Wind flat as power demands peak in Ontario heat wave

Don't count on wind power to help during a heat wave: it's not there.
Don’t count on wind power to help during a heat wave: it’s not there.

Wimpy wind falls flat

Just as Ontario suffered from a heat wave   our 3,217 megawatt (MW) capacity of wind suffered a failure, producing a miniscule 13 MWh (hours) at 10 AM on July 27, 2015, as demand ramped up.

Ontario’s numerous industial wind developments were producing at .004% of their rated capacity.

To look at this in more detail, during hour “10” of that day, wind produced .00066% of total Ontario demand of 19,469 MWh.

The only good news in this is the wholesale price of electricity (HOEP) during that hour was almost $82.00/MWh so it only cost ratepayers about $700.00 — if one assumes those 13 MWh were exported!

Hardly reliable and hardly dependable.

So, why is Energy Minister Chiarelli seeking another 300 MW of capacity in his latest directive to the IESO?

Parker Gallant

July 28, 2015

1. Highest ever recorded tempature in Ontario on July 27th was in 1919 when it reached 36  C

 

Editor’s note: the Ontario Ministry of Energy may be reached here.

Ontario electricity customers: in pain with more to come

Anybody watching as Ontario circles the drain?
Anybody watching as Ontario circles the drain?

Ratepayers to Queen’s Park: we have a problem 

Wind power costs plenty for only 4% of generation

In the past six months, reports from the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, the C.D. Howe Institute, the Association of Major Power Consumers of Ontario, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce have all called for “competitive” electricity prices.

A few of the members of some of those associations already benefit from absorption of some costs by residential and small business ratepayers, but still complain their electricity bills are too high and not competitive with competing jurisdictions in Canada and the U.S.!

Ontario is cursed with probably the most complex electricity system in the world even though 80% of our electricity is generated by nuclear and hydro.  Both of those generation sources produce power at an average of about 6-7 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh), yet Ontario’s delivered electricity prices are among the highest in North America.   Why? Most of the reasons relate to the Global Adjustment Mechanism (GA)NB 1: which has increased every year since its creation in 2005. The GA absorbs a plethora of ratepayer costs that are billed out via the “electricity” line on our bill. In the first six months of the current year, the GA accumulation is $4.6 billion versus only $2.2 billion in the comparable six month-period of 2014.

Here are some of the reasons for the increasing cost of electricity to Ontario’s ratepayers.  Note that many have nothing to do with generating electricity.

Some current ratepayer costs:

  1. Moving two gas plants (Oakville and Mississauga) at a cost of $1.1 billion
  2. Smart meters costing $2 billion to enable time of use (TOU) billing with no benefit
  3. The shift in costs (estimated at $422 million for 2012 by the C.D. Howe Institute) from Class A ratepayers to residential and small commercial enterprises
  4. Cost overruns on the Niagara tunnel (“Big Becky”) of $500 million
  5. Supporting the employee pensions of Hydro One and OPG pensions by contributing $4. for every $1 contributed by the employeesNB 2:
  6. The $200 million cost of Hydro One’s messed up billing system
  7. The costs for the 1.2 million letters and postage ($600K) for the CEO of Hydro One to apologize to their ratepaying customers for messing up their billing system
  8. The $120 million annual cost of the Northern Industrial Electricity Rate Program to reduce electricity rates by 2 cents/kWh for industry in Northern Ontario
  9. The $35-40 million annual cost of the Northern Ontario Energy Credit to assist single and family households with their electricity bills
  10. The $2.6 billion it cost for the Lower Mattagami run of river project to principally produce expensive hydro electric power in the Spring when Ontario’s demand is at its lowest level
  11. The Low-income Energy Assistance Program with an annual cost of $4 million to assist households living in Energy PovertyNB: 2
  12. The annual costs (currently estimated at $40 million annually) associated with the development of a “smart grid” (smart grid entity charge) estimated in 2010 to cost $1.5 billion
  13. The costs of the Net Revenue Requirement (NRR) for gas plants estimated to be a minimum of $650 million annually for them to sit idling so they can back up wind and solar generation
  14. The annual costs of $30 million for the recovery of OPG’s expenses related to the conversion of one unit of Thunder Bay to biomass from coal
  15. The $170 million costs of converting Atitokan from a coal generation unit to biomass together with the annual operating costs (operation, maintenance and administration) to sit idle for most of the time
  16. Annual Conservation spending of $400 million that provides grants for people to purchase high efficiency air conditioners, LED bulbs,  etc., and for businesses to retrofit their lighting system, purchase high efficiency refrigeration units, etc. and for municipalities to switch their street lighting systems and municipally owned arenas to LED, etc. etc.
  17. The costs (unknown) of the “Lost Revenue Adjustment Charge” to allow your LDC to recover revenues (via the “delivery” charges) lost because your community has used less electricity
  18. The costs of spilling clean hydro (3.7 terawatts in 2014 for OPG), constraining wind and solar generation, steaming off Bruce Nuclear, all at an estimated annual cost of $400-500 million.
  19. The costs of subsidizing utility-scale wind power generation, which represented about 9% ($700 million + unknown amount for constrained wind generation) of the GA costs but only 4% (6.8 TWh) of total electricity generated
  20. The costs of erecting and maintaining meteorological station for IESO to measure constrained wind at every wind development with a capacity rating of 10 Megawatts or more
  21. The actual generation and costs of (an average of $500. per MWh) of solar panels NB: 3 to generate electricity usually when not needed.  With 2,000 MW of capacity IESO doesn’t disclose what they produce yet claim they are transparent.  An estimate of costs to ratepayers at 15% of rated capacity suggests ratepayers absorb in excess of $1 billion annually or 15% of the total GA costs but they produce less than 2% of total generated electricity
  22. The costs associated with exporting Ontario’s surplus electricity production which was about $1.2 billion in 2014 and appears headed to $2 billion in 2015

Some future ratepayer costs:

  • The Ontario Energy Support Program, estimated to cost $200 million annually commences January 1, 2016 and will support 570,000 household’s currently living in “energy poverty”
  • Also effective January 1, 2016 the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit will no longer exist raising electricity bills 10%
  • Another 500 MW of capacity from wind (300 MW) and solar (200 MW) is to be added to the grid raising annual costs by about $200 million
  • The further shift of smaller industrials from Class B to Class A ratepayers will effectively transfer costs (estimated) of $300/400 million from clients with peak energy needs of 3MW under the “High 5” system
  • Lump sum payments and free Hydro One shares (after privatization) to Hydro One and OPG employees.  Cost to ratepayers is an unknown at this time
  • The costs to convert the Toronto Zoo’s “zoo poo” to electricity
  • The costs of research and grants related to “energy storage.”  The Energy Storage Association‘s members appear to be the beneficiaries of the grants but haven’t registered as lobbyists with the Ontario Registry.   Costs are unknown!  Members of the Association include:  NextEra, Northland Power, MaRS Discovery District and even Ontario Sustainable Energy Association.
  • Another 1,500 MW of wind capacity scheduled to be in place by December 31, 2016 that will add a further $500 million annual cost to the system.

Future Ratepayer Savings:

As of January 1, 2016 the Debt Retirement Charge will no longer be levied saving an average ratepayer (residential) about $70 annually.  The DRC will continue to be charged to businesses!

Net Ratepayer Increase:

The additional future costs coupled with the demise of the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit will see residential rates increase by a minimum of $400 annually, based on a quick estimate, and raise overall rates to rival those of Alaska and Hawaii. 

Taxpayer-related costs:                                                                                                                                   

  • The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change will continue to incur costs associated with the legal fees to defend the issuance of their approvals of industrial wind developments via the Environmental Review Tribunal! Costs are unknown.
  • The Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) will continue to experience costs associated with grants of $8,500 to individuals, etc. purchasing electric vehicles for those who can afford luxury Tesla automobiles, etc! Overall costs are unknown.
  • The MTO will continue to incur costs associated with the installation of charging station for electric vehicles!  Costs are unknown.
  • Various municipalities will eventually experience declining property value assessments from their residential taxpayers associated with industrial wind turbines driving down property values and municipal tax revenue and require additional funding from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing or higher municipal taxes.  Costs are presently unknown!

Taxpayer related benefit:

The one and only taxpayer benefit relates to the end of the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit on January 1, 2016, saving taxpayers about $1 billion annually.  The taxpayer savings will however increase ratepayer bills by a like amount and will also generate about $130 million via the cost of the HST for the additional cost of electricity.

Premier Wynne and her Minister of Energy, Bob Chiarelli seem to believe we can continue on this path of destruction of the province in an effort to have Ontario save the world from “climate change” as she noted when her Environment Minister Glen Murray announced their “cap and trade” plans back on April 13, 2015 by stating:  “The action we are taking today will help secure a healthier environment, a more competitive economy and a better future for our children and grandchildren.”

The Liberal government may feel it has created a “healthier environment” but that has come at the expense of what was once a thriving economy and the envy of the developed world.  The debt they have created coupled with the highest electricity rates of competing economies will continue to undermine the future for our children and grandchildren.  There goes “the better future for our children and grandchildren” that Premier Wynne claims.

©Parker Gallant

July 23, 2015

NB 1:  The GA was originally established to capture the difference between the contracted rates for power and the actual market value given via the hourly Ontario electricity price (HOEP) but has become the dumping ground for anything that doesn’t fit elsewhere.

NB 2: Energy poverty reflects itself when energy costs are 10%, or more of a household’s total income.

NB 3: Solar panels on your neighbour’s roof, the farmer’s barn, your municipally owned arena, IKEA, Loblaws, Toronto District Public Schools, etc., etc.

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

Look at what can be lost: Ontario Landowners to farmers contemplating wind farm leases

OPINION: Is Ontario allowing nuisance to become lawful?

Ontario Farmer, July 21, 2015

Letter to the editor, excerpted

In the past few months, the Ontario Landowners Association has been asked to enter the fray regarding renewable energy projects, particularly wind turbines.

It is not the practice of the OLA to become involved with disagreements between neighbours. That is for one neighbor to  apply to the courts, launching a tort, if they feel their neighbor is harming them, or their property, in some way.

Recently, though, one gentleman, who does have turbines on his land, stated that he could do with his property as he saw fit. What was missing from his statement is that he is not to do harm to his neighbours, and this is found under common law.

With what is happening in Ontario, the province, and its mandate, is allowing trespass and nuisance to become lawful. This also includes allowing an expropriation to become lawful without compensation, considering the legislation is allowing trespass, nuisance, and set-backs to interfere with someone else’s property. …

…anyone who is contemplating leasing land for a renewable energy project should look to what any or all of his/her neighbours may do in future. There may be torts where the owner of the land may lose more than just his project, he may lose his property. They should also think about why the costs are going up and up, as well as the loss of “off-farm jobs” for family members. This all boils down to government interfering and causing neighbours to pit themselves against other neighbours, ensuring that rural economy is not sustainable.

Agree or not, one should not only look at the immediate financial gain, but should also look to what can be lost.

Elizabeth Marshall,

Director of Research

Ontario Landowners Association

 

Land lease prepayments offered to C-K landowners

Ontario Farmer, July 21, 2015

by Elwood Shreve, Chatham Daily News

Chatham-Kent area landowners who have long-term lease agreements with wind and solar companies have an opportunity to receive a lump sum, up front payment — at a cost.

Spark Power Corp. has held a few meetings locally to present its land lease prepayment program, and has future meetings planned for July 28 and August 6 at Deer Run Golf Course.

Jay Wilgar, partner with Spark Power, said this program is common in the United States with wind as well as oil and gas leases. “It’s the first time it’s really been rolled out like this in Ontario.”

Typically, the upfront payment is 50 per cent of what the landowner would receive over the life of the remaining lease agreement.

Wilgar said the tax benefit is something people find attractive. ” For a lot of these people…their lease payments are taxed as income,” he said, adding in some cases 46 per cent off the top.

He said under this deal, the lump sum payment is taxed as capital gains tax, which is lower.

See Ontario Farmer for the full story (not online).

Nature groups on White Pines wind power: “bad for nature”

The Intelligencer, July 22, 2015

PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY – Disappointment in last week’s decision to approve 27 wind turbines in southern Prince Edward County ranges far beyond the borders of the municipality,

A trio of conservation groups, including Nature Canada, Ontario Nature, and American Bird Conservancy have joined Mayor Robert Quaiff in lambasting the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) decision to approve the White Pines Prince Edward County Wind Energy Project in an internationally designated Important Bird Area (IBA).

“There are so many things wrong about this decision and the only reasonable conclusion is that it is bad for nature” stated Ted Cheskey, senior conservation manager at Nature Canada, in a joint release. “More populations of species at risk will be threatened and more critical habitat will be destroyed. Nature Canada is not opposed to the project as a whole, but several specific turbines should not have been approved. We are also at a loss to understand why the Ministry would approve this project without waiting for the decision of the Environmental Review Tribunal in the Ostrander case.”

Michael Hutchins, director of the American Bird Conservancy’s Bird-Smart Wind Energy Campaign, said the development will hurt birds in both Canada and the United States.

“These are not just Ontario’s birds,” he said. “There is growing concern in the United States that the government of Ontario and Canada’s wind industry is failing to address the serious harm that poorly sited wind energy projects such as this one are causing or will cause to our already stressed shared bird and bat populations.”

Josh Wise, Greenway program coordinator for Ontario Nature, said the potential developments along the South Shore of Prince Edward County puts a number of species at risk.

“We are deeply concerned about the potential cumulative impacts these projects will have in these ecologically significant areas,” he said. “The south shore of Prince Edward County is one of the most significant corridors for migratory birds as well as habitat for species at risk like the Blanding’s turtle. We are all for green energy, but not at the expense of nature.”

While wpd Canada received approval for the White Pines site, a neighbouring project – a nine-turbine development by Gilead Power had its approval overturned on appeal by the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists and is now heading back to the Environmental Review Tribunal. Gilead Power will attempt to make remedy for the protection of the Blandings turtle which inhabit the area.

Quaiff says the support of the groups only supports his reaction to last week’s announcement.

“I think any time you have three entities like Nature Canada, Ontario Nature and the American Bird Conservancy seeing the same deficiencies in a decision that we see, it only help your position,” he said. “I think they would likely agreed that many aspects of the Green Energy Act are flawed and the Liberal government really needs to pull back and have another look at where they are headed with this.”

While no information has come forward regarding potential appeals of the decision, letters of intent must be filed with in 15 days of the July 16 approval date.

Nature Canada is the oldest national nature organization in Canada with 45,000 members and supporters. Nature Canada’s mission is to protect and conserve Canada’s wildlife by working with people and advocating for nature. In partnership with Bird Studies Canada, Nature Canada is the Canadian partner of BirdLife International.

Ontario Nature protects Ontario’s wild species and wild spaces through conservation, education and public engagement. Established in 1931, it is a charitable, membership-based conservation organization with over 150 member groups and 30,000 individual members and supporters.

Established in 1994, American Bird Conservancy is a not-for-profit membership organization whose mission is to conserve native birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. ABC acts by safeguarding the rarest species, conserving and restoring habitats, and reducing threats, while building capacity in the bird conservation movement. ABC’s work has resulted in the establishment of 65 international bird reserves, with over 990,000 acres protected, and 3.5 million trees and shrubs planted to enhance bird habitat.

See also the editorial: NIMBYS only hinder process

Wind Concerns Ontario questions grant to large wind power project

NEWS RELEASE

Federal government grant to wind power project questioned

Wind power forcing electricity bills up and business out of Ontario

Toronto, July 22, 2015

Wind Concerns Ontario (WCO) has written a letter to Tony Clement, MP for Parry Sound-Muskoka, questioning the rationale for a $3-million grant of taxpayer funds to a large wind power generation project near Parry Sound in his riding.

The announcement came less than a week after the Fiat-Chrysler CEO visited Ontario and chided Premier Kathleen Wynne on the province’s lack of competitiveness for manufacturing. Renewable power sources such wind and solar are widely credited with causing Ontario’s electricity costs to soar, while providing an unreliable, intermittent source of power.

Wind Concerns estimates that the Henvey Inlet project will cost Ontario $2.3 billion over the 20-year contract for the project.

Wind power also does not create the number of jobs promised: most are short-term during the construction phase.

“We’re asking for clarification of the government’s policy on wind power,” says WCO president Jane Wilson. “On the one hand, we have countless reports, including two Ontario Auditors General statements, that say we desperately need a cost-benefit analysis for Ontario’s renewables program, and then we have two federal studies that point out potential health impacts from the noise emissions from the large-scale wind turbines, and on the other, we now have more taxpayers’ money going to support another project.

“What’s the government’s policy on wind power?”

Wind Concerns Ontario is a coalition of community groups and individuals concerned about the impact of large-scale wind power development on the natural environment, the economy, and human health.

See the letter to MP Tony Clement here: WCOletterTonyClementJuly20

Power policy in Ontario “new levels of irrationality”: Financial Post

Ontario Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli

Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli looks to the heavens for answers on high, job-killing electricity rates: he won’t find them

Financial Post, July 21, 2015

The Wynne government discovers its electricity regime is not cost-effective. But flying off to Newfoundland & Labrador will not fix it

In its 2013 long-term energy plan, the Ontario government said it would begin looking at importing electricity from other jurisdictions when such imports “are cost effective for Ontario ratepayers.” On Monday, Ontario Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli appears to have noticed that electricity rates in the province have already soared beyond the point of cost-effectiveness, thereby making it attractive to look at importing cheap power, as per plan, from other jurisdictions.

In comments surrounding the announcement of a joint “high-level working group” to study electricity trade between Ontario and Newfoundland & Labrador, Chiarelli said the objective is to “bring down rates” in Ontario. Well, that’s news.

Anyone who follows his public pronouncements knows that he has been blissfully unperturbed by Ontario’s soaring electricity prices. So his acknowledgment it might be necessary to bring rates down will be welcome by consumers and industries. In the past, the minister has mostly rejected the idea that electricity rates are all that high and need to be reduced. Less encouraging, however, is the proposed source of the cheaper electricity, hydro power development in Newfoundland & Labrador, from where electricity would have to be wheeled about 2,400 kilometres to make it to Toronto. As my friend Lawrence Solomon quipped, “Well, at least the power would be cheaper than wind.”

 

Read the full article here.

Protect ecosystem from damage from wind power, MPP Smith write to Environment MInister

Second wind power project approved for Pince Edward County while the first one is still before the Environmental Review Tribunal [Photo courtesy Point2Point Foundation]
Second wind power project approved for Prince Edward County while the first one is still before the Environmental Review Tribunal [Photo courtesy Point2Point Foundation]
July 17, 2015
Hon. Glen Murray
Ferguson Block
11th Flr 77 Wellesley St W
Toronto ON M7A 2T5
Dear Minister,
I am writing you today to express considerable distress with the decision of your Ministry yesterday as it pertains to the White Pines wind turbine development that is planned for the South Shore of Prince Edward County.
You’ll recall that earlier in the year, I wrote to you about the decision of the Ontario Court of Appeals regarding another project planned for the same ecosystem and almost the exact same location in Prince Edward County. At that time, the Ontario Court of Appeals had ruled that the Environmental Review Tribunal was right to state that the project would cause serious and irreversible harm to the ecosystem.
During our exchange in the House you stated that you had an interest in protecting the biodiversity of the County and, when you said that, I took you at your word. Therefore, I find it hypocritical that the Ministry of Environment would grant approval to this project with one hand while, through another branch of the Ministry, convening an ERT to determine whether there is a potential remedy available to the serious and irreversible harm that it has already been acknowledged to be caused by these projects.
Given that the Environmental Review Tribunal may choose to set a precedent by ruling that there is no remedy available for the environmental harm that will be caused, it would therefore seem premature for the Ministry to grant yet another approval to a project in the same location.
The Ministry, in granting approval to White Pines has, outlined twenty-one conditions for approval. One of those conditions is for White Pines to follow avoidance techniques for the Blandings Turtle. However, until the Environmental Review Tribunal rules on whether a remedy to address irreversible harm is even possible on the South Shore of Prince Edward County, it is impossible for White Pines to know what those avoidance techniques are.
Therefore, I am requesting that the Ministry rescind approval for White Pines until such time as the Environmental Review Tribunal currently scheduled to review whether remedy is possible in the Gilead appeal, announces its findings. Because the ERT will establish a precedent this will allow both the people of the County and White Pines to know what measures, if any, are possible to protect the ecosystem on the South Shore.
Thank you for your attention in this matter.
Todd Smith, MPP

Chiarelli says ‘national power grid’ planned: more wind and solar in the future

Financial Post, July 20, 2015

[Be sure to read the comments that follow this news story—the tide has turned on wind power in Ontario]

Ontario is the latest customer to line up to purchase Newfoundland and Labrador’s growing supply of hydroelectricity in a move that could one day lead to a “national grid.”

The two provincial energy ministers will announce Monday they’re launching a study of the potential for Ontario to buy power from the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric plant and the pending Gull Island development at Lower Churchill Falls, the National Post has learned. But power won’t start flowing west from Newfoundland for years to come as both projects and associated transmission lines are still years away from coming online.

Though negotiations are in the early stages, Ontario energy minister Bob Chiarelli said the move is “very significant to (the development of) a Canada-wide grid, to be able to get (power) from Newfoundland to Ontario. That’s a pretty big chunk of the country.”

The move comes less than a week after Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne toured the Muskrat Falls construction site in advance of the annual meeting of the premiers at Council of Federation in St. John’s. She expressed interested in the value of the project for Ontario, which is increasingly looking outside its borders for cheap power.

At that St. John’s meeting, premiers signed on to the Canadian Energy Strategy, which was parsed predominantly for its stance on pipelines and action on reducing hydrocarbon emissions, but also included language on better co-ordination of clean-energy electricity transmission across Canada.

Ontario late last year signed onto an agreement to swap power with Quebec, with either province being able to tap into the other’s grid when needed. Those negotiations took about two years, and Chiarelli said the talks with Newfoundland will likely take just as long.

“These are first steps towards creating a national grid,” Chiarelli said Sunday from Halifax, where provincial and territorial energy ministers will meet in a follow-up to last week’s premiers’ gathering. “That’s one of the desired outcomes of the new energy plan, which the provinces are adopting.”

The negotiations with Newfoundland will assess “the technical and economic feasibility of what is a potentially interesting future between the two provinces.”

Matthew Sherwood/THE CANADIAN PRESS
Matthew Sherwood/THE CANADIAN PRESSOntario Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli in 2013.

Ontario’s energy rates have soared as it phased out coal, which has drawn the ire of businesses and residents alike. Costly nuclear refurbishment and expensive gas plant scandals have exacerbated both the problems and the perception of issues within the industry. The province’s long-term energy plan, released in 2014, outlines a balance of energy sources, which includes new gas plants, more wind and solar power and more ways to purchase clean energy from other jurisdictions.

Purchasing hydro-power from Newfoundland “gives Ontario a very good option,” Chiarelli said, adding “it’s all subject, of course, to price and to contractual terms” but “we wouldn’t be entering into (these talks) if they wouldn’t bring down rates.

Read more

 

Wind farm developers’ expert witness self-interest questioned in appeal

Christopher Ollson was paid $20,000 to review docs and appear at Gunn's Hill appeal. Trained in chemical toxicology, he admitted he has taken "one course" in epidemiology and "one lecture" in acoustics, but works for multiple wind power developers in Ontario as consultant, and expert witness

Christopher Ollson was paid $20,000 to review documents and appear as an expert witness in the Gunn’s Hill appeal, as he has for other wind power developers. Trained in chemical toxicology, Ollson admitted before the Tribunal that he has taken “one course” in epidemiology and “one lecture” in acoustics. He is not a health professional, is not licensed by any health professional regulatory body.

Woodstock Sentinel-Review, July 16, 2015

The fate of the proposed Gunn’s Hill wind farm is now in the hands of the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT), because as of Thursday the agency had heard from all witnesses from both sides scheduled to make testimony.

Representative on behalf the appellant, Ian Flett, said they had put their evidence before the tribunal and that it was now up to the tribunal what to do with that evidence.

Albert Engel, representative on behalf of the proponent, said they had brought a motion to dismiss the appellant’s case based on a lack of evidence, and that they were looking forward to see how the tribunal dealt with that.

“We put in our evidence, which we feel fully supports our position,” Engel said, “and at this point we’re required to prepare and submit our final written submissions.”

The appellant and director for the Ministry of the Environment are also expected to prepare and submit their final written submissions as well.

The tribunal wrapped early after hearing from three witnesses on behalf of the proponent.

The first to appear on the stand was Dr. Robert McCunney, a medical professional based out of Boston. Dr. McCunney appeared as an expert witness on behalf of the proponent, with specific expertise in occupational and environmental medicine.

During his testimony, Dr. McCunney said annoyance is not an adverse health effect.

“Annoyance is a term that’s used in outcome measures of various types of research studies,” he said. “It’s usually gleaned by completing a questionnaire. In the context of wind turbines, there have been questionnaires that asked people whether they’re annoyed, very annoyed or slightly annoyed. It’s the answers to those questions that are used as part of the studies.”

Dr. McCunney did say, though, that annoyance could lead to other adverse health effects, such as stress.

“It’s a theoretical proposition that if annoyance is protracted or continual without abatement, clearly some people can be stressed as a result of that. And then of course stress, in and of itself, if it’s chronic, can lead to certain health problems in some people.”

As for research, Dr. McCunney said he looked at research in other papers and tried to apply it to the situation here – notably in regards to estimated noise levels in the area near residents close to the turbines.

During his cross-examination, Flett asked Dr. McCunney about his research and if he has met patients who have complained about adverse health effects from industrial wind turbines.

“If he’s a medical doctor and the name of the game for him is meeting with patients, he did not suggest to us that he has met a single person who has complained about the adverse health impacts of an industrial wind turbine,” Flett said. “So why is a medical doctor drawing conclusions based merely on other people’s work when he’s perfectly qualified to ask those people who are complaining about these effects… and come to a conclusion on how they are being impacted.”

Also mentioned during Dr. McCunney’s cross-examination, as well as on Tuesday during Dr. Christopher Ollson’s cross-examination, Flett brought up that they were both being paid for their testimony as expert witnesses.

“The law in Canada… is that experts are expected to be there to assist the decision maker in making its decision,” Flett said. “They’re not there on my behalf or on the approval holder’s behalf to persuade the decision maker… So at the end the day you ask yourself, is this expert motivated in some way for more work based on the outcomes (they) can achieve in court or at tribunals.

“And sometimes we ask ourselves, well how much are you getting paid and is the payment such that we can question the weight and the veracity of your testimony,” he added.

Ultimately, the tribunal felt this was not relevant to its decision, which Flett said he respected. He added that when there is an expert who testifies for one side “time-and-time again,” while being paid for it, it needs to be asked what their interest is in the evidence they are giving.

Following Dr. McCunney was Rochelle Rumney, an environmental coordinator with Prowind who appeared as a fact witness on behalf of the proponent.

Rumney said during her testimony that no endangered species would be harmed as a result of this project.

“We did a field survey to determine if there was any risk to species habitat or the species themselves,” she said. “And the (ministry) confirmed that there was no risk with this project.”

In addition, Rumney said they prepared a confidential study regarding endangered species as well, which was also submitted to the ministry.

“It was mentioned in one of the witness statements that we hadn’t looked at species at risk,” Rumney said, referencing concerns raised by John Eacott in his witness statement. “But we had, and I think it… just wasn’t available for them to review.”

Rumney also mentioned the little brown bat, an endangered species that was found to be located near one of the proposed turbine sites, which she said will not be harmed during construction.

During her cross-examination, Flett asked whether or not Rumney would rely on an electrician or welder to identify any species at risk found during turbine construction.

“If there is an obligation to report the presence of a species at risk during construction… you’ve got to know if that bird or that bat is the actual species,” Flett said. “If the concern is that we need to protect endangered species, we need to know where they are. And with all due respect to all of the electricians, welders, lawyers and reporters out there, none of those people have the qualification to say one species is exactly what one says it is.”

The final witness to appear before the tribunal was vice president of Prowind Juan Anderson, who appeared as a fact witness on behalf of the proponent.

During his testimony, it was brought out that Anderson has been with Prowind since 2009 and became vice president in 2012. To date he has worked on 10 wind turbine projects – both completed and in construction – across Canada.*

Anderson also described the turbine layout during his testimony and how it was changed with regards to Curries Aerodrome.

“We deliberately position turbines in a manner that would still allow our land owners to host turbines on their property, but allow for space for the aerodrome to operate,” he said. “Our intention was to strike a balance between those two.”

In addition to placement, Anderson also described the type of turbines that would be implemented in the proposed wind farm. The Senvion MM92 have a 92.5 metre rotor with a 100-metre hub height and 102.0 DBA maximum sound power level, according to Anderson.

He added that they are predicted to generate sound 1.6 DB before the maximum limit of 40 DB at 38.4 DB.

Anderson also indicated that Senvion has said there have been no fully developed fires in its fleet of turbines.

A decision is expected from the tribunal sometime next month.

bruce.chessell@sunmedia.ca

*WCO Editor’s note: we’d like to know where these 10 projects are supposed to be. Prowind has never actually built anything in Canada. The closest the company got was the South Branch project which was sold to EDP Renewables.