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Bigger turbines – same setbacks?

Premier Wynne acknowledged in a June 13th CBC Radio phone-in show that wind turbine setbacks are an important issue.
Wynne knows that Ontario’s 550 meter setbacks were established more than four years ago when turbines were much smaller, and when rural Ontarians had no experience with their harmful effects.
It is past time for Ontario to increase setbacks for industrial wind turbines.  There is sufficient evidence for today’s turbines to be no closer than 2 km from home sites and 10 km from Important Bird Areas.
Other countries have already acted.  Ontario must delay no further.
Marilyn Lauer, Milford

Filed Under: Letters and Opinion

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  1. Donna says:

    “There is sufficient evidence for today’s turbines to be no closer than 2 km from home sites…”

    Actually the truth is that experts and tribunals continue to find NO evidence to require increased setbacks.

    I believe it was Dr. Baines from the Ostrander Point ERT who said, “The plural of anecdote is not data.”

  2. lawrence cornett says:

    Yes, Marilyn; with the world’s bird population decreasing daily, a haven for birds in the County will be a bird shredding industrial zone for at least 20 years at Ostrander Point with Wynne’s blessing.
    Ireland preserves heritage sights for ‘spiritual’ benefits; why not include Important Bird Areas in a similar plan for Ontario, and make our Point Traverse a mecca for the spiritual healing birds bring the human spirit?

  3. Sam says:

    Ms. Slaven,

    I was speaking about their generating capacity, but since you are comparing heights then perhaps we should examine that metric.

    The hub height for the turbines proposed at Osterander Point is 85m. The tip height (hub height 85m + rotor radius 50m) is 135m.

    The information is available here:

    http://www.gileadpower.com/pdf/Dec-2011-Renewable-Energy-Approval-Reports/OPWEP_Wind-Turbine-Spec-Report.pdf

    The Wolfe Island turbines use a hub height of 80m. The tip height (hub height 80m + rotor radius 46.5m) is 126.5m.

    The information for the Wolf Island turbines is available here:

    http://www.transalta.com/sites/default/files/documents/Wolfe%20Island%20Brochure_final.pdf

    and here:

    http://www.energy.siemens.com/hq/pool/hq/power-generation/wind-power/E50001-W310-A102-V6-4A00_WS_SWT-2.3-93_US.pdf

    The documentation shows that the proposed Osterander Point turbines are only 6.25% taller at the hub, and 8.3% taller to the blade tip. As I indicated, they are slightly larger, but not significantly so.

    Even if we look at the swept area, which varies as the square of the radius, the Osterander Point turbines cover an increased area of 15.6%.

    The turbines proposed for White Pines have a hub height of 100m and have a rotor radius of 46m, which is a similar blade length to the turbines at Wolfe Island, but on a 20m taller tower.

  4. Jo Anne Slaven says:

    Sam, the Wolfe Island turbines are 80 meters high. The proposed Ostrander point turbines will be 135 meters high. That is an increase of almost 70%. The White Pines turbines will be 100 meters high, representing an increase in height of 25%.

    In my opinion, this IS a significant increase in size.

  5. Jack says:

    Marilyn: I wonder if you could state what countries have changed their set backs and to what degree?

  6. Sam says:

    “Ontario’s 550 meter setbacks were established more than four years ago when turbines were much smaller”.

    I would question the statement that wind turbines were much smaller when the 550 metre setback was developed. The 550 metre setback was developed and included in the Green Energy Act.

    The Wolfe Island turbines, which were installed prior to the Green Energy Act are 2.3 mW in generating capacity. The proposed turbines for Osterander Point are 2.5mW (slightly larger than Wolfe Island) and the turbines proposed for White Pines are 2.05mW (slightly smaller than Wolfe Island). I fail to see how that represents a significant increase in size.

    “There is sufficient evidence for today’s turbines to be no closer than 2 km from home sites and 10 km from Important Bird Areas.”

    I would be interested in receiving a list of the other countries that have required a setback of 2kms from homes and 10kms from IBAs.

    I also question whether “sufficient evidence” is available to justify those setbacks. It will be interesting to hear the decision of the ERT panel and see if the evidence given at the ERT is “sufficient” to increase the setbacks in PEC.

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