What bites in Ontario’s power system (1)

Buzz buzz
Buzz buzz

In this, the last week of August and leading up to the Labour Day holiday weekend, Parker Gallant takes a look back a few things about Ontario’s power sector that have been bugging him like black flies! Here are today’s offerings, with more to come through the week…

These BITE!

 

July’s surplus electricity exports cost Ontario  ratepayers $163 million

IESO (Independent Electricity System Operator) released their July 2015 summary report and, once again, Ontario’s generation for the month exceeded our demand and 1.8 terawatts (TWh) was exported.  We sold it for an average of $22.20 per megawatt hour (MWh), but it cost Ontario’s ratepayers $112.50 per MWh to generate (including transmission, etc.) –that means we lost $163 million for the month.

That brings total losses for the first seven months of the year to $1.246 billion and total exports to 13.33 TWh … that would be enough to power about 1.4 million average Ontario households.  Gone.

IESO’s view of transparency

The July summary report from IESO included a new chart (Figure 23) titled “Total Global Adjustment by Components” on page 20. They seem to believe it provides more “transparency,” but  the truth is, it mixes apples with oranges and some fruitcakes.  They lump nuclear with gas and separate old wind and solar contracts (RES) and newer FIT contracts so that they show up as a lesser amount in the way they affect the Global Adjustment or GA.  They also fail to include the cost of embedded generation!  Why they fail to provide critical information easily understood by ratepayers is an insult.

Why is IESO trying to hide things from ratepayers? Are they are doing what our Minister of Energy Bob Chiarelli instructed them?

Interestingly enough, Scott Luft used his skills to show IESO how the chart(s) should look if the aim was to improve transparency.   IESO should emulate his recent post on Coldairings and one on Cold Air which does a much better job of showing the true costs of generation by MWh, generation by groups (OPG, Bruce Power and Other) and total supply costs.

 Welcome.

IKEA, sustaining their sustainability

IKEA has become the world’s largest furniture retailer and quite possibly the world’s largest seller of LED light bulbs as a recent press release announced their intentions that “as of September 1, 2015, all IKEA stores will only sell LED bulbs and lighting to enable customers to live a more sustainable life at home.”  IKEA’s release included this additional claim:  At IKEA, we believe that everyone should be able to afford to live a more sustainable life at home and save money on their energy bills. Also using less energy reduces greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. Changing a light bulb may seem like a small action but many small actions can lead to a big change,” says Steve Howard, Chief Sustainability Officer, IKEA Group.

Sounds noble and, also, strangely, similar to a Chiarelli claim: a company with global sales of about $5 billion Canadian is out to save ratepayers money by selling only LED bulbs and contribute to “climate change” action!  Examining the issue at closer range, however, one should question the veracity of the press release: IKEA was touted by former Energy Minister, Brad Duguid, in 2010 when he spouted:  “It’s good business,” said Energy Minister Brad Duguid, who was on hand for the unveiling. “And it’s good for all of Ontario.”  At that time IKEA “jumped into electricity generation in a big way, unveiling the first of three big solar-powered electricity generation installations.”  Those installations, on three Ontario stores, were set to generate 960,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) for which IKEA would be paid 71.3 cents per kWh and annually generate revenue of $684,000.  IKEA (assuming they utilized that much electricity in the three stores) would purchase their power at an average of 6.84 cents/kWh meaning 960,000 kWh would cost them approximately $66,000, thereby generating a gross profit of $618,000.   If prices remained as they were November 1, 2010, the next 20 years would generate gross income for IKEA of $12.3 million.

I guess it’s easy “being green” when everyone else is paying the freight!

More tomorrow…

(C) Parker Gallant

Wind power project divides community

500+ people gathered in Nation Twp to fight two wind power projects...and farm owner greed [Photo: Wind Concerns Ontario]
500+ people gathered in Nation Twp to fight two wind power projects…and farm owner greed [Photo: Wind Concerns Ontario]
Ontario Farmer, August 25, 2015

[Excerpted]

By Ian Cumming

Emotions were high the late afternoon of August 10 among the 200 or so folks who gathered outside the Nation Township Municipal Hall. They also lined the road beside, waving No Windmill signs, with most trucks and cars driving past honking support.

Doctors told mothers of ill children: you have to move if the turbines come

Two concerned mothers approached Ontario Farmer one the day before this protest, the other at the protest; one with an autistic son, the other with a daughter waiting for a heart transplant. Both said they were given medical advice that “we’ll have to move if the windmills come.”

The son, Michael, “who can hear a grasshopper deep in the grass that far away,” would be tormented beyond anyone’s comprehension, from the windmill swooshing sound that non-autistic people can barely sense, said his mother Susan, a former nurse. “When I drive by windmills I cry and choke with anger.”

Marc Bercier had windmills go up plus a substation on his land*, to the minimum sum of $95,000 per year for 20 years. A heck of an offer for a father who has two sons wanting to take over the operation.

“I’m pulling out of the windmill contract,” said Bercier recently. He detailed the venom that his family has faced for their decision to have windmills, including his elderly mother, when attending a public meeting the week before. [Editor: this was the huge meeting attended by 500+ people in St. Bernardin.] “I don’t want to put my family in that situation.”

The $22,000 he gets to keep as a down payment from EDF “wasn’t worth it,” said Bercier, “We value peace and family over money.” *

Even when he [Bercier] had gone public to Ontario Farmer (June 23) and other media this summer, detailing his contracts and the reasons for signing them, farmers who had done the same “attacked me, wanting me to keep quiet,” said Bercier.

Perhaps it was that self-imposed silence and the smoothness of the wind company EDF attempting a quick sales job for the community which contributed to the mounting opposition, said Bercier. “EDF didn’t do the real work with people.”

Phone call from the Liberal MPP

A last-minute pitch from EDF, which included offering to double the yearly stipend to the Nation Township from $150,000 to $300,000 per year on August 10, came the exact same day his council was meeting to reverse its earlier decisions to support the two projects [Editor: the writer fails to mention that there is a 150-MW project by EDF, and a 40-MW project by RES Canada being proposed] and declare itself an unwilling host, said Nation mayor Francois St. Amour. … The motion to reverse [Nation’s] earlier decision hadn’t even been on the agenda, but a call from local Liberal MPP Grant Crack to the mayor to deal with it, forced the issue ahead.

… [Developer EDF commented…] If people in the area have legitimate health concerns, we can certainly work with them and place the windmills so they are not affected, [Stephane Desdunes, director of development] said.

 

 

*Editor: you just don’t care about other people’s families and peace…

 

City of Kawartha Lakes loses fight to deny power developer road use

LongRoad-Naturally

My Kawartha

KAWARTHA LAKES – A Superior Court judge came down hard on the City of Kawartha Lakes in deciding in favour of wpd Sumac Ridge Wind Incorporated in a case involving an access road.       

In a decision released on Aug. 13, the Court ruled the City had acted in “bad faith” when council passed “an unwilling host bylaw” in 2014 denying the wind energy company the use of Wild Turkey Road in Manvers Township to access its provincially-approved wind turbine project. The case was heard in April.       

The City was ordered to pay $55,000 to wpd, an amount fixed upon and agreed to by both sides prior to the hearing.         

The company received provincial approval (called a Renewable Energy Approval or REA) for Sumac Ridge in 2013, and several groups, including Manvers Wind Concerns, launched an appeal through the Environmental Review Tribunal. They lost that appeal earlier this year and are currently awaiting a ministerial decision.         

In its application for judicial review, wpd claimed that the City “deliberately frustrated the REA and acted in bad faith in denying wpd the use of a roadway, Wild Turkey Road, which wpd characterizes as the ‘spine’ of the project approved by the Province,” the court document states.         

What is perhaps harsher is the judge’s finding that the City passed the resolution in a deliberate attempt to keep the Sumac Ridge project from moving forward and that council used its municipal power in bad faith.

Read the full story here.

Wind Concerns Ontario note: some organizations have been advising municipalities to deny wind power developers use of public roads; this has one again been proven here to be inappropriate and misguided advice. The decision in this case may be read here: http://www.canlii.org/en/on/onsc/doc/2015/2015onsc4164/2015onsc4164.html

Kincardine wind turbine noise study to be a “trailblazer”

A crane is seen at an Armow Wind turbine construction site northeast of Kincardine. (TROY PATTERSON/KINCARDINE NEWS)

Turbine under construction at Armow project, west of Kincardine. Photo: Troy Patterson, Kincardine News

Kincardine News, August 25, 2015

Can the municipality succeed where no legal challenge, bylaw, or protest has in the fight against provincial wind turbine projects?

A majority of Kincardine council seems to think so.

Following a vote at the last council meeting, municipal staff issued a request for proposals from sound engineers to conduct baseline acoustic measurements before the Armow Wind turbines become operational.

The hope is the municipality can demonstrate that infrasound is the culprit of motion sickness-like symptoms reported by dozens of residents living close to existing turbine projects in the municipality: a theory articulated at a council meeting earlier this month by acoustician Kevin Allan Dooley, who was invited to the meeting by members of Huron-Kinloss Against Lakeshore Turbines (HALT).

In his presentation, Dooley pointed to research showing that certain patterns of infrasound are sensed by humans whenever they are in motion — whether walking, biking or riding in a car. For a minority of people, if they sense these patterns when not in motion, it creates a sensory conflict that can cause symptoms associated with motion sickness, including sleep deprivation, nausea, headaches and dizziness, Dooley said. He believes wind turbine noise emissions create these same infrasound patterns when they pass into a home and are the so-far elusive culprit of “turbine sickness.” His firm is developing a device that would suppress such infrasound patterns that he says will be on the market in the next few years.

HALT’s Deb Morris asked a receptive council to take action to ensure baseline measurements are taken before the Armow Wind project is operational, so it can be used to investigate the infrasound theory.

Before voting against the proposal to hire sound engineers, Coun. Laura Haight asked what council’s end game would be by going alone and without consulting Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment, which is responsible for renewable energy oversight.

Mayor Anne Eadie suggested baseline measurements would be a base for further study and comparison, once the turbine project becomes operational.

Coun. Jacqueline Faubert said the MOE had written its noise protocols expressly to deny residents and municipalities with the means to effectively challenge projects, and that Kincardine could be an “innovator” and blaze a trail for other municipalities struggling with their own turbine issues.

Although the costs of hiring the sound engineers couldn’t be estimated at the time, council has previously voted to put aside payments associated with the Armow Wind project for such efforts.

Council also voted to conduct an independent review of a noise impact report by Armow Wind — the bill to be covered by the company as per provincial regulations.

 

Federal Health Minister: no help on wind turbine noise emissions

Health Minister Ambrose: no answers for you. No help, either.
Health Minister Ambrose: no answers for you. No help, either.

Federal Health Minister Rona Ambrose has written a letter to an Ontario resident who was inquiring about reporting problems with noise emissions to the government under the Radiation Emitting Devices Act (REDA).

In the letter, which has been posted on a website by the Canadians for Radiation Emissions Enforcement or CFREE (not a Wind Concerns Ontario member group), the Minister repeats the claim that the Health Canada wind turbine noise and health study did not find any link between exposure to the wind turbine noise and health effects, but did find a relationship between increasing wind turbine noise and “annoyance” (which the Minister failed to identify as a health impact in itself).

She further comments:

There are no standards developed under the Act ‘that apply specifically to wind
turbines, and currently the weight of evidence does not support an association
between the noise (radiation) from wind turbines and effects on human health.
Health Canada remains committed to protecting the health and well-being of
Canadians and will continue to review any new scientific literature that
becomes available.

This is directly in opposition to two Ontario MPs, Ben Lobb (who was Chair of the House Standing Committee on Health) and Larry Miller, both of whom represent citizens living in areas with utility-scale wind turbines, and both of whom have received numerous complaints about the turbine noise and health problems. The MPs recently advised residents to write to both their local wind power developer, and the federal government, under the authority of the REDA.

This letter is also very confusing because, as the Minister must surely know, the Health Canada study was never designed to find a causal relationship between turbine noise and health impacts but merely to advance the research on the topic. That said, the study did find that 16.5% of people living within 1 km of wind turbines were “annoyed” in the medical sense, meaning distressed. That number climbed to 25% for people living at the 550-metre mark—the Ontario setback.

In other words, the Health Canada research clearly showed there is a problem with turbine noise.

The Minister said her department will review any new scientific research, but clearly they are not: the Australian government has chosen to accept the recommendations by the Senate Select Committee which acknowledges health problems and concerns with turbine noise, and that national acoustics standards for the noise–including low-frequency noise or infrasound–are required.

Contrary to being a world leader on this issue as Health Canada claimed in a frankly self-serving brochure designed to help the wind power industry, Canada is behind… and failing the citizens of Ontario.

Now the question is: where is the Conservative federal government on this issue?

Do they support the people of rural Ontario who are forced to sit and watch as these power plants are built in community after community, exposing thousands to the noise emissions?

Citizens will want to ask all candidates in the upcoming federal election what their policy is, what their views are, and how they plan to help.

…..

CFREE has posted a petition on the REDA. See it here.

Six months and Ontario’s exports over $1B

What's another, er, billion?
What’s another, er, billion?

Although the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) failed to produce their Monthly Summary for June 2015 in a reasonable and timely fashion, they did provide information that allows one to determine how much our electricity sector has removed from ratepayers pockets for the first six months of 2015.

How bad is it? Bad.

It turns out 1.9 terawatts (TWh) of Ontario’s electricity production (15.2% of Ontario’s demand of 10.6 TWh) was exported to our neighbours in Michigan, New York and Quebec, etc., in June.  Ontario received payment of those exports at the hourly Ontario electricity price (HOEP) $15.31/megawatt hour (MWh) or 1.53 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) of $29.1 million.  However, the cost to produce and transmit that 1.9 TWh, was $131.43/MWh (13.14 cents/kWh) — that means it cost Ontario ratepayers $249.9 million. Most of that wound up in the big (and growing) pot referred to as the Global Adjustment (GA).

$221 million lost in just one month

So Ontario’s electricity ratepayers picked up the difference of $221 million, which when added to our export losses for the prior five months of 2015, brought costs to almost 1.1 billion1. for the first six months of 2015.

The 1.9 TWh exported in June brought total exports for the first six months of 2015 to 12.53 TWh. That’s about what the entire City of Toronto consumed in that same period.

Perhaps it’s time for Premier Wynne to realize that the losses on our exports represents a “green tax” on all of the ratepayers in Ontario and the remedy is to cancel any further renewable energy contracts. This could prevent bankruptcy and hardship for many Ontario electricity customers and avoid fulfilling the prediction of Ontario’s Chamber of Commerce that 1 in 20 businesses would “close their doors” due to high electricity prices.

©Parker Gallant,

August 11, 2015

1.  The figure of $1.1 billion is equivalent to the cost of moving the Oakville and Mississauga gas plants but that was a one-time event whereas this cost to ratepayers will occur twice in 2015 and continue into the future.

 

Ontario rejects wind farms: 90+ communities say NO

NEWS RELEASE

Wind Concerns Ontario

OTTAWA Aug. 11, 2015 /CNW/ – More than 90 communities have now declared themselves to be unwilling hosts to huge power generation projects using wind turbines. The municipality of Nation, east of Ottawa, yesterday reversed an earlier statement of support, and the Town of Essex declared it wants no more wind turbines.

“The Premier promised not to force power projects on communities,” says Wind Concerns Ontario president Jane Wilson. “But we still can’t say ‘no.’ Making the unwilling host declaration is a powerful statement to this government.”

Ontario citizens are increasingly aware that large-scale wind power brings potential environmental damage, harms wildlife, is linked to health impacts due to the noise and infrasound, and is causing electricity bills to climb beyond affordability.

Despite a surplus power supply and the high cost of renewables, Ontario is contracting for more wind power this year.

“The people of Ontario are saying ‘We’ve had enough,'” says Wilson. “The current procurement program should be abandoned immediately.”

www.windconcernsontario.ca

SOURCE  Wind Concerns Ontario

Wind power project rejected: the people of Nation speak

Council for the municipality of Nation, just east of Ottawa, met last evening and decided to reverse a motion of support for two wind power projects, in St Bernardin and St Isidore. Nation is now Not A Willing Host to wind power projects, making it the 90th community in Ontario to reject wind power proposals.

The community group Save The Nation/Sauvon La Nation held a huge public meeting last week, and revealed that council had passed the support motion with no public discussion or input.  The majority of residents are opposed to the power projects on the grounds that the potential for environmental damage is significant, and the impact on agriculture and the social fabric of the communities would be extensive.

“We are not for sale,” said Julie Leroux of Save The Nation in an interview.

EDF of France had claimed it has spent hundreds of thousands wooing the community, paying for hockey dinners and other events designed to sway farm owners to sign leases for the project.

See the story from CTV News here: http://ottawa.ctvnews.ca/residents-of-nation-east-of-ottawa-fight-wind-turbine-projects-1.2510730

Eastern Ontario wind farms: enjoy the horizon while you still can

 

From Farmers Forum, August 4, 2015

Community opposition to industrial-scale wind power mounting

Excerpt from “Eastern Limits” by Tom Van Dusen

I’m not sure what it is about North Stormont Township but wind power developers seem to love it.

Their calculations must have discovered more forceful winds than normal stirring the township. On the surface, though it seems no more or less windy than any other rural municipality.

In increasing numbers, developers have been wafting through the township looking for prime sites* to erect their industrial turbines. As in other communities where they’ve landed, their efforts have been the subject of increasing protests, petitions, and testy meetings.

Correctly gauging the way the wind is blowing on the issue, township council has just taken a stand against turbines and their proponents…for what that’s worth. With the provincial government relentlessly pushing wind power, it’s probably not worth much.**

Mayor Dennis Fife has explained that too many ratepayers are against wind projects for council to reasonably support them. Fife has expressed his personal opposition, claiming wind will never match nuclear power generation.

Typical of disgruntled ratepayers is Roger Villeneuve who worries that towers “much taller than any tree I’ve ever seen or will ever see” will soon dominate the local landscape.

…Council was helped along in its decision by Concerned Citizens of North Stormont which circulated an unwilling host petition, demanding that elected representatives back it at a meeting July 28. They did.

In explaining its opposition the citizens’ committee cited the loss of property values and prime agricultural land, increased hydro costs to cover wind power expansion, environmental impact on birds and bats, health issues related to pulsating noise and shadow flicker, and eventual decommissioning costs.

…Developers have been through all this before, in several other Ontario municipalities where they’ve landed. You see, they have carte blanche from the province under the Green Energy Act, trumping any local motions, opposing them. Projects are decided by the province’s Independent Electricity Service Operator [sic–it is “System” Operator] (IESO) with little regard for local concerns.***

…a growing number of wind power opponents are urging councils to use other tools at their disposal…one suggested option is refusing a bylaw to permit road access to turbine sites. ****

“Enjoy the natural horizon while there still is one,” says ratepayer Roger Villeneuve.

Wind Concerns Ontario notes:

* What they are looking for is willing landowners. Wind doesn’t really have much to do with it.

** The Not A Willing Host declaration stems directly from a statement by Premier Kathleen Wynne that she wouldn’t force wind power projects on communities that weren’t willing. Her failure to honour her word is underscored by the 89 (soon to be 90?) communities that have protested by municipal resolutions.

*** This is true but the failure of a developer to gain municipal support does not help them in a successful bid. Bids without community support are ranked lower.

**** This is not actually a valid option: several communities have tried this already and what happens is, the developer goes to the Ontario Energy Board which then grants permission to use road allowances. The municipality is then left without a road use agreement and possibility of compensation for the sometimes considerable damage to public roads.

 

Kincardine OKs background noise study for Armow wind farm

Before it starts up...
Before it starts up…

Blackburn News, August 5, 2015

Time is of the essence as Kincardine council looks to conduct background noise studies before the Armow Wind project begins operation.

Council has directed staff to report back as soon as possible in order to issue a Request For Proposal to hire a consultant to conduct background acoustic and infrasound tests in the project area.

CAO Murray Clarke says they need to move quickly because the 180-megawatt Armow project is nearing completion.

“The Armow project is planned to be plugged in and operating before the end of the year, so clearly in order to gather benchmark or background data, it must be done before the turbines are spinning,” says Clarke.

Council passed a resolution in 2013 to create a fund of up to $100,000 per year of tax revenue from Armow project for independent noise testing, but background testing is not included in the 2015 budget, so staff will report back with funding options.

Deborah Morris of Huron-Kinloss Against Lakeshore Turbines says they’re urging Kincardine council to consider expanding its noise testing pledge to include the Enbridge wind farm in Bruce Township, as well as three other small wind farms proposed in the municipality.

However, Mayor Anne Eadie says council is focusing on the Armow project for now because of the tight timeline.