Monthly Archives: January 2012

OFA looking out for property owners “suffering in silence”

Jan 31, 2012  Kincardine News

Dear Editor,
The OFA recently called for a suspension of FIT contracts until the noise and electrical issues of wind turbines are settled (good on them).

Further the OFA is very concerned about the community strife that these projects are causing, pitting neighbour against neighbour. As the statement says, “We are hearing very clearly from our members that the wind turbine situation is coming to a head -seriously dividing rural communities and even jeopardizing farm succession planning.”

So, the OFA, Liberal red to the core has abruptly thrown down the gauntlet and the Liberal caucus had no plan for war with its last ally in rural Ontario. What really made the OFA do this?

Besides the obvious panic that renewals might not be forthcoming, I found this comment by a local farmer both interesting and very believable. A small news item was announced 2 days before the OFA proclamation last week: a lawsuit by John and Sylvia Wiggins, who own a horse farm near Stayner. They are suing their neighbour who is the host landowner for a wind project of 6 turbines. Last summer they listed their 48 acres for $1.15 million and though initial interest was intense, buyers disappeared after the wind farm was announced. They are suing the wind company, WPD and the host landowner for $3.5 million for lost value. This is the first time a landowner has been named in a civil suit involving wind turbines. It was bound to happen.

There is case law to support the position, one being a situation back in the 1980’s where neighbours of a go-kart track in Niagara Falls successfully sued the landowner of the track. Their claim of loss of property value was accepted by the court. If the Wiggins are successful it would open the flood-gates to more lawsuits. Given the obvious visual (nuisance) impact of wind turbines, I’d say there is a high likelihood they will win.

The farmer said there is a real danger of “spill-over” effect. A win may provoke challenges against current farming practices based on noise, odour, view, whatever.

That’s something that all rural residents had better think carefully about. The OFA already is, and they are spooked.

Meanwhile, our dim-witted government insists that we rural residents are quite happy to accept wind turbines, “…for the greater good of society.” Like H… we are -suffer in silence so some comfy condo dweller can mitigate his urban guilt. NO!

Harvey Wrightman Kerwood

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OFA has made a wise decision with IWTs

LF Press letters

The Ontario Federation of Agriculture has made a wise decision, with its recent withdrawal of support for new wind turbines in rural Ontario, for a number of reasons.

The issue has long been divisive in agricultural areas, pitting neighbour against neighbour, yet there is no democratic responsibility inherent in the implementation of the “Green Energy Act”. The power of municipal councils and their Official Plans have been usurped by Queens Park, where government politicians are comfortably far enough away from the controversy to remain unmoved. The latest election results should serve as a wake-up call to those who still believe that this kind of governance is appropriate in the 21st century. The direction of this debate has, no doubt, not gone unnoticed by OFA officials, many of whom are likely as keen on trying to keep their own jobs, as they are in faithfully representing the will of their membership. Regardless of the motivation, the result is the same  the OFA must present the concerns and opinions of rural Ontario on this issue to those in power in Toronto. Read the rest of this entry

Wind turbine opponents not backing down

 By PAUL MORDEN, The Observer Jan 31 2012 

The Lambton-Middlesex Wind Action Group is spreading the word about its opposition to hundreds of proposed industrial wind turbines in the area.

Group members are scheduled to speak Feb. 7 to the Golden K Kiwanis Club in Sarnia, and they’re organizing a public information seminar Feb. 16, 7 p.m., at Grand Bend Public School.

“The Grand Bend area has a lot of projects surrounding it,” said group member Marcelle Brooks.

That includes the 150 MW Jericho Wind Energy Centre NextEra Energy is planning for Lambton Shores, and other projects wind energy companies want to build in nearby communities.

“We weren’t sure all of these folks were aware of what’s going on just outside of their town limits,” Brooks said.

NextEra spokesperson Josie Hernandez said the company is currently completing studies needed for the Jericho project to gain environmental approval from the province, and is aiming to have the project operating sometime in 2013.

It’s expected to erect between 65 and 93 towers, depending on which type of turbine is selected, Hernandez said.

The wind action group’s meeting in Grand Bend will feature real estate broker Doug Pedlar, speaking about the impact on land values, and electrical engineer David Colling speaking about electrical pollution. Scott Petrie, executive director of Long Point Waterfowl, will discuss impacts on wetlands and water fowl.

“We are more defiant and determined than ever,” Brooks said about the group’s opposition to industrial wind farms. Read the rest of this entry

Zephyr towers going up & blades arrive… & they ‘fix’ the roads again…

 The intersection of Ebenezer and Churchill was built up quite a bit to repair the road when the tower pieces couldn’t make th corner. But then they spent another whole day building it up even more for the blades that arrived and they had to store at the barn (in the pic)… the flatbed with the blades wouldn’t make the turn.

Thursday morning at 9:00ish, two small trucks with 4 way lights, cop car all lights, flatbed and blade, cop car all lights, then two more pickups with all lights flashing SPEED came down Churchill. You’d think it was the bloody Queen in town!! All three blades are now on site since the road was modified and widened at the intersection (for the 2nd time). The tower will go up quickly now, as soon as the weather is clear. 

48.7 meter blades on site.

Tower going up and road beign repaired, agian.

Suncor’s Adelaide Project – as if we don’t have enough planned already…

For those of you in Adelaide/Strathroy area, do look at Suncor’s “new” Adelaide map (more detailed than the one below) . It has the location of all the turbine projects in the township (minus White Pines) – Every turbine is mapped out. Not pretty. 

Points to note—people in the North end of Strathroy are now in the “turbine zone”. Eg.: Turbines will be ~1000m to Buttery Creek subdivision.  And a biggy–can anyone find the Strathroy HIGHSCHOOL on this map??? Yeah, it isn’t marked as a school, and just so happens to be less than 1500m from two turbines, and many more to the North. I’m getting kind of tired of all our schools being immersed in these turbine dead zones. 

Suncor’s Adelaide Wind project website

REA Application Documents

  1. Notice of Project Engagement and Draft Site Plan (PDF, 1 pp., 1,057 KB)
  2. Notice of Project Engagement and Draft Site Plan – Mail Out (PDF, 2 pp., 1,998 KB)
  3. Project Description Report (PDF, 38 pp., 1,712 KB)
  4. Draft Site Plan Report (PDF, 32 pp., 1,932 KB)
  5. Draft Site Plan Map (PDF, 1 pp., 1,697 KB)

Name Confusion? White Pines = Adelaide II wind project…

So the contract that farmers are being shown are called “Adelaide II” but all the publicity call the project “White Pines” (wherever that is). Oh no, no confusion there…

From TCI Renewables (who will flip this project to NextEra):

“Adelaide II was a longer term project based on the view that the transmission lines in the ‘West of London’ transmission area would likely be upgraded to facilitate the connection of additional renewable capacity. Given that there were a few projects called Adelaide already, we decided it was best to change the name to White Pines in an attempt to avoid confusion.

This project is in the early stages of development and therefore the project infrastructure has not yet been identified or designed. We will issue a project notice and notify the public as per REA guidelines, in the event that this project moves forward in the development process.

As for the overall project area however, the project will generally be located to the west of the current Adelaide I project area. Sorry we can’t be any more precise at this point, but we’re still evaluating the project constraints and transmission options.”

Adelaide Metcalfe council urged to repeal building fee

Turbine opponents cry foul
WIND POWER: Adelaide Metcalfe council urged to repeal building fee

By DEBORA VAN BRENK, The London Free Press    January 26,
Wind-turbine opponents are demanding Adelaide Metcalfe council repeal a new turbine-building fee it imposed unexpectedly and without notifying them.

The rural township west of Strathroy, where two companies are proposing to build 68 wind turbines, approved a $10,000-per-turbine fee at a Jan. 16 meeting.

Last month, scores of people attended a council meeting to ask the fee charged be even higher than that.

The issue was set aside so staff could learn what other municipalities charge.

“I was flabbergasted,” said activist Esther Wrightman, to discover from a councillor’s Facebook page that in one night council had proposed, debated, approved and passed into bylaw the new fees. “I didn’t believe it at first.”

She said she didn’t see the item on the agenda, otherwise she’d have attended the meeting.

“It just has to be repealed. I just can’t accept anything less than that,” Wrightman said. Read the rest of this entry

Zephyr Wind development trudges along – quick & dirty

The giant crane arrive 2 days ago, and the truck was promptly stuck when it couldn’t make the turn off Churchill Line to Ebenezer. Churchill Line was closed that afternoon.  Dump loads of gravel upon mud should do the trick…. Sure hope there is a road agreement with the township on this.

As for the tower parts in the pictures below, yes those are tiny people beside them.

Map of some of Lambton/Middlesex’s wind turbine proposals

Turbines going up “a risk,” says Wind Action lawyer

By Heather Wright Sarnia This Week Jan 22, 2012

WATFORD – As the Ontario Environmental Review Tribunal hears arguments against a wind turbine development near Watford, the project is moving ahead.

Green Breeze Energy’s four turbine 10 megawatt project worth about $22 million is under construction now with the concrete forms already poured and the turbines waiting in Windsor to be installed.

But the Middlesex-Lambton Wind Action Group filed an appeal of the project.

WAG’s lawyer, Eric Gillespie, says the main focus of the hearing will be the “numerous indirect health effects associated with wind turbines such as sleep disturbance, vertigo, nausea, headaches.”

Gillespie and lawyers for the province are waiting to hear the results of the province’s latest attempt to have the appeal dismissed. The tribunal is likely to release its decision this week. If the hearing moves ahead, arguments will begin in Alvinston Feb. 21.

But there is no requirement to stop work until the hearing is complete.

“You will probably see irreparable harm arguments made on other projects around the area of construction but given that the Middlesex Lambton Wind Action’s claim is based on health and that the health impacts don’t appear to be likely to be triggered until operation begins, we’re still in that phase,” Gillespie says.

“At the same time the company is clearly on notice they’re building completely at their own risk because if the appeal is successful those turbines will likely have to be removed.”

Gillespie says if the hearing continues long enough and Green Energy starts up the wind turbines, the wind action group may try to stop it.

“That is an option. At this point, no decision has been made either way,” says Gillespie. “We have indicated to the tribunal that we may make that motion so it is on everyone’s radar.”

OFA calls for a MORATORIUM!!!

Ed. -What a difference a day can make!!

Farm group calls for turbine halt

By John Miner, The London Free Press  January 20

In a major blow to the McGuinty government’s controversial green energy plan, the largest farm lobby group in the province has pulled the plug on its support for wind turbines.

The Ontario Federation of Agriculture, which represents 37,000 farm families, issued a call Friday for the province to suspend wind turbine development.

OFA President Mark Wales said industrial wind turbines have split rural communities, pitting neighbour against neighbour.

“The situation is untenable,” Wales said. “It is taking away from what farmers do best and that is grow food and create jobs.”

“We need to slow this down and put some calm out there and then government needs to resolve the issues.”

Wales said technical solutions also need to be found before further development, such as how to store the energy from wind turbines when it is being produced but isn’t needed.

Selling such energy to other jurisdictions at a loss just isn’t good economics, he said.

Wales also said health concerns need to be addressed.

With hundreds of the giant turbines under construction, the Ontario government has come under intense criticism from rural groups for taking planning control away from rural municipalities.

Several Liberal MPPs, including former Agriculture Minister Carol Mitchell, were defeated in rural areas where turbines were being installed, helping to push the Liberals into a minority government position.

After the election, Premier Dalton McGuinty shifted veteran London Cabinet minister Chris Bentley into the politically hot energy portfolio.

E-mail john.miner@sunmedia.ca, or follow JohnatLFPress on Twitter

OFA has little ability to protect health around Turbines

By Dan Reid January 15, 2012 The Sun Times

I am not a farmer, nor am I a member of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA). For some, those two facts will negate any credibility that I have to offer an opinion on the organization. I accept that. However, before jumping to conclusions, let me assure you this editorial is not a public rant about the value of the organization or a call for it to be dismantled. Rather, it focuses only on their activity with respect to industrial wind projects.

In that regard, in spite of claims to the contrary, I would submit that the OFA has demonstrated no particular aptitude for protecting the health of rural Ontario. That would specifically apply to their membership, largely comprised of those who have opted to host wind turbines on their property. However, by extension it could also apply to rural Ontarians at large.

The predicament that the OFA is in may be attributable to a rather limited understanding of some of the key issues that actually impact the health and well being of those in proximity to turbines. In view of this, they are not blameless for their situation. But, by the same token, they are not entirely at fault. The rules established by the Ontario Government to roll out wind projects are stacked against the OFA. Also, some OFA members adamantly fight to place their property rights over their own health. Let’s consider these one at a time.

The primary example often quoted by the OFA as substantiation for how they are protecting health, is their successful lobbying to move turbines from 420 meter setbacks to 550 meters for participating land owners. Although well intended, this move could best be characterized as tinkering. It will do very little to alleviate the potential ill effects of turbines. One only need look at a couple of current examples.

At this time there is a Renewable Energy Application in front of the Ministry of the Environment for the McLeans Mountain industrial wind project on Manitoulin Island. This application is for the construction of 24 turbines each with 2.5 megawatts in power output and a maximum sound power level (noise level) of 104 decibels per turbine. As with most projects like this, there is a requirement for a detailed Noise Impact Assessment.

In the Mcleans Mountain noise assessment you will find a map that illustrates four distinct ‘noise envelopes’ drawn around clusters of turbines. The perimeter of each envelope indicates where noise levels are predicted to be 40 decibels. That noise level is the benchmark for compliance for the MOE. That means beyond that boundary, further from the turbines, noise levels are deemed acceptable. In this project that border physically occurs at approximately 650 metres in a 360 degree direction around each turbine cluster.

In a similar example, the Watford Wind Farm project recently approved by the MOE has 4 turbines each with 2.5 megawatts of power output but with almost 108 decibels (107.9) as a maximum sound power level (noise level). The 40 decibel boundary for the ‘noise envelope’ in this case occurs about 700 meters in a 360 degree direction around the group of 4 turbines.

To clarify, inside the boundary of each of the ‘noise envelopes’ in the above examples the predicted noise levels start at greater than 40 decibels and increase to over 70 decibels as you get closer to the turbines. Ironically, inside the noise envelope is also the homesteads and workplaces of farmers. Most of who are the constituents of the OFA. Read the rest of this entry

Stray voltage = Wind developers problem- not Hydro One’s

What I learnt at the Hydro One transmission meeting last night:

Wind Developers: if YOU install ANY transmission lines (collector lines etc.) in our communities— YOU must fix the Stray Voltage that occurs, not Hydro One. That includes the lines proposed to surround my kid’s school and playground.  So don’t bother telling me anything otherwise at any more of your twisted meetings.

Lambton to Longwood 70km Transmission Upgrade

From Hydro One:

Notice of Commencement and Invitation to Public Information Centre
Lambton to Longwood Transmission Upgrade Class Environmental Assessment

Date: January 18
Time: 5 – 8 p.m.
Location: Southwest Middlesex Arena, Auditorium 138 Mill Street, Glencoe

Date: January 19
Time: 5 – 8 p.m.
Location: Brigden Community Hall 3016 Brigden Road, Brigden

Hydro One Networks Inc. (“Hydro One”) invites you to a Public Information Centre to learn more about plans to upgrade an existing double-circuit 230 kilovolt transmission line. The transmission line, as shown on the map below, connects Lambton Transformer Station (TS) in the Township of St. Clair with Longwood TS in the Municipality of Strathroy-Caradoc. Consistent with Province of Ontario’s Long-Term Energy Plan, this project is required by the end of 2014 to increase capacity of the transmission system west of London to carry additional power from renewable, gas and other sources. The project involves replacing the conductor (wire) and insulators on the existing transmission towers. Hydro One will also repair selected tower foundations to ensure the long-term structural integrity of the transmission line.

Project Planning and Approvals
This project is being planned in accordance with the Class Environmental Assessment for Minor Transmission Facilities. The project will undergo an initial Environmental Screening. Screening criteria will be used to assess the potential significance of effects. If significant effects cannot be avoided, Hydro One will carry out a full Class Environmental Assessment. The project will also require approval under Section 92 of the Ontario Energy Board Act, 1998. The Ontario Energy Board regulates the electricity sector in Ontario and will review Hydro One’s “Leave to Construct” application to determine if the construction and operation of the proposed project is in the public interest.

Opportunities for public input exist throughout both the environmental planning and Ontario Energy Board review processes.

Public Information Centres
Interested parties are invited to attend one of our public information centres to learn more about the project and to provide comments to our project team.

For More Information
If you have any questions or want to be added to the project mailing list, please contact: Carrie-Lynn Ognibene, Community Relations Hydro One Networks Inc. Tel: 1-877-345-6799 E-mail: Community.Relations@HydroOne.com www.HydroOne.com/projects  

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Hydro transmission upgrade inches ahead  By CATHY DOBSON, The Observer

A major upgrade to a 70-kilometre transmission line slicing through Lambton County bodes well for the local economy, community leaders say.

Hydro One plans to hold public consultations this month about adding capacity to the existing double-circuit 230-kilovolt transmission line stretching from the Lambton transformer station in St. Clair Township to the Longwood transformer station in Strathroy-Caradoc. Read the rest of this entry

Meanwhile, turbines going up on $22-million project

By PAUL MORDEN, The Observer Jan 12 2012

Muddy conditions caused by rain and mild winter temperatures have been a challenge for crews at the Zephyr Farms four-turbine wind project under construction near Watford.

Mississauga-based Green Breeze Energy Inc., began work on the $22-million, 10-MW energy generation project in late 2011 after receiving approval from Ontario’s Environment Ministry.

Brent Hull, vice-president with Green Breeze Energy, said the work has stayed mostly on schedule, even through the wet weather.

“In the beginning, when we were digging the holes for the foundations, they just kept filling up with water because it was raining so much,” he said.

Access roads have been built to the site on Churchill Line, between Ebenezer and Old Walnut Lines in Brooke-Alvinston Township, plus the foundations are now in place and underground wiring for the electricity collector system is nearly complete.

The turbines, made by Samsung of South Korea, are sitting dockside in Windsor waiting to be trucked to the site, Hall said.

“We should begin erecting the week of Jan. 23.”

The 100-metre blades will be trucked to the site from the manufacturer in Arkansas.

“The turbines should be all up and ready to produce power by the end of February,” Hall said.

Some time made be needed after that to test the equipment before it begins generating power, he added.

The ministry’s approval of the wind project has been appealed by the Middlesex-Lambton Wind Action Group. Hearings are set to begin in February but the appeal hasn’t impacted the construction schedule, Hall said.

pmorden@theobserver.ca

Decision on Watford wind farm expected soon

By PAUL MORDEN, The Observer Jan 12 2012

The fate of the Ontario Environment Ministry’s latest attempt to scuttle a challenge of its approval of a Brooke-Alvinston Township wind farm project could be known soon.

Following a Jan. 6 hearing in Toronto, Ontario’s Environmental Review Tribunal reserved its decision on the province’s motion to dismiss the Middlesex-Lambton Wind Action Group’s appeal of the provincial approval of the four-turbine Zephyr Farms wind project under construction near Watford.

“They have now indicated that they hope to get a decision released sometime next week,” said Eric Gillespie, a lawyer for the wind action group.

The ministry’s first motion to dismiss the appeal was denied by the tribunal in December.

Gillespie said he and the wind action group have provided additional information to the tribunal since then.

“Given that the first motion did not succeed,” he added, “logically, the second cannot succeed.” Read the rest of this entry

A Deceiving drive-by of the “Brooke Wind Project”

Let’s take a closer look at the signage around the Zephyr wind development:

Let me know if you see the project owner’s name anywhere (or any variation) on these signs. Do you see “Oneworld”, or “Greenbreeze”? Noooope. Hmmm. OK, how about “Stantec”? Huh.  Geeze these reps were everywhere at the public meetings, and they are nowhere to be seen once the turbines are being constructed. Here’s one that HAS to be there- “ZEPHYR”. Nowhere to be seen. Well that’s confusing.

Hey- check out what they DO have: such as”RES”—I’ve never seen them associated with this project. And “Minten Hume Contractors Inc.”,  another one you won’t find in the ‘project documents’. Or how about the project name: “Brooke Wind Project” – that’s not officially the name of this project (Brooke-Alvinston Wind Farm).

Imagine you are a passerby, or a nearby resident and you think you might like to know a bit more about this project that you are driving by. You scribble down the names, drive home, type them into the google search….and…..nada. Apparently this project doesn’t exist. It’s a whole pile of alias names. Do you think the company did this all by accident? Or maybe the intention is to confuse the public- make the info a tad more difficult to find – hope that people give  up, don’t get educated, don’t get involved.

Turbine noise can cause health problems: Erhard

Plympton-Wyoming engineer out to prove province wrong

Sarnia This Week
PLYMPTON-WYOMING – Eric Erhard doesn’t like wind power. “If there was no other source of electricity in the universe, then maybe a wind turbine would be acceptable.” The professional engineer from Plympton-Wyoming first spoke up against them when Suncor tried to convince his municipality to host an industrial wind farm. Now, he will be one of the objectors when the Ontario government faces off against people opposed to the project February 21.

Erhard argues the wind energy industry isn’t sustainable without government funding. “It’s only sustainable when taxpayers are footing the bill. It’s really a welfare industry.”

And he says it is not environmentally friendly. Erhard says it needs other energy sources to back it up and the construction process for the turbine creates tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, not to mention the harm turbines do to wildlife. “They’re improperly called green; they do significant damage to birds, bats and to the environment in the production of turbines.

But it is the health effects of four wind turbines just outside of Watford which will be under scrutiny at an Ontario Environmental Review Tribunal.

The Middlesex-Lambton Wind Action Group filed the appeal after provincial government approved Green Breeze Energy’s four turbine 10 megawatt project worth about $22 million.

WAG’s lawyer, Eric Gillespie, says the main focus of the hearing will be the “numerous indirect health effects associated with wind turbines such as sleep disturbance, vertigo, nausea, headaches.”

Erhard hopes to back the group up with information he’s found from the World Health Organization and studies done for the province of Ontario.

Erhard says a recently released study done for the province says a the placement of wind turbines 450 meters from homes will result in “non trivial numbers of people being highly annoyed” by the low frequency sound.

Erhard says government studies place the turbines at a distance which will “highly annoy” between 6.5 and 8 percent of the people nearby.

“They’re willing to accept that – that’s their standard…that’s okay,” says Erhard. “That to me is not okay …that 1 out of 12 …that’s not acceptable.” Read the rest of this entry

Zephyr Wind- muddy roadways to hell

I really shouldn’t do this, on New Years Day…put here are some pictures of the roadways to hell of the Brooke-Alvinston-Watford Zephyr Wind Project:

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