Near Ruthton, MN
A crop-spraying job ended in tragedy amid wind turbine country in southwest Minnesota. The plane nose-dived into a soybean field west of Ruthton Friday morning after striking a cable. Investigators say the pilot, 68-year-old James Arnt of Worthington, died instantly.
A bent electrical tower high above this bean field is a telltale sign of tragedy in southwest Minnesota. “It’s a sad situation, I guess,” farmer Ben Kremer said.
The plane likely struck a wire attached to the tower which monitors wind conditions for nearby turbines. The plane crashed some 500 feet east of the tower. Read article
The Enterprise Bulletin, Gisele Winton Sarvis
CLEARVIEW TWP. – The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) has given the green light to allow the construction of eight 137 metres (450 ft) wind turbines east of Stayner one day before proponent wpd Canada was to take the government to court. MOECC awarded the Renewable Energy Approval (REA) application Thursday. The court case, which has now been cancelled, was to begin Friday.
The Township of Clearview had fought for intervenor status at court in order to oppose the project, on the north and south side of Country Rd. 91. “I am extremely disappointed that the Ministry of Environment has gone ahead in light of all the work we’ve done to show the side effects and how it will impact economic development in Clearview and the County of Simcoe,” said Clearview Mayor Chris Vanderkruys. “It’s a project that the township was clearly against. The provincial government doesn’t listen at all. They do what they want. The fact that we had to fight for intervenor status is crazy,” Vandkerkruys added. “However this happened between wpd and the government, they didn’t include us at all,” he added.
Two of the turbines to be located on the north side of the County Rd. 91 will be less than 2,000 metres from the runway at the Collingwood Regional Airport. Read article
By Bruce Chessell, Woodstock Sentinel-Review
Five witnesses for the East Oxford Community Alliance (EOCA) took the stand during the second day of the Environmental Review Tribunal regarding the proposed Gunn’s Hill wind farm, bringing forward further concerns regarding health and the airways above the proposed turbine site.
The first three witnesses to take the stand on Tuesday all brought forward the same concern regarding Prowind’s proposed wind farm: How the turbines will affect the Curries Aerodrome and the planes that fly out of there.
Keith McKay, a pilot for 32 years and member of the EOCA, said he was concerned with flight safety around wind turbines. “We are very concerned about the safety of ourselves… but also for commercial flights going overhead,” McKay said. “We don’t know if all the mitigating options that (Prowind) are proposing will work, we don’t know the time span. So any commercial flights flying over, we are concerned about their safety as well as ours.”
McKay added that Prowind is in negotiations with NAV Canada to put in mitigation standard to solve the problem, but he isn’t convinced this will work in an appropriate time. “Prowind has decided that if this goes ahead, they will put up the turbines,” he said. “We are opposed to that for safety reasons.” Read article
The Enterprise Bulletin, Paul Brian
Mississauga-based WPD Canada has been granted the go-ahead by the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) to locate distribution lines for two wind turbines proposed as part of the Fairview Wind project along a two-kilometre distance underneath Fairgrounds Road in Clearview Township.
Karen Evans, the Director of Corporate Communications for the OEB said that despite Clearview’s preference that OEB hold their review of the distribution plan application until the Renewable Energy Approval (REA) process was complete, OEB felt it was better to move things forward in one process.
“It is more efficient and prudent for applications to be reviewed concurrently and so the distribution plant proceeding moved forward,” Evans wrote, adding that other government departments in addition to MECC could also potentially be involved in the project approval process but that the OEB will not be involved in the turbine approval process. MECC approval of the REA process is required before the project can move ahead, something Clearview officials had posited as one of their reasons that German-owned WPD’s application should not be given the nod at this point. Read article
By Trevor Terfloth, Chatham Daily News
With several changes to ensure flight safety, eight wind turbines that Transport Canada had ordered removed near the Chatham-Kent Municipal Airport earlier this year can now stay. Transport Canada had said the turbines, owned by Erieau Wind, violated height limits on lands at the airport, which are subject to the airport zoning regulations (AZRs).
However, the agency said it is discontinuing the enforcement action that commenced in July. “We’ve stated all along the airport’s been safe and it’s proven in the order,” Mayor Randy Hope told The Daily News on Wednesday. “Now it’s just about moving on. … One more hurdle behind us.”
According to a media release, the potential safety risks were “mitigated by Nav Canada with the issuance of a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM), which was later replaced with an altered Instrument Approach Procedure Chart so that pilots are aware of the wind turbines and can avoid them.” Read article
Mike James, Blackburn News
The appeal by a wind turbine company trying to avoid demolition of its turbines near the Chatham airport will start soon. Officials with GDF Suez say they filed their submission last month.
The Transport Canada deadline to submit the package is today. Government officials say the turbines exceed the height and distance restrictions around an airport, and must be torn down by the end of the year. Read article
NY Times, Brent McDonald and KC McGinnis
Crop-duster pilots working around wind farms are encountering a new and proliferating hazard camouflaged among the fields, one that has already led to several deaths.
also… Pictures from crop dusting in the Adelaide NextEra wind project this August, before the turbines were spinning. Next year will more of a challenge/risk for everyone.
Ag Plane Crash Leads to $6.7 Million Wrongful Death Verdict
FlyingMag, Stephen Pope
When Steve Allen, a highly respected Northern California ag pilot with 26,000 accident free hours, crashed his Rockwell S-2R into a whisper-thin, barely visible galvanized steel wind observation tower on January 11, 2011, a dark and sickening secret about personal greed and avarice was exposed for all the world to see.
The $6.7 million wrongful death settlement the aviator’s family was awarded this month will hopefully help ensure other similar tragedies won’t happen in the future.
The tower, measuring just inches under 200 feet, was hastily erected in 2009 by wind energy interests “prospecting” for the perfect site for a new wind farm in Contra Costa County east of San Francisco. The odd height of the tower is central to the case — any tower under 200 feet doesn’t need to be lighted or reported to the FAA. But because these towers can pop up almost anywhere and are nearly impossible to see in flight, they pose a special danger to aerial application aircraft. Read article
There’s a two week ‘planned power outage’ at NextEra’s Bornish and Adelaide Wind projects. Flashing red navigation lights won’t be working during that time, so you might want to keep your planes grounded…
Word has it that the splicing in the underground cables were welded too close together. The underground cables need to be replaced. When they put the hydro through the cables, it caused the cables to melt; now no hydro can get through. All cables have to be replaced.
Wonder how safe all the projects cables are? Is anyone doing any stray voltage tests?
Thank you for sending your concern.
After receiving your inquiry (below) I contacted the Nextera Site Manager and Technician Leader by telephone.
They provided an explanation both verbally and followed up with an email confirming that the Navigation lights were out last night as part of a planned power outage to the wind turbines. Continue reading
London Free Press, John Miner
After warning a wind farm developer that its turbines would interfere with airport radar systems in London and Hamilton and reduce flight safety, NAV Canada says it’s no big deal. In a letter dated Aug. 14 to the developer of the Gunn’s Hill wind farm near Woodstock, Canada’s civil air navigation service provider states all 10 of the planned turbines are visible to the London radar and four are visible to the Hamilton radar.
The impact, NAV Canada says in the letter, includes “a decrease in flight safety for aircraft operating in the area, especially in adverse weather conditions.” The letter also states the Gunn’s Hill wind turbines will increase the workload of air traffic controllers and reduce NAV Canada’s ability to identify and track surveillance targets in the area.
“The final assessment is that the risk increase presented by this proposal may require mitigating actions. Therefore NAV Canada will require an agreement for cost recovery should mitigation measures be needed,” the letter to Juan Anderson of Gunn’s Hill Windfarm Inc. states. Read article
Trevor Thompson, Blackburn News
The turbines near the Chatham-Kent Municipal Airport pose a risk to air traffic. That’s the opinion of one of the B-17 pilots that flew into the airport Wednesday.
Grant Schwartz landed and took off more than a half dozen times. “My reaction is… you probably need a little bit more of a margin between wind turbines and airports,” says Schwartz. “You have to decide what your priorities are going to be.” Read article
Christina Blizzard, Toronto Sun
Darwin understood these things so well. Survival of the fittest. Or, more succinctly, people who do dangerous things often don’t survive their own stupidity.
Sadly, when it comes to building wind turbines near airports, the consequences of a foolish act performed in the name of the flawed Green Energy Act are borne by innocent people who had no part in the stupid decision. Two rural airports in this province are facing the serious consequences of wind turbines sited too close to their runways.
Transport Canada recently issued an order forcing the removal of eight turbines near Chatham-Kent’s airport. And Collingwood airport is fighting a plan to place massive turbines close to its runway. Read article
GDF Suez Canada intends to appeal a federal order to remove or lower eight turbines at the 99MW Erieau wind farm in Ontario. Transport Canada said the turbines, which have a 125-meter tip height, exceed a 45-meter height limit within a four-kilometer radius of the Chatham-Kent municipal airport. GDF commissioned the wind farm in May 2013. Erieau employs 55 Vestas V90 1.8MW turbines on 80-meter towers.
The federal agency in 2013 asked the developer to voluntarily comply with its request to dismantle the turbines, said Transport Canada spokesman Clay Cervoni. “When this was not achieved, Transport Canada issued a notice requiring the company to lower or remove the wind turbines in compliance with the Chatham airport zoning regulations,” said Cervoni. The notice sets a 31 December 2014 deadline.
The developer was surprised by Transport Canada’s demand to remove the turbines, GDF spokesperson Bonnie Hiltz told reNews. “GDF understood that we had received all the required approvals prior to construction,” said Hiltz. Read article
John Norton, Chatham-Kent’s chief legal officer, met as recently as two months ago with Transport Canada officials and proposed that the eight turbines be recognized as “exceptions.” The proposal was based on an aeronautical expert’s advice.
“It’s a simple solution,” the mayor said. “It wouldn’t cost anybody any money . . . it could be easily resolved.”
Chatham Daily News
Chatham-Kent Mayor Randy Hope finds it ironic that shortly after Transport Canada has ordered the removal of eight turbines near the municipal airport, a C-130 Hercules military aircraft landed there safely for a training exercise.
“How can you have an unsafe airport when you’ve got that type of a plane landing there today,” he said early Sunday evening shortly after the municipality issued a media release about Transport Canada’s position.
The order calling for the removal of the turbines by Dec. 31, 2014 is change from the federal agency originally issuing a letter last year “requesting voluntary compliance.”
The turbines are owned by GDF SUEZ, which is expected to formally object to the order from Transport Canada seeking a hearing before the Minister of Transport through a process in the Aeronautics Act. Read article
By Morgan Ian Adams, Enterprise-Bulletin
CLEARVIEW Twp. —The Progressive Conservative candidate for Simcoe-Grey says he’d put a stop to a company’s plans to erect wind turbines near the local airport should his party form the next government.
In a campaign stop at the Collingwood Regional Airport Friday morning, during which he slammed the existing Green Energy Act and the impact he says it has had on electricity bills, Jim Wilson promised a Progressive Conservative government would do what it could to halt WPD Canada’s plans to erect turbines near the facility should his party win the June 12 provincial election.
WPD’s proposal is to erect eight turbines in the area north of County Road 91; at least two of the proposed 500-foot-tall turbines are within an area the municipal services board that manages the airport say are a potential safety hazard to aircraft, especially in the landing or take-off phase, while another three turbines are considered on the edge of that area. WPD’s plans are presently under technical review by the Ministry of Environment.
“We’ll do whatever it takes to stop WPD Canada from putting the wind turbines in this vicinity,” said Wilson. “It is in process, and it may end up in a lawsuit, but we just can’t allow it.” Read article
Fears have re-ignited in southwestern Ontario after a fatal plane crash involving a wind turbine in South Dakota that left four people dead.
Garry Sheperd has been flying for over 30 years. He’s a seasoned pilot, and he’s not pleased about the wind turbines he’s now sharing the skies with. “The ones we’ve got coming to our backyards here are 400 feet at present, but the new generation are 500 feet. In Europe they’re over 700 feet and it’s just a matter of time before there’s a conflict.” Read article
A small airplane heading back to South Dakota after a Texas cattle sale crashed into a wind farm in foggy weather, killing the pilot and three passengers.
Elizabeth Cory, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration, said the Piper 32 was traveling from Hereford, Texas, to Gettysburg, South Dakota. The single-engine plane was registered to Donald J. “D.J.” Fischer of Gettysburg, according to the FAA.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating, but authorities have not released any details on the crash. Authorities have not released the names of the victims, but Luce Funeral Home confirmed that Fischer, the 30-year-old pilot, died. Lien Funeral Home confirmed the deaths of cattlemen Brent Beitelspacher, of Bowdle, and Logan Rau, of Java. Read article
Sadly, historical Dunnville Airport in Haldimand County is being taken over by 6 industrial wind turbines. The photo above is of the 1st wind turbine of Samsung’s 67-turbine wind project being constructed in Haldimand. This first wind turbine stands at the Dunnville Airport at Port Maitland. The airport was the base for No. 6 Service Flying Training School from the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP). Over 2,400 pilots from Canada, Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand and the US earned their wings here from 1940 -1944. This training school was one of 41 such facilities across Canada and was one of the few remaining ones. In 1999, the airport was re-opened and about 25 planes were stored at and flown from the airport as well as a Skydive business operated there until May 30, 2013 when the airport was closed to flight operations because of an agreement by the owner to erect 6 wind turbines on and close to the airport. Not only did those planes and Skydive operation have to move out but the economy of Port Maitland and Dunnville area businesses will also be affected. Continue reading
Blackburn News, Trevor Thompson
Despite months of inaction regarding eight turbines near the Chatham-Kent Municipal Airport, Chatham-Kent-Essex M-P-P Rick Nicholls says he’s confident a resolution is coming.
Nicholls admits there’s one scenario he’s worried about. “What I do not want to see is the municipal government say ‘well we have a certified airport, we’ll just decertify it, and therefore airport zoning regulations are no longer in effect,’” says Nicholls. “That’s like saying today I rob a bank and that’s against the law so I get thrown in jail. Next week the laws change and it’s okay so I guess I’m free now.”
Transport Canada asked developer GDF Suez to remove the turbines in question back in June of 2013.
Toronto Sun, Rebecca Thompson
A popular Canadian skydiving company, which sees up to 10,000 skydivers a year, is trying to reverse a plan to install two wind turbines near its site for fear it will put the lives of parachutists at serious risk. Read more
Simcoe-Grey MPP Jim Wilson is reeling after getting news that the Ministry of the Environment has accepted wpd Canada’s application as “complete” to build eight 500 foot industrial wind turbines on the flight path of the Collingwood Regional Airport and other airports in Clearview Township. The approval moves the application onto the technical review stage, which could result in final approval in a mere few months time.
On December 13th, Wilson sent an open letter to Premier Kathleen Wynne to question her government’s decision to push forward with the application. “I am writing to you today in response to your government’s decision to declare wpd Canada’s application to build eight 500 foot industrial wind turbines on the flight path of the Collingwood Regional Airport complete and accepted for technical review,” wrote Wilson. “As you are aware, my constituents and I strongly oppose this project.”
Wilson continued, “Premier, this decision was made by your government without consultation and in spite of safety concerns. It goes against resolutions opposing this development from the Township of Clearview, Town of Collingwood and Town of Wasaga Beach. Once again, please find enclosed a letter from the Collingwood Airport Services Board, as well as the aforementioned resolutions against this project.” Read article
The construction of large wind farms could drive up the cost of air travel and cause delays in launching fighter aircraft on missions to protect Canada, Canadian Air Force officers are warning in a newly released report.
There are a number of proposals underway to build wind farms, including three near a military airbase in Bagotville, Que., five in Nova Scotia, two in Ontario and one in Saskatchewan, the report prepared in November 2012 for then-defence minister Peter MacKay pointed out.
Wind farms are sprouting up around the world, but aviation specialists are raising concerns that the giant turbines are creating blackout zones for air-traffic control radar. The spinning blades of the turbines are being detected by the radar, presenting false images or generating so much clutter on radar screens that controllers are losing track of airplanes as they fly near the wind farm sites.
The wind turbines can also interfere with weather radar, U.S. researchers have warned. The rotating blades can show up on radar as incoming weather, such as an area of precipitation.
“An entire farm will create areas where we cannot reliably observe or control military/civilian air traffic,” the briefing for MacKay, obtained through the Access to Information law, pointed out. “NORAD quick reaction aircraft would need to be rerouted or launch delayed if aircraft were known to be still flying through the dead zone.” Read article
By Bob Boughner, Chatham Daily News
It appears Transport Canada hasn’t issued an official order to GDF SUEZ Canada to remove eight turbines south of the Chatham-Kent Municipal Airport. The company recently contacted The Chatham Daily News to state it has not received an “order” from Transport Canada. According to the latest response to The Chatham Daily News from Transport Canada, the agency is requesting “voluntary compliance” with the regulations and will work with the company to set a practical deadline. No decision has been made on a date.
At the same time, the response reads: “Transport Canada requires the lowering or removal of the eight wind turbines that were constructed in the area protected under the Chatham Airport zoning regulations.” David Timm, GDF SUEZ Canada vice-president, told The Daily News on Wednesday: “We’re in discussions with Transport Canada on the matter and the other agencies that have jurisdiction over the issue.” He said those discussions will continue, adding he can’t get into the specifics of the discussions “because of the sensitivity of the issue.” Read article
Bob Boughner, Chatham Daily News
Transport Canada is being asked to clarify why it hasn’t taken action against a wind turbine company advised in June to remove eight turbines near the Chatham-Kent Municipal Airport. Chatham-Kent Essex MPP Rick Nicholls said Friday the turbine company – GDF Suez Canada – is dragging its heels “and the longer it stalls the more money it makes from the turbines.”
“It irritates me, especially since this is a safety issue,” said the MPP. “I’m constantly being asked by people why the turbines haven’t been removed and I’ve written to Transport Canada to get answers.” Chatham-Kent Essex MP Dave Van Kesteren said Friday he is also concerned over the lack of answers and intends to follow up with the agency in Ottawa. Meantime, David Timm, vice-president of the turbine company, insisted Friday his company has never received an “order” from Transport Canada to remove the eight turbines.
“It’s not a safety issue, but rather a zoning issue,” said Timm. “We are working with Transport Canada, just as we have for the past five years.” Timm said his company is convinced it has satisfied all concerns of Transport Canada and is continuing to hold talks with the agency. But he again stressed that the company has never received an order from Transport Canada to remove the eight turbines. A spokesperson for Transport Canada told The Daily News in June that the eight wind turbines south of the airport violate height limits at the airport, which are subject to airport zoning regulations. Read article
By Bob Boughner, Chatham Daily News
The turbine company that owns eight turbines south of Chatham-Kent Municipal Airport should do the right thing and remove them immediately, says Rick Nicholls. The MPP for Chatham-Kent Essex said Wednesday the cost for removing the turbines — which has been ordered by Transport Canada — would be far less than having to pay a lawsuit involving a possible airplane accident and the adverse publicity that would follow. Nicholls said the turbines should come down “sooner than later” to avoid a serious aviation accident or tragedy.
The MPP also said the eight turbines should be removed at the expense of GDF SUEZ, the company that owns them, and not at the expense of Chatham-Kent taxpayers. “It’s a safety issue and the safety of people who make use of the airport is the No. 1 issue,” said Nicholls, in a telephone interview. The MPP said he’s spoken with pilots who are concerned about the location of the turbines. Nicholls said if the turbine company is the good corporate citizen it claims to be, it should take immediate steps to remove the turbines. He took issue with a claim Wednesday by Dave Timm of GFD SUEZ that “it is not a safety issue but rather a zoning issue.”
“Zoning regulations are put in place for safety reasons,” countered Nicholls. “This company needs to do the right thing and remove the turbines at their expense immediately.” he said. “If they are at fault they should fess up when they mess up.’ Read article
London Free Press
Transport Canada officials will work with a wind turbine company to set a practical deadline for the removal of eight turbines south of the Chatham-Kent Municipal Airport. Brooke Williams, a spokesperson for Transport Canada, told The Daily News Monday no decision has been made on a date.
She did say that on at least two occasions prior to installation of the wind turbines, Transport Canada advised the wind farm representatives that height restrictions were in effect in the area around the airport. The Daily News learned in June that Transport Canada was enforcing safety rules and requires the removal of eight wind turbines that are impeding height restrictions imposed by the airport zoning regulations.
Dave Timm, vice-president of GDF Suez Canada Inc., claims the company complied with all the rules and regulations regarding the placement of turbines near the airport. Timm said his company is asking for a meeting with Transport Canada officials to discuss the matter. Read article
Peter Epp, Chatham Daily News
The municipality is conducting an internal investigation into the siting of eight wind turbines near the Chatham-Kent airport, but an investigation independent of the municipality needs to be conducted, because Chatham-Kent’s involvement in wind energy has from the start been purposely minimalized.
It was a week ago that it was revealed that Transport Canada had ordered the removal of the turbines, erected near the airport in what the agency says is a height-restricted area. Since then we’ve learned that the company responsible for the development was from the beginning satisfied it had met all federal requirements, and further that it believed that the federal agency was aware of the turbines’ location.
But Transport Canada begs to differ. It says it’s now enforcing federal safety rules, which requires the removal of the eight turbines. This has very little to do with the municipality. The federal government was involved, the provincial government was involved… and because planning oversight under the Green Energy Act has been invested entirely with Queen’s Park, Chatham-Kent’s role was, at best, minimal. Read article
Peter Epp, Chatham Daily News
Dalton McGuinty has been a private citizen for only three days, and already his prized Green Energy Policy is facing perhaps its biggest challenge . . . ironically, where the policy’s impact was first felt in the province, in Chatham-Kent. Transport Canada has ordered the removal of eight wind turbines that have been placed near the Chatham Municipal Airport. The order was revealed Friday and, if carried out, will likely have an enormous impact elsewhere in Ontario.
The order is unprecedented, and if the wind turbines are indeed removed, they will be the first to be removed since McGuinty’s Liberal government introduced the Green Energy Act four years ago, in 2009. Chatham-Kent was fertile ground for the Liberals when they started rolling out their plans to populate rural Ontario with turbines and solar panels, ostensibly to generate clean energy. The first turbines were erected here; in fact, they were starting to be built even before the legislation was in place. Today, as a municipal jurisdiction, Chatham-Kent is host to more wind turbines than anywhere else in the province. Read article
Windsor CTV News
Transport Canada has ordered the removal of a number of wind turbines in Chatham-Kent. They’re a hazard to aviation, as pilots fly in and out of the airport. The machines may also violate federal zoning regulations.
“If you are coming in to land and you are unfamiliar with the area, especially if clouds are starting to get low, then you could end up much closer to them then you would like to be,” says 30 flying veteran Jeffrey Pyefinch. He says the 8 turbines Transport Canada has now ordered removed, should have never been built in the first place. “The airport is protected by a federal zoning law regulation and the turbines were infringing on that area, so they should have never been allowed to go up in the first place,” says Pyefnch. Read article