“The more we want it to be true, the more careful we have to be.” Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark.
This web site is in the unenviable position of being a messenger of bad news about wind energy. And wind energy was, at least intuitively, so promising! Most of us know we can’t keep doing what we’re doing – burning through all the fossil fuels we can find – and wind seems to promise a carbon-free, inexhaustible and benign source that doesn’t send money overseas.
As much as all of us, including myself, would want this rosy picture to be true, the actual evidence so far paints a far different picture. I understand that many people will resist hearing this bad news, preferring to label me a NIMBY, a Luddite, unscientific, oil-industry-loving, climate-change-denying, jealous – anything to dismiss me. I’m sorry to disappoint, but I’m simply someone who thinks evidence is a better guide to reality than wishful thinking. And the existing evidence says to me that wind energy has no redeeming value while its downsides are substantial.
The first indication that I had of the failings of wind energy was when I had the temerity to actually read the references that the wind industry used to “prove” how beneficial and benign wind was. As an example, if you read AWEA’s “Fact Sheet” on 20% by 2030, it claims a savings of 825 million tons of CO2. But if you follow the references to find out how they got that number, you find out that AWEA itself was ultimately responsible for it. Worse, that number was not based on any actual measurements – they simply assumed any energy created by wind automatically lessened emissions by an equal amount, an assumption we know is untrue.
One of my more depressing observations is that the wind energy movement has acquired almost a religious following, where faith is more important than real-world facts. But while our souls’ origin and destiny may not be knowable, surely the effects of wind turbines on our power grid and environment are. In almost every aspect of wind energy the serious (dare I say, scientific) studies that would be needed to settle these issues have simply not been done (or at least, not published). I’ve been looking on an almost daily basis for several years, I’ve asked the local universities, I’ve been in contact with interested people all around North America, and I cannot find any of the following:
- A study that confirms the carbon dioxide savings advertised by the wind energy industry, based on real measurements on a real grid. You’d think that at least in Germany or Denmark, and maybe Texas or Spain, such figures would be available, but they aren’t. And the more you look into the details and the actual evidence, the more you suspect there’s no savings at all.
- A study that shows wind turbine noise levels actually conform to the models that are used to place them. There are several studies that show that too often they don’t, and the complaints from neighbors are growing.
- An epidemiological (aka a serious, scientific) study of any potential health effects from wind turbines. The evidence from actual neighbors is pretty strong that there’s a problem.
- A study that shows how wildlife adjusts (or doesn’t) to wind turbines. As more (and no longer just anecdotal) reports come in, the effects continue to look worse and worse.
The fact that we are spending billions of dollars without any empirical indication it will do anything but further destroy our environment is a problem in itself, indicating a real lack of scientific proficiency. In spite of conclusive studies not being available, I have found enough evidence to form solid opinions on the various issues relating to the wind energy industry, and as much as I might wish that wind turbines were truly effective and benign, the evidence points differently.
Quite a bit of this evidence is fairly technical and in places pretty detailed, and I won’t apologize for that. If I knew how to accurately describe reality without getting technical and detailed I would. I have tried to provide enough references so that anyone could dig as deeply as they wished into the material. I’ve also tried to provide enough introductory material so any reader can at least be exposed to the basics behind all these issues. To the extent I’ve failed with this, I do apologize. Please feel free to ask or comment about any aspect of this site, and thanks for looking.
I’ve taken down my amherstislandwindinfo.com site. The wind turbine project there is now operational and there’s not much more to say about it.
36 thoughts on “Welcome!”
Many thanks for your links to Ontario Noise Regulations and Noise Regulations Primer both of which I quoted in my deputation to Norfolk County Council during their comments phase in amalgamating four previous Noise By-Laws into an amalgamated Noise By-Law No. 2010 – XX [being a by-law to regulate noise and vibrations within Norfolk County].
Not having an engineering background, I have only my insatiable curiosity driving me to try to understand the processes through which my body is being pummeled by the 18 Vestas 1.65 MW Industrial Wind Turbines [IWT’s] which surround my home within a 3 km radius.
The most debilitating effect is the sleep deprivation experienced almost nightly and explained in a paper written by Dr. Christopher Hanning a U.K. sleep specialist. Even though not awakened completely, dozens of micro arousals from the deep restorative sleep we all need, I rise in the morning almost as tired as when I went to bed. As a temporary solution, I have rented a place to sleep. Once away from the 18 Vestas, the other symptoms: stuffed ears, constant buzzing in the brain, vertigo and nausea, slowly drop off until I have to return every 72 hours to monitor my home for insurance purposes, then the symptoms return.
I have asked AIM PowerGen, the IWT developer to give me the replacement value of my home so I can live elsewhere without result; repeated calls to the MoE Hamilton offices describing the noise and vibration effects have lead to no action other than having “agents” coming hours or days after the wind direction/speed/barometric pressure/humidity has changed and the debilitating conditions have passed.
Wind Concerns Ontario, Victims of Wind, Wind Vigilance, Wind Facts and some of the other sites which you have listed have been sources of information and strength in the 17 months since the Clear Creek/Cultus/Frogmore clusters of IWT’s were put into commission.
My home has been FOR SALE for four months now and there is no one [not CanWEA, nor AWEA, nor AIM Power Gen/IPC, nor the MoE], prepared to prove how safe living surrounded within 3 km by 18 Vestas is by paying me the replacement value.
Since I will not be able to afford duplicate accommodation after June 30, I will have to create strategies to keep my health from deteriorating and leading to possible permanent hearing loss, or? or? who knows what conditions might develope.
If you have any thoughts on strategies, they will be most welcome.
Feel free to post a copy of my paper if you feel the information is of use here.
One reason why my wife and I moved to South Cayuga (July ’09) was due to the imminent installation of wind “farms” in our old neighbourhood (Belwood Ontario area)… Google OBWF . We had journeyed “up the road” on a number of occasions to the site of a mega wind farm in Melancthon Township (near Shelburne Ontario) and were not, at all, pleased with the possibility of seeing these “monstrosities” in OUR backyard. I agree…. they’re NOT benign and they are NOT virtually silent as we’ve been led to believe by the various and sundry companies now fighting to be first in line to install and operate these blights on the horizon. Samsung is having their first “Open House” in Cayuga on July 8th. I plan on being there to voice my concerns and there are others who will join me. I’m sure we won’t be welcome, and since I’ve ventured onto the blog page for the WCO, await a visit from one or more OPP constables inquiring as to my intentions ie; whether I might be tempted to instigate a riot! I read the “Letter to the Editor” in the June 23rd edition of the “Regional News” so I’m expecting to hear from the “powers that be” any day now. Since the Provincial Government owns thousands of acres of farmland in South Cayuga and Townsend, I fear Mr. McGuinty and his cronies will plant these things wherever he wants…. protest or no protest! My wife and I hope you’ll find some solutions to your dilemma. My wife is prone to migraine headaches and I fear that the sound, “shadow flicker” and other associated issues will make our living here unbearable as well. Continue to let your voice be heard!!!
Folks this has already been done in PEI. Over the last few years PEI has erected scores of wind turbines and now rates are going up by 10% this year and another 10% next year to pay for the tubines.
Get this. PEI pays 12 cents per Kwh now and it will go to 15 cents in the next two yers. I kid you not!
What do you pay, 9 cents or so? How does 15 cents sound to you.
McGuinty and his commie henchmen feel that if the poor people in PEI can pay 15 cents, so can the rich people of ontario. That’s where you’re heading folks. Better start to kick up a stink now. That’s all I can say.
Oh by the way, I hear complaints from people who live near the tubines who claim they can hear the radio through their fillings. Nice.
I wonder if you might put our website in your ‘opponents’ links
Thank you for this well reasoned and balanced introduction to your work. The words you have chosen leave little escape for AWEA or CANWEA rebuttal, but to the extent they engage, I hope that dialog will be complete, orderly and transparent to all Canadians and US citizens, and their respective leaders. It’s time to get off the wind energy’s merry-go-round line of rhetoric and actually take stock of the horses and chariots.
Currently, the most widely used of all renewable energy resources is biomass. However, this doesn’t mean that it is the best. Water power is also a good choice as well as solar and wind energy. In the end, all forms of renewable energy resource are good choices. All of them may have their own advantages and disadvantages but overall they are still better than the conventional ones that are used today. Knowing what is renewable energy will prove to be beneficial not only to those who are interested in it but also to nature where these resources came from.
Can you make it more clear on your website who created this organization or whatever if its government related or not
i couldn’t agree more with Carl Sagan stating the following –>
“The more we want it to be true, the more careful we have to be.”
This goes along with the same saying ==> “Be careful what you wish for”
Do a search in YouTube on ” Haldimand Turbines ” and you can see just some of the devastation happening to people in the area
since the wind turbines landed on Wolfe Island, like nails driving into a coffin, the vulchers (land developers) are licking their chops with visions of bulldozers ploughing through the landscape / they’ve wanted to tap into Wolfe Island long before I was in high school and I’ll soon turn 50; when that day happens the ferry will come to an end and a bridge or two will stretch over the water… now it’s just a matter of time / I hope I’m not around to see it
The question is – do we want clean energy or not?… How many birds are killed by nuclear waste, gases from gas, coal and oil fired plants? The health hazzards posed by the alternatives are staggering by comparrison to wind and water. As our other fuel sources dwindle the wind and water will become our best and maybe our only economical choice other than nuclear –
I like the turbines – they are a majestic sight. I sleep well surrounded by them. I have no neighbours complaining about them. I have yet to find a dead or injured bird and we are surrounded by birds and on many migration flight paths.
The only people I know who are pissed at the turbines are people who didnt get to have one on their property.
No, Jim, the question is “Are turbines really clean energy?” And the science and realities say “no”, they are not. Sure, people with wind turbines are happy–they can get a six-digit income from “hosting” the turbines, depending on how many turbines can be put on their land. Money makes people happy. But it doesn’t make turbines a viable nor a clean energy source. Just a money maker.
We have moved the WCO website to windconcernsontario.net.
Hope all is well with you and glad to see you are continuing to spread the word.
Just wondering if you have any information on the way the lower frequency emissions might affect domestic animals (horse and cattle, mainly). I have seen differing opinions on whether the turbines themselves spook or disturb livestock, but have seen nothing which addresses this more subtle possible problem. Thanks.
I am in Mid Wales UK and we too are trying to campaign against wind farms. In particular I am looking at health issues and effects on animals especially horses. However information on damage to peat if applicable in your area, effects on house prices, tourism and jobs would also be very welcome or corruption…we are finding that wind farm companies are literally using ANY means to have their applications passed.
If anybody has any useful information please contact me.
Has anyone done a critique of the latest Ontario wind turbine noise protocol buried deep in the MOE’s web site?
We (i.e. Dr F. Udo, Dr.C. lePair and me, K.de Groot M.Sc.) have published a series of articles on the negative effects of wind energy. our latest article will appear mid April in the EuroPhysics News.
We review the effects of the non-demand-driven nature of wind energy on the costs and benefits of large-scale introduction of wind turbines for electricity generation. We demonstrate that the possible absorption of wind energy into the electricity grids is lower than proponents of this energy form claim. In addition, we show that the
claimed fuel and emission saved by wind energy developments is mostly significantly less than proposed, and sometimes even absent. Introduction of wind turbines has not allowed the closing of conventional power stations. We conclude that the money spent on subsidizing the large-scale introduction of wind energy can better
be spent on energy R&D.
My comment is in response to this:
Has anyone done a critique of the latest Ontario wind turbine noise protocol buried deep in the MOE’s web site? Link: http://www.ene.gov.on.ca/stdprodconsume/groups/lr/@ene/@resources/documents/resource/stdprod_088931.pdf
It Looks like the MOE was well aware of the NOISE problems with wind turbines from “the get go” and they were “prepared” (at the ready) to refute or debunk complaints as they were sure to arise as the sun in the sky!
TODAY, those concerned with HEALTH ISSUES with WIND TURBINES are finally coming to the realization and understanding that it is not just THE NOISE measured in decibels that that is the culprit here, BUT in fact the more disturbing and harmful NOISE emitted from the turbines is the NOISE MEASURED ” BELOW 20 HZ ” Known as “INFRASOUND” or Industrial Low Frequency Noise (VIBRATION) that is causing the Health Problems and illnesses being REPORTED around the Globe. This problem has been identified as Wind Turbine Syndrome which affects parts of the inner ear. This has been confirmed by Acousticians, PhD Research Experts in the field of Cochlear Medicine and other doctors.
“THE FIRST INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM ON GLOBAL WIND AND ADVERSE HEALTH AFFECTS” was held in Picton,Ontario on October 2010. Expert American, Canadian and British Acousticians, Physicists, Physicians, and Medical Researchers were in attendance as keynote speakers. The AUDIENCE came from all over Canada USA & Australia. …BUT, OF COURSE, NO ONE FROM THE ‘WIND INDUSTRY’ OR THE ‘ONTARIO GOVERNMENT’ BOTHERED TO ATTEND!
Can I ask where the Avitar pictures was taken and can I get any info on it. Also Who are Wind Farm Realities?
Does anyone know the $ extent to which wind is subsidized in Canada?
Are there any studies showing the costs of building a wind site?
What is the carbon footprint of a wind turbine?
WainfleetWindEnergy is planning 5 Turbines. If you go to that site and click project overview you can add these to the Ontario wind turbine site map. Thank you for your good work. Anita
We need help everyone! They are looking at putting wind turbines in North Dundas county Ontario. Please add your voice to keep them OUT! See this website
http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/ndwind and http://www.northdundaswind.com. Please lend your voices to our cause to save our agriculturally-based community.
in my eye wind mills is one of the dumbest things i have ever heard tell of produces such little power & millions to build & no place to store the energy without spending billions more. Mguinty needs to give his head a shake. all he thinks of is education for all the kids? i am glad i did,nt go to school as long as him. Joe,,,,,,,
The wind turbine developers will be presenting their case for placing wind turbines in North Dundas County at the Council Meeting in Winchester on:
Date: Tuesday October 30, 2012
Location: 636 St Lawrence Street
Concerned members of the public are welcome to attend
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Language is powerful. The names we give things create realities of their own.
These sites are not wind farms (think earth, crops, livestock, and nature).
These are wind factories (think concrete, steel, and pollution).
An excellent web site. I’ve been doing my part up her in Lindsay relative to this monster of “Green Energy” (green = dollars). You’ve done a superb job.
Question – why do all the protests center on flora/fona and noise? I agree these are legitimate complaints, but not complaints that have any resonance in the minds of people not directly affected (such as those in our urban areas). Why isn’t the emphasis put on the detrimental financial aspects of this nonsense (you can include solar panels in this too). The financial side effects EVERYBODY including business. I suspect more backers would be pulled from the urban areas and rural areas not effected than the popular arguments used to this point.
As to my mention of solar panels. They are beginning to take over ground space at an ever increasing rate. Class 1 farm land is being gobbled up at a phenomenal rate. If you look at McGuinty’s wish list he wants up to 32 square miles (sq Km ?) of the province in solar panels. Although they may not present much of a visual impact to people, they are far more inefficient and more expensive in electricity costs.
In presenting my arguments on both energy sources to people, I find the majority are completely ignorant of what this all means either to their cost of electricity or its effects and vastness on the province unless they are directly effected by the latest installation.
I see today that the Suzuki Foundation is promoting a petition in support of a proposal by David R. Boyd to have the Canadian Constitution amended to recognize the right to live in a healthy and ecological environment. Maybe all those with health problems caused by the turbines could email Dr. Suzuki and ask if they would actually get any rights if this amendment is passed. Ironically, I could find no serious or current examination of reported health problems on the Foundation’s website
I’ve been experiencing and reading about the attempts to obtain power virtually free from wind and solar. And for a long time. Many years ago, when turbines were just beginning their descent on the Lake Erie shore, I started a conversation on “Your Agenda”, the TVO’s website, that surpriingly stretched on for months I think, with much heat. The title was something like “Windfarms: A Rapid Proliferation; a Lack of Oversight”, although I don’t think that was quite it. My first horror was that they were starting to mar the heritage of the old landscape views in Houghton Township. With the TVO arguments mounting fast and furiously, I then began to realize that it was more than just my aesthetic sensibilities being offended. Other than being visually obtrusive, they are expensive by any standard, they don’t provide the promised product, they probably increase the CO2 levels, they can bash many flying animals (especially as they’re placed in the windiest rural areas that are coincidentally flyways) they are annoying and probably unhealthy for that reason, especially as auditory intrusions, they do lower home values and the related tax revenues, and they divide communities, with some taking the money and neighbours fighting ther onslaught. Some, such as me, are letter-writers: outspoken for altruisric reasons—seeing an outragious scandal even though not living anywhere near these things. (I have a letter in today’s Simcoe Reformer and maybe within more of this group of Sun Media papers.)
Here’s something that’s never adequately addressed. A forensic investigation is shockingly wanting. The Big Question lingers out there, especially in places such as the GTA. How could any such rapid deployment, such a big money-sucker from the public purse, be so harmfil and useless? What are the details of what can only be a big and highly skillful conspiracy? Can’t be a conspiracy! It’s world-wide. A world-wide conspiracy? Is Obama stupid or evil? Which? How about McGuinty? Under which tables are all these handshakes being made, and why so many under-the-tabl;e sweethearts everywhere? Who can be benefitting at the licencing and lawmaking sources, the basis for it all? I’ve asked some of this before and my quest has been published—without feedback. Follow the money trail. Take down the culpable. Somebody. It’s more than I can do.
A recent Australian study has shown no causal link between wind farms, and supposed ill-effects from them! Is it thus all in the mind???
[ http://yardyyardyyardy.blogspot.co.nz/2013/03/the-answer-is-blowing-in-wind.html ]
I think N0.2 said it best:”Dr.Evil there is no government, it’s only corporations.” Living in south-east Alberta our area has been swooped in on by some BlueEarth company from the city wanting to put up all these ‘wonderful wind turbines’. What better to make our dirty, oil industry evil province look a little cleaner right? And on top of that, the power is, in theory, going to the schools. Who could possibly oppose that? Only a hand-full of us in this area do, and it’s because we’ve done the research at our own will. The only wiff of question towards them I’ve ever seen on TV or any public info, was a CBC Doc Zone episode hmm-ing and haw-ing wind turbines in Ontario, so the ending solution was to send them west. Great. But the pushing, and positive b.s. of them we all see, is very well funded, and it has become a knee-jerk response to accept anything under the label of “green energy”. The new A.D.D. generations will have to scrounge up the effort to seek out the “cons” of all the “pros” they’re only being fed. When reality is ‘like’, totally ‘neg’, they pull the ‘ignorance is capitalist bliss’ hoody over their heads, and text themselves to sleep. Temporary bliss it is. I’ll take a nuclear, and solar power source any day over these stupid, quick-buck, super-subsidized wind turbines.
WUWT has a report on a Stanford University study looking at storage for wind and solar:
Some body asked about horses: Some one told me about foals near wind turbines developing abnormalities of their hooves. So I put that statement into Google and it came up with a few cases in the UK.
My wife and I were driving along the north shore of Lake Erie to look at a piece of property just north of Selkirk, between Dunnville and Nanticoke. We were gobsmacked to see so many wind turbines, most of which have just recently been erected. Needless to say, we quickly lost interest in the property. We might wait a few years before we buy property now just to see were these wind farms pop up and then look elsewhere. So, returning home, I did a Google search regarding planned and proposed wind farms in Ontario – that was a futile effort, but I did find your site and I liked what I read. You don’t come across as a nutter, your site shows that you are level headed and have put much thought into what you have posted, unlike some other sites and bloggers.
One thing I have not seen argued are the economics of wind turbines in terms of materials required to erect and connect each unit. I read an article out of South Africa a few years ago that mentioned that MW per MW, a wind turbine requires 10x the steel and concrete that a conventional coal or nuclear plant would. Run those numbers in terms of carbon foot print! I could not find that article but did find others that might interest you if you don’t already have them, I have included them below. But, also not given consideration are all of the service roads that must be created, service facilities, utility poles (trees), power lines (copper), service personnel and land use. Put all of these numbers up against other forms of power generations on a MW per MW basis, the numbers tell another story about the unseen or unrecognized costs of wind energy. The same could be said about solar, and the toxic processes used in their manufacturing, etc.
An interesting exercise would be to take the MW requirements of a province the size of Ontario, divide that by the MW output from a larger wind turbine and then multiply that number by 5 – (a generous 20% efficiency factor). Given that a wind turbine requires about one square kilometer, the number you get is the number of square kilometers that would be required to power Ontario purely with wind! This number is larger than the Province of New Brunswick which comes in at just under 73,000 square kilometers. Now consider all of the concrete, steel, service roads, service buildings, service personnel, utility poles, transmission lines and the carbon footprint resulting in the province sized project, not to mention that you would have to clear cut much of the province and relocate all of the population. Understandably, a project would never get to be that size but when you think about how the province of Ontario currently generates most of those ~27,000 MWa and the geographic foot print, the numbers speak for themselves. MW / square kilometer ~ land usage.
I would also like to know how much conservation saves us compared to population growth in the province. On the other hand, the government is lucky that our climbing energy costs are chasing manufactures out of the province along with other factors, it has served to reduce the demand and save their bacon.
What really burns me is that Bruce Power sells its power at about $0.07/kWh and some wind power generators are getting 10 times that. As a consumer, I am not going to pay $14.00 for litre of ‘Green’ gasoline when the station across the street is selling at $1.40 per litre. What the province has done to the rate payers is unforgivable in that we have no choice.
Here are a few articles and sites that I found that you might find interesting:
Thank you for your time.