Anti-Industrial Wind Turbines March April 28, Queen’s Park

<> >
Subject: a personal invitation to rally – please spread the word.

Dear Friends,

I am writing to enlist your help.

Over the past three years, many groups have expressed their growing concern about the lack of proper planning, siting, and setbacks for proposed wind turbine projects. Over fifty municipalities have written to various cabinet ministers, petitions have been submitted, requests for environmental studies have been meticulously prepared, urgent requests for health studies from physicians and concerned citizens have been submitted. The Ontario Federation of Agriculture has repeatedly expressed concern about the impact of forty year leases on farmers and agriculture; the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario has written asking for setbacks from tourism areas and to protect areas of natural beauty; naturalists and birders and environmentalists have expressed concern about the impact on migrating birds and bats; the Ontario Federation of Hunters and Anglers have expressed concern about fish habitat and other wildlife. Physicists, acousticians, power workers, business leaders have urged for proper planning, assessment and protection for residents;  and property owners across the province have expressed grave concerns about negative impacts on their quality of life and precipitious drops in property values when turbines are located next to their properties, with no consideration for zoning, municipal plans or by-laws.

The first few projects have demonstrated the real problems with the lack of appropriate regulation. These forty story buildings are being constructed just 80 meters from rural residential properties. People have abandoned their homes because the noise and flicker have been intolerable. Property values are falling next to these projects. The energy produced is a fraction of the projections. A number of companies have declared insolvency, leaving questions about liability, maintenance and decommisioning unanswered. Details on all this can be found at  <> <>  <>

So far, the McGuinty government has ignored all these individual and group concerns, denying all requests for environmental reviews of industrial wind turbine projects, and ignoring all requests for safe and appropriate setbacks that take into account the health of the environment, people in our communities, and preservation of our province. Instead, they have opted to make widespread and long term expensive commitments to an outdated technology of dubious merit.

My own personal view is that this is also a matter of food security. Here in Prince Edward County over 30,000 acres have been leased to wind turbine companies for what the Ontario Federation of Agriculture tells us is a period of over forty years. This agricultural land is now somewhat controlled by Industrial Wind Turbine Companies, many of which are owned by oil and gas companies interested in the cap and trade benefits. These companies are in turn being bought by Petrochina. If you doubt this, google petrochina oil canada … it is a revelation.

The turbines cause the bats to die because their lungs collapse from the changes in air pressure. The bats then (being dead) stop eating insects. Insects, left uneaten, eat crops. Farmers use more pesticides. …. its time to rethink putting bat killing turbines all over our farm land.

I also think it is an exceptionally dumb idea to put them in all the major bird migration paths – which is precisely the plan, as it happens that birds travel on the wind. It also makes no sense to put them so close to vineyards, beaches, and rural villages, so that these places are permanently disrupted.

On April 28, at 11:00 we urge you to encourage your contacts and network to show up at Queen’s Park to rally against this march to folly. This government could have supported investments in public transit in order to reduce emissions. Instead, it cancelled its commitment to do so. This government could have created greater incentives to reduce consumption. It has chosen to not do so. Instead, it has stated that wind energy will eliminate fossil fuel dependency, solve climate change and save the planet. This is clearly false – every other jursidiction which has implemented wind turbines has had to increase the number of gas plants, and none have closed their coal. The wind blows – sometimes. Sometimes it doesnt. Its just not that reliable. For the truly curious, you can go to  <> <>  <>  to see, in real time, just how much energy comes from what source in Ontario. Facts are informative.

We hope that thousands of people will attend, to show this government that this generation of the people of Ontario do not wish to be the ones to transform the Great Lakes and our rural, agricultural communities into a continuous industrial energy facility at the expense of the environment, our people and our heritage. We surely do not wish to be the ones to foist industrial energy facilities on families just meters from their homes, making their homes unlivable.

Please spread the word. We shall all wear green – to send the message that we support honest efforts to protect our environment. And we shall carry signs, to tell this government that industrial wind turbines in our lakes, on our shores, in our migration paths, and throughout rural Ontario is the wrong way to go about it.

Our community is at risk. We are at a critical point in our efforts. Your support will be valued. Please join us on April 28, 11:00, Queens Park. Spread the word. A strong turnout will send a strong message.


Carlyn Moulton


Filed under 1

147 responses to “Anti-Industrial Wind Turbines March April 28, Queen’s Park

  1. Why make this website almost unreadable? This is the new chic? Reading has to be physically painful and frustrating as well? I don’t get it, this is dumb as hell and distracts from your message, which I refuse to read in this form, it’s probably drivel anyway.

  2. Tara

    I’ve lived downwind from a coal power plant for a decade. I find it very frustrating to hear people complain about wind turbines showing up in their backyards – try living in mine. I would love to have wind turbines in place of the constant smog that’s pumped into the air 24/7.

    While I understand that some people (obviously yourself included) don’t like the looks of these machines, you really need to be up front about your arguments. Don’t say things that are convenient, but really are misleading. I’ll give you one example that I know of, as I’ve been following coal pollution issues for reasons you can guess. Denmark is one of the leaders in developing wind power, while they haven’t closed any coal power as a result, since the mid-90s, their coal plants don’t have to run as much or as often and their emissions have come down by about 33%. So, your statement above, while true, is intentionally misleading and I would say either intentionally dishonest or simply misinformed. Look it up on the Danish government’s webpage if you don’t believe me.

    If you don’t like the looks of the turbines, fine. I get that. But be honest about it. Don’t try to suggest you are “wearing green” because you support “real solutions” and then don’t offer any.

    I don’t like the looks of them either, but I like them a hell of a lot more than the smog I’ve been subjected to for years; where was “wind concerns Ontario”, Carlyn Moulton or Margaret Atwood when I am breathing in mercury and smog to power your homes???

    • Rucio

      The crucial point, Tara, is that wind has not proved to be a solution. WInd turbines are not replacing coal or nuclear plants, or even causing them to be used less.

    • Carlyn Moulton

      I am honest about it: I dont think that large clusters of industrial wind turbines plunked in front of our national parks, Unesco Biosphere Reserves (like the Thousand islands-Frontenac Arch), internationally recognized Important Bird Areas (IBAs), or significant tourist areas that are built around areas of natural beauty looks very good at all. Aesthetically it is a mistake. And it makes us look as if we cant consider more than one idea at a time.

      Im very sorry that you live downwind from a coal power plant. But the coal vs wind argument simply doesnt wash. First of all Canada is a significant exporter of coal – to plants just south of the border that burn the coal and those fumes just blow back in our faces. Most of our electrical power comes from other sources. Only about 3% comes from coal (see – ontario generation capacity and output for live proof of this. Last available data for 2:00pm today says it was 4% at that hour). We are wasting more than that in our excess hydro capacity almost daily. FYI, at the same time I looked at today’s wind output – it was between about 10 and 30% of its rated capacity. Depending.

      As to emissions reductions. Ill admit Im no expert in the subject, but Ive been doing alot of reading. states that Germany has had no emissions reductions that couldnt have been achieved otherwise. It also goes on to state the following:
      Denmark, a country with over 6,000 wind turbines, many offshore, finds that it needs to import electricity due to the intermittency of its wind generating units and export the wind power. In 2003, 84 percent of western Denmark’s wind-generated electricity was exported at a revenue loss. Denmark’s conventional power plants are generally run at full capacity backing-up their wind units. When the wind does blow, the wind power is usually surplus and exported to other countries at a discounted price.[37] In 2008, Denmark had 3.18 gigawatts of wind power, 2.6 percent of world capacity, ranking 9th overall.[xi]
      Britain has a European target of meeting 15 percent of its electricity demand in 2020 with renewable sources. Some government insiders feel the task is hopeless. The government’s clean-energy advisers have warned that Britain could spend £100bn over the next decade and still not hit the target. The credit crunch slowed the already slow rate of renewable deployment to a crawl. With financing and debt harder to come by, expensive offshore wind farms such as the London Array look less attractive to the big utilities.[xii] Almost half the power generated in Britain comes from coal and a bit more than a third from natural gas. Nuclear power stations contribute 17 percent and windmills provide 0.6 percent. Although the UK has built, with enormous subsidy, enough wind turbines to generate 5 percent of its electricity, no more than 1 percent is operational when needed since it is not operational during periods of intense heat or cold.[xiii] IN 2008, the UK had 3.24 gigawatts of wind capacity, 2.7 percent of the world total, and ranked 8th overall.[xiv]
      Spain has legislation that requires 20 percent of its electricity production to be from renewable energy by 2010. The Government’s Renewable Energy Plan expects to have 20,155 megawatts of wind capacity by 2010. Spain’s National Energy Commission estimates that 15,617 megawatts of wind capacity was installed by year-end 2008, 77 percent of the 2010 target, making Spain the third-largest country for installed wind capacity. In 2008, wind energy provided 10.2 percent of the country’s electric consumption at a price per kilowatt hour that was almost 50 percent higher than wind’s generating price 10 years prior, partly due to high premiums in the regulated rates for renewable energy and the requirement that all renewable energy be purchased by electricity retailers. To attract investors and make renewable energy profitable against other forms of energy, Spain found that renewable energy must be subsidized. Spain provides both regulated rates and direct incentives to attract investment and meet its policy goals. However, a Spanish university researcher found that the “green jobs” agenda that the Spanish Government has instituted, and to which the U.S. government now promotes, has, in fact, resulted in job loss elsewhere in the country’s economy. For each “green” megawatt installed, 5.28 jobs on average were lost in the Spanish economy, and for each megawatt of wind energy installed, 4.27 jobs were lost.[xv]

  3. Hi Margaret,

    white-on-black can use less energy because the screen of the person reading it doesn’t have to glow so much, screens are naturally dark. But Michael is right that it does make your site very hard to read. That’s a shame because it detracts from the important message you have to deliver. I’d opt for a dark-text/light-background if I were you, it’s a lot easier on the eyes.

    Good luck with getting rid of those wind-turbines. It’s about time the ‘environmental’ movement faced up to how useless they are in the real world.

  4. People have abandoned their homes because the noise and flicker were intolerable? Cite? (How many people? How many homes? And, really, they just ran screaming out of their houses, never to return?)

    Turbines make all the bats in an unspecified surrounding area die? Cite?

    The government (which government?) has stated that wind turbines (alone) will eliminate fossil fuel dependency, solve climate change, and save the planet? Cite?

    Communities with wind turbines (which?) have, as a direct or indirect result of building wind turbines, had to increase their electricity output? Cite?

    (That sygration website requires a log-in. Also see above re: causation.)

    I’m all for looking critically at wind turbines. It’s a contentious issue in my town too; it throws into relief questions of who gets to have a say in how the landscape is altered. And, yes, we should take a critical look at who wants to make money off them! However, we need to start building up alternate sources of energy, including solar panels and, yes, wind turbines. Yes, let’s be sensible and make sure people have their say, and let’s make sure we’re not trying to rely entirely on one alternate source-but let’s do so without the laughably spurious claims and alarmism.

    In the 1830s and 1840s a large contingent of the population here and in America believed railroads were a kind of apocolypse. Railroads were called a device of Satan! Horse-killers! Destroyers of the beautiful landscape! You’d get in a crash and have a concussion to the brain! Now they’ve taken root and are part of the landscape, and indispensible to millions.

    • Lauren, how about the fact that wind turbines do not reduce CO2 emissions?

      They simply don’t do what they claim to do when you analyse the lifecycle of production, use, and disposal. They are not reliable, you need baseload backup, typically natural gas, so they do not eliminate fossil fuels at all. They also take a huge amount of raw material to produce. Wind turbines simply do not scale up well enough to solve the problem.

      • I’d love to read a study that proved this! Or at least supported this.

        Not so much interested in a paper by retired nuclear waste engineer, linked in a blog that 1. reads like an info-mercial for nuclear power and 2. consistently misspells “skeptic.”

      • Lauren, “skeptic” is spelled “sceptic” in the more civilised regions of the English speaking world (e.g. UK, Australia).

        The blog is run by a climate scientist, who is pragmatically looking for real-world solutions to the climate and energy crises. I suggest you look just a little deeper than your apparently superficial scan.

        If you have data/analysis/theory to refute what Peter Lang has calculated about wind power and its capacity to reduce carbon emissions, I’d like to hear that. Otherwise, baseless attacks on someone’s credibility does you no favours.

      • No. An unpublished and presumably unreviewed article by a retired nuclear waste engineer, linked from a heavily pro-nuclear-energy blog, can’t march in here masquerading as a genuine unbiased assessment of wind turbines.

        Maybe there are actual peer-reviewed published articles out there that reach the same conclusion? Because that I’d read.

      • Mike Barnard


        I’ve read through a couple of Peter Lang’s un-peer reviewed articles, as well as a great deal of Barry Brook’s blog (also un-peer reviewed, although he has a devoted following of professionals from the nuclear industry posting on it).

        The arguments that they make about wind turbines not reducing CO2 emissions are based on the a simplistic model in which the only mechanism for offsetting variability is gas generation. They use this as a basis to say that the ONLY power-generation mechanism that can and should be invested in is nuclear.

        They extend this to assume that wind turbines are the only variable generation source on the local grid and that power storage mechanisms are not a part of the solution.

        They finally assume that nuclear generation technology which is expected to be commercially present in 2021 is actually available now, based on several experimental reactors and one reactor actually producing power.

        Oddly, for such technically inclined individuals, they also dismiss demand and distribution management that are provided by smart grids and smart metering.

        In their world, all that is required is for governments to invest heavily now to re-kickstart nuclear development and deployment. I believe the number they use is one nuclear power plant per week for the next 25 years.

        For a very interesting read, I would look at this Californian study on the cost of various energy types ( This, plus the extensively peer-reviewed Jacobsen work that they denigrate, should give a more comprehensive view of the energy world. (

        To be clear, I think nuclear will continue to be part of the energy ecosystem. However, let’s be clear that Lang and Brooks are in the nothing-but-nuclear camp.


      • MA

        They assume: “variable generation source on the local grid and that power storage mechanisms are not a part of the solution.”

        Please name me another source of power on our grid that is non-dispatchable and as intermittent, unreliable and variable as wind energy.

        Please name me one source of storage mechanism (not fairy-tale, futuristic maybes, but ones in actual wide-spread use that are suitable and economically viable for southern Ontario)

      • Mike Barnard

        Good questions, MA.

        Let’s start with the assumption of local grid only, as that is key to this discussion. Let’s start locally:

        These links provides guidance for micro-generation of all sorts providing power into Ontario’s fairly robust grid: wind, solar, storage, etc. This is the internal linkage within Ontario.

        These links show that Ontario is connected externally to other jurisdictions:

        While there are reasonably strong arguments for the cost of grid extensions in other parts of the world (but extended until they squeal by the hard energy path crowd, including our nuclear friends), they are weaker for Ontario.

        In Ontario, we’re already connected and distribute power internally and externally. This is not a local to Western Lake Erie or Wolfe Island discussion, but a North Western North America discussion.

        As soon as we move outside of the very local space, our alternatives open up quite considerably. Solar is still weak in NW America: you don’t have desert and 12 hours of sunlight a day. You do have coal plants (12.5% scheduled and unscheduled downtime), nuclear (scheduled outages in Darlington — and Pickering – and gas turbines (tend to keep going, but up and down to accomodate existing surges and shortfalls in the infrastructure). All this is to say that your existing electricity grid is made up of many sources of many levels of stability and instability. Limiting the discussion to two, as our nuclear-loving friends Brook and Lang do, is disingenuous. Windfarms participate in the energy eco-system.

        As for storage, I’ll just point you to this site: and quote them: “Pumped hydro was first used in Italy and Switzerland in the 1890’s. By 1933 reversible pump-turbines with motor-generators were available. Adjustable speed machines are now being used to improve efficiency. Pumped hydro is available at almost any scale with discharge times ranging from several hours to a few days. Their efficiency is in the 70% to 85% range.” Please read the rest of the information, and understand that most of the technologies involved are evolving rapidly under demand.

        Finally, I’ll suggest you review this paper which shows that bright, educated people are working hard on the very difficult problem of forecasting and managing cross-border energy flows due to wind technology:


      • MA

        Again, Mike

        Please name me another source of power on our grid that is non-dispatchable and as intermittent, unreliable and variable as wind energy. You say investing billions and billions of dollars to create an entire new infrastructure simply to accomodate thousands and thousands of massive wind turbines (that only last 20 years anyway). You’re living in a fairy tale world completely disconnected from the reality of finances and the rest of society’s needs.

        Please name me one source of storage mechanism (not fairy-tale, futuristic maybes, but ones in actual wide-spread use that are suitable and economically viable for southern Ontario). Again, you didn’t answer this question. There are very few, if any, places for feasible hydro dams to be built in Southern Ontario. Or do you want to dam up Niagara Falls to accomodate these wind machines? Why not just let the water flow and get the energy at a much, much cheaper rate than wind? You, as I predicted, could only come up with a solution that is a futuristic maybe, not is wide-spread use and not suitable or economically feasible in Ontario.

        Theoretical academia and the real world are two different things, I’m afraid. Someday that fact will hit you right between the eyes.

      • @Mike

        If you read through the comment threads on Barry’s blog, you will find the discussion is every bit as harsh and demanding as any peer review. Since he has also published guest-posts from members of Friends of the Earth, you can hardly accuse him of singing to the choir. There’s a regular flow of criticism, both constructive and otherwise, and coming from all sides too. Barry always allows the discussion to flow freely, unlike many blogs. Read through some of the comment threads and you’ll see the level at which they address technical issues with any of their papers or posts. Any published scientist will recognise that this is peer review in its most masochistic form.

        Barry has gone through some serious work on pretty much every form of renewable there is, see his TCASE series for the results. He has arrived at his conclusions after careful consideration and lots of analysis. Dismissing him because of the opinion he holds, while ignoring how he arrived at that opinion, is poor form. That’s equivalent to dismissing anyone who disagrees with you simply because they disagree with you.

        Jacobsen, on the other hand, was published in Scientific American. Sci-Am isn’t peer reviewes, but it is sponsored, by Shell, no less. Not very encouraging, that…

        If you don’t like the model Peter proposes, please, develop your own. Yes, there are simplifications, to make the problem tractable, but they are explained up-front, and there’s nothing to stop someone developing the model further. Can you do better than natural gas as a backup? What other source would you use, how much would it cost, and how well would it reduce CO2 emissions?

        It is precisely because of the opennes of the analysis and discussions on BraveNewClimate that I hold their results in high regard. I can check them for myself, and challenge them on anything I don’t understand. That’s why I believe them when they say that wind turbines will not reduce emissions significantly.

      • Mike Barnard

        Hi Tony . . .

        To exactly your point, I did read extensively on the blog and did find it to be an open and rewarding discussion, if skewed to nuclear industry professionals and advocates.

        As someone who recognizes the need for nuclear in our energy infrastructure, I don’t have a problem with that aspect of it at all.

        However, I find that strongly nuclear crowd has the same challenge as Jacobsens material (which by the way is peer reviewed as part of his Stanford work). Specifically, they both disregard the adjacent NIMBYisms that will prevent wind and solar from being fully exploited in some areas, while preventing nuclear from being fully exploited in others and clean coal in yet other areas.

        Any solution which requires human nature to change is doomed to failure. Anyone who claims that there is only a single ‘right’ answer to a wicked problem ( like our energy ecosystem is highly likely to be wrong.


      • Mike Barnard

        Hi MA . . .

        Unfortunately, you are developing a strong tendency to ignore what I write.

        The logical arguments and source material I provided above show that the need for new sources of dispatchable energy and the need to invest in strongly challenged technologies such as coal is strongly mitigated by the broad energy grid. As Jacobsen and others have shown, where a strong grid exists, the variance of a large number of widely distributed wind sources cancels out.

        You are insisting on wind being something it doesn’t need to be in order for it to be a useful and clean part of our energy ecosystem.

        The specific mechanism for using hydro as storage where hydro already exists is covered in that collateral. Simply let the water levels behind dams rise when the wind or sun is generating ample energy. You don’t have to pump it uphill or build new dams in Ontario. My apologies if I didn’t think it necessary to explain every step in the logical chain.

        Further, if you were not specifically an anti-windmill advocate — as you are the moderator and likely a paid employee of Wind Concerns Ontario, this will be difficult for you to deny) — you would be able to figure out for yourself where the technologies listed in the source provided would be useful in the energy eco-system. However, your posts show that you are only interested in attacking anything which supports windpower, regardless of how useful that will be in other contexts outside of your narrow and negative focus.

        I’m quite happy to debate Lang and Brooks on their approaches and numbers. They are mostly intellectually rigorous and open to debate.


      • MA

        I’m afraid you are ignoring what I am saying. Yes we could invest trillions at the expense of our society…giving up everything else to bend over backwards to accomodate wind.

        There ARE NO DAMS in southern Ontario. Again, you’re fairy-tale thinking. But even if we could build dams to accomodate your theory…that would destroy wildlife habitat, wetlands and/or ruin precious farmland…all to accomodate a source of power that only produces 28% of it’s capacity. Isn’t this getting rather mad-scientist silly? Where does feasibility come into your equations?

        Do you think WCO has a budget for employees? LOL Next thing you’ll accuse me of being paid by the nuclear, oil, coal, bloom-box, nazi party, whatever. You’ve been seriously damaged by propoganda, my friend.

        I’ve come to the conclusion wind power is a smoke and mirrors, expensive, corporate-driven joke. That doesn’t make me evil, does it?

      • Mike Barnard


        I’ll take this one more irrefutable step for you, MA.

        1. The Ontario grid is highly interconnected internally and externally, highly instrumented and intelligently managed. Generation instrumentation and automation preceeded distribution smart metering by several years.
        2. Ontario’s own hydro can be managed in the manner described above regardless of where it is. That’s the point of large, remote energy generation with hard energy paths.
        3. “Ontario already purchases power from Quebec, Manitoba, New York and Michigan”

        This means that the windfarms across Ontario compensate for each others’ variances and that there is substantial hydro across Ontario and in other jurisdictions where hydro-based storage can be used.

        Acting locally requires thinking globally.


      • MA

        Michael, the theory that “the wind always blow somewhere” has been completely discredited, even CanWEA doesn’t spout that nonsense anymore. How old are the articles you’re reading?

        When we have a hot, muggy day (windless), it is pretty well the same across all of ON, QC and the entire eastern seaboard. Have you monitored Sygration and seen the pitiful output by 1,100+ MW spread across the province? Often the output in is the single digits. Less than 1% of capacity.

        Germany and Denmark have shown that “theory” is nonsense. Why is Germany now building 26 new coal plants? Because they need dispatchable power to balance out the whacky wind.

        Citing “the wind always blows somewhere”, Michael, shows your lack of understanding of the electrical grid. You are suckling off exaggerated, industry-promoted propoganda, my friend.

    • Carlyn Moulton

      For the experience of people who have left their homes – not a trifling matter, or done without agonizing over the decision – google Barbara Ashbee or see her video on youtube at

      She is one of the people who has left. They didnt run screaming from their homes, but after months of not being able to sleep or experiencing various other issues – including chronic annoyance – they sought refuge elsewhere. All have had to sign gag orders, but she is speaking out anyway. There are a number of other families. WindConcernsOntario has their names and addresses of their properties.

      Sygration site does not require a log in. Try this

      There you can see capacity and output in real time for all electrical generating facilities in Ontario. (There is a one hour lag)

      Re bats.
      Visit Current Biology 18(16) pp. R695 – R696 Barotrauma is a significant cause of bat fatalities at wind turbines for a description of how the air pressure causes their lungs to collapse. Other sources are
      Bats significantly reduce insect damage to plants, report researchers from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and the University of Michigan.

      Using nets to control the presence of bats and birds at certain times of the day in a Panamanian rainforest and a Mexican coffee plantation, the scientists found that bats can be more effective pest control agents than birds.

      In Panama, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) biologists found that “bats can consume roughly twice as many plant-eating insects as do birds.”

      “Uncovered control plants accessed by both bats and birds lost merely 4.3 percent of their leaf area to insect herbivores. When only birds were excluded, plants lost 7.2 percent of their leaf area,” reported STRI. “When only bats were excluded, plants lost a striking 13.3 percent of their leaf area”

      The University of Michigan study showed similar results at a 740-acre organic coffee plantation in Chiapas, Mexico.

      Re government claims for wind turbines, see

      Re increasing electricity output. Due to the governments policy of preferencial treatment for expensive renewable energy, existing available capacity of other forms of energy creation – such as hydro – are being dumped or sold to accomodate the renewable energy. (see sygration above for existing hdryo capacity vs utilization). All jursidictions have had to create on-line back ups – usually coal or gas – due to the unreliability of the wind. This information – from Spain and Denmark for example – is readily available.

      Regarding your final point. No sensible person would argue that all things belong in all places. Thats why we have zoning. Trains are great, but not in playgrounds, as an example.

      Each turbine requires tones of steel, 300 tonnes of concrete, rebar, roads, transmission lines. It is my contention that dumping tonnes of concrete, steel and rebar and creating forty story high buildings with whirring blades the size of a 747 going 200 km/hr in prime agricultural soil, sensitive fish habitats, bird nesting sites, exquisite areas of rare natural beauty, migration paths, next to people’s homes, in the precise areas where people seek respite from the noise and bustle of the city, in areas known for organic farming or viticulture…is folly. Folly as defined by Barbara Tuchman in the March of Folly. She had three conditions for her definition of folly. The leaders had choices. Lots of smart people said, “Wait a minute – this is a big mistake, so dont do it”. And lots of other negative consequences were sure to follow. The GEA seems to fit the bill.

  5. Pingback: What are the advantages and disadvantages of using solar power to generate electricity?

  6. There have been fatalities of bats around wind turbines (more than that of birds). And there are simple methods of reducing fatalities currently in development:

    So a discussion of these actual data would be more interesting to me dismissing the entire idea as “folly.”

  7. MA

    Lauren, one thing I’ve really noticed about those that embrace the “green” mantra so fanatically is their lack of compassion for human beings. Your post demonstrates how hostile people react when their paradigm is slightly disturbed. You are cruel and callous and are literally spitting on these people.

    6 homes were bought out in the Melancthon area at a cost of $1.75 mil by Canadian Hydro Developers due to serious problems caused to the residents. They were all required to sign a gag order not to disclose the problems but many are now ignoring that order and speaking out anyway.

    At the Ripley project, Suncor is paying for a couple of families to live in hotels because the noise is so bad. This has been going on for about 18 months. In Clear Creek, 5 families are now sharing a respite cottage they have rented to get some sleep when the turbine noise and vibration gets bad.

    In Port Alma, one woman is reporting her young children are vomiting and unable to sleep when the turbines are going full blast. You want citations? The McGuinty government and the wind companies are doing everything in their power to ignore and discredit this. They allowed these turbines to be built far too close to homes.

    Lauren, I suggest you take a good long look into your values and your soul. Very ugly from where I sit.

    • Mike Barnard

      My apologies MA, but I don’t find the information you provide to be highly credible.

      The ‘dirty power’ myth that Collings espouses has been discredited by every peer-reviewed study of the past 30 years. As one source says, electro-magnetic radiation is much more widely tested than the vast majority of drugs.

      Assertions that you have original source material that is unavailable to others and pointing to non-credible sources such as Mr. Collings does not a useful argument make.

      And, to be clear, your numbers do not add up to “many, man” either.

      The credible resarch indicates that annoyance-based stress is a concern for a small subset of people. The property value concern is not borne out by evidence, as studies show it to be a statistical wash.

      Asserting that people are suffering in silence implies you can read their minds. It’s much more likely that unless agitators whip up concerns and fears, most people are happily going about their daily lives without any impact whatsoever.


      • MA

        Mike, even Suncor admitted there was a serious stray voltage problem. That’s why the finally buried the lines. That’s why they evacuated 7 families for two months and are still putting up some in motels. That’s why they disconnected the homes from the grid and put them all on diesel generators. There was a problem in the engineering of the connections. You people are so incredibly niave. You hate the oil barons? Well these are the same guys, for pete’s sake. Just because they are building wind turbines, do you think their ethics have changed?

        By people suffering in silence, I mean they are not going to the media. Believe me, I’ve spoken to many of these people, almost daily…I am not “reading their minds”. I am in regular contact with Dr. Robert McMurty, former Assistant Deputy Minister of Health and former Dean of Medicine at UWO. He can explain the situation that has arisen much better than I.

      • MA

        Mike, your response is typical of many whose belief system is challenged. Tell me ….why are are identical symptoms in Japan, UK, US, Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, France. What has changed is the governments are allowing these turbines to get larger and sited closer and closer to people’s home.

      • Mike Barnard

        MA, I do apologize, but I went behind the Wind Vigilance site and behind many of the articles on your site to the original sources.

        The World Health paper quoted on Wind Vigilance has the following lines in summary of its findings on windpower on p.70.
        – “The ExternE Project considered wind energy to have the lowest level of impacts (health and environmental), of all the
        fuel cycles considered (CIEMAT 1998).”
        – “Within the ExternE comparison, health effects from wind energy are negligible,”

        Note that these quotes are from the same paragraph as the sentence Wind Vigilance prefers to quote. Note that I provide the direct link, although Wind Vigilance chooses not to.

        In this instance, I not only find your sources lacking in credibility, but also honesty.


      • MA

        So Mike. You take an industrial lobby group’s literature as the gospel truth. CanWEA is a lobbyist group to promote the financial interests of the wind energy corporations. They are not environmentalists, believe me. 🙂

        Yet, you don’t believe a panel of doctors and other professionals. Hmm.

        So do you go to the Tobacco Lobbyists to learn about cigarettes?

        You seem very hostile to me. Why is that? Does my information frighten you? Is your belief system so tightly ruled that you must call those who question it liars? I am being so totally honest with you about everything.

        I’m sorry if this information doesn’t fit into the fairy tale spun by the wind lobbyists. Apparently if it’s not on the mainstream Toronto media and taught in your schools, it cannot be true. I’m very sorry for you.

      • Mike Barnard

        MA, the paper in question is hosted on the CanWEA site, but it is the study referenced by Wind Vigilance.

        Here is the same paper, hosted on a World Health Organization website.

        Note that it is the conference proceedings from the Fourth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health, Budapest, Hungary, 23–25 June 2004.
        “WHO/Europe has coordinated a multidisciplinary international team of experts to produce a scientific-technical overview of the impact on health of energy cycles and of energy and transport policies, presented and discussed in Budapest.”

        The best citations on Wind Vigilance — if you actually read them — are evidence that some people may get annoyed by windmills, and as a result they experience stress and stress related illnesses.

        So, yes, I do trust the World Health Organization more than the Wind Vigilance organization.

        You might wish to ask why the full paper is hosted on the CanWEA site, and only a misleading quote is referenced on the Wind Vigilance site.

        PS: As for your increasingly personal references to my motivations and tone, please understand if I let our comparative posts speak for themselves on the subject.

  8. MA

    This company lets you pay more for your electricity (even though you get the same as everyone else on the grid) for the status symbol of saying your home is powered with “wind power”. What other corporation has people just GIVE them money for nothing in return? No wonder the wind industry is taking over our rural communities and natural areas. Right now there are wind projects planned for every single IBA in Ontario.

  9. Hi MA,

    Asking for a cite is in fact different from (literally) spitting on people. A cite gives us something substantive to talk about rather than getting all ad hominem.

    Those stories you describe sound awful and I really would like to know more about them. I go around supporting wind-turbine development but what you’re describing (kids getting physically sick, people having to be relocated just to get some sleep) is horrific and untenable.

    I looked around for more info because I’d been woefully unaware of all this. There’s not much about it online or in article databases but then again you mention that it’s been surpressed and that the victims have had a hard time getting their voices heard. You mention that the people of Melancthon who’ve experienced some of these problems are speaking out in spite of the gag order. To that end, all I could find was this:

    …which unfortunately has a lot of second-hand stuff (“… Mr. Collings cited horror stories”) and some really bad science (“electricity radiates from the walls”). Can you help me locate some of the tests or first-hand stories?

    All the same, I appreciate their point that “no known health risks” doesn’t mean “no health risks.” Clearly the people in the meeting referenced above were not satisfied with the process of building the turbines, and they weren’t satisfied that enough tests had been done on their potential impact.

    So does that mean that no wind turbines must ever be built, anywhere, ever again? Or does it mean that we need to do a better job with them?

  10. MA

    Thank you, Lauren for your compassion. These people don’t run screaming out of their house one day. They live for months and months with sleeplessness, extreme annoyance that results in mental and physical. Some are experiencing other symptoms such as bleeding noses (when stray voltage is involved).

    I’ve seen all D. Collings studies. They are available to anyone if they want to see them. These people live for months like this hoping it will get better…not wanting to believe that them must abandon their home. Afraid to speak out because that too would make their homes worthless.

    All of this is documented through the collections of news articles, studies, etc at Click on categories.

    I have the land transfers from the Orangeville lands office documenting all these buyouts. I have personal contact with many of these people. One of them is a former Green Party candidate. She was thrilled when the turbines came to her neighbourhood. Now she spends the majority of nights sleeping at her daughter’s house or in a motel.

  11. Yes, I’ve read those studies cited in the Wind Concerns website–and many others. The conclusions vary, but they seem to be that there needs to be a distance of several miles and the nearest domicile (and/or maybe turning the turbines off at night). Which seems reasonable.

    You say that D. Collings’ studies (describing the vomiting and the bloody noses, etc.) are available to anyone if they want to see them. I’d quite like to!

    • This article describes EMF readings around one of the farms. The one health issue mentioned is an earache. The author recommends that the problem would be resolved if the cables were buried underground.

      • MA

        Yes, and after months and months of pleas to the company, being ignored by the Liberal government, and finally screaming it out to the media…Suncor finally buried some of the lines, but not all of them. The family of Glen Wyld are still living in a hotel. Many people who have gone into that house have to leave immediately. The readings are still way off the chart. I read in the Tor Star, that a dog had been zapped by some stray voltage in Toronto. It made front page news. But this…well, the Toronto media and the politicians don’t want to put wind power in any negative light…so it is scoffed at and ignored. The thing is we have solid proof with scientific readings and Carol Mitchell, the MPP for the area refuses to even meet with these people. Bad press, you see.

  12. Rucio

    As members of the Bullfrog Founders Club, “who have pledged their support for green power”, Atwood and her husband “have provided the demand for several new wind projects in Canada” ( I trust they are lobbying Bullfrog Power to reassess whether wind is in fact green.

  13. So really it’s a great call to the barricades to address: 1. spoilt views and 2. shabby process. This might be an example of how not to build a large-scale wind farm. Fair enough.

    But I do find it disingenuous that the organisers are making the leap that all wind farms are “folly.” From what I’ve read here, they’re invoking the spectres of sick children, barren crops, blood, vomit, random electrocutions–only to get coy/defensive when asked for some data. I don’t see how that’s helpful to anyone.

    • MA

      You are very wrong, Lauren, and apparently too arrogant to to learn anything.

      • No, I’ve learned a lot! As someone who’s worked with survivors of Chernobyl, I was interested in the many documented health effects you referred to. And after begging for something out of these great hidden banks of data, I got a documented case of an earache.

    • MA

      Hidden banks of data. Funny you mention that. CanWEA lobbied the CWS to make all their database of all bird fatalities exempt from the FOIA. CWS complied siting “proprietary information”. Since when is damage to the environment proprietary information? How is this related to trade secrets? So, the wind industry has guaranteed that we will never know…as they have all along.

      Chernobyl…So your compassion to humans does not extend to those who are hurt by politically-correct sources of energy. Nuclear – bad…Wind…good.

      There are enough studies available on the WCO site to keep you busy for months. No one is hiding anything.

    • Rosa Goldman

      Your experience with Chernobyl should have primed you to question self-protective industry claims, not to deny or mock them.

  14. charlotte mckeough

    Is there a rally at Queens Park about Wind Farms on April 28th or not?

    • Mike Barnard

      Yup, there’s a credible source:

      Keith Stelling is a member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists of Great Britain and the College of Practitioners of Phytotherapy (England). Over the past five years he has been exploring the healing power of art through oil paintings and meditational photographs. You can view his work at

      The referenced paper is, of course, not peer reviewed. And, oddly enough, it references Peter Lang’s equally non-peer reviewed material.

      The frequent use of yellow highlighting and italics is counter-balanced by the lack of exclamation marks.


      • MA

        Can you not comment on the content itself? Easy and fun to attack a person, isn’t it? Focus, Mike, Focus.

  15. marg09

    Lake wind farms yet to be approved
    Saturday, April 17, 2010
    The Windsor Star

    Ontario Natural Resources Minister Linda Jeffrey said Friday her ministry hasn’t given final approval to any offshore wind turbine projects in any of the Great Lakes.

    She said the government would soon be clarifying the approval process for renewable energy projects given that several ministries have overlapping responsibility. “I think there is some confusion,” she said.

    Jeffrey is aware of the controversy over the public consultation launched by Leamington’s SouthPoint Wind for its expanded 715-turbine proposal for Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair.

    Essex MP Jeff Watson said he’s been trying to get clarification from several federal ministries over the obstacles offshore energy projects face to get environmental assessment approval. SouthPoint, so far, hasn’t begun a federal EA application, Watson said.

  16. Mike Barnard

    For Lauren and others interested in health effects of windmills, here’s the bibliography of useful links and conclusions I’ve assembled:

    Part 1:
    – Rural dwellers close windmills that are not receiving economic benefits from the windmills and can see them are annoyed by the noise and this leads to stress and stress-related symptoms, especially sleep loss. This is exacerbated by the ‘nocebo’ effect of anti-wind advocacy groups highlighting symptoms and false syndromes.
    – Further studies are reasonably warranted on peripheral health concerns, although it is unlikely that they will be considered economically justifiable by either health departments or the wind industry.

    WHO Fourth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health,
    Budapest, Hungary, June 2004
    Credibility: High
    Telling quotes:
    – The ExternE Project considered wind energy to have the lowest level of impacts (health and environmental), of all the
    fuel cycles considered (CIEMAT 1998).
    – Within the ExternE comparison, health effects from wind energy are negligible,
    – noise pollution may be a problem if turbines are situated close to centres of population

    • Mike Barnard

      For those interested in a realistic sense of the health concerns of wind, please track the number of respondents that:
      1. Reference UK National Health Institute demolition of Dr. Pierpoint’s work linked above(zero so far, and expected to remain so)
      2. Attempt to refute the World Health Organization study linked above which showed negligible health effects from wind turbines and the relative weighting of health effects from a variety of energy sources (zero so far, and expected to remain so)

      Regarding the nocebo reaction, it was first named in 1961 in relation to medical trials. Please see these references:
      – Kennedy, W P., “The Nocebo Reaction”, Medical World, Vol.95, (September 1961), pp.203-205.
      – Lasagna, L., Mosteller, F., von Felsinger, J.M. & Beecher, H.K., “A Study of the Placebo Response”, American Journal of Medicine, Vol.16, No.6, (June 1954), pp.770-779.
      – 2003 SAE-P: Psychosomatic concepts in chronic pain, Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Volume 84, Issue null, Pages S81-S81, J. Webster
      – Spiegel, H. (1997). Nocebo: the power of suggestibility. Preventive Medicine, 26 (5):616-621.
      – Barsky AJ, Saintfort R, Rogers MP, Borus JF. Nonspecific medication side effects and the nocebo phenomenon. JAMA. 2002;287:622–7. [PubMed]
      – Lorenz, J., Hauck, M., Paura, R.C., Nakamura, Y., Zimmermann, R., Bromm, B. & Engela, A.K., “Cortical Correlates of False Expectations During Pain Intensity Judgments — A Possible Manifestation of Placebo/Nocebo Cognitions”, Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, Vol.19, No.4, (July 2005), pp.283-295.
      – Hahn, R.A., “The Nocebo Phenomenon: Concept, Evidence, and Implications for Public Health”, Preventive Medicine, Vol.26, No.5, (September 1997), pp.607-611.
      – and etcetera


      • Mike, have you actually read, I mean carefully read, the NHS “savaging” of Pierpont’s work? Here’s the first sentence of their summary.

        “This study provides no conclusive evidence that wind turbines have an effect on health or are causing the set of symptoms described here as “wind turbine syndrome”.”

        Nobody, even Pierpont herself, has ever said it would. Case studies are hardly ever conclusive. In fact, again from their summary,

        “The author acknowledges some of the study’s weaknesses and states that the next step would be an epidemiological study.”

        Followed by

        “One possibility would be to compare “wind turbine syndrome” like symptoms in people who live near wind turbines with those who don’t. This would show how common these symptoms are in the different groups.”

        Nissenbaum is working on a cohort study that does just this, and his preliminary reports show the differences between the groups are just about absolute.

        Could her thesis have some merit? Maybe…

        “However, it is physically and biologically plausible that low frequency noise generated by wind turbines can affect people, and the author puts forward several possible theories regarding this.”

        Nothing in the NHS report says Pierpont is making things up, or proposing nonsense. Actually, au contraire…

      • Now for the ExterneE reference. I trust you understand that this was not a health study, and didn’t concern itself in any detail about wind turbines. It was a literature review and made general comments about the environmental impacts of different technologies, and found that wind was lowest. While that may or may not be true (we end up slipping back into the emission-savings argument) it says nothing about the effect of the turbines on the neighbors, which is what we are discussing here.

        In fact, as you pointed out, they admit noise could be a problem. And as they further point out,

        “Within the ExternE comparison, health effects from wind energy are negligible, however issues such as sleep disturbance, school absenteeism, eventually resulting from noise in vicinity, could not be evaluated.”

        Mike, I don’t know where your interest in all this lies, but what you are doing with these references is exactly what the WEA’s do. You take honestly-written sources and either cherry-pick them, or claim they say something they don’t.

        There are hundreds, if not thousands, of people from all around the world reporting noise-related problems with wind turbines. All of these cannot be due to nocebo, jealousy, hysteria or whatever. What we are asking for is an honest and serious study of all these complaints. I can guarantee you that if a drug produced this many complaints, the government would be all over it. Why should wind turbines be given a pass?

  17. Mike Barnard

    Part 2:
    Wind Turbine Sound and Health Effects:An Expert Panel Review
    NHS Assessment of Study:
    Wind Vigilance Assessment:
    Credibility: Moderate
    Sample: Literature study (methodology of selection undetermined)
    Key notes:
    – industry sponsored study countered by selection of a credible panel (except did not have epidemiologist)
    – Strong finding: modern windmill designs do not emit ultra-low frequency sound with related physiological distress
    – Strong finding: the ‘nocebo’ effect, where someone that is told they should be experiencing a symptom starts to experience it
    – Strong finding: some people will experience noise-related annoyance leading to stress and attendant complications
    – Weaker finding: good maintenance prevents much related noise – dependent on high-quality of ongoing maintenance with questionable payback
    – Controversial finding: no further funding recommended for further studies (that was their recommendation to the wind industry that funded them only, not to national health services, research organizations etc)
    – Wind Vigilance assessment calls out lack of reference to Pierpoint / Nissenbaum studies as key weakness; my assessment is that they should be excluded for reasons listed below

    Project WINDFARMperception: Visual and acoustic impact of wind turbine farms on residents. June 2, 2008 by van den Berg, Pedersen, Bouma, and Bakker
    Credibility: Moderate to High
    Sample size: survey of 725 residents, 37% response
    Key Findings:
    – There is a very strong correlation between economic benefit and perceived noise and annoyance.
    – There is a very strong correlation between visibility of windmill and perceived noise and annoyance.
    – This strongly supports ‘nocebo’ effect finding above.

    • Shame on you Mike. You mentioned that one of the key findings from the van den Berg study was the strong support for the nocebo effect. The problem is, the word “nocebo” isn’t to be found in that study. Apparently that was YOUR interpretation, phrased to make it seem like it was van den Berg’s. Here’s what van den Berg himself said.

      “Another reason for the low prevalence of annoyance amongst respondents with an economical benefit may be that they have more control over the wind turbines… Respondents that benefit will more usually have control: most or all of them have taken part in the decision to put up the turbines and they can stop them if they want. One respondent remarked that if a turbine close by caused too much noise for him or his neighbour, he stopped the turbine.”

      Did you catch that Mike? Some (all? – they don’t say) people with the turbines on their property can TURN THEM OFF. This is a critical point. The one place we’d most like to control our environment is our home. Victims can no longer do so. The noise can’t be avoided, and it goes on for days and nights at a time.

    • Mike Barnard

      Hi wgulden. You’re correct that Dr. van Den Berg doesn’t use the term nocebo and it is my inference. I didn’t mean to imply otherwise.


  18. Mike Barnard

    Part 3:
    Wind Turbine Syndrome: A report on a natural experiment, by Nina Pierpont, MD PhD, Publisher: K-Selected (vanity press)
    Related NHS Assessment:
    Credibility: Low
    Sample size: 38 people (23 direct; 15 hearsay)
    Relevant material:
    – a new syndrome based on studying 38 people – Wind Turbine Syndrome
    – no control group
    – NHS quote: “Many participants had pre-existing comorbidities at baseline
    – 66 pages of tables based on a direct sample of 23 people
    – Not peer reviewed

    Mars Hill wind turbine project health effects: preliminary findings, March 25, 2009 by Michael A. Nissenbaum, MD
    Credibility: low
    Sample size: 15 people
    Relevant points:
    – author is a radiologist (unrelated discipline)
    – author is on the advisory board of an anti-windmill advocacy ground, Wind Vigilance
    – not peer reviewed

    • Tell me, Mike, have you read the Pierpont book? Apparently you missed the 4 referee reports in the back and the 5 reviews in the front, all by medical professionals. Perhaps you are also not aware of the longitudinal nature of her study, where she builds the before-during-after history of her subjects. Pierpont herself recognizes that her book is not the end-all of the discussion. What she and other health professionals want is a real health study. And after they’d read her book, I’d think just about anyone with an open mind would agree that maybe a study is warranted.

      Now to Nissenbaum. He interviewed roughly half the people who lived close to the Mars Hill project. Almost all of them had, since the turbines started operating, suffered some medical condition, mostly related to sleep disturbance but also including some of Pierpont’s symptoms, enough to go to a doctor about it. Shouldn’t that serve as a cautionary tale, one that needs further study? As for being a member of an anti-windmill group, he wasn’t a member – the group didn’t even exist – when he wrote the presentation you referenced.

  19. MA

    That piece of fluff was a industry-sponsored “defense tactic”. There was no original “study” done. It was nothing more than a glorified google search with paid off experts of the wind industry. They picked and choose which research or lack thereof to present to please their employer.

    Colby was warned by the College of Physicians not to pass himself off as an expert because he had no qualifications or experience in this area. He choose to ignore them. Money must have been good. CanWEA is rolling in dough. You do realize CanWEA is not an environmental group, they are industrial lobbyists, right?

    The UK National Health Service concluded the CanWEA study was nothing more than a non-systematic review of literature. They reported:

    •There is no clear description of the methods the researchers used to search for available research, nor how they rated the quality of the research they found. Therefore, it is not possible to say that all relevant research was identified, or comment on the reliability of the research that was included.

    •This review panel was commissioned by an industry group, and included a variety of academic perspectives, but not an epidemiologist. Someone with this specific skill set should be included when environmental health hazards are assessed.

    •The link between psychological distress and physical symptoms has not been explored by this report. The acknowledgment that some people exposed to wind turbine noise suffer annoyance suggests that monitoring and maximum permitted levels need to be considered carefully in areas where turbines are planned.

    • MA

      And then the “panel” concluded…no more research needed…nothing to see here. Don’t look any further folks, everything’s under control! Does that sound like science? or business?

    • Mike Barnard

      Yup. The NHS link was in my post. I’ve read all of the contents of the links and formed my opinion regarding relative credibility. I’d recommend others to do the same.

      How exactly do you explain away the World Health Organization?


  20. MA

    You are not answering my questions.

  21. Mike Barnard

    I’ve been reading up on the nocebo reaction. It strikes me as highly plausible that anti-wind advocates, including the medical advisors to Wind Vigilance, are actually causing or worsening a subset of the noise-related annoyance stress symptoms. This implies that Dr. Pierpoint and other medical doctors associated with anti-wind advocacy this are contravening a fundamental tenet of medical ethics: “first, do no harm”.


  22. Having just watched Dirty Oil and listened to the background noise of the windfarms behind Lester Brown as he spoke, i wouldn’t want to live any where near an industrial sized windfarm, I can just imagine the migraines and loss of sleep.

    Having seen proposals put forward to cover remote peatland areas of Scotland in industrial sized windfarms, thus destroying the peatland carbon sink and potentiall threatening wildlife as well as destroying the visual appeal of the landscape (which brings in tourism) I’m not a fan of large scale windfarms at all.

    I think one thing too often missing from the argument (In general, i don’t mean in this blog post) is that we need to reduce our consumption of energy then we wouldn’t be forced into trying to develop inappropriate energy production sites.

    • energy efficiency is great, and I’m all in favour of it, but it won’t actually solve the problem on its own.

      If we’re serious about salvaging the climate then we need to electrify transport and industry as well, so they are no longer using fossil fuels. It’s not enough to just generate our domestic electricity from clean sources.

      That means that electricity demand will go up, even if we are ruthlessly efficient in our use of it.

  23. cassandra

    fBottom line, industrial wind turbines are another shunting operation–shunting money, influence and power away from the individual (demos)and into the hands of those who already hold too big a share of those qualities.

    simply put, the fascists.

  24. Melodie Burkett

    MA, You seem to have studied this subject more than any other blogger and I have learned so much from your comments. Could you please explain to me why it is that most of Europe has setbacks of 1.5 to 2 km? And also why has Denmark and Spain said publicly that wind turbines have been a complete disaster economically? I can’t help but think that we are making a huge mistake in Ontario. Do you think McGuinty is just hell bent to “appear” like he is doing something GREEN and really how can these things be green if they rely on fossil fuels? Germany boasts shutting down a nuclear plant but opened 26 new coal mines? Ontario boasts that it will shut down coal mines but wants to open a Gas plant in Oakville and the Holland marsh. This sounds like a political boondoogle to me and they would have gotten away with it if they hadn’t hurt so many families and homes! We would all sacrifice much for real green initiatives but to lose so much for a fake green industry that is so expensive seems outrageous to me. What do you think.

    • MA

      Yes, Melodie. I think you hit the nail right on the head. Europe is years ahead of us in experience with wind energy….that’s why they are now implementing large setbacks. Denmarks is pulling away from onshore turbines…they realize it’s not worth the destruction of communities and putting children at risk.

    • Melodie, one reason for a 2km setback could be that blade pieces have been known to fly 1300 metres when the turbine fails. See, search for ‘Blade failure’.

      • TwoLittleWitches

        And yet here in Ontario, our government mandated minimum setback is only 550m. Perhaps because (as said so many times) no health, safety or environmental studies are being done to protect the surrounding communities. That is a problem!

        Will they at least blast a fog horn so we can “duck” before a turbine blade comes crashing through the our rooftop?

  25. Dan Wrightman

    The “nocebo effect” is a nice tidy theory invented by the wind industry to explain any health symptoms experienced by adults living near wind turbines. However it doesn’t explain why infants and small children experience the same sypmptoms as the adults. Are these toddlers really experiencing symptons because of “worsening of mental or physical health, based on fear or belief in adverse effects.”

    The “nocebo effect” is not a credible hypothesis. Doctors are trained not to dismiss patient complaints of health issues no matter how rididculous they may personally perceived by the doctor. Health complaints and symptons are signals by the human body that there are underlying problems. There are many people complaining of health effects living close to wind turbines and “Wind Turbine Syndrome” as explained by Dr. Nina Pierpont in her book, is starting to be recognized by doctors who treat them.

    I am suprised how many people assume that adult constructs such as money, property values and jealousy are the cause of symptons reported from wind farm installations. When children too young to understand such concepts are having health problems it’s an indication that something else is amiss.

    • MA

      Yes, I wonder if Nicki Hortons four year old son who becomes very agitated, vomits and is unable to sleep when the turbines are going full blast…is “jealous”. Attacking the victims motives, credibility and sanity is typical soulless corporate behaviour.

  26. Sick Turbines

    Why do people assume that any distance is safe to place a Wind Turbine? Just because a Wind Turbine is turning out of earshot does not mean it is not destructive. There are so many animals including humans who are adversely affected by them.
    No amount of “Green” energy created by Wind Turbines can balance the ill sacrifice other living creatures have to endure unwillingly.
    Rural areas have to accept garbage from urban areas, and now are expected to export electricity as well. Feed them, power their homes, take their trash. Who will be willing to live and produce food for those living around the 40 mile diet?

  27. Mike barnard says to MA “you are likely a paid emplyee of Wind Concerns Ontario”.
    That’s a good one Mike – HA,HA,HA, HA,HA, HA,HA,HA,HA,HA,HA,HA,HA,HA,HA,HA,HA,HA,HA ,HA,HA,HA, are you a comedian or what?

  28. I’m just going to make a few comments here:
    One of the only benefits I’ve come across in fighting WT’s in the last year, is my writing skills have improved and been extensively used. Writing politicians, papers, MOE, MTO, MNR… on and on. This has backfired on the CANWEA written propaganda which had us all fooled several years ago. Same for the spoken word. Talking to neighbours, professionals, victims, reporters…etc. This is also a big change-around for the wind salesmen- it was they who had the gift of the gab several years ago to persuade farmers to sign enormous documents without even reading them, let alone taking them to a lawyer. But now the word spreads, and I’m sorry ‘Mike’, but you come across as a very strange person- no heart, no compassion (100% likely a windie)? Margaret, what ‘Mike’ really wants you to say is, ‘yes I like wind turbines, just not in Pigeons Bay’..this is because he isn’t working on that particular development (but he probably has one secretly planned nearby!). Then Mike dear can label you a NIMBY….oh he would love that.
    When I first realized that wind turbines were coming to my home (40+), I thought, ‘well, why don’t they just put them in the lake or up north?’. I was quickly straightened out when I started reading about LFN and how so many animals are sensitive to LFN in order to survive (from elephants to fish to cats to birds). And probably those by the lake thought, ‘why don’t they put them in farm fields’, (because we humans will live 500m from them and don’t really feel like getting sick, losing our property and wildlife- good enough reasons in my book). There is no safe place to put these monsters. Yes, I consider myself to be over the top in caring for my natural environment (I despise the word green anymore), but WT’s are not ‘natural, they are industrial, and our land in Ontario has basically been rezoned ‘Industrial’ with the GEA.
    I’m taking my two little kids with me to Queen’s Park, again. Politics 101 for the young ones. When the truth comes out, there is no stopping it, Mike. You had it good while it lasted. Now we are ’emotional’, as Margaret said, and an emotional mom will do anything to protect her kids from monsters. Bring on the protest- rural Ontario needs it!

  29. Mike Barnard

    From a health perspective, the assessments are clear:

    1. Some people that are near windmills report a variety of debilitating symptoms. Please note that at no time am I denying the existence of these symptoms or their severity.

    2. There are obvious causes: annoyance leading to stress leading to stress-related symptoms especially sleep loss. These are reasonably serious health impacts for those affected.

    3. There are asserted causes and syndromes which have poor supporting evidence. Infrasound or very-low frequency waves are obviously among them. Occam’s Razor strongly supports the stress-related implication; it’s the simplest explanation that fits all the observable facts.

    4. If the obvious cause is annoyance related stress and it is not universal among those a reasonable distance from windmills, it is subject to improvement through stress avoidance or stress management techniques:
    – Avoid: sleep with ear plugs and / or whitenoise generators as people in cities often do, appropriate setbacks depending on rural/urban, etc
    – Manage: distraction, derailing of negative thinking, exercise, etc

    5. If the obvious cause is annoyance related stress, it is subject to being made worse psychosomatically through negative thinking, obsession and the nocebo reaction.

    6. More study is warranted.

    7. The reasonable argument is about the distance of setbacks, not about whether windfarms should be banned. The reasonable ranges based on the literature I’ve seen are 1-1.5 km.

    8. The ExternE assessment is important as many, many more people are affected by the health implications of fossil fuels than those of windfarms. As a society, we have to make choices in favour of the majority where possible, and the choices have economic components.


  30. Sick Turbines

    Begs the question, how much are you getting paid to blog Mike?

    • MA

      Exactly, sounds like the typical wind salesman to me. Honest conversation is impossible. What company do you work for Mike?

  31. The risk factors for health effects from wind turbines are:
    1) migriane – affecting twice as many women as men, about 12% of the poulation – that’s just the starter course
    2) add in hearing problems – e.g., with hearing loss, low frequency sound becomes more dominant.
    3) inner ear and other balance control problems – add this on and you can reasonably see that between 20% – 30% of the population can be affected – a significant number in anyone’s mind.
    Low frequency noise is difficult to attentuate. One of the authors of the CANWEA study on wind turbines and health ,acknowledged the problems of low frequency noise in testimony he gave about the Sumas 2 Energy Generation facility in the year 2000

    From his testimony, it is apparent that Dr. Lipscomb is very familiar with the causes of low frequency noise and the problems associated with them.
    In this testimony he speaking about gas turbines;but, it could easily be transposed to a discussion about wind turbine noise. His answer to the last question posed, is most telling:

    Q: Is there a difference in effects between noise that is experienced occasionally and noise
    that is constant?
    Ans: Yes, there are several features that distinguish constant and intermittent noise. Some
    intermittent noises can be alerting or aggravating due to the sudden occurrence of the sound.
    These are infrequent, therefore, they are more easily accommodated. Constant low level, but
    bothersome sound, is much like a slight headache or slight toothache. Eventually, one will go to
    just about any length to eradicate the source of such discomfort.

    And what bothers me most about all this, is not what may happen to myself personally;for, as an adult I can always make my complaint and if need be, drive away from it all, though i’m not quite sure there will be any “safe houses” left. But what about children? Are they to be discarded?
    In my 61 years, I have never seen such a morally bankrupt program forced on the rural areas as this one has been – and I am not alone in thinking that.

    • Mike Barnard

      Hmmm… you’re suggesting that 130 dba very low frequency sound generated by a gas turbine plant is equivalent to the 106 dba higher frequency sound generated by wind turbines.

      Um… no. To be clear, 130 dba is perceived as a little over 4 times louder than 106 dba, but represents eight times the sound dose ( Higher frequency sound does not penetrate through walls, windows, earplugs and white noise generators to anywhere near the degree that low frequency sound does.

      Something that a lot of people seem to mistake when looking at sound is the difference between occurrence (beats per second) and frequency (waves per second or hertz). Regular sounds every 1-2 seconds (like your heartbeat or the swoosh of a wind turbine for example), are not low frequency sound, they are messy groups of frequencies that occur every 1-2 seconds. A high C that occurs every 1-2 seconds is still 1046 hertz, not 1-2 hertz.

      So the sound setbacks in Ontario’s regulations account for the actual range of frequencies (higher than gas turbines) and the dba (much lower) of wind turbines and provide setbacks that result in a conservative 40 dba at the closest residence.

      Is it useful to argue about 40 dba being the right number? Sure. 40 dba is not as quiet as a morgue, but more like background noise in a theatre or a living room where people are reading, moving around etc, but not watching tv or talking.


      • Carlyn Moulton

        Too bad the Ontario Government has had to admit that they dont have the technology, means or skills to actually measure the sound. In response to several requests to monitor the noise levels within adjacent homes, the Ministry responded that they cant measure the noise when the wind is blowing. Sounds crazy, but thats what they said. So…monitoring compliance? They need to figure that part out.

  32. Mike Barnard

    To summarize the thread above:

    My post (among other red flags that distracted the bulls):
    1. Windmills cause debilitating effects.
    2. More study is necessary.
    3. Setbacks are necessary.

    Anti-wind advocates:
    1. These positions are offensive.
    2. I must be a paid advocate of the wind energy industry.

    Score of respondents:
    – Reading skills: 0
    – Bias: 10
    – Alliance building skills: 0

    (My name is in black and white above, unlike MA’s. Feel free to try to find me associated with any wind energy association. You’ll fail, similar to the the failure of MA / Sick Turbine’s ability to parse English. Please note you’ll find MA moderating an anti-wind energy advocacy site, and Sick Turbines spamming many anti-wind advocacy sites.)

    • Rosa Goldman

      If the ill health effects are only stress related, then they would not disappear so completely when people leave the area (because they would still be faced with having to return).

  33. Dan Wrightman

    Mike please explain in detail to me how the nocebo effect “theory” applies to the preschool toddlers who experience the same health complaints as adults living close to wind turbines. Do you think with proper psychotherapy that these children can be reededucated so they may “derrail their negative thinking” and thus live happy productive lives in our “Great Leap Forward” to our new great society?

    • Unfortunately the valid concerns about these wind-farm projects are being drowned out by the scare-mongering.

      1. Re: efficacy of wind turbines and wind-produced energy generally–I’ve read through the studies above (except the atomkraft info-mercials, sorry) and I’m seeing the conclusion, in essence as, “They help a little, but conservation is needed too. They can’t replace other sources yet and they must be designed/planned well to avoid adverse effects.” Okay, fair enough. So why not have a “we-need-better-planning” march then, instead of a “no-wind” march?

      2. Re: the public health issue–as I’ve mentioned I’ve worked with victims of Chernobyl. I don’t like the “nocebo” concept as that can bring one out a bit too far out on the “blame-the-victim” limb. Definitely a subset of people experience headaches/fatigue from nearby wind turbines, I accept that. (See above re: proper planning/design.)

      The grislier things like children vomiting and bloody noses and random electrocutions are hinted at widely but when I’ve asked for data on this I’ve gotten absolutely nothing. (No, except an earache–and one child who’s been vomiting. I hope someone’s taking that child to the doctor instead of assuming it’s the wind farm.)

      But what’s really disappointing–and where I’m getting the NIMBY vibe–is that none of the organisers are proposing an alternative. Again, it’s not a “we-need-better-planning-for-clean-energy” march but a “wind-farms-are-folly” march. Essentially it’s “I’ve got *my* house in the countryside and now we all need to stop development out here.” You seem to be waiting for a silver bullet–some perfectly soundless, invisible source of clean energy that won’t cause any inconvenience to anyone. And in the meantime you’re happy to have other people live close to nuclear and coal plants.

      I don’t believe that climate change is a myth. Apart from the fact that this is a contentious issue in my town, I find myself getting sucked back into this discussion because I’ve lived close to coal plants and nuclear plants myself. I know people who would have loved to move out of range of pollution into the restorative countryside–but they couldn’t afford to and/or their government wouldn’t let them. So they gave their kids folk remedies like garlic, and hoped for the best. Most of them are dead now.

      So I hope that the march is successful and well-attended and brings up some solutions people can live with. Cheers, L

      • wgulden

        Lauren, thanks for the recognition that at the least wind energy needs to be carefully implemented. Most of the issues here could have been avoided if the developers would simply buy the neighbors out. Why don’t they? Greed?

        As for the nimby label, I can’t speak for others, but I’ve done enough research to come to the conclusion that they shouldn’t go anywhere, at least not until the storage problem is solved. What I’m having trouble is reconciling just how big the negatives are, and how small (or non-existent) the positives are, with so many people’s religious acceptance of the turbines. Does nobody bother to take a careful look at actual evidence anymore?

        You ask for an alternative. For the near term, nuclear is the only one I’ve got, and I’ll admit I’m not entirely happy with that. Obviously conservation would be my first choice, but that is on the verge of equating to “eliminating all the waste in government” as the catch-all solution. The major effort we should be making is to develop storage technology. Without that, most of the renewables become pretty much useless.

        I’d agree with you on climate warming. Which is why this detour into wind is so problematical. Some years from now someone is going to ask for a measurement of much CO2 wind has saved and when the answer comes up to pretty much zero, voters will be asking why so much money has been spent and why the countryside has been so devastated and why have so many energy-intensive jobs been shipped over to China etc. At that point I fear the political will to fight global warming will disappear.

      • OK, Lauren, meet Nikki Horton….. .Nikki is a lot more forgiving then the rest of us in the ‘anti-wind’ realm. She loves the look of the wind turbines that she is ‘downwind’ from. She DID take her kids to the doctors: what mother wouldn’t? She has put a fortune into re-insulating their home this winter, trying to make it so they won’t feel the disturbing vibrations all day and night. She really is hoping for the best. Read her blogs from last spring and summer when she was writing a lot—she cannot continue to live the way they did last year. It’s very disturbing, and if you are concerned about those downwind from coal plants/ nuclear plants, I think you will develop some concern for Nikki and her young family. If this still doesn’t affect you, I really suggest you speak with some of these victims. Call up Nikki, Stephana, Tracey, Sandy, Glen, Bert, Barbara….and their families. Talk to them. Ask yourself: would you put yourself in this home to live 24-7? What if you were told that nuclear plants were ‘green’? That they were the ‘way of the future’, that they were going to save your children from ‘global warming’. That these plants had to go ‘somewhere’ so could we put one (or 5) 350-500m from your home, please? It’s for the greater good! Sacrifice yourself! It’ll make you feel reeaallll pleased with yourself. Here are 2 other movies to watch: ; Barbara Ashbee: . Yeah, they aren’t ‘scientific studies’, they are people, just like those you saw suffer in Chernobyl.

      • Hi Esther, you’ll notice that above I concede that a subset of people suffer adverse effects. And Nik and I both think that the problem is due to shabby planning.

        So we could trade “who’s suffered worse” and “please think of the children” stories or we can work towards a solution. I kind of prefer the latter.

      • Esther, just a side-comment. Nuclear plants are indeed green. They emit no CO2 and are nowhere near as dangerous as people would like you to believe. They are indeed the way of the future, you need only look at the rate at which China and India is building them to see that. And they are by far the best bet to save your children from global warming.

        I live in France, so I’m pretty much surrounded by nuclear power, and very glad of it. France has had most of its electricity generated by nuclear power for over 30 years, and the only noticeable effect is that we have reliable, cheap electricity.

      • Lauren, I’ll wait for your ‘solution’. I am in no way capable of designing an efficient, safe electrical grid for the world- Not my expertise. The usual response you will get is ‘it will involve a mix’- like salad. Well, if the mix is to include Industrial Wind turbines, I’m still looking for a good place to put them….really. And being that they are inefficient, monstrosities to dispose of when there less then 20 year life cycle is up, it really makes me wonder why we are bringing these things back from the dead and enlarging them.

        Tony, you are more then likely right, my guess is nuclear will be (a big) part of it. One man I know who has lived beside a nuclear plant for ~30years said that if a wind turbine went up next door, he’d move, but he has no worries about the nuclear plant. Maybe they are safety monitored a lot better then these wind projects…?

        A word that you just don’t here in Ontario much anymore is ‘conservation’. McGuinty’s forking over money for all the electrical generating gadgets that our hearts desire….but all I want is a little insulation for my house and maybe a really efficient water heater, and I wouldn’t need much electricity. It’s a lot cheaper to save energy then to make it, and we here in NA are pretty wasteful.

        But conservation doesn’t make money.

      • Esther, I get that you’re waiting for a solution. Good luck.

  34. Mike Barnard

    The Mars Hill wind farm in Maine ( was the site of a wind study by Dr. Nissenbaum ( with the usual set of methodological weaknesses (lots of sampling and non-sampling errors). But let’s take it at face value for a minute, and see how relevant it is to Ontario.

    For fun, I thought I’d read the actual Ontario regulations (359/09: for wind farm setbacks and assess the Mars Hill location against them. For interest, I also read the methodology used to define the setbacks (Development of Noise Setbacks for Wind Farms: As I identified earlier, perhaps the most interesting problem with them is that they don’t reference offshore windfarms at all, despite the ~6:5.5 ratio of sound propogation over water vs land. (That means offshore wind farms should be further away to achieve the same sound pressure level.) I have my suspicions on the potential reasons why anti-wind advocates haven’t actually figured that one out.

    After a little research, I was able to identify that Mars Hill used GE 1.5 MW Wind Turbines. They generate 106 dba at the rotor axle per this source: There are 28 wind turbines in the wind farm along the ridge.

    The houses of those nearby in Dr. Nissenbaum’s study are at varying distances to the nearest windmill in the windfarm: 366, 701, 731, 762, 914, 975 and 1036 meters. It’s unclear from Dr. Nissenbaum’s report whether this is self-reported or accurately measured including altitude variation, but again I took it at face value.

    Ontario regulation 359/09 Section 55, 3 would require a setback of 1500 meters from the closest home.

    (If you check the table in Section 55, you’ll see it fits into the category of having 11-25 or more wind turbines in a windfarm with individual wind turbines having a sound power level of 106-107 dba measured at the rotor hub.)

    This means, of course, that Mars Hill would not have been approved under Ontario regulations, and that every large scale wind farm is required to be 1.5 km or further from the nearest home. The furthest home in Dr. Nissenbaum’s study is 464 meters closer to the wind farm than the Ontario limit.

    Wind Concerns Ontario and other anti-wind advocates like to talk about 550 meters as the actual allowable limit. Well, that’s for the quietest industrial wind turbines, <= 102 dba at the rotor axle and for five or less of them (more wind turbines equals more noise), along with significant requirements for approval in writing from people in adjoining properties, allowing them to negotiate. Of course, in WCO’s world, wind turbines are unsafe at any distance. (My apologies to Ralph Nader for the paraphrase).

    As an aside, the proposed Western Lake Erie windfarm is only 1 km offshore at closest, so would not be allowed under the current regulations.


    • wgulden

      Mike, I thank you for taking the time to at least do a little research, but a little research can be a dangerous thing. The table you reference is invoked by section 55 (2). But notice that section 55 (3) says you don’t have to use the table if you do a sound study that meets the requirements of the MOE Interpretation. I don’t know of any large project that has used that table. And the Interpretation is pretty open to, er, interpretation. As a practical matter, the sound studies can be arranged so the 550 minimum ends up being the limiting factor.

      You are correct, though, that Mars Hill could not have been built as is in Ontario. The dBa limits in Ontario are lower than Maine’s. The problem is that when measurements have been taken in Ontario in response to complaints they are above Ontario’s limits, pretty much like Mars Hill’s are above Maine’s, and in both cases the levels are high enough to make life pretty miserable (i.e. unhealthy) for the neighbors.

      I guess anti-wind advocates care more about the reality on the ground than we do about the fantasy created by the rules and the computer models.

      • Mike Barnard

        And given that the calculations used are the same, and have the same distance results, what’s your point exactly?

        Wind producers can do a detailed sound assessment when there is reasonable cause to assume significant increases in ambient noise. And they do.

        The results are the same for rural areas: setbacks of 1500 meters for large scale wind farms. Smaller setbacks for urban areas or for smaller windfarms in rural areas.

        If you have instances where the results are not equivalent in Ontario post the regulations going into play, please do cite them with supporting data and analysis, as opposed to merely asserting that reality is different.


      • wgulden

        The point is, Mike, that no matter what the rules say, the turbines end up being much closer to homes than 1500 meters. Melancthon – 450. Wolfe – 450, Ripley – 700. I could go on. And all those setbacks were made with the MOE Interpretation, generally before the 550 came into effect. And the resulting noise levels are consequently higher – i.e. 65dBa in Melancthon. The industry wailed about the 550, you can imagine what they’d do with 1500. You could opine that this shouldn’t be, and I would agree. The reality is far different. Please, Mike, get your head out of your rear and look what is really going on in rural Ontario, and in rural areas everywhere.

      • Mike Barnard

        Thanks for providing the references wgulden. I’ve looked closely at Melancthon and dug into Wolfe a bit. Like Mars Hill, several of the wind turbines erected wouldn’t be allowed under the new regulations. That said, let’s look at the actual results for Melancthon.

        “The 133-turbine Melancthon EcoPower Centre has spurred recurring noise problems for 17 households, out of 300 that the company calls “neighbors.”” (The 300 will be disputed, of course, but it’s the best number available as the anti-wind lobby generally hates denominators.)

        In response, the wind company:
        – turned off one wind turbine completely, day and night
        – shut another four off every night
        – replaced a noisy transformer with a quieter one
        – and bought out six people

        That’s the big, bad wind industry and government. Won’t do anything to fix the problem.

        Except tighten up the regulations drastically. And fix the worst of the problems in ways that cost lots of cash.

        Perfect? No. Adequate and adaptive? Looks like it.

        And let’s not forget the folks that are just fine living near the windfarms.

        “We’re having no problems at all,” says Melancthon’s Randy Nielsen, speaking for his wife and two teenage children. “We’re surrounded by turbines.” And the folks that have people over to visit so that they can check out the windmills. They probably annoy the heck out of you. (Except of course that anti-wind advocates have an answer for that too: they are afraid to speak out for fear of lowering their property values.)

        I would say that the new regulations given lots of teeth to the people that want to fix outstanding problems at the three wind farms, and to ensure reasonable setbacks in new locations.

        Fight to enforce them. It’s a good and winnable fight.


      • wgulden

        In response to your notes about Melancthon.

        “17 out of 300” – first, we don’t know about the participants, and they may well be contractually prohibited from complaining. Second, the wind industry has a long history, i.e. their property value studies, of including homes from pretty far away in their “neighborhoods”. Either way, what percentage of complaints is ok with you? Note that they have bought out either 6 or 7 houses, not 17. Are you ok with this? What are the noise levels at the other houses? We don’t know, and probably never will. It was only a fluke that we found out about the 65dB at the Lormand’s. Plus they had to resort to getting a lawyer involved, probably threatened to sue. You consider this co-operation? And given they were way over the limits, not even close, CHD probably saw the wisdom of settling.

        As for tightening up the regulations drastically, that’s flat wrong. They’ve moved the minimum from 350 to 550, which is still short of what it should be, even to consistently get the noise below their also-too-high limit of 40 to 51 dB. What do I think is adequate? I submit that any neighbor whose sleep is disturbed should be bought out.

        As for Randy Neilsen, we have never said everyone is annoyed. As best as we can tell, about half within a km are, to different degrees. Plus the noise varies greatly, depending on a large number of factors. By the way, is he a participant? What are the noise levels at his house?

        What teeth are you seeing in the new regs? There’s no mandated reporting structure, no mandated mitigation policies. People call the MOE and are referred to the developer, who stonewalls. MOE has never set up, to my knowledge, their own noise measuring equipment in response to a complaint. They admit they don’t know how to do so. MOE has never shut a turbine down. The Ontario MOE is doing nothing more than offering lip service to the complainers.

        In short, the noise limits are still too high, and the MOE doesn’t enforce them in any event. Working within the current government, as you suggest, has been tried and has not been effective. At some point, you have no choice but to conclude that the government simply does not care about the rural population, and cannot be made to care. At that point, there are only two paths left. One is legal, the other is political.

  35. Mike Barnard

    Because the Scarborough Bluffs potential wind farm is in the news, I thought I’d apply the same metrics as above. The best information I’ve been able to find is that the wind farm is to be 2 – 4 kilometers offshore.

    Does this pass the Ontario Regulations? Well, let’s make an assumption or two. Let’s pretend the shoreline is the same as the distance to the nearest home, the windfarm will be only 2 kilometers away. Let’s pretend that the regulations are modified to accommodate the 6:5.5 ratio of sound propagation over water (best number I’ve found to date).

    Well, according to Ontario’s regulation 359 / 09 (modified per above), the nearest windmill would have to be at least 1636 meters from the shore (that’s assuming linear reduction of noise due to distance, which isn’t actually the case, as it’s inversely proportional to spherical surface area

    Oh, wait. They’re further offshore? And the shoreline has ambient white noise due to wave action? (The best source I’ve been able to find recommends a planning figure of 40 dba for ambient noise near shores exposed to wave:

    That means even with the factored in additional propagation of sound over water but with gentle waves lapping on the shore, a wind farm two kilometers off shore would be inaudible. Let’s consider the scenario of good winds off shore at rotor height and dead calm onshore (and no noise scattering downwind due to the wind offshore). In that scenario, assuming the conservative case of linear reduction in sound, the windmills would have a sound power of 26 dba. That’s slightly lower than rural ambient noise in the spectrum that wind turbines generate noise.

    In other words, it would be inaudible except in completely weird conditions.


  36. Dan Wrightman

    Mike, do you have the guts to answer my question as to how the nocebo effect apllies to children or will you continue to deflect posting nonsense on how wind turbines are inaudible?

    • MA

      He changes the subject whenever he is cornered. He does flip flops in opinion to deflect criticism. Don’t even bother with this guy.

  37. Sick Turbines

    The last desperate measures spoken by Mike to uphold a technology that is outdated and very destructive to our environment. If we don’t keep our farmed and natural lands protected from industrialization, what is there left to protect?
    Why does this government bend all laws that offer our citizens and wildlife protection, for the sake of electrical generation? This “Green” notion is not a noble war. I do not want to hear how rural citizens and a “few” birds have to make sacrifices for something so petty as more greed for electrical consumption. It makes a mockery of those who have and are fighting for our freedom and a right to a peaceful life in this country.

  38. Mike Barnard

    I was remiss in not addressing the issue of child health earlier. Dan’s question, while emotionally charged and likely intended to derail, is worth investigating. It would be valid if the nocebo reaction weren’t well founded, if there were reasonable evidence that children were suffering the same symptoms with the same severity as their parents, if nocebo effects did not apply to children or if the evidence supported non-stress related physiological impacts.

    Part 1:

    Let’s start with Dan’s assertion first, to ensure that we’re on solid ground: “The “nocebo effect” is a nice tidy theory invented by the wind industry to explain any health symptoms experienced by adults living near wind turbines.”

    As my quoted references pointed out, the nocebo reaction was first formally named in 1961 in the pharmaceutical industry. It’s strong enough that medical ethics pertaining to experimentation have rejected additional significant studies due to the likelihood of causing harm. It is carefully attended to across health domains. Here are some examples:

    Placebo and Nocebo in Cardiovascular Health (
    “old age is associated with a 26% nocebo response (37,38). If patients are specifically asked about adverse effects, the percent can rise to 71% (37,39). The nocebo effect might lead to secondary gain, disability, or even death (38,39). “

    Allergy and Immunology:
    Evaluation of the nocebo effect during oral challenge in patients with adverse drug reactions (
    The administration of an inert substance provoked untoward reactions in 54 patients (27%) in Verona, 60 (30%) in Naples and 48 (24%) in Genoa. The overall occurrence of nocebo effect was 27%. The majority of reactions were subjective symptoms (itching, malaise, headache etc), perceived as troublesome by all subjects. The occurrence was significantly higher in women than in men. Our data, collected in a large population, confirm that the nocebo effect occurs frequently in clinical practice.

    Placebo and nocebo effects in randomized double blind clinical trials of agents for the treatment of fatigue in advanced cancer patients (
    59 (56%) patients had a placebo response. Worse baseline anxiety and well-being subscale score (univariate) and well-being (multivariate) were significantly associated with placebo response. Common side effects reported were insomnia (79%), anorexia (53%), nausea (38%) and restlessness (34%). Multivariate analysis showed that worse baseline (ESAS) sleep, appetite, and nausea were associated with increased reporting of the corresponding side effects.

    Summary of that section: The nocebo reaction is not an invention of the wind industry and it is strongly applicable to design of any health survey. Asking about specific symptoms can cause incidence or over-reporting of those symptoms without careful survey design.

    More to follow.


  39. Mike Barnard

    Part 2:

    As has been pointed out, the surveys on health effects are weak to date: significant methodological challenges due to sampling and non-sampling errors including lack of control group, sample size, untested survey questions, hearsay information. In addition, the information on nocebo reaction shows that surveys can result in over-reporting of symptoms if the symptom is specifically named without careful context.

    WCO’s survey results are published, but I have not been able to find online the actual survey and flyer they mailed out; the survey apparently is the same or very similar to Dr. Amanda Harry’s in the UK. Dr. Nissenbaum’s survey apparently includes different symptoms based on the percentages included in his web-published report. (All surveys skew to older people and in the cases of Dr. Harry’s and Dr. Nissenbaum’s surveys significantly older people.)

    Dr. Harry’s and presumably the WCO’s survey includes specific symptoms.

    None of the surveys provide a mechanism for assessing severity of symptoms. For example, tinnitus might be a slight ringing in the ears heard when absolutely quiet and undistracted or a debilitating effect that makes hearing difficult, but they are both assessed identically.

    No children are included in the WCO, Dr. Harry or Dr. Nissenbaum surveys. The average age of complainants skews older (and in the Drs. Harry and Nissenbaum studies much older) than the average.

    The only study which includes any reference to child symptoms is Dr. Pierpoint’s. She interviewed 23 people, and included in her study 15 people that others reported symptoms in, including a small number of children. She reports various symptoms for children, but they are not shown to be identical in number and strength to adults.

    The symptoms she does ascribe to children are consistent with an etiology of sleep-disturbance due to noise.

    Summary: The data available related to childrens’ symptoms is extremely limited (<5) and not directly gathered or clinically observed. The evidence to support a statement that children have the same symptoms and the same severity as adults near windfarms is very weak.


  40. Dan Wrightman

    Mike you are obviously an intelligent person and you have spent some time researching the few health studies that exist. However, my question had nothing to do with any of the studies mentioned. Again, how does the nocebo effect theory apply to children Mike? Are children actually getting sick because of anticapatory fear? You seem to be a true believer in the nocebo effect Mike. Why don’t you research this theory postulated in CANWEA’s study and answer my question?

  41. Mike Barnard

    Patience, Dan. It’s a four-part answer in order to do it justice and I’m doing the research and providing evidence and clearly logical material that we can usefully discuss. I’m also doing this in my limited spare time.

    To repeat myself: “It would be valid if the nocebo reaction weren’t well founded, if there were reasonable evidence that children were suffering the same symptoms with the same severity as their parents, if nocebo effects did not apply to children or if the evidence supported non-stress related physiological impacts.”

    I’ve covered parts 1 and 2. Parts 3 and 4 are to come.

    I don’t expect this to be persuasive to you, Dan. You’ve rejected the industry-funded review already, and no one seems to be willing to accept that I’m not a paid industry resource of some sort instead of someone who just disagrees with you based on the evidence available.

    Wgulden deserves an answer as well, which I’m also working on. You and Wgulden, while emotional and pejorative, are at least asserting debatable facts and questions.


    • MA

      Mike seems to be under the delusion that there is an army of researchers and doctors all ready standing by whenever there is a problem in society to rush to the scene and do “studies” and research.

      Tell me, Mike, what entity out there is willing to put hundreds of thousands of dollars into a study that would satisfy you? There are none.

      The industry or government won’t do it. Universities don’t do things out of the goodness of their hearts without funding.

      Again, Mike, the real world and the nice, tidy world of academia are not the same thing.

  42. Mike Barnard

    Part 3a: Nocebo Reactions in Children

    From Parts 1 and 2, it is clear that there is strong clinical support for the nocebo reaction, and that there is very weak evidence for children having identical symptoms and symptom severities to their parents in the published literature.

    In Part 3, I’ll explore whether children are subject to the nocebo reaction, either directly through acquiring symptoms or mis-reporting symptoms, or indirectly through parents misreporting symptoms they believe the children have.

    As I enter into this, please understand that I’m cognizant of the issues of too much noise causing stress-related issues with child health, and of the greater sensitivity of children’s hearing to noise dose. The 40 dba noise regulation in Ontario and associated setbacks is arguably inappropriate for children, while the evidence available is that it is likely reasonable for the vast majority of adults. Dan’s question, however, was whether the nocebo effect could apply to children, and I’m answering that question.

    The nocebo reaction is the inverse of the placebo effect. While in general clinical ethics prevent significant exploration of the nocebo effect in children, there have been significant studies done on the placebo effect. The two are complementary: people that are more susceptible to the placebo effect are also more susceptible to the nocebo effect.

    Greater Response to Placebo in Children Than in Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis in Drug-Resistant Partial Epilepsy
    Children with drug-resistant partial epilepsy receiving placebo in double-blind RCTs demonstrated significantly greater 50% responder rate than adults, probably reflecting increased placebo and regression to the mean effects.

    An investigation of the placebo effect and age-related factors in the report of needle pain from venipuncture in children
    For the two groups receiving cream, 83% of those children told it might help stated that they believed it did, as compared with only 33% of children who received the cream but were told nothing of its purpose.
    We conclude that the efficacy of placebo treatments for needle pain in children may depend on the suggestion of a possible benefit rather than upon treatment application per se.

    Placebo Effect May Be Doubled in Children
    The difference was mainly the result of a higher placebo effect in the children, the researchers found.

    The findings on the placebo effect are strongly supportive of the possibility of inducing negative symptoms in children through suggestion.

  43. Mike Barnard

    Part 3b: Nocebo Reactions in Children

    For better or for worse, children’s perception and memories of events are subject to being shaped by the adults around them.

    Children’s false memories: Easier to elicit for a negative than for a neutral event
    Results showed that the negative event elicited more false memories than the neutral event.

    Please also consider the extensive legal practices that have sprung up as a result of the ease of leading children to say what they think the adult wishes to here, rather than what actually occurred. This occurs in both sensational and less sensational circumstances.
    Children are vulnerable to outside influences that lead to fabrication of testimony.[46] Their testimony can be influenced in a variety of ways. Maggie Bruck in her article published by the American Psychological Association wrote that children incorporate aspects of the interviewer’s questions into their answers in an attempt to tell the interviewer what the child believes is being sought.[47]

    As no children were directly interviewed or studied for any of the studies available, but the parent’s reported the results, it is worth assessing the quality of parental reporting of child symptoms.

    Differences Between Child and Parent Reports of Symptoms Among Latino Children With Asthma
    Health care providers treating children with asthma should be aware of differences between child and parent reports of symptoms. Previous research on asthma1-3 and other conditions4-7 demonstrates that parent and child reports differ and suggests that children may be more valid reporters than their caregivers.8,9

    Self-reporting versus parental reporting of acute respiratory symptoms of children and their relation to pulmonary function and air pollution
    Symptom reports of the children were more prevalent but did not agree well with parental reports.

    Summary: Children are susceptible to the nocebo effect directly. Children can be induced to misreport symptoms. Parents are unreliable reporters of all but the most directly observable symptoms.

    In Part 4, I’ll discuss the alternatives for the reported symptoms and summarize.


  44. maria

    “The credible resarch indicates that annoyance-based stress is a concern for a small subset of people. ”

    “From a health perspective, the assessments are clear:

    1. Some people that are near windmills report a variety of debilitating symptoms. Please note that at no time am I denying the existence of these symptoms or their severity.

    2. There are obvious causes: annoyance leading to stress leading to stress-related symptoms especially sleep loss. These are reasonably serious health impacts for those affected.

    3. There are asserted causes and syndromes which have poor supporting evidence. Infrasound or very-low frequency waves are obviously among them. Occam’s Razor strongly supports the stress-related implication; it’s the simplest explanation that fits all the observable facts.

    4. If the obvious cause is annoyance related stress and it is not universal among those a reasonable distance from windmills, it is subject to improvement through stress avoidance or stress management techniques:
    – Avoid: sleep with ear plugs and / or whitenoise generators as people in cities often do, appropriate setbacks depending on rural/urban, etc
    – Manage: distraction, derailing of negative thinking, exercise, etc”

    “The symptoms she does ascribe to children are consistent with an etiology of sleep-disturbance due to noise.”

    Read some of your own materials Mike. Try to grow a heart for the victims sake as well. This government is showing recklessness in its approach to Wind Turbine development.



  45. Mike, I’ve read your rambles and have one question for you?
    Why are you spending so much time generating discussion on this site about being Pro-Wind?
    When someone spends this much energy and time attempting to sound “intellectually superior” to all others on a thread methinks you have either a vested interest in the Wind Industry or your actually just a plain everyday NOB!

  46. Mike Barnard

    My apologies, but a person who names himself after a short-sighted Cervantes character who mistakenly perceives windmills as monsters is hardly in a position to judge others about their motivations or pretensions of intellectual superiority.

    That said… Why? I find this fascinating, as well as important. There are so many psychological ramifications of the rejection or acceptance of wind-power, combined with so many hard-science trade-offs, topped with the clinical aspects of the obvious health effects when windfarms are inappropriately sited, that it’s difficult for me not to find it interesting to dig through to the various truths.

    And after digging through it, to find that the opposition to windpower is vociferous but mostly intellectually bankrupt? It’s a bit of an obligation to counter the arguments with facts and logic, not for the people I’m debating with, but for the people reading the discussions. The anti-wind advocates are having their say, in unequivocally emotional and quasi-scientific terms. I’m just providing an antidote of logic, facts and references for the people who care to read for themselves.

    Care to throw your motivation on the table? Or is your Quixote-bubble skin deep? (Or have you never read up on your namesake? Please remember we are on Margaret Atwood’s blog, so literary questions are acceptable.)


    • Rosa Goldman

      First, smarty-pants, Alonso Quijano was not “short-sighted” but deluded by his desire to be a knight errant.

      Second, all this debate about the degree of adverse health impacts of industrial wind turbines (ignoring the many other adverse impacts on non-human life and environment) is just one side of the coin. Most opponents of wind came to that position because in their interest to find the necessary balance they discovered that it is the promotion of windpower that is “vociferous but intellectually bankrupt”. In other words, evidence of actual benefit – let alone benefit meaningful enough to justify big wind’s negatives – is completely lacking.

  47. MA

    Our motivation? We see people suffering. We see children suffering. We see our communities being turned into noisy industrial complexes. We see our democratic rights stripped from us and our local government. We see our natural areas being exploited for profit. We see our wildlife disregarded in this misguided quest towards a non-solution. We see a corrupted government endowing greedy developers full control of land. If we just sat back and did nothing, we would wouldn’t be human.

  48. Mike Barnard

    My apologies MA, but while you may be under the illusion that you speak for all people who are opposed to windfarms, harbouring as you do the collection of every grievance, real and imagined, and every flaw, real and imagined, I don’t believe you are the spokeperson for other’s motivations.

    A bit presumptuous of you, don’t you think?


    • Esther

      Mike —you are so off base and heartless it turns my stomached. Have I met you at a wind turbine Open House? Let me just say this….MA is bang on, and 99% of us opposed to WT’s, are opposed for those reasons she listed! What else would there be? You seem to be afraid of people becoming emotional. What a scary world it would be if were all a bunch of emotionless robots that spit out URL address instead of a tad of good ol’ human feeling.

      I wasn’t ‘emotional’ at first. But when I realized that 3 of my 5 township councilors were voting with a conflict of interest on this issue, and my kid’s school would be surrounded by turbines and the school board was never notified, I was horrified. Then I gradually met many people suffering from the effects of wind turbines. They are regular farmers, teachers, kids, retirees…all very sensible people that were shell shocked from how they were being treated by the government, and people like you.

      Do you even live in Ontario? What is your occupation? I work in a garden nursery and live in Ontario. What do you do? Are you a doctor? Because quite frankly I don’t think you have any right to say children are faking their illnesses–like you are making a virtual diagnosis. I hope you are not a father, or a doctor….

      and yeah, we are all fans of Margaret Atwood’s writing.
      Who isn’t in Canada? I think she has a sci-fi in the making on the bizarre world of a corrupt government forcing debilitating machines on its population…(!?)

  49. Mike Barnard

    Part 4a: Noise-annoyance related stress

    The last part of the argument related to children’s health requires that the etiology of symptoms reported be clearly related to windmills, and that they be unique from those caused by stress due to noise.

    The list of symptoms that Dr. Barry included in her survey are: headaches, palpitations, excessive tiredness, stress, anxiety, tinnitus (ringing in ears), hearing problems, sleep disturbance, migraines and depression. Dr. Nissenbaum extended that with chest pulsations (presumably palpitations and included there), pulsatile ear pressure (presumably pulatile tinnitus and included there), weight gain, weight loss, anger, worsening blood pressure and hypertension. Other symptoms that are anecdotally referenced are vomiting and bedwetting. The only references I’ve been able to discover for vomiting are 3-4 adults who indicate that they have severe headaches they ascribe to the wind farm that led to vomiting, and one response in the Wind Concerns Ontario survey by a parent (#114) who described her child’s vomiting.

    Please note that only one of the four studies – Dr. Pierpoint’s — references children at all.

    As the various authors point out, the data is retrospective, meaning that it is memories of people’s symptoms from the past. Please note the degree to which this weakens the ability to draw inferences from the data:

    How reliable are relatives’ retrospective reports of terminal illness? Patients’ and relatives’ accounts compared
    This study and other available evidence indicate that relatives’ retrospective reports of terminal illness, measured against current ratings, are moderately reliable for some items but can vary or be potentially misleading over other aspects, including pain.

    Even if we take the data at face value, setting aside all of the problems associated with it, including the grab bag of symptoms, many of these symptoms are readily explained by noise-related annoyance and related stress issues. Among them are headaches, palpitations, sleep disturbance and its related excessive tiredness, anxiety, depression, weight gain, anger, worsening blood pressure and hypertension. I’ll say this again, although it will be ignored again: these are health impacts and require attention.

  50. Mike Barnard

    More on the health subject when the WordPress blog osftware untwists its shorts and allows me to post the next segment. In the meantime, hopefully this poll by an independent polling company (funded by the American Wind Energy Association) will get through:

    –An overwhelming, bipartisan majority — 89% — of American voters (including 84% of Republicans, 88% of Independents and 93% of Democrats) — believe increasing the amount of energy the nation gets from wind is a good idea.
    –A majority of Americans — 56% — disapprove of the job Congress is doing on renewable energy and 67% believe Congress is not doing enoughto increase renewable energy sources such as wind.
    –A majority of Americans — 82% — believe the nation’s economy would be stronger (52%) or the same (30%) if we used more renewable energy sources like wind.

    Remember, you won’t hear this on WCO.


    • MA

      Your grasping, Mike. Again, you’re quoting a industrial lobby group sponsored poll created to demonstrate how well they’re advertising is working. And it’s working well. Look at you! Who wouldn’t want “clean, green, free” energy?

      I’m sure if you asked the public if they support hydrogen to run our grid, they’d all say yes. Perhaps someone should come up with way to run our grid on unicorn poop and fairy dust. Oh yeah, that would be great!

      Doesn’t mean it’s going to work.

      • Mike Barnard

        The lesson you should take away from this is that wind power is going to be implemented, and that attempting to prevent that won’t work. Regardless of your opinions, the public relations and governmental battles have been won.

        The health analysis as well as the analysis of the regulations shows that the Ontario regulations, if enforced, will significantly mitigate the concerns raised in the past.

        That means that rather than trying to prevent implementation, the most productive use of your time would be to heavily monitor enforcement of the 40 dba and setback regulations, and where they are broached, assist homeowners to force the wind industry to remediate the breaches. That’s a lot easier now that the regulations are in place.

        PS: And stirring the pot isn’t the same as grasping at straws.

  51. Dan Wrightman

    Well Mike, I guess to follow your logic if a child and parent were to visit their family doctor because the child is ill, the physician should ignore both the child and parents self-reporting of sypmtons because they are anectodal and to quote you “Children can be induced to misreport symptoms. Parents are unreliable reporters”. How could physicians diagnose any health issues if they couldn’t use patient first-hand accounts of symptons?

    • Mike Barnard

      Actually, the literature is quite clear on the need for doctors to take parental and child reporting of symptoms as input, but to treat them as highly fallible. That’s why doctors do additional tests and diagnoses.

      And the literature is even clearer on parental or patient self-diagnosis of cause. Generally, it’s politely ignored except in the case of the very obvious such as measles.


  52. Mike Barnard

    Unfortunately, the blog software continues to choke as I post the continuation of the child health analysis into it. While knowing that this will fall on deaf ears with or without the analysis, I’ll at least try to attach the summary.

    Overall summary:

    In response to Dan’s question, I asserted that his concern “would be valid if the nocebo reaction weren’t well founded, if there were reasonable evidence that children were suffering the same symptoms with the same severity as their parents, if nocebo effects did not apply to children or if the evidence support non-stress related physiological impacts.”

    Point one: The nocebo reaction is a proven effect, and care must be taken in both administering drugs and vaccines, and in studying or surveying health impacts.
    Point 2: There is little to no evidence supporting children having the same symptoms of the same severity as the adults studied.
    Point 3: Children are 50% more susceptible to the nocebo effect than adults on average. Women and older people are also more susceptible.
    Point 4: The evidence does not support physiological effects beyond those consistent with noise-related annoyance.

    So, how does the nocebo effect explain health impacts in children? Given the weakness of the data, there isn’t much to explain; the nocebo effect is unnecessary. The one data point in the WCO survey indicates a mother who is ascribing a child’s vomiting to wind turbine syndrome apparently despite her doctor giving her an alternative probable diagnosis.

    Are children losing sleep when wind turbines are inappropriately sited? Yes, the data seems to support that.

    Is that a concern? Yes, child development does require good sleep.

    Do the new regulations significantly abate this concern, if enforced? Yes.

    Are there many children living where windfarms are going up? No.

    Are children living in rural situations exposed to greater health concerns? Yes.

    Are windmills near children in school a concern? No.

    So, the intelligent thing to do would be to independently monitor setbacks near homes containing children and ensure that they are rigorously enforced.


  53. Mike, I appreciate all you’ve done here. A lot of this research will be useful in some projects local to me. At least here the opposition are more up-front about the fact that they just don’t like the look of them!

    I’ve wanted to give Wind Concerns the benefit of the doubt, but–assuming the commentors above are actual representatives of Wind Concerns–at the group’s inception their position was “wind turbines are a nuisance,” and with time they’ve cobbled together data from a hodge-podge of sources to make the issue seem more like a public-health/pro-conservation/maybe pro-nuclear cause. But they’ve used the data the way a drunk uses a lamp-post: for support rather than illumination.

    When challenged on some of the studies they’ve used, and asked why they don’t instead lobby that the wind farms be designed/planned better to address the health and other issues, they’ve retreated into: “Why do you hate children?”

    Simply being *against* something is a weak position tactically. In order to be taken seriously, and not just dismissed as reactionary, Wind Concerns needs to figure out what they’re *for.* (And, no, don’t bother with semantic nonsense like, “We’re *for* not having wind turbines anywhere near us.” You know what I mean!)

    No one source/practice is going to solve all the problems of climate change and finite fossil fuel. And no, I don’t find it accpetable that we expect poor people to continue living near nuclear and coal plants while we wait for an invisible, soundless, clean energy source to appear.

    • wgulden

      Lauren, what you’ve written is so far off what most of us have been saying I find it hard to reconcile it. For my part, I don’t mind the look of them at all. I don’t recall many comments from any of us about the look of them. This is a canard the wind industry trots out to marginalize us. What we’ve been talking about here is the fact that hundreds, if not thousands of people world-wide have been complaining about the nuisance/noise of these things.

      You mention “cobble together”. When you’re private citizens with no deep pockets, and must rely on volunteers, that’s what you do. But you’ll find at least our cobbled together studies actually talk to the neighbors and gather their symptoms – unlike the well-funded industry studies that never leave the library.

      You ask why we don’t lobby instead to have the wind farms be better planned, just what in the world do think we have been doing? In Ontario our pleas have fallen on deaf ears and these projects continue to be placed too close to homes and schools. 550 meters is too close, as evidenced by the complaints from distances further than that. You could then argue that the 40bBa limit would be ok, but Ontario hasn’t enforced that either, plus the Pedersen studies indicate 35 is where the problems start being reported.

      WCO’s core position is that wind turbines, if they are to be built, must be built far enough away from people so their lives aren’t made miserable. WCO does not say we shouldn’t build windmills anywhere, as there is still some argument that they might have some redeeming features. Personally, I don’t think they should be built anywhere.

      What are we for? It varies, because there’s no obvious answer. I’m for more research into storage. In the short term, maybe replacing coal with gas would be ok. Medium term, nuclear is the only viable choice. Under no circumstances, until the storage problem is solved, is wind a viable strategy. It isn’t clear how much, if any fuel is saved, and it increases SO2, NO2 and doesn’t decrease CO2, while increasing costs and compromising the environment. What’s to like about that?

      So, instead of having poor people living next to a coal or nuclear plant, you’d like to see many more poor people living among wind turbines?

      • “What are we for? It varies, because there’s no obvious answer.”

        Now that’s a protest sign I’d like to see.

        “So, instead of having poor people living next to a coal or nuclear plant, you’d like to see many more poor people living among wind turbines?”

        Given they’re at least 2 miles away from the nearest domicile, yes, I would much rather have people [of any income bracket] live close to wind turbines than close to a coal or a nuclear plant.

      • Esther

        Lauren, I believe you said that these turbines are “at least 2 miles away from the nearest domicile”??? Where the heck did you get that number?! Let’s try 550m, and if you already live in a wind farm…350m, and if you are signed up to a lease, you can have them on your doorstep. No wonder you think that we should be happy with them, if they were 2 miles away. Wouldn’t that be worth protesting for? Our school will have 14 wind turbines within a 2 mile radius of the school. Our little village of Adelaide will have 4 turbines 600m away from the homes. These turbines are not even topple distance from the roads. This should explain why many of us think of these machines as monsters: not because of their looks, but by what they could do to us.

      • Hi Esther, most of the studies I’ve read recommend 2 miles if it’s a domicile. You’ll notice above that no one is contesting that 550 is probably too close, at least for the minority subset of people who have adverse reactions. You’ll also notice that no one is contesting a “wind turbines have to be properly sited” approach. But I do object to taking that massive leap from “this process is shabby” to “no wind turbines EVER!”

      • wgulden

        Hi Lauren, where in the world did you get the 2 mile rule? If in fact turbines were set back that far, WCO probably wouldn’t exist and we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

        There are a few people who, like you say, just don’t want turbines anywhere. Probably because of how they look.

        I can’t speak for all of WCO, but there’s a lot of us who have yet to find any evidence that they yet to do what they are supposed to do, which is to reduce carbon emissions. So we say stop putting them up. Maybe in the future some new technology (i.e. storage) or mini-nuclear or ???? will come along and either they become useful or obsolete. But why spend all this money, divert all this attention (spend all this political capital) and risk all the environmental damage when we don’t know which way wind will go?

      • Hi W. Gulden,

        You asked: “Where in the world did you get the 2 mile rule?” Well, I got it wrong (serves me right for sneakily blogging at work), I meant to write 2km (about 1.25 miles).

        Several studies worldwide have indicated that a distance of 2km would be ample in protecting the subset of people who get headaches. (That’s for domiciles, remember.) I could link them all if you want–some are also linked in the WCO website I think.

        You mention that if there were such a generous setback with wind turbines, WCO wouldn’t even exist. If you wished you could protest in favor of a minimum setback. For instance, there’s this model petition I stumbled upon:

      • wgulden

        Hi Lauren again,

        2km isn’t quite 2miles, but even that would have eliminated most (if not all) of these problems.

        We’ve petitioned the government in every way we know how to for the last year for bigger setbacks, generally 1.5 miles or 2km. The wind industry refused to consider that much of a setback, and the government apparently wants these so badly they will do pretty much whatever the industry wants – no doubt the government thought giving us the 550m setback was a very generous and courageous thing for them to do.

        It was this lack of response to our petitions/presentations/demonstrations/deputations/etc and the dictatorial nature of the Green Energy Act in general that has convinced a number of us that that government cares absolutely nothing about the welfare of rural Ontarians. There’s just not much room to negotiate or convince when that is true.

        By the way, WCO has never had “no windmills anywhere” as a policy, even though that has been discussed internally at various times. If individuals like me sound like we are spouting WCO policies when we say we want no more turbines, I apologize for the confusion.

      • Hi W. Gulden,

        I get what you’re saying, thanks. Unfortunately there’s nothing in the call-to-action above that says, “We’d be okay with wind turbines if there were a 2km setback.” Instead it touches on a wide variety of issues and concludes that wind farms are “folly.”

        Pushing for a 2km setback (and maybe other conditions) would actually be a strong and positive message and it would force a specific response from the government.

        It’s a weak position tactically to go into a protest march with the message: “We don’t want to deal with this, for a lot of divergent reasons. We don’t really have an alternative in mind, though, sorry.”

        Another problem with simply being *against* something is that you leave yourself vulnerable to being co-opted. (In this case, by the pro-nuclear lobby and assorted nuts.)

  54. Dan Wrightman

    Lauren I live 45 km downwind from coal plants and Chemical Valley in Sarnia.(Here is a good link that shows what Chemical Valley looks like If Ontario ever manages to close Lambton Generating station they will be replaced with natural gas plants which are still big polluters. Ironically two of the units at Lambton have scrubbers while the 3 coal plants on the other side of the St. Clair river in Michigan have none. So conceivably in the future on hot days when Ontario isn’t producing enough power we might be importing non-scrubbed polluting coal power from Michigan, does this make sense?
    Furthermore Lambton County and the areas east to London have the most polluted air in Ontario. The hundreds of wind turbines proposed in my neighbourhood will do nothing to change that. Turbines will not clean up the numerous flares belching all kinds of nasty toxins into the air shed. Legislation mandating refinery investment into new clean processes will be necessary as the oil industry like the wind industry is not interested in human health since it impacts their bottom line. Its interesting to note that Suncor the company whose Sarnia refinery was fined $625 000 last year for continually releasing sulphur dioxide emissions is the same company that wants to build wind farms in Lambton and Middlesex County. Do you see why the locals here are mistrusting? The fossil fuel industry and the wind industry are the same jokers.
    Sometimes I feel like one of the animals from George Orwell’s Animal Farm peaking in the farm house window and recoiling in shock because the pigs and humans have become indistinguishable. Except instead of pigs and humans it’s the mainstream environmental groups and big corporate business interests that have merged. The environmental movement used to be grassroots and gave support to local battles against industrial developments , now they sneer and call them NIMBY’s. The environmental movement used to be about preserving wilderness, saving endangered species and stopping toxic chemical release. Now its raison d’etre is industrial energy development. Why has this happened? I would suggest looking at the major donors to the big environmental groups . Its hard to say no to the big polluters paying the bills. Its sad to say but the green movement has become elitist and has lost its way. It needs to return to the grassroots and become a movement again and not just another industry lobby group.

    • Hi Dan,

      I get your meta-critique of the green movement, believe me. And I’ve looked at the plants you reference, and other instances, where the wind-turbine planning has been shabby. I get that at present they won’t obviate the need for coal entirely–however based on the studies I’ve read I still think that if properly implemented they can be one part of the solution (i.e., in combination with other clean energy sources, conservation, etc.).

      I don’t know if you’re intending to march or protest but in reading your post I don’t get a sense of what you’re *for,* if you see what I mean.

      • Dan Wrightman

        Very simply, I am for conservation and polluton controls. We are incredible wasters of energy and that needs to change. Wind energy is a costly diversion of time and money towards achieving greater energy efficency while doing nothing to reduce toxic air pollution from big industry. Furthermore wind energy has this guilt-free association to it. So like dieters drinking copiouus amounts of sugar-free colas we could have green minded people paying no mind to the energy being wasted because of its “green source” Conservation is also far cheaper per tonne of C02 eliminated than building wind energy generation. It saves dollars for the average person rather than increasing their hydro bill and is far less disruptive to the natural environment than saturating the countryside with wind turbines.

  55. Mike Barnard

    Yes, it’s unclear why we might have thought that the aesthetics of wind farms were an issue.

    Carolyn Moulton on this thread
    I am honest about it: I dont think that large clusters of industrial wind turbines plunked in front of our national parks, Unesco Biosphere Reserves (like the Thousand islands-Frontenac Arch), internationally recognized Important Bird Areas (IBAs), or significant tourist areas that are built around areas of natural beauty looks very good at all. Aesthetically it is a mistake.

    James Virgin on WCO
    I do not want these ugly edifices to disgrace the country skyline that I live within.

    Ed Janzen on WCO
    I am totally against the wind farm idea. The towers and turbines are ugly and generate relatively little electricity in most regions where they are placed.

    Claire Hoy – Orangeville Citizen
    these ugly behemoths.

    Melodie Burkett on WCO
    I will have to rename our farm “Ugly view!”

    Solveig Dalin on WCO
    They are ugly to look at, but I’ll get used to it, I thought.

    “Notsogullible” on WCO
    It might be big and ugly enough but it certainly won’t power 55,000 homes.

    Randy Cross on WCO
    Well at least our communities will look like Post-Industrial junkyards with all those 600 foot wind turbines…and Toronto will have 1 less coal-fired plant…..maybe….It will still be ugly…
    But now, North Carolina state lawmakers are actually moving to make it against the law to install large wind turbines in the mountains–on the grounds that they’re ugly.
    Respondents to a survey by the British magazine Country Life listed wind turbines as the most egregious type of architectural blemish across England. They disliked wind farms even more than other “eyesores”—such as highway service areas, conventional power stations and ugly office buildings—because of the size of the turbines, some of which are 300 feet tall, and their intrusion on the landscape.

    And an amusing cartoon:

    To be clear, taste is something we can’t argue about. Even people who have good taste disagree with one another.


  56. Mike Barnard

    Wind forecast for the protest: 24-28 KM from the North West. However many folks actually turn up, they will be tousled by a chill wind.

    (If they had a little windmill, they could power their sockwarmers.)


  57. Sick Turbines

    The truth is that this government has allowed lands to be deemed industrial automatically for Wind Turbines. Farmed and natural lands are being invaded by industrialization. I would much prefer to have apartment buildings built in our countryside than ineffectual energy producing Wind Turbines.

  58. claire

    Discrediting “emotion” is, of course, a tactic of those who do not dare to feel/are out of touch with their feelings; or who have not felt the power of genuine emotion, such as those of a mother for her child, or of a human for the beloved planet we call “home.”

    If we are not in touch with our emotions we become something other than human, resorting to the numbers game – if it’s only a few children, adults, birds, bats, it’s somehow OK. If we bury our emotions, we become sick, and/or easily recruited to the tribes and cults who live by statistics and numbers and theories, and who appear to value “science” above true stories of authentic loss and suffering.

    To me, “Green” means skip no steps, be meticulousy cautious, stop until we know we will Do NO HARM. Do everything possible to honour and protect the earth and all sentient life. The process must be “green” as well as the projected outcome. In fact, the projected outcome is meaningless in the absence of a “green” process.

    And, to me, the desecration of our natural world, including the killing of bats and birds and widespread destruction of animal habitats – we call these “habitats” when we are actually talking about the lives and homes of sentient earthlings – is not “green.” And this desecration is not something other than desecration simply because some human beings call it “green.” Killing of sentient earthlings and desecration of nature are wrong, whatever colour the killers and desecrators claim to be.

    And let me anticipate the response: the projected outcome will save lives and nature. We do not kill and desecrate to prevent killing and desecration. To do so is war, or psychopathology, or both.

    Nature is not a stage set and birds and bats are not stage props. Bird migration is a miracle which moves me, keeps me in touch with my deepest human emotions. To set up more killing structures along bird migratory pathways is a crime against nature and Earth – against ourselves.

    Let me anticipate the response: birds are intelligent – they can fly around them. Yes, birds are intelligent, but they are also light in weight and windborne. That is part of the wonder of them. And they are being killed and mutilated in staggering numbers by industrial wind turbines.

    Before anyone asks me to “cite,” please research this subject for yourself. Look at the photos and videos, and read the article, “A Long Night’s Journey Into Death.” And if you feel strong emotion when you do, be grateful that you are a caring human being.

  59. Pingback: Wind farms don’t make people sick, so why the complaints? | barnard on wind

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s