March 16, 2011
Letters, Ontario

Living in shadow of wind turbines

By Linda Rogers, Jarvis, 16 March 2011

Toronto has one. “Middle of Nowhere”…200 plus.
I am a land owner of a small acreage located near the shores of Lake Erie. Out in the middle of small-town “no where” large installations of industrial wind turbines are being constructed with the project date of being “on line” no later than January 2012.
Wind energy is being touted as the solution to reduce emissions from burning fossil fuels
I, too, wanted to believe that progress is being made to save our environment. Alternative energy being used on a large scale for the good of the world’s ecosystems, this must be a good thing. Cautiously I accepted that I would be neighbours to some large turbines. I am already living down the road from the Nanticoke Power Plant (coal burning and a source of acid rain) and I am within radiation drift of a critical incident at the Nuclear Power plant.
So what has changed my viewpoint?
Turbines 80m tall (26 stories tall) with blades of about 50m (lengths as long as a 747 airplane) are being installed in unprecedented density surrounding my home and community. Please visit the turbine at Exhibition Place in Toronto- it is one.
Sixteen turbines will be ringing my home within sight lines and hearing. Several are going to be only 550m from where I sleep.
The tallest things dominating my horizon are tree lines. I don’t currently have the sound of “distant traffic” (40 decibels is predicted sound of a working turbine) under my bedroom window. This one particular project(s) installation is of about 200 units.
Assurances of carefully sited turbines from the wind energy companies haven’t eased my concerns. I have been told undisturbed sleep is no longer a given by a neighbour who has already moved once before because of the turbines. How many times can you “just move” before places to move to are gone?
Please visit the turbines and form an opinion. Port Burwell has standing offers of accommodations…
Noise, shadow flicker, vibrations, wake turbulence, pressure changes surrounding blade sweep area, growing complaints of health issues from residents already living near installed turbines, land change use from rural residential and agriculture to hosting industrial energy generating equipment, property devaluation from 20% to unsellable at any price setbacks, death and disturbances of habitats for birds, wildlife, flora and fauna, 120m setbacks from “sensitive areas”. Predictions of alterations to weather patterns are now surfacing. The projects as a whole now extend from Mexico to the Arctic in Canada on our continent alone. Do the blades of turbines churn the very wind currents that are driving them? They are big and getting bigger. (Think about that while stirring your ice tea this summer)
Bats found with extreme “barotraumas” (ruptured lungs similar to the bends divers experience surfacing too quickly) due to the pressure changes and wake turbulence from the turbines. Large migrating birds, tundra swans, raptors including eagles and owls are being displaced, injured and killed by the turbines (think meat mincer). Consider also the “poof factor” of the spinning blades- monarch butterflies, small song birds; don’t leave body parts to count. Do vibrations and infrasound affect amphibians and aquatic species?
Migration corridors are not just places birds “pass through”. Can birds nest successfully near the turbines? Shadow flicker (predicted to be less than 9 and half hours per year) is intrusive for humans in their nests- sorry homes. The very concepts of intermittent or relentless disturbances in sound and light, sleep deprivation are used as tools of intermigration /torture in war. Clean energy shouldn’t kill.
This is an open challenge to the wind industry, Government of Ontario, people of Toronto and others who may have only seen the turbines from a distance. Prove to me that this energy generating mega project works. Refute the testimonies and debunk the myths. Collect information from the existing installations to validate or refute claims of concerns, freely share the data, allow independent studies and peer review- the turbines are up let us do the research.
Europe is undergoing a major shift in their utilization and acceptance of wind energy. Setbacks are 1.5km and Scotland has calls for setbacks of 3 kms. The projects underway in Ontario are of a size and density of turbines that has never been seen before. Is bigger better?
It is imperative that the water based turbine installations moratorium should be extended to include land based projects being currently being installed and developed.
Prove that I am just worrying about the birds, bees, bats and me and that I will be able to once again sleep soundly at night.
I want to believe.

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