Living close to wind farms may lead to severe hearing damage or even deafness, according to new research which warns of the possible danger posed by low frequency noise. The physical composition of inner ear was “drastically” altered following exposure to low frequency noise, like that emitted by wind turbines, a study has found. The research will delight critics of wind farms, who have long complained of their detrimental effects on the health of those who live nearby.
Published today by the Royal Society in their new journal Open Science, the research was carried out by a team of scientists from the University of Munich. It relies on a study of 21 healthy men and women aged between 18 and 28 years. After being exposed to low frequency sound, scientists detected changes in the type of sound being emitted from the inner ear of 17 out of the 21 participants. The changes were detected in a part of the ear called the cochlear, a spiral shaped cavity which essential for hearing and balance.
“We explored a very curious phenomenon of the human ear: the faint sounds which a healthy human ear constantly emits,” said Dr Marcus Drexl, one of the authors of the report. “These are like a very faint constant whistling that comes out of your ear as a by-product of the hearing process. We used these as an indication of how processes in the inner ear change.” Dr Drexl and his team measured these naturally emitted sounds before and after exposure to 90 seconds of low frequency sound.
“Usually the sound emitted from the ear stays at the same frequency,” he said. “But the interesting thing was that after exposure, these sounds changed very drastically. “They started to oscillate slowly over a couple of minutes. This can be interpreted as a change of the mechanisms in the inner ear, produced by the low frequency sounds. “This could be a first indication that damage might be done to the inner ear.
“We don’t know what happens if you are exposed for longer periods of time, [for example] if you live next to a wind turbine and listen to these sounds for months of years.” Read article
Hydro One has threatened Clarington councilors with costly legal action if they interfere with construction of a $296 million transformer station
John Spears Toronto Star
CLARINGTON — Hydro One has threatened Clarington councillors with costly legal action if they pass a bylaw that could interfere with construction of a $296-million transformer station.
The bylaw, proposed by Councillor Joe Neal, would impose stiffer requirements on big projects to protect groundwater in Clarington.
It would require the developer of any large project to submit an extensive hydro-geologic assessment – a groundwater study – to the municipality for approval.
Local residents and a University of Guelph hydro-geologist have questioned whether the project could contaminate groundwater aquifers on the Oak Ridge Moraine, or underground and surface water flows. But the proposed bylaw hit a bump Thursday in the form of a stern letter from Hydro One’s law firm, Fasken Martineau. Read article
By Bob Montgomery, Blackburn News
An Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh resident says he’s hoping to hear within the next couple of weeks whether his legal request to stop Phase 2 of the wind energy project in the Kingsbridge area has been successful. Shawn Drennan had a hearing in London earlier this week but says realistically he doubts this will be the last one.
Drennan wants the K-2 project, which will place an additional 140 turbines in the Kingsbridge area north of Goderich and around his house, stopped until several studies into health impact have been completed. He argues the province is asking for extensive research on the impact on marine life before proceeding with off-shore turbines, so the same concerns should be addressed regarding the impact of turbines on residents of A-C-W. Read article
2014 Mandate Letter: Energy – Ontario Government
- Continuing to lead our government’s commitment to renewable energy, with the aim of having 20,000 megawatts of renewable energy online by 2025. You will continue to monitor progress toward targets for wind, solar, bioenergy and hydroelectricity as part of Ontario energy reporting.
- Continuing to work with the ministry’s agencies to implement a new competitive procurement process for renewable energy projects larger than 500 kilowatts that will take into account local needs and considerations.
- Continuing to respect the contracts that have been signed with energy producers, while always ensuring that these contracts enable the delivery of sustainable, affordable energy to Ontario’s ratepayers.
- Working with the ministry’s agencies and with municipal partners to ensure that municipalities participate meaningfully and effectively in the decision-making process for the placement of renewable energy projects, including wind and natural gas.
- Ensuring that timelines for meeting the LTEP’s energy storage procurement targets are met and that they address the regulatory barriers that limit the ability of energy storage technologies to compete in Ontario’s electricity market. As well, you will explore opportunities to build on the pilot projects through additional procurement.
Brian Cross, Windsor Star
A plan to erect as many as 65 giant wind turbines is generating fierce opposition, because the map for possible locations butts up to the urban and suburban areas of Belle River and Puce where most Lakeshore residents live.
“It is a huge concern of mine, it just spoils everything,” Jacques Goulet, a Puce resident who is running for deputy mayor in the Oct. 27 municipal election, and is vowing to oppose any turbines located near developed areas. He said he has nothing against putting these massive windmills on farmland in less-populated areas, but locating them near the growth areas in the northeast corner of the town will stifle future development and devalue the homes people have built in recent years.
“Every single homeowner I talk to can’t stand the things,” he said, claiming that almost every one of the approximately 300 people who attended an open house Tuesday — put on by the companies proposing the turbines — opposes them. Most of the land in the map is farmland between Highway 401 in the south to County Road 42 in the north. But the boundary also reaches further north in the Belle River and Puce areas, into subdivisions and along Notre Dame Street. Just east of Belle River, the boundary reaches right to the Lake St. Clair shoreline. Read article
NextEra is inching towards construction of 14 giant wind turbines in West Grey. Mayor Kevin Eccles says the company met all the criteria, so building permits were issued this week.
They are valid for a year, and Eccles says the company still has to work out agreements on entrance permits and load limits on municipal roadways, before actual construction can begin.
Bargaining continues on the main issues, with West Grey seeking financial committments from the company to cover any damage done to the infrastructure by NextEra. The company won the latest court battle over the wind turbines along highway east of Durham. Read article
Peter Epp, London Free Press
[excerpt] Yet there is something else that is troubling about the authority’s [St. Clair Region Conservation Authority] response. How is it that this agency of the Ontario government can so zealously guard the environmental integrity of its watershed, and yet the same provincial government pays little heed to the consequences of its Green Energy program – even when that program takes in the same watershed?
Chatham-Kent is dotted with hundreds of wind turbines, and Lambton County is beginning to catch up, and most of these installations are located on farmland and built on foundations containing tons of concrete, concrete that will likely remain long after the turbines are gone.
It’s a curious paradox. Here we have a farmer who wants to grow corn on land formally used as a golf course, and he’s forced to walk a gauntlet of environmental red tape. But there is no such difficult path for the corporation that intends to build a wind turbine and leave behind a concrete legacy. Read article
Wind energy is fairly new and controversial in this province with some saying it’s a much needed clean source of energy, while others — many of them in communities around Lake Ontario and Lake Erie — are saying ‘not in my backyard’. Considerations with wind turbines include the environmental mark they make and the environmental benefits they offer, as well as the financial implications.
There are five wind turbines in West Lincoln now but there will be many, many more as soon as they pass environmental approvals. Ontario Power Authority says wind is an important part of its energy portfolio — it’s expanding infrastructure for all the power Ontario produces and the province wants a mix of sources so they balance each other out — especially now that they’ve phased out coal. But in West Lincoln, people say their rural way of life is being destroyed, and there’s nothing they can do to stop it. Read article
September 24th, 2014
Last week Dr. Eric Hoskins, provincial Minister of Health for Ontario left the plowing match in Ivy where he and Wynne and other cabinet ministers were heckled about wind turbines, and travelled to Markdale to announce that funding would be provided for a new hospital in Markdale.
I’m very glad to tell you that he had to drive past the nice, big, clear WIND TURBINES-WE ALL LOSE billboard to get to Markdale. We have received donations for about 4 months more time to keep it up on display. Thank you to all who have contributed because the sign is most certainly seen by many who live well beyond the Markdale area. Any more contributions will be gratefully accepted so we can keep it up for another YEAR!
After Dr. Hoskins made his speech and before the photo op under the sign for a new hospital, Ginny Stewart gave him a package of information and asked for his help. Ginny is one of a number of Grey Highlands residents who have suffered health issues since the start up of industrial wind turbines in our municipality. At least one of our residents has simply walked away from a home that became unfit to live in after turbine start-up. One of the documents hand-delivered to Hoskins is attached along with a photo of Ginny and Dr. Hoskins. Continue reading
Blackburn News, By Melanie Irwin
NextEra Energy is working closely with Environment Canada as it prepares to roll out new radar technology. The company, which is currently erecting 92 turbines in Lambton Shores and Warwick, has entered into an agreement with the weather agency, to shut down their turbines if an issue arrises.
NextEra spokesperson Josie Bird says they want to ensure public safety, not restrict it and operators actually have an “app” to shut everything down if necessary. The new software is hoped to combat that clutter from wind farms and is expected to be incorporated into Canada’s radar system this fall. Read article
I received a call just as I was returning home from work late yesterday afternoon. There had been a turbine-related collision on the corner of Northville and Cedar Point in Lambton Shores. My fearless 15 year old son and I instinctively raced to the car at the same time, dinner ingredients abandoned on the counter.
I figured the main road of Northville would be blocked so we took the back roads to the scene. Part way down Cedar Point there were several construction trucks parked on the side of the dirt road. They flagged us down and a worker told us we had to turn around because the road was closed. I asked him what the problem was and he said there had been an accident. I told him I was driving on a bit further to take a look. Of course he said we were not allowed. Of course I ignored him and drove around the trucks to the site of the collision with the worker shouting after us. Continue reading
Kristy Hansen, Branko Zajamsek and Colin Hansen, School of Mechanical Engineering
University of Adelaide May 26, 2014 Waubra Foundation
This report by the above authors describes the results of their concurrent full spectrum acoustic monitoring conducted at a number of homes located between 2 km out to nearly 10km from the Waterloo Wind Development. This monitoring was independent of the South Australian Environment Protection Authority (SA EPA) and was requested by Mrs Mary Morris and other concerned residents in the Waterloo district. The monitoring occurred during the period of the South Australian EPA Acoustic Survey, conducted in mid 2013.
The results in this independent survey as well as the conclusions are in marked contrast to the results and conclusions of the SA EPA Acoustic Survey report, and reinforce the Waubra Foundation’s opinion expressed at the time the initial SA EPA report was released that there were serious problems with the methodology used by the SA EPA in its acoustic survey at Waterloo. This report provides further evidence that the current SA EPA Wind Farm Noise Guidelines do not protect the health and sleep of the neighbours to these wind developments, out to nearly 10km from the closest wind turbine, because they do not regulate the acoustic emissions to protect health, and most importantly, the sleep of the neighbours.
Emeritus Professor Colin Hansen has advised that he sent the report to the EPA, requesting their comment. To date, three months later (19th August, 2014) no comment or feedback has been received by the Adelaide University researchers from the SA EPA responsible public officials.
Extract from the Conclusions:
“Therefore, the results show that there is a low frequency noise problem associated with the Waterloo wind farm. Therefore, it is extremely important that further investigation is carried out at this wind farm in order to determine the source of the low frequency noise and to develop mitigation technologies. In addition, further research is necessary to establish the long‐term effects of low frequency noise and infrasound on the residents at Waterloo. This research should include health monitoring and sleep studies with simultaneous noise and vibration measurements.” Read article
By Bob Montgomery , Blackburn News
The Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation is concerned with the province’s renewed interest in off-shore wind farms. There’s been a moratorium on off-shore wind turbines for several years, but the province recently re-opened the discussion.
Coastal Resources Manager Geoff Peach points out there are serious engineering challenges in putting turbines in deep water and fastening them to the lake bottom. They would have to withstand extreme wind and wave conditions, and shifting ice in the winter. Peach adds there are serious environmental issues if any of the turbines break down because of the petroleum products inside the turbines that could leak into the water. Peach also points out when the transmission lines are brought on-shore, that will create more disruption to what in many cases is a sensitive shoreline eco-system.
By Elliot Ferguson, Kingston Whig-Standard
Opponents of a wind energy development on Amherst Island are appealing two recent decisions about industrial developments near the island. In late August the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change rejected a pair of requests from the Association to Protect Amherst Island. The association had asked for a full environmental assessment of the TransCanada Napanee Generating Station.
TransCanada is in the early stages of developing a 900-megawatt natural gas-fuelled electricity generating station on the site of the Lennox Generating Station. The group had also asked for an assessment of the cumulative impact of four planned or existing industrial projects near the island, including the existing Lennox generating station, the proposed TransCanada project, a planned upgrade of the Lafarge cement plant and the proposed Windlectric wind energy development on the island.
Instead, the MOE accepted a TransCanada study that showed noise from the new generating station would be acceptable. APAI is appealing both decisions to Environment Minister Glen Murray. John Harrison, a Queen’s University professor emeritus in physics and a member of APAI, said the TransCanada study did not account for fact that the sound would travel across water. “In my view they pulled numbers out of the air to come up with a noise assessment for the north shore of the the island that just so happens to satisfy the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change guidelines on noise,” Harrison said. Read article
By Jane Sims, The London Free Press
The round of applause in the packed London courtroom was just one small sign of how jangled nerves are in rural Ontario when it comes to wind farms. During arguments when three farmers were asking a judge to stay renewable energy approvals — and effectively shut down construction for the time being — for projects near St. Columban and Goderich in Huron County, the lawyer for one of the corporate interests suggested the court’s decision could have wide-reaching effects.
“If you follow the logic, you should shut down the wind farms across the province,” said Christopher Bredt, lawyer for the K2 Wind project near Goderich, There’s nothing the crowd who came to London from as far away as Windsor and Ottawa wants more.
The drive for renewable energy has set up a David-and-Golaith storyline, pitting farmers against corporate giants. On Monday, the struggle was back in court with the request to stop the renewable energy projects until constitutional arguments can be made before the divisional court Nov. 17. Read article
By Jason Bain, The Peterborough Examiner
Manvers Wind Concerns members have circled Oct. 3 on their calendars. That’s when those opposed to wind turbines in the south end of the City of Kawartha Lakes hope to learn the dates of hearings that will decide how the five-turbine Sumac Ridge wind farm in the Bethany area, southwest of Peterborough, will proceed. The motions day in Toronto on Oct. 3, called “big motion day” by group member and Omemee-area resident Paul Reid, could lead to hearing dates to be held in Lindsay.
“Things are still up in the air,” Reid said. Already a Ministry of the Environment-approved project, Sumac Ridge can now only be cancelled by an Environmental Review Tribunal, the appeals process set to take place, or a judicial review. The last tribunal-related session, which included project developer WPD, took place Sept. 4.
The Lindsay hearings are an opportunity for opponents to make their case. A key part of the MWC argument is that the 10.25-megawatt project southeast of the intersection of Hwy. 7A and Hwy. 35 would cause “irreparable change” to the Oak Ridges Moraine. “We have been trying to stop the project by forcing them to follow their own rules,” Reid said, referring to issues such as setbacks. Read article
Sarnia Observer, Paul Morden
Ontario’s Environmental Review Tribunal may just be the first stop for opponents of a 46-turbine wind project Suncor Energy plans to build in Lambton County. The provincial government’s approval of Suncor’s Cedar Point renewable energy project is being appealed to the tribunal by Lambton County, and Aberarder Line residents Kimberley and Richard Bryce.
The Town of Plympton-Wyoming is also seeking to participate in the hearings. The tribunal’s hearings are scheduled to begin in early November at the Camlachie Community Hall, with a preliminary hearing set for October.
The Bryce family is being represented by the Toronto-based law firm headed by Julian Falconer. “They have four young kids and they’re just concerned about the possible health effects associated with having their young children living in close proximity to these wind turbines,” said Asha James, an associate of Falconers LLP. She added the family’s concern is heightened by the fact Health Canada is currently studying the health impacts of wind turbines, “because there are data gaps, and there just isn’t enough research to show how these will affect families, or residents living in close proximity to these turbines.” Read article
*LONDON: The stay application will be heard on Monday starting at 10:00am and will be heard in Courtroom 20 on the 14th floor.
Just FYI although the address is 80 Dundas Street, the entrance is on Queens Avenue.
Protest outside of Courtroom in London on Sept. 22nd before the hearing. Hearing starts at 10:00, aim for 9:00am for protest!
The Globe and Mail, Colin Perkel
The first court phase of a legal fight aimed at scuttling what would be one of Ontario’s largest wind-energy developments kicks off Monday with a farm family trying to force an immediate stop to its construction.
Documents filed in support of their request show Shawn and Tricia Drennan are concerned about the potential harm the 140-turbine K2 Wind project near Goderich, Ont., could cause them.
The first court phase of a legal fight aimed at scuttling what would be one of Ontario’s largest wind-energy developments kicks off Monday with a farm family trying to force an immediate stop to its construction.
Documents filed in support of their request show Shawn and Tricia Drennan are concerned about the potential harm the 140-turbine K2 Wind project near Goderich, Ont., could cause them. Read article
Toronto Sun, By Antonella Artuso
THORNTON, ONT. – While Premier Kathleen Wynne insists she represents “one Ontario,” opposition leaders say her stand on wind power has made her few friends outside of urban centres. Wynne acknowledged that not all the people lining the parade route at the International Plowing Match and Rural Expo on Tuesday were cheering for her as the Ontario Liberal float passed by spectators.
But the premier rejected the idea that she’s unwelcome in rural parts of the province after gaining a majority government largely on urban and suburban votes. “I can choose any street in Ontario and there will be people who love us and people who don’t love us,” Wynne said.
Interim PC Leader Jim Wilson accused Wynne of being “disingenuous when she fails to acknowledge that Liberals are at odds with rural residents. “They place their wind turbines in communities where they’re not wanted at prices Ontario families can’t afford,” he said, noting the government will allow eight, 150-metre turbines at Collingwood Airport despite local concerns. Read article
Adrian Morrow, The Globe and Mail
Kathleen Wynne is working the crowd at the International Plowing Match when rural anger and urban power abruptly collide.
“We’re gonna have no farmland left from them windmills! And my hydro bill is way up,” a man standing amid the makeshift bleachers in a farmer’s field an hour north of Toronto tells her. “You need to go to Southwest Ontario and see.”
“I have been there!” Ms. Wynne protests. “I’ve been all over.”
Liberal MPP Arthur Potts, recently elected to represent a downtown Toronto riding, jumps in. He tries to argue that the man’s higher electricity bill has nothing to do with the turbines. No dice.
“You’re a liar,” the man shouts.
There is always bound to be a little awkwardness at the IPM – a rite of fall for Ontario politicians – as the province’s leaders ditch business dress for blue jeans and clumsily mount tractors to proclaim their love for the countryside. But it is even more acute for the Liberals now, in light of the unpopular Green Energy Act, essentially a subsidy for wind and solar installations, and an election in which the Liberals scored a majority mostly by appealing to city and suburban voters.
The Premier contends this only makes it more vital her caucus be here. “It’s very important the MPPs are all out among the crowd, talking to folks … because many of them don’t have rural sections in their ridings,” she says. For the most part, such practical concerns take a back seat as glad-handing legislators try to find a little pastoral romanticism to burnish their political brands. Read article
Grimsby Lincoln News, By Amanda Moore
Ontarians are to trust that the government is doing what’s best them, but how can we trust the government when it fails to protect us? That is the question Anne Meinen has been asking since industrial wind turbines were erected next to lands she has farmed for four decades. Her issue isn’t with the turbines themselves, but with the fact that one was located closer to her property line than government regulations stipulate. And last week she heard the reason was that the government trusted the proponent. Because the proponent said the turbines met the regulations, no-one bothered to take a look.
“The MOE believed the turbines were 95 metres or greater from the property line,” Vic Schroeter told an environmental review tribunal last week. “First and foremost we trust the information submitted to us by the applicant.” First and foremost the government trusts the applicant? What about, first and foremost the government ensures the applicant meets the regulations to protect citizens?
The provincial government cannot deny that wind turbines are not always welcomed with open arms by host communities. Those who oppose these developments have brought their issues to Ontario’s doorstep. They have rallied and protested at Queen’s Park, they have written their MPPs and countless ministers as well as Premier Kathleen Wynne. Read article
Draft Project Description Report – August 20, 2014
Notice of Public Meeting and Proposal – August 20, 2014
Notification of First Public Meeting:
Date: September 23, 2014
Time: 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Location: Knights of Columbus Club 1303 County Road 22, Belle River
By Greg Peerenboom, Cornwall Standard Freeholder
One of the more controversial issues that faced South Dundas council over the past term is back on the agenda Tuesday. This time, however, wind farm representative Ken Little hopes the questions won’t be as grilling as past experiences.
Little is asking for South Dundas council’s acceptance of a $30,000 annual fund provided by EDP Renewables to South Dundas for hosting the 30 megawatt South Branch Wind Farm. The money would likely target the immediate Brinston area where the 10 wind turbines are located.
The draft agreement was not available to the media on Monday. Previously, Mayor Steven Byvelds had indicated that EDP would like to have some say in how the funds are allocated. The $30,000 fund was agreed upon in principle when South Dundas was notified of the South Branch project before construction took place last year. The wind farm began operations last March. Read article
by Stewart Fast; postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Geography and the Queen’s Institute for Energy and Environmental Policy, Queen’s University
The sweeping changes to Ontario’s renewable energy policy regime in the past few years have spawned a highly charged public debate. Much of the controversy focuses on the public payments offered to wind and solar developers, and there has been an accompanying backlash from dissenting neighbours and other critics against the proliferation of turbines and solar panels in rural areas. But that noisy clash obscures a deeper and more dangerous tendency in the province’s approach to new energy projects: an approval framework that sees the public as inherently selfish, prone to irrational opposition and incapable of considering the greater public interest. This policy approach reflects the bureaucracy’s mistrust of the ability of the Ontario public to make wise energy choices.
The belief that individual selfishness prevails over a sense of the common good inhibits good energy policy and is unhealthy for the province’s democracy. It springs from a conviction of the power of NIMBYism. NIMBY, of course, is the catchy acronym coined in the 1980s for the “not in my backyard” phenomenon that expresses individuals’ desire to protect their own turf from new building or development, despite broad societal agreement that the development is necessary. The concept holds that while most citizens might agree on the need for a new road, landfill, prison or wind generator, few want to live next to one. Read article
Maybe they’ll learn good faith in big corporations gets you nowhere. Neither does being a “Willing Host”, apparently.
Adelaide Metcalfe Township
Re: NextEra Kerwood Wind Inc. Damages Update
On August 12, 2014, staff met with Mr. Jeff Damen, NextEra’s construction manager. The discussion revolved on the issue that NextEra had received the estimate for the damages done to the Township’s roads due to construction of the turbines. Damen indicated that he had spoken with his supervisors and related to us that they had no problems and would pay this amount to the Municipality and that they preferred that Township look after completing the necessary repairs. Continue reading
By Paul Morden, Sarnia Observer
A date hasn’t been set yet for the start of construction on the 46-turbine Cedar Point wind project Suncor Energy has received provincial approval to build in northern Lambton County. The project has a contract to sell electricity to Ontario and just recently received provincial renewable energy approval.
This week, that approval was the subject of appeals filed with the Ontario Environmental Review Tribunal. “We’ve not there yet in terms of establishing a start date for construction, but that’s something we’re working towards,” said Suncor Energy spokesperson Jason Vaillant. He added he couldn’t say if work will begin later this fall, “with any degree of certainty, at this point.”
The wind project is planned for Plympton-Wyoming, Lambton Shores and Warwick Township. The company has said the turbines could be up and operating by late 2015. One of the appeals of Suncor’s provincial renewable energy approval was filed by Lambton County. Read article
By Steffanie Petroni, Northern Hoot
During the1930’s the public began expressing concerns about smoking referencing a persistent smoker’s cough or smoker’s hack. When the tobacco companies caught wind of the grumblings they concocted a pre-emptive marketing campaign. Who was more trusted than doctors on the matter of health? Tobacco companies like Lucky Strike and Camels enlisted the reassuring image of doctors, though most were actors, to endorse the ‘throat soothing’ qualities and preferred smooth taste of a particular brand.
In the 1940’s and 1950’s tobacco companies applied a different spin to their advertising. While some pitched that their cigarettes weren’t harmful, other brands claimed to be less harmful. Around this time physicians were aware of the addictive quality of cigarettes but weren’t convinced that there was a direct causal factor between smoking and disease.
It was in 1964 when the United States Surgeon General issued the first report of the Surgeon General’s Advisory Committee on Smoking and Health. Their findings concluded- over thirty years after the public first began ringing alarm bells, that there was certainly a direct link between smoking and lung cancer and bronchitis. Read article