Posts Tagged ‘Harrow’

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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AIM representatives misled Essex council-Anderson Said

February 1, 2008
 Editor:
The wind industry is based on false information and  false promises. The wind industry will never agree to a real debate because  the scam would be exposed. Mr. Anderson did a good job of exposing parts of the misinformation that the wind industry is allowed to put forward. Councils need to be more forceful with the industry. It’s all smoke and mirrors.

Developer dominates wind power “discussion” meeting


By Andy Comber

A Toronto-based wind power company’s presentation overshadowed what was to be a scheduled “wind farm discussion” by Essex Town Council, held prior to the regular council meeting, Jan. 21.

“Currently, we have four projects in southern Ontario,” said Mike Crawley, president and CEO of AIM PowerGen Corporation. Crawley spoke to council after presenting a six-page outline on wind power, which included details on a 24-turbine project southwest of Harrow.

“We started testing wind in the region in the last year and a half,” said Crawley, speaking of the Harrow Wind Power Project in Colchester South, bordered north to south by Gore Road and County Road 50, and east to west by Dunn Road and County Road 41.

“We’re extremely hopeful to move the project forward,” he said.

AIM’s outline expressed the company’s concerns over the draft report of Essex County’s Windpower and Renewable Energy Planning Study prepared by the Jones Group, a consultant team working to define county land use policies for renewable energy projects, including wind, solar and biomass digesters.

“The recommendations in the Jones Group report are far more restrictive than in any Ontario county that has seen wind power projects built,” the AIM outline stated.

Ward 3 Councillor Paul Innes agreed with AIM’s concern that the county plan was “more stringent” than those set out by the province, leaving little room for lower tier municipalities, such as Essex, to account for local circumstance.

“I don’t see the need to be so restrictive,” said Innes, who asked council to support standards closer to the minimums established by the province.

Other councillors expressed concern over the impact of placing the towering wind turbines within sight of the many communities on the shoreline. The turbines proposed are 80 metres high at the hub, with 40-metre-long blades.

“Can you provide a map of where they are planning to go?” asked Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche, who expressed concern about placement in relation to residents.

Ward 3 Councillor Ron Rogers expressed concern over the intermittent nature of wind power. The province is still dependent on fossil-fuel power plants, the only facilities that can ramp up or down to allow for wind power.

“You can’t use nuclear or hydro, they run constantly,” he said.

Rogers also expressed concern over water vapour released into the atmosphere by fossil-fuel plants to adjust for wind power. Water vapour is considered a greenhouse gas, contributing up to two-thirds of the “greenhouse effect” which warms the Earth.

“It’s not a silver bullet,” answered Crawley, who agreed that wind power was only part of the solution in the search for alternative energy sources.

Members of the Essex County Wind Action Group (ECWAG), which is lobbying for the responsible development of wind power in Essex County, expressed concern that the meeting, which was identified as a “wind farm discussion” on council’s agenda, was “one-sided”.

“The legitimate concerns brought forward by many residents were not even touched on,” said Bill Anderson, chair of ECWAG, which places the effects of wind turbines on humans and wildlife at the top of their list of concerns. ECWAG includes members from across the county, including the town of Essex, but they were not invited to speak at the meeting, Anderson noted.

“AIM’s representative told (Essex) council that for siting purposes Harrow’s population density is ‘comparable’ to areas where they are operating turbines presently, when in fact it is five times as populous,” Anderson said. “We urge residents living along the shoreline near County Road 50 to sit up and pay attention to what is happening right now, as this may have a serious impact on your property values.”

Anderson said that the AIM representatives misled Essex council on many other issues, including their explanation on how Ontario’s power grid operates.

“Calling gas and coal an ‘intermediate’ power source between nuclear and wind power is fictitious to the extreme,” he said.

The Essex Free Press