Rules Proposed For Off-shore Wind Turbines

Here you go, Commentators. Better late than never.  Note that these rules are for Off-shore Wind Turbines only. You might like to suggest some for On-shore ones.

Rules Proposed For Off-shore Wind Turbines <http://news.ontario.ca/ene/en/2010/06/rules-proposed-for-off-shore-wind-turbines.html>
June 25, 2010
McGuinty Government Helping Protect The Environment And Develop Clean Energy
Ontario is seeking input on proposed rules for off-shore wind turbines including keeping them at least five kilometres from the shoreline.

A shoreline exclusion zone would be comparable with proposals by many U.S. states that border the Great Lakes.

In addition the Ministry of Natural Resources is undertaking a review of Ontario’s current process for making Crown land available for off-shore wind projects.  This review will include consideration of where, when and how the government makes Crown land available.

Another proposed rule would require turbine developers to complete a comprehensive application process. This would include addressing potential impacts to endangered and threatened species and their habitat, significant wildlife habitats, users of Crown land, flooding and erosion.

The public and industry can comment on the proposal on the province’s environmental registry <http://www.ebr.gov.on.ca/ERS-WEB-External/>  (Registry number 011-0089) for the next 60 days. Public and industry consultation sessions will also be held starting in the fall. Dates and locations will be available soon at http://www.ontario.ca <http://www.ontario.ca/> .

Clean energy and conservation are key aspects of combating climate change and phasing out coal-fired electricity. This is also part of the Open Ontario plan to create thousands of clean jobs in Ontario and market clean energy expertise to the world.
QUOTES
“Our priority is making sure renewable, clean energy sources are developed in a way that protects the environment. We look forward to hearing from the public and industry on the protective rules we are proposing.”

– John Gerretsen
Minister of the Environment

“A clean supply of renewable energy is vital for Ontario’s economic growth and future prosperity. It is a priority to ensure Ontario is a renewable energy leader in technology and site selection. We will continue to work with industry and seek public input to advance renewable energy projects across the province.”

– Linda Jeffrey
Minister of Natural Resources

“The Green Energy Act is opening Ontario’s clean energy economy to new investment and will help create 50,000 jobs in the first three years of implementation. Today’s posting of rules proposed for off-shore wind turbines demonstrates that our government is advancing renewable energy technology in a responsible way that protects the environment.”

– Brad Duguid
Minister of Energy and Infrastructure

“This is an encouraging step towards ensuring that offshore wind energy developments avoid impacts on wildlife, particularly birds.”

– Caroline Schultz
Executive Director Ontario Nature

QUICK FACTS

  • All off-shore wind projects would be subject to Ontario’s Renewable Energy Approvals (REA) regulation which requires extensive environmental reports, public, municipal and Aboriginal consultation, as well as noise assessments.
  • Since 2003, about 1,300 megawatts of renewable electricity has come online in Ontario, enough to power more than 300,000 homes – or a city the size of Windsor.
  • Compared to land-based wind, off-shore wind has been found to have faster, more uniform wind currents for greater energy production.

LEARN MORE

CONTACTS

49 Comments

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49 responses to “Rules Proposed For Off-shore Wind Turbines

  1. windaction

    Hey Margaret, we sure could have used you at the on-shore Harrow opening protest yesterday. We were 15 people strong. We had a young man there who had been forced from his home to a rental unit near Port Burwell. We had another woman who is watching over 40 2.3MW turbines go up around her home in Ridgetown. And the rest of us have numerous projects in the works for our areas.
    I sat on the back porch of a resident’s home afterwards and I watched these 2 darn birds coast in and out of the blades. It can’t be healthy to watch impending doom, can it? With that constant wump wump wump sound and the constant swirling rotation of 3 turbines 600m from her home, I couldn’t help but wonder when all Canadians will start sticking up for each other, helping them say NO MORE! Support the Ian Hanna Lawsuit, and support your fellow Canadians in their fight against wind turbines, on and off shore.

  2. MA

    My concern is birds. No carcasses or reliable data has or ever will be collected on offshore projects because the bodies simply fall into the oceans/lake.

    I’m sure CanWEA will come up with some rosey-colored spin on that though.

  3. Typically, wind energy systems for homes include high-end point with five rotating blades against the wind. To what extent the wind towers should be in your home depends on factors such as relative wind speed in your area, a high tower to lower the wind speed and the area where the tower is shorter for more wind zones speed

  4. Pingback: Learning About The Disadvantages Of Wind Energy Systems and Wind Power | WINDMILL PLANS

  5. windaction

    Here’s a link to the lawyer (Eric Gillespie) for the Ian Hanna Lawsuit against the Green Energy Act, pertaining to wind turbines and the lack of health studies done on wind turbines. He’s speaking to rural residents in the town of Alvinston, Ontario on June 30th.
    http://dai.ly/c3OynC

  6. Mike Barnard

    Excellent. Thanks for posting this Margaret. I’m looking forward to the results of this process.

    Regarding offshore windfarms and wildlife mortalities, this discussion has already been had a handful of times, as your regular commentators know:

    1. Raptors don’t migrate over open water if they have an alternative. Per my dad the bird watcher, when they are forced to as they are at the southern end of Vancouver Island, they circle over thermals to 5000+ ft then start the glide. This is not a concern in Ontario.

    2. Seabirds, per the best data available including Holland observations and Wolfe Island results, avoid wind turbines.

    3. Songbirds migrate at 2000-4000 feet, well above the height of wind turbines.

    4. Bats do not hunt or migrate over open water at wind velocities where power is generated, and simple mitigations involving higher wind velocity turbine blade rotation start work to minimize concerns.

    Frankly, the reasoning for suggested 5 km offshore setbacks is — to be polite — hysteria and a-scientific phobias whipped up by anti-wind advocates. There is no scientific, medical or ecosystem reason for that degree of setback. 1.5 km setbacks as required for industrial wind farms by Ontario regulation 359/09 are more than adequate. 5 km is purely political.

    I suppose that groups sucn as Wind Concerns Ontario and Wind Vigilance would consider this suggested setback as a victory. It’s a pity it would be such a pyrrhic one given the need for power in our energy ecosystem that truly does have low environmental and medical impacts.

    Cheers,
    Mike

  7. Sick Turbines

    This is indeed no such victory. There should be no Industrial Wind Turbines, that would ensure that there would be no Industrial Wind Turbine bird deaths.
    Go back to the drawing board for a new technology that doesn’t harm the existing ecology to such a widespread extent.

    • Mike Barnard

      Hi Sick . . .

      Please do review the following:
      a study[24] estimates that wind farms are responsible for 0.3 to 0.4 fatalities per gigawatt-hour (GWh) of electricity while fossil-fueled power stations are responsible for about 5.2 fatalities per GWh
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_effects_of_wind_power#Impact_on_wildlife

      American Bird Conservancy: Power generated from coal and other fossil fuels, and the extraction of these fossil fuels have had, and will continue to have, impacts on birds. For example, more than 3,000 birds were killed by collisions during one night in fall migration at a four-smokestack Florida coal-fired power plant. Hundreds of thousands of birds were killed in the Exxon Valdez oil spill and thousands of acres of habitat were damaged.
      http://www.abcbirds.org/abcprograms/policy/wind/wind_policy.html

      A new study shows that wind farms and nuclear power plants are substantially better for avian wildlife than fossil-fueled power stations.
      http://scitizen.com/future-energies/save-birds-by-promoting-wind-energy_a-14-2731.html

      Ten to twenty percent of the world’s terrestrial bird species could be threatened with extinction by 2100 due to climate change
      http://news.mongabay.com/2007/0604-birds.html

      We know from previous oil spills, particularly the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill which has been heavily studied, that the impacts can last for year, even decades. In coastal Louisiana and elsewhere along the Gulf Coast, that could be bad news for migratory birds for years to come. And it likely means that the impact of the Deep Water Horizon blow out will reverberate far and wide because birds migrate through the spill region from throughout the western hemisphere.
      http://www.theworld.org/2010/05/27/impact-of-gulf-oil-spill-on-migratory-birds/

      Perhaps — just perhaps — you should consider rising above your very specifically anti-wind stance and look at the larger picture.

      Your motivation to be specifically against something, rather than for something positive is unclear. Could you enlighten us?

      Cheers,
      Mike

  8. Developers are hiring lobbyists, so if you have an opinion on how close at a minimum, offshore turbines should be to Great Lakes shores (e.g., Wolfe Island’s Big Sandy Bay), you have until August 24 to submit your comments to the Ontario Government. (The Ont. Govt. proposes a 3-mile minimum.):
    http://www.ebr.gov.on.ca/ERS-WEB-External/displaynoticecontent.do?noticeId=MTA5OTIz&statusId=MTY0OTkz&language=en

    This spring, the Kingston Whig Standard interviewed Windstream’s Ian Baines about the Wolfe Island Shoals project: Even though the area would include part of Kingston Harbour and Big Sandy Bay off Wolfe Island, Baines said they will not put turbines that close to land. “The intention is that we would hold the land, which would prevent anyone else from going (there),” he said. “We just think they’re too high impact for the people on shore.” There are no provincial regulations* to determine where offshore wind turbine installations can or can’t be placed. “We expect other companies may try to come in later and pick up the pieces,” Baines said. “This is doing the right thing for Kingston. It doesn’t make sense to have turbines that close to shore.” He described the project as having Pigeon Island as its geographic centre. http://www.thewhig.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=2553718 *The Ont Govt proposed the minimum 3-mile setback on June 25, 2010, a couple months after the interview with Baines.

    Windstream has now hired people to lobby the Ont Govt on “proposed setback requirements for offshore wind power generation” (below, courtesy L. Ontario Waterkeeper). They already had hired one lobbyist in June (http://www.waterkeeper.ca/2010/06/14/windstream-energy-inc-registers-ontario-lobbyist/), so the three below make (at least) four lobbyists hired by Windstream alone.

    The Amherst Island folks’ map of Wolfe Island Shoals shows proposed turbine location relative to Big Sandy Bay and its points. BSB is designated by the province as an area of natural and scientific interest.:
    http://amherstislandwindinfo.com/wi-shoals.htm.

    *****************************************

    http://www.waterkeeper.ca/2010/07/22/windstream-registers-3-lobbyists-for-off-shore-wind-projects/

    Windstream registers 3 lobbyists for off-shore wind projects July 22nd, 2010

    Windstream has registered three individuals to lobby the following government agencies:

    Members of Provincial Parliament – MPPs Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs Ministry of Economic Development and Trade Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure Ministry of Natural Resources Ministry of the Environment Office of the Premier and Cabinet Office

    Regarding the following issues:

    Proposed setback requirements for offshore wind power generation; proposed Applicant of Record status for offshore wind development.

    See Chris Benedetti via Registration #: CL0674-20100716160736

    http://lobbyist.oico.on.ca/LRO/RegistrationPublic.nsf/vwByRegNum/CL0674-20100716160736?OpenDocument

    See Joseph Ragusa

    http://lobbyist.oico.on.ca/LRO/RegistrationPublic.nsf/vwByRegNum/CL0030-20100719110754?OpenDocument

    See Michelle Wasylyshen

    http://lobbyist.oico.on.ca/LRO/RegistrationPublic.nsf/vwByRegNum/CL0992-20100719110716?OpenDocument

    • The wind companies prefer to deal with the big landowners – who better than the province? Negotiations are done privately by our “professional elite”, who know so much more than we do, how things should go. The public is asked for comments afterwards – sing for your lunch, Salvation Army style.
      It’s a little messier with the onshore projects. We have still title to our properties; but, wind energy will change that and will drive land ownership into fewer hands, and degrade the economic base – thousands of wind turbines with thousands of km of new transmission lines humming away, leaving the land beneath a cash crop desert – welcome the brave new world. The lakes won’t look much better. A biologist working for a wind company described them as, “…looking like a porcupine.”
      3 projects in our area , Sydenham, Bornish and Zephyr, have turbines doled out to a very few families. It creates resentment among the other 90% of farmers. The rush to sign properties continues unabated; and, the desperation of the companies is more apparent. This week a local farmer , with a large amount of land, who is recuperating from serious complications due to diabetes, was approached by a wind salesman at the man’s bedside in the healthcare facility , and presented with lease contracts to sign for wind turbines – the govt and companies don’t understand our reluctance to sign ?
      Ah! – we need to be “educated” to all the benefits of green energy – the benfits of being “pimped” !
      Whether on land or offshore, the only hope we have is the Ian Hanna lawsuit. Support it
      http://windconcernsontario.wordpress.com/2010/05/12/ian-hanna-v-ontario-legal-action-update/

  9. MA

    I agree with Esther. As someone who has been dealing with the provinical government’s lack of due diligence for four years now, it has come down to a law suit, plain and simple.

    You can write in all the comments you want to the MNR or MOE, they won’t be considered or given a second thought. This industry is driven and directed by lobbyists, not the public.

    If you want to stop the lake turbines, please donate to the Ian Hanna lawsuit fund.

  10. There is just one statement to make here that is the TRUTH. Wind Turbines that are being installed around the World do not work! Wind Turbines that are being promoted by our Ontario Government do NOTHING to lower GHG emissions!
    Wind Turbines that are being embraced by “Greenies” actually destroy Lands, Communities, Wildlife and create Health Problems in humans and animals!

    There is only ONE reason for these Lobbyists, Politicians and Wind Companies to push these failed monsters onto our landscapes On-Shore and Off-Shore and that is to make humongous amounts of money off tax payers subsidized payments for a failed Energy source that can best be summed up with one single word: SCAM!

    • Carlos

      Exactly, Quixote: “…a failed Energy source that can best be summed up with one single word: SCAM!”

      Even ignoring the debate about whether wind turbines cause health problems in nearby residents, or whether they kill migrating birds, WIND TURBINES ARE NOT A VIABLE RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCE. We are being misled by our government and corporations. They have failed in Europe. Why do we have to go so far down the same path when the evidence is already overwhelming? Here are some things to consider:

      > Wind energy is intermittent and unreliable, hence we still have to maintain 100% generation capability from traditional sources. In fact when the greatest demands for power occur (hottest days with air conditioners at full blast, and coldest days with furnaces and electric heating systems full blast) it is under high pressure conditions with typically little or no wind.

      > The government will have to invest just as much in new and replacement power generating facilities no matter how many wind turbines go up.

      > The philosophy of wind turbines is sold as an alternative energy source where in reality it is an occasional substitute.

      > When the wind blows, some of the traditional power generating stations have to be turned to “low” output so they can be brought quickly on-line when the wind stops blowing. They are highly inefficient and produce more pollution when operating at low levels (like idling cars in a traffic jam).

      > Wind turbines will never pay for themselves. The “savings” such as they are won’t even pay for the initial cost of the turbine over its projected life, and then we will be faced with rusting statues. Who will pay to take them down? My bet is that the energy companies that made all the money in subsidies will be long dissolved and gone.

      > The government is getting away with this scam because the majority of voters live in cities and are much more concerned with ensuring an energy source (and easily buy into the propaganda that wind turbines are a viable part of the solution), and are not much concerned with the possible health effects on a few rural residents or the death of some birds, or the unsightly blight on the landscape that they see only when they happen to travel, and don’t have to look at every day.

      > If everyone was properly and fully informed about the real facts, I am confident there would be little support for wind turbines. It is government and corporations taking advantage of an uninformed public, and pumping out propaganda to keep them that way.

      > Don’t be fooled, the energy companies are putting up windmills for one reason only – it makes them money. The government is doing it because it makes them seem “Green” and wins votes (so long as the truth is buried in misleading information).

      This is like arguing about the health risks of a weed killer that doesn’t kill weeds. If it doesn’t kill weeds then you would simply stop using it, and the health effects would become moot.

      Wind turbines do not replace traditional power generation, and they do not reduce the carbon footprint. So we should talk about their viability and then all the other arguments become moot.

      • Mike Barnard

        “If everyone was properly and fully informed about the real facts, I am confident there would be little support for wind turbines. ”

        Oddly, I’m one of those people that is fully informed about the real facts. I’ve read most of the studies pro- and con-. I’ve read the legislation. I’ve read prospectuses for new wind farms as well as the WCO survey results. I’ve debated this on Margaret’s blog and other sites.

        And I come down firmly on the side of wind turbines as a part of our energy eco-system. So does about 90% of the populace at last survey.

        Now, if when you say “properly” you mean reading only the skewed statements of anti-wind advocates and Nina Pierpoint’s book, I would agree with you. If that were all that people were allowed to learn on the subject, they would form the opposite impression.

        Feel free to post references and actual arguments as opposed to a series of unsupported assertions.

        Cheers,
        Mike

      • Fred Winterburn

        Margaret, I agree with Carlos. I will soon be a victim of a new project near Ripley Ontario. There is no good to these turbines. There have been many inventions over the years. Some have been viable and some have not. Wind turbines are not a viable power alternative whether offshore or on land. I work as an Authorized Nuclear Operator at a Candu reactor. These units are immensely complicated, yet the complication outweighs the disadvantages many times over since we can produce power on a large scale with a small land footprint, emission free, and profitable at less than 5 cents/kilowatt hour. That’s money in the bank for consumers that they can use to insulate their homes or blow on a vacation. The ‘spent’ fuel will be fuel for our grandchildren. I’d like to see this insane provincial government understand economics and at the same time once again protect its own citizens from greedy, uncaring wind companies and the ignorance and/or greed of neighbours that allow these expensive, noisy, unhealthy things to be installed. Consider this: If wind power were viable, it would have been put to large scale use in areas not blessed with hydro-electric as early as the 1920s. Wind turbines aren’t really that complicated to think that it couldn’t have been put to commercial use in that era if it were indeed viable. Even considering the slight economic advantage the modern larger wind turbines give , wind power is limited in its value by the very nature of wind. The only viable energy sources are those that take cheap, concentrated energy, and slowly release it in a controlled fashion. Wind may be free, but it’s not cheap! Fred Winterburn, Lot 11 Concession 12 Huron Twp. Bruce County

  11. johana

    Ditto, ditto

    The 40+ groups within WCO could try to raise ~ $6000 each for the IAN HANNA challenge to the government’s Greed Energy Act.

    Wildlife, Field Naturalists, Anglers and Hunters, Woodlot owners and many other conservation groups could double the amount needed for the Ian Hanna Legal Defense Fund, c/o APPEC, Box 173, Milford ON, K0K 2P0.

  12. Avoter

    Everyone continue to push back and push back hard at an industry as misleading and false as the smoking indusrty. Push back when writers like Mike through statistics and caustic sarcasm impede the value of Sick’s comments by educating the truth by a 3rd party study. Push back with donations to the Ian Hanna lawsuit.
    Push back as we have been doing for over two and a half years to get our environment returned to the healthy pre turbine conditions. The distance does not matter the entire wind complex concept from the mining of the ore, to the dregging of the organisms in the lakebed , to the relentless pounding by the turning of the blades on ALL organisms , to the dead and broken down old turbines is an enviromental disaster . Push back by running for office.

    • Mike Barnard

      Avoter, you mistake honest disagreement supported by facts and a question regarding motivation as ‘caustic sarcasm’.

      I’ll put the same question to you: Your motivation to be specifically against something, rather than for something positive is unclear. Could you enlighten us?

      Cheers,
      Mike

  13. Sighhhh – 90%??? I suppose with the urban skew of the sample , that might be possible; but not in the townships my friend. Let me give you “the real story.” It got so bad for TCI, that a frustrated Mark the salesman, asked one farmer why they woudn’t sign a lease option. Her (irritated) reply, “Haven’t you seen the signs up?” – no one takes them down. Truth is, I can name 6 landowners, signed and receiving 12 turbines, who now wished they could get out of their leases. Belatedly, they are thinking of health effects – both for their families and their livestock. 2 or 3 years ago when they signed, who knew? Better question, who was looking out for us? I am perplexed at the number of educated (?) people who lack any sort of intellectual curiosity about the reported health effects. We (rural residents) have been failed by both the political, administrative and professional class, who, for whatever reasons, have turned their backs on people who are suffering. Has education gone to their heads?
    The govt. has picked setback numbers that satisfy the needs of the wind companies – but they are wary of offending those with a beach view, so, 5 km for offshore. Watch out ! – this govt. uses a rubber ruler. I wouldn’t trust any figure they put out. All of which brings us back to the lawsuit. It makes a very simple request – a moratorium on construction, and a thorough, impartial epidemiological study to determine how far the turbines should be placed – hasn’t been done. It’s such a reasonable, simple request, it would seem difficult to deny it. If the govt. is so sure that its regulations are “science-based”, let them present it to the judiciary. It’s the fairest forum for both parties.
    Strange though, we are suing those who are charged with protecting us; and stranger still, that CANWEA ( the wind company trade organization) sought full party status to appear with the govt. (motion denied by the court).
    This is all very bass-ackwards. Ah well! – can’t dwell on that too much. Out to the nursery to take cuttings – androsace spp. are in their prime.

  14. Sick Turbines

    I have but a pure love for positive motivation. I have spent this weekend watching the vultures circle in the wind. Nothing makes me happier.
    Human beings desire for electricity should also be tempered with respect to the environment it relies on. Industrialization is contained as much as possible for this reason. Industrial Wind Turbines are nothing more than poor planning with little return for such carelessness.

  15. Let the lawsuits roll! We have a government that has indeed been informed of negative health effects of turbines. We have Dr. Arlene King telling us in the legislature that this government has not found any medical reasons to shut down this industry while studies are done. On the other side, we have Dr Robert McMurtry, whose medical background is like the Who’s Who top 1 or 2 in credibility and experience, and a host of international reports of ill health, people forced to leave their homes that vibrate like the inside of your teen’s guitar, and a hopelessly deaf government. After several thousand hours of research, and reading carefully Dr. John Etherington’s excellent little book ( a case study of 30 years), The Wind Turbine Scam, I am convinced that this industry is nothing but a highly subsidized scam. Not a single coal fired plant has ever shut down internationally due to wind turbines. Denmark has actually increased coal production 50% in the last 30 years! You always need back up! Also, these machines are manufactured out of heavy industrial methods, transported thousands on tens of thousands of miles, coated with toxic plastics, and transported thousands more miles, house 800-1000 gallons of oil in the moving parts, which leak, as someone already pointed out in the commentary above, and really essentially produce “dead zones” for animals, birds, bats, life itself. Even snakes and frogs that rely on vibration as a sensor for danger, run like heck. The cement they are housed in (two football fields on land for each turbine) leaches moisture from the land like a wick, and the turning blades take away the morning dew, which for a farmer is a substantial natural method of keeping crops irrigated. You’d have to talk to the farmers, and the people forced out of their homes to get all of this. Now they want to implode Ontario with thousands more! And in our drinking water. The proposal of Toronto Hydro off the Scarborough Bluffs (Also an ANSI –area of natural and scientific interest), would see 60- more than 400 behemoth turbines very close to shore (just watch them apply for a minor variance from the proposed guidelines of 5 km) directly through a major migratory route! Someone wrote about the height at which birds migrate…of course. But wintering ducks, anseriphormes, are right out there on the lake, 4-6 km. And if you go down to the parks that line the North Shore, you can see the Raptors migrate…it’s quite the activity here. I don’t know of migration being such a linear activity…seems from the experts I’ve spoken with that it’s very complex, occurring at various heights, never exactly the same year after year, criss crossing, and yes, Margaret is right, how are you going to count dead birds in the water? The count at Wolfe Island is “shockingly high”, 2000 dead birds and bats over six months, with a reporting time of 43%! The counting methods are archaic and simplistic…and do not cover the wounded animals/birds that stumble off and die elsewhere than in the prescribed boundary for the count. We must stop this madness. Turbines add to the dead bird count. It’s all cumulative. We are down 50% of our birds in the last 50 years. Bats, well, bats consume 600-1000 insects per hour…nature’s little silent saviours. 25% of all mammals on earth are bats, and they are also in serious decline. The industry knows this. They try to “mitigate.” Turn down the speed of the blades at night. Fact is, Ontario is on a precarious slope right now with its bat population and White Nose Syndrome. Bats also are responsible for reseeding the rainforests (those that migrate those wondrous thousands of miles, and we have both nesting and migratory), some 95%. Take bats out and watch Mother Nature reply. Problem is, and many of you have commented on this, and thanks! is that no one who has power is listening. We have, as lawyer Eric Gillespie says, an “incubator” for law suits now in Ontario. The wild west attitude and secret Samsung deals, and medical officers who apparently do not tell the truth, it’s all a bit much. Bring on the lawsuits.

  16. Lynne

    With regard to off-shore wind turbines – why bother? It is simply throwing more good money after bad. We should get started on our new reactors and put scrubbers on the coal plants. One only has to ask how many initiatives the McGuinty government has successfully implemented to realize the likelihood of them getting our energy policy wrong as well.

  17. Carlos

    Thank you for your response, Mike Barnard. You profess to be well informed and cite references, and come down on the side of pro wind turbines. You question my motivation for opposing wind turbines without divulging your motivation for supporting them. I am a taxpayer, a rural resident, and someone who has listened to all sides in this debate. I have also researched the issues, and now have no agenda other than to stop what I have concluded is an ill-conceived and costly initiative by our governments. (I am an unpaid individual with no affiliations to ANY organizations either pro or anti wind power. Who pays for your time to post “on Margaret’s blog and other sites”? – be honest, please.) I am personally PRO-alternative energy if it makes sense economically, environmentally and with regard to public health. I am clear that wind turbines satisfy none of those, and simply channel our valuable tax dollars into the hands of developers.

    Just taking one of your earlier references (a study from Stanford University for California, http://www.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/HosteFinalDraft.pdf ) note that its references are almost entirely from PRO wind turbine and pro alternative energy advocates and papers. It does not present a balanced assessment since it ignores economics, health effects and the environment entirely. And the VIABILITY of wind as a source (which I challenged in my earlier post is glossed over). As an engineer with over 30 years in industry I have read thousands of such reports and I can hone in quickly on the assumptions that have not been validated.

    In this specific paper it suggests that 100% of California’s energy can be obtained from a combination of four alternative sources: wind, solar, geothermal and hydroelectric. It suggest if you combine these and distribute them over a wide enough geographic area that you will maintain sufficient capacity at all times for California’s needs – the premise being that there will always be sufficient wind or sun somewhere in California at any given time. The goal of the paper is to show that there are THEORETICALLY enough alternative resources to generate 80 to 100% of California’s power. It does very little to address the practical issues of variability, grid stability and nothing on environmental, health of economic considerations. The authors themselves state in their conclusions:

    “It relies on several simplifying assumptions and does not reflect many issues that would be faced in real-world design of an 80% or 100% renewable electricity supply.”

    Take a look at a map of winds across North America. Today there is insufficient wind (<5mph) to drive turbines across the entire provinces of Alberta and British Columbia. No worries, hopefully the sun comes out to provide solar energy instead. Also, today, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec are more than 75% in cloud. Maybe the Americans have some excess to compensate for our solar deficiencies today.

    Try finding hydroelectric electricity sites in Manitoba or Saskatchewan, or Geothermal sites in Ontario or Quebec. I don't think you will add much new hydro power in Ontario either. So in your proposed world, Toronto a city of several million people a decade from now will rely primarily on wind and solar power? Show me the economics. Show me the grid stability analysis.

    If it were ever implemented, this would subject millions to regular brown-outs and black-outs and push us back into the 19th century. The whole fabric of our society demands a virtually constant and guaranteed power supply.

    Oh, and the paper above also talks about carrying excess hydro power from the spring (high rainfall) into the fall (low rainfall season) by utilizing large reservoirs. They offer no calculations as to the size of these reservoirs, but trust me they would be HUGE!! If you diverted only 10% of the Niagara River flow for 3 months from April to June into storage, you would create a reservoir of average depth say of 100 feet that would be 25 km across. Where would that be located, and what would the impact be on human habitation and the natural environment??

    Please don't support the promotion of pipe dreams. When someone can show an alternative energy solution that is demonstrated to be viable in the long term, is a sensible investment of taxpayers money, and is socially and environmentally acceptable (and has the INDEPENDENT studies to support it), I will be right there to give it my backing.

    If your motivation is to reduce carbon emissions for the betterment of the environment, please study a trade-off between alternative power and its potential to eliminate carbon producing power plants, and putting the same investment into mass transit infrastructure improvements in our cities – thereby reducing vehicle emissions. I think you may find the latter a much more effective initiative.

    • Mike Barnard

      Hi Carlos . . .

      Glad to find another private individual without a specific axe to grind. As I’ve had to repeat four times now on Margaret’s blog, I’m also a private individual with no role or investment in wind energy or other alternative sources except indirectly (I have a handful of GE stock, but GE does a lot of stuff besides wind including nuclear). If you google me (and I use my full real name to make that possible) you won’t find me on the payroll of wind organizations. In fact, you’ll more likely find my namesake in the UK who appears to make a bit of a extra cash (like Dr. Nina Pierpoint) as a paid anti-wind advocate. Engaging in debate on this fascinating confluence of social, economic, political and technical issues is something I choose to do in my bits of spare time.

      You happen to have chosen one example study — from the maybe 150 links that I’ve posted on Margaret’s blog– that is fully admitted to be a thought exercise to explore the possibilities. Perhaps you would care to provide a similar level of analysis to other links I’ve provided that are less hypothetical:

      http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy08osti/41869.pdf
      http://www.ieso.ca/imoweb/ircp/reliability_outlook.asp
      http://www.energy.ca.gov/2009publications/CEC-200-2009-017/CEC-200-2009-017-SD.PDF

      You’ll also find if you bother to keep reading that I’m an advocate of nuclear for base power needs, clean coal, energy storage, smart grids and trans-border transmission as well as most other forms of energy creation, distribution and capture. You’ll find that I’m in favour of a diverse energy eco-system that picks a mix suitable for a specific geography, regulatory regime and social milieu.

      You’ll find that the only thing I’m against is absolutism. Anti-wind advocates have chosen a negative stance for a variety of reasons. It would be refreshing if they chose instead to adopt a pro-something else stance, which at least the nuclear-only guys do in addition to dismissing wind. You assert you’re pro-alternative energy but the only evidence I’ve seen is anti-wind statements. Please point to blogs or sites where you are arguing for rather than against so that I can have additional evidence.

      Thirty years as an engineer in industry. Excellent, I have a lot of respect for engineers. Which subset of engineering? Which industry? What portions of the industry?

      Cheers,
      Mike

      • Carlos

        Thanks for the links, Mike. I checked them out, read them thoroughly and am still unconvinced.

        Nothing there included INDEPENDENT 3rd party studies (or any studies actually) on health impacts to nearby residents, and they glossed over the environmental impact, for example bird and bat deaths, but actually acknowledging their are no accurate numbers on these. How can that be, since wind turbines have been around for 30 years?! Someone must be cleaning up all the dead carcasses. I guess no-one wants to talk about that. They did acknowledge that bat deaths were a possibly damaging number to their population but simply concluded that it needs more study. How are we putting in all these new installations with the implied approval of our Ministry of Health, Ministry of the Environment, and Ministry of Natural Resources if these independent studies have not been done?

        The reports you linked also indicated clearly that wind turbine installations cease whenever government subsidies and incentives are removed – i.e. they are commercially an uneconomic way to produce power. And also acknowledged that more natural gas electricity generation will be needed in parallel with wind farm installations to compensate for times “when the wind does not blow”. This should be factored into wind power costs, but is not.

        Another point they acknowledge is that they do not typically include infrastructure costs such as new power grid. They explain it away by stating that the U.S. grid (it was mostly American info you provided) will need upgrading anyway – suggesting that means that there is no net cost for the additional power grid since upgrades are already needed. But the grid that would be added for wind power is to connect the wind farms to the main power grid, and is not related to the rest of the grid. It will not reduce the existing upgrade needs for the main grid at all – it is entirely an ADDITIONAL cost and should be included in all cost models.

        One last point, if you could, please stick to debating the issues and not poster’s credentials, how they should post, or whether they are PRO or ANTI. I could say that the so-called ANTI wind power people are in fact simply PRO public health, PRO environment, PRO responsible spending of our tax dollars, and that you are ANTI all of those (but I won’t). Blogs are by nature anonymous. Even if Mike Barnard is your name, you could never prove on here that it is, or which one is you.

        I look forward to your continued debate on the issues. If you have any links to independent 3rd party reports on health issues (or lack of health issues) from wind turbines, environmental impacts including those on birds, bats etc, or a practical solution for *economically viable* wind power alternative energy, please post them. I have been unable to find any.

        Cheers, Carlos.

      • Mike Barnard

        Hi Carlos . . .

        Interesting response.

        All of the links I provided (no refutation provided by you, just dismissal) are to the point of your original post. In your response, you choose to extend the subject to bird mortality and health. Please feel free to read the clear and referenced responses to these issues I’ve posted on Margaret’s blog, or provide a referenced argument on these subjects. For perspective, I’ll repost this referenced study on anthropogenic bird death causes:
        Collisions with buildings 58%
        Power-line related 14%
        Cats 11%
        Cars 8.5%
        Various others
        Wind Turbines <0.01%
        The full table is on page 11 of "A Summary and Comparison of Bird Mortality from Anthropogenic Causes with an Emphasis on Collisions". http://www.fs.fed.us/psw/publications/documents/psw_gtr191/psw_gtr191_1029-1042_erickson.pdf
        I’d suggest you glance through the discussions on other threads on Margaret’s blog so that you understand the scale and depth of the discussions that have already occurred:
        http://marg09.wordpress.com/2010/05/07/some-helpful-suggestions-on-wind-turbine-farms-i-hope/
        http://marg09.wordpress.com/2010/04/13/anti-industrial-wind-turbines-march-april-28-queens-park/

        The second one especially has substantial debates on the health impacts. I’m satisfied after my research that the impacts are noise-related stress impacts, that the new Ontario regulations on setbacks are satisfactory and that the complainants post-remediations are statistically insignificant, personally unable to deal with mild stressors and refusing to accept any change in their locale.

        Subsidies, specifically feed-in-tariffs, are an interesting topic. Yes, feed in tariffs provide low governmental risk funding to private organizations that are willing to assume development risks. This is called distributing risk to the private sector and is a reasonable economic choice for governments facing significant continuing debt challenges from major centralized capital cost projects. As of 2009, Ontario was maintaining about $30.5 billion of debt from Ontario Hydro’s previous centralized efforts. Hardly economically sustainable. While you may disagree from a philosophical perspective, you will have difficulty making a compelling argument for a return to previous Ontario economic practices.

        Finally, you assert that I was questioning your motivations. If you read through our discussions you’ll note that you assert that, but are mistaking my challenging of others’ motivations for challenges of yours. You’ll further find that you challenged my motivations, not the other way around. Pot. Kettle. Black.

        Once again. What type of engineer? Referenced arguments?

        Cheers,
        Mike

    • Lynne

      Carlos, you make some excellent points.

  18. Robert Ledingham

    I feel a little sheepish to confess I find it hard to know where to stand in this debate. I’m a taxpayer who can see the lights of the Bruce nuclear power plant twinkling like Oz across the water of Lake Huron north of Kincardine, and who will see the flashing red lights of offshore wind turbines on the horizon backlit by the sunset or the stars of the western sky, if the proposed offshore wind farm development proceeds in that area. I’m an energy user who is ashamed of the damage our gluttonous use of it has wreaked upon the planet and everything living on it. I was recently an ardent proponent of windfarms, especially offshore, which I saw to be a much less egregious method of generating electricity than the Bruce nuclear power operation, which is currently proposing to bury nuclear waste in the rock underneath the lake, a temporary solution, given humanity’s lack of success engineering much of anything to withstand more than a few thousand years, let alone to contain radioactive contaminants longer which will poison the environment if they are let leak. Then I heard the stories of individuals who had been forced, for health reasons out of their homes near to which wind turbines had been installed in Bruce County, and of the big profits being earned by the big corporations building them from premium rates paid by the Ontario government for the hydro they produce.

    So I’m at the same time grateful for Margaret’s blog as a place to whet my appetite for better understanding of the issues, and discouraged by the prospects of doing so to the point where I can take a stand, knowledgeably, on the issues. I am not likely to be able to be convinced by contributions such as those by Mike Barnard and Carlos, many of whose arguments are compelling, because the evidence to support them has too many layers – like some kind of Matrioshka doll, or onion, of reason – for me to assimilate.

    But though, for instance, I can’t imagine a bird being killed running into the blades of a wind turbine, as some contributors attest, they turn so slowly, yet if one did, it would be too many, the cost of our present and past impacts on the biosphere being exorbitant enough. I am distrustful of developers’ motives – greed – and of governments’ abilities or willingness to respond meaningfully to the concerns of the individuals they represent. And I am cynically not convinced that environmental impact studies realistically assess actual damage caused by development or inform developers’ practices sufficiently to avoid impacts to humans and the natural habitats into which we have so recklessly intruded.

    So I’ll follow the debate, with difficulty, and grudgingly, suspicious of the purported usefulness, safety, and reasonableness of most of the proponents’ arguments.

    In an undergraduate course I remember poet and playwright James Reaney musing on the creation of a sort of idyllic farm-theatre which would be completely self sustaining, with the participants working with the resources of the land to produce everthing they needed to produce their art. I think he was piqued by the dependence then of Canadian theatres on governmental support for productions. In view of the hash we are making of living as we are on the planet, his daydream still seems to me a better model for most of our activities than many.

    So meanwhile, as the partisans parry and thrust with their polemics, and I try to make enough sense of it all for myself to be able to take a stand, my little contribution to the dialogue would be to wish here for everyone to make efforts both to use as much small scale wind, solar, and ground source energy as they can, to reduce to zero our dependence on governmental and corporate involvement supplying and maintaining the ‘grid’, and to make the conservation of energy a personal and a collective grail quest, to reduce our personal energy requirements toward zero. Until we match our energy inputs and carbon footprints to our earliest paleo ancestors, and stop fowling the habitat we (all) need to sustain us, we will be guilty of that hubris that humans manifest so pathetically well, when we usurp the richness of the earth as though imagining, perversely, it could somehow have belonged to us.

  19. Sick Turbines

    I agree Robert. Personal collection of energy seems to have less impact. Industrial creation of energy should be contained as much as possible so as not to not imact the environment. Widespread sprawl of Industrial Wind Turbines has too many environmentally negative impacts.

  20. marg09

    Margaret Atwood says: See the current issue of NOW for new thinking on fan blades of all kinds that reduce drag, increase efficiency by 15-30 percent, and render the blades noiseless. No windfarm installations should go ahead until this new thinking is incorporated into the designs, as the present fans are now obsolete and you’d want your tax dollars — if spent on wind — to be spent on noiseless, efficient wind, no? http://www.nowtoronto.com/news/story.cfm?content=176378

    • Mike Barnard

      Hi Margaret . . .

      I read a different lesson out of this. Specifically, governmental subsidies through feed-in-tariffs are encouraging innovation around wind generation. This is one of four or five promising inventions and insights in this area I’ve read about recently. None of them are proven technically or financially yet.

      Stopping wind investment in perfectly adequate older technology would also stop the investment in innovation.

      As an analogy, the average car today is much safer than luxury cars of 30 years ago due to air bags, ABS, traction control, safer bumpers and a host of other innovations. New cars also produce an enormously reduced amount of pollution and have much better gas mileage. Most of those innovations were envisioned 30 years ago. Should no cars have been permitted to be sold until all of these things were perfected? Who would have funded perfecting them?

      Current wind turbines are technically and economically viable. Mitigating their downsides through careful siting and fixing mistakes as they arise is important to a future of green energy. Stopping them in their tracks would be a fundamental mistake, one that many posters to your blog strongly advocate.

      Cheers,
      Mike

      • Carlos

        “Specifically, governmental subsidies through feed-in-tariffs are encouraging innovation around wind generation.”

        No. These subsidies encourage installations with existing technology. And that technology will be in use for 20+ years once installed. How do you assume the wind companies receiving these subsidies are investing in improved technology? And its not just the blades, but also the gearboxes and generators that need to be addressed. There are subsonic vibrations that need to be investigated – stuff that you can’t hear.

        “As an analogy, the average car today is much safer than luxury cars of 30 years ago…”

        Poor analogy, since cars were a CONSUMER personal choice given the risks at the time. Wind turbines are being foisted upon us. This is more akin to governments saying 30 years ago that cigarettes were safe because the cigarette companies have commissioned studies that indicate no adverse health effects, and then legislating us to smoke them!!

        “Current wind turbines are technically and economically viable…”

        No. If they were economically viable we wouldn’t need subsidies and guaranteed energy rates for the wind companies!

        Technically, yes, if you accept/ignore:
        > reported serious health side effects
        > impacts on wildlife and the environment
        > the permanent loss of significant pristine views of the countryside
        > no significant reduction in base generation needs or costs (i.e. wind energy does not replace other energy sources, but sometimes allows us to reduce their output).

      • Mike Barnard

        Hi Carlos . . .

        Would you like me to make the same analogy with aircraft? Trains? Medicine? Computers? Flat pack furniture? Tooth paste? It’s ludicrously easy to do in almost every domain. Is every example of progress suspect to you?

        Regarding the financial aspect, there are something like 200,000 wind turbines in operation world side. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_power. At $2-$3 million per industrial wind turbine, that’s an awful lot of money for smart people to throw away. They must not have your insight. Yes, all those smart people and nervous governments must not know what is obvious to you. Or the alternative might be true. Perhaps the economics are compelling compared to the alternatives?

        Despite your protests to the contrary, you’ve chosen to be an anti-. Revel in it or reject it. Pick one.

        Cheers,
        Mike

      • Carlos

        Mike,

        Finally I see your point. You believe we should all go away and let government get on with spending our money wherever they choose, because they are smarter than us and never make mistakes, and we’re all too dumb to realize that. They should double your retainer for starters… Ah, what do I know, I should leave that decision up to them. See, I’m learning.

      • Mike Barnard

        Carlos, you mistake me, and quite purposefully I’m sure. Of course you should be cautious of governmental spending programs and advocate for better alternatives where you see them. We all should. It’s our money.

        The argument I am advancing and you are failing to counter is to the economics behind innovation, something I’ve studied and participated in. The examples above, including the car one you deride for different reasons, vary between civil government, military and purely private sources of economic incentive.

        The second argument I’m advancing is that despite your unreferenced assertions, the economics of wind generation are a sound governmental and private choice. There is no force in the world that can make the vast majority of power companies, utilities, governments and landowners in windy areas act against their economic self-interest. A large number of smart people in government and industry keep doing the math and coming up with different answers than people with specific other reasons to be against wind turbines.

        And, of course, like you I’m a private citizen who has chosen to spend some of his free time on something that matters to him. I accept your assertion of independence at face value; you continue to attack me as if the only person that could possibly be pro-wind would have to be paid for it. I’d suggest you review the recent Ontario survey results on wind energy: 90% in favour.
        http://www.canwea.ca/media/release/release_e.php?newsId=84

        I ask you again for specific references and arguments in support of your assertions so that we can have a more fruitful conversation. If you’d like to shift to areas where you might be able to make a compelling argument for additional mitigations or concerns, specific questions of energy storage and distribution grid stabilization are worth addressing.

        Better yet would be to engage in specific wind proposals and ensure mitigations related to wind turbine bat fatalities and siting mitigations for raptor fatalities are pursued (I can share the logic and references there or you could read other posts on Margaret’s blog where it’s laid out). Fighting for enforcement of the now regulated setbacks in Ontario 359/09 is also a good fight.

        Cheers,
        Mike

  21. Carlos

    One of the warning signals for me around wind farms was how Bill 150 was pushed through by the Ontario government, and among other things, effectively curtailing any questioning or challenging of wind farm applications. It gives the “green light” (pun intended) to developers and in my opinion unreasonably constrains citizens rights to question.

    Finally, a ray of hope from the courage and leadership of Arran-Alderslie council, who passed a by-law to require our governments to furnish proof of their assertions that wind turbines do not harm the health of nearby residents BEFORE developers can proceed with their installation.

    An article from the Owen Sound Sun Times, Aug 10, 2010, by Mary Golem states:

    “The bylaw, passed in May, calls for “the protection of life, liberty and security of person” under Section 7 of the Charter, claiming wind turbines cause serious health effects. The bylaw, circulated to all Ontario municipalities, has received the support of more than 40 municipalities to date.

    “The bylaw calls for developers to provide certificates issued by Health Canada, the Ontario Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Natural Resources confirming that wind generation facilities being applied for do not cause ill health effects.”

    http://www.owensoundsuntimes.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=2705681

    With Bill 150, it appears that the provincial government has usurped our rights, but we still have a significant voice through our municipal governments who have a much more immediate and local mandate to serve the interests of their residents.

    Let’s hope that the AMO (Association of the Municipalities of Ontario) and the remaining municipalities (not just those with rural residents) get onboard.

    People in the cities may not be personally impacted by wind turbines and see it simply as “green” and hence a good thing, but the larger issue here is governments’ willful removal of the public right to question (and expect proof of) the wisdom of their policies.

    • Lynne

      Viable technologies do not exist solely on ratepayer subsidies, nor do they require heavy-handed, anti-democratic legislation to force them into communites.

  22. Dr. Robert McCunney, one of the 7 authors of a report on wind turbines and health effects, written for the wind industry trade organizations CANWEA/AWEA, made this concluding statement in his debate with Dr. Michael Nissenbaum, a radiologist in Maine who is conducting a case-controlled study of the health effects of wind turbines on residents at Mars Hill, ME.
    Dr. McCunney’s rather curious, ambiguous statement, “There’s no question that some people may be very annoyed and adversley affected by the sound and the characteristics of the sound. There’s no question that annoyance can causer sleep disturbance. There’s no question that if sleep disturbance persists it can cause adverse health effects and all sorts of consequences. However, I am struggling to understand how the noise from wind turbines is substantially different from other aspects of life, whether its’s trucking, transportation, railroading, aviation and so forth. That’s where I draw the line.”
    Scratch Dr. McCunney from the witness stand.
    One can easily conclude from his statement that it’s high time a proper epidemiological study is done – there are enough subject populations around – arrogantly disparaged by the those who should assist them.
    The link to the full debate, it’s worth watching. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8BrMl8UTk0&feature=related

    • Carlos

      Agreed Esther.

      There are reports from around the world with people who live close to wind turbines reporting similar symptoms – insomnia, dizziness, headaches, ringing in the ears etc. Neither these people nor their health issues should be so easily dismissed since many were happy to have the turbines and would have no motivation for reporting problems.

      From the U.S. – Renewable Energy World:
      “Listening to Wind Farm Noise Concerns”
      by Jim Cummings, Acoustic Ecology Institute
      Published: March 29, 2010
      http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2010/03/listening-to-wind-farm-noise-concerns

      “First, it’s clear that many people, in all parts of the country, have been dramatically impacted by the noise of wind farms near their homes…”
      “Many of those now affected were wind farm supporters…”
      “…To dismiss all these people as cranks, or as hyper-sensitive social outliers, does a disservice to constructive public discourse…”

      And from Japan,
      “Sickness claims prompt study of wind turbines”
      —Aya Ito & Tsuyoshi Takeda, The Asahi Shimbun (1/19/10)
      http://www.windturbinesyndrome.com/news/2010/5979/
      “At the 30 locations where complaints have been filed, 90 percent concerned health problems. Residents say they suffer from insomnia, headaches, dizziness or buzzing in the ear.”
      “The areas have one to 20 wind turbines each. In each case, several to 60 residents have reported health problems.
      “At the 42 sites where turbine construction faces opposition, health and environmental concerns are most often cited. At 12 of those sites, plans have been dropped or frozen due to a lack of cooperation from residents.”
      “The ministry’s Office of Odor, Noise and Vibration says finding out the effects of low-frequency noise on the human body is “a pressing issue” because the country is pushing for greater use of wind power as a renewable energy source.”

      While pushing what is in my opinion a non-viable renewable energy source is a mistake, at least the Japanese government is looking into the reported health issues – albeit via a four year study.

      Makes the by-law passed by the municipality of Arran-Alderslie (requiring that the Ontario provincial government furnish evidence that wind turbines do not harm citizens) seem very reasonable. I suggest municipalities in other provinces should look at this initiative if they have citizens reporting health issues related to wind turbine installations.

  23. Sick Turbines

    The government takes full responsability for it’s decisions. It has placed money before its citizens.
    Ontario citizens should not be forced from their land due to poor quality machinery in order to fund investment in new technologies. There must be a poor understanding of how many years it takes to have land developed and tended for farming purposes.
    Flight patterns should not be intercepted by Industrial Wind Turbines.
    There is no need in this day and age to invest in outdated technologies. Who would choose to fly a Wright brothers plane?

  24. Fred Winterburn

    Margaret, This debate is getting quite long. Mr. Barnard mentioned the 550 metre setbacks as being determined to be safe setbacks from dwellings. When have you ever known Dalton McGuinty to tell the truth. He’d rather lie when the truth would do. This was his track record in opposition as well. The purpose of his government seems to be solely to create new means of generating tax revenue. In the short term this makes up for unhealthy spending habits, but in the long run could bankrupt the province. Expensive energy may well ensure that happens. The real reason from my own observation for the 550 metre setback is that it allows wind farms to be placed in the rural countryside. Larger setbacks would not fit well within the standard 100 acre parcels on which most farms are located, and would severely limit the number of turbines that could be placed here. I believe this is the truth of the matter since I can’t see any moral fibre in the McGuinty government (on-line gambling legal now for instance, but don’t amke me write a list please, it would be too long) and Dalton is a known liar. As a comparison, he makes Brian Mulroony look like George Washington. I completely disagree with Mr. Barnard when he implies that current wind technology is viable and will only improve much like the automobile has improved. Highly unlikely in my opinion. Untill the ‘fuel source’, ie the wind, blows when we want it to and how hard we want it to, wind power will always be extremely expensive. Wind power has already driven up the price of electricity when in fact electricity prices should be stable due to the recession and the reduced demand (ie closed factories). If we do recover somewhat and electricity use increases without viable generation in place, prices will escalate further and we’ll be right back in recession. Thanks for the space, Fred Winterburn, Lot 11, Conc 10(not 12, that was a typo), Huron Twp, Bruce County

    • Carlos

      Fred, I think you hit the nail on the head. The setbacks likely derive more from ensuring sufficient locations for siting windmills than a real number based on public health and safety.

      If you draw circles of 550m radius on a map of rural southern Ontario, you will find lots of locations at the back half of 50 acre, 100 acre parcels that meet the criteria. Bump that up to 1000m and you eliminate almost all of the potential locations.

      If the government were to acknowledge health issues they might have to increase the setbacks. Not only might that prevent most installations in Southern Ontario, but may force them to do something about the hundreds of existing windmills that would then be in violation of the increased setback.

      You can see why the Provincial Government is fighting so hard to ignore the calls for independent health studies. Their entire policy on windmills in Southern Ontario is at stake.

    • Mike Barnard

      Or you could do the math using the international standard for noise control used in every other scenario in Ontario and used in most other jurisdictions in the world. If you followed the math, you’d find that 550 meters for isolated windmills and 1500 meters for windfarms doesn’t come from a conspiracy, but is aligned with every other Ontario noise abatement policy. Start with Ontario Regulation 359/09 and move on to the associated noise guidelines the regulation makes enforceable, and from their move on to the ISO standard.

      http://www.ene.gov.on.ca/publications/4709e.pdf

      Please feel free to challenge the international noise standards if you’d like. Also feel free to challenge rural noise abatement policies.

      Inventing conspiracy theories is easy. As Barbie famously said in one of her incarnations, “Math is hard.”

      Cheers,
      Mike

  25. windaction

    Margaret,
    Here is a link to William Palmer’s P. Eng. comment to the Environmental Registry on Off-shore wind turbines. Definitely worth a read- he’s loaded with common sense and facts, and still has a heart. http://windaction.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/palmer-comments-env-registry-offshore-wind-farms-_2_.pdf

  26. windaction

    If only the MOE would follow its own rules and not create special exemptions for the wind industry.
    From Bill Palmer’s critique as, submitted to the MOE in 2009,of the “Proposed Ministry of the Environment Regulations to Implement the Green Energy and Green Economy Act, 2009″ :

    “The proposed Noise Modeling Approach fails to recognize the cyclic nature of the sound from wind turbines, and derives noise levels without consideration of cyclic noise. The cyclic nature of sound from wind turbines is a well understood and well recognized aspect of their nature.
    The Ontario Ministry of the Environment Publication NPC-104 specifies that if a cyclic noise is shown to be present, then a 5 dB penalty shall be applied to the sound level produced by that source. While the MOE currently have not required that the cyclic penalty be applied to wind
    turbines, if the 5 dB penalty was applied to a wind turbine with a 109.9 dBA sound power level, then an array of 10 turbines located equidistant from the receiver would require a setback of over 2400 metres to bring the sound level to 35 dBA (40 dBA minus a 5 dB penalty). Cyclic noise was a characteristic recognized and reported on by a number of authors at the Wind Turbine Noise Conference – 2009 in Aalborg, Denmark, including: (see endnotes for particulars of referenced papers, available from the Wind Turbine Noise 2009 Coordinators at http://www.windturbinenoise2009.org )”

    The MOE writes a regulation, then later writes an exemption for the wind industry because they can’t meet the criteria, and setbacks would have to double, at least – no other industry receives this exemption. What term do you wish to use? This is at least illogical.
    Yet another case where the MOE callously chooses to protect the wind industry and harm citizens. No wonder that CANWEA is sitting with the MOE as , “friend of the court” in the Ian Hanna lawsuit. – conspiracy? collusion? – Nahhh – couldn’t be!

  27. Sick Turbines

    Ontario has become the Animal Farm.

  28. claire

    I have not heard anyone on this blog who is anti-wind. Is anyone not OK with using wind energy to generate wind power?

    It is truly a manipulative misrepresentation to suggest that, unlike most of the contributors to this blog, most people in Ontario support wind power.

    The process must be “green.” When wind power generation does no harm, you may count me amongst the well-educated supporters.

    I want the precautionary principle to guide every step. Until then, please don’t label me “anti-wind.” Label me DO NO HARM.

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