North Perth and Perth East: Not a Willing Host for Industrial Wind Turbines


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North Perth and Perth East: Not a Willing Host for Industrial Wind Turbines

  1. 1. Overview of Wind Turbine Project Community Information Meeting April 3, 2013April 3, 2013 Elma-Mornington Concerned Citizens
  2. 2. Not a Willing Host• Objection is not to the look of the turbines• North Perth/Perth East is different than other areas proposed for turbines – Class 1 agricultural land should be protected – Very intensive livestock production – Dense population exposed to health issues• Turbines represent a real threat to our economy• Invenergy has shown no willingness in public meetings to address concerns raised by this communityApril 3, 2013 Elma-Mornington Concerned Citizens
  3. 3. Information on Proposed Project• Conestogo Wind Farm proposed by Invenergy Canada which is subsidiary of US firm• Granted ‘Feed-in-Tariff’ contract for 69 MW in 2009• Leased land from 8 families; 4 of them now want out of their contracts• Proposing 26 turbines @ 2.78MW/turbine – 22 in North Perth; 4 in Perth East• Linked to the Hydro One grid at a sub-station near Hawkesville in Wellesley Township• Turbines connected to sub-station by underground collector linesApril 3, 2013 Elma-Mornington Concerned Citizens
  4. 4. Approval Process• Minimum Consultation Requirements – Initial Public Meeting – June 2012 – Provide draft documentation for 60 days – December 2012 – Second Public Meeting – February 2013• Prepare and Submit Final Documentation to MOE• MOE reviews for completeness• Posted to comment period – 30 – 45 days• Final assessment & decision by MOE – max 6 months• If approved – appeal to Environmental Review TribunalApril 3, 2013 Elma-Mornington Concerned Citizens
  5. 5. Invenergy Project Status• Invenergy has technically gone through all of the required consultation steps• North Perth advised MOE that requirements for final consultation were not met: – Documentation incomplete – No response to issues from initial public meeting – Building permits omitted• MOE – Mar 19 – understand that Invenergy is ‘continuing with their consultation efforts’April 3, 2013 Elma-Mornington Concerned Citizens
  6. 6. Changes to Approval Process• February 19 Throne Speech – Looking for willing host communities – Proponents need to address residents’ concerns• Minister of Energy - Bob Chiarelli – March 27 – ‘Much more control in hands of local communities’• Premier Kathleen Wynne – March 28 – New rules coming – ‘municipal control and autonomy over placement of turbines’• Final Rules Unknown – Actual changes to municipal powers? – Changes apply to which projects?April 3, 2013 Elma-Mornington Concerned Citizens
  7. 7. Turbine Siting Rules • Existing Buildings Considered In Plan – Dwellings, schools, day nurseries, a health care facility, a community centre and churches. – Agricultural and industrial buildings not included • Building Permits – Permit issued under the Building Code Act for a building where construction has not commenced. • Effective Date – Day before published notice of the draft site plan • Draft Site Plan dated August 7, 2012 • MOE response to resident – building permits must be respectedApril 3, 2013 Elma-Mornington Concerned Citizens
  8. 8. Vacant Lot Receptors• Project plans must also consider accessible vacant lots that have been zoned to permit a residence by identifying a ‘vacant lot receptor’ for each vacant lot.• Vacant lot receptor is where: – ‘building would reasonably be expected to be located, having regard to the existing zoning by-law and the typical building pattern in the area’.• Considerations for typical building pattern: – Minimum distance separation from livestock barns – Flood plains or other seasonally wet areas – Dust from gravel road, access to paved road – Too close to collector lines• Landowners can request changes in location of vacant lot receptor chosen by Invenergy. No approval or building permit required.April 3, 2013 Elma-Mornington Concerned Citizens
  9. 9. Health Impact• Reports from residents living among the 115 turbines in Kincardine Enbridge Project• Continual vibrating/pulsing sensation felt throughout the body when turbines operate• Symptoms reported – High pitched ringing in ears, tinnitus – Uncomfortable to painful pressure building up in the ears – Headaches, dizziness, light headedness, vertigo – Heart palpitations, chest tension, elevated blood pressure – Inability to sleep, loss of concentration, – cognitive impairment, mood disorders• Symptoms lessen when away from homes for 1-2 hrs.• Reports labeled ‘absolutely legitimate’ by Grey-Bruce Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Hazel Lynn
  10. 10. MOE Regulation of Turbine Noise• Testing restricted to audible noise – Only ‘a-weighted’ sounds that human ear can hear – No consideration for low frequency noise/infrasound• Applied through computer noise models – Assume ground is always soft with vegetative cover – Questionable modeling of multiple turbines – No validation of models with real experience• All testing takes place outside homes when reported problems are worse inside homes• No testing recommended in winter when problems are worse as MOE-specified microphones can freeze
  11. 11. Invenergy Noise Levels• Limit for audible noise is 40 dBA• Predicted noise levels by Invenergy – 7 homes receive 40 dBA – 36 homes receive 39 dBA – 34 homes receive 38 dBA• Even small errors in noise estimates will mean that these homes could be over legal limit• Worst area is along Line 72 (10th) where 19 receptors are predicted to receive 39 or 40 dBAApril 3, 2013 Elma-Mornington Concerned Citizens
  12. 12. Low Frequency Noise/Infrasound• Symptoms reported consistent with low frequency noise/ infrasound; not audible noise• Linked to wind turbine health issues by recent studies – Alec Salt – August 2012 • infrasound from wind turbines can cause harm to human health • harm may be irreversible for people with long exposure – Nissenbaum, Aramini and Hanning - Sept/Oct 2012 • People within 1.4 km of turbines had worse sleep and impaired mental health – Rand, Ambrose and Krogh - 2012 • Elevated levels of low frequency noise present in homes close to Falmouth, Massachusetts turbines. Researchers reported symptoms. – Watts and Watts – September 2012 • Medical doctor reviews literature on ‘Noise and Health’ as response to specific wind turbine project near Canberra Australia. – Wisconsin Study of Shirley Wind Project – January 2013 • 4 acousticians run concurrent studies of noise in abandoned homes • Low frequency noise/infrasound linked to turbines present
  13. 13. Impact on Drainage• Project has potential to affect drainage patterns in area – Change or block natural water courses – Block municipal drains – Damage private drains – Contaminate run-off• Need to anticipate and prevent problems; not fix later• North Perth requested a Comprehensive Drainage Management Plan for all areas affected by turbine, road access and collector line construction before any construction is started.• Property owners with specific concerns should identify these to MOE immediately with copy to municipalityApril 3, 2013 Elma-Mornington Concerned Citizens
  14. 14. Property Values• Experience in other communities suggest that wind turbines can decrease property values by 20% to 35% – Freestanding houses and small parcels of land are affected – Impact unclear on parcels of farmland• Ontario Real Estate Board requires declaration of existing or proposed turbines within 2 kilometres when selling property• North Perth asked for Property Value Protection Program be included in approval• Invenergy rejected proposal as too complex• Residents who are concerned should raise issue with MOE and support Property Value Protection Plan.April 3, 2013 Elma-Mornington Concerned Citizens
  15. 15. Air Ambulances• Air ambulance is a key part of health infrastructure: – Ability to fly in less than ideal weather conditions – Direct routes from Listowel to London & Hamilton hospitals – Flexibility to land at accident locations• Need 1 kilometer horizontal and 500 meter vertical separation from turbine wakes• Invenergy requested to provide a 2 kilometer wide corridor for air ambulances south from Listowel• MOE advised one resident to work with municipalityApril 3, 2013 Elma-Mornington Concerned Citizens