Wynne hydro policy “insane”: editorial

Kathleen Wynne

Billions wasted on deeply flawed energy policy: more disaster to come

Toronto Sun, July 31, 2015


To understand the mess Ontario’s Liberal government has made of the hydro file, one only needs to look at how electricity was produced in our province on Wednesday, the hottest day of the year to date.

At 4 p.m., there were 21,863 MW (megawatts) of electricity being generated.

Of that, 10,761 MW, or 49%, was being supplied by nuclear power; 5,296 MW or 24% by hydro and 4,715 MW, or 22%, by natural gas.

As for the “renewable” energy sources on which Premier Kathleen Wynne, and before her Dalton McGuinty have wasted billions of public dollars, according to the Auditor General?

They were generating 4.7% of Ontario’s electricity supply: 925 MW, or 4% for wind; 72 MW, or 0.3% for solar; 94 MW, or 0.4%, for biofuels.

These numbers demonstrate that contrary to what they claim, the Liberals did not eliminate coal use in Ontario, which used to supply 25% of electricity generation, through renewables.

Obviously, you can’t replace 25% of the system with 4.7%.

Rather, the Liberals replaced coal with non-emitting nuclear power and low-emitting natural gas.

Further, there is no environmental benefit from having 4.7% of the system supplied by renewables, in which the only significant contributor is wind at 4%.

That’s because wind has to be constantly backed up by natural gas, since wind is intermittent and cannot deliver base load power to the electricity grid on demand.

Worse, in order to accommodate wind when it’s available, the rest of the system has to be operated less efficiently, including dumping far cheaper sources of power, like hydro, or selling it to Quebec or the U.S, at a loss.

Finally we have to pay wind producers first for their power (under 20-year contracts), even though we don’t need it because Ontario has an energy surplus.

That was caused by the decimation of Ontario’s manufacturing sector due in part to high hydro prices, caused in part by the billions of dollars the Liberals wasted on wind.

And yet Wynne is doubling down on this disaster, bringing more and more wind power online over the furious objections of rural municipalities, that we do not need and which is not doing the environment any good.

Simply put, this is insane public policy. Utterly insane.

Premier refuses to meet Prince Edward County Mayor

Mayor Quaiff: "They think I will accept this?"
Mayor Quaiff: “They think I will accept this?”

County Live, July 30, 2015

Mayor Robert Quaiff has been notified there is little chance of having a meeting with Premier Wynne regarding industrial turbines in Prince Edward County.

Quaiff wrote the Premier and Minister of the Environment Glen Murray a week ago, pleading action for a moratorium and calling on them “to truly hear our concerns – and discuss them with us. We are incredibly distraught over this decision and its devastating impact on our community.”

“I have just received a phone call from Premier Wynne’s assistant Andrew who says the chance of a meeting in all likelihood will not happen,” said Quaiff.

Quaiff said he was told the process is in the stages where the government will not interfere or become involved in discussing or placing a moratorium on wpd Canada’s project for 27 turbines in South Marysburgh and Athol.

The environment ministry approved the $200 million 20-year project July 16.

“He has said, however, that the premier’s office will expedite a response to my letter quickly. Further he will be in touch directly with Minister Murray’s office to express my concerns regarding the residents’ safety in Prince Edward County if the wind turbines arrive. I will share the response as soon as I receive it.”

Monday, Council voted against taking immediate legal action following a report from the County’s solicitor. The only basis for an appeal is that the project “will cause serious harm to human health, or serious and irreversible harm to plant life, animal life or the natural environment”. These were the only appeal options open to the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists in their on-going appeal against the nine turbine Gilead Power project on land at Ostrander Point.

wpd hopes to begin construction this fall, or next spring.

Any resident of Ontario may require a hearing by the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) within 15 days after July 16, 2015 by written notice.

Quaiff’s July 23 letter to Premier Wynne

Quaiff was interviewed on CBC Radio’s Ontario Morning program, Wednesday, July 29, about wind turbines in Prince Edward County and the need to meet with Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Environment Minister Glen Murray.

Wind power no-show means more CO2 emissions for Ontario


Ontario's gas plants ran at near full tilt during heat wave; wind was a no-show
Ontario’s gas plants ran at near full tilt during heat wave; wind was a no-show


Wind power slump causes CO2 spike

The Independent Electricity System Operator’s (IESO) summary report for July 28, 2015 demonstrated how it was an atypical day for Ontario’s industrial wind generators.   The Toronto temperature reached 33 degrees Celsius meaning Ontario’s electricity demand was high.  Demand averaged 19,515 MWs per hour and peaked at 22,471 MWh.

Wind generators were playing in the sandbox for the whole 24 hours, producing a miserly 2,180 MWh which equaled 2.9% of their (IESO posted) capacity and less than a half percent (½ %) of total Ontario demand of 462,144 MWh.  For two of those hours (9 and 10) wind produced less than 10 MWh — that probably meant they were drawing more power than they produced.

Picking up the slack for wind generators fell to Ontario’s 9,200 MW capacity of the gas plants.  For several hours those gas plants were running close to their maximums, and in the 24 hours produced 94,386 MWh. That’s slightly more than 20% of Ontario’s total demand.

What this all means is that, on most high-demand, hot summer days, wind can’t be counted on to reduce emissions as wind power advocates claim it does.  Those 94,386 MWh of gas generated electricity cranked up Ontario’s CO2  emissions on July 28, 2015 by approximately 47,000 tons, thanks to wind’s absence!

Simply put, this confirms the inability of wind to generate electricity when it is needed.

The time has arrived for the Energy Minister, Bob Chiarelli, to recognize the facts and cancel any further additions to Ontario’s wind turbine fleet.   Electricity generated from industrial wind turbines should be recognized as 130-year old technology that simply can’t be counted on when needed.

Pull the plug!

©Parker Gallant,

July 30, 2015

Toronto photographer documents wind farm destruction in Ontario’s North

Wind is green, wind is good: photo shows blasting for access roads and turbine foundations in Algoma Highlands Photo: Gord Benner
Wind is green, wind is good: photo shows blasting for access roads and turbine foundations in Algoma Highlands Photo: Gord Benner

Toronto area resident and photographer Gord Benner took a circle tour of Lake Superior this summer and was astonished to see the damage being done by wind “farm” construction in Ontario’s formerly pristine North, especially the iconic Algoma region which was so often the subject of paintings done by the Group of Seven. The Algoma region attracts visitors from around the world.

Today, Benner says, they will see roads and transmission lines, and turbines to generate power where before there was Nature.

Benner writes:

“We started the Lake Superior Circle Tour at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan and proceeded clockwise through Wisconsin and Minnesota. Didn’t see any wind turbines until after we entered Ontario. The IWTs [industrial wind turbines] installed near Dorion were not visible from the highway, but sure enough, there they were along the most scenic section of the Trans Canada Highway 17, from Lake Superior Provincial Park south to Sault Ste. Marie. Cottages and camps that we visited at Bow, Negick and Trim Lakes were surrounded by these huge machines.

“Sadly, nature, tourism and Group of Seven landscapes are taking a real beating.”

With woodlands cut away, and hilltops blasted flat, the damage caused by wind “farm” construction will be irreversible.


Huge turbines dwarf the landscape; here, a truck travels over a new road built for the power project in Algoma
Huge turbines dwarf the landscape; here, a truck travels over a new road built for the power project in Algoma

Ontario Mayor says wind power process is extortion

wind turbines and lines

Lovely, aren’t they? Friendly, too. Extortion required for community support now in Ontario


“The process stinks,” mayor says of money offered by developers for municipal support

Petrolia Independent, July 29, 2015

Warwick Mayor Todd Case says the latest process to bid for wind energy projects amounts to extortion and his municipality won’t be part of it.

Four wind energy companies are in the process of bidding for industrial projects in Warwick, Brooke-Alvinston and Enniskillen. As part of the process, the companies are approaching municipalities to talk about what is going on and hoping to gain some form of support to improve their chances of approval.

Under the new process approved in June, companies receive bonus points for some forms of municipal approval. There is a form to say they have met with the municipal government which bears no points. If a company signs an Community Commitment Agreement with a municipality, it receives points which make the project more likely to be approved. Municipalities can also endorse projects; those projects are mostly likely to be approved.

Suncor Energy and NextEra, which are both preparing bids for projects in Warwick, are pressing the community to sign Community Commitment Agreements which include compensation for having the turbines in the community.

But Mayor Case says Warwick is not about to sign anything and shouldn’t be penalized financially because of it.

“The process, in my opinion, stinks,” he tells The Independent. “The province says it now gives municipalities a chance to weigh in but there are points for the companies if you sign (for compensation). That’s extortion in my point of view.”

Case says it is clear Warwick is not a willing host but because of the way the process is not structured, it can only get compensation for the projects if it helps the companies by signing the required forms making the project more likely.

“Wind turbine companies come in and say ‘sign on the dotted line if were approved you’ll get this huge amount of cash. If you don’t sign and we’re approved, you get nothing.”

So Case says Warwick is getting creative – and political – to point out the flaws in the new system. It’s had lawyers draft a letter which has been sent to the companies outlining what the municipality expects for compensation should the projects be approved. There is about $45,000 to reimburse the municipality for legal costs, $6,000 for every turbine they put up and flat fee of $200,000 among other things.

“They like to put things in front of us to sign…if you really want to talk the talk, walk the walk,” says Case. “We could sit back and do what were doing,…but let’s throw something back at these guys…this is what you’ll be paying if it’s approved against our wishes.

“If the process is going to disrespect our community we feel you should pay compensation anyway.”

So far, Case says one of the companies has refused to talk about the letter, the other has spoken to them but made no commitments.

The municipality is hoping to catch the province’s eye with the move hoping to change the process. “The Green Energy Act where everything is laid out and it’s mucked up.”

Case has asked for a meeting with the Energy Minister during the annual Association of Municipalities conference in mid-August. He’s just been told that won’t happen and he’ll be meeting with the parliamentary assistant instead.

“This is a big enough issue for rural Ontario right now, you’d think the minister would meet with us,” says Case. “We’ll take the meeting …but I’m totally disappointed of the total disrespect for rural Ontario.”

Wind farms controversial in Eastern Ontario

Is Big Wind going to win out over community concerns?

Is Big Wind going to win out over community concerns?

Cornwall Standard-Freeholder, July 27, 2015

Can communities say no to wind turbine installation? The answer, my friend, may be blowing in the wind.

The Township of North Stormont will hold a council session on Tuesday where they will be receiving a report from chief administrative officer Marc Chenier and community planner Amy Doyle on proposed renewable energy projects in the region.

Three companies presented their plans for energy projects in North Stormont at the council meeting on July 14. The proposals are available online via North Stormont’s council’s agendas. (https://oc-tns.vbiz.ca/index.php/s/8wArNG2DW9FqGOu)

EDF proposed a substation to funnel energy from a project in The Nation Municipality and have secured a lease with a landowner south of County Road 9.

Leader Resources is planning a 61 MW wind turbine operation on the east side of the township, around Crysler and Berwick. According to their proposal they will build no more than 21 turbines.

EDP is looking to build turbines on the west side of the township, proposing a 100 MW operation of 29-50 turbines. EDP will host a community meeting on Aug. 6 at the Finch Community Arena to meet with the public and discuss the large renewable procurement (LRP) process.

Council will have to decide whether or not to support the projects, however, they will have little say over whether or not the projects go through.

As noted in the report, townships can declare themselves unwilling hosts, while this has been perceived as opting out of having projects take place in the region, this is not how the application process works. Ontario’s Green Energy Act allows all decisions regarding the placement of renewable energy projects to be carried out at the provincial level of government. According to the report, municipalities have little to no say in whether or not they will have renewable energy projects in their region.

“Almost all of those who declared themselves as an unwilling host still received a renewable energy project (i.e. wind turbines),” the report reads.

The projects have received backlash from the community. When Crysler local Todd Brazeau got the notice about companies looking to put wind turbines in, he contacted his municipal council and MPP to protest.

“It seems like the community doesn’t have a say and the politicians aren’t being honest at all,” Brazeau said.

MPP Jim McDonell started a petition requesting “that the Ministry of the Environment revise the Green Energy Act to allow full public input and municipal approvals on all industrial wind farm developments.”

According to McDonell, the petition already has hundreds of signatures.

“People are upset,” McDonell said. “We don’t benefit from (these projects) in general.”

EDP Renewables has taken the brunt of the negative response from the community. Leaflets distributed with McDonell’s petition in May made specific mention of the plan to put in 29-50 turbines. EDP declined to answer questions regarding public response to their proposal.

North Stormont mayor Dennis Fife said that almost all of the township’s council are opposed to the installation of wind turbines, but noted declaring as an unwilling host will do nothing to stop the project, only cut down on the cents per kilawatt incentive for the renewable energy companies.

“I don’t think it is a good thing,” Fife said. “Wind will never replace nuclear.”


Essex County ‘saturated’ with wind turbines, officials say

Windsor Star, July 28, 2015

A wind farm with 20 to 25 turbines being proposed for Essex and Tecumseh has two Essex council members saying enough already.

“We are saturated down here,” Essex Coun. Sherry Bondy said Tuesday.

Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche said Essex has enough at 32 turbines.

“I would have no problem putting up pockets of five (turbines) scattered throughout the community but for us to have them from one end of the community to the other totally covering the entire community, I have a problem with that,” Meloche said.

GDF SUEZ Canada Inc. is proposing a 40- to 60-megawatt project called the Blue Sky Wind Project, west of downtown Essex. The project is for a large area in Tecumseh and Essex stretching from Walker Road to west of downtown Essex and north of Highway 3 down to County Road 18.

Last year the province’s Independent Electricity System Operator announced it was seeking bids on large renewable energy projects and bids are due by Sept. 1.

The company is holding public meetings Aug. 12 at the Tecumseh Arena and Aug. 13 at the McGregor Community Centre. Both meetings run from 5 to 8 p.m.

In Essex County, farmers who receive money for having wind turbines on their land tend to support the projects but Meloche said there are complaints from Essex residents about noise and concerns over negative impacts on health and property values. He said Essex County is too densely populated to have so many turbines and there’s a big difference between seeing a few turbines in one direction in the distance and being surrounded by them.

The issue of how many turbines is too many will come to council’s Aug. 10 meeting. Meloche will ask council to be clear on whether it supports the project or not. Company officials have been invited to the meeting.

Even if Essex declares it’s not a willing host, the municipality can’t stop wind projects if they are approved by the province, Meloche said.

Still Meloche and Bondy are concerned residents and the province may get the impression that the Blue Sky Wind Project has received support when it hasn’t.

In 2012 the previous council didn’t support a proposed 46.8-megawatt Blue Sky Wind farm with 27 turbines that were to go southwest of downtown Essex.

Bondy said the latest version sounds like a similar project. This time council, which was elected in the fall and has new members, agreed in a four-to-three vote April 20 to receive the information and hold more meetings to keep council apprised of the project. In the recorded vote, Meloche and councillors Bondy and Larry Snively were opposed.

Bondy understood why new members of council wanted more information but she didn’t even want staff hearing more from the company since she thought it might give the wrong impression. She said at the time she asked how many turbines would be in the project and she wasn’t given an answer which seemed odd to her.

“We did not as a council approve the project or sanction the project or give any of our consent to the project,” Bondy said.

GDF SUEZ Canada Inc. is also the owner/operator of other local wind projects including the Harrow Wind Farm, a 40-megawatt project that began operating in 2010 with 24 turbines and a 49-megawatt project at Pointe Aux Roches in Lakeshore.

Bonnie Hiltz, the company’s government relations and regulatory affairs adviser, said officials will attend the Aug. 10 meeting. She said the company was not seeking support at the April meeting.

The electricity generated by the wind turbines goes into the grid but a project with 20 to 25 wind turbines would generate enough electricity to supply 14,000 average households a year, she said.



Wind turbine efficiency drops as much as 20 percent a year, industry says

While the wind industry likes to boast of a 30% efficiency rate (Algonquin Power claimed 40% for 20 years in its prospectus for the Amherst Island project) the truth is somewhat different.

In fact, says an industry insider in the current issue of North American Clean Energy, efficiency decline is a major concern for the wind power industry, and it is well known that “erosion” of the turbine blades alone can lead to a 20-percent drop in annual power production.

The author of the article works with 3M and his intent was to flog the company’s products to reduce blade erosion.

“The heart of the issue is the fact that wind blades come into contact with rain, hail, salt spray and other debris in the air at rotation speeds of up to 250 mph, leading to erosion in the form of pitting, gouging, and delamination of the edge of the blade,” writes Santhosh Chandrabalan. “this erosion not only compromises the integrity of the blade, but also impacts its aerodynamic efficiency, causing a significant loss in AEP [annual energy production].”




Prince Edward County to seek legal advice

Prince Edward County doesn't think this would be so great for its tourism and wine businesses, or property values either
Prince Edward County doesn’t think this would be so great for its tourism and wine businesses, or property values either

County Live, July 28, 2015

In closed session following tonight’s council meeting at Shire Hall, councillors are to receive legal advice from the County Solicitor in regard to appealing the province’s recent decision to issue a Renewal Energy Approval (REA) for the White Pines Development for 27 industrial turbines in South Marysburgh and Athol.

The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change announced approval Thursday, July 16 for the $195-200 million 20-year project.

Last week, Mayor Robert Quaiff wrote a letter written to premier Kathleen Wynne and minister of environment Glen Murray, requesting a moratorium on wind projects and requested a meeting.

“You have committed to listening to the local concerns of municipalities. I implore you to not only listen – but to truly hear our concerns – and discuss them with us. We are incredibly distraught over this decision and its devastating impact on our community,” he said in the letter.

Quaiff is a member of the Wainfleet Working Group supporting 90 “Unwilling Host” municipalities in Ontario to help address their concerns with industrial wind turbines.

Controversy has surrounded the wpd project, just as it has the nine turbine Gilead Power project at Ostrander Point which is heading back to the Environmental Review Tribunal to make a case for “remedy” that would protect the threatened Blanding’s Turtles. The Ontario Court of Appel reversed a lower court ruling regarding a REA approval. The decision reinstated the initial finding of the ERT that turbines would cause the turtles “serious and irreversible harm”.

wpd Canada hopes to begin construction this fall or next spring.

Any resident of Ontario may require a hearing by the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) within 15 days after July 16, 2015 by written notice.