Study shows animal populations affected by wind turbines might not be just local

dead golden eaglePhys.org, Brian Wallheimer
Wind turbines are known to kill large birds, such as golden eagles, that live nearby. Now there is evidence that birds from up to hundreds of miles away make up a significant portion of the raptors that are killed at these wind energy fields.

Using DNA from tissue and stable isotopes from the feathers of golden eagle carcasses, researchers from Purdue University and the U.S. Geological Survey found that  killed at the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area in northern California can come from hundreds of miles away. Golden eagles are a species of conservation concern, so understanding population-level differences and how individuals interact with turbines is key to meeting a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service target of no net loss to their populations.

The APWRA is one of the oldest wind farms in the country and one of the largest in the world originally with around 5,000 turbines. Worldwide, such facilities have been responsible for the deaths of 140,000 to 328,000 birds and 500,000 to 1.6 million bats, raising questions about their effects on population sustainability.

“Eagles tend to use that habitat around the turbines. It’s windy there, so they can save energy and soar, and their preferred prey, California ground squirrels, is abundant there,” said J. Andrew DeWoody, a Purdue professor of genetics in the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources. “As they soar, these eagles are often looking straight down, and they fail to see the rapidly moving turbine blades. They get hit by the blades, and carcasses are found on the ground under the turbines.”

Collaborator David Nelson, a stable isotope ecologist with the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, tested the birds’ feathers for stable hydrogen isotopes, which can be used to determine where the birds likely grew their feathers. The research team determined that about 75 percent of the 62 birds were from the local population. The remaining 25 percent likely migrated into the area before they were killed. Read article

Another Statewide Blackout: South Australia’s Wind Power Disaster Continues

sa-28-sep-16Stop These Things
Thanks to its ludicrous attempt to run on sunshine and breezes, South Australia has just experienced yet another Statewide blackout. SA’s vapid Premier, Jay Weatherill and what passes for media in this Country ran straight to the periphery, blaming everything except the bleeding obvious (see this piece of infantile doodling from wind cult central – the ABC).

STT’s SA operatives tell us the blackout occurred during a blustery spring storm (heavy rain, lightning and surging, gusty wind). The power supply went down across the entire State at precisely the same time (a little after 3:30pm). It took more than 5 hours to restore power to a few parts of the State, and many regions remained powerless for much longer than that.

True it was that lines were damaged in the mid-North around Port Augusta, but that doesn’t explain why the whole State’s supply went down. Grids are designed with with a level of redundancy, and to avoid complete collapses by isolating damaged sections, in order to keep the balance up and running.

For those truly interested in the cause, what appears in the graph above – care of Aneroid Energy – gives a clue as to the culprit.

SA’s 18 wind farms have a combined (notional) capacity of 1,580MW.

On 28 September (aka ‘Black Wednesday’), as the wind picked up, output surges by around 900MW, from a trifling 300MW (or 19% of installed capacity) to around 1,200MW.

As we explain below, electricity grids were never designed to tolerate that kind of chaos, but it’s what occurs in the hour before the collapse that matters. Read article

Green energy cancellation new focus in wind fight

M'Chigeeng Protest June15,2012(9)Nicole Kleinsteuber, Quinte News
[excerpt]  Environmental lawyer Eric Gillespie who is representing all three parties told Quinte News that he plans to put Tuesday’s announcement front and centre through the rest of the hearing.

“We don’t need any more of these projects,” said Gillespie. “They (the ERT) have already said green energy doesn’t trump the environmental protection act. Now it doesn’t even compete at all. It should have zero weight. The environmental protection act should trump everything.”

Gillespie said he plans to tell the ERT that ‘the hearings are unnecessary because the project is unnecessary.’

“Wind companies have been oblivious to the realities as has the government,” he said. “It’s been known for years we have ample amounts of energy and have been dumping it in the United States at a reduced rate. This confirmed the sad reality that this course of action has had no merit for what Ontarians have been put through by these policies and the actions of these wind companies.” Read article

‘Ontarians have never been this angry’: Poll respondents feel unprotected from power price increases

We will NOT be sientNational Post, Ashley Csanady
Half of Ontario voters feel unprotected from price increases in the electricity system, a new poll shows.

“Ontarians have never been this angry,” declares a presentation of the Innovative Research Group poll, to be revealed Wednesday afternoon at the Ontario Energy Association conference in Toronto. A draft of the presentation was shared with the National Post and the results of the 600-person poll show a growing distrust in the Ontario government’s handling of the energy file, in particular electricity prices.

The poll about provincial politics and energy rates was commissioned by the Ontario Energy Association — an industry group representing everything from gas to electricity companies — for its annual conference.

screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-9-34-30-amWhen asked if they feel “consumers are well-protected with respect to prices and the reliability and quality of electricity service in Ontario,” 50 per cent of respondents “strongly disagreed” — the highest rate of disatisfaction since the firm started asking the question in 2002. Another 20 per cent “somewhat disagreed” while just 19 per cent said they “somewhat” agreed and six per cent “strongly agreed.” Three per cent had no opinion and another two per cent didn’t know. Read article

Ontario’s new electricity policy: History repeats as farce

wynneThe Globe and Mail

Karl Marx said that history repeats: first as tragedy, then as farce. In Ontario, the history of failed energy policy repeats – first as farce, and then as more farce.

Premier Kathleen Wynne faces an election in a little over a year and a half, and one of the main issues dogging the Liberal government is the price of electricity. Thanks to policy choices that the government itself seems incapable of unwinding, electricity bills have been on an upward tear for a decade. Many voters are furious. And so the Wynne government devoted the heart of its Throne Speech this week to a plan to lower the price of electricity. Not the cost of electricity, however. Just the sticker price.

Taxpayers of Ontario, you will now be paying for more of your electricity through your taxes, or through future taxes funded by deficit financing, and less through your electricity bill. Yes, that’s the new plan. It looks a lot like the old plan.

Nearly six years ago, Ms. Wynne’s predecessor, Dalton McGuinty, was facing an election. He was, like the current premier, spooked by rapidly rising electricity prices. These spiking prices, note well, had been engineered by the Liberal government’s mishandled Green Energy policy. To win back voters, Mr. McGuinty decided to give consumers a break. The tool: the so-called Ontario Clean Energy Benefit, which ran from the start of 2011 to the end of 2015.

The Clean Energy Benefit did not have anything to do with clean energy, and its benefits were illusory. All consumer hydro bills were awarded a government rebate worth 10 per cent – so the more electricity a customer used, the more they saved. This “benefit” for Ontario consumers was paid for by Ontario taxpayers. Yes, they’re the same people. Read article

Enough is enough with wind company false allegations.

No doubt this happens pretty regularly. You are writing a response on a public forum and out pops a pro-wind advocate who says you are nothing but a ‘denier’, or a ‘coal-burner’, or whatever. It’s a poke to engage you, so you don’t because that’s not why you are there – stick to your message to the intended recipient.

But what about when they start saying flat out lies, that are serious, without any facts to back them up? I get it, thoroughly, when one makes a statement you need to substantiate. In the case of NextEra’s lawsuit against me, calling them NexTerror and NextError, I easily had over sixty links to recent news article of “errors” and “terrors” they had committed in our neighbourhoods, and I’m sure many more could be added today.

tide6Two days ago I had a discussion with Tide… yes “Tide”, as in laundry detergent. There was an annoying ad that kept popping up on Facebook with twirling white turbines around their new scent-free laundry detergent, and they told us “the formula is made with 100% renewable wind power electricity.”  I replied, as it is pretty much one’s duty to explain the negative environmental effects of wind turbines to such companies when this happens.

Then an employee of Brookfield Renewables, Jeremey Davidson, popped in with the usual, “Ester [sic] wants her detergent made with nuclear or stinky coal power.” Whatever. Ignore. To Tide I sent links to American Bird Conservancy articles, the Bird Studies Canada recent report, and the picture of NextEra cutting down the eagle nest.  tide2-copy

Then I get this. →
Apparently “we” lit a nacelle on fire. I’m very open about what I have done in the line of protesting, so those that know me know that  vandalism has never been part of it. What I do, I always make sure I can stand by morally and ethically with no regrets. To be accused of lighting a wind turbine component on fire (when I’m not great with fires and have a fear of heights) serves only one purpose for Mr. Davidson – to discredit me, and other protesters. We were now collectively labelled criminals because of his statement.

tide3-copyI thought he might retract this blatant lie if we pointed it out to him, but he just became more adamant. Continue reading

Ontario cancels future green energy plans

GO AWAY1Shawn Jeffords, Toronto Sun
So, where are you going to spend your $2.45?

Ontario’s Liberal government announced Tuesday that they’ll be giving hydro ratepayers the whopper of a rebate on their bills every month by halting the purchase of $3.8 billion in large renewable-energy projects.

Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault said a new Independent Electricity System Operator report shows the province will have a steady supply for the next decade, so the change of course makes sense. Tossing the toonie and change back to consumers adds up when you combine it with the government’s recent move to slash HST from hydro bills.

“This is a $3.8-billion savings,” he said. “When you look at that for every consumer in the province, that’s $2.45. When you start adding together all of the savings that we’re bringing forward for consumers, it’s starting to become more and more significant. So, if it’s 50 cents or $50, I’ll continue to try to find ways to help put downward pressure on rates.”

The purchases would have seen Ontario buy 980 megawatts in renewable energy projects and 75 megawatts of energy from waste projects.

Question period was dominated by the topic of hydro, as nearly every Progressive Conservative speaker raised the issue. Tory Leader Patrick Brown, who has been calling on the government to stop paying for new green energy projects since he took the party helm last year, called the move “too little too late.”

“It’s bad policy,” he said. “We’ve given away $3 billion in hydro in the last three years. As I said today in the legislature, this premier has become the minister of economic development for Pennsylvania and New York.” Read article

Wynne’s axing of future green energy projects too little, too late

11822631_10153434729099360_749101345687174178_nLorrie Goldstein, Toronto Sun
Of all the spending scandals Ontario’s Liberal government has been involved in since 2003, none has been bigger than its mad pursuit of expensive, unreliable and unneeded wind, solar and biofuel energy. No other scandal — eHealth and Ornge pale by comparison — has cost present and future generations of Ontarians more money.

Tuesday’s announcement that Premier Kathleen Wynne is cancelling all future large-scale wind, solar, biomass (and, irrelevantly, hydro) projects — about 1,000 MW of excess capacity given the province’s huge energy surplus — is too little, too late. The problem is the Liberals have already locked us into far too many 20-year contracts for wind and solar power that aren’t impacted by the announcement.

These contracts gave wind and solar developers — many of them major contributors to the Liberal party — lucrative deals in which the province has to buy their power first, despite having an energy surplus that could power the province of Manitoba, according to Ontario auditor general Bonnie Lysyk. That means we either have to pay them to produce expensive electricity we don’t need that must be sold at a loss, or pay them not to produce electricity at all. Read article

Ontario Liberals deny tampering with witnesses at hearing into wind turbines near airport

government secrecyThe Canadian Press, Keith Leslie
TORONTO – Ontario’s Liberal government denies Opposition charges that it interfered with the witness list for a hearing into a plan to install at least six, 152-metre-high wind turbines near the Collingwood airport.

Progressive Conservative house leader Jim Wilson says the province decided at the last minute to call a witness from NAVCanada instead of an expert from Transport Canada at an Environmental Review Tribunal hearing.

NAVCanada is a private corporation that owns and operates the country’s civil air navigation service, while Transport Canada is the federal government department responsible for transportation policies and programs.

Wilson says the witnesses were changed because Transport Canada has concerns about putting industrial wind turbines between the Collingwood Regional Airport and the Stayner aerodrome.

He says the Ontario government refuses to acknowledge that putting giant turbines so close to the small airports pose a hazard to aircraft operations.

But Environment Minister Glen Murray says it would be against the law for him to play any role in determining witnesses or influencing the environmental tribunal. Read article

Amherst Island residents worried wind turbine cement plant to be built near school

CKWS Newswatch

It’s a heated topic on Amherst Island, the wind turbines. But, this time the concern has shifted. Residents are worried about a cement batch plant said to be a base for the project, that they allege will be built very close to the Amherst Island Public School.

Beth Forester has lived on Amherst Island most of her life, along with 6 generations of her family. She went to this school, as a student and teacher… and now her grandchildren go there. “As far as I know it’s as close as those fence posts over there.”

Forester’s referring to a cement plant that will provide the materials needed for wind turbine footings – that residents say is being built near the school. Beth Forester, concerned Amherst Island resident & grandparent “As a teacher I just can’t not envision a closed up, closed the windows in a country setting, close the windows to keep out the noise, the dust, the nastiness.”

Forester isn’t alone.  Many other residents are concerned too, now not just over the turbine project but the possible location of the plant. Bruce Sudds, Concerned Amherst Island resident & parent “Just over 500 meters behind our school there will also be a base for industrial activities for the building of wind turbines on Amherst Island.” Read article

Wind turbine fibreglass blades – they all end up in the landfill.

 

Bat-ageddon: Wind Industry Slaughters Millions of Bats – all to ‘Save’ the Planet

CNSPhoto-Munro-BatsStop These Things
No Ticks Zone
Kenneth Richard
Bats are known to be some of the world’s savviest aerial acrobats. Using their mysterious sonar system and shape-shifting wings, bats adeptly swerve and swoop and dive in flight to avoid collisions with both stable and moving objects.

And yet bats stand no chance against a 200-meter high wind turbine with blades the length of a football field, spinning at speeds up to 275 km per hour. Even if their tiny bodies can avoid a blunt-force collision with one of these merciless steel beasts, just the act of drawing near to a wind turbine may nonetheless expose bats to jarring air pressure changes that cause fatal lung damage (barotrauma).  The latter is the main reason why bat carcasses can be found scattered beneath wind turbines at locations across the world.

dead-bat-at-turbineThe slaughtering of bats by wind turbines isn’t slowing down; it’s getting worse. The 21st century wind turbine bat-killing rate has already begun to seriously threaten the long-term survival of the world’s 172 endangered bat species. According to scientists publishing in the journal Mammal Review (O’Shea et al., 2016), the spinning blades of wind turbines (together with white noise syndrome) are now the leading cause of multiple mortality events in bats.

O’Shea et al., 2016

Two factors led to a major shift in causes of MMEs [multiple mortality events] in bats at around 2000: the global increase of industrial wind-power facilities and the outbreak of white-nose syndrome in North America. Collisions with wind turbines and white-nose syndrome are now the leading causes of reported MMEs [multiple mortality events]  in bats.”

batmortalityCanada: 15.5 bats killed annually by each individual wind turbine 

The global-scale slaughter of bats promises to get even worse in the coming few decades. In Canada alone, for example, scientists Zimmerling and Francis (2016) have determined that an average of 15.5 bats are killed at each individual wind turbine site every year.  At current (2013) installed wind capacity, 15.5 killings per turbine per year means that 47,400 bats are killed annually in Canada.  With the 350% increase in installed wind capacity intended for Canada within the next 15 years, about 166,000 bats are projected to be slaughtered on a yearly basis by about 2030.

Zimmerling and Francis, 2016

Bat mortality due to wind turbines in Canada

On average, 15.5 ± 3.8 (95% CI) bats were killed per turbine per year at these sites (range = 0−103 bats/turbine/yr at individual wind farms). Based on 4,019 installed turbines (the no. installed in Canada by Dec 2013), an estimated 47,400 bats (95% CI = 32,100−62,700) are killed by wind turbines each year in CanadaInstalled wind capacity is growing rapidly in Canada, and is predicted to increase approximately 3.5-fold over the next 15 years, which could lead to direct mortality of approximately 166,000 bats/year. … The little brown myotis (Myotis lucifugus), which was listed as Endangered in 2014 under the Species At Risk Act (SARA), accounted for 13% of all mortalities from wind turbines”

batspeciesmortalityontario
Read article

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne attributes byelection loss to rising Hydro rates

wynneCity Centre Mirror, By David Nickle
The Ontario Liberals’ loss in Scarborough-Rouge River last week was largely a symptom of rising electricity rates, said Premier Kathleen Wynne at a media availability Wednesday, Sept. 7. Toronto Councillor Raymond Cho won the Sept. 1 byelection for the Progressive Conservatives—taking the riding most recently held by former Liberal MPP Bas Balkisoon from the Liberals for the first time since the 1990s.

Wynne expressed her disappointment with the loss on election night—and at Queen’s Park following a meeting with Toronto Mayor John Tory, reiterated her views that frustration with rising electricity rates helped power Cho’s surge in the polls.

“We heard concerns at the door in Scarborough-Rouge River and frankly those concerns we have to take to heart and we have to use them to inform our actions going forward,” said Wynne. “And one of the things we heard most consistently was Hydro rates.”

Wynne said that she had heard the same thing from northern Ontario residents during a summer trip through James Bay.

“I heard the same thing about electricity rates in the north,” she said. “It’s not something isolated. I recognize that the investments that we made in the electricity sector by building out the infrastructure, bringing the system up to standards, have caused this.” Read article

Study: Wind turbines cause chronic stress in badgers in Great Britain

Roseanna C. N. AgnewValerie J. Smith, and Robert C. Fowkes, Royal Veterinary College, 4 Royal College Street, London NW1 0TU, UK , Zoological Society of London, Outer Circle, Regent’s Park, London NW1 4RY, UK, Scottish Oceans Institute, East Sands, University of St. Andrews, St Andrews, Fife, KY16 8LB, UK
Corresponding author (email: )

Abstract

A paucity of data exists with which to assess the effects of wind turbines noise on terrestrial wildlife, despite growing concern about the impact of infrasound from wind farms on human health and well-being. In 2013, we assessed whether the presence of turbines in Great Britain impacted the stress levels of badgers (Meles meles) in nearby setts. Hair cortisol levels were used to determine if the badgers were physiologically stressed. Hair of badgers living <1 km from a wind farm had a 264% higher cortisol level than badgers >10 km from a wind farm. This demonstrates that affected badgers suffer from enhanced hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal activity and are physiologically stressed. No differences were found between the cortisol levels of badgers living near wind farms operational since 2009 and 2012, indicating that the animals do not become habituated to turbine disturbance. Cortisol levels in the affected badgers did not vary in relation to the distance from turbines within 1 km, wind farm annual power output, or number of turbines. We suggest that the higher cortisol levels in affected badgers is caused by the turbines’ sound and that these high levels may affect badgers’ immune systems, which could result in increased risk of infection and disease in the badger population.

How Ontario’s Liberals bungled the green energy file

Dalton green dreamJon W. Kieran, National Post
Ontario set an all-time peak electricity demand of 27,005 megawatts (MW) 10 years ago this summer. At the time, rising demand and plans to retire its coal-fired power plants dominated provincial energy policy. What followed was optimism for a new energy policy, focused on the ambitious procurement of large wind and solar installations. I felt great pride in helping to lead an industry that would make Ontario’s power system clean, responsive and cutting edge.

What a difference a decade makes. Intrusive policy and poor implementation are largely responsible for the energy market debacle Ontarians face today. But there is no excuse now for buying more mega-projects when our power supply is saturated and hydro bills are skyrocketing.

Coal-fired power generation effectively disappeared after 2010, by which time Ontario’s electricity demand had already started to plummet. Demand has fallen 13 per cent in the past 10 years, including consecutive reductions in each of the past five years. In 2016, Ontario will consume less electricity than in 1997.

Peak demand exceeded 23,000 MW only one day this summer, despite parts of the province seeing 35 days with temperatures above 30 C. Yet our installed capacity approaches 40,000 MW. The system will have reserves above extreme summer peaks well into the 2020s. The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) reinforced this point recently when it confirmed “Ontario will have sufficient supply for the next several years.” Read article

Enercon wind turbine collapses in Nova Scotia

some other turbine collapse… another totally isolated incident

But don’t worry, it’s an “isolated” incident.
Or a “that’s-not-supposed-ta-happen” incident.
And strangely I can can’t find one single photo of this collapsed wind turbine online. You’d think that someone would have snapped a pic of this ‘first in Canada’… unless the company is keeping it especially quiet, and the media hasn’t bothered to go all the way ‘out there’ to the, you know, countryside.


Windpower Monthly, David Weston
CANADA: Enercon has dispatched a team to investigate an incident at the 23.4MW Point Tupper project in Nova Scotia, where a turbine has reportedly collapsed.

In a release on Canadian news wire CNW Telbec, Enercon said the incident occurred on 17 August during a “scheduled component exchange”.

“An incident triggered the Enecron evacuation protocol. The technician on site diligently followed such protocol and safely evacuated the turbine and the surroundings in time to avoid any injuries prior to the turbine’s collapse. Only property damage has been reported,” the release said.

Enercon described the incident as ‘isolated’ saying it is the first time such an event has happened to one of its 1,000 turbine installed in Canada.

“This incident did not occur during regular operations and is undoubtedly an isolated one,” Enercon said in the statement. The affected turbine has been disconnected, but the site’s remaining machines are continuing with operation. Read article


Renews
Enercon has launched an investigation into the collapse of a turbine at the 23.3MW Point Tupper wind farm located close to Port Hawkesbury in Nova Scotia, Canada. The German turbine manufacturer said the incident, which occurred during a component exchange last Wednesday, triggered an evacuation alarm before the turbine collapsed and that nobody was injured.

The wind farm was developed by a joint venture between Canada’s Renewable Energy Services, which is the controlling shareholder, and Nova Scotia Power. It uses Enercon E-82 and Enercon E-48 turbines, although Enercon did not specify which model was involved in the collapse.

“With close to 1000 wind turbines installed in Canada over the course of the last 15 years, this is the first time that such an event has occurred,” Enercon said in a statement. Read article

Tiny the Turbine helps fight back the wind industry propaganda allowed into our schools

Tiny the Turbine is a moral tale that tells the truth about the impacts of industrial wind development in a way children can understand. It has been written by a Highland anti wind campaigner, illustrated by a supporting Cartoonist and published online today.

Tiny the turbineSome time ago it was discovered that not only were multinational wind developers welcomed into our schools, they come bearing gifts and speak to pupils regarding only the ‘benefits’ of wind development.

Children are asked to name turbines and design logos. They are taken to visit wind farms. The message is clear. Build wind farms – or else the planet will suffer and the polar bears and penguins will die!

The other side of the story has never been told as far as we are aware.

There is no hard evidence that building wind farms will do anything to combat climate change. Many things like grid connection (no matter how many miles), foreign parts and workers, pollution caused in China mining and processing necessary rare earth minerals and decommissioning are not included in any CO2 savings calculations, making emission claims a farce.

Not only do wind developers go into schools, they produce child friendly stories about turbines. Tommy the Turbine, Timmy the Turbine, Lofty etc. All designed to put a positive spin on a controversial industry and keep profits flowing from the next generation.

Lyndsey Ward wrote Subsidy Sam, illustrated by Josh, in retaliation to this shameless indoctrination earlier in the year. It was a satirical story and really meant for adults.

Subsidy Sam went global and following requests to write a real children’s story Lyndsey came up with Tiny the Turbine and Josh agreed to illustrate it.

Children should never be exposed to indoctrination by multinational companies with a product to sell with no access to the opposing argument. It is happening again and again. Fast food and fizzy drink giants were allowed into schools years ago – we now have a child obesity epidemic. Continue reading

Pilot killed hitting wind turbine test tower while spraying crops

august 2014 039Keloland Television
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

CTV News: Electricity Bills in Ontario – Shockingly High

BILL SHOCK

Wind turbines expected to be top of mind at AMO conference

AMO-logo2-biggerBarbara Simpson, Sarnia Observer
Wind turbines – a thorn in the side of many Ontario municipalities – will be top of mind when local municipal leaders meet with provincial officials this week. Several Lambton County politicians and municipal staff members are headed to the annual Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) conference – this year, running from Aug. 14 to 17 in Windsor – to address provincial issues impacting their municipalities.

On Friday, Lambton County Warden Bev MacDougall said she and fellow local leaders will be meeting with Ministry of Finance officials during the conference to discuss the valuation of wind turbines for tax purposes.

“When the Green Energy Act was created by the Ontario government, there was a whole slew of issues that have been dealt with, but the taxation that rests on this wind turbines is inadequate to cover the real municipal cost to host these pieces of equipment,” she said. “A good example is the cost of maintaining roads to and from them, winter maintenance, as well as road conditions that have to be protected for purposes of the owners of the wind turbines.”

They’ll also be raising the issue of OPP costs associated with policing wind turbines. Under the OPP’s new billing model, several Ontario municipalities were surprised to learn they’re being charged a base service cost per wind turbine property if these properties are already taxed commercial or industrial, but earlier this year, an OPP spokesperson said a review was underway on that policy. Read article

Study calls for 18-km wind turbine setback from lakes to protect birds

turbines-birdsBy John Miner, The London Free Press

It’s a standard that would eliminate almost all of Ontario’s current wind farms and the ones recently approved. In the wake of the release of a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service migratory bird study, the American Bird Conservancy is calling for an 18-kilometre buffer around the Great Lakes for wind farms.

“It is highly problematic to build anywhere near the Great Lakes,” Michael Hutchins, director of the American Bird Conservancy’s bird-smart wind energy program, said Monday. “These losses are just not sustainable.”

Using radar designed to detect birds and bats, the Fish and Wildlife Service monitored four sites along the south shore of Lake Ontario in 2013. The results were released last month. Hutchins called the findings of a high level of bird and bat activity in the zone swept by wind turbine blades “a smoking gun” that proves the turbines should not be located close to the lakeshore.

The results from the U.S. study would apply to the Canadian side of the Great Lakes as well, Hutchins said. “There is no reason to assume it wouldn’t be as bad on the (other) side as well because these birds are making their way up to the boreal forest in Canada to breed.” Read article

See more:

The Right to Know: Releasing Wind Turbine Bird & Bat Death Data

red-tailed-hawk1Yesterday I expected to hear of an “Appeal” (we all detest that word now, don’t we) of the Freedom of Information (FOI) request I filed for the Bird and Bat Mortality Reports for three of NextEra Energy’s wind projects several months ago. NextEra had asked the FOI office for extra time to file this appeal, and it had been granted, the deadline being yesterday. But instead, and to my great surprise, a letter came from the FOI office and I could distinctly feel a CD case in it – Oh ya! If it was a “mid-summer-everyones-on-vacation” mistake to send these to me, I don’t want to know about it.

Google Drive Bird Bat Mortality ReportsHere they are: Bird Bat Mortality Reports for NextEra’s Bornish, Adelaide and Summerhaven (more on what they contain in upcoming posts).

I’ve uploaded these documents (and 45 more!) to a public Google Drive folder that anyone can access, view and download. This was the whole point – to make these documents public because our government and the wind companies won’t! Bring some transparency to the bird and bat deaths in Canada! Hold these bloody wind companies accountable for the wildlife slaughter they getting away with! [Keep in mind that this is only partial transparency because the collections and reports are NOT conducted by a third party and are designed to miss a very large portion of the actual deaths. It’s a start, but it’s not the full story by a long shot]

Bird Bat Mortality Monitoring

Google Drive Bird Bat Mortality Reports icons

Recently we filed FOI’s for the rest of the wind turbine Bird/Bat Mortality Reports in Ontario, and Nova Scotia. Some companies in Nova Scotia actually post their reports on their company websites, but those tend to be the smaller co-ops, never the Big Wind companies. New Brunswick, by the way, just sent them to us without us needing to do an FOI. I like that process much better.

Get your reading glasses out and start ripping through these reports. If you are a lawyer, or a reporter, or a biologist, or a birder – we all need your insight and expertise. And if anyone comes across more reports, send them along and I’ll post them.

The other day a helpful contact wrote this to me:

“These are public trust resources being killed. And the public has a right to know.”

I’ll add that it is also our duty to protect them from our own destructive kind in whatever way we can.

~Esther Wrightman

To Protect Birds From Wind Turbines, Look To Hawai‘i’s Approach

red-kite_1596489aAmerican Bird Conservancy, Michael Hutchins
The state of Hawai‘i has an ambitious goal of achieving 100 percent renewable electrical energy by 2045. As some of the most isolated islands in the world, Hawai‘i’s costs for importing oil are very high. A move towards generating renewable electrical energy thus makes a lot of economic and environmental sense.

Unfortunately, this plan is not without its own environmental hazards. It means vastly more wind turbines and solar farms on or around the islands, and one of the biggest challenges is their potential impact on Hawai‘i’s endemic birds and bats.

As result of its long isolation, Hawai‘i is home to many bird species that are found nowhere else in the world. These include threatened and endangered species and subspecies, such as the ‘Alala (Hawaiian Crow), Nene (Hawaiian Goose), Hawaiian Common Gallinule, Hawaiian Black-necked Stilt, Pueo (Hawaiian Short-eared Owl), ‘AkohekoheHawaiian Petrel and many others. At least 95 of Hawai‘i’s unique birds have already gone extinct, making conservation of the remaining endemic species and subspecies a very high priority.

Poorly sited wind energy projects on the mainland are killing hundreds of thousands of birds and bats annually, including threatened and endangered species. In the case of birds, that number goes into the many millions when wind projects’ associated power lines and towers are also taken into consideration. As the number of turbines and power lines increases, these fatalities are mounting every year. The presence of turbines and power lines also drives away many species, including grassland birds and Greater Sage-Grouse, often resulting in brood failure. Read article

Ministry only obliged to collect carcasses for three years, says group opposing wind developments

birdbatmortalitychartLondon Free Press, John Miner
A last-ditch attempt to stop an Oxford County wind farm, based on damage it will do to an endangered species, has run into a wall. The East Oxford Alliance citizen’s group filed an urgent request last week with Environment Minister Glen Murray to stop the Gunn’s Hill Wind Farm because the project will kill little brown bats, a species whose numbers are plunging across North America and is now on Ontario’s and Canada’s endangered lists.

red-tailed-hawk1In a written reply on the minister’s behalf, the director of the ministry’s environmental approvals branch said it is the ministry’s priority to ensure renewable energy projects are developed in a way that will protect human health and the environment. In the case of wind power, clear rules have been established to protect birds, bats and their habitats, Kathleen Hedley wrote.

The Gunn’s Hill Wind Farm, a 10-turbine project in Norwich Township, is required to conduct mortality surveys for at least three years after it starts up. “If thresholds of bird and/or bat mortality are reached, contingency plans can be put in place to reduce impacts and additional monitoring is conducted to ensure the contingency plans are effective,” Hedley wrote.

Disappointed alliance member John Eacott said the bottom line is the wind power company is just required to collect bat and bird carcasses for three years before taking action: “This is the clear rules that Ontario has established — nothing has to be done.” Read article

Annual wind turbine blade failures estimated at around 3,800

blade_breakWind Power Monthly, Shaun Campbell
The figures, from research carried out by renewable energy undewriter GCube, were delivered by Andrew Bellamy, former head of Areva’s 8MW blade programme, in his opening address to Windpower Monthly’s blade manufacturing and composites conference in London on 12 May.

Bellamy, co-founder of renewables advisory firm Aarufield, pointed out that blade failures are the primary cause of insurance claims in the US onshore market. They account for over 40% of claims, ahead of gearboxes (35%) and generators (10%).

The wind industry also faces a struggle to secure the carbon fibre materials it needs for lighter and stronger blade designs, warned Bellamy.

“There’s growing competition for these materials from the automotive and aerospace industries,” he said. “And they are willing, and able, to pay more than we are.”

Recent examples of blade failures include a blade from a Vestas V90 3MW turbine that snapped on a wind farm in the north of Denmark last year. At the time, Vestas said the winds were not particularly high. Read article

At-risk species prompts renewed wind development fight over Gunn’s Hill project

ab-batWoodstock Sentinel Review, Keith Maryanovich
NORWICH TOWNSHIP – At the proposed 10-turbine Gunn’s Hill wind farm, both the company and anti-wind turbine advocates expect a certain number of little brown bats to be killed. The point being contended, however, is just what constitutes an acceptable mortality rate.

The East Oxford Community Alliance felt the risk to these bat species was important enough to file an urgent request on July 14 to halt the Gunn’s Hill wind power project with the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change and the Environmental Review Tribunal. It has also requested that its appeal of the Norwich Township project be reopened.

“We filed to halt the project until further investigation and until it can be shown that effective protective measures are in place to prevent serious and irreversible harm to the little brown bat, the eastern small-footed bat, and the other endangered species known to be present at the Gunn’s Hill project site,” East Oxford Community Alliance chair Joan Morris said. “We have not heard back from the ministry yet.”

The Gunn’s Hill LP noted its intention to operate the Prowind Canada project in accordance with the approval that was upheld at the Environmental Review Tribunal, which includes reference to the bats.

“In post-construction, we will be monitoring in accordance with the guidelines on threshold limits for bat mortality,” Prowind Canada vice-president Juan Anderson said. “That threshold is 10 bats per turbine per year.” Read article

Dr. Colby’s Cottage and The Missing Conscience

wpd-second-open-houseYears ago my good friend and protest sidekick, Muriel, was leaving one of the final wind company dog & pony shows. As she walked back to her car one of the wind company hacks that stood beside the boards with a blank stare and canned answers night after night, approached her.  He had to tell her something that apparently couldn’t be said in the building with the others around.

From memory I’d say he always looked slightly uncomfortable in his attire, and even more uncomfortable when his morals were questioned. In any case, he told her it was his final night working for this wind company – he wasn’t going to do it anymore. Shocked that he would bother to reveal this, and doubting his sincerity, she took a second and then shot back, “So you finally got a conscience?”

Yes, he told her, he was done with it. Night after night he had stood by those posters and defended a project and a company he didn’t believe in anymore. In earlier conversations we found out that he had fought a gravel pit that was to be constructed near his home – no doubt gravel that would be used to build bases for hundreds of turbines. Slowly he started to see the similarities between our concerns for the local swallows, eagles and turtles, and his concerns for the threatened salamander in his neighbourhood.

And, just like that, we didn’t look so crazy to him, nor he to us.

DrColbyforwebNow I’m going to throw out a name that seems to have nothing to do with this story, but stick with me. Dr. David Colby, Chief Medical Officer of Health (MOH) for Chatham-Kent, specializes in microbiology and infectious diseases, outright Wind Turbine Syndrome denial, and he is president of the Rondeau Cottagers Association (RCA).

Colby is, and always has been, a chronically plugged ear to those who are suffering from the wind turbines in Chatham Kent. Here’s classic Colby cynicism in a statement made to the Huron County Council in 2011:

“You cannot design an experiment to prove that ghosts do not exist or that wind turbines do not cause harm,” he said.

Hence, he wasn’t going to do anything about the complaints in his community because – he doesn’t believe in ghosts, or something like that. There’s no way the people of C-K would even consider approaching him with their health issues after statements like this.

Colby now has his own little problem that’s occupying his time. His cottage is in Rondeau Provincial Park. He owns the building, but not the land. The province owns the land, or more correctly, we the people of the province do. The lease runs out on these cottages in 2017, and then it looks like the cottages will have to be removed. Say it ain’t so! Stand in front of the bulldozers for him! Protect his… um… home. Yeah. Fat chance. Tables turned, how do ya like it? Continue reading

Irish Gardai probe councillors asking for money… to help wind developer

imgname--rebuilding_the_corrupt_organization---50226711--corruption1The Irish Independent, Maeve Sheehan
The Garda fraud squad has launched a full investigation into allegations made in an RTE undercover sting operation that showed two county councillors allegedly asking for money to help a wind farm operator.

The investigation has been under way for a number of months and is understood to be at an advanced stage. The Garda fraud bureau decided to proceed with an investigation after assessing the RTE footage to see whether the allegations they contained merited a full-scale inquiry. Sources confirmed that the case has now proceeded to the next level.

Detectives have been viewing footage of the programme and a number of people have been interviewed. The programme by the RTE Investigates team, broadcast last year, generated huge public debate over standards in public office. The programme featured a journalist posing as a wind farm investor who spoke to three local councillors.

The three politicians appeared to offer to lobby on behalf of a wind farm company – two of them allegedly in exchange for money.  One councillor, John O’Donnell, was filmed requesting that the money be routed through a third party. “Politically there would be a backlash,” he said on the programme. Read article

Watch RTE Investigation here.

Ontario Electricity Prices Are Out Of Control

The Huffington Post Canada, Daniel Tenceroriginal

Ontarians aren’t just imagining it: Electricity prices in the province are soaring.

Prices jumped by 15.7 per cent over the past year, according to Statistics Canada’s consumer price index, about eight times faster than overall inflation.

Bank of Montreal chief economist Doug Porter published this chart showing just how far hydro rates have diverged from other prices in the province.

“Meantime, electricity prices in the rest of the country have posted average annual gains quite close to the overall inflation rate over these periods (i.e., roughly 2 per cent per year),” Porter wrote.

“In Ontario, only three other categories in the CPI have risen faster than electricity since 2002 — water charges, home insurance and cigarettes. But in the past seven years, nothing has risen faster than electricity prices.”

Ontario’s prices are being driven up by a number of factors, including subsidies for the province’s green energy program.  Read article

What is the Global Adjustment fee? The mysterious cost Ontario hydro customers must pay

 

McGuinty Visits Erie Shores Windfarm

Global News, Brian Hill
A product of Ontario’s 2009 Green Energy Act, the Global Adjustment fee is a charge billed to all hydro customers in the province.

For major manufacturers and large businesses, the fee appears separately on electricity bills. But for residential customers and small businesses, the fee is hidden – appearing on your electricity bill as a part of the per kilowatt hour charge.

According to data obtained by Global News from the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), the organization responsible for managing Ontario’s energy system, residential customers and small businesses in Ontario paid an average of 7.9 cents per kilowatt hour in Global Adjustment fees last year.

So for every $100 in usage that appears on your electricity bill, $77 of that is the Global Adjustment fee. Meaning the cost of electricity use is only $23. Read Article