Wind turbine facilities in Prince Edward County : current thinking on renewable energy – 29 September 2009.
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Abstract: The public in most
energy-consuming Western countries, and Canada in particular, is
subjected daily to a mediatic and political plethora of details
surrounding 'global warming', 'greenhouse gas emissions' and
'alternative energy sources'. Conservation appears to have taken a
back seat to costly technological innovation. At the local level in
Prince Edward County, great interest is being shown in potential
development of wind turbine facilities as 'alternative' electrical
energy sources. Lobbying by various industries, groups and
individuals knows no bounds. Scientific inquiry is being stifled if
it questions various assumptions. This has lead to misinformation
and disinformation being presented as factual.
I make no apologies for having spent an
academic and professional career, now spanning half a century, in
applying pure mathematics to the more pragmatic subject of fluid
dynamics in fields that varied from aeronautical to oceanographic.
During a period of post-doctoral research that involved the capture
of ocean tidal energy, I grew an awareness of environmental concerns
that I retain to this day; again I make no apologies for my
philosophical approach. However, I am a scientist; I believe in
logic; and I am – perhaps extremely – concerned by
today’s public attitude towards scientific method, thinking and
theory, and the opinions and potentially untenable conclusions that
are extrapolated by industry lobbyists, politicians and the media.
As Bertrand Russell once wrote: “The
fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence that it is
not utterly absurd.”
Prince Edward County has a unique
position in Ontario as far as electrical generation by wind driven
industrial turbines is concerned. Available statistics for the North
shoreline of Lake Ontario demonstrate more favourable numbers in wind
strength and frequency than many other locations. Vacant land that is
not wholly suitable for traditional agricultural purposes is
potentially available for sale or lease. The relative proximity to
the 500Kv grid along the 401 corridor minimizes line loss and capital
Prince Edward County also has a unique
position in other aspects; tourism and retirement homes, culture and
recreation, lack (with few exceptions) of industrial infrastructure
leading to a sense of rural quiet and green beauty, a shoreline that
is unique in the Great Lakes region, a potentially sensitive
environment for certain fauna and avian migration paths, and a
non-negligible density of rural residential properties that
challenges the siting of major industrial implantations. If offshore
wind turbine facilities are envisaged, the County's proximity to the
U.S. border and the density of submerged archaeological sites must
also be considered.
Over the last several years, two
projected developments – one in Hillier, the other at Point
Petre – have languished, in great part due to community
opposition. New projects are being proposed. “Green”
versus “nimby” rhetoric is increasing with a mix of fact
and fiction, alleged truth and blatant falsity that perplexes the
vast majority of County residents and has led, inter alia, to
a number of discussions, delegations and letters to editors –
all well meaning but often demonstrating an inherent lack of
It is incumbent upon our community to
look to leadership to avoid disruptive divisiveness and to safeguard
our assets for future generations. This paper looks into some of the
It was in
1973 that 'climate change' really hit the world headlines. The
previous year, a working conference of top European and American
researchers was convened by geologists George Kukla of the
Czechoslovakian Academy of Sciences and of the Lamont-Doherty
Geological Observatory, and Robert Matthews of Brown University to
discuss “The Present Interglacial, How and When Will it End?”.
They summarized their results in a Science report in October
1972 and then wrote to US President Nixon in December 1972 with the
main conclusion of the study and a call for action at the national
. . a global deterioration of climate, by order of magnitude larger
than any hitherto experienced by civilized mankind, is a very real
possibility and indeed may be due very soon.”
By 1974, Time
was reporting in its science section that “a growing number of
scientists”, reviewing “the bizarre and unpredictable
weather pattern of the last several years” were positing “a
global climatic upheaval”. In 1975, Newsweek
quoted a report by the US National Academy of Sciences that “a
major climatic change would force economic and social adjustments on
a worldwide scale”.
These dramatic announcements, barely
thirty years ago were announcing cooling and the possibility of a new
Ice Age – not warming. It was not until 1991that Professor
Aaron Wildavsky of the University of California, Berkeley, described
global warming as “the mother of all environmental scares”.
Over the historical span of mankind,
thus ignoring the four major glaciations of the Pleistocene period,
it should be noted that we have been, and are, living in an
interglacial warming for the last 18,000 years, starting with a
melting of ice caps and a 300 feet raising of sea levels that
separated Asia from Alaska some 8,000 years ago and Great Britain
from Europe around 6,000 years ago. This period has been
characterized by a series of more minor, but very real, variations.
Earth was at its hottest in the Holocene Maximum, some 7000 to 3000
BCE, dropping sharply during the Pre-Roman Cold of 700-400 BCE, then
the Roman Warming of 200 BCE to the sixth century AD (which led to
vineyards in northern Europe and possibly equals the warmest period
that the world has ever known).
The Dark Ages were cold, but led to the Medieval Warming of roughly
900-1300 AD which led into the Little Ice Age reaching its maximum
cold in the second half of the sixteenth century and continuing until
the early nineteenth century when warming started again. A new
reversal in the early twentieth century led to the 1923 headline
“Scientist says Arctic ice will wipe out Canada”, but
warming started again in the inter-war years. 1940 started the Little
Cooling which lasted – as mentioned above – into the
The concept of the 'greenhouse effect'
was first posited early in the nineteenth century by Josèphe
Fourier, and developed by a number of most respectable researchers.
By the time early automobiles appeared it was accepted that a certain
number of 'greenhouse gases' (GHGs) stabilized the average world
surface temperature at around 15°C rather than an unlivable minus
19°C without them. Of these GHGs, water vapour is the most
important contributor, accounting for 95% of the greenhouse effect,
carbon dioxide (CO2) is second in importance at 3.6%
followed by nitrous oxide, methane and other gases all at less than
one percent, many at trace level.
To put CO2
into context, it must be understood that it is a naturally occurring
gas without which all known life on earth would cease to exist –
the animal kingdom uses oxygen as a fuel and emits CO2 as
a by-product, the plant kingdom uses CO2 as fuel and emits
oxygen as a by-product. Approximately 200 billion tonnes of CO2
are released into the earth's atmosphere annually, of which half is
from oceanic biological sources, and nearly half from other natural
sources (volcanoes, plant decay, etc). Anthropogenic
CO2 emissions account for some six billion tonnes (3% of
the total) and are increasing due in part to population growth and in
part through growing energy consumption to improve (particularly for
less developed nations) quality of life as we have come to expect it.
Mathematically however, given anthropological CO2 at 3% of
total CO2 which itself has a potential of 9%
of the greenhouse effect, man-made carbon dioxide only accounts for
less than 1% of the total greenhouse potential.
The role of the Intergovernmental Panel
on Climate Change (IPCC) - a body tasked to evaluate the risk of
climate change caused by human activity - must be considered. The
panel was established in 1988 under the aegis of the United Nations.
The IPCC has published a number of reports, arguably the most
important of which was the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) in early
2007; the next is due in 2014. The IPCC does not carry out scientific
research itself, but relies on commissioned and published papers.
While much of the content of AR4 meets high standards, it must be
remembered that this content is now three or more years old, and that
scientific criticism based on more recent, peer-reviewed research is
The most worrisome aspect of the IPCC’s
AR4 is, however, the fact that it has polarized the public together
with the media, politicians and industry, to the point where
reasonable scientific debate (and the granting of research funding)
becomes problematic. Those involved in debate at all levels are
arbitrarily labeled as “deniers” or “believers in
the gospel truth”; climate change has become a quasi-religion
the second largest nation in the world, we have some excuses for a
high per capita energy consumption – greater travel distances
and a relatively cold environment. Despite localized pockets of heavy
industry, we are relatively “green” with extended areas
of prairie, forest and tundra and with above average fresh water
resources. Canada’s rank in the world of per capita electricity
consumption is fourth, behind Iceland, Norway and Finland.
hydro generation accounted for 59% of electric power and is the
largest source. Nuclear energy provided about 14% of total Canadian
electricity production (in Ontario, nuclear power accounted for more
than 53% of total electricity generation.) Electricity generated
using fossil fuels accounted for 26%. Although electricity generation
from wind, solar and tidal sources is rising, total generation from
these sources represented less than 0.5% of total generation.
Canadian demand for electricity saw an
overall increase of 3.2% to 592,161 GW.h in 2007. Residential use
increased 7.6% to 158,576 GW.h from 147,330 GW.h in 2007. For each of
the 8,896,800 census families in Canada, this shows an average annual
consumption of 17.8 MW.h; in more practical terms, each family uses
two kilowatts of power every hour of the day and night, year round.
Prince Edward County
The County relies on importing its
electrical energy from Ontario public utilities.
Despite a lack of published statistics at regional level, there is no
reason to believe that the County uses more electrical energy than
the national average, and probably a little less given its rural
character and low penetration by heavy
County probably therefore consumes no more than 350 GW.h per year, of
which 125 GW.h is for residential use.
2009, the Ontario Power Authority awarded 20-year contracts for six
new, large-scale wind power projects, one in the County.
The OPA claimed that they
create about 2,200 new jobs in Ontario, will create 492 megawatts
of new renewable generation and enough electricity for more than
120,000 homes and will result in about $3 million in annual lease
payments to hundreds of landowners hosting wind turbines and about
$1 million in annual municipal tax revenues. The six projects are
expected to be in service by the end of 2012.”
The County project, named Bryan, is a
nominal 64.5 MW wind farm being developed by SkyPower Corporation on
5,220 hectares of private land. The numbers, at the ratio of 492 to
64.5, suggest that the County project will proportionally create 290
new jobs (the developers, SkyPower Corp state: “Bryan Wind
Project is expected to create approximately 100 construction jobs and
8 highly skilled, full-time operations and maintenance jobs”)
The numbers also suggest that the
turbines will produce about $131,000 municipal tax revenues –
this is an increase of just over $25 per hectare of “private”
land. However, this may not be possible through rezoning;
additionally adjoining properties may lose value. MPAC appear to be
ambivalent about how they may proceed. In all eventualities, it is
certain that the PEC municipality will set the “property tax
rate” (previously the mil rate) at a level sufficient to cover
projected budgetary expenditure – this will inevitably lead to
all County tax payers making up for losses experienced in and around
industrial wind turbine facilities.
the 550 meter setback proposed
by Regulation under Bill 150 (Green Energy Act, 2009) defines an area
of 95 hectares or 235 acres. Placing a turbine less than 550 meters
from a property boundary leads inevitably to a neighbour’s loss
of the right to build residentially. Taking
a more cautious approach of potential increase in health hazards and
loss of property value at 1500 meters (half the California setback
and a widely accepted number that we have proposed in appendix 1) the
43 turbines potentially affect 30,400 hectares –
nearly one third of the total area of Prince Edward County.
Concerning the phrase “enough
electricity” for a certain number of homes, the Ontario
government’s arms-length Independent Electricity System
Operator (IESO) has stated that “for capacity planning
purposes, wind generation has a dependable capacity contribution of
10 per cent of the listed installed capacity of the project”.
On this basis, the Bryan project would supply 3,174 homes (17.8MWh
for each census family; see above), and not the 18,060 homes
suggested by SkyPower in stating that “1 MW of wind energy is
sufficient to service approximately 280 homes”
or even “will provide sufficient energy to service
approximately 16,000 homes.”
Various points of relevance
Costs: we would refer to our previous
paper “Policy Comments” available at
paper was presented to PEC Council in 2002, but remains valid.
refer to “Deputation to the Standing Committee on General
Government Regarding Bill C-150”.
Dr McMurtry has accurately covered the current status of potential
a communication from two paediatricians to the author is relevant
regarding potential cardiac deformation with
specific reference to children:
have gathered a number of references, all current within the last
10 years, from acoustical studies of wind turbines, studies from
medical journals and journals of environmental health documenting
negative impacts of noise that are characteristic of noise
emissions from wind turbines and even a few small studies around
wind farms in Europe. We also have some basic clinical research
studies documenting endocrinological effects of offending noise in
children and adults which represent the early pathophysiology
leading to the documented increased incidence of ischemic heart
disease and other cardiovascular complications and potentially
even more far reaching implications in children.
We have respected a requested degree of
anonymity pending peer review of their findings.
Medium to long term
Developers and Hydro One:
grid connection is one of the “best kept secrets”in
costing wind energy. Hydro One is obliged to accept developers’
output at artificial price levels, supply the grid infrastructure
(which will be billed to users) and have not yet publicly announced
the associated costs while simultaneously requesting, inter alia,
to “meet the requirements of the Green Energy
and Green Economy Act, 2009”, an increase of
nearly 25% over two years.
Studies in other countries show that Hydro One’s involvement
will be at least equal to the developers’ costs.
Official Plan of PEC: this
has been fairly constant over at least the last 35 years and clearly
indicates preservation of the countryside with a tendency towards
encouraging development within the townships. It can be argued that
quasi-industrialization of a major portion of agricultural and
light-density residential lands appears nowhere.
On 21 October 2008, we proposed a draft
by-law to the Municipality for consideration (attached as appendix
1). In the covering letter we stated:
In the interests of tax payers as
far as their health, finances and quality of life are concerned, as
well as financial liability that could potentially threaten the
Municipality, I would ask you to look through the attached draft
Relevant points are:
this does not prevent the
installation of wind powered electrical generating facilities in the
it reflects many concerns
expressed both locally and worldwide by local residents and
it guarantees that certain
statements made by developers (road works, sound levels, flicker
effect, radio and TV reception, health issues, decommissioning, etc)
are backed up by financial bond
it openly encourages developers to
pre-negotiate potential mitigation requirements with affected
neighbours and obliges such agreements to be recorded; this
principle is designed to cover property values
the remedy to non-compliance would
be shutting down the turbine[s] in question and it would to a
limited extent increase the cost of development. However, this
should be accepted by developers as an integral part of doing
business in an ethical and transparent manner
Conclusion: Anarchy or . . .
In May 2007 Forbes magazine
editor-in-chief Steve Forbes wrote "the issue of global warming
has indeed reached religious proportions. Even though the science
determining whether carbon
dioxide is fundamentally changing weather patterns is at best mixed,
our political and cultural elite say it is so. They turn on anyone
who dares question this
orthodoxy with a ferocity that would do the perpetrators of the Salem
laws such as the Green Energy Act that remove the democratic rights
from citizens and shift the burden of proof from the proponents to
its opponents is regressive.
proposed arrival of industrial turbines in Prince Edward County is
not a prudent investment for taxpayers, nor is it either an
economically or environmentally viable option. Contrary to claims
made by proponents of wind power, it will not be an engine of
economic revitalization and job creation for the area –
in fact the reverse is much more likely. Construction of wind
facilities, despite potentially enormous provincial and federal
subsidies, will inevitable lead to a higher cost of living, a lower
quality of life and a most probable reversal of positive trends
already apparent in our local economy.
Wind-powered electrical generating facility By-law for Prince Edward County
to provide a regulatory structure for the construction
and operation of Wind Energy Facilities in Prince Edward County,
subject to reasonable restrictions designed to preserve public
health and safety and establish a financial, liability and remedial
As used in this By-law, the following terms have the
Property: Property impacted by Wind Turbine.
person or entity filing an application under this By-law.
Wind Turbine: A
wind energy conversion system which converts wind energy into
electricity through the use of a wind driven turbine generator when
the total height exceeds 150 feet or the nameplate capacity exceeds
100 kilowatts. Such wind turbine includes the turbine, blade, tower,
base and pad transformer, if any.
Planning Committee of the Municipality or any successor committee
established by the Municipal Council for the oversight and
supervision of Prince Edward County Official Plan, Planning.
Prince Edward County.
person or entity requesting a Wind Energy Facility Site Permit or
Wind Turbine Permit and/or responsible for the design and/or
construction of a Wind Energy Facility
Height: The distance measured from ground level to the center of
the turbine hub.
Anemometer tower: A
meteorological tower used for the measurement of wind speed.
person or entity responsible for the day-to-day operation and
maintenance of a wind turbine or Wind Energy Facility. This
definition includes, as required, the developer if an owner/operator
is not distinctly identified.
Total Height: The
distance measured from ground level to the blade of a wind turbine
extended at its highest point.
Shadow Flicker: The
moving shadows or light gradient areas which are cast by rotating
Wind Energy Facility:
An electricity generating facility consisting of one or more
Wind Turbines under common ownership or operating control, and
includes substations, anemometer towers, cables/wires and other
buildings accessory to such facility, whose main purpose is to
supply electricity to off-site customer(s).
Wind Energy Facility
Site Permit or Wind Turbine Permit: A construction and operating
permit granted in accordance with the provisions of this By-law.
Requirements for Wind Energy Facilities:
Turbines shall be painted a non-reflective, non-obtrusive color
which shall be pre-approved through the permit issuing process.
At Wind Energy Facility
sites, the design of the buildings and related structures shall, to
the extent reasonably possible, use materials, colors, textures,
screening and landscaping that will blend the Wind Energy Facility
to the natural setting and environment at pre-construction time.
Wind Energy Facilities
shall not be artificially lighted, except to the extent required by
the Department of Transport (Aviation) or other applicable
Wind Turbines shall not be
used for displaying any advertising except for reasonable
identification of the manufacturer or operator of the Wind Energy
Facility. Any such identification shall not appear on the blades or
other moving parts or exceed one square meter per Wind Turbine.
Electrical controls and
control wiring and power-lines shall be wireless or not above ground
except where wind farm collector wiring is brought together for
connection to the transmission or distribution network, adjacent to
Public roads to be used
during the construction phase shall be documented by the
Owner/Operator, and reviewed and approved by the Prince Edward
County Public Works Department prior to construction. At the
Committee’s request a qualified independent third party,
agreed to by the applicable entity(s), and paid for by the
applicant, shall be hired to pre-inspect the roadways to be used
during construction and an appropriate bond amount set. The public
travel route will be re-inspected 30 days after project completion;
any and all repairs will be completed within 90 days of end of
construction project and paid by the developer. The bond can be used
by Prince Edward County for any degradation or damage caused by
heavy machinery associated with the construction and demolition
phases of a Wind Energy Facility.
An appropriate continuous
renewal bond amount shall be set for each Wind Turbine for
decommissioning should the Owner/Operator fail to comply with the
By-law requirements or the Wind Turbine does not operate for a
period of twelve (12) consecutive months.
A statement shall be
signed by the landowner acknowledging that the landowner is
financially responsible if the owner/operator fails to reclaim the
site as required and that any removal and reclamation costs incurred
by the County will become a lien on the property and may be
collected from the landowner in the same manner as property taxes.
Proof of continuous
liability insurance in the minimum amount of five million dollars
per occurrence shall be submitted to Prince Edward County indicating
coverage for potential damages or injury to landowners, occupants,
or other third parties.
There shall be a schedule
set prior to the construction phase of the project with a starting
and ending date when the construction project will be completed.
Evidence of compliance
with any/all Federal and Provincial requirements shall be submitted
by the Applicant to Prince Edward County.
A map shall be provided
showing a proposed grid of any future Wind Energy Facilities being
envisaged by the applicant to be located in Prince Edward County and
A document for each Wind
Turbine including an accompanying diagram or maps showing the shadow
flicker projection for a calendar year, in relation to affected
property, roads and residences shall be submitted with the permit
Access to a Wind Energy
Facility and construction area shall be constructed and maintained
following a detailed Erosion Control Plan in a manner designed to
control erosion and provide maneuverability for service and
emergency response vehicles.
If a Wind Turbine
foundation is proposed in a bedrock area, a baseline of all wells
and public potable water infrastructure in a one kilometer radius
shall be established and permanent remedies shall be the
responsibility of the developer if contamination occurs.
If an area where Wind
Turbines are planned is identified as having a significant
population of avian endangered species a monopole tubular type tower
shall be used instead of lattice type structure.
Setbacks: The following
setbacks and separation requirements shall apply to Wind Turbines:
Roads: Each Wind Turbine shall be set back from the nearest public
road and its right of way a distance no less than two (2) times its
Wind Turbine spacing: Each
Wind Turbine shall have a separation distance from other Wind
Turbines equal to one and two-tenths (1.2) times the total height of
the tallest Wind Turbine.
electrical lines: Each Wind Turbine shall be set back from the
nearest above-ground public electric power line or telephone line a
distance no less than two (2) times its Total Height.
Inhabited structures: Each
Wind Turbine shall be set back from the nearest structure used as a
residence, school, hospital, church, place of employment or public
library, a distance no less than fifteen hundred (1500) meters,
unless mitigation has taken place and agreed by owner/operator and
affected property owners involved and recorded in the Prince Edward
County Land Registry which describes the benefited and burdened
properties and which advises all subsequent owners of the burdened
Property lines: Each Wind
Turbine shall be set back from the nearest property line a distance
no less than one thousand (1000) meters, unless mitigation has taken
place and agreed by owner/operator and affected property owners
involved, and recorded in the Prince Edward County Land Registry
which describes the benefited and burdened properties and which
advises all subsequent owners of the burdened property.
From any wetland, water
body, environmental significant or scenic area, each Wind Turbine
total height shall have a minimum setback of two (2) times its total
height or five hundred (500) meters which ever is greater.
From any historical,
cultural and archaeological resource area, each Wind Turbine shall
have a minimum setback of two (2) times its Total Height or five
hundred (500) meters which ever is greater.
Any new proposed
residences, schools, hospitals, churches, public libraries, or place
of employment, shall apply for a conditional use permit if they are
to be located in the required set back area stated in section 17
(iv.) Inhabited structures.
Unless owned by the
applicant, no parcel of real estate shall be subject to shadow
flicker from a Wind Turbine unless mitigation has taken place and
agreed by the owner/operator and affected property owners involved
and recorded in the Prince Edward County Land Registry which
describes the benefited and burdened properties and which advises
all subsequent owners of the burdened property that shadow flicker
may exist at times on or at the burdened property.
shall be a three (3) kilometer Setback from any recognized
[federal/provincial] Park Wildlife Refuge located in Prince Edward
Audible Sound (Audible Noise) emitted during the operation of any
Wind Energy Facility or individual Wind Turbine is limited to the
standards set forth in this provision. [Testing procedures are
provided in Appendix A of this By-law.]
Noise due to Wind Energy Facility or Wind Turbine operations shall
not exceed the lesser of five (5) decibels (dBA) increase over the
existing background noise level (L90) or exceed forty (40) decibels
(dBA) for any period of time, when measured at any structure used as
a residence, school, hospital, church, place of employment, or
public library existing on the date of approval of any Wind Energy
Facility Permit or Wind Turbine Permit. All measurements shall be
taken using procedures meeting American National Standard Institute
Standards including: ANSI S12.18-1994 (R 2004) American National
Standard Procedures for Outdoor Measurement of Sound Pressure Level,
and (ANSI) S12.9-Parts 1-5:
1: American National Standard Quantities and Procedures for
Description and Measurement of Environmental Sound
Part 2: Measurement of
Long-Term, Wide-Area Sound
Part 3: Short-Term
Measurements with an Observer Present
Part 4: Noise
Assessment and Prediction of Long-Term Community Response
Part 5: Sound Level
Descriptors for Determination of Compatible Land Use
Measurements must be
taken with qualified acoustical testing instruments meeting ANSI
Type 1 standards, and Class 1 filters. The windscreen recommended
by the instrument’s manufacturer must be used and
measurements conducted only when wind speeds are fifteen (15)
kilometers per hour (kph) or less. The microphone must be located
at a height of one and two-tenths (1.2) to one and one-half (1.5)
meters from the ground.
In the event Audible Noise
due to Wind Energy Facility or Wind Turbine operations contains a
steady Pure Tone, including, but not limited to, a whine, screech,
or hum, the standards for audible noise set forth in subparagraph
(a) of this subsection shall be reduced by five (5) dBA. A Pure Tone
is defined to exist when the one-third (1/3) octave band sound
pressure level in the band, including the tone, exceeds the
arithmetic average of the sound pressure levels on the two (2)
contiguous one-third (1/3) octave bands by five (5) dBA for center
frequencies of five hundred (500) Hz and above, and eight (8) dBA
for center frequencies between one hundred sixty (160) Hz and four
hundred (400) Hz, or by fifteen (15) dBA for center frequencies less
than or equal to one hundred twenty-five (125) Hz.
In the event the Audible
Noise due to Wind Energy Facility or Wind Turbine operations
contains Repetitive Impulsive Sounds, the permitted sound pressure
level for Audible Noise in 18(a) shall be reduced by five (5) dBA.
In the event the Audible
Noise due to Wind Energy Facility or Wind Turbine operations
contains both a Pure Tone and Repetitive Impulsive Sounds, the
permitted sound pressure level for Audible Noise in 19(a) shall be
reduced by seven (7) dBA.
No low frequency sound or
infrasound due to Wind Energy Facilities or Wind Turbine Operations
shall be created which causes the sound pressure level at any
existing residence, school, hospital, church, place of employment,
or public library within a fifteen hundred (1500) meter radius from
any Wind Turbine to exceed the following limits:
1/3 Octave Band
Center Frequency (HZ)
Limits for 1/3
Limits for 1/1
1.25 and below
Energy Facility or Wind Turbine operation that emits sound or causes
structural or human body vibration with strong low-frequency content
where the time-average C-weighted sound level exceeds the A-weighted
sound level by at least 20 dB when measured inside a structure and
adversely affects the subjective habitability or use of any existing
residence, school, hospital, church, place of employment, or public
library or other sensitive noise receptor shall be deemed unsafe and
shall be shut down immediately. Exceeding any of the limits in Table
18.e.1 shall also be evidence that the Wind Energy Facility or Wind
Turbine operation is unsafe and shall be shut down immediately.
Prior to approval,
developers of a Wind Turbine operation or Wind Energy Facility shall
submit a pre-construction Background Noise Survey with measurements
for each residence, school, hospital, church, place of employment,
or public library within fifteen hundred (1500) meters of the
proposed development. The Background Noise Survey shall be conducted
in accordance with the procedures provided in Appendix A of this
By-law, showing background sound levels (L90) and 1/1 or 1/3 octave
band sound pressure levels (L90) during the quietest periods of the
day and night over a reasonable period of time (not less than 10
minutes of sampling). The pre-construction Background Noise Survey
shall be conducted at the Applicant’s expense by an
independent noise consultant contractor acceptable to the Prince
Edward County Planning Department.
Prior to approval,
developers of a Wind Energy Facility or Wind Turbine operation shall
provide additional information regarding the make and model of the
turbines, Sound Power Levels (LW) for each octave band from the
Blade Passage Frequency up through 10,000 Hz, and a Sound Impact
Study with results reported on a contour map projection showing the
predicted sound pressure levels in each of those octave bands for
all areas up to fifteen hundred (1500) meters from any Wind Turbine
or Wind Energy Facility for the wind speed and direction that would
result in the worst case Wind Energy Facility sound emissions. This
Sound Impact Study may be made by a computer modeling, but shall
include a description of the assumptions made in the model’s
construction and algorithms. If the model does not consider the
effects of wind direction, geography of the terrain, and the effects
of reinforcement from coherent sounds or tones from the turbines,
these shall be identified and other means shall be used to adjust
the model’s output to account for these factors. The Sound
Impact Study results shall be displayed as a contour map of the
predicted levels, but shall also include a data table showing the
predicted levels at any existing residence, school, hospital,
church, public library, or place of employment within the model’s
boundaries. The predicted values shall include dBA values and shall
also include the non-weighted octave band levels in the data tables.
The Sound Impact Study shall be conducted at the Applicant’s
expense by an independent noise consultant contractor acceptable to
the Prince Edward County Planning Department.
Operators of a Wind Energy
Facility or Wind Turbine operation shall submit a post-construction
Sound and Vibration Measurement Study conducted for each Wind
Turbine or Wind Energy Facility according to the procedures provided
in Appendix A of this By-law within twelve (12) months of the date
that the project is fully operational to demonstrate compliance with
the noise limitations in Section 18(a). The study shall be conducted
at the wind energy facility owner/operator’s expense by a
noise consultant contractor acceptable to the Prince Edward County
Committee may impose a noise setback that exceeds the other setbacks
set out in this By-law or require waivers from affected property
owners and persons in legal possession acceptable to the Committee
if it deems that greater setbacks are necessary to protect the
public health and safety, or if the proposed wind energy facility is
anticipated to exceed the levels set forth in Section 18(a) at any
existing residence, school, hospital, church, place of employment,
or public library.
Any noise level falling
between two (2) whole decibels shall be deemed the higher of the
If the noise levels
resulting from the Wind Turbine or Wind Energy Facility exceed the
criteria listed above, a waiver to said levels may be granted by the
Committee provided that express written consent from all affected
property owners and persons in legal possession has been obtained
stating that they are aware of the noise limitations imposed by this
By-law, and that consent is granted to allow noise levels to exceed
the maximum limits otherwise allowed. If the applicant wishes the
waiver to apply to succeeding Owner/Operators of the property,
either a permanent noise impact easement or easement for the life of
the wind turbine shall be recorded in the Prince Edward County Land
Registry which describes the benefited and burdened properties and
which advises all subsequent owners of the burdened property that
noise levels in excess of those permitted by this By-law may exist
at the burdened property.
A Noise Study may be
conducted at the expense of a Wind Energy Facility or a Wind Turbine
Owner/Operator by an independent noise consultant contractor
acceptable to the Prince Edward County Planning Department if two
(2) or more complaints are received and documented at a particular
site. The study shall be conducted according to the procedures
provided in Appendix A of this By-law for any sites where the
complaints were documented. The Operator shall reimburse the County
for the Noise Study expense within ten (10) days of billing. Failing
to reimburse may be a basis for revoking a permit.
Ground Clearance: The blade tip of a Wind Turbine shall, at its
lowest point, have ground clearance of no less than twenty five (25)
Signal Interference and
Microwave Frequency Interference: The owner/operator shall minimize
any interference with electromagnetic communications, such as radio,
telephone or television signals caused by any Wind Energy Facility
thousand (1,000) feet microwave communication corridor between
turbines must be maintained if the turbine facility is located
between transmission towers.
Communication tower –
Wind turbine setback shall be at least fifteen hundred (1500) meter
to prevent signal interference.
towers will be located on a Geographical Information System (GIS)
map so turbine facilities can be properly planned to avoid conflict
with Prince Edward County Emergency Services.
Safety Requirements for Wind Turbines:
wiring between Wind Turbines and the Wind Energy Facility substation
shall be underground.
All neutral grounding
connectors from Wind Turbines shall be insulated from the earth and
shall be sized to accommodate at least twice the peak load of the
highest phase conductor, to absolutely prevent transient ground
currents, in order to comply with standards as follows:
of both the electrical transmission lines and the supply lines to
the internal electrical systems of the turbines themselves, shall be
so arranged that under normal circumstances, there will be no
objectionable flow of current over the grounding conductor.
not permissible to use the earth as a part of a supply circuit.
Under no circumstances
shall any Wind Turbine be connected directly to the grid; connection
must be made through a substation or transformer properly grounded
and filtered to keep harmonic distortion within recommended limits.
Bare, concentric neutrals
are specifically prohibited in buried lines between turbines and in
underground transmission lines to substations.
Turbine towers shall not be climbable up to five (5) meters above
All access doors to Wind
Turbine towers and electrical equipment shall be lockable and locked
signage shall be placed on Wind Turbine towers, electrical
equipment, and Wind Energy Facility entrances.
permits: [To be established ]
- For Bonds: The amount
of the bond required will be based on the number of turbines and the
estimated total cost to remove the Wind Turbine[s], associated
equipment and infrastructure, including to a point three (3) feet
Should any section, clause or
provision of this By-law be declared by the courts to be invalid,
the same shall not affect the validity of the By-law as a whole or
any part thereof, other than the part so declared.
A : Prince Edward County Measurement Protocol for Sound and
Vibration Assessment of Proposed Wind Energy Conversion Systems
The potential sound and vibration
impact associated with the operation of wind powered electric
generators, including Wind Energy Facilities and Wind Turbine
operations, is a primary concern for citizens living near proposed
Wind Energy Conversion Systems (“WECS”). This is
especially true of projects located near homes, residential
neighborhoods, schools, hospitals, churches, places of employment
and public libraries. Determining the likely sound and vibration
impacts is a highly technical undertaking and requires a serious
effort in order to collect reliable and meaningful data for both the
public and decision makers.
The purpose is to first establish
a consistent and scientifically sound procedure for estimating
existing ambient (background) sound and vibration levels in a
project area, and second to determine the likely impact that
operation of a new wind energy conversion system project will have
on the existing sound and vibration environment.
The characteristics of the
proposed WECS project and the features of the surrounding
environment will influence the design of the sound and vibration
study. Site layout, types of wind energy conversion units (“WECU”)
selected and the existence of the significant local sound and
vibration sources and sensitive receptors shall be taken into
consideration when designing a sound and vibration study. An
independent, qualified consultant shall be required to conduct the
sound and vibration study.
Note: Prince Edward County
Planning Department Administration shall be consulted prior to
conducting any sound and vibration measurements. These guidelines
may be modified (with express written approval of the County
Planning Department) to accommodate unique site characteristics.
Consult with Planning Department staff assigned to the project for
guidance on study design before beginning any sound and vibration
During consultation, good quality
maps or diagrams of the site are necessary. Maps and diagrams shall
show the proposed project area layout and boundaries,
and identify important landscape features as well as significant
local sound and vibration sources and sensitive receptors including,
but not limited to, a residence, school, hospital, church, place of
employment, or public library.
the Existing Sound and Vibration Environment
An assessment of the proposed WECS
project area’s existing sound and vibration environment is
necessary to predict the likely impact resulting from a proposed
project. The following guidelines shall be used in developing a
reasonable estimate of an area’s existing sound and vibration
environment. All testing shall be performed by an independent
acoustical testing engineer approved by the Prince Edward County
Planning Department. All measurements shall be conducted with
industry certified testing equipment.
All test results shall be reported to the Prince Edward County
measurements shall be taken as follows:
At all properties within
the proposed WECS project boundaries5
At all properties within a
one mile radius of the proposed WECS project boundaries5.
One test must be performed
during each season of the year.
- a. Spring (March 15 –
b. Summer (June 1 –
c. Fall (September 15-
d. Winter (December 1-
- All measurement points
(MPs) shall be located in consultation with the property owner(s)
and such that no significant obstruction (building, trees, etc.)
blocks sound and vibration from the site.
Duration of measurements
shall be a minimum of ten continuous minutes for each criterion (See
Item 9 below) at each location.
One set of measurements
shall be taken during each of the following four periods:
- a. Morning (6 - 8
b. Midday (12 noon –
c. Evening (6 – 8
d. Night (10 p.m. –
- Sound level
measurements must be made on a weekday of a non-holiday week.
Measurements must be taken
at 6 feet above the ground and at least 15 feet from any reflective
For each MP and for each
measurement period, provide each of the following measurement
- a. Unweighted
octave-band analysis (162, 31.5, 63, 125, 250, 500, 1K, 2K, 4K, and
b. Lave, L10, L50, and
L90, in dBA
c. Lave, L10, L50, and
L90, in dBC
d. A narrative description
of any intermittent sounds registered during each measurement
e. Wind speed at time of
f. Wind direction at time
g. Description of the
weather conditions during the measurement
- Provide a map and/or
diagram clearly showing:
- a. The layout of the
project area, including topography, the project boundary lines5, and
b. The locations of the
c. The minimum and maximum
distance between any MPs
d. The location of
significant local sound and vibration sources
e. The distance between
all MPs and significant local sound and vibration sources
f. The location of all
sensitive receptors including but not limited to, a residence,
school, hospital, church, place of employment, or public library.
Estimate for Proposed Wind Energy Conversion System:
In order to estimate the sound and
vibration impact of the proposed WECS project on the existing
environment an estimate of the sound and vibration produced by the
proposed WECU(s) must be provided.
- The manufacturer’s sound level
characteristics for the proposed WECU(s) operating at full load.
Include an unweighted octave-band (164, 31.5, 63, 125, 250, 500, 1K,
2K, 4K, and 8K Hz) analysis for the WECU(s) at full operation for
distances of 250, 500, 750 and 1000 meters from the WECU(s).
Estimate the sound levels for the proposed WECU(s) in
dBA and dBC at distances of 250, 500, 750 and 1000 meters from the
WECU(s). For projects with multiple WECU’s, the combined sound
level impact for all WECU’s operating at full load must be
Provide a contour map of the expected sound level from
the new WECU(s), using 5dBA increments created by the proposed
WECU(s) extending out to a distance of at least fifteen hundred
Determine the impact of the new sound and vibration
source on the existing environment. For each MP used in the ambient
study (note the sensitive receptor MPs):
- Report expected changes to existing sound levels
for Lave, L10, L50, and L90, in dBA
Report expected changes to existing sound levels for
Lave, L10, L50, and L90, in dBC
Report all assumptions made in arriving at the estimate
of impact and any conclusions reached regarding the potential
effects on people living near the project area.
- Include an estimate of the number of hours of
operation expected from the proposed WECU(s) and under what
conditions the WECU(s) would be expected to run.
- Within twelve months
of the date when the project is fully operational, and within two
weeks of the anniversary date of the Pre-construction ambient noise
measurements, repeat the existing sound and vibration environment
measurements taken before the project approval. Post-construction
sound level measurements shall be taken both with all WECU running
and generating power, and with all WECU off.
measurements to the Prince Edward County Planning Department
(available for public review) using the same format as used for the
pre-approval sound and vibration studies.
protocol is based in part on criteria published in the Standard
Guide for Selection of Environmental Noise Measurements and
and the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin publication
Measurement Protocol for Sound and Vibration Assessment of Proposed
and Existing Electric Power Plants (February 2002).
Canadian documents to comparable standards will replace non-Canadian
sources as and when they are published.
[ Back ] to research index.
Note: this paper was first published in 2009.
Last Updated on 19 May 2009