Tag Archives: Flicker

2750 Front Road

As part of the approval process for the Amherst Island wind project the proponent must undertake a study of the heritage properties on the island.  The proponent farmed this task out to a consultant, Stantec, who then produced the Heritage Assessment (52 MB).  Stantec did a 2-day survey back in July of 2011 and came up with 23 island properties (a 24th property was on the mainland) that they judged to be “heritage resources” along with 4 “Cultural Heritage Landscapes”.

One of the properties was 2750 Front Road, now owned and occupied by realtors David and Diane Hieatt.  Their property was listed as BHR (Built Heritage Resource) #6, described in their section  5.3.6, on their pages 53-56 (PDF pages 52-55).  They also have a map showing its location in their Figure 4, on PDF page 24.

The Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority, APAI and the Loyalist Council are all on record as considering the proponent’s studies incomplete and error-prone.  2750 Front Road stands as a glaring example of just how error-prone these studies are.  You see, Stantec GOT THE WRONG HOUSE.

The picture in 5.3.6 is in fact 2750 Front Road, and the description sort of matches as well.  But the map in Figure 4 indicates that BHR #6 is the home of Paul and Gwen Lauret, at 1900 Front Road.  The description in 5.3.6 has a number of errors, as if they co-mingled the homes.  But one thing is certain – the distances they quote to the nearby turbines were figured using the Lauret’s home.

You can imagine the surprise and outrage of the Hieatt’s.  This project not only puts their amenity and health at risk, it also puts their very home at risk.  Perhaps most galling of all is how Stantec explains away all of these risks and in the end concludes that things will be just fine.  After all, Stantec is being paid by the proponent and the proponent isn’t going to pay for unfavorable studies.

The Hieatt’s wrote a submission to the EBR explaining all this and I am pleased to include it here.  There is no way to spin your way out of this – the study is in error.  It will be interesting to see how the MOE handles this.  Will they care?  I’m betting not – they haven’t seemed to care about anything except getting the approvals done before the next election.


David and Dianne Hieatt, submission to the MOE


Hatch’s Map

Some members of APAI (the anti-project group, the Association to Protect Amherst Island) decided to send a one-pager to all the island residents letting them know what to expect in terms of noise and flicker.  As they dove into the developer’s noise map and flicker study they quickly discovered that the noise map was largely unusable and the flicker study made no sense.

As a result, one Deborah Barrett, who fairly recently moved to the island, wrote a letter to Doris Dumais at the MOE, stating that in view of such shoddy work the application ought to be deemed incomplete and returned to Windlectric/Algonquin.  The letter is six well-written pages long and is very readable, and it gives you a sense of just how uncaring/careless/arrogant/entitled (your pick) the wind project developers are.


Barrett, Letter to Doris Dumais

Windlectric/Stantec/Hatch, Design and Operations Report.  The map in question is on pdf page 124 of the 147 pages.

Windlectric/Hatch, Flicker Study.  Their table B.1 lists the amounts of flicker the affected receptors get, and it makes no sense.

Harrison on Flicker – Redux

Roughly 8 months ago John Harrison prepared a letter to the Loyalist Township Council, asking them to enact an ordinance to protect the residents of Amherst Island from excessive flicker.  The Council essentially did nothing.  In the meantime, Algonquin finally (after much prodding) did their own flicker study and it shouldn’t surprise anyone that their study agreed with what John had done earlier – roughly 50 homes will be subject to flicker that exceeds typical regulatory limits in most of Europe.

So John has re-submitted his request to the Council.  We’ll see how they respond this time.


Harrison, Letter to Council, March 6, 2013

My Earlier Postings Regarding Flicker

Flicker Everywhere

As perhaps the finale to this series on flicker on Amherst, I thought it might be instructive to see just how much of the island is subject to flicker of any duration.  I took the “0-hour” contour and mapped it to all the turbines. 

AI All Flicker 

I have to admit, even I was surprised at just how much of the island is affected.  Earlier, John Harrison created a map with the flicker potential, using general rules.  Those rules certainly weren’t big enough to count for the turbines we’re getting.  Travel around the periphery and see how far you can get onto the Island before hitting a blue line.  Perhaps worse, see how all those lines overlap, indicating you’ll be getting flicker from multiple turbines. Even those few people whose homes are spared will have to drive through it.

Flicker Alley

In an effort to provide a little more insight into how the flicker will affect some Amherst Island residents I’ve picked the stretch of Front Road from Stella east to roughly Sandy’s home (R370), a distance of about one km.  When reading the rest of this posting it would be good to have a copy of the East Stella close-up at hand.

The blue, green and orange lines are the 10, 20 and 30-hour contour lines from T15 and T24, both located in Wayne Fleming’s field (along with his solar panels – I have to wonder what his solar contract has to say about blocking the sun, even part-time).  Inside of the contours (in this case “inside” is towards the turbines, both of which are somewhere off the lower right-hand corner of the picture) the flicker is more than the value, while outside it is less.  I don’t show the maximum extent of the flicker, which goes well past the ferry dock.

Starting from the main intersection (about R137 for strangers to Amherst), you will be just outside of the 10-hour contour from T15 and further outside the 10-hour contour from T24.  The flicker here will be mostly at sunrise in the Spring and Fall, and will come mostly from T15 and some from T24.

As you travel to the east the flicker from both turbines increases, and the timing moves towards the Winter solstice.  At R408 you cross T15’s 10-hour line and are getting closer to T24’s 10-hour line, so the total flicker from these 2 turbines is somewhere in the 15 hour range.

Approaching the Museum (R132),  you cross T24’s 10-hour line and just past the Museum you cross T15’s 20-hour line.  By now you are at or above the standard European limit of 30 hours per year and it is still increasing.

Passing in front of Diane and Michelle’s (R172) you cross T24’s 20-hour line.  They are looking at something over 45 hours of flicker per year from the 2 turbines.  What this translates to is that for the life of the project they will never again have an unobstructed view of a fall/winter sunrise.  Early morning services at St. Alban’s (R 548) will certainly have to deal with the flicker on a regular basis.

30 meters past St. Albans you cross T15’s 30-hour line.  Chris Laffin (R403) is looking at something in excess of 50 hours per year.  Finally you start getting further from T24’s flicker field as you cross the 20-hour line in the decreasing direction and then T24’s 10-hour line another 50 metres to the east.

Unfortunately you are still going further into T15’s 30-hour area, and the numbers of hours increase more quickly as you get closer to the turbine itself.  Where it peaks exactly I can’t say, probably around R169.

After that it falls off fairly quickly as you cross T15’s 30, 20 and 10-hour lines within a distance of 100 metres.  By the time you pass Sandy’s driveway (R370) you are pretty much out of the flicker field.

Flick Pics

I recently posted on John Harrison’s research into flicker caused by the shadows thrown by the wind turbine blades.  That posting had a picture of what areas might be subject to flicker.  Since then John obtained the actual flicker contours of the proposed Sieman SWT 101 turbines and mapped them onto the Island.

AI Original Contours
AI Original Contours

These contours show how many hours during a year that someone on the ground would have the turbine blades between them and the sun.  They are listed as “worst case” (per the typical European standards) meaning that they assume the blades will be turning, the sun will be shining and there are no trees blocking the shadows.  Originally there were contours at 200, 100, 50, 30, 20, 10, 5, 2 and outer limits.

Going one step further, I’ve taken those contours and positioned them per the draft plan from Algonquin.   In the interest of homing in on the generally-accepted (in Europe) limit of 30 hours I reduced what I worked with to just the 10, 20 and 30-hour contours which are marked in the above picture.  I also changed the original hard-to-see 30-hour color to orange so it would show up better in the closeups.

As you can see from the contours above, a larger area than what I show in the closeups is actually affected.  And since Amherst Island is rather compact relative to typical wind project areas, quite often a location will get flicker from more than one turbine, so the effects shown here are conservative.

I’ve started out with a selection of areas where I thought the effects would be the greatest.  If anyone out there has a particular location of interest please let me know and I can create a new map pretty easily.

Link: AI Flicker Photo Album

Harrison on Flicker

John Harrison recently submitted a report on shadow flicker to the Loyalist Council.  It noted that (1) flicker is well recognized as a nuisance, (2) the Council has the power to regulate nuisances, and (3) the Provincial GEA does not address flicker, thus allowing the Council the freedom to do so.  A typical regulation would limit the flicker to 30 hours per year at any residence, and eliminate it on public roads, where it can present a hazard to drivers, and John recommended that the Council take action to protect the residents and drivers on Amherst Island.

How much of a problem would flicker be on Amherst Island?  The clickable picture below gives an indication of the potential.