Province ignoring wind turbine risks

Owen Sound Sun Times: William K. G. Palmer - 24 February 2009

I am dismayed about the constant news barrage daily by the media giving us the latest insight into the rollout of the Green Energy Act by the province. I sent the following letter to the premier.

Premier McGuinty:

Once, I voted for you, but never again. I have tried to reason with you and your government, but I met only a stonewall of silence. How can I support a government that continues to use my tax dollars to continue to champion industrial wind turbines when it has consistently refused to acknowledge the risk to the public that you are creating?

As a professional engineer, trained at the University of Toronto and Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Risk Assessment I was trusted to develop and approve the risk assessment for the Bruce Power restart of nuclear reactors in Units 3 and 4. I trained the staff doing the assessment. I used my experience of 30 years in power systems to show the risk sensitive points and to ensure they were included in the risk assessment.

Yet, when I write to you, to the Minister of Energy, to the Minister of the Environment, to the Minister of Transport, to the Minister of Health, and the Minister of Municipal Affairs, to identify the risk your government is perpetuating, I receive no response, or am “blown off.”

You say no “special interest group” will again delay the planting of industrial wind turbines in Ontario. You call me a “NIMBY” for using my professional experience to identify the risk to the lives of citizens. Disrespect breeds disrespect, sir.

You say we need the 50,000 jobs that will be created in three years by the Green Energy Act. Then you say that 492 MW in six wind farms will create 2,222 jobs — yet Enbridge Ontario Wind Project says their 199.5 MW installation will create only 7 jobs — so 492 MW would make 18 jobs. Where are the other 2,204 jobs coming from for these wind farms? Where are the rest of the 49,982 jobs from the Green Energy Act coming from in three years?

You say only failure to meet safety and environmental standards will be reason to deny the installations. Yet, your government has no safety standards for industrial wind turbines to protect them from known failure modes. A letter written to me on behalf of your Minister of the Environment states, “I would like to make it clear that the ministry does not have standards for setbacks from wind turbines . . . The Ministry does not intend to introduce setback requirements for wind turbines.”

Your ministry of the environment does not adhere to the limits that exist in the standards you do have for noise. They violated their own rules to approve the certificate of approval for the Enbridge Ontario Wind Farm. The recently revised “Noise Guidelines for Wind Farms” is in direct contravention with regulation NPC-104. In an area one-third that of Ontario, and with six times the population of Ontario, Germany managed to site 25,000 wind turbines, but Ontario regulations say we need noise limits 16 dBA higher to be able to put turbines here. Why?

You ignore the measured professional advice of a pre-eminent Canadian physician, Dr. Robert McMurtry, who called for a proper epidemiological health study of the effects of wind turbines. You ignore the actual health effects publicly reported by citizens in wind farms at Port Burwell, Amaranth, Kingsbridge, and Ripley South. Do you call all of these citizens liars? Cannot you differentiate between political issues and actual harm?

The wind turbines planned will seriously upset the Ontario electrical system and will demand huge extra expenditures for energy storage. As an example, when needed over two summers, wind turbine output was less than 10% on over 50% of the peak hours. They produce best when not needed — at night — so you use my tax dollars to champion using electric cars to save energy from wind turbines — yet no one calculates that it will take 45 million Toyota Prius batteries to save the energy excess made by 5,000 MW of wind turbines in eight hours overnight. Do you think no one can do the math?

Blind and deaf pursuit of a political goal without listening to reason, using insulting terms to describe both professional expertise and adversely impacted citizens, and irresponsible ignorance of actual evidence of harm as well as proven risk factors gives no reason to respect your government, sir.

A wise man said, follow the money and you will see why things get done. Indeed, following the money path to identify the winners from the Green Energy Act and wind turbine installations gives an interesting insight. It certainly is not the citizens whom your government was sworn to represent.


William K. G. Palmer


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