Archive for the ‘Ontario wind news’ Category

Essex considers wind farms ban

December 16, 2008

Enbridge wind farm Kincardine

Enbridge wind farm Kincardine

Essex considers wind farms ban

ESSEX — The Town of Essex became the first area municipality to propose a ban Monday on wind turbine projects until all health questions raised by residents are clearly answered by provincial experts.

“We are gambling with the health, safety and quality of life of the people around us,” said Coun. Ron Rogers, who proposed the ban. “We need answers and guidance from our provincial ministries.”

The council debate on the ban is set for Feb. 23 to allow wind industry, provincial government and health experts to respond to issues such as noise, vibration, risk of structural failure, ice throw from blades, and electrical surges.

Input will also be sought from other Ontario municipalities that have banned or are about to ban the giant turbines even though provincial planning policy has encouraged wind energy development.

Rogers said he was frustrated with the divergent opinions on wind turbines, and the lack of help from the province and Essex County in sorting them out.

Among local municipalities, for example, the minimum proposed setback from turbines to homes ranges from the high of 600 metres in Amherstburg to the low of 300 metres in Lakeshore and Kingsville, Rogers noted. Essex decided to go down the middle with a minimum setback of 450 metres, he added.

Provincial experts ought to advise municipalities on safe setbacks for wind turbines so the numbers don’t vary all over Ontario, Rogers said.

The $100,000 study done by Essex County on wind energy ducked the minimum setback issue completely, Rogers said.

Council chamber was packed with residents who mostly applauded Roger’s idea. Mayor Ron McDermott had to ask some not to interrupt councilors or risk ejection.

None of the companies that have proposed wind turbine projects in the town were present.

Closest to starting construction in 2009 is a 24 turbine, $100 million project by AIM PowerGen over 1,400 acres of farmland southwest of Harrow. That project is supposed to annually generate about $300,000 in lease payments to farmers and about $81,000 in property taxes.

“I won’t support the motion before us tonight,” said Coun. Randy Voakes. “Don’t think I haven’t wrestled with it.”

In tough economic times, the town has to accept development that will bring some new jobs and revenue into the community, Voakes. “Every little bit will help families in need,” he said.

Voakes thought the health questions raised by Rogers had been answered in the last two years. “We’re the only municipality dragging our feet on this issue.”

But Rogers downplayed the job creation benefits of wind turbines as limited to construction crews and a handful of full-time maintenance workers.

McDermott objected to the government telling municipalities to accept wind energy without answering all the questions that residents are asking. “They’re making us spend our money to investigate this,” said the mayor.

“I want the province to tell me what a safe setback is,” said Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche.

Meloche added: “I probably get 20 emails a day on the horror stories people have gone through.” On the other hand, he added, wind turbine companies say complaints are rare and the risks minimal.

“I have concerns,” said Meloche – but not the expertise to make decisions.

Full story at the Windsor Star

Leave a comment here or at the Star.

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Is the govt. being honest about wind energy

December 10, 2008

poll results

wind turbines towering over farm

Is the govt. being honest about wind energy

Yes (198)
No (840)
Don’t Know (83)

Total votes: 1121

Premier, Dalton McGuinty Talks About Renewable Energy For Ontario

Before You Sign a Wind Turbine Contract

Wind farm chases couple from Wolfe Island – Ontario

November 12, 2008

Editor: Just wait until the wind farm is built. Then the real problems begin.

There is nothing green about the wind industry unless you count the cash. If anyone else tried to destroy the land and and flyways the greens would be having a fit.

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Wind farm chases couple from Wolfe Island

When Dawn and Dean Wallace moved to Wolfe Island 17 years ago, they fell in love with the peaceful, slow pace of life in the rural community.

It quickly became home and they planned to retire on the island.

That has all changed. The couple feels that construction of one of Canada’s largest wind-power projects has forced them out of the community and they’re in the process of moving off the island into a home they’ve bought northwest of Kingston in Camden East.

“It’s ironic that the very thing that’s supposed to be green has had such a negative impact on us,” said Dawn Wallace.

“It’s a green project without a green process.”

The couple lived at the corner of Baseline Road and 5th Line – at the heart of the construction zone – where dozens of trucks moved past their house daily on their way to and from a quarry that supplied stone to build the access roads and cement foundations for the wind turbines.

As a result, the Wallaces spent this past summer wearing earplugs and avoided spending time at home.

The noise and dust from dozens of trucks and heavy pieces of equipment moving past their property, at times starting as early as 4 a. m., made life almost unbearable.

They didn’t even cut their lawn until Thanksgiving weekend because of the dust.

“I have one word for it: hell,” said Wallace, a high school teacher.

The couple has documented the dust and noise by posting video footage on YouTube, which is available by searching the online site using the keywords Wolfe Island wind.

To get some relief from the noise and dust, they called the Township of Frontenac Islands, the Ministry of the Environment and the company building the wind plant, Canadian Hydro Developers Inc.

But the Wallaces say they got no relief. The trucks kept coming.

“It was very difficult to get help,” she said. “At the end of the day, it was unbearable and we got no support.”

That wasn’t completely a surprise for the Wallaces, who watched as tension grew in the community between those who supported the project and those who had concerns about the location of the wind turbines. Angry disagreements occurred at public meetings.

“[Opponents] had to endure such terrible, painful social pressures from certain members of the community for speaking out about certain aspects of the process,”Wallace said.

“What was once a community of solidarity that we contributed [to] and benefited from has become a community divided, which is very painful.”

It all became too much for the Wallaces, whose departure comes just as the project’s first turbines are being erected.

Mammoth and pre-eminent on the rural landscape, the 125-metre-high turbines are visible for miles along the western portion of the island. The giant machines tower high above what were once dormant farmers’ fields.

In the coming months, workers will be using giant cranes to erect a total of 86 turbines along the western side of the island. The project is anticipated to be up and running by April 1, 2009.

By Jennifer Pritchett
Whig-Standard Environmental Reporter

The Kingston Whig-Standard for full story

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Proposed Wolfe Island Cement Factory 20m from Lake Ontario

link to construction phase

Wolfe Island Wind Turbines: Life on the Front Lines

Wind turbine noise – Suncor wind farm Ripley



Green Initiatives Get Slaughtered in California, Will Media Notice?

November 7, 2008

Editor: I believe there’s a saying – new trends start in California. Lets hope this trend spreads far and wide and fast.

Green Initiatives Get Slaughtered in California, Will Media Notice?

By Noel Sheppard

Californians by very wide margins defeated two green initiatives that anthropogenic global warming enthusiasts in the media and in legislative houses across the fruited plain should take heed…but will they?

To begin with, Proposition 7 would have required utilities to generate 40 percent of their power from renewable energy by 2020 and 50 percent by 2025.

Proposition 10 would have created $5 billion in general obligation bonds to help consumers and others purchase certain high fuel economy or alternative fuel vehicles, and to fund research into alternative fuel technology.

Much to the likely chagrin of Nobel Laureate Al Gore and his global warming sycophants in the media, these measures went down, and went down in flames:

Proposition 7 Renewable Energy Generation
Yes 3,294,158 35.1%
No 6,102,907 64.9%

Proposition 10 Alternative Fuel Vehicles
Yes 3,742,997 40.1%
No 5,581,303 59.9%

Will global warming-obsessed media share this news with the citizenry? Shouldn’t this be HUGE news given President-elect Obama’s green sympathies and his desire to enact a carbon cap and trade scheme to reduce carbon dioxide emissions? We’ll see.

ICECAP

WCO (Wind Concerns Ontario)

October 30, 2008

Wind Concerns Ontario Is  a coalition of 22 small rural groups opposing projects in their own municipalities.

Suncor wind farm Ripley

Suncor wind farm Ripley

Enbridge wind farm Kincardine Ontario

Enbridge wind farm Kincardine Ontario

Wind Concerns Ontario

South Algonquin declares moratorium on wind farms; No turbines to be built for 10 years, council says

October 22, 2008

Editor: Ever since I got involved in the STOP THE WINDMILLS fight, 2 years ago, I’ve continually said that it would be the folks in the eastern part of Ontario that would be the ones to show the way for the rest of the province. The people of the Ottawa Valley still know what’s important!

I salute the council!

To the councils in SW Ontario – it’s time you stood up for your constituents. The time has come to stop rolling over to the whims of the wind industry and the govt. Take a trip to Eastern Ontario, borrow some backbone and stand up for your constituents.

You don’t do this to your friends and neighbors!
Not for any amount of money

Enbridge wind farm Kincardine Ontario

Enbridge wind farm Kincardine Ontario

South Algonquin declares moratorium on wind farms; No turbines to be built for 10 years, council says

No wind-powered energy projects will be approved in South Algonquin for the next 10 years, the township’s council has declared.

The declaration, which was supported unanimously by councillors, came last Thursday night following a council meeting considering a proposal to construct a series of wind-power turbines in the hills along the Highway 60 corridor.

RES (Renewable Energy Systems) Canada wants to build 40 to 60 of the massive wind-power turbines in the area east of Algonquin Park. The plans, particularly for the construction of several of the turbines around pristine McCauley Lake, are unpopular with many seasonal and year-round residents. Several opponents of the project were present at the meeting, and gave a short presentation.

Cottager Brent Peterson, representing “the McCauley Lake Families,” said the 45 families on the lake just east of Algonquin are “the only community directly within the Whitney Wind farm study area.”

“We are united as a community, and we are asking for your protection,” he told council. The cottagers are asking that RES be required to locate its turbines, currently planned for the hills in full view of the quiet lake, out of sight and hearing distance from the lake. The PowerPoint presentation showed photographs of the lake’s vista, along with enhanced pictures showing what that vista would look like with wind turbines erected on the surrounding hills.

“These things are massive and they will completely change the experience of living on the lake,” Peterson said. “Your constituents are extremely anxious and very upset.” Peterson added that the McCauley Lake residents “know this is a big decision and that there are a lot of dollars involved.” But he said many of the people are considering leaving the area, or putting off plans to retire to their cottages if the turbines are built.

Harvey Leeman, a longtime Ontario Hydro employee and a McCauley Lake resident since 1949, and a hunter and fisherman as well as a forest manager, questioned both the assessed impact of the wind turbines on wildlife and the need for the electricity they will produce.

The RES proposal wants to take over “the heart of the last block of public land” in the Algonquin Park area, Leeman said. He pointed out that, while the company says each turbine has a one-acre footprint, “they want 6,000 acres of Crown land” for the project.

He pointed out that there are few local benefits from the turbines, either in jobs or in significant tax income and said RES estimates of job creation and local benefits come with heavy qualifications and are “greatly exaggerated.” The estimated $150,000 in tax income for South Algonquin would be lost in the decreased property values that the turbines would cause, he charged.

After the presentation, Councillor Richard Shalla presented a motion, seconded by Councillor Joe Florent, that would impose a moratorium on wind turbine approvals. After some discussion, the motion was amended to set the 10-year period, and a provision was added for a township-wide referendum on wind turbines, if council deems it necessary.

The motion was approved unanimously, and sparked loud and prolonged applause from the small group of people in the audience.

“I’ve been at council a long time and I’ve never had people clap for me,” Mayor Percy Bresnahan said, sparking laughter throughout the room.

Stephen Cookson, development manager for the RES Canada project, said he understands the reasoning behind the township’s move. He said RES remains committed to its plans.

“This is a very, very long process and we’re at the very beginning of the environmental assessment process.” He added that RES is confident that once the benefits of the project are understood by the community and council, “they will see it in a better light.” The company will hold more open house meetings, probably in the spring or summer of next year, to keep the public fully informed, Cookson said in a telephone interview from Vancouver. He stressed that RES wants to maintain “an open dialogue with the community of South Algonquin.”

“I think South Algonquin is being very prudent in waiting until all the information is in concerning the project. We hope that council will take as good a sounding as is possible” on the proposal.

Barry’s Bay This Week

22 October 2008

Man decries 'intimidation tactic' Critic of Wolfe Island wind plant issued cease-and-desist order

September 12, 2008

What can I say – Industry and govt. working together = citizens take a back seat.

Posted By JENNIFER PRITCHETT WHIG-STANDARD STAFF WRITER

   

The Calgary-based company building a $410-million wind plant on Wolfe Island has issued a cease-and-desist letter to a citizen it claims is spreading “false and defamatory statements.”

Canadian Hydro Developers Inc. sent the letter in connection with a statement made by Wolfe Island resident Chris Brown, an outspoken

critic of some aspects of the project.

Brown, a local musician, is one of a handful of citizens who sit on a community liaison committee Canadian Hydro set up last year to answer local concerns about the project.

Brown regards the letter as an attempt to gag critics of the project.

“It’s an intimidation tactic,” he said.

Brown said he isn’t against wind power or the Canadian Hydro project on Wolfe Island. He does want to see the 86 turbines that are being erected there placed in areas where they won’t impact wildlife or people.

The cease-and-desist letter goes back to an e-mail Brown sent to former St. Lawrence College president Volker Thomsen and others, following an international wind energy conference at the college in June.

Brown said he hoped “the examples brought to light by the conference can prevent Wolfe Island from becoming an autopsy of grid monopoly and community exclusion.”

Canadian Hydro took exception to his comments, saying they suggest the firm “has no respect for the environmental and regulatory process and fails to consult with the community.

“Canadian Hydro has conducted itself in a responsible manner throughout the approval process,” stated the cease-and-desist letter.

The letter, written by Canadian Hydro’s Toronto-based lawyer Paul B. Schabas, warns Brown of the possibility of future legal action.

“Should you persist in this course of conduct, please be advised that our client will proceed against you and pursue all legal and equitable remedies available to it without further notice being provided to you. Kindly govern yourself accordingly,” Schabas wrote.

When theWhig-Standardrequested an interview with Canadian Hydro about the letter, the firm issued a short statement from Geoff Carnegie, its development manager for the Wolfe Island project.

In it, Carnegie wrote that Brown’s “claim of community exclusion overlooks three and a half years of community consultation by Canadian Hydro, as documented in the Environmental Review Report.

“The purpose of our letter to Mr. Brown was to insist that he act responsibly and utilize the relevant facts in his arguments.” Brown said he refuses to be quieted. “I will continue to exercise my right

to free speech and advocate for a full and transparent public review of this project, just as I will continue to participate in the community liaison group to ensure proper communication between proponent and citizenry,” he wrote in a response to Canadian Hydro.

The Kingston Wig Standard

Gerretsen withdraws from key decision on wind project

May 30, 2008

Update:
Govt.visit. They spend a lot of time on this site. Hope they learn something.

Domain Name gov.on.ca ? (Canada) IP Address 142.106.170.# (Government of the Province of Ontario)

May 30 2008 11:19:00 am


Editor:
Lunatics or criminals? You make the call.

The Liberal party is proof positive how low politicians can go. Cover up a massive sewage spill into the Ottawa river,OttawaSun, and trash the lives of people with wind turbines. Glad we have the Mnistry of Environment. What would we do without them? A-holes.

“As a result of [the integrity commissioner’s] advice and ruling, Premier Dalton McGuinty has appointed Tourism Minister Peter Fonseca, to exercise my decision-making authority with respect to the Wolfe Island Wind Project,” Gerretsen wrote in his letter to constituents.

So, Gerretsen is still calling the shots – but they are coming out of the mouth Peter Fonseca. Kind of like a puppet sitting on Gerretsens’ lap. A dummy so to speak.

I have an idea for tourism on Wolfe Island Mr. Fonseca. Take the entire Liberal Party and put them in stocks in the center of Wolfe Island and sell fruit and vegetables to the tourists to throw at them – and it’s carbon neutral

I feel this would be a good use of politicians and I’m sure this plan would generate far more income than the wind turbines.

I call it “A better tourism plan for Ontario”

The McGuinty govt has their heads so far up the ass of business interests only their toes are sticking out.

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Conflict claims plague minister; Gerretsen withdraws from key decision on wind project

Three days before Environment Minister John Gerretsen was to make a key decision about the fate of the wind-power project on Wolfe Island, the Kingston and the Islands MPP has withdrawn from the heart of the contentious issue.

Gerretsen yesterday announced he was recusing his decision-making authority with respect to the Wolfe Island Wind Project because of allegations from island residents that he was in a conflict of interest.

In a letter sent to media outlets and about 15 citizens on Wolfe Island, Gerretsen described how opponents to the project have questioned his ability to deal with the project in a “fair and unbiased fashion.”

“I take any potential conflict of interest allegations very seriously,” Gerretsen told the Whig-Standard.

He declined to comment on whether he personally believes he was in a conflict situation.

“I’d rather not give you my own personal opinion on it at this point in time,” he said in an interview. “I’m not prepared to answer that. “I did what I thought was the right action and the integrity commissioner has dealt with that.”

The allegations stem from Gerretsen’s attendance last summer, before he was appointed environment minister, at a corn roast on Wolfe Island organized by Canadian Hydro Developers Inc., the proponent for the wind project. The event, held at a private residence, was also attended by local media and municipal politicians from the Township of Frontenac Islands.

As well, the proponents, Canadian Hydro, bought tickets totalling $1,500 to attend at least one fundraising dinner for Gerretsen.

Gerretsen made the decision to divest himself of the decision-making responsibility on the wind project after consulting with Ontario’s integrity commissioner, whose office ensures that provincial politicians aren’t making decisions on issues that could benefit them.

“As a result of [the integrity commissioner’s] advice and ruling, Premier Dalton McGuinty has appointed Tourism Minister Peter Fonseca, to exercise my decision-making authority with respect to the Wolfe Island Wind Project,” Gerretsen wrote in his letter to constituents.

While the integrity commissioner determined there was no conflict of interest, she recommended Gerretsen to withdraw from the decision-making process because of a perceived conflict.

In her written decision to Gerretsen, she addressed his attendance at a Canadian Hydro Developers Inc. event last year.

“It is my opinion attending and speaking at the event was not contrary to the Members’ Integrity Act. However, both of these events appear to have created a perception that you favour one group of ministry stakeholders over another,” said Lynn Morrison, acting integrity commissioner.

In a letter to Gerretsen, Fonseca and deputy environment minister Gail Beggs, McGuinty directed ministry officials to “refrain from having any discussions with Minister Gerretsen or his staff on this file, and to seek direction from Minister Fonseca on the matter as appropriate.”

It’s unknown whether the decision that was expected early next week will still be made on schedule.

Gerretsen had been reviewing a decision of the director of the environmental assessment and approvals branch not to grant a request from citizens to require Canadian Hydro to complete an environmental assessment that will investigate the impacts of the project.

“I would imagine that it will still be within the timelines, but it may be somewhat later,” said Gerretsen. “These decisions aren’t always necessarily made within the necessary timelines.”

He said Fonseca will be briefed by Environment Ministry officials.

By Jennifer Pritchett

The Kingston Whig – Standard

30 May 2008

Texas Power grid narrowly averted rolling blackouts

February 28, 2008

 Editor:
Never let reality get in the way. Dalton McGuinty our fearful leader in Ontario says

“Wind turbines: We are investing heavily in those, but again, those are an expensive form of electricity and they’re not reliable, because sometimes obviously the wind does not blow”.

But he won’t let reality get in his way. No sir, not Dalton

He wants to cover Ontario with wind farms regardless of the facts.

Power grid narrowly averted rolling blackouts

Operators of the state power grid scrambled Tuesday night to keep the lights on after a sudden drop in West Texas wind threatened to cause rolling blackouts, officials confirmed Wednesday.

At about 6:41 p.m. Tuesday, grid operators ordered a shutoff of power to so-called interruptible customers, which are industrial electric users who have agreed previously to forgo power in times of crisis. The move ensured continued stability of the grid after power dropped unexpectedly.

Dottie Roark, a spokeswoman for the power grid, said a sudden uptick in electricity use coupled with other factors and a sudden drop in wind power caused the unexpected dip. As a result, grid officials immediately went to the second stage of its emergency blackout prevention plan.

“This situation means that there is a heightened risk of … regular customers being dropped through rotating outages, but that would occur only if further contingencies occur, and only as a last resort to avoid the risk of a complete blackout,” the State Operations Center said in an e-mail notice to municipalities.

Known as the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the quasi-governmental agency that manages the power grid must ensure that power generation and power use remain constantly in balance. Otherwise, the whole grid can go dark, and the result is a systemwide blackout.

According to ERCOT, those interruptible customers who lost power Tuesday night had it restored by 9:40 p.m.. The interruptible customers are generally industrial businesses that pay less for electricity in exchange for an agreement that they will let ERCOT cut their power during shortages.

Some wholesale energy prices also spiked Tuesday evening — especially in West Texas. ERCOT also reported that the drop in wind power led to constraints on the system between the north part of the state and the west.

Kent Saathoff, vice president for system operations at ERCOT, said Tuesday’s event illustrates the inherent challenges associated with using wind power. Because the wind sometimes stops blowing without a moment’s notice, engineers at ERCOT must remain nimble enough to respond to resulting instability on the grid, he said.

“There is a major workshop going on at our office right now to discuss these very issues,” Saathoff said.

Although he said the emergency event was rare, it is not unprecedented. On April 16, 2006, for instance, a much more serious shortage prompted rolling blackouts across much of Texas. ERCOT officials at that time also ordered power curtailments for the state’s interruptible customers.

That 2006 event was prompted largely by scorching heat coupled with a shutdown of several generators for spring maintenance. This time the shortage was prompted largely by a near-total loss of wind generation, as well as a failure of several energy providers to reach scheduled production and the spike in electricity usage.

ERCOT reported that wind power production plummeted Tuesday evening from about 1,700 megawatts to about 300 megawatts. A single megawatt is enough electricity to power 500 to 700 homes under normal conditions.

The emergency procedures Tuesday night added about 1,100 megawatts to the grid over a 10-minute period, according to ERCOT.

Some critics have said that wind power, although providing a source of clean energy, also brings with it plenty of hidden costs and technical challenges. Besides requiring the construction of expensive transmission lines, the fickle nature of wind also means that the state cannot depend on the turbines to replace other sorts of generators.

“This is a warning to all those who think that renewable energy is the sole answer [to the state’s power needs],” said Geoffrey Gay, an attorney representing Fort Worth and other North Texas municipalities in utility issues. “We can’t put all our eggs in one basket when it comes to any form of generation. We need to consider the cost and the reliability issues, in addition to the environmental impact.”

Susan Williams Sloan, a spokeswoman for the American Wind Energy Association, said those technical challenges are not insurmountable. She said part of the solution is to locate turbines in diverse areas of the state. “When the wind is not blowing somewhere, it’s always blowing somewhere else,” she said.

Sloan also said that technological advances will make it easier in the future to forecast wind energy.

About 4,356 megawatts of wind turbines are currently installed in Texas, she said.

By R.A. Dyer
Staff Writer

Star-Telegram

Wind turbine noise affects health

February 24, 2008

Editor
This is a damning report of the govt., the wind industry and the Provincial and Federal health departments.


research has suggested that those effects don’t cause long-term health impacts after people are no longer living near wind farms”.

Health Canada has never done a study of the health affects of wind turbines on the health of the people. I’ve asked, as have many others, both the Provincial and Federal Health Ministries why there hasn’t been a health study conducted. Now we know.

They already know industrial wind turbines are being placed too close to people and they know they have negative affects. Once you have been run off your property, the ill affects you experienced living next to a 400 ft. high wind turbine will disappear. Using their logic, there is no need for a health study.

d_entremont-point-pubnico.jpg
Daniel d’entremont and his family were forced from their home. The good news is their health is slowly returning to normal. They can’t live in their home any longer, but who cares about a home when you have your health.

Your government doesn’t give a damn, it’s that simple.

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Wind farm raises health concerns; No long-term effect, says Kingston doctor

Posted By Jennifer Pritchett

Kingston’s public health department will lobby government for more research into the health effects of wind turbines.

Dr. Ian Gemmill, Kingston’s medical officer of health, says there hasn’t been enough monitoring done to determine whether they’re harmful.

Gemmill made the declaration at a board of health meeting this week in response to residents who live near the proposed site of a wind farm to be built on Wolfe Island.

The citizens had asked public health to assess the health risks associated with the turbines, but based on the information that is available, Gemmill said, there is nothing to indicate that wind turbines have any long-term effect on people’s health.

“We haven’t got a lot of evidence to go on right now,” said Gemmill. Gemmill said that though there are concerns about low-level noise, appearance and stress caused by the turbines, research has suggested that those effects don’t cause long-term health impacts after people are no longer living near wind farms.

As well, much of the research that is available, he said, doesn’t appear to come from reputable sources.

“Our conclusion is that while there may be some short-term concerns, this will not have a long-term health effect,” said Gemmill.

Board member Vicki Schmolka told the board that she wasn’t sure that she agreed with Gemmill’s conclusion. She indicated that she felt there are health concerns associated with the turbines that the board should investigate further.

“Seems to me what we’re really saying is that this person needs to move away and they’ll be OK,” she said.

Schmolka, who is also a city councillor, asked Gemmill if he was comfortable saying that there were definitively no long-term health effects from wind turbines.

“I’m saying it’s reversible,” he responded. “I know that people are bothered by this, but the question here is when do we become involved.”

thewhigJennifer Pritchett

Wind turbine noise affects health

According to the results of a new peer-reviewed study made available to us by the U.S. government’s National Institutes of Health, the connection between noise and coronary heart disease — particularly at night — is serious.

Wind energy ordinances must include a top limit for how much turbine noise can safely be added to our environment.

More than 15 million Americans currently have some form of coronary heart disease (CHD), which involves a narrowing of the small blood vessels that supply blood and oxygen to the heart. Risk factors for CHD include diabetes, high blood pressure, altered blood lipids, obesity, smoking, menopause, and inactivity.

To this list we can now add noise, thanks to a recent study and assessment of the evidence by the WHO Noise Environmental Burden on Disease working group.

“The new data indicate that noise pollution is causing more deaths from heart disease than was previously thought,” says working group member Deepak Prasher, a professor of audiology.

The working group compared households with abnormally high noise exposure with those with quieter homes. They also reviewed epidemiologic data on heart disease and hypertension, and then integrated these data.

“Many people become habituated to noise over time,” says Prasher. “The biological effects are imperceptible, so that even as you become accustomed to the noise, adverse physiological changes are nevertheless taking place, with potentially serious consequences to human health.”

Chronic high levels of stress hormones such as cortisol, adrenaline, and noradrenaline can lead to hypertension, stroke, heart failure, and immune problems. According to research, arousal associated with nighttime noise exposure increased blood and saliva concentrations of these hormones even during sleep.

“Taken together, recent epidemiologic data show us that noise is a major stressor that can influence health through the endocrine, immune, and cardiovascular systems,” says Prasher.

The broader implications of chronic noise exposure also need to be considered.

“Noise pollution contributes not only to cardiovascular disease, but also to hearing loss, sleep disruption, social handicaps, diminished productivity, impaired teaching and learning, absenteeism, increased drug use, and accidents,” says physician Louis Hagler, who coauthored a review on noise pollution in the March 2007 Southern Medical Journal.

Hagler added, “The public health repercussions of increasing noise pollution for future generations could be immense.”

M. Nathaniel Mead

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

Wind Watch News