Category Archives: Shadow Flicker
At the October 3, 2012 final public meeting for the Suncor Adelaide Wind Project, it became apparent that there was no Shadow Flicker information available for the public, most importantly for those who would be affected by it. Questioning the Suncor dude about this he said he could get me the information for a specific area if I requested it. I said, “Oh good, I’d like it for the entire project”.
Clearly they didn’t take me seriously. We wrote the company and requested it again. The response from Chris Scott was, “In regards to your request for a “shadow-flicker” map, as requested at the October 3 Open House, we are currently preparing our shadow-flicker study. We will be sure to contact you when the study is completed.”
Months go on, and we attend the Cedar Point Suncor meeting in early April and ask where the Shadow Flicker report is. The response from C. Scott is “OK”. OK WHAT??? We stick the voice recorders on until he says we’ll get the report by the end of the month.
And here it is, 6 months after I first requested it. Note, the Adelaide project documents have since been deemed ‘complete’ by the Ministry of Environment, and put of for 45 days of public comment. Yes, it’s complete even without the shadow flicker reports because the Green Energy Act removed the requirement for the wind company to provide a shadow flicker report to the public.
So if you are one of the persons who will receive 40 minutes of shadow flicker a day ( like some will in this project), you would never have known about this flicker until it happened. How incredibly considerate of this wind company, Suncor, eh?
Dear Nextera, Suncor, Media and School Board trustees,
I am quite upset to see incorrect and confusing numbers reported in the media as to how many and how close wind turbines are to be from the schools in Lambton County. It is not the media’s fault.
Nextera, Suncor: I have reviewed wind project noise documents for 4 years – I should be competent in it by now. But I find I am tearing my hair out reviewing the documents, trying to find the exact noise, and distances turbines are to the schools in your projects.
Currently, my frustration stems from:
- The Bosanquet elementary school does not even have a Receptor ID on the project draft map.
- The hundreds of receptor ID’s are not numerically ordered in the noise chart – and I honestly can’t even find the school ID (or in this case, it’s neighbour’s, because it doesn’t have an ID).
- At the wind developer meetings, the schools are not even identified on the large maps. Security was called over when I wrote “school” on the map location for others to be able to see. How’s THAT for informing the public?? No wonder the media doesn’t know the true numbers… Read the rest of this entry
LELAND ROAD- Middle-school student Brian Reilly says he can’t play basketball on Leland Road when the strobing effect from the Kingston Wind Independence (KWI) Turbine’s shadow flicker is at full throttle. “I get a wicked bad headache so I have to go inside,” Brian told the Journal as he stood on the front steps of his neighbors house.
Dan Alves, also a resident of Leland Road, refuses to allow his epileptic son to stay in his bedroom when the KWI Turbine’s shadow flicker penetrates into his house. “That’s pretty much the rule,” Alves told the Journal on Friday afternoon. “We don’t want him in his room but we’re not always home so we can’t control it.” Read article
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
Dear Mr. Bennett (Sierra Club Canada)
My name is Lyric Allin, I am 13 years old, and I am very much involved in the protesting of wind turbines. I have been involved for about 3 years now and I think that the turbines do not give the whole truth about what they are doing and why they are doing it. I started to be involved when they set up the proposal for the Bornish land to be developed and industrialised into a wind farm, I still try to stay involved so that way no one has to face suffering in their own homes because they unknowingly agreed to putting a wind turbine in there backyard. But in some cases, this is not the case; some people have unfortunately just happened to have someone put one up close by. Now I understand that everyone has there own opinion about things that fall in their jurisdiction, but what gets me is that they have never done any studies of any kind to make sure that a wind turbine is safe to be placed in some ones yard. Now when I first found out about green energy I was really exited about it I thought that all our problems where going to be solved and that this would help the world stay healthy, but when my family looked closer we found out there where a few flaws in this for starters Flicker, birds and other animals being killed, the sound waves that they give off, people being pushed out of there homes and signing gag notices, and the disruption of the water table. Now all of this is very important to my family and me and we don’t want to have it happen in this area. So we took action trying to put a stop to the wind turbines and we found out about some pretty upsetting stories. For example, did you know that flicker from the trees and from the wind turbines movement can be a distraction for drivers and that at the center of the turbine is going 6 km per hour but the tips can be going about 50-60 km per hour. Now imagine driving along the road and seeing something like that, it would be very distracting for you would it not? But some people have to live with this all the time every day well unless they move or sell there houses to the company, but when and if this happens you might have to sign a gag order making it so you can’t talk about your experience. But that’s not all the sound waves from the wind turbines make people and animals sick, we have learnt about a 5 year old boy that one day said to his mom that it felt like his legs where bleeding and if you have had any children you will know this is not something that a 5 year old boy will say. That lady made a blog to talk about her family’s problems it is, http://www.mywinddiary.blogspot.com/ if you want to read about their problems. But when someone brings this up they say, “Oh well they are just not use to the sounds coming from the wind turbines, they live in the country and are used to total silence.” But how do people explain whole herds of cattle that have to be put down because they look like they have rabies, well could that be stray voltage disturbing the cattle and other farm animals. But the really sad thing is that birds and bats are flying around and hit the turbine in mid spin. Why do they do this? Well, it could be because a bird has a flight pattern that they follow so when a building is put up when they are gone then they will run into it because they are just following the patterns that they have there whole life. Lastly I would like to talk about how when they put up a wind turbine that they have to put a concrete slab down into the ground and when they do this it is not just going to go away, no for every action there is a reaction and in this case we have to take in consideration of the water table. So stand up and involve yourself so that we can have health studies before wind turbines and to have safe setbacks to keep all the families safe that live near or around wind turbines.
By Stephanie Cattrysse, Watford Guide-Advocate
April 21st, 2011
Laura Wilde who lives on West Ipperwash Road in Kettle Point has been a resident of the area nearly her whole life. She loves the area is close to her siblings and children, all of whom live within a short distance from her house.
Another area resident “Gerry”, (his name was changed), bought a 72 acre farm just off of Proof Line in Lambton Shores with his wife and son in 2000; a place he and his wife hoped would be their retirement home years down the road.
Unfortunately these perfect strangers who live within the vicinity of the six wind turbines in Ravenswood and four Turbines in Lambton Shores, have one thing in common. They are deeply concerned about health effects caused by wind turbines. Wilde said her skepticism about turbines started before they were even built in her area.
“When the wind developers had that meeting years ago, my brother, my son and myself asked if the turbines had any effects on people or our children,” Wilde said. “They said nothing would happen and everything would be good.”
But it’s not.
Shadow flicker from the turbines in the morning reflects through their windows and into their homes. Wilde said it’s so bad she can’t be in the room when the flickering is happening. Her son who has two-year-old twins, is also concerned about whether or not this will have a negative impact on the twins.
And that is not all. Wilde said some nights she is unable to sleep because of the noise coming from the turbines.
While some nights are worse then others, she has a tall dresser leaning against the south-facing window in her bedroom to help muffle the noise. On worse nights she will throw a few pillows in between. The noise from the turbines is bothersome for Gerry as well. With one turbine less than one-kilometer away from his home and others just over that distance nearby, he said he hasn’t had a good nights sleep since the turbines started turning.
“I used to sleep like a baby, but not anymore,” he said. “At first I didn’t know if it was the turbines, but when I go to Sarnia the humming in my ears goes away.”
Gerry said the humming in his ears keeps him awake most of the night and is so exhausted at times cannot function throughout the day.
Fed up with feeling this way, he has decided to put his house on the market and hopes he can sell his home and forget all this has happened.
But Gerry is concerned about the next person to move into his home. He has written to the Minister of Environment and to the turbine companies. “All my complaints have been filed.”
Gerry believes that as more turbines are constructed and running, more complaints and health issues will arise. He is hoping his interview will open up the eyes of government as well as residents of municipalities of municipalities who are destined for wind turbines in the next couple of years such as other areas in Lambton Shores, Adelaide and Metcalfe Township
and the Township of Brooke Alvinston to name a few.
“I want proper setbacks from homes, if people will be affected. It’s too late for us, but I want to help any person who may be affected by it.”
Last night we attended the second and final Brooke-Alvinston Wind Project “Public Consultation”. Incredibly frustrating- so much so that I just stopped asking questions.
There were NO print copies of the project report! Lots of Canwea junk but no project info.
Mr.Cobb, president of Green Breeze Energy, stated, “…they wanted to save trees.” No kidding.
So the public isn’t even obliged to view the report that will erect 4 2.5MW turbines South of Watford, because this company is trying to live up to its phony name, or maybe they’re broke. This is more than frustrating because you couldn’t even discuss the draft (the whole point of the meeting) without it present…something like not bringing the birthday boy to his birthday party.
We were told many times to go home and ‘view it online’, which in my opinion just shows their contempt for the public. I mean really, why did they even bother to come?
Apparently they didn’t have to do any bird or bat studies because “no bird or bats live in the project area” (the project area consists of small circles around each turbine). Never mind any wildlife passing through.
Only after a promise was made by project manager John Cobb at the first meeting and many e-mails to the company were we able to get rush printed copies of the noise and shadow flicker maps tacked on to a scribble board. What happened to the ’60 days to review’ period? People living in the vicinity had never seen these maps before- how were they supposed to comment on something so important in one night?
There were no noise representatives there. And the only person who we were directed to was a well known Stantec jerk that nobody wanted to talk to again. He is the ultimate loser for community consultation- he’s there to tell you ‘no you can’t have anything you need.’ I give the project coordinator Cobb some points for at least not treating us like scum and attempting to get us info (…60 days late).
Eventually a dozen or so of us just went outside and grabbed our signs to protest and went in and annoyed the windies. 12 year old Lyric, aka “Shadow Flicker Queen”, did her job well making sure each and every proponent had their taste of flashing light in their face. A bit of justice.
by PAUL MORDEN, Sarnia Observer
Construction could begin this summer on a four-turbine wind farm planned for Brooke-Alvinston Township.
Mississauga-based Green Breeze Energy Inc. held its second public meeting required to secure provincial approvals for the 10-MW project Thursday at the Brooke-Alvinston-Inwood Community Centre. It already has a contract to sell energy to the province.
Township Mayor Don McGugan estimated about 75 people were at the meeting, including some wind energy opponents.
“They had a chance to voice their opinions, which is good,” McGugan said.
“And there were those there that the turbines are going to be on their farms, and they’re quite happy.”
The wind farm is planned for a site bounded by Old Walnut and Ebenezer roads, just south of Churchill Line.
Esther Wrightman said she was among 12 to 15 wind opponents at the public meeting.
She lives in neighbouring Middlesex County, about 15 minutes away from the turbine site, but said her father’s family is from Alvinston.
Wrightman said she has been to several wind project open houses around the region in recent years and came away from Thursday’s feeling her questions weren’t being answered.
“They just get worse and worse and worse, because it seems they don’t have to provide as much information any more, either that or they’re just not,” she said.
“They didn’t even have the project document there to review. I couldn’t believe it. That’s just a simple thing. Read the rest of this entry
Sarnia Observer Sept 03, 2010
Sir: Re: The article “Opinion split on wind farms, mayor says” (The Observer, Aug. 28, 2010)
I attended the Green Breeze Energy public information meeting for the Brooke- Alvinston Wind Farm. Of the half-dozen or so wind proponent meetings I have been to, I would have to say that this was the worst meeting for actual information available.
Both the representatives from the wind company and the consultants (Stantec) were unable to answer very basic questions about their project, such as what the road setback distance was, what the noise levels would be or where the shadow flicker would fall. In fact, when they were questioned about the shadow flicker, the consultants response was, “We don’t have to give that information under the GEA anymore.” Comforting, eh? Read the rest of this entry
Dr. Robert McMurtry MD FRCSC FACS speaks to a large gathering in Clinton, Ontario about the health issues that are arising in Ontario homes that are close to wind turbine developments. He stresses that a full independent epidemiological study is needed before these developments are installed, but unfortunately the Ontario government is trying not to listen, and people continue to become ill. The only recourse left is to take the provincial government to court: Support the Ian Hanna Lawsuit.
How many times have you heard the following:
“They (victims of wind turbines) are just upset because they didn’t get a turbine on their property.”
“Those who are making an income off of wind turbines don’t seem to have any problems. We should encourage ‘community projects'”.
“People are making themselves sick worrying about wind turbines. It’s all psychosomatic.”
- None of these explain why children are being affected. Toddlers can’t understand low-frequency noise. They can’t understand income from a wind company.
- None of these explain why those who were looking forward to having wind turbines, thought they were a good idea, watched them get turned on…and then became horribly sick.
- None of these explain why farmer’s like the ones in the movies below, are speaking out against the wind turbines that are on THEIR property and ruining THEIR life. Kudos to those who speak up and ignore the ‘gag clauses’.
Next Era claims: “Our Top Priority: Public Health and Safety”That doesn’t seem to be the case below.More likely they meant “Our Top Problem: Public Health and Safety”.
After the post about Nextera/FPL’s ‘clustering’, I took a close look at this blog from DeKalb County, IL. The developer of this project is NextEra. The shadow flicker is visually horrendous. The residents are getting zero ‘help’ from the company. They have 4 little kids living on their farm. Their farm is a beautiful torture chamber in my opinion. read through their blog, day by day, and you soon get an idea what life with wind turbines is really like. And this is all in the name of progress? Give me a break. You would only do this to a family if you were a cold-blooded, money hungry company with zero conscience.
This is the company that wants to be our neighbour. Do NOT let them in.
Shadow flicker OUTSIDE a home
Shadow flicker INSIDE a home
Have a look at this unsigned contract (basically a gag order, that they hoped would solve the shadow flicker problem). This is the same company (NextEra/FPL) that wants to develop the Bornish and Adelaide Wind Farms.
The Parties, each for itself and its directors, officers, agents, and/or representatives, hereby expressly and unconditionally release and discharge one another, and their respective directors, officers, agents, representatives, employees, agents, successors and/or assigns, from any and all obligation, liability or responsibility arising from or as a result of the Released Matters.
At the wind proponents public meeting we were handed out comment sheets to fill in. I filled my comment/question section with just ‘questions’ for TCI/NextEra. Below are the responses I received from the Adelaide project development manager, Mark Gallagher.
There seems to be 3 types of replies:
a) Look it up yourself,
b) It won’t be our problem
c) Our ‘guess’ is it will work out just fine
1. What recourse do the residents of Adelaide-Metcalfe Township have if they do become ill from the wind project, their property values plummet, and they cannot afford to move?
- Please see the enclosed reports (on CD) which will hopefully address your concerns regarding health and safety.
(Ed. note: that would be the ‘look it up yourself’…I have yet to find it)
2. How will you mitigate 10km of intense shadow flicker on the highway 402? How will you respond when accidents occur?
- Shadow flicker is not typically considered to be an issue on roads, as movement of the vehicle negates the so-called ‘flicker’ effect.
(This is completely unsubstantiated; it is more like a wild guess. He has been unable to produce reports that support this notion that vehicle movement makes shadow flicker safe).
3. How will you monitor and control noise made by your wind turbines?
- Noise will be monitored as required under Ontario regulations 359/09 and MOE guidelines (Oct 2008) and if proven to be out of compliance, the necessary steps would be taken to address the situation.
( The question was ‘How?’)
I find that road safety is the last issue that anyone looks at with wind turbine construction. I’ll admit that it didn’t really grab my attention until I drove by the base of one near Port Burwell; it felt like I could just take a half minute walk from the car and touch the base of the tower. I remember thinking there is no way that this setback could be legal. But it is, and the Green Energy Act actually reduced the setback from what many municipalities previously had in place. We rightly worry about our homes, schools and farms and what wind turbines will do to our health, livestock, property values and local wildlife. We don’t really think of roads as being ‘ours’, probably because we don’t have to maintain them or care for them. But we do drive them regularly and expect them to be safe. There are two issues that have been very much ignored by the wind companies and the Ministry of Environment:
- Extensive shadow flicker on our roads
- Narrow setbacks to roads that don’t protect from ice throw, blade throw and tower topple.
Below is a letter that summarizes the road safety issues associated with both the Bornish and Adelaide wind farms.
The Glencoe Transcript & Free Press – Hayter-Walden Publications Inc. – February 4, 2010
By Marie Williams-Gagnon
The lines in the sand have been drawn and those on both sides of the wind power debate in Adelaide-Metcalfe were in attendance at last Tuesday evening’s open house regarding the Adelaide Wind Project.
The rim of the gymnasium of Adelaide W.G. MacDonald was lined with information boards from NextEra Energy, which bought TCI Renewables in December.
The Adelaide Wind Farm will cover 8,300 ha of privately-owned land with a class 4 wind facility under REA. Up to 40 – 1.4MW wind turbines will provide up to 60MW capacity.
Although there was no speaker or group discussion at the open house, NextEra provided information that the GE 1.5 xle turbines will have a 41m blade and a 80m hub height above grade.
The major issues for the opponents of the project remained the proximity of the Wind Farm to the school and other properties. They claim that for a distance of 10km there will be shadow flicker on Hwy 402, particularly at the Exit 56 turnoff. Healthe concerns, including noise levels, are of concern to residents of Adelaide village that could have 4 wind turbines 600m away.
Adding fuel to the fire last week was mixed messages from Adelaide-Metcalfe mayor John Milligan.
After both Adelaide-Metcalfe and North Middlesex township councils supported a resolution from the City of Kawartha Lakes requesting a study of adverse health effect prior to the issuance of any permits o continuance of any projects, Milligan said in a radio interview last week that the municipality is not in support of a moratorium now or were they ever, adding that he believes most community members are in favour of the wind farm.
The Adelaide Wind Project is expected to be fully operational within two years.
Shadow flicker– just one issue among many about wind turbines, but this one is visual. How do you react when there is someone flicking the lights on and off in your house? It’s irritating: you ask them to quit it. But you can’t tell the wind turbine to stop- you don’t have control of that switch.
“When turning with the sun behind them, turbine blades cast moving shadows across the landscape and houses, creating a strobe effect within houses which can be difficult to block out. Some people get dizzy, lose their balance, or become nauseated when they see the movement of shadows or the movement of the huge blades themselves. As with car or sea sickness, such symptoms occur when the three organs of position and movement perception (the inner ear, eyes, and stretch receptors in muscles and joints) do not agree with each other: the eyes perceive movement while the ears and stretch receptors do not.
People with a personal or family history of migraine, or migraine-associated phenomena such as car sickness or vertigo, are more susceptible to these effects. The strobe effect also has the potential, like other flashing lights, to trigger seizures in people with epilepsy.” – Nina Pierpont Wind Turbine Syndrome 8-1-06
Take a look at this clip:
Now take a look at our major Highway 402. A 9 Kilometre stretch of this major highway will have industrial wind turbines along it. 15 wind turbines will be less than 500 metres from the highway. Imagine driving this stretch of road in the morning, with blustery conditions, and the strobe effects of the blades spinning shadow flashing across the highway as you drive….for 9 kilometers. As many know in this area, this section of the highway is particularly bad in the winter, as in, “it was fine driving until I got to the Kerwood exit.”