Daily Archives: October 15, 2012
Comment Period extended to DECEMBER 8, 2012
Proponent: Bornish Wind LP (Nextera) — 45 wind turbines
Description of Instrument:
This posting is for a proposed Renewable Energy Approval (REA) by Bornish Wind LP (a wholly owned subsidiary of NextEra Energy Canada, ULC) for the Bornish Wind Energy Centre, proposed to be located in the Municipality of North Middlesex in the County of Middlesex, Ontario. This is a Class 4 Wind Facility with a total expected generation capacity of 72.9 megawatts (MW).
The proposed facility is considered to be a Class 4 Wind Facility under Ontario Regulation 359/09 (O. Reg. 359/09) Renewable Energy Approvals under Part V.0.1 of the Environmental Protection Act. Applications for Renewable Energy Approvals are required to be submitted in accordance with O. Reg. 359/09 for consideration for approval.
This comment period is for the public to review and provide comments and input directly to the ministry.
This proposal has been posted for a 30 day public review and comment period starting October 09, 2012. If you have any questions, or would like to submit your comments, please do so by November 08, 2012 to the individual listed under “Contact”. Additionally, you may submit your comments on-line.
All comments received prior to November 08, 2012 will be considered as part of the decision-making process by the Ministry of the Environment if they are submitted in writing or electronically using the form provided in this notice and reference EBR Registry number 011-7317.
Please Note: All comments and submissions received will become part of the public record. You will not receive a formal response to your comment, however, relevant comments received as part of the public participation process for this proposal will be considered by the decision maker for this proposal.
by Harvey Wrightman
“Streamlining” – it is repeated over and over that the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) appeal of Renewable Energy Approvals (REA) is “streamlined” to efficiently render solutions. The characters driving in from Toronto who dispense practical justice for the residents affected, all want to quicken the tempo of hymn we are all to sing – you know, “Whose Bread I Eat, His Song I Sing” – shouldn’t be too hard to find it in their song book – it’s the only one in it.
So, after a full Friday that went on and on to 5PM, one witness, Dr. Jim Salmon gave expert opinion evidence on the topic(s) of the models for the Noise Impact Assessment (NIA) – don’t you just love these acronyms(?!) – and the shadow flicker pattern (noted to NOT be required by the MOE). We learned the witness is both a founding and charter member of CanWEA (Canadian Wind Energy Association) with a background in physics and meteorology – NOT an acoustician, therefore please reserve those questions for the next “expert(s)”. So the man can basically tell us he understands the models used, but as to whether he cares about the practical application of his work – like any other apparatchik, he never questions the effects of the noise/flicker he is modelling for – not his problem.
Dave Hyslop, one of the appellants, developed a lengthy set of questions for this witness; and, though the details of both noise and shadow flicker are technically challenging, he got across several points that were to catch the attention of the panel members who followed with some rather good questions of their own. To whit, some of the questions:
Q – My office is in the cab of my tractor or combine. When I am in the field I will experience shadow flicker. Will it affect my ability to operate?
A – I can’t answer that.
Q – The cab is like a cubicle that has glass all around. Will the effects be similar to what happens in a house?
A – I don’t have a definition for that kind of receptor. I wouldn’t consider that space to be problematic for shadow flicker. The light will pass through and not be perceived in the same way.
OK, now to clean up the BS. There is a video shot inside a greenhouse in Holland. The flicker effect can only be described as “bewildering.” A nephew of mine operates a custom service to spread liquid manure. I remember him saying that the flicker effect is quite distracting and disorienting. There is a dearth of scientific investigation on the subject. It was obvious from the shadow flicker analysis that Samsung was seeking to present as low a numerical estimate (for hours affected) as possible. In addition, they were using a model that basically was geared for the dwelling only. The effect outside is expanded immensely and the shadow does not have to actually pass though the subject. Seeing it in near distance is also distracting. It is a huge property “disamenity” and it drives people wild. Read the rest of this entry
WIND TURBINE NOISE, SLEEP AND HEALTH (full report)
by Dr Christopher Hanning BSc, MB, BS, MRCS, LRCP, FRCA, MD
The Berwickshire News
An honorary consultant in sleep medicine, Dr C D Hanning, is warning of the “unacceptable levels of sleep disturbance” for people living within 1.5km of wind turbines.
Dr Hanning, a consultant at the University Hospitals of Leicester has over 25 years experience in sleep medicine and is accepted as an expert in these areas by the UK and Canadian courts.
In his latest report Dr Hanning said: “Industrial wind turbines emit a unique impulsive noise pattern, described as thumping, swooshing and rumbling. It contains a large element of low frequency noise which travels further and penetrates buildings more easily than high frequency sound.
“Noise disrupts sleep by preventing the onset of sleep or the return to sleep after a spontaneous awakening. The character of wind turbine noise makes it particularly annoying. The sufferer has no means of controlling the noise and many seek to leave their homes.
“In the short term, loss of sleep leads to sleepiness, fatigue, poor memory and concentration, increased accident risk and low mood. In the longer term, it increases the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, obesity, diabetes and cancer. Neither the short term nor the long term effects are trivial.
“The health effects demonstrated by these studies, and many others, are real and serious. My analysis of all the research leads me to conclude that external turbine noise levels should not exceed 35dBA in any circumstances and not exceed 32dBA in quiet rural areas. Setback distance should be at least 1.5km.
“Public health impact must be considered when assessing renewable and low carbon energy schemes and council’s should have a recommended separation distance for turbines from houses on health grounds of a distance of at least 1.5km.” Read article
By Bob Boughner, Chatham Daily News
All wind turbine projects in Ontario should be put on hold until results of a federal health study are known, says Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MP Bev Shipley. Shipley told The Chatham Daily News Friday he has received complaints from residents in the Mitchell’s Bay area in Chatham-Kent concerning the large number of turbines being erected in what appears to be record time.
The MP said he isn’t surprised by the lack of support both he and MPP Monte McNaughton have received from the McGuinty government. But he is surprised by the relative silence of major environmental organizations for their failure to speak up in calling for a moratorium.
“Environmental groups that are not usually shy about making their views known, seem to have lost their voice on this one for reasons I do not understand,” he said. “You would think that when it comes to protecting human health they would want to be as diligent as they are when their concerns are far less compelling.”
Shipley said he appreciates wind turbine development in Ontario is a provincial matter, but is convinced construction should halt until the results of the federal health study are tabled. He said there is currently not a scientific consensus to conclude whether there is a relationship between exposure to wind turbine noise and harm to human health. But he said that is what the federal health study may be able to determine. He said if there is a link between human health and noise from wind turbines, there is a need to protect citizens before the province compounds the problem by moving ahead with additional projects. Read the rest of this entry
In early July, it was proposed that if you are now affected by industrial wind turbines, to please write your local Public Health Unit/Board of Health and demand an investigation.
And if you are at risk of being affected by industrial wind turbines, to also write your local Public Health Unit/Board of Health and demand protection from harm.
Recent correspondence (Sept.10.2012) received on behalf of the Ontario Minister of Environment suggests “…that health related matters be addressed to the Local Medical Officer of Health.”. However, a follow-up meeting (Oct.9.2012) with a local health unit indicates that they have no authority to resolve the issues being reported.
Additional clarification is being requested about the authority of the local units to resolve the issues and to restore the health and well being of affected families.
In the meantime, it is important that the local Medical Officers of Health be advised of pre- and post-wind turbine health related issues to support the need for conducting an inquiry-investigation.
by Harvey Wrightman
Perhaps the biggest problem with these Environmental Review Tribunal appeal hearings is we get only the “appearance” of a fair hearing. Tuesday’s session was at the Kohler Community Centre, a WW2 Air Force barracks, well maintained by the onsite caretaker who obviously must do wonders with a limited budget – I hope that point is appreciated by the team of lawyers (some @ $500/hour) who descend on our rural communities. Wishful thinking – all we get from these people are averted looks, fake smiles and condescending remarks. Like a crew of evangelists sweeping into a new land, there is no regard let alone respect for local opinion and knowledge. Our thoughts are to be replaced with the new “green” beliefs.
The room is small and we sat directly behind the Samsung counsel, Sarah Powell and Matthew Milne-Smith (hired gun prepped and loaded for the day), sitting side-by-each to the Ministry of Environment’s Frederika Rotter and Sarah Kromkamp. A tangle of cords going to the court recorder and from there to the panel members connected them all to netbook computers so that they could scroll through all the documents, and read the transcript easily. But the lines ended there. None of the appellants had the electronic hook-ups. Why? – well it was all paid for by Samsung. They aren’t going to feed the locals/plebs. Yes, that means OUR MOE has documents that as a government ministry should freely make available to us. Another example of “loading the dice”, but no surprise as this government is deep into money addiction and casinos.
The opposing counsel were nervous – Freddy back to nail biting, repeatedly turning to the audience and faintly expressing a wolfish grin. Milne-Smith (umbrella man), sat stiffly with his shoes turned up and I couldn’t help but notice that his shoes had been resoled more than once, the last time a partial heel was applied at a very odd angular cut. I guess Matthew hangs onto his nickles!
The main witness was Scott Petrie, executive director of long point waterfowl and adjunct professor at Western – a formidable, confident expert witness, and like all such people one could see that he enjoyed the advantage of his position. Try as they might, there are so few lawyers who invariably have little in the way of a science or math background, they have a hard time questioning those who do. Someone like Scott, who has 50+ publications in scientific journals can easily sit and wait for them to come to him and then pummel them back into the corner. It really is “unfair”, but given the heavy bias that is applied to appellants, an occasional battle champion is welcome. By contrast, as Dr. Petrie noted, of the 8 consultants who worked on the “natural heritage” reports there were only 5 published works from all of them – no peer-reviewed articles. With no senior manager having a research oriented cv, the pre-construction assessments and post–construction monitoring regimes are not robust. There are many holes in the reports that simply lead one to question the assumptions. Worse, there was no request from the company for data or reports that Long Point waterfowl has on hand, and no use of locals who could also provide useful information on habitats and wildlife. Instead we learn from the survey notes of Sean Male that he was able to identify only about a dozen birds. 350 of his sitings were categorized as “unknown”. Dr. Petrie remarked, “He didn’t know birds.” One cannot expect rigour where there is no basic knowledge. Read the rest of this entry
By Jennifer Vo, The Sachem and Glanbrook Gazette
Haldimand County residents can expect to see between six to eight full time jobs coming out of the $270 million NextEra Energy Canada’s Summerhaven Wind Energy Centre. “We are excited to have broken ground. It’s a big milestone for our company,” said Josie Hernandez, senior communications specialist with NextEra Energy Resources.
“We will soon be starting the hiring process for wind technicians who will work at our wind farm once it’s operational so we look forward to hearing from the local folks who are interested in working for our company.” According to Hernandez, the six to eight jobs include positions for an associate wind site manager, associate business services technician, a high voltage wind technician and several wind energy technicians.
“We expect many of these jobs will go to local Haldimand County residents, which means their income will generally stay in Haldimand County,” she said. The class 4 wind facility consisting of 56 wind turbines will produce about 124 megawatts of energy – enough electricity to power over 31,000 average Ontario homes. She said the project would generate about $10 million in property taxes over a 20-year period to the county. Preliminary construction to the Summerhaven wind centre will take place in October and November.
“We expect turbine delivery to happen in December, January and February. In January, our specialized crane will begin stalling the turbines,” said Hernandez. Read the rest of this entry
I have attended 3 separate wind project hearings in Haldimand Cty. It’s a bit like escaping to Montana. Driving Indian Line is liberating. On the rez side are all the “smokes” shops operating out of houses or small, utility buildings. Hours of operation are generally 7AM – 10PM. I don’t smoke, but I have no particular aversion to tobacco. I remember my grandfather’s “room” and the blue haze that he created with White Owl cigars – mostly to keep my grandmother and her sister at bay. We stopped at a diner that had a faded sign advertising “Yellow Perch Dinner – $12.95” and another for “Pickerel Dinner – $10.95” – my personal favourite and indeed , once the batter was peeled away, the fish was very and cooked perfectly. The fries were not so special, but who cares?
It’s a real cultural jolt to enter the ERT hearing. The panel and legal teams all dressed in stiff court apparel – men with ties snugly wound around their necks and women with hair so tightly gathered, you’d wonder how they could blink their eyes. I suppose “our” appearance seems just as strange to them – mainly denim, though I did once wear my overalls into a hearing – many of us do still work. What we lack is the evangelism of the MOE and company lawyers. The puritanical desire to expunge and cleanse the land of the nasty effects that the local people have. We are told that change is the constant. That it is acceptable to harm/harass/maim a certain percentage of the population; well actually that rather description was found to be too blunt, too rude for MNR and MOE sensibilities. Now such as actions are described as: “providing benefit to a species”, or “preparing a recovery strategy for a species.” Read the rest of this entry
By Paul Morden, Sarnia Observer
Ontario’s environmental commissioner “is hitting the nail on the head” by recommending wind turbines not be allowed in Important Bird Areas, says Lambton Shores Coun. John Russell. Commissioner Gord Miller’s recent annual report says Ontario needs to be “smarter about where we place wind power facilities,” adding there are shortcomings in the guidelines for evaluating and reducing turbines’ harmful effects on birds, bats and their habitats.
“The Ministry of Natural Resources should rectify these shortcomings and prohibit new wind power development within Ontario’s Important Bird Areas,” Miller said.
Lambton Shores is home to two of the officially designed areas, including the Thedford Flats where thousands of migrating tundra swans stop each spring. It’s also one of the communities where Nextera Energy plans to build the 92-turbine Jericho Wind Energy Centre.
Russell who chaired a committee in the 1990s to have the Thedford Flats, a former marsh, designated as one of Ontario’s 70 Important Bird Areas said the turbines shouldn’t be built there, or in the birds’ flight path.
“It’s a no-brainer,” he said.
Swans, ducks and geese are “pretty good at avoiding turbines,” said Scott Petrie, an assistant professor at the University of Western Ontario and executive director of Long Point Waterfowl. “You’re not going to have enough hitting turbines that it’s actually going to cause a population decline.” But their tendency to avoid turbines – particularly those placed in important waterfowl habitats – is a reason for concern, according to Petrie. “It’s tantamount to habitat loss because they’re avoiding areas that they would normally use.” Denmark’s experience with the impact of turbines on waterfowl led to a recommendation they not be built within one kilometre of important staging habitats, like the Thedford Flats, Petrie said. He added they also shouldn’t be allowed on waterfowl flight corridors. Read the rest of this entry
IBAs overlapped with IWTs
By John Miner, The London Free Press
Homeowners close to wind turbines can expect to see much of their property values blown away, a provocative study by a London property appraiser has found. Sellers in the future could even find their properties are worth nothing, says the study by Ben Lansink of Lansink Appraisals and Consulting.
“If there is no buyer, there may be no value,” Lansink concluded. Industrial wind turbines have become a huge sore point for many in Ontario, with about 1,200 of the often-unwanted behemoths now in operation now and with the province having signed deals that will more than double that number in the next couple of years.
Lansink, who’s been qualified as a real estate expert in court proceedings, analyzed properties in the Shelburne area, north of Orangeville, home to Ontario’s first major industrial wind farm — the 133-turbine Melancthon Wind Facility.
He found five homes that had been bought by the wind farm developer, Canadian Hydro Developments, a subsidiary of Calgary-based TransAlta, at fair market value. Canadian Hydro later put those houses back on the market and they sold for an average loss of 38%. One brought 58.5% less.
“The erection of a wind turbine creates apprehension in the general public, which makes property less desirable and thus diminishes the prices of neighbouring property,” Lansink said. Read the rest of this entry