Engineering reports a sham

by Harvey Wrightman

With 500 turbines proposed for the area from Hwy 402 up to Goderich – looking like a porcupine, there will be no place to hide. Who will take us in? That was my thoughts as I drove past the Kent Breeze wind project.  So it was with interest that I listened to the Director, Mansoor Mahmood, who issued the “rush” REA for Kent Breeze. This he explained, was because:

1) the company had certain unspecified contractual obligations – hard to imagine someone telling Suncor to , “…Move it”, but perhaps that was the case.

2) and fortunately, the MOE had no “backlog” as it was initiating a new approval process.

Most of the Director’s  presentation was the usual extended journey to no-wheres-ville that Ms.Rotter,  “Freddy”, is so well-known for. With some sign of exasperation, the panel chair questioned the possible relevance to human health the detailing of “storm water provisions” had. Taking the cue, the Director launched into ministerial self-congratulation , noting that the design of the installation was so good that the land is still available for farming. I should like to point out to Mr.Mahmood that as I drove past Kent Breeze, I saw many new large pools of  liquid that the construction of new service roads had coralled.  It looked more like a project of Ducks Unlimited.

Without any hint of sarcasm he insisted that the fact that the review of Kent Breeze took the MOE 2-3 months, “…tells you how extensive the process was in reviewing this project…”
He also stated that the MOE is receiving new, exciting reports on a standard protocol to measure noise that can be used for both the MOE and “external stakeholders” –  shall we christen it “Noise Control For Dummies”?

A second study on Low Frequency Noise and Infrasound prepared by Brian Howe of HGC will soon be available to a download near you. It’s called, “LFN and Infrasound – How  To Ignore It.”

Oh, and don’t forget the “5 year Research Chair” into the mechanics of sound with a health rider loosely attached. Sure to please all supplicant thesis writers. And… 5 years, all the turbines will be up!

Suncor counsel, Albert Engel, who has the delightful habit of half-rising out of his chair, palms firmly planted on the table and his shoulder pads elevated around his ears giving him the appearance of, hmmm… Yes! Igor! asked how rigorous the new REA process is compared to the old Certificates of Approval. Mr.Mahmood responded that the REA is  , “…a consolidated process…the approval regime is multi-media (sic).” –  very soothing, don’t you agree?

It was a session long on self-congratulation, back-slapping and lot’s of wink-wink.

So, let me now give you some facts to chew on.Take a good look at some of the different noise studies offered on-line:
 
this one from Hatch for Kent Breeze is signed and sealed by an engineer.
 
 -The Conestogo wind project of NextEra/FPL – no signatures, no engineer’s “seal”. We know only that “Genivar” produced it. Pretty typical of NextEra – CHEAPPP.
 
– and this one from Oneworld/Green Breeze . Note that none of the authors are professional engineers licensed to practice in Ontario, and it is more a report on wind conditions. Oh well, that’ll do. You don’t imagine the MOE reads these, do you?
 
Remember Mr.Mahmood assured us that the REA process is so very, very robust, yet here are 3 typical examples of how low the bar is set re: the qualifications of the noise report authors – arguably the most important document in the whole process. At least Hatch used a P.Eng. With that you do get some guarantee, as a P.Eng. must personally stand behind his work. 

Not that the MOE cares a whit –  anyone who can fill in the forms correctly can submit a noise report. Go ahead, ask them. I did, and the answer I got was not very reassuring. By the way, you can submit any “non-engineer” noise reports to the Professional Engineers of Ontario (PEO) and ask them if they consider them to fall under the practice of engineering. They have “calculations” in them, and that is the key word. They will reply.
 
At last, during the recess, a member of the gallery who lives in a wind project, very gently questioned Mr.Mahmood how he could live with the contradictions presented by his role in approving projects that cause people harm? His eyes widened, he had no response, and he turned away.

27 thoughts on “Engineering reports a sham

  1. 213 receptor dwellings?! Does this Engineer stake his life and career when signing off this project? I’m sure those who are the receptors do.

  2. Still just using just dBA filtered sound levels I see.

    That says it all. Same old .. same old .. CRAP!

  3. McGuinty is in Statford Friday…people are actually paying to be BS’d.
    And it is vitually sold out.
    We use our dollars to take our own elected offcials to court that are supposed to represent our interests. They use up your resouces with government lawyers that you pay for .
    They sit back and watch as we all talk amonst ourselves.
    The GEA is undemocratic. A step to dictatorship.
    Do we not owe the people that sacrificed their lives for us to be free to not allow our freedoms stolen from us.?
    I am not against renewable energy small scale for the benefit of us all.
    But when the Liberals feel they are above the law and pass the GEA for the benefit of for profit business we have to go door to door to ensure no Liberal gets a seat in politics ever again.

  4. Will there be a picketing party in Stratford to greet McGuinty?

  5. McGuinty is in Statford Friday…people are actually paying to be BS’d.
    And it is vitually sold out.

    A noisy protest would be in order.

  6. We have to unseat every Liberal candidate. Wilkinson , Duguid , Mcguinty , Mitchell
    Von Bommel , etc. , hit the streets , go door to door and make sure people understand what this governments energy policy will do them now and their future generations. The cost of energy , the lost jobs , the devastation of the province.
    People have to know we have been sold out to for profit energy producers that will soak us dry.
    It isn’t hard , the HST , eco fees going nowhere , healthcare surcharges , debt retirement charges , HST on gas , heat , …..
    It has to start now. We need the Liberal ridings.
    And then we are pulling the turbines down…and going after subsidies that virtually pay for solar , ground source heat and the odd small windturbine to save us money.
    It’s an easy sell in our area once they see the cost going with the Liberals.

  7. In other engineering news, this:

    http://nextbigfuture.com/2011/03/deaths-per-twh-by-energy-source.html

    Energy Source Death Rate (deaths per TWh)

    Coal – world average 161 (26% of world energy, 50% of electricity)
    Coal – China 278
    Coal – USA 15
    Oil 36 (36% of world energy)
    Natural Gas 4 (21% of world energy)
    Biofuel/Biomass 12
    Peat 12
    Solar (rooftop) 0.44 (less than 0.1% of world energy)
    Wind 0.15 (less than 1% of world energy)
    Hydro 0.10 (europe death rate, 2.2% of world energy)
    Hydro – world including Banqiao) 1.4 (about 2500 TWh/yr and 171,000 Banqiao dead)
    Nuclear 0.04 (5.9% of world energy)

  8. MOE does waste any time reading, reviewing or commenting on any of the reports. Even if they did they do not have people who would understand much of anything in the report. It would take more than a couple of months and would slow the process down. If the tables are filled in, with numbers and text taken out of the air that is good enough for MOE. HATCH wasted money and time getting a P.Eng. to sign their report. Looks good but what does it mean to MOE? Not sure why they don’t streamline further and do away with the wasted paper process. Do away with the illusion.

  9. Hi Earnest,i would like to know who will replace these idiots in Liberal ridings? I do not have anybody that I know that will pickup the dirty laundry and get it cleaned up. I have not seen anybody saying let us do the right thing and do an honest audit on all the dirt the liberals made a mess out of in green energy act. The whole wind energy is such a big mess and it is so corrupt with so many members involved with large investments and back room deals that it needs a power washer to penetrate the dirt and stains. It is problematic in so much of the so called FREE world. The greenies are also pushing so many of the buttons now that if you are against this energy you are labelled a eco terrorist and these rich wind investors thrive on this new way of thinking which backs them up even more. By the way what is the definition of an ACT?

  10. Nonvoter –

    Canadians are so self-absorbed sometimes that we really fail to recognize that much of the world has shopped and gone home before we even enter the store!

    Europe is already moving away from Wind, Solar and other silly nonenergy generating technologies. Holland has abandoned wind and is looking at their first new nuclear expansion in 40 years, Spain has targeted both wind and solar for massive reductions in subsidy, France has continued to steer away from Wind and Solar, Italy continues to say no, even Denmark has put a halt to continued Wind Turbine development as they recognize a zero reduction in Coal generation just has not been worth what they are paying.

    It is no longer difficult to oppose econutz, it is no longer threatening to stand up for responsible energy policy, it is no longer anti-social to call for an end to this madness. Thanks to those with the vision and the courage to push back against the green thieves – you can now stand up and be counted with the rest of us who oppose them!

    I just don’t remember the last time I heard someone justify doing nothing by claiming that the opposition is corrupt! Would this not be the best reason to stand up against them? In any event, we so-called FREE PEOPLE in this so-called FREE WORLD will remove those fingers from the buttons – and we will back it up with our so-called FREE VOTE in the so-called FREE ELECTION in October.

  11. Nonvoter

    Hi Earnest,i would like to know who will replace these idiots in Liberal ridings?

    Well anarchy might be better.

  12. David,

    It feels like we have anarchy now! No democracy and most are not even offended by that. Scary stuff. I wish I could send you the newspaper that published my letter for the hard copy out tomorrow. I got it online today. They made sure to balance my letter with a windy that stated that the opposition to wind were all under propaganda, and he was glad to get us off coal with wind!!! I wrote a retort but doubt it will get published . I sent in the IESO graph as well… wind at 2.6% today.

    So freaking frustrating..I am so sick of Feckless idiots! Having a bad case of SAD today.

  13. I do believe we need something in place to govern ourselves but I have not seen a party behave sensibly and allowing proper governing for the good of all the people. What you find behind a lot of these party members is a self serving corporations exploiting their ambitions to party members. I have seen it time after time and they seem to get away with it. Of course we pay for it in our taxes. I see the great wealth we have in Canada and we all own it and why do we need to pay such a high price in our taxes when we have great abundance. You notice the big large corporations that take our resources pay next to 0 taxes and our bill gets larger every year The problem I see their is no real choice for picking a party,I see no leader or party with a wise,noble, intelligent peace loving man or woman to choice from to serve all the good people of Canada. Yet. Hay David, you seem to a very intelligent man maybe you could start a new party,ehe?

  14. maybe you could start a new party,ehe

    There were no takers.

    On another note…

    It is not anarchy yet. But, it is every control freak for himself so far. So far they are keeping a clamp on the situation.

    I think a lot of the do not believe they have yet stolen enough to live comfortably in their second child hood. (Me I never had the opportunity of a first…)

    Others do seem to believe that they are on a mission.

    We have fewer fundamentalists per capita these days — it would seem — but if you include the greenies and the ardent Progressives — the per capita numbers probably remain the same.

    Most Political Leaders believe they are made by the History Books. Dalton will certainly have his place in one of those tomes. Those tomes will find their place in the outhouse when we can no longer “power” the water supply for the flush toilets. Then, a page at a time, from the history books, Dalton McGuinty’s legacy will serve the future generations in one of our most fundamental needs. A clean butt. And so shall it be!

    We all need something to believe in. It is our nature. It is what drives us.

    I believe I’ll have a glass of Don Pedro before bed time!.

    …and that’s what I believe!

  15. It doesn’t matter who replaces the Liberals.
    It only matters they are unseated because they passed the GEA.
    You don’t have a democratic society anyway, meaning one that is elected to represent you and your needs in the first place.
    We need a referendom vote system where we decide direction on important issues, not government. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

  16. Lynne:

    It is an interesting article I guess…but he missed a very significant point…

    All of these extra charges drive up the tax revenue and deprive the population of the $$ they need to form an effective opposition to policy insanity.

    Very few of these articles look at the tax change — instead they waste their time discussing evil energy companies — who have been permitted by politicians to slop at the trough — so the politicians get more money. More money equals more control and more power and more privilege for the ruling group.

    Let’s keep the spotlight on our politicians. That’s where it belongs. For this scam to work you need the government to prepare the roadbed on the way to hell. The Alternative energy companies pave the road — but that is just the last step. Who surveyed the path?

    And as for good intentions? Do you believe in good intentions anymore? Who demonstrated good intentions lately, and from what point of view?

  17. Johnana:

    Actually it means that (often, perhaps always) a very small number of seats belonging to the most extreme members would tip the balance.

    Review the politics of other countries trapped in that dilemma. Take Italy for example…. I am sure that you can think of others.

    Take Australia. Review the blog of Jo Nova for recent events.

    http://joannenova.com.au/

    Please rethink the idea carefully before promotion of the concept.

  18. I would prefer the referendum idea of Ernest Horvath. At least then we would make our own (collective) problems.

    I say no to the MANY party idea.

  19. David

    Ernest Horvath’s suggestion for decision making is useful for those issues which have not been thoroughly thrashed out before it is urgent that a decision be made. While it might be possible to govern via referendum at the level of family or other small group, referenda for 12 million are not realistic.

    Referenda are certainly a part of governance and do play a valuable role

    I’ve been studying electoral reform since 2002.

    Please read the STABILITY of countries which have Proportional electoral systems in Electoral System Design, Reynolds, Reilly and Ellis as well as Pilon’s “The Politics of Voting” and Henry Milner’s collection of papers on electoral reform.

    As soon as the 20 yr old chestnut of Italy is brought into the debate, I fear for the quality of the debate.

    When we are trying to restore democracy to our own flawed provincial government, why would we even mention unstable governments of other stripes? We need to examine BEST PRACTICES and there are > 100 around the globe which have proportional systems. Ontario and Canada need to look at those best practices and NOT reinvent the wheel.

  20. I fear for the quality of the debate.

    As do I. 😉

    The we shall simply disagree — but feel free to review how three MP’s in Australia forced a Carbon Tax on the nation.

    Should a proportional government befall Canada — I will go live on a beach or a desert Isle somewhere — perhaps over the rainbow.

    A life of poverty and isolation would be preferable.

    I have not gone upstairs to review the latest travesty in the federal Parliament where we are reaping the sins of the last election.

    Perhaps I shall weep for the country tonight.

    Guess I will

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2011/03/25/pol-defeat.html

    It’s official — the government has fallen from power, clearing the way for a spring election.

    The opposition Liberals, NDP and Bloc Québécois came together Friday afternoon in a historic vote to say they no longer have confidence in the Conservative government.

    After the vote, Speaker Peter Milliken addressed Stephen Harper as a member of Parliament rather than as prime minister when Harper rose to move the House adjourn. Conservative MPs left the House chamber quickly for a caucus meeting.

    Well, perhaps the citizenry will get their wish. Perhaps we will dwell in Progressive Heaven and Wind Turbines shall be everywhere.

    I see your twelve Solar Panels and I will raise you two Wind Turbine Farms!

    The CBC reporters seem delighted. I wonder why?

  21. We have to accept that renewable energy has been accepted by most people.
    We can’t argue that one.
    In my travels you see many farms sitting with solar panels on them.
    It’s how we fight the battle.
    It’s a direction who’s time has come.
    And it makes sense.
    I feel the fight should be…we should benefit from our tax dollars.
    And for profit energy is evil.
    We could accomplish the CO2 goals real or not by 95% or 100% subsidies for all of us to save money on energy.
    We can’t win the war saying no to windturbines.
    We should be saying no for profit energy….we have a huge base seniors , people on fixed incomes , businesses like manufacturing that rely on high energy needs. Agribusiness uses huge amounts of energy….
    For Profit Energy must be seen as Evil.

  22. “We could accomplish the CO2 goals real or not by 95% or 100% subsidies for all of us to save money on energy.”

    I don’t want to subsidize anybody for anything. Roads, medical care OK. But stop there.

    And we won’t save money. We will spend more for some people at the expense of the remainder.

    No subsidies, no favored technologies, none of the government trying to pick “winners and losers”. It does not work.

    Besides — subsidizing itty bitty installations will cost more than subsidizing large scale “wind farms”. If you want to subsidize wind technology — subsidize big industrial installations they are far more efficient than small installations — as bad as they are!

    No pork barrel politics. No pig troughs.

    Instead, we need fiscally responsible government. Leave it at that.

    Buy your own wind turbines, buy your own electric cars.

    No special electricity rate deals for greenies with subsidized electric vehicles.

    …and that is the way I see it.

  23. Lynne: Thanks for the link to the article.

    “For an industry that strongly asserts noise levels are not a problem and that land devaluation does not occur, they go to a lot of trouble through secretive ‘gag’ clauses to legally forbid people they have purchased property from to speak to friends, family or the media about these issues.

    One can only draw the conclusion that the fundamental reason for these ‘gag’ clauses is to keep from public knowledge information that is detrimental to wind farm operators.”

    Why else would a gag clauses be used? Great article.

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