Goldhawk Fights Back: Wind turbines are popping up all across Canada

This is a weekly column by Dale Goldhawk, Canada’s best-known consumer advocate.   50Plus.com

But not everybody is happy with this spurt of green energy…

Global investment in wind energy will reach the $ 1 trillion mark by 2020.

Right now, in Canada, the Canadian Wind Energy Association says it has 3,426 Megawatts of installed generating capacity.

But for many families, living near one or several of these giant wind turbines is an ordeal. In some cases, families have left their homes — driven out by the constant noise of these giant machines. The noise is both acoustical and Sub-acoustical. In other words, some of it you can hear and some of it you can’t hear.

Doctors who have tried to treat those who complain of headaches, nausea, a constant feeling of unease, point to a chronic lack of deep sleep as the main cause.

Both the Canadian Wind Association and the American Wind Association have tried to demonstrate the safety of wind turbines. Doctors and wind energy opponents say their evidence is questionable. I have had many emails and talked to hundreds of people who insist these wind turbines are a health hazard.

The bottom line: There is no categorical proof of either the safety or the risks of living nearwind turbines.

Here’s how the Canadian Wind Energy Association described what it did to demonstrate wind energy safety. The document is carefully-worded:

“The American Wind Energy Association and the Canadian Wind Energy Associations (AWEA and CanWEA) established a scientific advisory panel in early 2009 to conduct a review of current literature available on the issue of perceived health effects of wind turbines.”

Careful readers will note that no new field studies were conducted.

Here is the conclusion reached by the panel of doctors and scientists, as described by CanWEA:

“Following review, analysis, and discussion of current knowledge, the panel reached consensus on the following conclusions:
• There is no evidence that the audible or sub-audible sounds emitted by wind turbines have any direct adverse physiological effects.
• The ground-borne vibrations from wind turbines are too weak to be detected by, or to affect, humans.
• The sounds emitted by wind turbines are not unique. There is no reason to believe, based on the levels and frequencies of the sounds and the panel’s experience with sound exposures in occupational settings, that the sounds from wind turbines could plausibly have direct adverse health consequences.”

Note again the careful language and several qualifiers.

The panel concluded that no specific studies involving people with adverse effects have been undertaken and none are necessary:
“In the area of wind turbine health effects, no case-control or cohort studies have been conducted as of this date. Accordingly, allegations of adverse health effects from wind turbines are as yet unproven. Panel members agree that the number and uncontrolled nature of existing case reports of adverse health effects alleged to be associated with wind turbines are insufficient to advocate for funding further studies.”

So there you have it. Until governments get tough and order this additional testing, wind turbine development will continue at its current fast pace.

I’m all in favour of green energy. Save the planet. But do no harm in the process.

This is a weekly column by Dale Goldhawk, Canada’s best-known consumer advocate. A journalist, author and broadcaster, Dale hosts Goldhawk Fights Back For You, on AM 740 or at AM740 ZoomerRadio, Monday through Friday from 11 am to 1 pm, in the eastern time zone. Visit his website at www.goldhawk.com.

Gemini award nominee, journalist and broadcaster, Dale Goldhawk has earned Canada’s trust by his four decades of work exposing fraud and greed in the marketplace. To read more of his articles, go to www.Goldhawk.com (now part of the ZoomerMedia family of websites).
Don’t miss Goldhawk Fights Back , on the New AM740 Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m.

9 thoughts on “Goldhawk Fights Back: Wind turbines are popping up all across Canada

  1. The health aspects need to be addressed, but that is not the real problem and lie about wind turbines.

    “Canadian Wind Energy Association says it has 3,426 Megawatts of installed generating capacity.”

    This is an outright lie. That 3426 is the NAME PLATE CAPACITY, what the turbines would produce at 55km/hr windspeed. This report to the Ontario Government in 2006 http://www.ieso.ca/imoweb/pubs/marketreports/OPA-Report-200610-1.pdf notes clearly that when demand for power is within 10% of peak, the BEST wind turbines can provide is 13% of name plate.

    If you get the hourly output (available on line in XML format) over several years and plot the number of hours at each percent of name plate, you get a decay curve such that 80% of the time wind turbines produce less than 14% name plate. 50% of the time they produce less than 10% name plate.

    So that 3,426 mW evaporates to less than 343Mw 50% of the time. Since the goal is to have turbines PRODUCE 15% of our output would then mean we would need 77,000 turbines, which is one every 100 meters from Windsor to Ottawa, and take 200 years to build.

    If you are experiencing high electrical bills please see http://h1ripoff.blogspot.com

  2. Dale Goldhawk does good work. The politicians would be wise to heed his words.

  3. Hi Dale,
    Would solar panels work better than wind turbines? Why did “they” decide to use turbines?

  4. Right now, we do not need any more energy/power, whatever you choose to call it. Rather, excess is being sold to the States. From what I have read and heard – and I am very discriminating about my sources – with further conservation efforts and incentives to go off the grid, we will not need any more industrial power generation for the foreseeable future.

  5. There is an issue not as yet addressed. The fleas we have for leaders evidently don’t remember the war on terrorism!
    Having a grid dependent population makes us all vulnerable to a relatively easily targeted system. Despite all the bravado and posturing about homeland security this remains true.

    Getting anyone off the grid who wants to go should have at least a part of the population still functioning after an attack. Of course that means fewer people trapped into paying for something they don’t want and can’t use.

  6. The lies are not just the carefully worded statements in a health document. It also goes far deeper than only producing up to a third capacity whenever, some of the time. The unpredictable production of industrial wind power means it can only be managed like a user on the grid. It does not and never will supply capacity. Unpredicted power production is the same as a drop in user demand but does not equal a reliable power production drop because reliable power needs to be operating and ready to go online to the level that was predicted to be used. Wind is not that reliable. When IWTs go online and there is no demand it has to be dealt with as excess power and that is usually associated with higher costs. Not so green either. Goldhawk is just on the surface.

  7. We hear about the adverse effects that some people feel when living near a wind turbine. Well what about the other creatures with whom we share this planet? Isn’t it likely that they too will suffer some adverse effects much as we do. They can’t make their case, so I think it would be apropriate if we took up their cause while we fight for our own. Thanks, John

  8. John, thanks for giving a voice to those who do not speak. What harms them harms us – deep in our very souls.

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