where everything they have is in and around them. Over 100 and growing. And so, at the end of the day what does the government do? They announce the same inadequate setbacks that they had previously spouted way back at the beginning of the year. Nothing had changed. It appears their minds were made up a long time ago. What a waste of taxpayers money.
The whole industry is contaminated with non-disclosure contracts right from the start. When the landowners agree to host, after being assured of all the good things they are doing, they sign contracts. These are variously worded contracts that do not allow them to speak out about anything negative to do with the wind turbines and will entitle the developer to make any amount of noise, vibration or do what they need to on their land and the landowner may not complain. Some are embarrassed at being taken in by the salesmen. They had no idea it would be such an intrusion, but the money sounded sweet. I wonder how many other businesses there are that match the need for non-disclosure clauses being made with ordinary, everday citizens while receiving full government support. Why such secrecy if this is such a noble exercise?
Many landowners with multiple turbines don’t live on their property. These are some of the ones who will say there are no problems and argue strongly to push ahead. Some have rented out their farmhouses cheap. The renters sleep with oscillating fans going all night long by their heads to try to cut out the thumping sound of the wind turbines clearly heard in their bedrooms. Many wear earplugs but they don’t always work.
People ask, why aren’t more people speaking up, why don’t we hear more? Would you speak up knowing that if and when you needed to get out you wouldn’t be able to sell your house? Who would buy it? It’s not an easy position for any of them to be put in, nor do they want to jeopardize the hopes that the developer will help them, or the possible lashback by fervent green supporters in their community who are so careless with their words and judgment. Many are under contract and cannot speak. Some don’t have the courage or the life skills to know who to even contact. This is all new to them; it’s all new to everyone, even our leaders.
So what about Europe people ask? Aren’t they all happy with their wind farms over there? No, they’re not. In fact there are over 360 grass roots coalitions in 19 European countries in exactly the same position as our residents, pleading to be listened to. They are trying to work with their governments on greater setbacks to protect the residents. As industrial wind turbines get bigger and bigger (40 storeys), some countries leaders have listened and have changed their setbacks to 1.5 kms and further. They acknowledge the problems,and they obviously care about the consequences. These symptoms and problems are mirrored all over the world. Next door in the U.S, Australia, Japan…..
No one can believe our government would completely ignore residents like this, especially the residents themselves. Surely there must be something wrong with these people if the government isn’t listening or taking action. Nope, in fact there is nothing wrong with these residents. These are all good people; honest people, the backbone of this country. Something wrong you ask? Perhaps you should be looking to the provincial government and their brazen, no questions asked backing and protection of the wind industry.
$omething i$ very wrong indeed. ~B. Ashbee