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Ontario Proposed Abatement Plan for turbine noise buried despite home abandonments

The Melancthon I and Melancthon II wind energy facilities (200 megawatts), known as Melancthon EcoPower Center, began commercial operation in March 2006. Since that time, numerious complaints of turbine noise and other adverse effects were reported; homes were abandoned. The Ontario government took almost 1½ years to respond to a freedom of information act to finally release this document, a draft abatement plan to address the noise. The document was never released to the public and the plan was never implemented. This document exposes that the Ontario Provincial government was well aware of the adverse effects created by the turbines years ago but chose to let people suffer.

PROPOSED ABATEMENT PLAN

1.0 ISSUE

1.1 Noise Emissions from Canadian Hydro Developers, (CHD), Dufferin County wind turbine operations, (Melancthon I and Melancthon II now collectively known as Melancthon EcoPower Center), are producing large numbers of complaints, (dating back to March, 2006), alleging adverse effects, (i.e. harm or material discomfort, allegations of adverse effect on health, rendering property unfit for human use, loss of enjoyment of normal use of property, and, interference with the normal conduct of business), due to the noise emissions from the 133 wind turbines, and the associated step-up transformer station.

1.2 Reports generated by the owner, as well as MOE noise measurements are unable to demonstrate non-compliance with the CofA (Air) noise limits, (NPC-232 and NPC-232 via the "Interpretation Document for Wind Turbine Generators").

1.3 Area residents are continuing to complain of noise emissions causing adverse effects. At least two families have moved out of their homes due to noise impacts from the operation of the Melancthon EcoPower Center. MOE District Staff are aware of at least 6 cases where CHD has bought out resident's homes to address and silence their ongoing noise complaints.

1.4 Operationally with regard to noise, (due to its subjective nature), MOE has taken the position that for a contravention of S.14(1) EPA to be demonstrated that there also be a demonstrated exceedance of the applicable NPC guideline, (and conversely that no exceedance of the applicable standard indicates no S .154(1) EPA contravention).

1.5 MOE Provincial Officers have attended at several of the complainant's residences and have confirmed that despite the noise emissions apparently complying with the applicable standard\CofA(AIR) limits, that the noise emissions are in fact causing material discomfort to the residents in and around their homes.

1.6 GDO Provincial Officers have measured wind turbine noise levels at complainant's homes that appear to indicate non-compliance with the CofA(Air).

1.7 Environmental Assessment and Approvals Branch, (EAAB), Staff have stated to District Staff that any field measurements of noise emissions from wind turbines will be inconclusive at best as there is currently no practical, reliable and defensible methodology to measure noise emissions from wind turbines. As such there is no way to measure compliance, (or lack thereof), with guideline\CofA limits in the field.
1.8 An approved and defensible procedure exists to measure noise emissions from transformer stations. Measurements of the noise emissions from the Melancthon EcoPower Center step-up transformer station by both CHD's consultant and MOE Provincial Officers indicate compliance with the NPC 232\CofA(Air) limits.

1.9 District Staff have recently met with Amaranth Township Council regarding this matter. Amaranth Council strongly expressed its concern as to the ongoing complaints and the apparent inability of MOE to address the various complaints\complainants except to state that the noise emissions from the facility are in compliance with the applicable limits. Staff from the other municipality that the Melancthon EcoPower Center is also located in (Melancthon Township), have indicated that its municipal council is also deeply concerned with MOE's apparently inability to address the various complaints.

2.0 CHALLENGES

2.1 Valid complaints continue to be received by MOE. MOE district Provincial Officers have verified that the complaints of adverse effect by area residents are for the most part justified.

2.2 MOE District Provincial Officers are unable to confirm compliance (or more to the point demonstrate non-compliance), with the CofA(Air) limits for the wind turbines as there is no practical, reliable and defensible methodology to measure noise emissions from wind turbines. In the opinion of District Staff, noise emissions from the wind turbines are causing the area residents adverse effect.

2.3 MOE District Provincial Officers are able to demonstrate compliance with the CofA(Air) limits for the step-up transformer, however, in the opinion of District Provincial Officers the noise emissions from the step-up transformer are causing area residents adverse effect.

2.4 The conventional approach to addressing noise complaints by requiring compliance with the applicable NPC guideline limits will not address this set of complaints. This would also appear to be the case for a number o f other wind turbine facility complaints across the province.

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DEC 1 2012
http://www.windaction.org/posts/35812-ontario-proposed-abatement-plan-for-turbine-noise-buried-despite-home-abandonments
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