Ontario today: spaghetti supper fundraisers vs jetset hotshots

Two events occurring over the last week are emblematic to us of the reality that is Ontario today: the most recent fundraiser dinner held by Mothers Against Wind Turbines, where friends and neighbours gather for food and laughter and to raise money for the fight to protect their community, and the Toronto gathering of the Green Energy bluebloods, full of self-congratulation.
  Sorry, we have no photos of what a bankrupt province looks like, which also made the news in the last week.

Donated centrepiece at MAWT fundraiser                                                                                                                      

Wind power costs: NOT the most cost-effective

Here from the Energy Collective, a more “realistic” view of the costs of developing power from wind.

Wind Energy Costs

Various promoters maintain the cost of wind energy is competitive with other sources of energy. As shown below, this is not the case. They often point to power purchase agreements, PPAs, between wind turbine owners and utilities to sell at 5 to 6 c/kWh as proof of market price parity.
However, costs are not the same as prices. Energy costs have to do with the unsubsidized cost of producting energy. Pricing that energy is greatly influenced by the level of subsidies. If that were not the case, wind turbine owners would not be fighting so hard for various subsidies, such as extending the 2.3 c/kWh production tax credit; its pre-tax value is about 3.4 c/kWh, depending on tax rates. This credit is not trivial, as the US average grid price is about 5 c/kWh.
The EIA calculates the levelized cost of NEW onshore wind turbine plants place in service in 2018, capacity factor 0.34, 30-yr life, at $86.6/MWh, including transmission of $3.2/MWh. These costs include various subsidies not available, or partially available, to other sources of energy. As a result, comparison with other energy sources becomes partially invalid.
NOTE: CFs of 0.34, and greater, are obtainable only in windy areas, such as west of Chicago, and offshore. Elsewhere, CFs are significantly less, based on published wind turbine production data from various areas in the world. See URL.
Assuming a realistic 20-year life of a wind turbine increases the levelized cost to $93/MWh. 
After backing out the effect of accelerated depreciation for wind turbine plants, the levelized cost increases to $101/MWh.
Adding the cost of increased frequency of start/stop operation, AND keeping gas and coal plants available in cold standby or synchronous standby mode (in case of too little wind to turn the rotors, i.e., about 7.5 mph), AND operating more hours in inefficient, part-load-ramping mode (extra Btu/kWh, extra CO2/kWh) to balance the variable wind energy, is $17/MWh for natural gas, $55/MWh for coal. 
Extra balancing NG adds $6.00/MWh, extra balancing coal adds $9.00/MWh 
Transmission system investments to get wind energy to the grid adds $27/MWh. 
Thus, the total levelized cost of wind energy averages $151/MWh with NG back-up/balancing and $192/MWh with coal back-up/balancing. 
Read the full posting here.

Dufferin County to Ontario: you have to listen to the people

As we know, Dufferin County recently passed a Not A Willing Host motion. Here from today’s Brampton Guardian, a report and interviews.

No more wind turbines, county tells province

Wind turbines

Bill Tremblay

Dufferin Wind Power Inc. doesn’t expect that its wind farm will be up and running by its commercial start deadline on Jan. 30, 2014.

Orangeville Banner

Wind farm developers should look elsewhere than Dufferin, according to a motion passed by county council.
On Nov. 14, council approved a motion declaring Dufferin County as an unwilling host for any future industrial wind farm development.
Although the Green Energy Act prohibits municipal councils from actually denying wind farms from setting up, Melancthon Mayor Bill Hill said the motion aims to dissuade such development.
“It will send a message that Dufferin County is tired of the Green Energy Act,” Hill said, who moved the motion.
Amaranth, Melancthon, Mulmur and Grand Valley have all approved similar motions announcing their request that wind farm developers find another home.
Hill said more than 90 municipalities have approved similar motions.
“We’re one of many. We may be the first county that’s done it and we don’t mind being leaders,” Hill said.
Will the motion hold any weight at Queen’s Park?
“Based on what I’ve seen so far, regarding the province and the Green Energy Act, no,” Hill said. “But  at least they should get the message that we’re serious about what we’re saying.”

Read the full story here.

3 wind power projects posted for comment

Robert Bryce: “wind power brought to justice”

Writing in The Wall Street Journal today, Power Hungry author and energy analyst Robert Bryce details the human and environmental costs of wind power, and wonders if this is ominous for the subsidies going to this industry.


Wind Power Is Brought to Justice


Nov. 28, 2013 4:46 p.m. ET
The Justice Department announced late last week that a subsidiary of Duke Energy DUK -0.06% has agreed to pay $1 million for killing golden eagles and other federally protected birds at two of the company’s wind projects in Wyoming. The guilty plea was a long-overdue victory for the rule of law and a sign that green energy might be going out of vogue.
As Justice noted in its news release, this is the first time a case has been brought against a wind company for violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The 1918 law makes it a federal crime to kill any bird of more than 1,000 different species. Over the past few decades, federal authorities have brought hundreds of cases against oil and gas companies for killing birds, while the wind industry has enjoyed a de facto exemption. By bringing criminal charges against Duke for killing 14 golden eagles and 149 other protected birds, Justice has ended the legal double standard on enforcement.
While it is heartening to see the Obama administration finally following the law, Justice’s decision might also indicate that the green bubble is about to burst.
A golden eagle flies over a wind turbine on Duke Energy’s wind farm in Converse County, Wyo. Associated Press
Consider data from the American Wind Energy Association, an industry group. In 2012, when federal subsidies were flowing, wind companies installed a record 13,131 megawatts of new capacity—about 6,500 turbines. But installations have tanked this year amid uncertainty over the extension of the federal production tax credit, which offers companies a hefty 2.3 cent per kilowatt-hour subsidy. During the first three quarters of 2013, the domestic wind industry installed a mere 70.6 megawatts of new capacity. Wind-industry lobbyists are desperately trying to get the production tax credit extended again before it expires at the end of the year. The Duke case won’t endear them to the public.
The renewable-energy craze may also lose its lustre as the public discovers how expensive “green jobs” are. Texas is the top wind-energy state in the nation. But in January Texas Comptroller Susan Combs reported that each wind-related job in the Lone Star State is costing taxpayers $1.75 million.

There is also a public backlash against ruining scenic countryside with giant wind turbines. The outrage spans from the United Kingdom to Wisconsin.

Read the full story here.

Lambton County votes to participate in Environmental Review Tribunal

From the Sarnia Observer, this report on yesterday’s ground-breaking vote at Lambton County Council.

Lambton County will spend $20,000 to join legal battle before Ontario’s Environmental Review Tribunal

By Barbara Simpson, Sarnia Observer

In a potentially precedent-setting move, Lambton County council will financially back a legal battle before Ontario’s Environmental Review Tribunal in an attempt to halt wind turbine construction.
After months of debate and staff reports, county politicians narrowly voted 17-16 Wednesday in favour of spending $20,000 to become a presenter in Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) cases involving Huron County families who are challenging further wind development near their homes.
Local anti-wind activists, who packed county council chambers Wednesday, erupted with applause after the recorded vote was tallied.
“I’m still in shock,” said Elizabeth Bellavance, of We’re Against Industrial Turbines Plympton-Wyoming (WAIT-PW). “I can’t believe we got it.”
Fellow WAIT-PW member David Bartlett said he wasn’t sure where the group’s request stood after months of debate around the council table.
“When I reflected back on the proceedings of the past council meeting, I didn’t think we had much chance,” he said.
Members of WAIT-PW had initially asked council to become involved in a civil case concerning a Goderich-based family and one wind turbine developer. However, they refined their request to ask for council’s support in front of the Environmental Review Tribunal.
That means council will now be able to state their concerns about the health impacts of wind turbines to the tribunal — the body responsible for wind turbine appeals from landowners.
It isn’t clear yet who will represent council at the proceedings.
County councillors remained divided Wednesday on whether taxpayer money should be spent on a case outside its jurisdiction.
While the county may benefit from a ruling, county solicitor David Cribbs said the specific tribunal decision wouldn’t likely halt wind development across Ontario.
“It’s more likely, I think, that a decision by the ERT would hold itself to the cases before it,” he said.
He also remained skeptical that $20,000 will cover the application process and lawyer’s fees.
“I don’t think $20,000 is going to bring us through the ERT,” Cribbs said.
Toronto lawyer Julian Falconer, who provided the estimate, currently represents three cases before the tribunal.
The county may also be out of time to apply to list its health-related concerns to the tribunal as a presenter, Cribbs said.
Proceedings have already begun in two of the three cases.
If the time to apply has elapsed, county council would instead give $20,000 to anti-wind turbine groups involved in the process.
Bellavance believes the county has a shot at still becoming involved in the cases.
Members of WAIT-PW successfully became presenters on one of the ERT cases late in the game, she said.
“The chance is there.”
But expect resistance from the Ministry of the Environment and wind companies involved in the proceedings, she said.
“They will attempt to keep the county out.”
Bellavance credited the work of supporters who sent emails and placed calls to county councillors before Wednesday’s vote.
She believes council’s decision may inspire other Ontario municipalities to become involved at tribunal hearings.
“Lambton County is showing leadership on this issue,” she said.
Plympton-Wyoming Mayor Lonny Napper also served a notice of motion to label Lambton County an unwilling host of wind turbines. The motion will come up for further discussion in the new year.

Energy Minister blames the victims: says rising power bills are consumer responsibility

Our plan is to blame YOU

We predicted that Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli, when this week he announced he would have an announcement, would come up with something that would cost us all more money. We knew he would probably try to blame Ontario power consumers for their own increasing electricity bills, but we didn’t think he would be quite so insulting about it.
  Here is a story from the Toronto Star on Chiarelli’s announcement of a new website called emPOWERme.  Not sure how the seniors and the people on fixed incomes who are now turning off heat, lights and everything else are supposed to get to that but the message is clear: got high electricity bills? It’s YOUR fault.
  Comments from people like Jatim Nathwani of the University of Waterloo or Tom Adams about the province’s complete lack of appropriate planning and unresearched headlong rush into “green” power don’t seem to be having any effect.

Control your own hydro bill, says Energy Minister 

By: Business reporter, Toronto Star, Published on Wed Nov 27 2013

If you don’t like your hydro bill, then it’s up to you to do something about it.
Energy minister Bob Chiarelli didn’t quite put it in those terms Wednesday. But it’s clear that consumers will be expected to take a more active role in managing their own bills in future, by choosing how much power they use, and when.
They’ll have to manage consumption, because they can’t expect lower prices, Chiarelli said bluntly, in a theme that will be central to the province’s updated long term energy plan, due to be released Monday.
“There is no government that’s going to commit, or be able to honour a commitment, to reduce rates from where they are now. It’s just a fact of life,” Chiarelli said.
“What we are doing is taking very significant steps to allow people to better control their consumption, and other factors that allow them to impact on their rates.”

Read the full story Here.

Parker Gallant: do we need a trust fund for Liberal moving expenses?

November 27, 2013

The Honourable Bob Chiarelli, Minister of Energy,
Dear Minister:
I don’t mean to be a pain in the you know where, but I have sent you four letters and so far you haven’t responded to any of them. I know you are busy (I saw a picture of you with Premier Wynne and Al Gore) but I sure would like to know how my ideas are going over.
My letters to you were asking for something that your Ministry has already done for lots of other folks from other countries or other provinces so I didn’t think you would have a problem with what I was looking for but I haven’t got anything at all from you. Your constituency office told me that I should send everything to write2us@ontario.ca,which sure didn’t seem too personal so I became upset.
Because I was upset by your lack of response, I wrote an article about how we are exporting electricity to NY and Michigan and losing money. As I wrote it I thought, hey, if we are losing money exporting, why hasn’t he told me that I could be paid for NOT producing electricity so that the money we are losing would stay in Ontario?
I may have offended you as I summed up my really short article with something that you and some other Liberals might find kind of nasty. It was a little rash but what I suggested is that maybe “Ontarians should seriously look at exporting our Liberal politicians. I think many in the province would even pay those jurisdictions to take them off our hands.” Maybe I shouldn’t have been so nasty if you are going to allow me to NOT produce wind or solar generation and pay me for that. If you decide to pay me for NOT producing I promise, I will write a nice article retracting what I said.
I didn’t expect the reaction I got to that last remark—I am getting e-mails from people who want to contribute to the cost of exporting you and most of the other Liberals. I only suggested NY or Michigan and now I am sorry I didn’t mention Florida where it is warmer (maybe climate change), and where I also hear their electricity rates are lower. Does Florida have more appeal to you?
In any event, I am now concerned that I may have to set up a trust account for the donations, but I only will do that if you think that it is a good idea. Maybe I should set up a charity or a not for profit as I could probably get a grant from the Trillium Foundation; I could at least rent you a real nice RV so your family would be able to ride in style.
Please let me know what you would like me to do soon, as I am busy responding to the people who want to donate to move you out of Ontario.
Looking forward to hearing from you.
Yours truly,
Parker Gallant

The opinions expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily Wind Concerns Ontario policy.

Gunn’s Hill opponents ready with legal action

Wind farm opponents ready $28M lawsuit

By Tara Bowie, Woodstock Sentinel-Review

NORWICH TOWNSHIP – The group against the Gunn’s Hill wind turbine project want potential investors to know if the wind farm goes forward legal action will be taken.
The East Oxford Community Alliance’s lawyer Eric Gillespie issued a press release Tuesday stating a draft $28-million legal claim was forwarded to Prowind Canada Inc., Gunn’s Hill Windfarm Inc. and landowners that are leasing land to the developer.
“The $28 million figure reflects the losses that could potentially be incurred by residents so it is a calculated amount based on the value of their properties and what they could lose,” Eric Gillespie, a Toronto-based environmental lawyer said.
Gillespie is working on multiple cases involving wind turbine farms across Ontario.
He recently filed a similar lawsuit for neighbours located near the site of a proposed wind turbine in the Creemore area. That lawsuit was dismissed by the court without prejudice because the project had not yet received the final approval from the Ministry of the Environment.
Gillespie said if Prowind receives a Renewable Energy Approval (REA) from the MOE the suit will be filed.
“We advised the defendants (Prowind) of the advance claim coming and offered them an opportunity to discuss things but we haven’t heard from them yet,” Gillespie said.
Joan Morris, East Oxford Community Alliance member said the group has worked with Gillespie’s office for about the last four years. The group hoped legal action wouldn’t be necessary to stop the project.
“Norwich Township has declared itself an unwilling host. Over the last five years we have made our views known. We feel this is the only way at this point that we may be able to protect our homes, agricultural businesses, livestock and our family’s health.”
Juan Anderson, Prowind project manager overseeing the 25-megawatt wind turbine said the company received the advance claim and is currently reviewing it.
“Unfortunately there is not a whole lot I can say publically around these kinds of things,” he said. “There has been a case similar a claim in April that has been dismissed. I see this as being very similar.”
Editor’s note: Mr Anderson is not quite correct, and may even be misleading. He  is probably referring to Wiggins et al, which was not “thrown out” but rather, the Ontario Superior Court judge ruled that the action could only be brought after the project received Renewable Energy Approval. The Gunn’s Hill application has been filed and is being screened for completeness; IF approval is granted, the legal action may commence.

Green energy cooperatives: the latest corporate gambit

A day after a citizens’ group announced it is suing Prowind Canada and the Gunn’s Hill wind power project for $28 million, based on lost property value and potential negative health effects, comes the news that a cooperative is backing the wind power project, and seeking investors.

Tuesday, November 26th 2013 05:30

New Oxford Community Energy Co-Operative is seeing green

Creating green energy while creating some green for your wallet.
That’s the dual-purpose goal* of the Oxford Community Energy Cooperative.
They’re currently looking for new investors who are also interested in joining the renewable energy movement.
The first investment of the co-op will be a 49% stake in the Gunn’s Hill Wind Farm project in Norwich.
President of the Co-op Helmut Schneider tells Heart FM, “People will have the opportunity after the offering statement has been submitted to the Financial Service Commissioner of Ontario to invest in the project, and own part of the project.  The limit is set by your own comfort level.  We do have a goal of raising 49% of the equity of the project.  We’re looking or approximately $10-million, but not only from Oxford County, that’s going Ontario-wide.  But anybody from Oxford County that becomes a member of the co-op can invest in the co-op.”
Schneider says it’s too early to say what the projected return will be on the investment.  He says they’ll be looking at other investments in the future as well including solar installations and biomass.
Renewable energy co-ops are a growing trend in Ontario, with nearly 100 of them established in the last 5-years.
If you’re interested, there is an information night on Thursday at the Tillsonburg Library from 6:30-8PM.  You can also contact Co-Op Secretary, Christine Koenig 647-497-5480.
Editor’s note: the unspoken third goal is to pretend that the cooperative means community support for the wind project.