Uncertain future for Ontario wind under new premier

Apparently some in the wind industry found Kathleen Wynne’s campaign “ominous”

Uncertain future for Ontario wind under new premier | Windpower Monthly:

CANADA: The future of the wind industry in Ontario looks increasingly uncertain following the election of the new leader of the province’s ruling Liberal Party.
Kathleen Wynne will succeed Dalton McGuinty as Ontario’s Premier having campaigned on, among other issues, getting greater community buy-in for wind projects before they proceed.
Wynne’ election comes just weeks after the World Trade Organisation upheld complaints from Japan, the US and the EU, and found Ontario’s local content rules under its renewable energy feed-in tariff programme were discriminatory .

Despite Wynne’s ominous campaign..

The entire article can be read at Windpower Monthly:

Coming to your Hydro Bill: An Export Subsidy and Class “A” Charge

The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) put out their press release January 11, 2013 that summarized the state of our electricity system for the year 2012. The release included statistics on where our kilowatt hours (kWh) came from, how much we consumed, how much we produced, what they cost us and how much we exported and imported. The release talks about kWh and also uses the term TWh (terrawatt hours) which is equivalent to 1 billion kWh.

During 2012 Ontario consumed 141.3 TWh, a slight decrease from 2011 when we consumed 141.5 TWh and our generators produced 151.8 TWh from various generation sources including nuclear, hydro, gas, coal, wind and other. As several articles have noted wind outproduced coal with production of 4.6 TWh versus 4.3 TWh from coal. Environmentalists cheered the news claiming a victory for what they perceive as somehow winning a race, or a gold medal, but they fail to acknowledge key aspects of their claimed right to ascend the podium. Wind production is treated special with wind granted “first to the grid” rights whereas coal is relegated to “last to the grid rights”. Coal is only called on to produce when we need it to protect the integrity of the system and avoid blackouts.  The victory is therefore a hollow one, boosted by those steroids given the developers.  Further, coal was there when we needed it, coming off the bench to stop the grid from being overwhelmed on those hot summer days when the giant blades on those turbines were just too weak to spin.  Those 4.3 TWh that coal produced cost Ontario’s ratepayers about $100 million or about 2.6 cents per kWh versus over $600 million or about 13 cents per kWh for the wind production. Coal also didn’t need to be backed up by gas generation which wind needs when it fails to produce.
Wind also has a penchant for producing when we need it least being very productive in the Spring and Fall when our peak demand is at its lowest levels. As an example in April wind has operated at 41% of its capacity but we didn’t need it. In July it produced at only 14%.  As a result of these bad habits wind production is often surplus to our demand and it or other generation must be either sold in the export market or clean hydro is spilled to protect the grid. We also steam off nuclear power (but still pay for what it might have produced) or pay those gas plants for simply sitting idle.

The IESO report noted that in 2012 Ontario exported 14.6 TWh of surplus power out of our total production of 151.8 TWh (2011 it was 149.8 TWh).  If one quickly looks at what cash that might have generated for the ratepayers of Ontario it is a simple process to calculate. The IESO press release discloses that the wholesale price for electricity averaged 2.41 cents per kWh in 2012 equivalent to $24.1 million per TWh so exports generated revenue of about $351 million. The cost of those exports averaged 7.37 cents a kWh hour or $73.70 million per TWh according to that press release. So the cost to ratepayers to produce those exports was $1.076 million meaning Ontario’s ratepayers provided subsidies of approximately $725 million. That subsidy was equal to approximately 0.5 cents per kWh and is included in the “electricity” line of our hydro bills.

In addition to the foregoing, the ratepayers of the province picked up additional costs meant to provide cheaper rates to our largest industrial users. Starting in January of 2011 consumers were divided into two classes with large industrial electricity consumers referred to as Class “A” and the rest of us as Class “B”. What this class definition did was shift 5% of the GA (Global Adjustment) costs from large industry to households and small/medium sized commercial users. While 5 % doesn’t sound like a lot it is both significant and growing. The GA is the pot into which billions of dollars accumulate and includes the excess cost of wind, solar, gas, nuclear and other long term contracts. The GA is primarily the accumulation of the additional amounts paid to the generators in excess of the wholesale price (2.41 cents per kWh in 2012). As an example if we pay a wind developer 13.5 cents a kWh, 11.09 cents per kWh found its way into the GA. In 2011 the GA was $5.310 billion and in 2012 it was $6.456 billion. So in 2012 the GA grew by $1.146 billion or about 0.8 cents per kWh and is now almost double (at 4.6 cents per kWh) the wholesale price.  If we look at the 5% the Class “B” customers picked up for 2012 it is about $320 million or 0.2 cents per kwh of total consumption.

If one couples the export support we provide of 0.5 cents per kWh with the 0.2 cents per kWh ratepayers pick up for the big industrial users it equals 0.7 cents per kWh which co-incidently is the same rate we pay for that other line on our hydro bills; the never ending “Debt Retirement Charge” (DRC) and in total added another $1 billion plus to our bills in 2012 under the “electricity” line!

Maybe its time for our local distribution companies to add an additional line to our electricity bills that highlights just how much we pay each and every month for those subsidies. There is hope that we may eventually see the dreaded DRC disappear however, there is little hope that the EAS (exports and class A subsidy) will. Looking ahead we will see it grow annually, much as it did during 2012.

Now that the Finance Minister and former Minister of Energy, Dwight Duncan has demonstrated how to make $3 billion disappear from our Provincial deficit he could perhaps find some more of that financial magic dust to rid our electricity bills of the GA which is accelerating as fast as he says the deficit is decelerating!

Parker Gallant, 

January 23, 2013

Blaming the victims of Big Wind (Curt Devlin) – WTS

Wind Turbine Syndrome | Blaming the victims of Big Wind (Curt Devlin):

Just as we blame the poor for their poverty, we seem compelled to blame the victims of Big Wind for their own illness.  Apostles of the wind industry, like Dr. Dora Mills, Dr. Robert McCunney and Australia’s Professor Simon Chapman, are only too happy to furnish the tacit explanations needed to justify blaming these victims for their own plight.  These typically include psychosomatic causes, hypochondria, delusions, and other forms of mental illness.  Interestingly, these “diagnoses” are always arrived at without benefit of examining a single patient, conducting an independent study, or even speaking with those suffering adverse health effects.
It is guilt is by reason of insanity.  In this inverted logic, the victims are to blame, not the turbines.
In some cases, we are told the illness associated with these toxic monsters is actually caused merely by the negative perceptions created when someone is ill-disposed to renewable energy—as though anyone could be against such an idea in principle.  This is the always-handy nocebo effect.

The justification for blame is particularly absurd and reprehensible because it flies in the face of a simple fact. Most of the people who become ill were actually in favor of wind energy; that is, until they gained firsthand experience of turbines spinning near their homes.
Why are so many ready to blame the victims of wind? Why so willing to receive these explanations without skepticism, without demanding the same scientific rigor demanded of wind critics? Dr. Ryan’s work is especially useful on this question. The answer is simple; it is a convenient form of social denial. People prefer blaming victims over taking responsibility for confronting the real issue.

Read Curt Devlin’s entire article at Wind Turbine Syndrome:

Cheap Canadian Imports contribute to historic low New York electricity prices

A report out of New York state notes 2012 had the lowest electricity price in years – and then speculates on the reasons of low 2012 pricing, and the cause of high rates today.

New York’s electricity prices reach historic lows – The Buzz: Business news – Capital Region business, industry news – timesunion.com – Albany NY:

The average price of wholesale electricity in New York state last year was the lowest recorded since the advent of a competitive power market 12 years ago.
The New York Independent System Operator, a nonprofit collaborative that runs the state’s wholesale electricity markets, says the average price per megawatt hour of electricity in the state was $43.23 last year, more than $5 lower than the previous low set in 2009.
Interestingly, wholesale prices in the Capital Region and all the way down to New York City and Long Island reached $150 per megawatt hour on Wednesday, which is unusual. It is possible that a problem with a transmission line could have caused the spike. The high pricing later spread all the way to the Finger Lakes.

Continue reading at The Buzz: Business news

The answer to today’s high rates is in overall demand in a number of connected markets.  Most significantly, Quebec is setting consumption/demand records today.

The anwer to the low average rates has a lot to do with low natural gas pricing – but cheap imports from Quebec and Ontario are also relevant.

Original version posted at Cold Air Currents

Sting operations reveal Mafia involvement in renewable energy

Cosa Nostra and Cosy Relationships
“Uncle Vincenzo,…for the love of our sons, renewable energy is important. . . . it’s a business we can live on.”

Sting operations reveal Mafia involvement in renewable energy – The Washington Post:

In an unfolding plot that is part “The Sopranos,” part “An Inconvenient Truth,” authorities swept across Sicily last month in the latest wave of sting operations revealing years of deep infiltration into the renewable energy sector by Italy’s rapidly modernizing crime families.
The still-emerging links of the mafia to the once-booming wind and solar sector here are raising fresh questions about the use of government subsidies to fuel a shift toward cleaner energies, with critics claiming huge state incentives created excessive profits for companies and a market bubble ripe for fraud. China-based Suntech, the world’s largest solar panel maker, last month said it would need to restate more than two years of financial results because of allegedly fake capital put up to finance new plants in Italy. The discoveries here also follow so-called “eco-corruption” cases in Spain, where a number of companies stand accused of illegally tapping state aid.

Read the entire article at The Washington Post

Wisconsin Towns Association adopts wind turbine moratorium resolution

A group on local government leaders submitted the following resolution, calling for a moratorium on industrial wind construction, to the Public Service Commission in Wisconsin as part of testimony regarding an application to construct a 41-turbine installation elsewhere in the state (source)

www.windaction.org | Wisconsin Towns Association adopts wind turbine moratorium resolution:

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Wisconsin Public Service Commission and the State of Wisconsin enact a moratorium to stop the permitting and installation of industrial wind turbines until further studies are done, solutions are found, and the State’s wind siting rule (PSC 128) is modified to implement standards that address ultra low frequency sound and infrasound from wind turbines that will protect the health and safety of residents.
Whereas, developers are in the process of attaining permits to build industrial wind farms statewide, and
Whereas, citizens living next to industrial wind turbines, including families living near Shirley Wind Farm in Denmark, Wisconsin, have made claims of suffering health issues potentially caused by low frequency noise and infrasound generated by wind turbines, and

Whereas, a report (Report #122412-1) released December 28, 2012, to the Wisconsin Public Service Commission by four acoustical consulting firms states that low frequency noise and infrasound created by wind turbines in the Shirley Wind Farm exists in some homes surrounding the wind farm, and
Whereas, the report (Report #122412-1) released on December 28m 2012 recommended additional study on an urgent priority basis, specifically:

a. A comprehensive literature search far beyond the search performed under time constraints of the initial report,
b. A retest at Shirley to determine the decay rate of ultra low frequency wind turbine sound with distance with a more portable system for measuring simultaneously at the three homes and at other locations,
c. A “Threshold of Perception” test with participating and non-participating Shirley residents…

The full resolution can be read at www.windaction.org:

Huh? Weird! Strange! Ostrander Wind Granted REA from Ministry of Natural Resources!

There it was in black and white; the Renewable Energy Approval (REA) was granted by the Ministry of Natural Resources on December 20, 2012. The autograph at the bottom indicates Vic Schroter, P. Eng., Director 47.5, Environmental Protection Act, signed off on the REA to Ostrander Point GP Inc., as general partner for and on behalf of Ostrander Point Wind Energy LP.  With the stroke of his pen Mr. Schroter, recently promoted from the position of Senior Noise Engineer, was unable to hear the noise from the 1500 people who choose to contact the Ministry with most objecting to the project. A plebiscite held in South Marysburg (where the turbines will be located) with an eligible voter turnout of 62% overwhelming (90.2%) voted against the project; but the “noise engineer” apparently was wearing earmuffs!  The ability to kill, harm and harass birds, bats, blanding turtles, whip-poor-wills, flora, fauna was granted by a bureaucrat with a title that depicted someone operating to “protect” our environment but instead choosing to allow it to be decimated.

The Ostrander Wind Energy Park is a “nothing” in respect to the Liberal plans to inundate the Ontario countryside with these giant wind turbines that cause health problems, kill birds and bats and destroy nature and produce power when we seldom need it.  Ostrander is a mere 22.5 MW project with nine 2.5 MW rated turbines. Those turbines will stand 525 feet tall and have blades with a sweep of 390 feet while they generate power.  If they operate as all the other wind turbines do they will produce enough power to provide electricity to 20,500 homes for 29 % of the time those homes will need it-just don’t switch on the lights for the other 71 % of the time. The approximately 57,000 megawatt hours (MWh) they will produce in a full year was about half of what Ontario exported over the recent weekend. On Saturday and Sunday (January 19/20, 2013) Ontario exported over 90,000 MWh which was surplus to our needs so exactly why do we need these 22.5 MW is the question in everyone’s mind; and why place them in this sensitive nature area?

The approval granted by an individual within the Ministry of the Environment whose title with the words; “Environmental Protection Act” simply signed off on the approval to erect these turbines in a extremely sensitive “environmental” area of the county, an area globally known for it’s importance as an IBA (important bird area) and that is a mecca for naturalists due to its position on a migratory pathway as well as being a home to species at risk. This home to nature is shortly to be under attack, not from hunters or foragers but from a Government approved industrial wind developer. Those of us throughout the province who admire and want to protect nature stand in disbelief at the carnage that will unfold and that is a result of the Green Energy and Economy Act (GEA) passed by the GTA centric Liberal Party.

If there was ever a “line in the sand” in respect to an REA from the Ministry of Natural Resources, thousands, perhaps millions of Ontarians felt that Ostrander would be it! Instead, those opposed to the project must of necessity and common sense line up to fight the granting of the approval in front of a environment review tribunal who have yet to overturn a single previously approved REA.

Those in the County of Prince Edward who oppose this are shaking their heads in disbelief as are million of Ontarians throughout the Province.

Our politicians now have a good reason to repeal the GEA!

Parker Gallant,
January 22, 2013

Emotions run high at wind meeting

Sweetener doesn’t appear to work
Despite throwing out a sweetener – a promise of more than $8 million in local benefits for Snowy Ridge and Settlers Landing wind projects – Sprott Power got the same chilly reception from hundreds of people who attended the meeting.
The company has promised to form a community liaison committee prior to construction, to improve community relations and so locals can be informed.
They have also pledged to contribute $8 million toward local initiatives over the 20-year life of the the projects. They said there would also be property tax revenue for the City of Kawartha Lakes and local spinoffs from construction and operations.President and CEO Jeff Jenner said each project would pump $4 million into local coffers – 60% would be spent during the construction phase, buying local services; 20% would be spent on property taxes and 20% on community programs. Jenner estimated it would mean a couple of hundred thousand dollars a year.
Jenner said they are big supporters of all of the communities they are in For example, in Amherst, Nova Scotia, he said they support the hospital and YMCA.
He said here, they would like the community liaison committee involved in where money is spent.
Asked if he thought that would change anyone’s mind in Pontypool, Jenner said “I don’t think it will sway anyone here tonight.”
That was one thing he and Ward 16 Coun. Heather Stauble could agree on.
Stauble said they first heard about this offer at the Dec. 13 meeting. However, she said the company had been “a little vague” about details.

Please read the full article at The Lindsay Post

Federal government to fund Windsor hum research

Another sound “annoyance” is being investigated more thoroughly due to federal government funding.

Federal government to fund Windsor hum research | Windsor Star:

Picture from source article

With a general idea of the “where,” pinpointing the mysterious “what” that’s causing the Windsor hum might become a reality thanks to some local research expertise and funding from the federal government.
On Monday, Bob Dechert, parliamentary secretary to Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird, came to Windsor to announce the government’s plan to fund a $60,000 research project that will help figure out what is causing the strange l0w-frequency noise that has been plaguing the city’s west end since the spring of 2011.
“We want to protect citizens’ quality of life,” Dechert said. “This study is a step in the right direction.”

Continue Reading at the Windsor Star:

Solar Power Spokesperson makes the case for NO MORE WIND!

A recent article authored for the Financial Post outlined the costs to ratepayers of renewable energy. Those costs are partly a result of the passage of the Green Energy and Economy Act by the incumbent prorogued Provincial Liberal Government. The article drew the following letter to the editor which follows in its entirety:
Letters to the Editor: Financial Post website January 21, 2013
“It’s about coal

Re: “McGuinty’s legacy,” Parker Gallant, Jan. 18

Parker Gallant criticizes the energy policies of the past 10 years on the basis that, for all the associated costs, they failed to actually increase Ontario’s total electricity generation capacity. These expenditures, however, were never intended to buy increased capacity. The part of Ontario’s power plan all political parties support is that we need to correct our supply mix, by getting out of coal.

Eliminating coal has been recommended by engineering economists of all stripes, from China to Germany, due to health and ancillary costs to taxpayers.

This province has been chronically oversupplied with electricity at night and in the winter when demand is low, but under supplied on summer days when demand peaks. The twin initiatives of eliminating coal-fired generation while embracing the peaking technology of solar represent a solid step towards bringing our supply portfolio in line with our consumption needs without further increasing our oversupply during times of low-demand. This is not just an effective way to optimize energy capacity, but a solid investment in Ontario’s economic future.

Peter Goodman, chief executive, Solar Power Network, Toronto”

As the readers will note this letter highlights the fact that the province is “chronically oversupplied with electricity at night and in the winter when demand is low, but under supplied on summer days when demand peaks.The writer attempts to make the case for “solar” as having the ability to bring “our supply portfolio in line with our consumption needs without further increasing our oversupply during times of low-demand.

What the letter writer highlights is the inference that the supply mix is wrong. Interestingly enough wind is notorious for producing power when we don’t need it-the middle of the night and during blustery winter days as the recent weekend demonstrated, when for many hours wind was producing at 80/90% of its capacity while we were exporting nearly 3,000 MWs per hour to our neighbours and in several hours paying them to take that power.

Had the author added the Spring months to his letter we would have known he was completing the annual wind cycle. By adding the fact that Ontario is “under suppliedon summer days when demand peaks.” indicated his bias towards solar and his unspoken condemnation of wind. The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) reported that in April 2012 (a low peak demand month) wind operated at 41% of its capacity but in June of 2012 wind produced electricity at only 14% of its capacity showing clearly it produces when we don’t need it and fails to produce when we do.

The remark about the reasons we are adding renewables, identified as; “getting out of coal” was referenced in the FP article and in numerous recent articles highlighting the fact that coal production in 2012 was only 4.3 Terawatts and principally was produced on those hot summer days when wind turbines were sometimes operating at less then 1% of capacity (July 9, 2012 at 12 PM wind was producing 16 MW) while coal was producing 1,822 MW. Without fossil fuel production on that particular day Ontario may have faced blackouts due to the vagaries of wind generation.

Perhaps its time for our Energy Minister to issue a directive to the Ontario Power Authority instructing them to curtail the signing of any more wind contracts and to cancel any that have yet to receive transmission approvals from Hydro One and/or licences to kill harm and harass birds and bats from the Ministry of Natural Resources!

Parker Gallant,
January 21, 2013