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Time to confront anti-wind disinformation

Sierra Club Canada released a report today, “The Real Truth About Wind Energy“, to factually confront the ‘truth tour’ of Wind Concerns Ontario.
The report reviews the latest medical and scientific research into the health and environmental impacts of wind turbines and concludes there is no scientific justification for placing a moratorium on turbines in Ontario. It is being sent to every municipality that passed a resolution calling for a moratorium on wind development along with a request to rescind the resolution as the scientific study it called for has been completed.
Municipalities called for a moratorium at the urging of some residents who were frightened and mislead about alleged negative health effects on people living near wind turbines.
We looked at this issue very closely and the reality is there is no evidence. Noise, infra sound and shadow flicker have little to no impact on health.
There is a reason the anti-wind lobby could not present any credible evidence in their court case earlier this year.  There isn’t any – wind turbines are safe.
Wind Concerns Ontario is part of a larger effort to undermine Ontario’s Green Energy Act, a topic sure to be thoroughly debated during the upcoming Ontario election.
Rural Ontarians are being sold a bill of goods when it comes to wind energy. There is no place for disinformation in public dialogue and politicians planning to take advantage of it should be ashamed.
Sierra Club Canada remains strongly supportive of wind turbines but notes the importance of locating them away from residences and known migratory bird flyways.
John Bennett, Executive Director
Sierra Club Canada

Filed Under: Letters and Opinion

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  1. Killashandra Ree says:

    Kudos to JBG and Treat Hull for their well researched comments. The idea of “green” energy is one that would not create further environmental damage for the sake of producing a small amount of intermittent, unreliable electricity.

    It takes 24,000 1.5MW Indutrial Wind Turbines covering approx 40 sqaure miles to produce enough energy to power a modern city like Kingston. In addition, since the wind does not always blow, a backup power source that can fully power the city is required.

    Three are approx 400 tons of steel in each turbine, requiring many more tons of raw ore, and coke (the dirtiest of fossil fuels) in the production stages. In addtion, the rare minerals that go into the electronics (97% are from China) that run the turbines, must be mined. Mining produces more green house gases and utilises fossil fuels. Ores are shipped from North American mines to China to produce the steel that is then shipped to yet another country to build the turbine parts that are then transported here to be assembled. All this transportation uses fossil fuels releasing more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and other pollutants that cause asthma and COPD.

    Why are we building these IWTs? when the Ontario McGuinty Gov’t cancelled the Oakville gas generating plant stating that the need for the additional energy projected 4 years ago wsa not realised. Ontario’s overall consumption of electricity has declined because most manufacturing has left for China and other points in the far east, we are becoming an information and service based economy.

    If we don’t need the 900 MW of power that would have been produced in Oakville, at the cancelled gas powered plant, why do we need the less than 200MW rated power from Ostrander Point that would actualy average out to about 50 MW at the cost of approx $1 Billion to build? Not to diminsh the cost to the environment and the endangered or threatened species and the migratory birds that fly through the region every spring and fall.

  2. John Portnos says:

    Thumbs up to JBG and Treat Hull! great points

  3. Treat Hull says:

    When I read the Sierra Club press release, I was encouraged to believe that John Bennett had tempered his position of unconditional support for the Green Energy Act.

    However, when I read the report itself, I was disappointed to find that the Sierra Club has, in reality, issued an unconditional defence of every single aspect of industrial wind energy, a defence which is shoddy at best and intellectually dishonest at worst.

    Although it carries the smug title “The Real Truth About Wind Energy”, the report is mainly a summary of the statements of industrial wind proponents presented as if they were authoritative and above controversy. To cite a few quick examples:

    -The report cites quotes an Australian study on infrasound to the effect that “specific International studies, which have measured the levels of infrasound in the vicinity of operational wind farms, indicate that levels are significantly below recognised perception thresholds and are therefore not detectable to humans.”(Sonus Pty Ltd. 2010″ A check of the reference reveals that this was an engineering study paid for by an Australian Energy company.

    -The report cites the apparently authoritative French authority France Energie Eolienne/Syndicat des énergies renouvelable. A review of their website reveals that they are an industry association!

    The report was authored by two interns, presumably university students, who would appear to have no published credentials in any of the fields related to the reports contents. Their lack of familiarity with power generation may explain the sloppy (or perhaps naive) use of figures to attempt to support their conclusion.

    For example, the report contains a table on the capacity factors (efficiency) of different forms of generation lumped together on a WORLDWIDE basis. They argue, in effect, that the intermittent nature of wind energy is not so bad because when renewables of all types (wind, solar, bioenergy) are grouped together, they have a capacity factor of 40%, compared to 36% for hydro, 11-42% for gas, and 92% for nuclear. This would appear to make wind energy reasonably efficient when compared with alternative forms of generation.

    The reality is that worldwide averages have little or no bearing on the situation in Ontario. The capacity factor for wind depends on local weather patterns: in Ontario, published results for industrial wind farms show an average, multi-year capacity factor of approximately 25%, not the 40% cited by the report. In Ontario, water-generated power delivers an average capacity factor of 59%, not the 36% worldwide average cited in the report. Finally, Ontario taxpayers wish that our nuclear fleet delivered the 92% worldwide average cited!!

    Although it was written by interns, it is the Sierra Club executives who are ultimately responsible for the decision to publish this flawed essay and claim that it is the definitive truth on wind power. It is a shame that the Sierra Club has chosen to waste its goodwill on this report.

    In the end, John Thompson is correct: There is nothing in the report which indicates any concern on the issue of siting wind turbines in migratory bird flyways.

  4. Randy Cross says:

    The Green Energy Acti is a $28 Billion Government Boondoggle

    Forget Green Energy –
    IT’S FAKE

    http://www­­.youtube.­c­om/watch­?v­=JMklQL­ekg­6E

  5. Pinetop says:

    Hey JBG,

    You just can’t handle the truth!

  6. JBG says:

    I once believed in the Sierra Club, until the club ( bunch of Sierra Club like activists who aren’t looking at the entire picture but only at their own agendas) started fully supporting the Green Energy Act. The Green Energy Act and the PM government is placing turbines everywhere and anywhere.

    This includes placing turbines in pristine areas, in and around fresh lakes, on mountains, on ridges, on the Niagara Escarpment, near communities, blasting, drilling, destroying the environment, and it has stripped away the rights of municipalities and the proper consultation of the public.

    Everything the environmentalists (including myself for 20 years) have worked so hard to protect, is now being destroyed or in jeopardy. Wind factories are industrial projects. Every industrial project has had strict laws put in place to protect the environment. The Green Energy Act no longer protects those laws. Wind turbine factories are no different and should get no special treatment. Especially, when big greedy companies or individuals are the only people benefiting.

    Mr. Bennett has accused Wind Concerns Ontario as being supported by the PC’s. I’m a liberal and I support and volunteer for Wind Concerns Ontario after my town was ruined by wind turbines, the Sierra Club’s and the PM’s agenda and enforcements. Mr. Bennett is a hypocrite in my opinion. He fought against industrial industries for imposing onto citizens and the land. However, the turbines projects are the worst projects that are having the most enforcements in Canada’s history. It wasn’t okay for other industries to do what the wind turbine industry is doing in Ontario. But it’s okay for the wind turbine industry to do what it’s doing because Mr. Bennett believes in the industry. What a shame the Sierra Club and Mr. Bennett have become.

    I would like to invite the Sierra Club to visit every single city and town in Ontario facing environmental, human and economic impacts from wind turbines. Then conclude factual information based on real Ontario people’s stories and evidence about wind turbine horror stories.

    Wind Turbine Abilities under the Green Energy Act Recklessness:

    Being able to call real Canadians, with a real voice, with constitutional rights, who have built this country, paid for this country, and pay for the governments wages, and the right to speak their mind, and the right to a proper consultation; a NIMBY by the PM government and the Sierra Club is racist and it is disgusting, deeming, is selfish, it is unacceptable and reckless.
    Being able to take out a section 17a permit from the Ministry of Environment to Kill, Harm and Harass wildlife under the endangered species act is unacceptable and reckless. Why did Canadians and the Sierra Club fight so hard for the endangered species acts, for it to be overruled by foreign, and oil and gas wind companies, who own turbines etc?
    Being able to clear cut and remove carbon dioxide is unacceptable and reckless. What was the point in all the Sierra Club’s fights to save trees?
    Being able to kill, harm and destroy endangered species is unacceptable and reckless. What was the point of the Sierra Club fighting hard to save all living creatures?
    Being able to potentially harm water sources is unacceptable and reckless. What was the point of the Sierra Club and Canadians, to fight hard for water protection?
    Being able to blast fields and mountains for turbines is unacceptable and reckless. Why isn’t it okay for mine’s to blast mountains but it’s okay for turbine companies to blast everything and anything according to the Sierra Club and their support for turbines and the Green Energy Act?
    Being able to place industrial industries in once protected areas is unacceptable and reckless. What was the point of all the man hours, money and laws put into parks and wild spaces to protect it?
    Being able to build any type of industrial industry without proper and full environmental and human impact assessments is unacceptable and reckless. Why should the wind industry be any different?
    Being able to say there are no health risks is unacceptable and reckless. Since when did the Sierra Club believe in mainstream propaganda? How come there is hundreds of creditable doctors being ignored, who are saying the turbines do cause health effects to humans, nature, and wildlife? How come the Sierra Club didn’t believe Health Canada when they said many things were healthy but now those things aren’t considered healthy? Ex. It was once okay to drink and smoke when a woman was pregnant.
    Being able to strip away the people’s voice and their right to a full consultation is tyranny, unacceptable and reckless. What’s is the point of the constitution act? Why did the Sierra Club fight hard for people’s rights but now their helping to strip away people’s rights?
    Being able to put any industrial industry, (I don’t care what industry it is) near people where they live, work, sleep, play, and go to school is unacceptable and reckless. What was the point in making laws for every other industry but the wind industry?
    Being able to build an industry for the profiteering of greedy human consumption when Ontario has the best green energy, it’s water and not wind turbines is unacceptable and reckless. Since when did the Sierra Club start saying the profiteering of human consumption out weighs the rights of the environments. I thought the whole point of being a steward of the land was to protect the biodiversity and wildlife that can’t speak for itself!
    Being able to make billions in carbon credits is unacceptable and reckless. Why doesn’t the Sierra Club print that in the SC website and the truth about Al Gore and the billions he stands to make? Print how big companies stand to make millions a year at the expense of the environment, Canadians in Ontario and the economics of this country. If a home of $300,000.00 takes a property value of 30%; who is going to pay for that loss of $30, 000.00? Will it be the wind turbine company who will make 10 million dollars a month from wind turbines, or the municipality who will make $200,000.00 a year? Will it be the hard working Canadians who are broke from the recession and all these increases like hydro because of wind turbines who can’t afford to put food on their tables?
    Being able to reference other peoples work like the Sierra Club has, about the benefits of turbine report and without writing the true impacts is biased, unacceptable and reckless.
    Being able to clear cut, blast, and ruin pristine areas does not equal clean, green and sustainable it is unacceptable and reckless and = an unplanned mess for the future.
    Being able to bypass environmental laws is unacceptable and reckless.
    Being able to economically impact locals, municipalities and Ontarian’s economically without consultation is unacceptable and reckless. Many cities are having backroom deals done with respect to turbines. What is the point of having laws to protect citizens from backdoor deals?
    Being able to override other renewable energy sources all ready in place is a waste, unacceptable and reckless.
    Being able to loose geology, fields, soils, water, wetlands, forests, wildlife, marshes = a negative impact on climate change, it is unacceptable and reckless.

    The Sierra Club recently released a wind turbine report “Get the truth about Wind Turbines“:

    How come SC didn’t print the information about all the oil and gas companies who own the wind factories?
    How come SC didn’t print all the information about the carbon footprint of the turbine industry?
    How come the SC reports looked like a high school student wrote it?
    How come SC didn’t print how many turbines it takes to replace coal plants?
    How come the reports don’t show any of the negatives about the wind turbines? This is very biased and one sided.
    How come SC didn’t print about the hydro cost increases, the people who are sick from turbines, the people who have lost their homes because of turbines, the destruction to the environment, all the companies (anyone and everyone) who is jumping on the wind turbine money train, who don’t care about the environment and who are snakes going into every city and town destroying them and getting away with it because of the Green Energy Act?

    SC’s information about bird mortality by wind turbines is wrong. Just ask the American bird association. SC’s information about health risks are one sided. Why didn’t SC write about any of information from doctors who oppose turbines and have medical evidence about Wind Turbine Syndrome? Why not tell the truth about decommissioning as per the governments information, SC’s reports don’t match it.

    What right does SC have to support the environmental and human impacting Green Energy Act? I no longer believe in the Sierra Club and I will no longer support it.

    Wind Turbines are for the profiteering of human consumption, big corporations and jobs. It does have huge impacts and a carbon footprint. So, why should this industry be treated any different then any other industry? Why should all the laws we put in place only to get thrown out the window overnight by wind enthusiasts (who don’t have all their facts)?

    Why isn’t Mr. Bennet or the Sierra Club traveling across Ontario, to get documentation from real Ontario people, to find out for themselves, the horror stories people are encountering with turbines from a human, economical, and environmental impact? Put your money where your mouth is Sierra Club and come talk to the people of Ontario from the Manitoba border to Southern Ontario.

    Is the Sierra Club and Mr. Bennet members all to busy sitting in their little offices in Ottawa, while the citizens of Ontario are suffering? Are they two busy to get out of their office in Ottawa to go Bruce County, Sault Saint Marie, of Dorian Township in Northern Ontario? Where is the Sierra Club hiding? Is the Sierra Club getting it’s information from the wind turbine industries who stand to make millions, the internet and books? Instead; Is the Sierra Club going door to door in every city getting the information first hand? How creditable is the SC’s sources and information?

    I’m embarrassed to say I was once a member of the Sierra Club. Sierra Club you have lost myself and my environmental friends as a member forever!

  7. Mandy says:

    John Bennett has not lifted a finger to fight agaist the Ostrader Point project. How are you people getting that from this article? He is an ideologue who believes in wind power at any and all costs.

    The Sierra Club has failed miserably in keeping up-to-date on what is really going on with wind development in Ontario. Their stance is not true environmentalism at all. They are using their grants to fight against those who are trying to protect our communities.

  8. Brock Kirkpatrick says:

    In view of the last statement in Mr. Bennet’s report on wind energy I would be hard pressed to imagine how they could not be opposed to the Ostrander Point project. If John Thompson’s implication is correct I look forward to the Sierra Club’s verbal contortions.

  9. John Thompson says:

    I would not conclude that the Sierra Club is opposed to the Ostander Point project. Wait and see.

  10. Chris Keen says:

    It is not the Sierra Club’s responsibility to ensure that the citizens of Ontario will not have their health affected by turbines, it is the government’s. I for one don’t find “little … impact” that reassuring. I think turbine placement should involve NO impact whatsoever.
    Until the government has done due diligence on the health issue, a moratorium should be put in place.

    In the meantime, I trust that Mr.Bennett has made it perfectly clear to the government that the Sierra Club opposes any turbines on Ostrander Point and the south shore.

  11. Brock Kirkpatrick says:

    The Sierra Club is an organization which advocates for the environment. Perhaps their comments should be restricted to the impact of industrial wind turbines on the environment and leave the comments of their impact on the health of humans to those who are experts in that field.The comment buried in the last sentence of their release that The Sierra Club notes “the importance of locating them (wind turbines) away from residences and known migratory bird flyways” is a telling one. If there is no health risk as they claim why locate them away from residences?
    One would also like to know who (governments, businesses etc.) financially supports the Sierra Club. One would like to be assured that there is no conflict of interest manifest in their statement.

  12. Lori Cairns says:

    These conclusions are based on how many years of study? Who did the original study that the Sierra Club is basing its conclusions on?

    Always, always, always follow the money trail.

  13. Suzanne says:

    I am very happy to hear that Sierra Club is against the wind turbines at Ostrander Point on the county’s south shore. Add them to the list that includes Natute Canada and Nature Ontario as well as our local naturalists. Folks who support wind energy as a “green” alternative to coal fired plants and nuclear energy should be very concerned about the siting of industrial wind turbines in ecologically sensitive areas. Those who pesist in supporting energy market speculators who site IWTs anywhere so long as they can make a profit from them reveal motives that have nothing whatever to do with saving our planet from dangerous pollutants.

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