The following email was sent to several MOE employees from Michael Moroney, Executive Lead, Southwest Regional Office.
From: Moroney,Michael (ENE)
Sent: June 13, 2011 7:56 AM
Subject: Update – Addressing Concerns from the Operation of Wind Turbines
For those of you that are speaking to residents with concerns over impacts from the operation of wind turbines, I wanted to make sure you are aware of current ministry efforts being undertaken to address these concerns. Based upon the most recent update that I received from EAAB on May 31st , I am sharing the following key messages and commitments with you:The Ministry of the Environment (MOE) and this government are committed to seeing that renewable energy generation facilities are developed in a way that is protective of human health and the environment.
In developing setback distances for wind facilities in the REA Regulation (O.Reg.359/09), the MOE reviewed leading scientific studies from around the world to ensure that Ontario’s rules are protective of human health and the environment and are appropriate for the needs of Ontario’s communities. We also looked at how wind projects are regulated in other countries to learn from their standards and setbacks for wind turbines.
The Chief Medical Officer of Health agreed to undertake a review of existing information and to consult with the Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion and local medical officers of health on health effects related to wind turbines. The report concluded that available scientific evidence to date does not demonstrate a direct causal link between turbine noise and low frequency sound and adverse health effects. The complete report titled “The Potential Health Impacts of Wind Turbines” can be accessed at the following web-site: www.health.gov.on.ca/en/public/publications/ministry_reports/wind_turbine/wind_turbine.pdf.
The government has committed to establish the Ontario Research Chair in Renewable Energy Technologies and Health (ORC-RETH) to address thetechnological, health and safety aspects of renewable energy. To meet this commitment, the Council of Ontario Universities (COU) awarded the researchchair position in February 2010 to Dr. Sivoththaman, a faculty member at the University of Waterloo,following an independent and competitive application process. The 5-year ORC program brings on board researchers with expertise from the faculties of Engineering and Applied Health Sciences and will be carried out in ten Research Themes, including clinical and epidemiological studies of health effects ofturbine noise under Theme 1 – Studieson Potential Health Risks of Wind Turbines, as outlined in greater detail on the ORC website: www.orc-reth.waterloo.ca.
The MOE is committed to ensuring that its rules regarding wind facilities continue to reflect current science as is the case with all other environmental standards set by MOE. Accordingly, the MOE has sought expert advice from an independent consultant to review low-frequency noise impacts from wind turbines. The Low Frequency Noise and Infrasound Associated with Wind Turbine Generator Systems report has been finalised and the ministry is currently reviewing the report and assessing next steps, including posting the report, along with the ministry’s response to its recommendations, on the Environmental Registry for information purposes in the near future. The MOE has also retained a consultant to develop a standardized procedure to measure audible noise from wind turbines.
The government is committed to protecting the health of residents in communities that are home to renewable energy projects. Should new information come to light from these health and noise studies, we will review and amend wind energy requirements, as necessary, as we do for all other environmental standards today.