TVO airs Blown Apart: Windfarm Wars

Series starts Sunday, October 09 at 8:00 PM
What happens when a wind farm of nine 120-metre high turbines is planned to be built on a sensitive landscape? Filmed over a turbulent four year period, Blown Apart explores the truths, myths and future of a highly controversial resource: land-based renewable energy.

51 thoughts on “TVO airs Blown Apart: Windfarm Wars

  1. Thank you. People need to know about the inconvenient truth about wind vs the much more beneign solar energy, and the need for energy storage. After 20 years these wind farms will be worn out and useless becuase machines wear out and need overhauling. solar is solid state and may run forever like a transistor radio.

    • Great so we can bleed money forever under fit. Because we all know the wind and solar will only work with massive subsidy. Solar is great if you feed yourself. So why dont you go to a gas station and fill your car with a litre for 19 dollars if the idea is so great as the province wants to manage it.

      • Cost of solar is droping like a rock and will be at grid parity in few years. Mike Harris let the genie out of the bottle to allow private interests to profit from the production of power, eg. the Bruce Lease Agreement and allowing private companies to build power plants withour competitive bid, eg Samsung. McGuinty went overboard on power at cost plus profit and 80c is about 60c profit. Politicians are not watching out for citizens. McGuinty lied his way to the top and we have voters thinking lying and cheating is ok, is how he got back in. Pathforward is no more wind turbines but keep solar panels at a competitive cost price. No more noise and sleepless nights. Btw, I’ve been off grid with solar panels,but I’m going to connect soon. Contact me if you’d like to know more.

      • Canada is only a bit player in the world solar panel game and has no influence on the price of solar panels. Canada can not move against the major Asian solar panel producers no matter how much money they throw at solar panel production by way of subsidies.Asian countries will only keep lowering their prices. You get into a subsidies money war.

      • Hi Barbara; I agree it will be very tough for Canada to compete with China, on anything these days. We will have to find someting we are very good at we can compete with the rest of the world. In the mean time, we are shooting ourselves in the foot by paying the FIT rates to developers. That is where the gravy is, and that is what needs to be stopped. The cost ood manufacturing solar panels used to be $5 per peak Watt. It is now around $1 to $1.50 per peak Watt. I see sales offers from big distributors last week I can buy at $2.05 per peak Watt Ths needs to be told to any solar developer who is trying to make a last minute deal under FIT.
        The wind has also come down in manufacturing costs, but there are too many secrets there I can’t get info on. One thing, there are designs for quieter generators that don’t use gear boxes at all, but these do cost more than the geared ones. So on wind turbines, they are shoehorning noisy machines into our backyards. We don’t sleep in factories, so we don’t need to sleep in amongst machines that convey 30,000 horsepower, ie. 10 Diesel electric locomotives each turbine along with the shadow flicker. 10,000 wind turbines will become a maintenance nightmare in 20 years when they wear out and contracts are up. Is there anything in the contracts to take them down??? Too many secrets for a BIG thing like 10,000 machines 30,000 HP each around the province. Moratorium, and open the books.

    • Solar panels ” may” last forever, but likely only 5 years according to the experience of other countries at our latitude. They are just toxic wafers after that.

    • Here is a question for the technically minded.

      But first…, Let’s suppose that some clever Canadian Inventor creates a 100% efficient Solar Cell — could we then adopt solar as a major form of power generation? More than 20% say…

      In other words would the 100% efficient Solar cell increase the rate of adoption or uptake if you will? (Restrict the question to Canada or Ontario if you like.) Scott give other people a chance to answer first — let’s not see the same hands all the time 😉

      • David , solar is an ideal candidate to use instead of IWTs that can be adopted by all Ontarians using grants and subsidies , money that is flowing into Wind Your money.
        It could reduce demand , so not only is the argument for clean air and need for power in the future become a moot point , but it begins pointing out the true agenda we have been dragged towards. A for profit energy business.
        It can lower our bills , reduce demand , create long term local jobs and using the Liberals sales pitch , it takes us away from using nasty fossil fuels……
        If one recalls .Mr McGuinty was first elected to STOP the privatization of Ontario Hydro.
        First he supported Harris to privatize , then flipped prior to election , after being elected , well he flipped again and we are dealing with this right now.
        If nothing else it will certainly show one’s true colours.

      • Ernest:

        Let’s put the whole province on Solar…

        At 4KG of lead per KWH then we need (to store one day…)

        27,000,000 KW * 24 = 648,000,000 kwh (per day)
        So we would need 4Kg/kwh * 648,000,000 = 2,592,000,000 kg of lead to store a one day back up requirement…

        But that assumes 100% efficiency –maybe you should multiply by four again — just to be sure.. As current draw increases the battery becomes less efficient and heats up…

        Of course on a house by house basis — you could get away with say (1200 kwh (per month) /30 days/month) == 40 kwh /day and then you need only 160KG of lead per house. Except you could not do the wash on any day you wanted to eat — so multiply that by four, or eight or maybe 20 — depending on how you structure your life.

        That would allow us to satisfy our current needs at (almost) peak draw.


        Hope I go the arithmetic right — all this hard labor I’m doing lately is making me tired…

        Happy Solar Cells…

      • Not feasible in terms of the quantity of lead and the lifecycle of batteries to put the whole grid into storage. Have to include the cost of batteries, and then inverters and battery chargers. Want to see grid electricity costs double as guess. That is why we have rotating machines to produce electricity. It is too bad wind turbines have been introduced too quickly and cause all kinds of social and economic problems. If wind speed doubles, you get 8 x the power, plus stall of the blades. stall causes noise. Machine gears cause noise.Small setback cause shadow flicker and noise/vibration trauma.
        I’m afraid McGuinty & Co are being lead down the garden path by people with the green agenda tossing all common sense to the wayside. Solar panels have gone down to 1/4 of the price since FIT was introduced. So everything needs to be put on hold and re-assessed… and do an environemntal assessment and a lifecycle assessment of the plan for 10,000 wind turbines in Ontario.

  2. I find it kind of funny that the airing of this was held off until after the Oct 06 election. I was told before, previous commitments prevented it from being aired before the election, but wow, now 1 week after the election they seem to have found time. How much liberal influence was involved in the delay of airing this program? Just coincidence? I think not.

  3. …it should be noted that there was a victory in the end. In July of this year, the High Court in the UK ruled that the wind project could proceed; BUT, under very stringent conditions:
    whenever sound levels are over 28dB, turbine noise (measured in very short time intervals) cannot rise more than 3 dB. The industry is scrambling to try and figure out how to deal with this, as blade swish/thump very often exceeds this level. This is a decision that will be cited in other jurisdictions by wind opponents.

  4. Paying 80 cents for something you sell for 7 cents and can buy elsewhere for 3 cents, is called smart and sustainable. By who?

  5. If anybody has any interest in the type of company that is fighting for these windfarms, please try and look into Trillium Power Wind. Try to find out what they have done in the past, they are suing every person in Ontario for $170. I can’t find any completed projects any where. It seems it is a one man company. Try to do the research your government failed to do.

  6. You haven’ t checked. The Trillium Power Wind website lists partners, those partners don’t mention Trillium any where, ever. Trillium talks about 20+ years of experience, please find one complete project. Look under ” success” on the website. Find any name involved with Trillium except John Kourtoff. Look a little deeper, phone references. It will make your skin tingle. They are (usually self) described as ” leaders in Offshore Wind development” if the leader has no experince, what about the followers?

  7. Copy of letter sent recently:
    —– Original Message —–
    From: Eric Jelinski
    To: ; ; ; ; ; ; Wallace, Marcia (ENE) ; ; ;
    Sent: Friday, September 23, 2011 11:50 PM
    Subject: Wind Turbines – Why are European Companies here?
    The attached article (url below) recently in the Toronto Star deserves a counterpoint and I would hope that my points may be printed.–german-enviro-chief-s-message-to-ontarians-be-patient
    From my perspective as an engineer, having worked many years in the power industry as well as teaching in the same subject, readers may be interested in the following perspectives relative to what the visitor from Germany has recommended for Ontario to do.

    The flavor of the message is close our eyes and continue. Germany knows best. I am surprised Germany announced the shutdown of their nuclear program given that ‘German engineering” is, or was, well known as a sales pitch for their cars and other things.

    Every textbook on renewable energy starts out with conservation, and cutting the demand by 50%, in order for renewable energy to be affordable.

    A closer look at some of the LinkedIn discussions and German government documents, reveals concerns about grid stability due to the variability of wind. Germany has plans to place up to 4 large wind turbines on each square kilometer of land. Do we really want this in Ontario?

    Vibration comes from gears, electrical noise, blades passing the tower, and the airfoil in particular at wind speeds exceeding design speed, and the blades need to be turned out of the wind, resulting in a condition known as ‘stall’. An airfoil in stall no longer has the smooth laminar flow over it. The wind flow is now turbulent, vortex shedding occurs, and a lot of noise. Some of this noise may be transmitted through the ground from the base of the tower to nearby homes, particularly if the soil is hard and firm like many of the clay soils on the good farms. Resonant frequencies are destructive to machines, bridges and buildings, and also to humans. In some countries, noise has been used as a form of torture. We all hate the sound of somebody’s base ghetto-blaster.

    Using grants, load guarantees, feed in tariffs as a job creator for industry, especially for electric power generation is a false economy. At one time we prided ourselves on the metrics of lowest cost and least number of people per Megawatt of power. Now we brag about employing the largest number of people. Welfare would be cheaper. Just like in the US at times, farmers are paid not to produce crops.

    The objective for electricity production in Ontario has been “power at cost” until the Bruce Lease Agreement was implemented in order to provide ‘friendly competition’ to OPG via private enterprise providing power under a cost plus profit model in the same market. I’d say that works.

    Along comes FIT with a significant growth mandate, and with return on investment’s far in excess of the either of the two existing models, and far in excess of other solid financial instruments such as GIC’s. The FIT program is now grossly unreasonable, given that costs have dropped significantly to the point now there is a “race to the bottom” with casualties such as Solyndra.

    It is very interesting that German government officials would urge Ontario to continue the lucrative FIT program in support of German industrialists such as WPD and others who stand to profit enormously at the expense of the people of Ontario, and Canada. Every little bit certainly helps balance the books given the financial crisis in the EU, and the rest of the world. Ontario needs to remove the wool and open our eyes to the global economy. I am afraid Ontario is being taken as a sucker by some very savvy people in other countries.

    There are key materials used in the manufacture of solar panels and wind turbine generators, Rare Earth Elements. (approximately 0.6 to 0.9 tonne per MW of 30% REE, ie. 500 kg to 700 kg REE per each generator for an industrial wind turbine of say 2.7 MW)

    All REE is mined, and extracted to the required purity using standard chemical engineered process, and the process includes having to deal with uranium and thorium that are found in the same rock matrix. The point is that the touted ‘greenness’ of green energy is not exactly green, except for perhaps the sunlight, given that we are some 90 million miles from our central fusion reactor, the sun.

    The following link is of particular interest indicating the strategy of vertical integration by the Chinese who are currently the major supplier of REE. This strategy resulting in an embargo of sales to present wind turbine manufacturers will result in some pain.

    The Chinese would rather sell the finished product of the wind turbine instead of just the raw materials. Value added means profit for China and market stress for the new Ontario wind turbine manufacturer’s. I’m sure we’ll be hearing appeals for an increase in FIT rates for wind in order to cover these increased costs.

    It is hypocritical to suggest green energy is to save lives; when every day ~2 people are killed on Ontario highways with many more injured and billions of dollars in property damage and medical support. With approximately 40% of accidents being preventable and nothing being done about this; it is appropriate to call this institutionalized highway murder. (we know it and we continue to allow it)

    Just as Mr. Hamilton suggests to let it be and see; it would be best for all who love trees to not cling so tightly. Minerals such as phosphorous and carbon taken up by the sap have radioactive components. And some purists need to be aware of radiation doses received from cosmic rays, aircraft flights, tobacco smoke, and even for cancer treatment. Radiation, just like dynamite, steam engines and other industrial products cannot be stopped. The Genie is long ago out of the bottle. Our goal is now to properly manage technology through education, not turning back the clock.

    As Mr. McGuinty suggests, we have the best education system in the world, why then do we prostitute ourselves for foreign companies. We invented the Avro Arrow. We invented Candu and designed and built Candu basically without the calculators, computers and communication systems that are available today. In short time we progressed from NRX to NPD 25 MW to Douglas Point 200 MW, Pickering 2000 MW x 2 Bruce and Darlington. I have interesting papers in my posession from the 1970’s, submissions by intervenors, including a memory of the votes in the legislature when Darlington was approved. We’re not supposed to need this infrastructure! BULL!!

    You can close your eyes and pray; or you can go to college and university and learn how to use this technology safely. You need to anyway, in order to safely mine the rare earths. We do not teach our engineers to design a system using the ‘suck and see’ method as is suggested for following the German advice.

    The Ontario government has not to my knowledge contacted the Professional Engineers of Ontario to sign off on industrial wind turbines. It appears that the government has made engineering decisions without any third party consultation as is the practice in engineering FoaK, First of a Kind projects. The nebulous goals for wind given all of the concerns need to be addressed as a serious provincial matter, perhaps using a Coroners Enquiry into the matters of health.

    For myself, Mr. McGuinty, represents everything that is wrong in our society; from telling tall stories about taxes, making secret deals, passing secret laws, giving special treatment to interest groups and lobbyists. In a high tech society, honesty and transparency are paramount. Running any government based on egotism, arrogance, ignorance, cover-up, results in incompetent decisions, willful neglect, and culpability for damages done.

    Ontario deserves better. Ontario deserves change.

    Yours truly, Eric

    • Eric:

      That was a great letter. Unfortunately it went to a list of people which includes some who have trouble with basic science and math. I would say some of them have trouble with arithmetic operations — without a calculator and foreign territory guide.

      Keep up the good work.

  8. That is a press release from Trillium. Check Vestas website for TaiWind.

    • Don’t expect any mention of this consortium on these websites. What needs to be done is to look at the court papers to determine who is suing Ontario for $2.25 billion. Is it just Trillium or does it include other consortium members? This is a lot of money for just one party to launch a lawsuit but it could be so.

  9. If your company was involved in a multi billion dollar windfarm, you wouldn’t mention it on your website? They mention other partnerships and many other developments they are proposing and have completed. Nobody mentions Trillium except John Kourtoff.

    • If Ontario loses this lawsuit then the project can move foreward or the province can pay off in which case lots of money will have to be borrowed to settle this affair. What is important is how was this was allowed to happen and who are the parties who will benefit from this lawsuit. The MSM should be all over this story but they are not and so why not? $2.25 billion is not chicken feed that is at stake here.

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