Over the last year, our communities have been overwhelmed by the installation of Industrial Wind Development. In the municipalities of North Middlesex, Lambton Shores and Adelaide-Metcalf NextEra’s Bornish project (45 turbines), Kerwood project (37 turbines) and Jericho project (92 turbines) all use the same transmission line to feed electricity into the grid. Bornish and Kerwood became operational this past summer while Jericho went live last month. The Suncor Adelaide project of mammoth 2.3 MW turbines has yet to come on line.
All three of NextEra’s projects were appealed to the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT). All of the appeals were dismissed, by the esteemed panel; noting that the community had no grounds for concern, as the expert panel provided by the proponents testified under oath that there was no possible impact to the community or the environment. The ERT found that the Appellants failed to provide evidence to show that engaging in these projects WILL cause serious and irreversible harm.
Here is an example of that testimony from the Jericho ERT:
NextEra’s expert witness, Mr. James Arkerson, Manager – Wind Project Engineering at NextEra Energy Resources LLC, the Approval Holder’s parent company, testified that “he was not an expert in stray voltage“. He also testified “that the transmission and collection lines for the Project were designed by licensed professional engineers and that the system complies with the Ontario Electrical Safety Code and other applicable standards.” So they must be safe, and that was evidence enough to prove that the projects would not impact the health and well being of the residents of our communities.
Mr. Arkerson also raised the possibility that other conductive objects, such as metal fences or pipelines, might induce voltage but noted that the Approval Holder is obligated to perform induction studies and demonstrate compliance to the ESA and the affected utilities, but he expected in this case that any voltage induced would be insignificant. When questioned about whether this conclusion was premature given that the induction studies were not complete, Mr. Arkerson stated that he was drawing on his past experience with numerous similar projects. He also noted that the Project cannot be energized until compliance with the applicable standards has been demonstrated to the satisfaction of the ESA. Unfortunately, for the residents affected by this project, Mr. Arkerson was merely a puppet, speaking the words of NexTerror, and his ‘expertise’ failed to prove that there was definitely NO reason for concern, with regards to stray voltage.
This is what’s really happening in our communities ……………..
Both the Jericho and Kerwood projects have transmission lines running along side the gas lines. In both projects Union Gas found the risk of stray voltage to be a significant concern. So much so, that they marked each regulator in front of homes along the transmission routes and temporarily placed hard plastic suitcase-like containers over each regulator. Once all the regulators were ‘secured’ they dug up each pipeline and regulator on residences’ front lawns to insulate the equipment.
During NextEra’s Community Liason Committee (CLC) meeting held in Parkhill on Dec 9, 2014, Ben Greenhouse, a NextEra representative, was asked why the Union Gas regulators had to be insulated. Here’s a transcript of his response from our ‘illicit’ videotaping of the meeting:
“…. in any of our lines that carry electricity there’s a possibility for voltage to be induced in those conductors. So, then I say parallel conductors something like a metal gas line running in the same direction with our lines. There’s a possibility that voltage could be induced on those conductors.”
When it was pointed out that this information was not consistent with NextEra’s testimony in the Jericho ERT, Greenhouse when on to explain:
“We did studies on Union Gas’ behalf that found that that wasn’t going to happen. But there was a condition where if there was a fault in our transmission lines and uh it went to ground so that um that a lightening strike and it went to ground near a um near a Union Gas line, that millisecond rise in ground voltage could propagate along a pipeline or racer wire on that plastic pipeline.
So, there was a bunch of work done by Union Gas so that if someone happened to be touching a riser or touching a tracer wire when a lightening strike occurred and the ground potential rose enough to propagate along the line that the newly installed coating and such would protect from a shock. So, the efforts by Union Gas are to prevent an event like a fault such as a lightening strike or some other type of fault that travels to ground in an area where there is conductive material like the Union Gas Pipelines that service residential homes.“
Greenhouse also confirmed that all of the work done by Union Gas was at the expense of NextEra.
One day last week there no less than nine Bell vehicles parked along Sylvan Road, adjacent to Elginfield, where the Jericho and Bornish projects meet. A conversation with the workers found that residents were experiencing line disruptions: the phone would ring but no one on the other end, then line went dead. Workers confirmed there is indeed a stray voltage problem caused by the turbines.
According to another resident who also spoke with Bell workers last week, the lines are picking up to 12 amps, which is very significant, and no one was able to identify the ‘cause,’ but it was related to stray voltage. And, accordingly it was noted that it is dangerous levels for Bell service lines. Bell servicemen are working overtime and weekends; with NextEra picking up the tab. NextEra wants this solved because already they have to keep some turbines off-line to keep the amperage from going higher, and to date they have not brought Jericho up to full capacity.
And here is the most astounding (read: criminal) part – the wind industry and our provincial government knew about this problem.
Back in April 2009, during a standing committee hearing on the Green Energy Act, testimony was provided by a resident living near an operational wind farm in Ontario. Here is what this resident told the committee about stray voltage coming into her home via the telephone line:
“Yes, and it’s my thought-and they can’t figure it out. Mind you, nobody from the MOE (Ministry of the Environment) has come to check, but there are buried cable transmission lines going up the side of our property and there are Bell wires, and there’s a theory that perhaps the transmission cables are inducing electricity into the Bell wire, which is coming into our home. It’s grounded in our circuitry so it’s going around our house. We have had, just last week, an electrical consultant test for dirty electricity and he did find dirty electricity at 13 volts, which may not sound like much, but it’s a lot.”
To conclude, both gas and telephone lines are being protected from the affects of stray voltage, which is already presenting major concerns for residents as well as for these utilities. Additionally, these issues extend along both the collection and transmission lines—and beyond.
However, what is actually being done to mitigate the stray voltage itself? Nexterror is doing NOTHING to protect the residents of our collective communities. Union Gas and Bell are working diligently to ensure that their service is protected, but who is taking care of the root problem? When will this be recognized as a health and safety issue? Stray voltage has already been identified as a health issue to both humans and animals in many rural communities. What is our government doing to ensure that the residents along the routes of collection lines and transmission lines are safe?
If communities like those of Jericho, Bornish and Adelaide do not speak out; if we do not take this issue vocally forward to our municipal government, our provincial and federal governments and our media, then we will be condemned to suffer the health and safety issues that will plague us, as long as these industrial wind turbines survive in our communities.
Speak out, speak loudly and do not allow these crooks to rob of us our health, our well being and our way of life—the line has been drawn in the sand, and we all know that there are more problems with these turbines than just stray voltage—so please, stand up and be counted.
Nexterror stood in an Environmental Review Tribunal and stated under OATH that the wind turbines, collection lines and transmission lines posed no threat to human or animal health. I think that Union Gas and Bell Telephone could dispute these claims.
Please call your municipality, your MP, your MPP, your local media; do not go silently into Nexterror’s good night.