Incomplete Response – EBR #012-0613
By Bonnie Tuson
(documents following the letter)
Regrettably, I find myself in the position of having to write back yet again. That is because most of the questions I asked in my email of January 8, 2013 were not addressed in your response to me (attached). I have my also attached my email to you for you to re-read and consider as I am still expecting a response to those questions.
Specifically, I ask for an explanation regarding your earlier correspondence in which you indicated that the MOE would not be considering the documents sent to you regarding other wind developments that show a higher sound power level than what has been reported by the Niagara Region Wind Corporation (NRWC). You stated that there are differences and I asked for an explanation as to what those differences are. Neither of those questions was answered. I also asked whether the MOE would also be dismissing the additional documents showing evidence of the higher sound power level as well but that was not answered either.
In your most recent letter (also attached), you indicate that the MOE requires the sound power levels be guaranteed by the manufacturer and that they be included in the Noise Study Report. There is no such guarantee in this application yet the MOE saw fit to deem it complete. Why is that? We have provided you with a variety of documentation from other wind developments using this particular wind turbine as well as a document from Enercon itself demonstrating the higher sound power level. That Enercon documentation is not included in the NRWC application so I question how you can state that the MOE requires that it be included. Clearly you did not require that. Please provide an explanation for this oversight. It seems very odd that the Enercon documentation that you claim you require is provided to you by residents of this community rather than the company making the application.
The only documentation in the NRWC report is for a 99m wind turbine which as you know, is much smaller than the wind turbine that is actually proposed for use. In countless instances throughout the reports, the NRWC references wind turbines of 124m and 135m reports so I fail to understand why the height is not confirmed until the technical review. Clearly, this presents a significant gap and I require an explanation as to why the MOE would choose to accept the application as complete.
You are already in receipt of 16 documents indicating that the sound power level of the Enercon E-101 is 106 dBA. Recently, a resident of our community obtained the attached 4 documents directly from Enercon. These documents once again raise the question of why the NRWC reports only a sound power level of 104.8. The test report completed by Kotter Engineering Consultants does not represent the worst case scenario that is required by your ministry. Regulations require that the 104.8 rating be rounded to 105.0 which is the nearest whole number and then the variance of +/-1 must be applied. Enercon’s own documents support that conclusion. As mentioned in previous correspondence, research by residents of this community showed that only the NRWC claims that the sound power level is lower. We found absolutely no data to support that claim. NRWC reports show that even at 104.8, there are at least 10 non-participating receptors that will be subjected to a noise level of 40 dBA. At the true sound power level of 106.0, there will be many receptors in excess of the permissible limits. I would also like to point out that in a letter to a resident of this community, Mr. Steve Klose advised that the sound power level is an inherent property of a wind turbine. It does not change.
Suspiciously, the NRWC application did not include the conversion sheet for wind turbines of the height that they propose to use nor did they include the attached Enercon data sheet for the E101. The conversion sheet provided by Enercon shows that the 104.8 sound power level is achieved at only 2,859kw which of course, begs the question of what the power level is at 3 MW. Also missing was the data sheet provided by Enercon that shows the reduced rated power modes for the E-101. It clearly shows that at reduced power levels, the company cannot meet the 230 MW contract. These documents are readily available from Enercon and MOE must explore the reasons that the NRWC did not include them.
You also failed to address my questions regarding the 3dBA variance. Please review my earlier questions and supply an explanation.
My question regarding the claim of a 104.8 sound power level and the regulations requiring that it be rounded to the closest number was also not addressed. Please provide an answer to that as well.
I appreciate that you have forwarded the German court case to Mr. Klose. I will be expecting a reply from him. As you may or may not know, Enercon is in the process of determining how to adapt their turbines based on this decision.
I am appalled and frightened at your statement that REA applications are “usually” conditional to an acoustic audit after the facility is constructed. You indicate that the sound power levels will be checked post-construction to determine if they were suitable. Is that not akin to “closing the barn door after the horse has bolted?” Your comments in this regard do not support the MOE’s claims that applications are diligently reviewed to ensure that the health of Ontarian citizens is protected. The MOE’s rather lackadaisical approach to approving is evidenced by testimony at several recent Environmental Review Tribunal(ERT) hearings. At the recent ERT hearing for Armow Wind, one of your own supervisors (Heather Pollard) confirmed that the MOE has no expertise with health effects, that hundreds of noise complaints for wind developments in the area have been received and that the MOE does not shut down wind turbines in excess of the permissible limits following the acoustic audits you speak of. At the ERT hearing for Wainfleet Wind Energy yesterday, another of your supervisors (Vic Shroeter) confirmed that in the absence of expertise regarding parachuting, he chose to approve the application. I’m sure you can understand why the public has no faith in the MOE’s claims of diligence or in the acoustic audits that you may or may not conduct post-construction. Once again, I will remind you that Ontario has no experience with 3MW wind turbines and it is incumbent upon you to take any and all precautions with this application prior to approval. That includes careful consideration of the documents supplied to you in respect of the other wind developments that utilize this size and type of wind turbine.
Please get back to me on both the questions that have not been answered as well as on the new questions and concerns raised.