Wind Concerns Ontario is a province-wide advocacy organization whose mission is to provide information on the potential impact of industrial-scale wind power generation on the economy, human health, and the natural environment.
February 24th another banner day for exports, losses
The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) seems to think that what we lost a year ago can be made up in volume. Take the example of February 24, 2014 compared to February 24, 2015.
On February 24, 2014, Ontario exported 32,328 MWh of electricity which generated revenue of $1,932,250 at an average HOEP (hourly Ontario energy price) of $59.77/MWh. The cost of production that day to Ontario’s ratepayers averaged $95.10/MWh, meaning a loss of $1,142,142 was absorbed by Ontario’s benevolent electricity ratepayers.
One year later, on February 24, 2015, Ontario exported 112,968 MWh of power, producing $7,010,794 of revenue at an average HOEP of $62.06/MWh. The cost of that production is not yet firm but if we take the weighted HOEP average for the week of February 11 to 17th of $$41.40 and add it to the IESO forecast for the February 2015 GA (Global Adjustment), the cost of those exports (without factoring in constrained power, spilled hydro, steamed-off nuclear or payments to gas plant generators) to Ontario’s ratepayers will be $12,449,074 that is a loss of $5,438,280, and a cost to Ontario’s ratepayers.
To make matters worse, the wind was howling that day, producing 60,147 MWh or more than 53% of our export volume. Total exports of 113,000 MWh represented 24.7 % of Ontario’s total demand. The wind power production, at an average cost of $123.50 per/MWh, set the ratepayers back $7.4 million— the bulk (59%) of total export costs.
And now, not satisfied with burden Ontario’s electricity customers (that would be you and me) with the increasing costs of exporting surplus power, a proposal has been brought forward to increase our ability to export even more power at a loss, via the ITC Lake Erie Connector, a 1,000-MW high voltage connection to Pennsylvania.
Energy Minister Chiarelli is either the fox in the hen-house or he has let the fox in! Time to stop the madness and bring some relief to Ontario’s ratepayers.
It seems like the judicial landscape in the fight to protect homes and communities from the invasion of unwanted (and frankly, unnecessary) wind power projects is characterized by defeat after defeat.
This is not true.
In fact, the fight against utility-scale wind power developments is evolving. The community group Safe Wind Energy for All Residents (SWEAR) has produced an update for its supporters (of whom WCO is one) following the recent Drennan et al decision. Well worth a read.
The Ontario government has expanded its program of deepening the urban-rural divide, and its campaign to destroy the social fabric in Ontario’s rural/small town communities, and is now encouraging dissent and argument among First Nations.
Here is a news story from today about the first public meeting in the North Bay area concerning the Mattawa wind power project (the new procurement process hasn’t begun yet, but when public meetings and community engagement are a complete sham, why wait?). Note that First Nations leaders are critical of an Algonquin First Nation that has signed up as a “partner” in the venture, despite unresolved land claims and the position of other Algonquin communities.
Proposed Mattawa wind farm opposed by locals
Monday, February 23, 2015 by: Liam Berti
A capacity crowd filled the Mattawa Senior Citizens Club for the first Innergex industrial wind farm public consultation meeting on Monday night, where local opposition parties took to the microphone to voice their displeasure with the proposal. PHOTO BY LIAM BERTI
Can you feel the wind of change?
When it comes to the proposed industrial wind turbine farm for the Mattawa area, many concerned residents cannot.
Innergex Renewable Energy, the Quebec-based company proposing the industrial turbine system, held a public consultation meeting at the Mattawa Senior Citizens Club on Monday night, where a capacity crowd seemed to vehemently oppose what is being put forward. With Innergex project developers on hand and multiple displays outlining the company’s plans, local representatives took to the microphone and rallied the hundreds in attendance.
The Nodinosi Project, which translates into “spirit of the wind” in the Algonquin language, calls for the installation of 50-60 wind turbines on Crown Land in the Olrig and Mattawan Townships just North of the Mattawa River. Those turbines, expected to range anywhere between 80-120 metres in height, are anticipated to have the capacity of 150 megawatts.
But the development has catalyzed a strong reaction from local opposition, including the First Nations, the Lake Talon Conservation Association (LTCA), and many area residents. Innergex has promoted the project in partnership with the Algonquins of Pikwàkanagàn First Nation, who are situated over 200 kilometres from the proposed project site, near Pembroke, Ont.
But the two First Nations who would be directly impacted by the turbines have not been consulted by the developers and have publicly stated their disapproval of the proposal.
“We firmly oppose this project, the company involved and the Algonquin group who are willing to sell out the local Algonquins to fill their own greedy ambitions,” said Davie Joanisse of the Antoine First Nation. “We will use every means available to stop this project. That includes protests and blockades.”
Joanisse also referenced the Algonquin Land Claim agreement-in-principle, questioning the provincial government’s audacity to jeopardize their investment in the process to date.
He also challenged the integrity of the Algonquins of Pikwàkanagàn First Nation for their presence in the partnership with Innergex.
“This is a shameful and despicable act against the Algonquins in this area,” said Joanisse.
“They are destroying everything we have worked towards for the last 20 years negotiating,” he added. “They are willing to accept money in exchange for destroying our vision as communities in this area for us and our children.”
He also touched on just how important that land is for hunting grounds and sharing with other tourists and locals.
“If this project is allowed to proceed, there will be major impacts to the local tourism industry and our communities,” he explained. “The temporary jobs, the noise, the sight of windmills, the destruction of land, the implications to people and wildlife, the implications to our existing way of life, and all the financial benefits going to the company and its partner are all good sound reasons for us to reject this proposal.”
The Lake Talon Conservation Association (LTCA) also raised concern for preserving the rich history of the Mattawa River system, which was recognized as a Canadian Heritage River by the Government of Canada in 1988 for its historical significance.
Within that surrounding area, they said the Innergex project would wreak havoc on the wildlife and threaten the longstanding historical presence that the area has.
But they also questioned the choice of location, citing the comparatively low wind intensity in the area as a suspicious decision.
As far as the LTCA is concerned, the developers are being told by the Provincial Government to focus on Crown Lands and unorganized townships in order to limit the resistance and local government opposition.
The Conservation Association also brought attention to the overall declining electricity demand, the protection of Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park, and the negative impact on snowmobiling and ATVing in the area.
“This isn’t the place or the time,” said Brian Baker, the Association’s communications officer. “We question the need; there’s just no proven need for more energy capacity here. It’s been on the decline for years and the government is spending over $100 million in January alone to sell its surplus of energy.”
Other residents with a vested interest in the area raised concern for the visual pollution of the turbines, the various health hazards associated with the low frequency sounds they emit, and the adverse impact on the area’s tourism, among a list of others.
Innergex currently operates 26 run-of-river power plants, six wind farms and one solar farm throughout North America.
François Morin, senior advisor of public affairs for Innergex, was on hand for the public consultation to address the public concerns, of which he said there were no surprises.
He also took to the microphone to reassure everyone that the project is still in its infancy and that Monday night was merely the first step in what he hopes will be a productive dialogue process with the public.
“Tonight is a success because people got out of their home, came here and gave us their feedback,” said Morin. “Now, it’s our job to take that feedback to improve our project, maybe propose solutions, and continue the dialogue that we started tonight.
“It’s a tough job to do, but it’s our job to restore that trust and engage in an efficient, open dialogue with them,” he added.
Morin said if the project moves ahead as planned, the earliest they expect to see construction begin is 2019.
If you thought that putting utility-scale wind power projects near Ontario’s small airports and even a skydiving school was not very smart (but got approved anyway), wait til you read this news: a wind power developer is proposing a wind “farm” on Crownland near North Bay, where there is not only an international airport but also a NORAD base.
The Mayor is going to meet with Ontario Environment Minister Glen Murray, who has already mislead the Legislature by saying aviation safety is completely out of his hands.
Note that the first public meeting on the project is being held tonight, despite the fact that Ontario’s new large-scale renewable power process doesn’t begin until March 2nd.
North Bay is opposing a wind farm proposal north of the city due to its proximity to Jack Garland Airport.
Mayor Al McDonald, who’s scheduled to meet Tuesday with Ontario’s Environment Minister, Glen Murray, said he will be requesting that the province deny Innergex Renewable Energy Inc.’s proposal for a wind farm on Crown Land in the unorganized Merrick Township.
McDonald said the wind farm, which is separate from a proposed project in Mattawan Township, would fall within a 15-kilometer radius of Jack Garland Airport, reducing safety for all aircraft using the facility.
He said the city needs to protect the airport equipment and flight paths, noting the wind farm may also jeopardize the city’s efforts to attract new space and aerospace firms to its industrial business park.
The mayor pointed to the multi-million-dollar investment to resurface the airport’s 10,000-foot runway and develop its industrial business park, suggesting the wind farm proposal council be a barrier to the city’s economic development efforts.
He noted open air space was one of the factors Swiss Space Systems (S3), which plans to test and launch sub-orbital satellites in the city, selected North Bay.
“We have invested a lot of money up there,” said McDonald, noting the city recently learned of the proposal. “There could be a significant impact to the city.”
Innergex spokesman Francois Morin could not be reached Friday for comment about the project or its status.
The Quebec-based firm is also looking to build wind farm in the Mattawa area comprised of as many as 60 turbines with an anticipated capacity of 150 megawatts. Referred to as the Nodinosi Wind Project, the proposal involves a partnership between Innergex and the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation.
A public meeting regarding the project will be held Monday at the Mattawa Senior Citizens Club from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m.
McDonald is meeting with Murray during the combined Rural Ontario Municipal Association and Ontario Good Roads conference in Toronto, which runs from Sunday until Wednesday.
The mayor will also be meeting with Natural Resources Minister Bill Mauro during the conference about the possibility of locating an MNR fire management headquarters at the airport industrial park. In addition, he will discuss the Ontario North land Transportation Commission with Northern Development Minister Michael Gravelle; and the proposed Cassellholme redevelopment with health ministry officials.
Recommendations from the recent Committee Report on the cancellation (and billion-dollar expense) of two natural gas power generation plants contains some interesting recommendations, as Parker Gallant points out in a recent post on the Energy Probe website.
The government, however, is continuing on its course of installing power plants in communities regardless of whether they want (or need them).
Here are the recommendations as they relate to wind power projects in Ontario:
1.Communities across Ontario should be engaged in energy planning,
which can no longer be left exclusively to provincial agencies and
proponents. Regional energy plans should be mandatory and cover the whole province.
2.The Ontario Government and agencies must consult with local authorities on large-scale energy planning matters.
3.Engagement should begin at the earliest stages of planning processes
and include official representation of municipalities, First Nations and
4.Multiple opportunities for engagement should be encouraged to ensure awareness of and involvement with planning for our energy future
A lot of talk about “community engagement” and “consultation” but the fact is, draft content of the new Large Renewable Procurement Request for Proposal process shows that nothing has changed: if the government and Big Wind decided you are going to get a huge wind power generation project, then you’re going to get one.
“Consult with” local municipalities does not mean the municipalities get to say “no.”
“Multiple opportunities for engagement”–the new process allowed for several public meetings but then Big Wind complained—now the requirement for public meetings pertaining to utility-scale wind power projects is down to ONE.
The report also includes this quote from Premier Kathleen Wynne (our emphasis):
The Committee agrees with Premier Kathleen Wynne’s testimony that a new siting process is needed. On April 30, 2013, the Premier stated: The siting of these two plants failed to take into account the views of the community. Despite expert advice, despite an open procurement process and all the decision points along the way, the overall process failed. I have been very clear that I regret that we didn’t have a different process in place.
A new siting process is needed, alright—but we’re not going to get one, as Ontario launches its new procurement process on March 2, for high-impact, low-benefit, invasive, utility-scale wind power and power Ontario doesn’t need. And for which no cost-benefit analysis has ever been done.
In a letter to the Globe and Mail this weekend, president of the Society of Professional Engineers Dr Michael Ivanco wrote to dispute an earlier article that claimed, as the Ontario government does, wind turbines replaced nasty coal-fired power generation in Ontario.
Absolutely wrong, Dr Ivanco says.
Here is his letter (the Globe didn’t see fit to put it online).
Nuclear power slayed coal dragon
Letters to the Globe and Mail, February 21
Re: When it comes to coal, Alberta should follow Ontario’s lead (Feb. 16). Readers could be forgiven if, after reading this article, they wrongfully concluded that Ontario slayed the coal dragon by replacing that nasty fossil fuel coal with wind turbines as well as natural gas.
The reality is that the single largest reason Ontario was able to shut down its coal plants was the return to service of two Bruce Power nuclear units. And despite the costly refurbishment of these units, they still deliver electricity to the grid approximately 25 percent cheaper than the average price, despite the authors’ suggestion that the power is expensive.
Because the costs of nuclear generation are front-loaded, they will continue to supply cheap and carbon-free electricity for another two decades.
Dr Michael Ivanco
President, Society of Professional Engineers and Associates
Ontario’s neighbours are once again thanking the electricity customers of Ontario for their generosity and giving spirit, as demonstrated in January 2015. What a nice way to start the New Year, getting all that cheap electricity generated by their Ontario neighbours!
In January Ontario exported 2,043,768 megawatts (MWh) and for an average price of $29.55 per/MWh while Ontario electricity customers picked up the additional costs of the Global Adjustment pot of $50.68 per MWh.
The sale of that surplus (enough to supply about 2.5 million Ontario homes with power for the whole month) represented 15.6% of Ontario’s total demand. It resulted $58.5 million in revenue but cost Ontario electricity ratepayers $164 million. That means all Ontario’s electricity customers reached into theirpockets to make sure that wind and solar power developers like Florida-based NextEra, Enbridge and Germany-based wpd Canada, and others were fully compensated for all the power they generated (or didn’t generate) and was probably exported.
The $106.5 million extra that Ontario’s kindly ratepayers paid in January was about $25 for each ratepayer so it will hardly be missed unless you are a senior on a fixed income, living at the poverty line, have a family to feed, or are disabled.
So, Ontario ratepayers, do you think we can keep this up for the full year?
A bid by an area group to stop the construction of a wind turbine facility southwest of Peterborough has failed.
Ontario’s Environmental Review Tribunal ruled Thursday that the appeal by Manvers Wind Concerns and Cham Shan Temple to stop the planned wind farm would not go forward.
In a 207-page written ruling, the tribunal stated that concerns raised about the facility were not enough to stop its development.
“In summary, the tribunal finds that the evidence does not demonstrate that the project will cause serious and irreversible harm to plant life, animal life or the natural environment of the traditional lands of the First Nations participants,” the ruling states, rejecting the complainants’ arguments.
Sumac Ridge Wind Inc. was granted a licence to operates a Class 4 wind facility at 801 Ballyduff Rd., Pontypool in 2012. The project is to have five turbines, with access roads, cabling and a switching station.
The appeal was filed in 2013.
Wind developer ‘pleased’
“We’re obviously pleased with the decision from the ERT,” stated Ian MacRae, president of wpd Canada, the company behind the project. “Sumac Ridge has gone through months of review and scrutiny, both through the Ministry of Environment approval process and the ERT appeal.”
The tribunal heard evidence at hearings in Pontypool, Curve Lake and Toronto on several days over the past few months – Nov. 17-20 and 24, Dec. 2-5, 9-12 and 19, and Jan. 5 and 23.
Other participants in the process included Cransley Home Farm Ltd., Hiawatha First Nation, Curve Lake First Nation, the City of Kawartha Lakes and the Save the Oak Ridges Moraine Coalition.
These opponents to the plan claimed the project would cause harm to human health, plants, animals and the environment.
Diane Chen of Cham Shan Temple told the tribunal that the wind farm would affect the under-construction temple on Ski Hill Rd. The Buddhist temple is intended to be a major tourism draw for the region once constructed, but the wind farm would lead to distraction as visitors try to meditate, she said.
The tribunal also heard from other experts who talked about the impact of the facility on groundwater and natural wildlife habitats. However, the tribunal rejected those concerns.
“While raising an important concern that the “balance of life” would be disrupted, the participants did not provide any specifics about how this would occur because of the project,” the ruling states. “Their testimony was sincere and heartfelt, but it does not constitute evidence demonstrating that the project will cause the harm they allege.”
MacRae said the project, which is expected to generate 26,497,200 kWh, will now go ahead.
The documentary film Down Wind is now available for viewing online at no charge. Ontario Wind Resistance has posted a link to the film.
If you haven’t seen it, now is your chance—former Sun News journalist Rebecca Thompson hosts the film she created, and supplies lots of little-known facts about links between the Ontario Liberal Party and Big Wind.
Interviews are featured with lawyers Eric Gillespie and Julian Falconer, economics prof Ross McKitrick, Ontario residents living with wind turbines, and Wind Concerns Ontario president, Jane Wilson.
On this, Family Day for 2015, let’s look at the enormity of the subsidies being given to various groups and agencies, to support Ontario’s political agenda.
The job of delivering subsidies does not belong just to the Ministry of Energy, but also the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, the Ministry of Research and Innovation, and the Ministry of Economic Development Employment and Infrastructure. Premier Wynne wrote “Mandate letters” September 25, 2014 to those ministries.
To Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development Employment and Infrastructure: “Developing strategies for key-growth sectors, such as advanced manufacturing and automotive, agri-food, cleantech”. And, “ensure that public infrastructure investments encourage the adoption of approaches that maximize the value of our infrastructure dollars and minimize the long-term cost of maintaining infrastructure assets — including ensuring resiliency to the impact of climate change.”
To the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Glen Murray: “You will also work with industry, stakeholders and the public to achieve compliance with environmental standards and you will establish a new long-term climate change strategy.”
To the Minister of Research and Innovation Dr. Reza Moridi: “You will focus on sectors with a strong culture of innovation, such as life sciences, advanced manufacturing, cleantech…”
To the Minister of Energy, Bob Chiarelli: “Continuing to help Ontarians by addressing the challenges they face from increasing electricity costs. You will continue to look for savings and efficiencies that will help keep electricity costs affordable for residential consumers.”
Minister Chiarelli has the toughest challenge and so far has failed miserably to achieve any “savings and efficiencies.” He instead informed us rates will rise 33% in the next three years. Keeping electricity costs affordable will be impossible as the Premier’s letter also instructshim to: “Continuing to lead our government’s commitment to renewable energy, with the aim of having 20,000 megawatts of renewable energy online by 2025. You will continue to monitor progress toward targets for wind, solar, bioenergy and hydroelectricity as part of Ontario energy reporting.”
As noted in previous articles, the money handed out to create our current electricity system has benefited a few, via lucrative 20-year contracts while driving our electricity prices ever higher. Those agencies, charities and cadre of “Ontario’s Network of Entrepreneurs” have proven adept at using taxpayer and ratepayer dollars.
What the Liberal Ministers tell us about spending our tax and ratepayer dollars
The Results-based Plan Briefing Book issued by the Ministry of Research and Innovation and the Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Employment for the 2012-1013 year is 39 pages of interesting content.
For example, the statement on the Strategic Jobs and Investment Fund: “The Fund provides flexible strategic investment support for business so that Ontario can successfully compete against other jurisdictions to attract investments in leading edge priority sectors including clean/green technologies” and, “The Strategic Jobs and Investment Fund announced support of $40 million ($29 million in grants and $11 million in loans) to support total industry investment of over $500 million and more than 800 highly skilled jobs.” In other words, Minister Moridi suggests each job created cost $625,000?
Then there is the charitysinkhole that is MaRS Discovery District, the favourite child of the Liberal government: “Open for Business entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with MaRS to send social policy ‘problems’ to the Solutions Lab.”
Another MaRS tribute was announced by Chris Bentley when Minister of Energy: “In partnership with MaRS, the government is developing a comprehensive plan for the Clean Energy Institute.” Now called the “Advanced Energy Centre” it initially received $500K from the Energy Ministry. The three partners of the centre are Capgemini (holding a lucrative multi-million dollar contract from Hydro One for customer service), Siemens (benefiting from major Ontario wind turbine contracts) and OPG. It is unclear how much this “Advanced Energy Centre” is currently costing ratepayers.
The following claim from the Briefing Book sums up how the two Ministries view their contribution to the Province. They don’t mention the Province’s fall into “have not” status and fail to give taxpayers the true results and how the $1.3 billion spent has benefited the province’s job market or tax revenues.
“The Ontario Research Fund supports research that can be developed into innovative goods and services to boost Ontario’s economy. To date nearly 38,000 highly qualified personnel have been trained, $1.3 billion in investments has leveraged an additional $2.87 billion, and 625 industrial and institutional partnerships have been created.”
(The report does make another claim which indicates they can’t even proof-read what they publish: “Ontario announced renewal funding for $100 million over five years beginning in 2013/14 for the Ontario Bran Institute (OBI).”)
A quick trip through the Results-based Plan Briefing Book2013-14for the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change completed in June 2013 finds this laughable claim: “Issuing renewable energy approvals to ensure human health and the environment are protected while Ontario increases renewable energy capacity to create green jobs and improve air quality.”
Finally, from the Ministry of Energy’s Results -based Plan Briefing Book 2011-2012, issued when Brad Duguid was the Minister, they brag about the jobs created due to the FIT program, and reference CS Wind: “In the same month, CS Wind chose to locate its wind tower manufacturing plant in Windsor, which will bring 300 new full-time jobs and up to 400 construction and indirect service jobs.” Fast forward to November 6, 2014 and according to an article in the Windsor Star CS Wind “has had almost 100 government work orders issued against it since starting production in 2012.” So these are the type of jobs that our Liberal government have been creating, aside from those at MaRS Discovery District. We shouldn’t be impressed.
The Ontario Clean Technology Alliance – a “collective of regional and municipal economic development organizations across Ontario” list seven (they missed several) funds that the Ontario Liberals have created along with others available from federal benefactors. It is a most intriguing list and of course includes the Feed-in Tariff Program.
If Premier Wynne resumed her former role as Education Minister, she could give report cards on the ministers’ achievements. Minister Chiarelli will deserve an “F” for failing to keep electricity costs affordable.
It is worth noting Canada represents 1.8% of global GHG emissions. Ontario electricity generation represents about 3% of Canadian emissions, and therefore all of the emissions associated with Ontario’s energy generation account for less than a 1/2% (.50) share of Canada’s total emissions. Nevertheless, Ontario’s government thinks burdening Ontario with expensive renewable energy, invasive industrial wind turbines, and the highest electricity rates in Canada will save the planet! This rush to wind power generation has done nothing more than create economic hardship for taxpayers, ratepayers, their children and grandchildren.
The contribution to GHG reduction is mostly symbolic, but the costs to Ontario’s electricity customers and their families are real … and enormous.