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Armow Wind Project Debated at Kincardine Council

From Wind Concerns Ontario — November 22, 2012

“Councils are starting to see that the fox-in-charge-of-the-chicken-house approach of the Ontario government with regard to wind power project proposals from developers might not be the best thing for their communities!!” — Jane Wilson — WCO

Representatives of the Armow Wind Concerns Group reported to Kincardine Municipal Council on Wednesday evening on the serious defects found in the noise report presented by Samsung/Pattern at the second public meeting on November 12.

The report was not compliant with two key aspects of the MOE Noise Guidelines for Wind Turbines which state that the noise assessment must represent the maximum rated output of the wind farm.  Rather than the rated capacity of the turbines, the assessment de-rates many of the turbines to bring them into compliance with the noise standard.

The MOE also requires that the noise report reflect the principle of “predictable worst case” situation for the noise output.  When assessing the impact of the ground surface to attenuate the turbine noise, the report assumes that the ground is fairly porous with significant amounts of vegetation.  This of course ignores the much worse situation in the spring, fall and winter when there are no leaves on the trees and the ground in the area can be frozen and covered snow or ice which severely limits its ability to absorb audible noise.

Even though the accuracy of the noise model is estimated to be +- 3%, there is no adjustment in the calculated noise levels to reflect the potential for the worst case noise levels that are 3% above the calculated levels.

The groups conclusion was that if the noise levels were calculated according to MOE guidelines, many of the receptors would be exposed to audible noise levels above the acceptable standard.

Council was also reminded of the situation in the Enbridge project where low frequency noise/infrasound, rather than audible noise, was the real issue underlying the health problems reported by the residents living among the turbines.  The report on the Armow project contained no analysis of low frequency noise/infrasound.

The group also confirmed to Council that a substantial portion of the turbines were shown with incorrect locations in this document.

The groups recommended the following actions to Kincardine Council:

  • Ask Samsung/Pattern for a      new noise study that actually reflects the ‘predictable worst case’ scenarios.  The reports should also include an      assessment of low frequency noise/infrasound that will be experienced      inside homes in this area.  The      report should      also include a statement that guarantees that this project will have no      adverse health impacts on the residents within the Municipality.  This must then be presented and a new 90      day review period must commence.
  • The municipality should conduct      and independent peer review of the revised noise assessment to confirm its      accuracy.  Samsung/Pattern should      pay for this assessment.
  • The Municipality should notify      the MOE that the 90 day review period must be restarted in light of the      discrepancies in the Armow Wind report.

The presentation by the Armow Wind Concerns group was followed by a presentation by Samsung/Pattern.  In addressing issues raised the previous week, the company representatives admitted that human errors caused inaccuracies in two tables contained in the report. They insisted that the errors did not affect the noise level calculations. New reports will be available next week with additional meetings scheduled.  They did not agree to change their timelines and concluded their presentation with a list of donations to local groups that one Councillor found irrelevant and inappropriate.

A Councillor asked if Samsung was aware of Kincardine policy requiring that turbines be placed away from designated growth areas and rural hamlets and why it was ignored. Samsung replied that it was aware of the policy and had met with the local committee to discuss it.  There was no explanation of why the proposed locations are not consistent with the policy.

When pushed on the question of Samsung funding an independent 3rd party review of the noise assessment, the Samsung representative confirmed that he would take this request back to his management.

After the two presentations, the Council moved on to other business and, for procedural reasons, deferred action on the recommendations from the Armow Wind Concerns group until the next meeting of Council.

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