News / Follow-up

Calendar of Events

April 14, 2005 - J.D. Irving suspends all plans for wind turbines on PEI. In a Journal Pioneer article, J.D. Irving, Ltd., through its spokesperson Mary Keith, finally admits that its envisioned project for an industrial wind turbine complex in Malpeque has posed difficult problems in terms of both economic and technical feasibility in their final analysis. Therefore, they will not be pursueing any wind turbine construction in Malpeque or anywhere on PEI for that matter and have scrapped all plans for their two "test" turbines that were due to be constructed this spring.

The reasons listed for the suspension of all plans are reminiscent of many of the problems that we presented in a Guest Opinion article published in The Guardian of July 15, 2003. (Accessible in this web site : "Opinion Letter")

The facts in this situation are very stubborn things and although they can be, for a time, evaded, distorted, or ignored, eventually they must be acknowledged.

It was reported in an article by Jim Brown, in the Journal-Pioneer, that "On Wednesday, the same day Ottawa's strategy for meeting its greenhouse gas targets under the Kyoto Accord was unveiled, J.D. Irving confirmed it was shelving plans to build wind turbines in P.E.I.".

Mr. Brown reported that "company spokesperson Mary Keith said the decision to 'place on hold' a project to erect wind turbines in the Malpeque Bay area was made some time ago, but never formally announced."

He stated in the article that "the project has undergone considerable changes since it leapt off the drawing board in the fall of 2002" where at one point "the company, which owns the Cavendish Farms potato processing plant in New Annan, had seriously considered plans to invest $80 to $100 million building 40 wind turbines" but that "the proposal was scaled back over the years to just two turbines". These changes, according to the article, resulted from J.D. Irving having to "adjust its plans to accommodate provincial regulations, and the company also faced fierce opposition from many property holders in the area, which includes large numbers of out of province visitors who own summer homes".

Within this article Mr. Brown stated that "back in 2002 Keith said the project would probably have provided green energy credits for J.D. Irving that could be cashed in once the Kyoto Accord was implemented".

Mr. Brown went further to report that "Keith, in a statement, said J.D. Irving officials were not abandoning alternative forms of energy and had not written off the viability of wind energy. But the company also wanted to take a closer look at the challenges involved in developing that form of green power." Mr. Brown quoted Mary Keith as saying" the installation of a wind turbine on P.E.I. is currently on hold. While we remain optimistic and committed to the potential of wind energy, we are continuing to review the economics and feasibility of such a project" and "we continue to explore and review projects as part of a comprehensive renewable energy strategy - which obviously includes wind energy".

July 21, 2004 - On July 3, 2004, the government of PEI published in the governmental publication, Royal Gazette, the amendment to the Planning Act Subdivision and Development Regulations for wind turbine development.

Setbacks have been set at a distance of 1 times the height of the wind turbine tower (that is the distance from the base/grade to the highest vertical extension, tower and the highest point of the rotor blade) from property lines or roads (public or private) and rights of ways. The distance to a habitable building is set at 3 times the height. Based on the GE 2.7 model, presented at the J.D. Irving Open House on March 8, 2004, the tower height is 70 meters, blade radius is 42 meters, the distance from the tower to the home need only be set at 336 meters or 112 meters from a road (only 294 meters to the home or 70 meters to the road from the blade tips).

In establishing these setbacks, consideration for expected negative impacts of noise or ice throw was not given. The Best Practice Guideline for Europe, Australia, and New Zealand and the accompanying regulations for avoiding noise impacts and potential ice throw risks in these jurisdictions was ignored in the establishment of the PEI regulations. In fact, the word noise did not even appear in the regulation.

On July 8, the Department of Environment and Energy granted approval to J.D. Irving, Ltd. for Phase I of the proposed project. Phase II, the remainder of the 60-75MW project, needs only to be reregistered for approval prior to implementation. The letter of intent for a 60 MW project in Malpeque filed with Natural Resources Canada still stands.

Don Jardine, representative for the Department of Environment and Energy, in a recent telephone conversation of July 16 with us, stated that he had no confidence that the more than 800 people who signed our on-line petition opposing wind turbines in Malpeque remained opposed to the project. He went further and stated that he felt that most had no real understanding of what they were signing.

Additionally, in a telephone conversation of July 16 with Jack Saunders, Department of Community and Cultural Affairs and author of the new wind turbine amendments to the Planning Act, when asked why the Best Practice Guideline of Europe, Australia and New Zealand and the accompanying regulations were ignored in the modeling of the PEI regulations, he stated that those were only Best Practice Guidelines and that the Province need not give them any heed. Furthermore, he stated that he, in authoring the regulations, was just following the directive of his government superiors who he would not identify.

Following the March 8, 2004, "Open House", as part of the "public consultative process", government requested that questions concerning the project be submitted in writing within 10 days. We submitted 8 pages of specific questions (totaling 42 questions) on March 9, 2004, to the Premier and all ministers involved with this project for answers to come from the proponent. None of these question have been answered as of this date.

If you have any questions or comments they should be directed to:
    • Jack Saunders - Department of Community and Cultural Affairs - (902) 368-4220
    • Don Jardine - Department of Environment and Energy - (902) 368-5035

March 8, 2004 - An "Open House" was held by J.D. Irving, Ltd., at the Kensington Lions Club from 3pm - 8pm to present only the Phase 1 portion of the two phase overall project of 60-75MW of wind power. The proponent is asking provincial government for immediate approval of 1 or 2 "test" turbines for 2004, one site at their New Annan plant and one site at the Irishtown Road area. The turbine models requested will either be the Vestas 90 or the GE 2.7 MW model. Both have blade diameters in excess of 84 meters, larger than the turbines requested in the original proposal. Although it was an extremely difficult task, we were finally able to get a representative for J.D. Irving to admit that the final intent for this project is for at least 60 MW of wind power in the Kensington and Malpeque area. These turbines would be the largest commercially available in the world. Phase 2 of the proposal remains active before the PEI Department of Environment and Energy since June, 2003, and could require only re-registration and a request for government approval by the proponent to potentially become a reality. This could include as many as 20 turbine sites in Malpeque and 20 more site in Kensington-Irishtown. The proponent also admitted that a letter of intent for construction of 60MW of wind turbines in Kensington-Malpeque by November 2005 remains active at this time before Natural Resources Canada for the Wind Power Production Incentive. Provincial government continues to request that all interested in the project outcome forward their comments to the PEI Department of Environment and Energy by March 18, 2004. On March 9, we presented to government eight pages of questions for the proponent to answer and are now awaiting replies.

February 21, 2004 - Article in the Journal Pioneer : "Irving to hold another open house March 8". At Kensington Lions Club from 3-8 p.m., J.D. Irving Ltd. and Cavendish Farms will discuss its most recent plans to set up one or two test turbines in the area.

October 27, 2003 - Article "Irvings calm wind power plan" appears on the CBC radio website. It has to do with the plan for the two test turbines and the overall plan by Irving to be put off until next year. Government is requiring a community meeting before any further environmental assessment is done.

October 14, 2003 - A third submission of on-line and written petition signatures was presented to the provincial government. The total number of signatures has now reached 777. Approximately 44% of this total represents property owners within or very near the perimeters of the proposed project. Also approximately 66% are Canadians.

The project proposal, amended in June, calls for two turbines in the Irishtown Road area near Kensington for this year and then in Phase II another 39 turbines to follow in both Irishtown and Malpeque. The proposal remains under active consideration in the P.E.I. Department of Environment and Energy and will now be dealt with by a government and provincial cabinet newly-elected in late September.

July 3, 2003 - We have just learned from the PEI Department of Environment that J.D. Irving Ltd., has revised it’s proposal for the Malpeque wind turbine project (July 5, 2003 article in the Journal-Pioneer). We have reviewed the amended proposal in Charlottetown this week. The basic changes include 1) a reduction in number of turbine sites in the immediate Malpeque area from 40 or more to 20, 2) a significant reduction in setback distance from turbines to public roads and rights of way 3) an increase in setback distance from turbines to dwellings from 250 meters to 400 meters 4) the addition of a proposed setback distance for turbine towers of fifteen meters from adjacent property borders, and 5) the addition of 21 turbine sites on the Irishtown road stretching from approximately one mile to four miles north of Kensington village. J.D. Irving, Ltd., has also submitted answers to the many questions submitted by this Campaign and by government, however, answers to the most important questions regarding adverse avian interactions at this Ramsar site, safety issues related to turbine icing and ice throw and adverse health issues related to wind turbine noise have been deemed confidential by the proponent and are currently being revealed only to government. We are attempting to gain access to this information and are formulating a critique of the amended proposal at this time.

July 1, 2003 - Presentation of second submission of on-line petition signatures to provincial government. (Press release) Our numbers continue to grow at a brisk pace, now totaling 702 as of July 2, 2003. Our core message of responsible wind power development away from communities, tourism destinations, and fragile ecosystems is gaining increasing support.

April 29, 2003 - In the Journal Pioneer, Mr. Carl Brothers', manager of the North Cape Wind Turbine test site, letter to the editor was published. Mr. Brothers' stated that "a recent letter to the editor, raising safety concerns due to icing on wind turbines, is the latest in a series of letters published in recent months designed to suggest that wind turbines pose unacceptable risks to the public."

He also stated that all of our concerns including noise, adverse impacts to birds, and visual intrusion were "exaggerated, sometimes grossly." He stated that the issues of icing, noise, and visual intrusion are "resolved simply by placing turbines at sufficient distances from people and dwellings." He does not however define sufficient distance. He states that bird problems, mortality, disturbance and morbidity through improvements in siting and turbine design "have largely resolved the problem."

Please see our response by Earl Coulson, Malpeque, P.E.I. resident printed in the Journal Pioneer on 5/3/03.

April 28, 2003 - Malpeque Bay's 15th Anniversary as a Ramsar Site published in the Guardian on April 26, 2003. (link to Letter to the Editor in the Guardian 4/26/03) . Journal Pioneer Letter to the Editor (link to the Letter to the Editor regarding icing) concerning the dangers of ice missiles from wind turbine blades, published April 26, 2003.

April 25, 2003 - First submission of web site petition signatures was delivered to the provincial government on April 22, 2003 and reported in Summerside Journal Pioneer and, through Canadian Press, to the Halifax Sunday  Chronicle Herald and and St. John Telegraph-Journal. (link to article) We will continue to forward newly accrued signatures to government on an ongoing basis.

Mr. Sean Ledgerwood, Department of Environment, states that J.D. Irving, Ltd., continues in the process of answering the initial questions from government. They expect full answers to be received in next 7 - 10 days. J.D. Irving's answers to our "Critique of the Proposal" failed to address most important questions. We have filed a response to their "answers" with government and J.D. Irving, Ltd.

April 22, 2003 - News release about petition sent to papers.

April 2, 2003 - Aired interview by CBC Radio with Carl Brothers, Project Manager of the Wind Turbine Complex at North Cape, Prince Edward Island, Canada.

When asked what it was like at North Cape during the ice storm, he replied "It was a severe an ice storm as we've seen at North Cape in some time. I don't think I have seen one that has resulted in as much accumulation in almost 20 years that I have been here".

In describing it's appearance, he described that "it looks like everything is glistening, everything is, trees are all stooped over....all of the towers and wind turbine blades are covered with ice and are glistening in the sun now, but they weren't glistening the other day, but everything has kinda ground to a halt with this accumulation of ice".

Later he was asked how the ice storm affected the turbines.  Mr. Brothers stated that "it has taken the turbines completely out of service". "None of the blades received any damage...towers have not collapsed:". "As ice comes it accumulates on the surface of the blades, the wind doesn't have any effect on them and they just cruise to a halt". "We hope that they may not shed ice today but it is still pretty cool up here, but I think they will be shedding ice tomorrow".

Finally, it was asked of Mr. Brothers what do the workers do."Do any of the workers have to go out and start chipping it (the ice) off?"

Mr. Brothers replied quite emphatically, "No, No. Whenever there is any ice on a turbine you just stay away from it.You just stay away from towers when they are iced up. They are too dangerous. There are fairly big pieces of ice attached to the blades and we actually have closed the road into the site proper because one of the turbines is sort of close to the road and there is a lot of ice on its blades. But it is very dangerous whenever you are around these towers with blade ice accumulation. The ice will come off eventually, and when it comes off, it can come off in big sheets and it can do serious damage".

See photo and more information about security issues.

March, 2003 - In the Journal Pioneer, in late March, it was written that Island Treasurer Pat Mella stated that renewable sources of energy are desperately needed due to the skyrocketing price of gasoline, heating oil and other fuels. But "Mella noted J.D. Irving's proposal to build as many as 40 - 300 foot tall wind turbines in Malpeque is probably not suited for that area, which boasts the highest number of tourist visits of any part of the Island during the summer months".

Expressing her personal opinion she stated that "It (Malpeque) is a beautiful area of the province" and that the "landscape would definitely not be "enhanced" by large numbers of wind turbines".

The article stated that Mella identified another problem with the Irving proposal which is "that the province wouldn't receive any green credits under the Kyoto Accord, for generating wind-based electricity, only the buyer of the green energy".  She was also quoted as saying "Kyoto credits would not come to us, they would be going to (buyers in) News Brunswick; that is a major concern."
The article did include the fact that the Irving proposal "has been met with considerable opposition by home and cottage owners in Malpeque".

March 7, 2003 - Article in Journal Pioneer : Wind power embraced by many in Malpeque Irving spokesperson says. Read our answer.

February 22, 2003 - Campaign to Preserve Malpeque ad (see the flyer) appears in the Guardian.

February 18, 2003 - As previously stated, the project remains alive and clearly we must remain vigilant opposing wind turbines in Malpeque, or any community. See the articles : Irving officials plan to meet residents over wind turbine plan (Journal Pioneer) and Summerside looks to alternative energy sources (pei.cbc.ca).

February 11, 2003 - Government/community meeting in Malpeque. The "ball is in Irving's court". The proposal is alive and may or may not require modifications to pass environmental clearance. No promises for any EIA or any other specific measure given. MLA Murphy pushing for a community/government partnership to construct 1 or 2 turbines. Community sentiment overwhelmingly opposes turbines in general in the community.

February 11, 2003 - Another Community meeting has been called by Mr. Mitch Murphy in the community of Malpeque to "comment of the government's review of the proposal and decisions being taken".

February 6, 2003 - Spoke with Mr. Ledgerwood, the compilation of the initial information for the screening of the proposal is complete. Some questions have been sent to J.D. Irving, Ltd. requesting further information and/or clarification and a copy of our critique was also sent. I asked if any of  information gleamed from this screening process or responses by J.D. Irving, Ltd. to questions posed or comments on our critique would be available to us. I was told no to anything that was posed to them by government, and as for our critique, probably not. With the exception of the proposal itself by J.D.Irving, Ltd., no information in the entire screening process, that leads to approval or rejection, is available for public scrutiny.

January 27, 2003 - Response to Journal Pioneer article of January 24.

January 24, 2003 - Article in the Journal-Pioneer suggesting the moving of the project to industrial park in Summerside (note Journal-Pioneer article entitled "Williams suggest Summerside good fit for wind turbines").

January 13, 2003 - Newspapers articles (Note article from Journal-Pioneer, (Note article in Journal-Pioneer, "Opposition building to wind turbine proposal").

January 11, 2003 - Community Meeting in Malpeque.

January 7, 2003 - Televised interview and Irving's response (Note article from P.E.I. CBC entitled "Irving to study turbine noise").

January 4, 2003 - Our interview with CBC- TV. (Note article from P.E.I. CBC entitled "Couple says wind turbines not safe").

January 3, 2003 - Submitted critique of the proposal to Mr. Sean Ledgerwood at the Department of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Environment.

December 31, 2002 - Reading of the proposal by us December 30, 2002 - Our first meeting with Mr. Sean Ledgerwood, Department of Fisheries, Aqauculture and Environment. He is responsible for the organization of the process of evaluation of this proposal before it reaches  the Minister of the Department, Mr. Chester Gillan, for approval or rejection.

December 6, 2002 - J.D.Irving, ltd. proposal submitted to the government / Department of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Environment.

November 27, 2002 - Open House in Malpeque for the J.D. Irving, Ltd. proposed wind turbine project. Map and possible location of the 45 turbines given.( See site photographs)

November 26, 2002 - Irving announcement in the paper that a meeting was to take place on Thursday, November 27, 2002.

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