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
At a preliminary hearing by Ontario’s Environmental Review Tribunal held Tuesday, Dufferin Wind Power Inc. (DWPI) lawyers refused to explain why the corporation, which has erected 316 transmission-line poles between its wind farm and Hydro One’s Orangeville Transformer Station will not make mitigation plans public as requested by Melancthon Council and residents near the right-of-way. Citizen concerns arising from pole bore holes extending into the local aquifers, possibly allowing for ground water contamination, and fears that the pentachlorophenol (penta), a wood preservative coating the entire length of the poles, may travel into surrounding wells, prompted Green Party candidate Karren Wallace to file for the hearing as a private citizen.
The panel for the preliminary hearing, held at Centre Dufferin Recreation Complex in Shelburne, included Dirk VanderBent, Vice Chair of the Environmental Review Tribunal, and Tribunal member Justin Duncan. The Tribunal is an independent body that hears public appeals under the Environmental Protection Act. Also present were Sylvia Davies, lawyer for the Director of the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Control (MOECC) and lawyer John Terry plus an additional lawyer for DWPI. The hearing was to confirm procedural directions for the main hearing to be held in the new year.
Ms. Wallace had said previously that her objection was based on DWPI’s mitigation plan for transmission lines never having been formally approved. The transmission poles, located alongside the County-owned rail corridor, will carry power from 49 new turbines in Melancthon to the transformer station near Dufferin 109 and the 3rd Line of Amaranth. Ms. Wallace looked at the issue of possible health risks posed by DWPI penta-covered transmission pole holes, many surrounded by water, some constructed in wetlands, and others near manure piles, “Walkerton had one conduit for contamination,” she said. “We now have 316.” Read article
TVA Nouvelles, Maxime Landry
A wind turbine blade, weighing almost 8 tons, suddenly detached before fall heavily to the ground in the night from Friday to Saturday in Saint-Robert-Bellarmin, close to Lac-Mégantic. A major failure, which led to the emergency stop forty other wind turbines, in addition to a thorough inspection.
Images obtained by TVA Nouvelles show the huge piece of metal in the middle of a gravel road. La pale, qui fait 45 mètres, est aussi longue que l’aile d’un Airbus A380. The blade, which is 45 meters, is as long as the wing of an Airbus A380. Read article
The Chatham Voice
The provincial Ministry of Energy will launch an investigation into reports that an 18-inch chunk of a wind turbine blade came loose and flew some 400 feet before landing in a field in the former Howard Twp. Chatham-Kent-Essex MPP Rick Nicholls raised the matter during question period Wednesday at Queen’s Park, calling it a significant safety issue that must be addressed immediately.
“Will your government do the do the right thing and put a moratorium on turbine developments until there is a thorough review of safety standards pertaining to industrial wind turbines,” he asked Premier Kathleen Wynne. Energy Minister Bob Chiarellli said he was unaware of the problem but will raise the issue with his staff as well as those at the ministries of environment and climate change.
Nicholls said called the detached section “flying shrapnel” since the 400-foot tall turbines with blade lengths of 135 feet rotate at nearly 200 miles per hour at the blade tip. In an interview with The Voice, Nicholls said, “we need to know just how widespread this problem is,” he said. “We have scores of turbines along the (Highway) 401 and this kind of flying shrapnel could result in a fatality. The government’s first responsibility is to the citizens of Ontario, not the wind companies or whatever agreements they may have made with private individuals.” Read article
…and the Ontario Liberals could care less.
Mr. Rick Nicholls: My question is to the Premier. A Chatham-Kent constituent of mine found an 18-inch section of a wind turbine blade on his farm while farming this spring. He found a blade on his property some 400 feet from the base of the turbine in question. I have documented proof, and I will be sending these pictures over to you for review.
Fortunately, there was no damage to his property or personal injury to anyone, but this raises a very serious safety issue. Picture a 2.3-megawatt turbine with a blade length of 135 feet, standing some 400 feet tall. It should also be noted that the blade tip speed rate rotates at 164 miles per hour.
I, along with many of my riding, am rightly concerned for the safety of my residents. Premier, my question to you is simply this: Will your government do the right thing and put a moratorium on turbine developments until there is a thorough review of safety standards pertaining to industrial wind turbines? Continue reading
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
Windsor Star, Craig Pearson
CS Wind, the site of an industrial accident this week, has had almost 100 government work orders issued against it since starting production in 2012.
The Ontario Ministry of Labour just issued 10 orders against CS Wind — such as requiring training, new protocols and guardrails — after a worker’s feet were pinned by a sheet of metal Tuesday.
A report obtained by The Windsor Star shows that the Ministry of Labour issued more than 80 orders between September 2012 and February 2014. The Star also requested records for February to November of this year but has yet to receive them.
Orders range from minor to major. Complaints which resulted in orders, according to Ministry of Labour records, include:
- “Lack of protection from radiation from plasma cutters.”
- “Magnets on crane failed causing 2-ton piece of steel to fall.”
- “Turbine section crashed off roller,” “Paint fumes causing difficulty breathing.”
- “Slipped/dropped turbine tower.”
- “Poor ventilation and cold workplace.”
- “Fire in truck.” Read article
Scott Dunn, Owen Sound Sun Times
LUCKNOW – Since a giant crane toppled at the K2 Wind Farm project south of Lucknow last week, the cranes are being disassembled and trucked from site to site instead of driven there, K2 Wind spokes-man Michael Sheehan said. No one was injured last Wednesday in the mishap which is under investigation by the Ontario Ministry of Labour and by the crane contractor. Work resumed on the site Friday, he said.
The mishap took place at what will be a 140-turbine, 270 megawatt project covering 19,000 acres, which is to be completed in July. “K2 Wind is in the process of reviewing procedures for safely crawling cranes. Since last week’s accident, the two other main turbine erection cranes are being dissembled and then trucked to a turbine and reassembled,” he said in an e-mail from the Edmonton office of Capital Power, one of the three wind farm partners.
One of three big cranes on the site was damaged when it fell as it was being driven to a turbine site when conditions were wet, Sheehan said in a statement last week. That damaged crane will be disassembled and removed from the site. That work should take one week and will likely begin Thursday, he said. The big cranes are each mounted on a tracked machine which allow them to “crawl” from site to site. Read article
MCLEAN’S MOUNTAIN—During the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend, Dr. Joe Shorthouse and his wife Marilyn spotted two orange specks high above the landscape, dangling precariously from the tip of one of the massive McLean’s Mountain wind farm turbine blades and snapped the accompanying heart racing photos. Dr. Shorthouse said they sat mesmerized by the duo for half an hour before carrying on and were eager to share the photos with this newspaper.
When asked about the work late last week, Paul Kaminski, project manager, Northland Power, explained that the workers were performing warranty work on the blade serrations. (Look closely at the photo and one can see that the blades are indeed serrated, like a steak knife). “This means that some of the serrations did not fully meet General Electric’s (GE) quality specifications and required an additional touch up as part of warranty,” Mr. Kaminski explained. Read article
Details are scarce following an early morning industrial accident at CS Wind. Windsor Police say a 54-year-old man was rushed to hospital from the Anchor Dr. plant around 2am. He suffered non-life threatening injuries, but the details of the incident haven’t been released. The ministry of labour will investigate.
By Scott Dunn, Sun Times, Owen Sound
LUCKNOW – A massive crane at a wind farm south of Lucknow fell over as Wednesday morning as it was being moved, causing no injuries but possibly damaging the crane, K2 Wind spokesman Michael Sheehan said Thursday. Six workers were on-site, including one driver in the cab and likely five spotters all in radio contact, Sheehan said. No one was injured and the 600-tonne crane, with a 122-metre boom, fell on the privately owned property, he said in a phone interview from Edmonton.
He said the incident happened about 11:40 a.m. when “one of three main turbine erection cranes working at K2 Wind accidentally overturned while crawling from one pad site to the next in wet conditions.” The Ontario Ministry of Labour was notified, he said. “The exact cause of the accident is now under investigation.”
He said work stopped immediately at the site and hadn’t resumed Thursday while a company investigation heard from all workers involved. The company is co-operating with the Ministry of Labour, Sheehan said in a follow-up e-mail. Read article
[… or should I have titled it “More stuff happens” after yesterday?]
Scott Miller CTV News
Crane collapses at site of K2 wind farm near Lucknow. No injuries reported as crane toppled over as it moved from one turbine site to another. Work stopped on all 140 turbines as crews dismantle multi-million dollar crane. Ministry of Labour investigating. See more pictures here.
… again and again for this corporation of incompetents.
You won’t be surprised to hear of another ‘accident’ in NextEra’s Jericho project located in Lambton Shores . This time it was an excavator in the ditch on Thomson Line, west of Arkona Road. It is becoming a common occurrence while driving home from work to come across NextEra’s mishaps, which is why I never leave home without with my ipad!
The roll-over must have just occurred as only the operator and another worker were present. When I approached the overturned vehicle to take pictures, the operator said to me, “Stuff happens.” Unfortunately for our community this type of occurrence seems to be happening all too often. It looked like the wheels of the machine got too close to the soft edge of the ditch which gave way causing the excavator to roll. I asked the workers if they were okay and both said yes. When I was departing I passed several construction vehicles speeding towards the accident to quickly cover-up, er, clean up the mess. Continue reading
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
Blackburn News, By Melanie Irwin
NextEra Energy is working closely with Environment Canada as it prepares to roll out new radar technology. The company, which is currently erecting 92 turbines in Lambton Shores and Warwick, has entered into an agreement with the weather agency, to shut down their turbines if an issue arrises.
NextEra spokesperson Josie Bird says they want to ensure public safety, not restrict it and operators actually have an “app” to shut everything down if necessary. The new software is hoped to combat that clutter from wind farms and is expected to be incorporated into Canada’s radar system this fall. Read article
I received a call just as I was returning home from work late yesterday afternoon. There had been a turbine-related collision on the corner of Northville and Cedar Point in Lambton Shores. My fearless 15 year old son and I instinctively raced to the car at the same time, dinner ingredients abandoned on the counter.
I figured the main road of Northville would be blocked so we took the back roads to the scene. Part way down Cedar Point there were several construction trucks parked on the side of the dirt road. They flagged us down and a worker told us we had to turn around because the road was closed. I asked him what the problem was and he said there had been an accident. I told him I was driving on a bit further to take a look. Of course he said we were not allowed. Of course I ignored him and drove around the trucks to the site of the collision with the worker shouting after us. Continue reading
Exeter area wind turbines
The radar site locations are marked with a black dot. A green circle shows a 50 kilometre radius around the radar. Inside this 50 kilometre ring, potential interference with the radar may exist and direct consultation is strongly suggested. Major roads and cities are indicated in dark blue.
The colour display surrounding the radar(s) represents whether wind turbine blades could be seen by the respective radar (in yellow) and if the wind turbine towers can be seen (in red). The visibility maps have been created for turbine models with turbine tower heights of 100 meters and blade lengths of 50 meters (for a total blade height of 150 meters). If any part of a turbine is visible to a weather radar, interference is expected, but if the turbine tower is visible (in red) more severe impacts may occur. Any region not covered by the colour display indicates that a wind turbine with a total height of 150 meters should not be visible to the radar. However, a turbine with a blade height greater than 150 meters may be seen and further analysis is necessary. View Map
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
News Talk 1010
Environment Canada is preparing to roll out new radar technology in order to combat wind farm clutter, which clouds weather forecasts, misleads meteorologists and can even block radar signals. Jim Young, who works at the agency’s national radar program, said new software will be incorporated into Canada’s radar system this fall in an effort to address the “contamination” caused by wind turbines.
“I certainly have very high hopes,” he said, adding that Environment Canada has been concerned about wind farm clutter for years. The agency uses Doppler radar to predict storms, but the movement of wind turbine propellers can mimic weather. Young said accurate radar data relies on movement _ still objects including buildings, trees and towers are filtered out to allow for an analysis of the weather.
On its website, Environment Canada warns that the degradation of data can be “significantly misleading for forecasters under stormconditions.” Young said the disruption caused by wind farms is based on their proximity to radar sites. “The closer you get, that clutter becomes larger and larger,” he said.
In extreme circumstances, wind turbines can block radar scans, which Young compares to beams of light emanating from a flashlight. “If you put a large obstruction in front of your flashlight, you are going to create a shadow behind it, where you can’t see anything,” he said, adding that the same thing can happen when scanning wind farms. Read article
[From Jericho Wind Project in Lambton Shores]
What happens when NextEra fails to comply with a provision in the agreement?
For example, earlier this week Borea shut down access to Ridge Road (at Army Camp) from late afternoon until the next morning. Several hours went by before they even posted someone at the other end to warm motorists that the road was closed. We called the OPP non-emergency line to advise them of the road closure in case of an emergency through the night. And we contacted the municipality about the closure, both by telephone and e-mail.
The actions of Borea were clearly in contravention of the agreement, specifically Sections 8.2 and 8.3.
Are there any provisions in the agreement for the municipality to impose a penalty?
I wanted to say thank you for reporting this in. We also called into central dispatch in Wallaceburg to make sure they are notified. We meet with NextEra on a weekly basis and brought this to their attention on Tuesday. They assured us that this would not happen again.
This is a contravention of the terms of the agreement, and there is a financial penalty to NextEra. NextEra is liable for any municipal costs to administer the agreement. In this case, they have to pay for my time and my staff’s time to deal with this issue and complete our investigation.
This financial ‘penalty’ amounts to nothing for a large corporation like NextEra. But they did say sorry ……. a common strategy corporations use to get around negotiated agreements such as these – it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission.
It is essential that our municipalities incorporate appropriate penalties into these agreements to ensure compliance so the municipality and its residents will be adequately protected from such shenanigans.
Sometimes I have to force myself to write a single line, because I’m so spitting mad – this is one of those times. Just look through these pictures taken on a “nice country drive” along the border of Lambton and Middlesex counties, where 92, no… plus 44, oh and 45, 38, 20 turbines are going up. You do the math. And all the transmission lines need to connect them to the grid. So you have to sacrifice a pile of beautiful oak trees, no biggie – it’s all to help the big green dream. Trust Toronto, they know what “green” looks like – not an oak tree (you silly country bumpkins!) – wind turbines and steel trans poles are the image of “natural”!
Hydro pole beside house at Kerwood and Townsend Rds.
Yet another substation here… this is Suncor’s Adelaide one goign up.
Then there is the proximity of these poles to our roadways- what the hell – they are FEET from the road! Is anyone monitoring this? Where are the road supervisors? The OPP? The Ministry of Transportation (I know, tack a LOL on that). Except there is nothing funny about this at all.
New road to Suncor substation
Great way to greet people in Middlesex county…
John Miner, London Free Press
Southwestern Ontario’s eye on the sky for life-threatening weather could be obscured by giant wind turbines converging on its field of vision. Recognizing and alerting people to severe conditions is a job where every minute counts.
That’s especially true in Southwestern Ontario, one of Canada’s thunderstorm capitals and part of Ontario’s tornado belt. Hundreds of thousands of people in the region rely on Environment Canada to make the right call. But that task is about to get tougher. The agency’s severe weather forecasters rely heavily on data from their Exeter Radar Station, about 50 km north of London, which detects storms and their velocity within a 250-km ring around the station.
The difficulty on the horizon are the scores of giant wind turbines being built or starting up within 50 km of the Exeter station. Some are planned as close as 16 km away. The problem, documented by the U.S. National Weather Service and in Europe, is that when a weather radar signal is reflected back by spinning turbine blades, it can appear to be a rotating cloud or tornado. Known as ‘wind turbine clutter,’ that can also disrupt precipitation estimates. 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
It appears it’s not just a rumour, this turbine is coming down in NextEra’s Bornish wind project – blades were removed on July 7th, 2014.
What we are hearing is at least 6 possibly as many as 9 turbine bases were not excavated deep enough, approx 3 feet too shallow, and they are leaning/unstable enough that they have to be dismantled, cement broken out, dug deeper, repoured and reconstructed.
They cannot just move them over and pour another pad.
Remember everyone— these people are EXPERTS!!!
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