While the province of Ontario appears to be onto something promising with its new Green Energy Act (see recent AEInews post), local wind skeptics point out that in recent years, the province has taken wind developers’ environmental assessments at face value.
Citizens can request that the province conduct a full-scale independent assessment, and indeed, such requests have been put forward 31 times since 2006. In every instance to date, however, the request has been denied (nine are currently outstanding). Provincial authorities assure that the required private assessments include taking into account citizen concerns, and often involve mitigation, as part of “a lot of back and forth” between the companies and provincial regulators.
Regarding noise issues (AEI’s primary concern), it would seem prudent to do some “ground-truthing” of industry sound propagation models: if there are instances in which neighbors are being affected by unexpectedly high noise levels, then future assessments should be sure to not use the same models that failed earlier. This is but one example of the value that even a few independent assessments could offer as the province moves forward with its ambitious plans to abandon coal-generated power.