Thursday, April 12, 2012

Simcoe Article: Highlands wants bond for turbines

Another Ontario council is exploring ways to protect it's constituents with the municipal capabilities the Green Energy Act has not revoked.

Simcoe Article: Highlands wants bond for turbines:
Grey Highlands council is investigating the possibility of making the developers of industrial wind turbines pay a $20,000 bond to ensure that the turbines pass all necessary acoustic tests.
Council at its regular meeting on Monday, March 26 voted in favour of a resolution asking municipal staff to investigate whether or not a performance bond can be mandated by the municipality to ensure that noise concerns about industrial turbines are dealt with.
The resolution instructed staff to look into the possibility of charging a bond of $20,000 per turbine at the time a permit is issued to ensure that all acoustic testing is done as required.
The resolution stated: "That staff be authorized to investigate the validity of including a performance bond related to acoustic testing that must be done by Qualified Acoustic Professional Engineers by the proponent no later than 60 days after the turbine is put into active service."
The entire article can be read at Simcoe.com

1 comment:

  1. A few thoughts come to mind with this....On the surface, this sounds like it might be a good positive step and I can only hope that it is. However, hanging one’s hat on the idea that ‘turbines pass all necessary acoustic tests’ is a very tricky indeed. One should be assuming that this is being done already, no? Isn’t that what the role is of the Ministry of the Environment.....to protect those who are potentially going to be affected (or already affected) by some new environmental conditions that will be imposed upon them? Acoustics is complicated and even more so since the Ministry of the Environment acoustic requirements were all written before IWTs came on to the scene. By allowing their installation so readily, clearly the gun got jumped on this one. Not a single IWT should have gone into the ground until a much more sophisticated approach to dealing with IWT acoustic criteria was codified.... but of course, the Province didn’t want to wait. It takes years to draw up new standards. Who can feel comfortable with the concept of ‘passing all necessary acoustic tests’ when IWTs are presenting acoustic problems that didn’t exist when the currently used ‘threshold of acceptable noise levels’ were written? And who could feel comfortable with anything that pits expert against expert and end up with the prospect that what you are working with is something that ultimately can be massaged to turn an unacceptable situation into something that the Ministry of the Environment will in fact accept?.... especially when acoustic people can’t even agree on basic concepts like how to address issues such as how to do an uncertainty analysis.

    Numerous other problems come to mind but here are two. The primary issue is that the place where the environmental buck stops is of course the Ministry of the Environment. Who believes that the Ministry of the Environment has done their due diligence with respect to the whole host of issues that come with IWTs? For one quick example, just look on this website for articles involving bird and bat kills. We all know that every single thing we do has an environmental effect and in the end, whatever change it is that you are planning on making that is ‘good for the environment’ is likely to leave a trail of offsetting bad impacts in the unintended consequence department. It almost seems that the Ministry of the Environment has bought soooo deeply into the CO2 is bad and glowBULL warming is soooo bad that they are willing to turn a blind eye to whatever other negative environmental impacts there might be with IWTs just in order to appease the IPCC must-stop-CO2-gods-at-at-costs! The idea that the Ministry is actually on the side of somebody concerned about the environment of their own property or even in their own rural home is unfortunately wildly flawed. Just look at how many IWT projects have been approved already... Has anyone got the sense that the MOE presented much of a road block in the granting of the necessary approvals or that they essentially did their due diligence with all the environmental issues that come under their purview?

    Another important issue is that many acoustic specialists at one time or another have done work for the MOE themselves.... often as employees or as consultants. As a result, my bet is that it will be difficult to find an acoustic specialist who is willing to go head to head against the position staked out by an IWT developer’s acoustic specialist when it also involves the Ministry of the Environment. All of us in some way are not immune to an understanding of how our bread gets buttered.

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