By DOUG HEMPSTEAD Ottawa Sun
Like the turbines themselves, a group of North Gower residents say a recent study about wind energy is nothing but spin.
The report, sponsored by both the Canadian Wind Energy Association and the American Wind Energy Association, concluded there is “no evidence that audible or sub-audible sounds emitted by wind turbines have any direct adverse physiological effects.”
But North Gower Wind Action Group chairman Gary Chandler doesn’t buy that.
His community might become home to 10 wind turbines, which range in height from 10-13 metres.
“We have joined a coalition of 41 citizens’ groups throughout this province,” said Chandler. “I can tell you that people are saying the constant noise and vibration from these huge structures is very disturbing.”
The executive summary of the report says the conclusions were reached through an in-depth study of existing research.
The panel of eight doctors and scientists report that “ground-borne vibrations from wind turbines are too weak to be detected by, or to affect, humans.”
Chandler said the report has no validity because the company that wants to build wind turbines in North Gower commissioned it.
He wants the government to sponsor third-party independent research, and halt all industrial wind turbine developments until that research is completed.
“It just makes sense not to subject more people to this noise until we know the truth,” Chandler said.
The project manager of Prowind Canada says the company commissioned the study because groups like Chandler’s asked for it.
“We’ll never change their mind,” said Bart Geleynse. “It’s next to impossible to combat the anecdotal position of someone with a fairly closed mind.”
Geleynse characterizes the members of the North Gower Wind Action Group as an “activist minority” representing a small number of Ontarians.
“We’ve gone ahead and commissioned studies that they’ve asked for. But they dismiss the results before they even read it,” said Geleynse.
“They get the results they want to get. They don’t want a real, independent study because they’re afraid of what will be found,” said Chandler.
Pending approval of the Ontario Power Authority, North Gower’s wind turbines will be constructed and operational by spring 2013.