FINCH – A Crysler man experiencing health issues he says are related to the installation of wind turbines near his home says he’s been getting nowhere with officials, while his conditions worsen.
Randy Lamb filed a request for information last August and it led in the fall to the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) having discussions with the Eastern Ontario Health Unit and launching an investigation into the possible health repercussions caused by Nation Rise Wind Farm.
Lamb, who last summer told this newspaper he was experiencing heart palpitations, depression and anxiety, said he’s continuing to file incident reports, but that they’ve been unproductive.
Ruby Mekker, spokesperson for a group in the region that’s strongly opposed to the wind farm, said she’s disappointed but not surprised that nothing has changed – other than Lamb’s health.
“It’s taking Randy’s body longer and longer to recover – to the point that he now fears for his life,” Mekker said. “His home is surrounded by multiple turbines. He has reported numerous times to the Ministry of Environment that the sound pressure levels emitted from the turbines have created unlivable conditions for his family and himself. He has requested noise testing and measurements directly at his home. But nothing changes.”
Lamb shared a series of recent emails he’s exchanged with Lisa Chalmers, senior environmental officer with MECP’s Cornwall area office, that gets into the nuts and bolts of the turbine activity. Last Wednesday (Feb. 9) morning, Lamb wrote that “T18 off (while) all others turning fast woken up again by loud womp womp womp. . . T18 has been off since 4 this morning and now 8 a.m. still off but turning very very slowly like 15 mins to do a full turn.”
Chalmers replied the same morning, thanking Lamb for the update, and saying “Turbines will be running at part speed (or off) for many reasons: electricity demand, maintenance, operational change if doing audits etc. However, I am going to reach out to see if T18 or others) are in the situation that T9 was (i.e., running derated). If normal operations with operations as part of routine then there would not be MECP concern. I want to focus on if a T is not operating as should be (such as T9), I will reach out and see if anything different for T18.”
Opponents are also grabbing onto information coming out of Germany they say shows the same type of prototype turbine blade installed as part of Nation Rise has been shown to develop cracks, and alleging Nation Rise turbines that have been shut down for extended periods of time, or aren’t operating like other turbines, may be as a result of the same problem. They want all turbines stopped until each blade can be inspected.
The ministry’s response didn’t address that concern, only requesting Lamb submit reports on one particular turbine near his home once it starts operating normally again.
Said Mekker: “When does (the ministry) step up to the plate and investigate, do noise testing at Randy’s home? Instead (it) wants to use the noise testing from another ‘proxy’ location, which does not equate to the same conditions as Randy’s. Isn’t it the job of (the ministry) to ensure the project is run safely and according to the Renewable Energy Agreement?”
Ultimately the opponents want the Ontario government to get Nation Rise to cease operations, permanently.
Late last spring, Mekker sent an email to officials with the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) saying it had broken Ontario law. Mekker alleged the approval of the commercial operation date for the Nation Rise project is illegal, that the IESO has been provided with proof of adverse health effects, proof of mechanical/electrical issues with turbines, and proof of lack of commissioning.
“Evidence continues to accumulate showing that industrial wind energy projects developed in residential communities in Ontario, that followed the regulations set by the province, result in the creation of a ‘health hazard’ for people living in the project area,” she said at the time.
The 29-turbine wind farm had construction conclude early last spring, and was to be commercially operational by June 17 according to the company’s contract. Nation Rise Wind Farm is expected to produce 100 megawatts of electricity in North and South Stormont, the power being enough to fuel approximately 25,600 homes.
The project was allowed to go ahead after lengthy legal proceedings saw the permit for the operation revoked due to environmental concerns over the negative effects on local bat populations.
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