Noise and Shadow Flicker
Amherst Island: Too many turbines too close together!
According to Richard James, expert acoustician, the proponent has planned the densest turbine complex in Ontario and indeed the proponent has described the whole Island as the “project area”.
Noise will routinely surpass Ontario standards and shadow flicker will exceed international standards such that the project would not be permitted in Europe. Those disturbed by noise will live in an inescapable prison as the ferry does not operate at night. A Ministry of the Environment regulation requires that turbine noise averaged over a one-hour period be limited to 40 decibels. Turbines are sited based upon a prediction that the turbine noise will be below 40 dBA under the worst case scenario.
The Chatham-Kent Environmental Review Tribunal concluded that “the 40 dBA limit is a real limit that Suncor (the proponent) must abide by regardless of the modelling exercise”. The problem with the Windlectric Inc./Algonquin Power draft site plan is that the land available for a 37 turbine project is limited. Therefore many, if not most, homes on the island are close to the predicted 40 dBA noise contour. There is very little room for error. Almost certainly there will be non-compliance.
The noise modeling Windlectric/Algonquin Power has proposed and that the government of Ontario accepts from proponents also fails to protect communities and area residents from the adverse health effects that an increasing percentage of the rural population is experiencing as new industrial wind developments are proposed. Ontario’s regulations do not protect homes from shadow flicker.
Shadow flicker is the periodic shadowing by the rotating turbine blades as the sun passes behind the turbine. In simple terms, sunlight hitting rotating wind turbine blades at a specific angle at certain times of the day causes shadow flicker. Unlike a stationary tall building, the shadow from wind turbine blades is not constant and instead results in a ‘flickering of shadow’ that is more distracting and has a more significant impact on those in the path of the shadow. For Amherst Island shadow flicker is of great concern due to the proximity of turbines to homes.
Windlectric/Algonquin Power needs to contemplate the cumulative impact of noise and shadow flicker on the health, safety and wellbeing of residents as part of their proposal. If this project were proposed in Germany, it would not be approved. Please click on the links below to review APAI’s response to the final Renewable Energy Approval Assessments of noise and shadow flicker for the Windlectric/Algonquin Power projects.
TransCanada is also seeking approval for the Napanee Gas Plant and Lafarge is seeking approval for Cement 2020 located across the channel from Amherst Island. The Association to Protect Amherst Island has asked Premier Wynne and the Ontario Government to consider the cumulative effect of the Windlectric turbine project, the Napanee Gas Plant, the Lafarge Cement 2020 project, and the existing Lennox Generating Station. As any Canadian in a canoe can attest sound travels readily across water.
The Director of Research for the Association prepared a detailed fact-based which shows that the cumulative impact of the projects will exceed Ministry of the Environment standards for noise for residents on the north shore of Amherst Island.
APAI wrote to the Premier Wynne requesting the following: (20131112 Large to Premier re cumulative impact)
. defer consideration of the Windlectric REA application pending completion of further studies on the cumulative impact of the three projects
. ensure that noise and particulate emission monitoring equipment is installed on Amherst Island at this time to create a baseline for noise and particulate emissions
. instruct MOE to respond to noise complaints concerning Lennox Generating station and enforce existing regulations now
. require all three companies to engage one set of independent consultants to produce comprehensive reports on the cumulative impacts of noise and particulate emissions on Amherst Island such that the combined noise sources and the impact on receptors take into account the amplification effect of travel over water which shall not exceed 40 dBA at any anytime and particulate emissions shall not impact Amherst Island or Lake Ontario
. publish the consultants’ findings on the Environmental Registry and allow 90 days for public comment
The Association received this carefully crafted response from the Ministry of the Environment which essentially says that there is no integrated process to consider cumulative impact.(AGW 20131209 re Cumulative Impact).
Named one of Canada’s Top Ten Endangered Places by the Heritage Canada Foundation due to the threat of turbines on its natural and cultural heritage, Amherst Island should not be subjected to the combined impact of three major concurrent energy generators.
The Association’s preferred outcome is the rejection of the Windlectric REA application.