Wind turbines are definitely not ‘parks’

Toronto Star  Re: Holyday questions wind park investment

Message to Councillor Shelley Carroll: rural Ontario, her so-called remote area, has dwellings and families just like her Toronto. And guess what? The Ontario government has been using them as guinea pigs in their grand wind experiment for four years. I can direct her to many guinea pigs who will most assuredly and quite emphatically insist that Toronto not invest in any wind turbines anywhere. These are not “parks.” These are 40-storey industrial scale turbines with a blade span that matches a 747 jet spinning directly behind and in front of homes. Many families have been forced from their homes by loud cyclical noise, pounding inaudible infrasound and dirty electricity. If she wants some first-hand knowledge I would be happy to talk to her. Now, can we please get some help out here?

Barbara Ashbee, Orangeville

23 thoughts on “Wind turbines are definitely not ‘parks’

  1. Good for you Barbara. We all have heard how you had to abandon your beautiful home after much suffering. The people in Toronto see big farm fields and think we have so much space. There needs to be information to them about Low Frequency Sound and the serious impact to health in families and wildlife. They need to know why World Health has stated that Industrial wind turbines need to be at least 2klm from homes! In our case, I was sold a permit to build a secondary home on our farm for a family member… we built a small starter home that could be expanded later. The government just added a regulation change that states that ant new home is not subject to the set back rule of the wind developers! Now my son will be living underneath a wind turbine or two! It will be a $30,000.00 loss!

    Thank you for your continued writings and your passion to right the gross wrongs of the greedy corporate wind developers that apparently laugh at us in Germany as to how open Ontario is to pay them to take advantage of us! It is like the Klondike Gold rush only there is no gold … only pain and suffering and an economy destroyed by expensive intermittent wind power that DOES NOT prevent emissions but rather increases emission by there dependence on fossil fuel back up 24/7! We now know that Denmark has the highest emissions in the world. Many rural areas of Ontario will suffer property value depreciation and lower the tax base. Instead of retirees moving to the country… they will go elsewhere and our townships will become ghost towns.

    All the best in 2011 Barb…. Ian Hana case must prevail.

  2. I live almost 2KM from the closest turbine in Harrow and I can tell you last night they were loud in our house. Between the noise of the turbines and the whomp, whomp that we hear in our pillows at night from the vibrations, I was not happy. The wind industry is full of lying scum along with our corrupt politicians

  3. BD:

    I may want a volunteer to test something. What is your general location?

    I am near Beaverton area… if there is anyone who wants to test a LF detection device — maybe near the end of Jan. Perhaps sooner.

  4. BD:

    Quite a hike for me … It would have to be worth the trouble — i.e. certain of getting some indicators.

    Maybe you can think about this and write a short description in a word processor, think about it then post it…

    How repeatable is the noise? Every night? Wind Conditions?

    Can you predict when the noise will occur? Is it random instead?

    Do you have a plate glass front window? (not a joke — makes it easy to calibrate.)

    Are you willing to describe the house as to size and type (bungalow 30 X40) etc… orientation (north/south lines)

    Also — what is the “offending” wind farm?

    Anyway — I still have a few days to go, but all the technical hurdles are sorted out on the Low Frequency noise detector.

    I will be doing some graphing work now so that output is obvious. (Pretty graphs showing the waves in three dimensions…)

    There was also an issue with “How to calibrate vs sound pressure.” — but a discussion here probably sorted out that issue with a simple method. Based on what you are telling me though, sorting out for sound pressure may be a red herring.

    I am surprised that a “University Researcher” has not jumped at the opportunity to visit your property and investigate. The symptoms of the noise that you described earlier are very clear and recognizable — it seems to be a textbook case for measurement and evaluation. Have you had any queries in this regard?

  5. I have been in discussions with same…

    What I am interested in is two things…

    One — can we build a cheap detector?
    Two — can we use this detector to mitigate LFN?
    Three — is there any interest in mitigation of noise and proving presence of same (LFN) — with an eye to lawsuits.

    If it is several thousand dollars just to “get in the game” then people might be reluctant to do so. If it is a few hundred $$ — that is another story — it becomes cheap to prove your point.

    Most LFN detectors are expensive and tough to operate. I won’t claim mine is easy — but it’s “not that bad”. I can make it “point and click”.

    My hard costs on this project were: The subway tickets to Toronto and return from Finch, and two the cost of the parts — about $40 with tax. I had a sensor controller in stock — $100.

    The more sensitive sensor is about $50 with tax. It is about 3 X more sensitive than the current detector. It is somewhat more difficult to program — it is essentially a digital computer attached to the sensor — but I can modify bandwidths on the fly and actually give an exact frequency and direction.

    Now. will this sensor work? Apparently so as I can detect LFN passing through my humble office. It coincides with the generators nearby which make it easy for me to test.

    The controller and sensor should tie to any reasonable laptop with a network (wired) port.

    As I said in an earlier conversation, I did some mitigation work on a structure for someone and the changes were modest, part of a separate project and added about $100 to the cost of the project — which was being done anyway.

    The result of the project was much reduced sleep disturbance — almost zero now.

    If I had know the frequency and intensity of the noise I could have done some work with some surety — instead of guesswork. I probably could have had a further reduction without guesswork — in other words.

    If I include all my time at this point the total hardware development costs short of a decent cabling system for a small sensor is about $250- $350, plus two weeks of part time development for the software.

    The current version of the software will just provide “proof of presence” — it collects the raw data and provides a simple graph.

    The data actually represents a 3d vector of the noise — so I could produce a “pointer” or vector to the noise source(s).

    If you look at the rental of equipment a couple of days rental and expert evaluation probably exceeds my cost of building another unit. That unit could be used to detect the infra-sound and test damping strategies — cheap.

    Not useful to everyone — but useful to some.

    …and yes Rick Tells me his reports were stamped — “not reviewed”…

    I suspect I could make it difficult for MOE to ignore the data I might gather. On the other hand maybe they will just have me assassinated — that’s cheap these days. 😉

    To me this is just an interesting project. After reviewing the cost of the “noise” meters and the expertise required, I wondered if there was a “cheaper” way.

    Besides I do things like this for a living — look at a problem and see if there is a “different” or “more usable” solution.

    So “Why not?” 🙂

  6. Guys, you know the MOE is controlled by the self-serving liberals, and they don’t care as long as they and their friends get rich. David this is only the second time the noise has been this bad for us and both times it was really damp, foggy. Friends that live closer had a very bad night

  7. Hey, Folks

    For ~ the 100th time, the > 70 people who signed our petition in the summer of 2009, who live in the ~ 140 houses in the Clear Creek/Cultus/Frogmore IWT ZONE [please note NOT FARM and NOT PARK] and whose houses are surrounded by 18 Vestas 1.65 MW IWT’s all jammed in within a THREE KM radius, have been begging the MoE, the MoHLTC, the developers AIM Power GEN -> IPC [Erie Shores] to DO the infrasound studies of the vibrations which are driving us to distraction.

    Since Jan 2010, AIM Power Gen/IPC has played games with our people saying HGC Engineering would be hired to measure the infrasound emanating from the IWT’s some of which are ~ 400 m from a house [now abandoned by the owner who is renting accomodations ~ 15 km away].

    We have been battered by these vibrations since the machines started generating electricity on Nov 22, 2008 [that’s 25 months ago] and those who can not get away for extended periods of time, 12 h/day at most, are losing the vitality that those who are still theorizing so nonchalantly about possibilities which MIGHT take place 5 years from now can.

    As one who has been in the fray since Dec, 2004 [that’s 6 years] I beg those who have come new to the struggle to research the history and take up where others have had to leave off instead of reinventing every step from scratch.

  8. Unbelievable, nearly 2 km from the nearest beast and our government brags about their “stringent” 550 m setbacks.

    We have been told by IPC, that the turbines proposed for West Lincoln will NOT affect us in Glanbrook. I’m not sure if they think the town line has an invisible forcefield or if 750m is overly generous.

    BD, your experiences could be of great help in convincing the City of Hamilton that the residents of Glanbrook have just cause for concern regarding the West Lincoln project. We will be approaching council to ask that they join the band of municipalities asking for a moratorium. Hamilton equals half a million voices.

    Would you be willing to speak with our group?

  9. Johnanna:

    If someone was within 50Km (of me) I would drive there in a couple of days from now (when I am almost complete) and get some data.

    The point I am trying to make with this development is that it’s simply not that expensive to get some results which can be used to a) mitigate, or b) prove that it’s not likely possible to do so.

    Then people can sue or do whatever they wish.

    I just do what I can as I can.

    As I said — it’s now working, cost was less than $500 say — and now I have to calibrate it against a known standard — “that’s all” that’s left to do.

    Would the device be useful for people who want to *prove* that LFN is present at their house? I dunno — that’s up to them — I have lots of other uses for the technology.


    I can and probably will add Temperature, Barometric Pressure and Humidity to the sensor package — they are relatively cheap and easy to add.

    I did find your probable location, and I will say that the noise problems were predictable. My guess is that some wind directions and speeds are *MUCH* worse than others. But I have not been to that location for many years — so again guesswork.

    I did some quick visual checks and a minor calculation — then found a house for sale in one of the “guessed at” problem zones. It’s clearly not conclusive — but I would be interested in measuring noise at that house if I was closer. 😉

  10. Rick James has done the lfn work and MOE has it.
    None of my business…don’t know anyones credentials or history or anything but have professional protocols in order or you’ll waste time and your money. They aren’t looking for evidence. They already have it. They already know.

  11. Right on David!!! This has been a DIY project on the part of affected people right from the begining. Or call this a grass roots effort.

    Justin is right they don’t want any evidence that will upset their clean,green,affordable energy scam.

  12. David…

    I may know someone that knows someone that may be able to help with mitigating you’re pending premature demise…

    Don’t ask.

    Maureen has my contact info…

    Enough said about that…

    To be fair and factual… LFN from IWTs has already been measured using not only sound pressure equipment but also seismic detection equipment…This information is in the public domain…

    It may be easier and less life threatening to simply contact the measurers for their data then to “re-invent the wheel”…

    I’m guessing you already have these aforementioned reports so I won’t bore you with the details.

    However, the government is not listening and obviously will only respond to litigation.
    It is prosecutors that need the education, not us…

    I prefer a more direct approach about which I have already posted repeatedly…


  13. I think what you are doing is both honourable and noble David and it is not, nor would it ever be my intent to belittle it.

    I am only concerned for your well being. To that end I offer up any help as insignificant or not as that may be.

    I may not be rich but I am extremely resourceful!

    And a hefty boy to boot!

    I got your back! Wherever the hell that is!

    (I’m in Brightside BTW)


  14. Off the 511 Hwy? In the sticks? 🙂 Or do you mean a Toronto Neighborhood?

    I am near 48 and 12 Hwy… In the sticks as well — nothing but fields and hamlets from here north! (And the IWT’s to be on nearby Georgina…)

    The cost on this is insignificant. C Code is not my thing. If I run into trouble with the next batch of sensors on the other collection unit I may ask for help from someone appropriate. It uses a C derivative.

    This was really a “can it be done” project for a bit of fun… and to prove a point that a certain government office could have done it.

    The database is working and storing data, tomorrow I will build the cables for mounting the sensors in the house and then move the sensor unit to another room on the floor above. I really am interested in collecting the LFN that is p****ng me off.

    While it is collecting data tomorrow I will build the graphing/display unit. I could analyze the data with a spreadsheet — but the quantity that can be collected is staggering. The graphing components hooked to a DB should be better and faster.

    The only software part left to write — and it’s not significant is “trigger event” so that the unit can sit there *not* writing data into the db until a “threshold” of activity or noise is reached.

    If it performs within a few days I will publish a link to the data and provide calibration information if possible.

    If I were manufacturing this as a unit I could probably do so at $500 or less per unit… with

    Seismic/LFN sensing *
    Net/USB/Serial port pluggable *

    Analysis and Graphing software *
    Remote access and support *

    * Tested and working…

    Possibly … Compass for sensor orientation — a bell/whistle… 🙂

    Wireless might cost a bit more. The unit can/could handle GPS input for location, plus Bluetooth or XBEE wireless. I can also use standard field wireless if I need to add complete sensor units scattered about a location. In this version I am entering GPS data manually, but I have a Bluetooth GPS I can add in to the laptop setup.

    Wind Sensors can be added as well — again the sensors are cheap — it just takes a bit of time now that the work has gone this far.

  15. Yup… The 511 is on one of my property lines, the Clyde river’s on the other end…

    Sounds like you’re having fun with this gizzy you’ve built. Can hardly wait for the results.

    I wish I had the skill, but I’m more mechanical. Finesse has never been one of my strengths… Gimme a diesel any day, or a chainsaw or an arc welder… Even if they aren’t working ,as was the case with the one’s I have now…Hey! How about a diesel chainsaw that can weld?

    I digress…

    I’ll google your location…

    What color is your house? 🙂


  16. I tried google David but I’m still on dial-up here so that is a non-starter!

    I pulled my Ontario map and measured line-of sight- from where HWY 48 joins 12 to my place. The ruler said 225 KM! Buy road… Probably near DOUBLE that.

    Sure I got your back; W-A-A-Y BACK! 🙁

    Oh, I did find something amusing though. There is a small island called Georgina just off Nunavut! I think that would be a GREAT place for Toronto to invest in wind turbines!


  17. For those who followed this discussion.

    The data collection unit is working, the software is working along with the analysis and event detection.

    I did break the sensor I was using — and intended to replace anyway — before I finished all the quality tests and calibration that IO would liked to have done. That is clean up work though.

    Perhaps a report on the unit and capabilities is in order. I may dothat in the next week or two depending on time.

  18. If the Oregon information that wind turbine neighbours are being paid $5,000 each due to noise concerns from wind turbines holds up then this is an open admission that wind turbines do indeed cause noise problems for neighbours.

    So have at it David and anyone else who wants to join in. Once money is paid to affected people this is legal proof.

  19. Quixote,

    Owen Sound Sun Times Jan.4,11 has an article “Senic beauty worth preserving” that presents information that the calcium leeching for the concrete pads results in alkaline soil around the turbines. This kills off the native weeds that otherwise would grow there.

    Organisims like earth worms are sensitive to vibrations so they likely would leave the area. As for microbes don’t know if there would be enough electricity enter the soil to kill them off as well.

    For sure when you change the habitat around the turbines you will get a change in types of living oranisims there or it could result in sterile soil around the turbine bases. Toxic materials leaking from the turbines is another factor.

    These areas may be limited enough as to not have much effect on food crop production.

    Steep increases in energy prices will have direct effect on food prices. The more it costs farmers to produce food the more food will cost consumers. Then you have to add in the increased costs for food processing. Not a good deal for Ontarians.

  20. I like where your going with this, Barbara. It doesn’t seem like the “greenbelt” is being honoured by the same government that brought it forth. But lets not forget the true intentions of the greenbelt…..fewer noise receptors!!

    In reference to the concrete foundation, what is the carbon footprint of the construction to create these massive structures?

    How much iron do they have onsite digging and moving fill, trucking it…..somewhere? Excavators, dozers, tri-axle trucks, concrete trucks…..

    I can’t even imagine how many truck loads of fill would need to be removed from site. Not to mention the roads that would need to be built just to move the trucks.

    I would really like to know how much diesel would be consumed to prepare 1 footing. We all know the emissions from the equipment negate any benefit from a blade that will only turn with the encouragement of grid powered equipment, for a long time coming. The footprint is a long time here, and only a short time considered.

    What will the concrete do to the groundwater and the underground streams?

  21. Calcium makes the ground water “hard” as it’s known out in the sticks.

    People have already calculated the amount of energy consumed and the CO2 produced to make one turbine. The soil removed might be spread out on local fields.

    When habitats are changed then you get a whole new set of living organisims that move in if the soil has not been rendered sterile.

    If ~ 7,000 turbines were installed on~ 7,000 acres without considering the roads this is not that much land taken out of crop production in an area the size of Ontario.

    Change in ground water quality is probably a more important issue for wind turbine neighbours. This is an issue that bears watching.

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