Open Letter to Council of Addington Highlands Council
Re Nextera (and Other) Plans for Wind Turbine Development at Addington Highlands
May 28, 2015
NA-PAW (The North American Platform Against Wind Power) represents over 350 N. American groups, and liaises with more than 850 international groups, via the European Platform, EPAW, Europe, AU, Slovenia, as well as some in Asia, and as such, our membership and outreach for current information on wind power issues worldwide is substantial and extremely current.
We would like to express our deepest concern at the idea of contaminating some of Ontario’s most pristine lands and lakes, with massive industrial complexes that are not green, not clean, not free, and not safe. It is very unfortunate that NextEra, one of the largest North American developers extant in our region, is once again thinking of establishing a rather large, perhaps the largest “factory” in Canada, in your Highlands. We are respectfully writing to ask you to think extremely deeply, and to reject this concept and proposal, which NextEra promises it will continue to pursue, even in future years, if this current attempt to industrialize, fails.
Although the GEA (Green Energy and Economy Act, 2009) indicates that projects can proceed even without council approval, it is clear that when councils indicate that they will not be “willing hosts” or when they impose strict guidelines on developers, such as fire regulations, or mitigation measures with costs attached on retirement of the project, you may be able to reject the NextEra initiative, and protect Addington Highlands from a costly and degrading project.
Your Highlands are rich and abundant with wildlife, birds, and bats, already in serious decline, most to extinction, and a network of incredible Natural Resources that are a Canadian treasure. Bon Echo Park, for one, with the exceptional artistic features, and celebrations of Canadian Art and history, must not be impacted by any locally sited turbine factory: this would be a disaster. We feel certain you will want to safeguard this for future generations, and not lose the pristine and natural wonders you enjoy. We assure you that industrial wind factories are very destructive, to humans, habitats, airspaces, which are also habitat, to water tables, to the economy of all of us; sadly, there is not one positive thing to note about this industry.
We note with interest that in your minutes for May 4th, 2015, a motion was passed to call on “Premier Wynne and the Province of Ontario to do something to bring hydro rates down to a reasonable level and to do so as quickly as possible be received.”
Wind turbines do nothing for the public good, and only increase our hydro rates: developers receive guaranteed access to the grid, at about 14.5 cents per kWh, when we should be paying 6.5 cents per kWh. We currently dump excess power to NY State and Michigan, for example, again at a great cost to Ontario. The ultimate kick in the pants is that worldwide, with about 240,000 industrial wind turbines, we only receive less than half of one percent, net zero, of our power needs.
Michael Trebilcock of the University of Toronto Law Department, indicated some years back that wind power is a “complete disaster.”
Professor Trebilcock mentions that there are no emissions savings from wind power: you always need back up and lots of it, from gas, hydro, nuclear, coal, and anything base load. He also refers to the job losses in Spain: 2.2 job LOSSES per so called “green” job. In the UK it is 4 job losses per so called “green” job, and in Italy, 5.4. I am sure you know that Ontario has lost 300,000 manufacturing jobs in the last 8-10 years, mostly due to the high subsidies paid to wind and solar developers.
You will likely be offered incentives, a “vibrancy” fund, for various projects in your community or region. We respectfully ask you to reflect on the “crumbs” that you will be offered, compared to the billions that NextEra stands to make from this project. The net result will be a LOSS in vibrancy, and loss in tourism dollars, loss in property values and then tax base, and a loss in community cohesion. There will be no net gain for Addington Highlands.
Jeannie Melady spoke eloquently to Huron East council on behalf of HEAT (Huron East Against Turbines) about vibrancy funds from the St Columban project, January 20th, 2015: She felt “common sense” was required when considering the issue, specifically the rights council would be “giving up” by agreeing to enter into such a contract. Commenters on line expressed that these were “bribes,” and why do they need to offer you small packages of goodies, if they are such great people doing great things? Many communities worldwide use the word “bribes” to describe pecuniary incentives to win councils’ approvals. NextEra and other wind companies will tell you they are “sharing the benefits.” They will be sharing crumbs, and the legacy will be, has proven to be, again, worldwide, unrelenting unhappiness and community disruption, loss of amenities, and loss of wildlife, and property values losses, as well as compromised health of some if not many residents.
But the adverse pressures of wind energy are mounting: At the present time, Australia has established a Special Select Committee on Wind Turbines, and is receiving submissions from medical communities, wildlife specialists, researchers, acousticians, doctors, physicists, and victims of wind, those who have reported ill health, and some of those who can no longer reside in their homes or work their farms. At the present time, there is a huge movement in the USA to end the PTC (Production Tax Credit), which is the lucrative tariff program similar to our FIT program, without which the industry cannot survive. At the present time, Germany for one, as well as Spain, Portugal, the UK, are all turning back the clock, reflecting deeply on the disastrous ‘green’ energy policies that have seen slashing of manufacturing jobs (due to the high cost of power, directly related to guaranteed profits for wind and solar), and conducting build outs of other more reliable sources of power. German physicians just last week called for a moratorium, as health studies on ILFN (Infra and Low Frequency Noise) are inadequate or non-existent. The world discussion on wind turbines is accelerating and vociferous....all are calling for a stop button.
As one observer put it: “All lies and promises – the wind industry has finally been rumbled in Germany and is about to be shown the door in Australia. The wind industry and its parasites have been guilty of more than just a little hubris. Claiming to be able to deliver cheap, reliable sparks was always going to be their undoing. Gradually, Europeans are waking up to the unassailable fact that wind power is based on a technology that was redundant before it began.” (This is a preface to the article: “Lessons from Germany’s Wind Power Disaster.”)
Another commentary from the German experience records: “The subsidies have been colossal, the impacts on the electricity market chaotic and – contrary to the environmental purpose of the policy – CO2 emissions are rising fast”.
What We Now Know That Must Not Be Repeated
Communities are being victimized, courted by wind developers with promises that have been proven incorrect. Wind power doesn’t work. It does not produce meaningful power. Some say it sucks more than it produces. Wind power does not reduce CO2 and GHGs. In fact, it increases those measures. Wind power is not clean, safe, green and free. It is the most costly, non performing energy experiment we have ever experienced. Wind turbines catch fire more often than is reported, likely three times more often than reported, and the wind energy sector has the most industrial accidents of any energy sector. Communities are ill prepared to deal with fires that occur at the top of a 2.3 or 3 MW turbine, and there is never stand by equipment available for those emergencies. Arran-Elderslie has constructed its own bylaw requiring any developer to have standby fire suppression equipment. Deputy Mayor Mark Davis went on record:
“It would be irresponsible for the Corporation of the Municipality of Arran-Elderslie to permit the installation of a tall structure in the absence of a dedicated high-angle rescue service for each structure,” the bylaw states. It also calls for a complete list “of any and all hazardous materials that may be contained within or be part of the construction of the proposed structure. “We have to protect our residents, Davis said.”
It is well known that wildlife impacts from industrial wind are massive. Disruption to flyways, migration, nesting, way feeding stations, is often terminal, and the assertion that a species will naturally and intelligently avoid impacts, is now seen to be patently false. What occurs is huge mortalities, counted by developers without oversight from anybody, often to the extent of species’ extinction. Some species are curious or consume insects that accumulate on the blades or nacelles, in the case of bats, paying for it with their lives, with impacts, or burst lungs, from the pressure change at the tip of the blade. (Bats as we all know, consume 600-1000 insects per hour. They are seriously impacted as they are attracted to the food source and lights.)
Eric Bibler of Cape Cod, MA, writes a passionate plea for understanding of the effects on wildlife and humans. (We urge you to read the entire letter.)
Scientists and laymen (including hunters and other outdoors men) will tell you that noise, especially chronic noise, does adversely affect wildlife habitat and the willingness of wildlife to continue to inhabit an area. The hunters will tell you that in areas where wind turbines have been installed, the wildlife has been driven off and relocated. The wind turbine developers, on the other hand, will insist that this information is purely “anecdotal” or that there are insufficient “peer reviewed studies” to prove the point. Presumably, the developers will not be satisfied until hundreds of deer, pheasants and wild turkeys have been interviewed in a double blind study in various locations all over the world with the results of these interviews published in a journal like “Nature.” These impacts are obviously understudied.
Mr. Bibler goes to great lengths to explain the hideousness of endorsing a scam like wind power, because you are paying for the lies every time you make a piece of toast. In another eloquent plea, Bibler says:
We knew enough, however, to understand that erecting 400 foot, kinetic industrial towers in the middle of a national park was an insane idea.
It seemed like such a sacrilege, that we barely knew where to start arguing with the proponents. What do you say to someone who is so seriously unhinged that they actually think that it’s a great idea to industrialize a national park?
We rapidly grew to appreciate the human health hazards, the profoundly detrimental environmental consequences, the dramatic impact on property values and, most tragically, the despair and ruin that they caused in the lives of decent, well-meaning people who were fated to live in the shadow of these behemoths.
The Natural Treasures of Addington Highlands
Please do not allow Addington Highlands to become another wind turbine experiment. The government of Ontario has not acknowledged its tremendous failure to citizens, landscapes, hydrology, heritage values, community health, as well as its treasures of wildlife, but these are all fairly universally understood now, in rural and urban areas. Ontario’s wind experiment is a catalogue of embarrassment and failure only equaled by the embarrassments of Germany, Spain, or the UK. The 37 endangered species that are residents in your area and in Bon Echo Park, and others “at risk,” should not be sacrificed. There can be no compensation for the losses that are sure to follow, for several hundred years. We pray you will not be part of the frantic turbine build out, some of the last, but you will be part of the clear headed and prescient firmness of the “end of the madness.”
Thank you very much for the opportunity to communicate with you our deep concerns. We are adding a few photos to show you how invasive the build out will be, because nothing says it quite like photos: also, we would be honored to present your council with a power point and discussion that may prove very enlightening, if you feel this would be useful.
Sincere best wishes, and hoping you will remain dedicated to a permanently pristine and revered Canadian Iconic Landscape,
CEO, NA-PAW (North American Platform Against Wind Power)
Founding Director, Toronto Wind Action
Executive Director, Canada, Great Lakes Wind Truth
VP Canada, Save the Eagles International
416 567 5115
Not clean, not green, not free! Unsupervised, unregulated, unproven technological experiment, advertised with completely false claims, with disastrous results, from birth to death.