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.
The North Bay district Chamber of Commerce says the province needs to take a long, hard, business-like look at its green energy plan.
“Once again, as we have seen energy prices soar in Ontario and we are seeing more and more manufacturers pull up roots and relocate elsewhere like the northern States or Quebec for this very reason. Energy costs are becoming cost prohibitive for doing business in Ontario and the government needs to recognize that all businesses big or small are no longer able to remain competitive.
“The Government continues to move forward with more Feed In Tariff (FIT) contracts, that only add to the global adjustment rate and yet Ontario continues to over-produce energy. We recognize the current FIT contracts cannot be changed, as they are long term agreements for those producing wind and solar energy.
“The North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce passed a resolution to take this one step further; the board asks the government to cease entering into any new contracts at this time to do a proper cost/benefit analysis on energy in Ontario.
“While the concept of moving towards more green energy is appropriate, the reality is the program has not seen any increase in green energy and has only added costs to the ratepayers of Ontario.
“President Jake Lacourse stated “energy costs are second to only labour costs in Ontario and as such businesses need to make hard decisions in operations to remain competitive. If businesses leave for cheaper labour and energy to other locations, the current energy production needs to be spread across those other businesses and residential taxpayers to cover the costs and again the rates go higher. It is a vicious circle, yet since we can’t store energy and/or determine when the sun shines or the wind blows, we need to pay for the energy when it’s produced.”
The North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce recommends that the Provincial Government:
– Put a moratorium on any and all new renewable energy contracts immediately, in the province of Ontario;
– Do an appropriate cost/benefit analysis;*
– Identify the current risks that energy costs have on current business and those that have relocated out of province;
– Devise a plan to ensure energy costs are competitive for business;
– Recognize that as businesses leave Ontario, the global adjustment still needs to be paid by the remaining businesses and residents of Ontario, yet is already unaffordable for many.
“It needs to be noted that these businesses employ the residents and both are struggling to keep up with the costs of energy” stated President Lacourse.
*Wind Concerns Ontario Editor’s note: two Auditors General of Ontario have called for a cost-benefit analysis of Ontario’s “green energy” program, and prior to the Green Energy Act in 2009, over 70 Ontario municipalities demanded a cost-benefit analysis or impact studies before the legislation was put forward. The Government of Ontario to this day has never done any kind of economic analysis of its policy.
It cost nearly $1 billion, employed up to 500 workers at its peak and provoked repeated legal challenges.
But 18 months after work began on it, the massive K2 Wind Power Project — one of Canada’s largest wind farms — is producing power.
Located north of Goderich, inland from Lake Huron, the project formerly known as Kingsbridge II has 140 giant turbines and covers 190 sq. km. Just to access the site alone, 90 km of new roads had to be built.
The builders and energy giants that operate the farm — Samsung Renewable Energy Inc., Pattern Energy Group Inc. and Capital Power Corp. — say it’ll generate clean power for up to 100,000 homes a year.
“Along with Samsung and Capital Power, we are proud to develop one of the largest wind facilities in Canada, which was built using local workers and materials,” said Pattern Energy CEO Mike Garland.
The partnership has a 20-year deal to supply power to Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator.
K2 estimates it will employ 20 full-time operations and maintenance workers and 10 seasonal employees.
Similar to other wind farm projects in Ontario, K2 faced vocal local opposition. Some of its facilities were damaged in unsolved vandalism attacks last fall.
Several farm families challenged the project in court, arguing K2 and another wind farm violated their rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights of Freedoms by exposing them to potential harm.
That challenge hit a legal dead end last month when Ontario’s highest court denied them leave to appeal.
Their lawyer, Julian Falconer said the families remain committed to exploring other legal options to hold the government and wind turbine companies accountable for failing to protect their health.
In a move unique to wind farm projects in the province, K2 earlier responded to opposition with an unconditional offer to pay every household within one km of its new wind turbines $1,500 a year.
There’s been lots of interest in the benefit that could go to as many as 230 people, a spokesperson said.
“We are currently assessing the timing of the first payment,” K2’s Matt Dallas said in an e-mail.
The wind farm also points to an agreement with the local township, Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh, to provide $15 million over 20 years to fund community initiatives.
But such moves — in an area of Ontario where many wind farms have sprouted since the Liberal government began pushing green energy, often with deeply polarizing fallout — have failed to satisfy critics.
The massive wind farm stands as an emblem of Ontario’s costly wind power policy, said Jane Wilson, head of Wind Concerns Ontario, a coalition of anti-wind organizations.
“It is a huge power generation project forced on a community, fought by local residents in every way possible at the cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars, and about which there are serious environmental concerns,” Wilson said.
K2 will cost Ontario ratepayers millions for intermittent and unreliable power, she said.
K2 says it has no plans for additional wind farm projects in Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh.
SWEB Development LP is proposing to submit four community-scale wind farm proposals to the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) under the IESO’s Large Renewable Procurement (LRP):
Three of these projects are sited in the Municipality of Chatham – Kent
One project is sited in Haldimand County
The LRP is a competitive process for procuring large renewable energy projects generally larger than 500 kilowatts. At the conclusion of the LRP I RFP, the IESO may award contracts for successful projects up to the specified procurement targets for each renewable fuel, 300 megawatts (MW) for wind, 140 MW for solar, 75 MW for waterpower, 50 MW for bioenergy.
In the coming weeks public community meetings (see below) will be held as part of the early community engagement requirements of the LRP. These public community meetings will present details about the projects and the SWEB team will be available to answer questions and discuss the projects and the overall LRP process.
Should any of the proposed and here presented projects be awarded a contract, they would need to obtain all required permits and approvals and conduct any further required community engagement activities.
25 Jun 2015 7:00 PM • Mary Webb Centre, 87 Gosnell Line, Highgate; ON N0P 1T0
SWEB is a partnership between WEB Wind Energy of North America, and Scotian Windfields; the partnership has already done work in Nova Scotia, taking advantage of the subsidy program there, and is now seeking to benefit from Ontario’s Feed-In Tariff (FIT) program under the 2015 Large Renewable Procurement (LRP) initiative.
Details on the four individual wind “farms” may be found on the website here.
North Frontenac was the first municipality in Canada to be designated a dark sky preserve by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.
In a letter e-mailed to Ontario Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli and others, resident Chris Albinson wrote that asset could be under threat if the new wind turbines are built.
“Seventy-five wind turbines with associated light pollution would destroy the (economic development) objective and the tax base of the township,” Albinson wrote. “This a classic case of one arm of the government undermining the efforts of another arm of the government.”
NextEra Energy Canada, a subsidiary of Florida-based NextEra Energy, is proposing to build about 150 turbines, about a third to be constructed in North Frontenac.
A company spokesperson told council the project would provide $146,000 in municipal property tax revenue, upgrades to infrastructure and funding for recreation and community projects, along with between six and 10 full-time jobs.
In his letter, Albinson called for the Ontario government to reject the NextEra project. He questioned why a U.S. company was being allowed to possibly build a wind energy project in the area.
“Using Ontario taxpayer funds to subsidize a U.S. company that destroys an Ontario nature preserve seems grossly irresponsible, fiscally and environmentally,” he wrote.
When it was established, the dark sky preserve was hailed as an innovative use of something many people would overlook as an asset: a dark sky free of light pollution from urban centres.
Residents of North Frontenac and Addington Highlands (also known as Land O’ Lakes area) have organized to fight the threatened 150-turbine wind power development by NextEra.
NextEra is the renewable energy arm of the U.S. power company, Florida Light and Power. As Parker Gallant has revealed in a post on this site, FPL is doing so well scooping up subsidy money here in Ontario, they have actually provided rate reductions to their customers in the United States.
See the website for the Bon Echo Area Residents Against Turbineshere. The website is under construction and promises more detail later, but features a petition for signing now.
Citizens recently held a community meeting in Denbigh that included presentations by Parker Gallant and Carmen Krogh.
The group also has a Twitter account bearatorg and Facebook page.
MANVERS TWP- You have to hand it to the people of Manvers Township. They don’t go down without a fight.
And, they plan to legally challenge two more wind farms planned for the area; one approved and another expected to be.
Manvers Wind Concerns (MWC), a group of residents opposed to mega-wind turbines planned in three locations in the area, led the charge to fight wpd Canada’s Sumac Ridge project, which will see five turbines erected near Pontypool.
The Province approved that project in December of 2013 and MWC, the Buddhist Cham Shan Temple (which plans a four-Temple pilgrimage centre) and Cransley Home Farms Ltd. immediately appealed to the Environmental Review Tribunal.
That process took most of 2014 but the Tribunal ruled against the appellants. They then appealed to the Ministry of Environment for a judicial review and are awaiting that decision.
The Sumac Ridge appeal was handled by environmental lawyer Eric Gillespie, with help from dozens of volunteers with expertise in many fields mounting an impressive case during the hearing.
Ward 16 Councillor Heather Stauble has been front and centre in the fight to keep the wind turbines out; especially since the City of Kawartha Lakes is also opposed to them.
On May 7, the Province approved Settlers Landing Nominee Ltd.’s wind farm, known as Settlers Landing Wind Park, also planned near Pontypool.
Capstone Infrastructure’s Snowy Ridge wind park is planned to be built near Bethany, although approval for that project has not been announced to date.
One of the opponents’ main objections to the mega-turbines is many are to be built on the Oak Ridges Moraine, and provincial legislation is already in place prohibiting building on such a sensitive environmental area.
Coun. Stauble confirmed the community plans to fight all of the planned projects in Manvers. In an email, she said,
“All local projects are being appealed. The community has rallied to appeal the most recent project, Settlers Landing, beside Pontypool and on the Oak Ridges Moraine and, if approved, Snowy Ridge, near two local schools and the community of Bethany.”
There will be a meeting about the Snowy Ridge project on June 16 at 7 p.m. at The Ranch Resort, 252 Ski Hill Rd. in Bethany.
Dr. John Harrison, Professor Emeritus, Queen’s University, and Vice-President of Research for APAI explains that the most recent noise assessment report is inadequate for the following reasons:
The “warranted sound power” quoted by Siemens and Hatch does not correspond to the declared apparent sound power specified by the technical standard IEC 61400-11.
The version of IEC 61400-11 used is now 10 years out of date. This was pointed out by APAI in its response to the second modification noise
The DANAK measurements were made in a neutral atmosphere (ground roughness length = 0.05 metres). The predictable worst case scenario (Section 6.4 of the MOECC 2008 regulations) will include turbulence, refraction, a higher ground parameter and a higher wind speed gradient. This has been ignored in the
The assessment uses ISO 9613-2. This was never intended for sound sources as much as 150 metres above ground. Its failings were noted over a decade ago by Vestas. In addition, the authors of ISO 9613-2 were aware of its limitations and added an uncertainty of ± 3 dBA. This has been ignored in the
In a letter to the project manager of the Falmouth MA wind energy development Vestas affirmed that under certain circumstances the sound power could be 8 dBA above its specified sound power. This supports APAI’s contention that in the worst case scenario the sound power of the Amherst Island turbines will exceed that specified by 8 Adding 8 dBA will render the sound pressure level at almost all homes (285 of 301 existing and vacant) within the study area above the MOECC 40 dBA limit at a wind speed of 6 m/s.
Consequently, APAI recommends that the Technical Review Committee reviewing the Windlectric Renewable Energy Approval documents and modification to those documents reject the Windlectric Inc. Noise Assessment Report submitted by Algonquin Power in support of Modification 4. MOECC should require Algonquin Power to submit a revised design and Noise Assessment Report that complies with IEC 61400-11, the uncertainty specified in Table 5 of ISO-9613-2 and the predictable worst case scenario specified in section 6.4 of the 2008 MOECC Noise Guidelines for Wind Turbines. MOECC should further require Algonquin Power to post the new submission on the EBR for a minimum of sixty days for public review and comment.
I was glad that writer Tom Van Dusen chose the word “balance in his account of the recent wind power information event in Finch, Ontario, where communities are now facing new power developments of 50-75 turbines.
Our view is that landowners’ decision to lease land for turbines must be balanced with the effect the power generators will have on their neighbours and community as a whole—these decisions cannot properly be made in isolation.
I would like to correct one statement attributed to me: I did NOT say that wind power projects should be located “in the middle of nowhere.” I believe I said that people live in Ontario’s North, too, and that the damage caused by wind power projects was not acceptable in these often fragile environments.
It is also not true that studies have shown “no risk” of health impacts. That evening I mentioned the Health Canada study which showed that 16.5% of people living within 1 km of a wind turbine had problems, and 25% at 550 metres (the Ontario legislated setback).
I also mentioned the Council of Canadian Academies report which said that Ontario’s methodology for noise measurement is not adequate, and that proper population studies have not yet been done, especially on vulnerable people such as children.
The Finch Lions’ Club provided a great service to their community by hosting the information event. Clearly, balance is needed in the information getting out to Ontario citizens.
Fears about declining property values, health concerns, and environmental protection were among the hot topics discussed at two meetings, a combined meeting of North Frontenac and Addington Highlands Councils on May 11, and a packed public meeting in Denbigh on the afternoon of May 30. The meetings concerned the Northpoint II Wind Energy Center, a proposal by Nextera, a subsidiary of Florida Power and Light, to install approximately 100 wind turbines in Addington Highlands and 50 wind turbines in North Frontenac.
A common concern for many of the folks in attendance at both meetings was property values.
Local realtor Chris Winney spoke about her fear that building a wind farm in the area would drastically hurt real estate values.
“It can be on somebody else’s land and still have an effect on your property. It just cuts down on the number of people who are going to be interested in buying it. If there are fewer people interested in buying it then the value goes down” Winney told council.
Construction on the proposed project, if their bid is successful, is expected to take less than a year to complete, following a longer permitting process that Nextera would have to go through. Ben Faiella, a representative from Nextera was in attendance at the Flinton meeting and explained how Nextera had built a 92 turbine wind farm in Southwestern Ontario last year in about 6 months.
At the Flinton meeting, Dave Winney, a local resident, inquired whether council should hire on a consultant to “look at what has happened in other areas…” and to offer advice.
Addington Highlands Councillor Bill Cox said, “No, this council has not. It costs money and we don’t have it…We don’t have money to give consultants.”
Dan Carruthers, a cottage owner on Ashby Lake in Addington Highlands, then offered his assistance.
“I will personally pay for both a referendum, legal counsel, and any consultants. I will write you a cheque because I see this as an investment in protecting the property investments already made in this region for multiple generations.”
Carruthers went on to say “the only compelling reason I’m hearing for approval of these wind turbines is the ‘community vibrancy fund’ which is a bribe by any other name…it’s a small amount of money relative to what I think is gonna be the negative offset on this place being an attractive area for investment… 90 communities…across Ontario declared themselves ‘not a willing host.’ They’ve gone through this process.
North Frontenac Mayor Ron Higgins suggested that for them it was too early to bring a consultant into the discussion as they were still waiting on some crucial information.
Councillor Tony Fritsch brought Carruthers $50,000 offer to the Addington Highlands council meeting on May 19. The idea was rejected by a vote of 4-1.
Sarah Miller, an outspoken opponent of turbines, who said “the only control these councils have is right now. Right at the very beginning. If you declare yourself not a willing host you have the control. After that you have zero control. These companies move in and they will do whatever it takes. They are bulldozers. They are steamrollers.”
Another resident said “these cottage people pay the majority of the taxes. If these turbines come, there will be no cottage people.”
Helen Yanch, Councillor for Ward 2 in Addington Highlands spoke about some of the positives of the proposed project. “I know that there are some seniors that have signed up to have one, or two, of these [turbines] on their property and maybe they were thinking of it being an income for them”
A concerned lady in the audience said “I’m interested in property value because I too am a senior and I’m looking at probably in the next while, while all these shenanigans are taking place, having to sell and re-locate and I know, that because of what’s going on, my property value is going to go down…”
Paul Issacs made a request to council to “please, please don’t make your decision based on ‘it’s gonna happen anyway’…I think if you do that you’ve abandoned your responsibilities to represent us.”
“We’re listening.” Reeve Hogg said.
“Personally I don’t have a feeling for what the community thinks yet…” Councillor John Inglis from North Frontenac said.
There was little doubt about what the segment of the community that gathered in Denbigh last Saturday thinks about the project.
Two different speakers, Carmen Krogh and Parker Gallant, took to the microphone to help offer some insight and clarity to a discussion surrounding the possible negatives of having a large wind farm in the area.
Krogh, a retired pharmacist with over 40 years of experience in the health studies, detailed, via an elaborate presentation, some of the possible health effects that residents should be aware of when living close to wind turbines.
“We have got some pretty strong evidence that concludes that our noise levels and our distances [setbacks] currently in Ontario aren’t working very well” Krogh stated.
She explained that both children, and adults, are vulnerable to noise, especially children born pre-term or with a low-birth weight, and that not enough research has been conducted yet to determine what the long-term effects on people living by wind turbines are.
She then spoke about the controversial study published in April of this year by the Council of Canadian Academies stating that the only adverse health effect they could prove connected to wind turbines was ‘chronic annoyance’. Krogh presented articles and studies that defined symptoms such as heart effects, vertigo, headache, sleep disturbance, and other issues that she said are connected to annoyance.
Krogh’s presentation went into detail on the science connected with amplitude modulation, which is the “swishing noise that people hear”, and how it tends to be the main source of the annoyance, along with light flicker from the towers. She also referenced a few accounts of people leaving their homes because of vibrations caused by wind turbines.
Krogh suggested that taking children into consideration is important when trying to find a solution. She also advocated for the government to do vigilance and long-term surveillance monitoring like they do in the pharmaceutical industry and concluded that more research is needed on possible health effects before approving wind farms.
Parker Gallant, a retired banker who had a 33-year career with TD Bank, dissected how we pay for energy in Ontario and suggested that in the last 15 years we’ve seen hydro rates almost triple. He explained how Ontario is currently generating more electricity than it can consume and that the excess power is sold to New York and Quebec and that even when it’s not sold off HydroOne still has to pay the companies that are generating it for the electricity, regardless if the province is using it or not.
Gallant explained that in the first 4 months of this year “Ontario exported over 8 terrawatts of energy that we didn’t need” and how that much energy would be enough to provide “over 900,000 households in Ontario with power for a full year.” His presentation was aimed at the flaws in HydroOne and the Large Renewable Procurement (LRP) by the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) that NextEra’s proposal falls under.
The wind turbines that Nextera are proposing for this project can be as tall as 110 metres to the hub, with the blade extending even higher. For comparison, as someone at the Denbigh meeting pointed out, these would be significantly taller than Bon Echo Rock.
The deadline for Nextera to submit their proposal to the IESO for this LRP is September 1st 2015 but they are seeking support from the townships by July 20. The project, if successful, is expected to be up and running by 2019.
Nextera is hosting open houses this coming weekend in Addington Highlands and North Frontenac to explain more about their projec.t The projects are awarded based in part on which company brings in the lowest price to the IESO. There is a 100-point system as part of the bidding process that discounts the proposal price by having support from the local council and a local Aboriginal group.
The Addington Highlands meeting takes place on Friday June 5th at 5pm at Denbigh Hall and a North Frontenac public meeting will take place Saturday June 6th at 10am at Harlowe Hall, followed by a presentation from Nextera.