Ontario Federation of Agriculture Statement on Wind Energy

(Farms.com – August 29) Agriculture provides many of the opportunities available to generate alternative sources of energy. Harnessing energy through wind turbines is one of the options for producing green energy that will contribute to a secure, reliable source for future generations. The ongoing development of off-shore wind turbines in Ontario has been a contentious issue, raising questions about the technology’s merits and concerns.

In the interests of exploring this potential energy and income source for Ontario farmers, the OFA is asking the provincial government for clarity on wind-turbine related health, noise level and stray voltages concerns.

However, the opportunity for wind turbine development is on hold since the Ontario government imposed a moratorium on new off-shore wind farms until more scientific research is done on the impact of turbines.

After receiving anecdotal reports of adverse health impacts attributed to wind turbines, primarily concerning noise levels and stray voltage, the OFA struck a task team of directors, staff and researchers to draft recommendations to consider with future wind turbine development. These OFA recommendations follow recognized international standards that support acceptable noise levels and setback distances for turbines.

The following six recommendations form the basis for OFA’s lobbying efforts with the provincial government for wind turbine development.

• To reduce stray voltage issues, larger gauge service lines and higher capacity transformers are recommended to eliminate line loss and electromagnetic fields in the wind turbine development structure.

• Rural residents’ health and nuisance complaints are to be quickly and fairly addressed in any and all cases where wind turbine developments meet or exceed the minimum distance setbacks of 550 metres.

• Rural residents’ health and nuisance complaints are to be quickly and fairly addressed in any and all cases where wind turbine developments do not meet the minimum setback requirements of 550 metres.

• Regulations governing participating receptors should be amended to require a minimum setback of 550 metres for all wind turbine developments.

• Until the participating receptor regulation can be amended, the government must ensure all participating receptors are clear on their right to negotiate an acceptable setback distance for any wind turbine development on their own property or on any property within the boundaries of development.

• To address noise level issues, and ensure the recommended maximum of 40 decibels is not exceeded, the provincial government will develop and implement a protocol to measure noise from wind turbine developments, including continuous tone and low frequency noise. Measurement equipment and training must be made available to municipalities.

These six OFA recommendations on wind turbine development are on our agenda as we discuss agricultural issues with candidates in the lead up to the October 6 provincial election.

OFA is committed to exploring all the opportunities for alternative energy as they relate to and impact Ontario farmers and rural residents.

13 thoughts on “Ontario Federation of Agriculture Statement on Wind Energy

  1. They forgot low frequency noise and vibration….also critical issues.

  2. Unfortunately they are missing the point…but none the less a very good step.
    Why on earth drive power costs up for people by 3 to 15 times for a power source that is unreliable
    They participate in energy poverty for Ontarians while enabling global polluters to not only benefit financially to allow them to not have to cut emissions in their industry..
    It’s lose lose

    • While addressing some issues, disappointingly main thrust
      of their concern is still the few landowners that may benefit
      monetarily from hosting turbines. No question of the viability
      of wind energy and the impact increased cost has on farm
      operations.

  3. Aug. 2011 – OFA @ exploration stage!
    confused – needs clarity!

    In the interests of exploring this potential energy and income source for Ontario farmers, the OFA is asking the provincial government for clarity on wind-turbine related health, noise level and stray voltages concerns.

    Another Fun day!

  4. They also didn’t mention the impact on values property values. Often the biggest asset farmers have is the land they own. For a few to benefit financially and thereby negatively impact their neighbours property values is unfair and undemocratic.

  5. The OFA should be concerned about the loss of arable land that is taken out of crop production. Agriculture should be their primary concern but somehow IWT’s have become acceptable in their eyes. As the global population expands we will need to clear more forest to allow crop inputs to grow more food. Great plan to reduce the amount of arable land now so we will need to expand it in the future. The current plan to give farmers some financial relief only helps those who have decided to use industrial equipment to assist their income. So much for being stewards of the land. I wonder how many of those stewards live in a big 3000+ square foot home somewhere in urban Ontario and don’t care what happens in rural Ontario. The true stewards didn’t sign up because their love with the land supersedes all else. Farming is NOT easy, hardest job I’ve ever done. I grew up on my grandparent’s dairy farm. 18+ hours a day every day, when crops go in and come off. There are not many weeks in a year that you aren’t taking care of something around the farm. Even though I know how hard this life can be, I moved to this fine county (Haldimand) with the hopes of someday getting back into farming. My love for the animals and living off the land will always be a part of me.
    If the plan is to help struggling farmers make ends meet it should be done so that ALL can participate and benefit equally. If pricing for all produce was fare then farmers would be able to survive without help. That I am sure would satisfy the majority of those involved. This is what the OFA should be concerned with not how to ensure IWT’s are sited or operated properly. If they were truly concerned about siting and operating these industrial monstrosities they would know the 550 meter setbacks is not sufficient. The 40db allowable noise limits is not sufficient. Take care of the famers for without agriculture we will all be in trouble.

    • I agree with you that we should take care of our farmers.
      Tell me what you think needs to be done and what your issues are and how i can help

      • There is too much legislation governing farming. Family farms are checked out for any deficiencies regarding cleanliness in their processing facilities. Poultry farmers are told to keep each part of their operations separate from the other. This requires more building which cuts into the small farmer’s bottom line. Some who have been in business for 2-3 generations are now selling because they can’t afford to pay for all the upgrades they are required to do. I have read where a family making sausages had a small crack in the ceiling paint. This was a violation and with a violation comes more inspections which bring more violations. This constant monitoring of family farms is removing far too many. If an inspector was to write a code violation for a big corporation they would find themselves on the unemployment line real quick! This is not a level playing field. All agriculture should be monitored equally. Improvements surrounding the legislative guide lines would be a good starting point. Involving actual farmers in decision making may also help. At least include them in the debate so they can voice their concerns before imposing rules that may ruin them.
        I don’t know what really needs to be done to encourage the younger generations to stay on the farm or to start a farming life. As I said I would get back into farming if legislation allowed that. I don’t need to sell what I grow I just need to be allowed to live off the land. To be allowed to be classed as agriculture and be taxed as such, one needs to sell a certain amount of goods, if they don’t the zoning changes and with it the taxes paid. It has become unacceptable to live off the land; you must sell some produce to retain your tax rate. Why is that?
        Fare pricing would also help. The family farms can’t compete because they don’t have the same amount of resources the big corporations have. Large corporations own the land, processing plants and supermarkets so in the end they generate enough revenue to keep it all profitable. If prices for the goods at the producers end were fare then family farms could compete but that would cut into the bottom line of the larger corporations so it’s not legislated to be. These are my opinions. I have been away from farming for too many years to fully understand all aspects required to make this fare for all. Changes are required though and the Green Belt Act would be a good place to start. Removing a farmer’s right to sell a parcel of land to have the required revenue to buy that piece of equipment of pay down debt handcuffed far too many families. Along came the golden goose dressed in IWT clothing and some farmers thought they had found a way to survive. This needs to change to get agriculture back on the land in all rural areas, globally I will add!.
        One final thought, if agriculture was made to work as it was many years ago, many jobs would be maintained, some may even by created. Family farms grew the goods be it milk, eggs, meat, vegetables or fruit. They in turn sold it to the processors (How many processing plants are accessible to family farmers in Ontario today?) who sold it to the stores. Along that path many jobs were created and the population became employed. As the population grew so did the need to sow and reap. Newer equipment became necessary to allow faster and more crops to be sown and harvested. This grew the manufacturing industry which created more jobs. The way I see it farming was the catalyst for growth in jobs. Perhaps it will be that again someday soon.

  6. “future wind turbine development. These OFA recommendations follow recognized international standards that support acceptable noise levels and setback distances for turbines.”
    “Regulations governing participating receptors should be amended to require a minimum setback of 550 metres for all wind turbine developments.”

    Doesn’t the World Health Organization say 1500m?
    Somebody please send me a link from WHO confirming this number, if this is correct.

    And no mention of correcting this problem with existing developments.

    • I think most people agree.
      I know I do my best to ensure I buy food..any food that is Ontario produced. Though they make that very hard.
      There has to be a way past the food terminals and get you folks the best profits possible.
      You folks get nothing for your effort while they make the money while still pushing you for better prices.
      So what can we do ?

    • In Ontario the land is leased/rented and not owned as in the UK. However, the opportunity for renewable energy developers to make fortunes off from renewable enegy projects here is the same as in the UK.

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