Leena from Finland Writes to W.H.O. to ask for Help!

“I live about 10 kilometres from the windmills. I thought I would be safe. I was wrong.”

“Please take the infrasound fact seriously when reviewing the Environmental Noise Pollution Guidelines for Europe.”

Wooden house in Finland
Wooden house in Finland

On July 18, 2016, Leena from Finland wrote to the members of the panel developing the WHO Environmental Noise Guidelines for the European Region:

Dear Mrs Héroux and whom else this may concern,

Here in Western Finland already couple hundred people has moved from their homes because of the infrasound caused by windmills. They have gotten sick because of the infrasound.
I thought I would be safe. I live about 10 kilometres from the Santavuori windmills situated in Ilmajoki.
I was wrong.

Soon after the 17 3.5 MW windmills started this spring my life has changed. I cannot sleep at home at my rural horse ranch, I have constant headache, I feel pressure changes in my ears, my heart beats in odd rhythm and my blood pressure is high when the windmills are working. If they are stopped or I drive about 20-30 kilometres from them, I feel fine.
I could not imagine the effects of the wind power plants would come this far!
Please take the infrasound fact seriously when reviewing the Environmental Noise Pollution Guidelines for Europe.

I am making a research about how the infrasounds effects on animals here in Finland.
I have gotten calls from farmers and it seems that the windmills cause a lot of miscarrying and abortions in cows and minks. There are increased number of sudden deaths in pigs. Foals that born have malformations. Cows, dogs and minks don’t get in heat anymore, they lack the interest for sexual behaving which means that there are less animals born at farms in the near future.

If there is anything you can do to end or minimize this madness, please do so. I don’t want to move from my home. And where could I go with 10 horses?

Sincerely

Leena
Finland

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Our Best Buddies in Australia, Taking a Well-Deserved Break!

Australia Votes: STT Takes a Little Break

voting

In a thousand places, from Albany to Yerranderie, from the Bungle Bungles to Zeehan, around 16 million Australians have just ticked a few boxes that will determine which team gets to control its Federal Parliament for a while.

As to the future of the wind industry, the result matters little: without bi-partisan support, the LRET (on which the whole stinking rort depends) is as dead as the dodo.

Bill Shorten went into the contest talking up a ludicrous 50% target; wisely, Malcolm Turnbull didn’t say much at all.

Bankers, power retailers and investors aren’t going to place any bets on a weather driven ‘system’, with its existence wholly dependent on massive subsidies that have to outlast religion.

Plenty of government backed industries have seen the plug pulled without warning: just ask woolgrowers and car manufacturers. The only difference that arises from the election result is just how fast the whole debacle collapses: the demise of massively subsidised wind power is inevitable; its doom in Australia (as elsewhere) is a matter of when, not if.

Mindful of Yogi Berra’s adage about how tough it is to make predictions (especially about the future), STT is happy to go out on a limb and call this election a resounding victory for STT Champion, Nick Xenophon.

Nick Xenophon

****

Nick, South Australia’s favourite Greek, has been a lone-wolf in Australian politics for almost 20 years: sitting in SA’s Upper House from 1997-2007 and in the Federal Senate from 2008.

This time around, Nick has fielded candidates across the Country (under the banner the ‘Nick Xenophon Team’) – in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

NXT should easily bag 5 Senate spots (perhaps 6) and a couple of lower house seats too.

Jacqui Lambie, Independent Senator from Tasmania will not only retain her spot, but is odds on to bring another on her ‘Jacqui Lambie Network’ ticket, Devonport Mayor, Steve Martin to Canberra with her.

In the last Parliament, Jacqui ran pretty close to Nick Xenophon; and has already stated her intention to follow Nick’s policy lead in the next Parliament.

Xenophon and Lambie

****

With 5-6 of his own and Jacqui Lambie plus 1, Nick and Jacquie will provide an insurmountable obstacle in the Senate, to whichever of the major parties takes control of the lower house.  (Bearing Yogi Berra’s warning in mind, STT predicts a narrow victory for the Liberal/National Coalition in the House of Representatives)

And that presents one almighty headache for the wind industry, its parasites and spruikers.

You see, Nick detests these things on economic grounds:

Nick Xenophon slams “reckless” CERES Project as an “economic kick in the guts” for SA

And on social and health grounds:

Xenophon calls it: ultimately, this is a question about excessive noise

While sitting on the Senate Inquiry into the great wind power fraud, Nick often led the charge; ripping into the wind industry’s parasites and their routine lies and propaganda:

Senate’s Wind Farm Inquiry Turns Up the Heat On Pac Hydro’s Malfeasance

Vesta’s Ken McAlpine Forced to Apologise to Dr Sarah Laurie for …. well, just being ‘Ken’

And he also helped Clive and Trina Gare get their compelling evidence across to the World, about being paid over $200,000 per year to host these things and, due to the turbine noise induced sleep deprivation they suffer, ruing the day that the developer, AGL ever set foot on their property:

SA Farmers Paid $1 Million to Host 19 Turbines Tell Senate they “Would Never Do it Again” due to “Unbearable” Sleep-Destroying Noise

After that Inquiry closed, the Senators on it produced a raft of recommendations, including a 5 year cap on a wind power outfit’s entitlement to receive Renewable Energy Certificates; that entitlement is currently legislated to continue until 2031, even for turbines that started operating way back in 2001. And the Senators also recommended that RECs would no longer be issued to projects in States that refused to adopt strict Federal Regulations on infrasound and low frequency noise:

Senate Recommendations Spell ‘DOOM’ for the Australian Wind Industry

STT hears that one of the first items on Nick Xenophon’s agenda is to have all of the Senate’s recommendations implemented and enforced.

Whether it’s Electricity Bill Shorten or Malcolm Turnbull in charge of the House of Representatives, it will be a wily and experienced political animal, who voters simply call “Nick”, that will run the Senate: and sensible energy policy is well and truly on his policy radar.

Time for a break

STT has been hard at this since December 2012. After picking up 29,270 followers, punching out 1,360 posts and clocking up more than 1,465,000 views, STT is putting our boots up for a while and taking a little break.

Thanks for your support and your efforts in helping to spread the word about the greatest economic and environmental fraud of all time.  Keep up the good work, keep giving the wind industry hell and we will see you all in a couple of weeks. We’ll do our best to get your comments up, but – with our editorial team going bush – it might take us a bit longer than usual.

camping

Rural Ontarians Hurt the Most in Wynne’s Energy Fiasco!

 

WATCH ABOVE: If you live in Ontario and you think our hydro bill is a bit high, you’re not alone. The province has some of the highest electricity rates in the country and rural areas are the hardest hit by the rising costs. As Jacques Bourbeau, it means some customers have to choose between paying for power and food for the family.

So-called “energy poverty” is getting worse in rural Ontario, a Global News investigation has found, with even small households paying hundreds of dollars a month to keep the lights on.

Officials, residents and experts are all sounding the alarm after electricity rates in the province rose 100 per cent in the past decade.

A range of factors are fueling the increases, including subsidies for clean energy, dealing with aging nuclear plants and maintaining and modernizing the province’s vast transmission and distribution system. But the problem is especially acute in rural Ontario, where steep delivery charges are the norm.

“The worst affected are customers in rural Ontario,” said energy analyst Tom Adams. “Compared to the ordinary urban household, the delivery charge alone is usually two to three times higher.”

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Ontario’s rising electricity costs putting squeeze on big business


Fay Knox knows what it’s like to live off the grid. Unable to cope with rising power rates, she has been disconnected twice because she couldn’t pay her hydro bills.

She lives by herself in a small house in the Eastern Ontario town of Lancaster, but her electricity bills run into the hundreds of dollars.

For the month of March 2016, it was $299.67. Knox, who receives a disability pension, says she simply can’t afford to keep her lights on.

“I could pay my hydro bill (20 years ago),” she said. “I was a single mother making $4 an hour raising two boys. Paying a mortgage. And you could pay your hydro. You can’t pay your hydro anymore.”

Ontario Progressive Conservative energy critic John Yakabuski said he was recently speaking to a volunteer at a food bank in the Ottawa Valley town of Eganville, who told him that most of the food bank’s new clients were people who had to make a choice between paying their hydro bill and avoiding a disconnection fee, or buying groceries.

“So they chose to maintain their hydro, but were now becoming clients of the food bank.”

WATCH: The roadmap to renewable energy in Canada

Jennifer Shaver is in a similar situation to Knox. She lives in Oxford Station, just outside of Ottawa, and she is on a constant crusade to cut her power consumption.

She shuts off her water heater during the day, hangs out all her laundry and her air conditioner is never turned on. The dishwasher only runs at night.

Despite her strict conservation measures, her monthly bills have been creeping up to more than $300 a month.

“With what’s been happening with Hydro we could be paying $500 a month easy here,” Shaver told Global News. “And that’s not going to work for us. And I don’t know what to do.”

She said she regularly falls behind on paying the bills, and a hydro crew recently disconnected power to her house. Her parents lent her the money to pay the $600 bill, and her power was eventually restored.

Government ‘taking significant steps’

Ontario’s new Energy Minister, Glenn Thibeault, said he’s still learning the ropes in his new job, so the man who used to hold the position, Bob Chiarelli, addressed the issue instead.

He expressed some sympathy to the plight of rural hydro customers.

“Yes there are pressures on rural customers,” Chiarelli acknowledged. “We are taking some significant steps to ameliorate those and we’ve made some significant progress.”

READ MORE: Ontario electricity rates set to surge again on May 1

That help includes the Ontario Electricity Support Program that offers low-income Ontarians a monthly credit on their bill of up to $50. There is also the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP), that will provide up to $600 in emergency assistance to people who are struggling to pay their hydro bill.

But energy analyst Adams says despite this help, a crisis is brewing.

“Electricity costs are becoming a housing problem. Some people are saying now they can’t afford to stay in their home because of their power bills. I find that … shocking.”

How many people are living in the dark?

Hydro One is the utility that delivers electricity to much of rural Ontario. The company refused to provide the number of people who have been disconnected each year for the past 10 years because of non-payment of their bills.

A similar request for the number of notices sent out to customers warning them their power could be disconnected because of arrears was also denied. Laura Cooke, Hydro One’s Senior Vice-President of Customer and Corporate Relations, did tell Global News she has reviewed the data and she did not see an “appreciable difference” in the year-over-year numbers.

But Cooke refused to provide data to back up that assertion.

“I am shocked that they would not divulge that information,” PC energy critic Yakabuski told Global News. “That is now being cloaked in a veil of secrecy when it comes to how they do business.”

However, there is some publicly available data that indicate the problem may be getting worse. In a two-year period (2013-2014) the number of people who applied to the LEAP program for financial help to pay their electricity bill shot up by 20 per cent. The amount of money paid out by the fund also jumped by the same amount.

Officials in a number of rural townships said the number of people seeking help through the Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative is on the rise. Renfrew County, west of Ottawa, doubled the amount of assistance it handed out last year.

Meanwhile, Fay Knox is once again hundreds of dollars behind on her hydro bill. The stress of not knowing when she will be living in the dark is taking its toll.

“My nerves are shot. Blood pressure is through the roof. I don’t think in Ontario that we should have to live like this. And it’s getting worse.”

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

The Windscam, built on O.P.M….

US Wind Industry ‘Built’ on $176 Billion of Other Peoples’ Money

burning-dollar

If recycling is an environmental ‘good’, then the wind industry can proudly wear its ability to recycle hundreds of $Billions of other peoples’ money as a badge of honour.

Take a product which – as it can only ever be delivered at crazy random intervals and can’t be economically stored – has NO commercial valueand you’ll tend to find willing buyers few and far between.

In Australia’s wind power capital, South Australia, thanks to REC subsidies worth more than double what conventional power costs to produce, wind power outfits actually pay the grid manager (up to $20 per MWh) to take their skittish wares (see our post here). That market perversity has left SA with the highest retail power prices in Australia (by a factor of 2) and a grid on the brink of collapse (see our post here).

But the wind industry’s ‘recycling’ efforts can only take effect where the useful idiots that pretend to govern us enshrine massive subsidy schemes as ‘immutable’ laws, that must necessarily outlast religion: even the merest hint of threat to which kills ‘investment’ in wind power stone dead (see our post here).

The cost of feeding the subsidy-sucking freak that is the wind industry has already cost taxpayers and power consumers hundreds of $Billions around the Globe; and, as Robert Bryce spells out, will – if left unchecked – cost Americans hundreds of $Billions more.

Wind-Energy Sector Gets $176 Billion Worth of Crony Capitalism
National Review
Robert Bryce
6 June 2016

It takes enormous amounts of taxpayer cash to make wind energy seem affordable.

Last month, during its annual conference, the American Wind Energy Association issued a press release trumpeting the growth of wind-energy capacity. It quoted the association’s CEO, Tom Kiernan, who declared that the wind business is “an American success story.”

There’s no doubt that wind-energy capacity has grown substantially in recent years. But that growth has been fueled not by consumer demand, but by billions of dollars’ worth of taxpayer money. According to data from Subsidy Tracker — a database maintained by Good Jobs First, a Washington, D.C.–based organization that promotes “corporate and government accountability in economic development and smart growth for working families” — the total value of the subsidies given to the biggest players in the U.S. wind industry is now $176 billion.

That sum includes all local, state, and federal subsidies as well as federal loans and loan guarantees received by companies on the American Wind Energy Association’s board of directors since 2000. (Most of the federal grants have been awarded since 2007.)

Of the $176 billion provided to the wind-energy sector, $2.9 billion came from local and state governments; $9.4 billion came from federal grants and tax credits; and $163.9 billion was provided in the form of federal loans or loan guarantees.

General Electric — the biggest wind-turbine maker in North America — has a seat on AWEA’s board. It has received $1.6 billion in local, state, and federal subsidies and $159 billion in federal loans and loan guarantees. (It’s worth noting that General Electric got into the wind business in 2002 after it bought Enron Wind, a company that helped pioneer the art of renewable-energy rent-seeking.)

NextEra Energy, the largest wind-energy producer in the U.S., has received about 50 grants and tax credits from local, state, and federal entities as well as federal loans and loan guarantees worth $5.5 billion.

That’s more than what the veteran crony capitalist Elon Musk has garnered. Last year the Los Angeles Times’s Jerry Hirsch reported that Musk’s companies — Tesla Motors, Solar City, and Space Exploration Technologies — have collected subsidies worth $4.9 billion. NextEra’s haul is also more than what was collected by such energy giants as BP ($315 million) and Chevron ($2.2 billion).

About $6.8 billion in subsidies, loans, and loan guarantees went to foreign corporations, including Iberdrola, Siemens, and E.On. Those three companies, and five other foreign companies, have seats on AWEA’s board of directors.

Many of the companies on the AWEA board will be collecting even more federal subsidies over the next few years. In December, the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that the latest renewal of the production tax credit will cost U.S. taxpayers about $3.1 billion per year from now until 2019. That subsidy pays wind-energy companies $23 for each megawatt-hour of electricity they produce.

That’s an astounding level of subsidy. In 2014 and 2015, according to the Energy Information Administration, during times of peak demand, the average wholesale price of electricity was about $50 per megawatt-hour.

Last winter in Texas, peak wholesale electricity prices averaged $21 per megawatt hour. Thus, on the national level, wind-energy subsidies are worth nearly half the cost of wholesale power, and in the Texas market, those subsidies can actually exceed the wholesale price of electricity.

Of course, wind-energy boosters like to claim that the oil-and-gas sector gets favorable tax treatment, too. That may be so, but those tax advantages are tiny when compared with the federal gravy being ladled on wind companies.

Recall that the production tax credit is $23 per megawatt-hour. A megawatt-hour of electricity contains 3.4 million Btu. That means wind-energy producers are getting a subsidy of $6.76 per million Btu. The current spot price of natural gas is about $2.40 per million Btu. Thus, on an energy-equivalent basis, wind energy’s subsidy is nearly three times the current market price of natural gas.

MidAmerican Energy Company, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, has a seat on AWEA’s board. Berkshire’s subsidy total: $1.5 billion — and it’s primed to collect lots more.

In April, the company announced plans to spend $3.6 billion on wind projects in Iowa. Two years ago, Berkshire’s CEO, Warren Buffett, explained why his companies are in the wind business. “We get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reason to build them,” he said. “They don’t make sense without the tax credit.”

Keep in mind that the $176 billion figure in wind-energy subsidies is a minimum number. It counts only subsidies given to companies on AWEA’s board.

Not counted are subsidies handed out to companies like Google, which got part of a $490 million federal cash grant for investing in an Oregon wind project. Nor does it include the $1.5 billion in subsidies given to SunEdison, the now-bankrupt company that used to have a seat on AWEA’s board. (To download the full list of subsidies garnered by AWEA’s board members, click here.)

Nor does that figure include federal money given to J. P. Morgan and Bank of America, both of which have a seat on AWEA’s board. The two banks received federal loans or loan guarantees worth $1.29 trillion and $3.49 trillion, respectively.

In an e-mail, Phil Mattera, the research director for Good Jobs First, told me that the loan and loan-guarantee figures for the banks include the federal bailout package known as the Troubled Asset Relief Program as well as “programs instituted by the Federal Reserve in the wake of the financial meltdown.”

When all of the subsidies, loans, and loan guarantees given to the companies on AWEA’s board are counted, the grand total comes to a staggering $5.1 trillion.

According to Wikipedia, crony capitalism “may be exhibited by favoritism in the distribution of legal permits, government grants, special tax breaks, or other forms of state interventionism.” Wind-energy companies are getting favoritism on every count.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wants to give those companies permits allowing them to legally kill bald and golden eagles with their turbines for up to 30 years.

The industry is getting grants, tax breaks, and loans worth billions. And thanks to federal mandates like the Clean Power Plan and state renewable-energy requirements — nearly all of which are predicated on the specious claim that paving vast swaths of the countryside with wind turbines is going to save us from catastrophic climate change — the industry is surfing a wave of state interventionism.

AWEA’s Kiernan likely has it right. In a country where having a profitable business increasingly requires getting favors from government, the U.S. wind industry is definitely a “success.”
National Review

other peoples money

Kathleen Wynne and the Wind Industry… Hand in Hand, Corruption!

Wind Industry Corruption Leaves Ontario with Nothing But Misery & a Whopping Bill

wynne

Ontario has been destroyed by a band of lunatics, headed up by Kathleen Wynne.

Rocketing power priceskilling its manufacturers – and tens of thousands of these things killing rural communities, as to their peace,prosperity and cohesion are just some of the consequences of being over-run by wind-cultists.

But, behind every political puppet, there’s a band of mercenaries paid $millions to allow their clients to pocket $billions in subsidies filched from taxpayers and/or power consumers.

The script for what follows falls straight from the hard-hitting Danish docu-drama, Follow the Money.  All that’s needed for a perfect fit is to substitute Energreen for Windstream.

David Reevely: Wind farm company, Ontario government had cozy relationship until deal fell apart
National Post
David Reevely
12 May 2016

The Ontario government’s decision to ditch its plan for wind farms in the Great Lakes seems to have been made all the more awkward by the lobbyist-lubricated relationship the province had developed with the company that wanted to build one of the biggest.

The company was Windstream Energy, which is seeking as much as $568 million in damages on the grounds that the government mistreated it because it’s backed by American money, which would be a violation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

But back when it seemed to be well on its way to building a wind farm in the water off Kingston, Windstream had a lobbyist named Chris Benedetti helping it along. Benedetti is a specialist in energy policy for Sussex Strategy Group (he’s had dozens upon dozens of industry clients, according to the Ontario lobbying registry), and a former federal Liberal staffer.

If his name sounds familiar, it’s because he promoted the $6,000-a-plate fundraiser that offered intimate conversations with Premier Kathleen Wynne and Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli as its big draw earlier this year. That’s the one that shamed the Liberals into finally pursuing reforms to political fundraising because, though completely legal, it looked so gross when people found out.

We know what politicians get out of such events: A whole lot of money. But now, thanks to the company’s own claims in its case against the government, which rely heavily on evidence from Benedetti himself, we know what Windstream’s lobbyists got before everything fell apart.

For one thing, Windstream got regular updates on the politicians’ whipsawing views on wind farms as they went from thinking they were a pillar of Ontario’s industrial future to worrying they’d be the death of the Liberal government.

For a while in 2010, the government toyed with the idea of a restriction on lake-based wind farms that would have banned them only within five kilometres of shore. Before that was announced publicly, Windstream was already talking with Ministry of Energy people about giving up sections of Lake Ontario near the shore it had sought for its project, in exchange for rights farther out in the lake. Part of the deal was that it would stay out of a wind-industry campaign against the five-kilometre “exclusion zone.”

(The government’s response agrees that they talked about this a lot, though it says no swap was ever guaranteed.)

Toward the end of that year, Liberals were beginning to freak out about losing seats over wind farms in a looming election.

“Windstream, concerned about the possible impact anti-wind opposition might have on its project, proposed to (Ministry of the Environment) officials that the project proceed as a ‘pilot project’ in order to generate scientific data to assist the Ontario government in determining how to proceed with future offshore wind projects,” Windstream’s claim says. The company’s president had a private dinner with the energy minister and two top aides to talk about it, and then followup calls and meetings where the company got encouraging responses, the firm alleges.

(The government agrees that they also talked about this, though again it says nothing was guaranteed.)

When the government changed its mind in early February and decided to ban all wind farms on the lakes indefinitely, Windstream got a heads-up in a conference call before everybody else found out through a news release.

(The government agrees this happened, too, and after officials met with Benedetti.)

“Immediately following this call, Windstream held a separate teleconference with the Ministry of Energy’s Chief of Staff Craig MacLennan. Mr. MacLennan advised that he wanted to ensure that Windstream was ‘happy’ with the process, and confirmed that the project could continue,” the company’s claim says. Everything would just have to move more slowly, waiting for more science to be done to inform the government’s approvals.

Of course, the moratorium lasted five years and counting — long enough to kill an important contract Windstream had to sell the power its windmills would generate.

Reached via email, Benedetti told the Citizen, his firm was retained to “assist Windstream in responding to government consultations on proposed set-back exclusion zones. These zones would have potentially affected the project and the Power Purchase Agreement Windstream had received. Sussex worked to provide fact-based information to various ministries and authorities as requested, in order to help make informed decisions.”

As for Windstream, a lot of its argument that it suffered and deserves to be paid is based on the idea that the government jerked it around, which, ironically, could only have happened through the connections skilful lobbying created. If Windstream had never had any special meetings, its project still probably would have died, but with a lot less pain along the way.

As for the people of Ontario, though, we never got much out of the close relationship between the government and Windstream but an angry company and the prospect of a gigantic bill.
National Post

Corrupt Government Tries to Avoid Wind Turbine Investigation!

Concerned citizens dismayed as wind turbine investigation comes off the rails

Credit:  Huron County, Ontario, May 18, 2016 — Concerned Citizens for Health ~~

Rural Ontario is up in arms today over the apparent suspension of a one-of-a-kind wind turbine health investigation that may never happen.

Medical Officer of Health for Huron County Dr. Janice Owen became aware of numerous health complaints from people in her community shortly after she was hired a year ago by the current Huron County Board of Health. Owen began researching the issues last August and contacted many in the field researching the topic.

This February 4, Owen presented to her Board the outline and components of a wind turbine health complaints investigation stating that she had visited wind projects, sought information from the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change as well as Public Health Ontario and had spoken and heard from many members of the community.

In March this year the announcement of the new investigation was posted on the Health Unit’s website and immediately people suffering as a result of wind projects began to sign up. In April Dr. Owen was informed her services were no longer needed and she was put on administrative leave. This is a devastating blow to Huron County people exposed without consent to the acoustical emissions of wind turbines in proximity to their homes.

More questions than answers arose about the investigation’s future and were addressed on May 12 when the Board put the research on hold – likely permanent – stating that it seemed to be a duplication of a long term Ontario-wide public health survey with nothing to do with industrial wind adverse reactions.

“The people of Huron County do not want to become another Flint Michigan. Health administrators and those tasked with the protection of our health and safety need to see this ground-breaking research through to the end,” says Gerry Ryan for the group Concerned Citizens for Health (CCH). “The eyes of communities around the world who are suffering the same fate as us are watching what happens in Huron County Ontario. The wind industry is watching and the Ontario government whose policy this is are also watching.”

The CCH calls upon the temporary Medical Officer of Health Dr. Meriam Klassen to be courageous like Dr. Owen and find out where this investigation will take her. This is only fair.

Source:  Huron County, Ontario, May 18, 2016 — Concerned Citizens for Health

Poland Calls for 2 km Setbacks Between Buildings & Wind Turbines!

March 8, 2016Poland

Position of the National Institute of Public Health – National Institute of Hygiene on wind farms

The National Institute of Public Health – National Institute of Hygiene is of the opinion that wind farms situated too close to buildings intended for permanent human occupation may have a negative impact on the comfort of living and health of the people living in their proximity.

The human health risk factors that the Institute has taken into consideration in its position are as follows:

  • the emitted noise level and its dependence on the technical specifications of turbines, wind speed as well as the landform and land use around the wind farm,
  • aerodynamic noise level including infrasound emissions and low-frequency noise components,
  • the nature of the noise emitted, taking into account its modulation/impulsive/tonal characteristics and the possibility of interference of waves emitted from multiple turbines,
  • the risk of ice being flung from rotors,
  • the risk of turbine failure with a rotor blade or its part falling,
  • the shadow flicker effect,
  • the electromagnetic radiation level (in the immediate vicinity of turbines),
  • the probability of sleep disruptions and noise propagation at night,
  • the level of nuisance and probability of stress and depression symptoms occurring (in consequence of long exposure), related both to noise emissions and to non-acceptance of the noise source.

In the Institute’s opinion, the laws and regulations currently in force in Poland (regarding risk factors which, in practice, include only the noise level) are not only inadequate to facilities such as wind turbines, but they also fail to guarantee a sufficient degree of public health protection. The methodology currently used for environmental impact assessment of wind farms (including human health) is not applicable to wind speeds exceeding 5 m/s. In addition, it does not take into account the full frequency range (in particular, low frequency) and the nuisance level.

In the Institute’s view , owing to the current lack of a comprehensive regulatory framework governing the assessment of health risks related to the operation of wind farms in Poland, an urgent need arises to develop and implement a comprehensive methodology according to which the sufficient distance of wind turbines from human habitation would be determined. The methodology should take into account all the above-mentioned potential risk factors, and its result should reflect the least favourable situation. In addition to landform and land use characteristics, the methodology should also take into consideration the category, type, height and number of turbines at a specific farm, and the location of other wind farms in the vicinity. Similar legislative arrangements aimed to provide for multi-criteria assessment, based on complex numerical algorithms, are currently used in the world.

The Institute is aware of the fact that owing to the diversity of factors and the complicated nature of such an algorithm, its development within a short time period may prove very difficult. Therefore, what seems to be an effective and simpler solution is the prescription of a minimum distance of wind turbines from buildings intended for permanent human occupation. Distance criteria are also a common standard-setting arrangement.

Having regard to the above, until a comprehensive methodology is developed for the assessment of the impact of industrial wind farms on human health, the Institute recommends 2 km as the minimum distance of wind farms from buildings. The recommended value results from a critical assessment of research results published in reviewed scientific periodicals with regard to all potential risk factors for average distance usually specified within the following limits:

  • 0.5-0.7 km, often obtained as a result of calculations, where the noise level (dBA) meets the currently acceptable values (without taking into account adjustments for the impulse/tonal/modulation features of the nose emitted),
  • 1.5-3.0 km, resulting from the noise level, taking into account modulation, low frequencies and infrasound levels,
  • 0.5-1.4 km, related to the risk of turbine failure with a broken rotor blade or its part falling (depending on the size of the piece and its flight profile, rotor speed and turbine type),
  • 0.5-0.8 km, where there is a risk of ice being flung from rotors (depending on the shape and mass of ice, rotor speed and turbine type),
  • 1.0-1.6 km, taking into account the noise nuisance level (between 4% and 35% of the population at 30-45 dBA) for people living in the vicinity of wind farms,
  • the distance of 1.4-2.5 km, related to the probability of sleep disruptions (on average, between 4% and 5% of the population at 30-45 dBA),
  • 2,0 km, related to the occurrence of potential psychological effects resulting from substantial landscape changes (based on the case where the wind turbine is a dominant landscape feature and the rotor movement is clearly visible and noticeable to people from any location),
  • 1.2-2.1 km, for the shadow flicker effect (for the average wind turbine height in Poland, including the rotor, of 120 to 210 m).

In its opinions. the Institute has also taken into account the recommended distances of wind farms from buildings, as specified by experts, scientists, as well as central and local government bodies around the world (usually 1.0-5.0 km).

Bibliography
(Position of the NIPH-PZH on wind farms)