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

Ontario green energy policy actually harms environment: Amherst Island group

Snowy Owl Eyes Right birdsbykim.jpg

One of ten species of owl that may be found on Amherst Island, in world-famous Owl Woods.

Harming the environment to “save it” is the Ontario government’s apparent credo

NEWS RELEASE August 27, 2015

Ontario green energy program to damage Amherst Island environment                
                                                                                                                                       

STELLA, ON, Aug. 27, 2015 /CNW/ – The Ontario government claims to be a leader in environmental action but this week’s approval of a huge wind power project on Amherst Island will harm, not help the environment, say community leaders.

“Approval of this power project indicates the hypocrisy of the government’s wind power program,” says Michele Le Lay, spokesperson for Association to Protect Amherst Island. “Constructing and operating wind turbines here will do great harm to the natural environment.”

The island, a short ferry ride from Millhaven, is home to endangered species of wildlife and a known resting place for migrating birds each spring and fall. Heritage Canada’s National Trust named it one of Canada’s Top Ten Endangered Places in 2014 due to the threat of the power project.

The government placed 27 conditions on the power project’s approval, including a requirement that the power developer report on damage to the environment.

“There are places where wind turbines just shouldn’t go,” says Le Lay. “This is one of them.”

SOURCE  Wind Concerns Ontario

Wind Concerns Ontario president Jane Wilson said the Amherst Island power project is “at the core of what we’ve been saying about the Ontario Liberal government’s wind power program—everyone wants to do what’s best for the environment, but invasive, destructive wind power projects, which actually produce power on an intermittent basis out of phase with demand, is not the way to help the environment.

“Amherst Island is an emblem of the government’s failed green energy program: it will harm the natural environment, it will cause distress to people in the community, and it will add to Ontario’s economic woes.”

 

For more information on Amherst Island, go to the Association to Protect Amherst Island website here.

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.

 

Amherst Island destruction assured: wind farm approved by MOECC

Kingston Whig-Standard, August 24, 2015

Amherst Island wind project approved

By Elliot Ferguson, Kingston Whig-Standard

A map of Amherst Island from the Revised Draft Site Plan by Windlectric.

A map of Amherst Island from the Revised Draft Site Plan by Windlectric.                                            

STELLA – A controversial wind energy project for Amherst Island has received conditional approval from the Ontario government.

The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change announced Monday the project received a renewable energy approval with more than two dozen conditions.

Windlectric Inc.’s Amherst Island Wind Energy Project is to include up to 26 wind turbine generators and one substation transformer.

The project has been ferociously opposed by many island residents, who argue the project is bad for their health, the environment and the heritage of the island.

The Association to Protect Amherst Island said the project proposal, which the government deemed complete in January 2014, is not finished and leaves too many unanswered questions.

“The Association to Protect Amherst Island deplores today’s decision by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change to approve a Renewable Energy Application by Windlectric Inc. for the construction of turbines on Amherst Island, the jewel of Lake Ontario,” association member Michele Le Lay said in an email Monday evening. “The APAI team is ready to continue its commitment to preserve the cultural and natural heritage of the Island with a strong legal position and fact-based evidence.”

Since July 2014, the project has been modified four times, including a change earlier in May that lowered the maximum number of wind turbines from 33 to 26 but replaced the remaining turbines with higher power models.

In addition to the project approval, the government placed 27 conditions on the project.

Among the conditions is a three-year time frame to get the project built, requirements to monitor noise emissions and ensure they do not exceed acceptable limits, implement a post construction natural heritage monitoring program, which includes bird and bat monitoring and complete any remaining archaeological fieldwork.

……………………

Form more information, go to the APAI website here.

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.

You don’t care about irreparable damage to environment, economy: Mayor to Premier Wynne, Environment MInister

  

Prince Edward County

August 5, 2015

Sent by Fax and Email

Honourable Kathleen Wynne

Premier of Ontario

Room 281, Main Legislative Building

Queen’s Park Toronto, Ontario

M7A 1A1

-and-

Honourable Glen Murray

Minister of the Environment and Climate Change 11

th Floor, Ferguson Block 77 Wellesley Street West Toronto, Ontario

M7A 2T5

Premier Wynne and Minister Murray,

It is with great regret, but no surprise, I acknowledge the receipt of a telephone call on July 30, 2015 from an aide in the Premier’s office, and the July 31, 2015 letter from Minister Murray, in response to my plea to meet with you directly to discuss the issue of the wpd White Pines Wind Incorporated industrial turbine development.

Following my clear and direct letter of July 23, 2015 to you both, it strains credulity to be informed not by the Premier herself but by her aide that she refuses to meet with the Mayor of an Ontario Municipality, and by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change that he has no intention of further involvement.

Through these actions, it is clearer than ever that neither of you understand nor care about the irreparable damage the White Pines and Gilead wind factories will cause to the landscape, tourism, hospitality industry and general economy of Prince Edward County, the current and acknowledged jewel of Ontario and go-to destination of thousands of urban dwellers and visitors from other Provinces and abroad. Nor, apparently, are you concerned about the looming slaughter of birds, bats, raptors, butterflies, reptiles and endangered species by these two factories, exacerbated by those in place or to come on Wolfe Island, Amherst Island and Ernestown. I await your explanation as to why protection is permanently afforded to Point Pelee National Park and its migration path, but not to the greater migration volume which visits the sites now threatened by your latest demonstration of irresponsible and ideologically-driven destruction.

Shortly after receipt of your respective telephone call and letter, our famous Sandbanks Provincial Park was filled to capacity this past weekend to the extent that further entrance was impossible and approach roads had to be closed to traffic. Do you really believe that this popularity will continue if wind factories are inflicted on Prince Edward County? I assure you that it will not, for those tourists will be driven away by the industrialization of Ontario’s former crown jewel with the disappearance of these vistas.

I am not impressed by Minister Murray’s suggestion that remedies are available to our Municipality through the Environmental Review Tribunal process. The undemocratic Green Energy Act, and the manner in which it is administered, ensures that success by this route is virtually impossible to achieve.

It is becoming apparent that the legacy of this term of government will be the destruction of and discrimination against rural Ontario, and the waste of literally billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money, both occasioned by the Green Energy Act and the complete lack of cost analysis and informed technical advice which should have preceded its introduction.

I am discouraged by your lack of concern relating to the important, indeed vital matters mentioned in my July 23rd  letter, but nevertheless am calling on you one more time to impose a moratorium on all new wind factories, including that of wpd White Pines, until the Green Energy Act is revisited, democracy is restored, and municipalities are again permitted to decide for themselves whether or not to host these devastating projects which so greatly impact our economic health.

Respectfully,

Mayor Robert L. Quaiff

Ontario defends trampling municipalities, environmental legislation for wind power

My Kawartha.com, August 19, 2015

Province rebuts allegations of opponents to wind and solar projects

 Councillor, architect say the Green Energy Act has been so mishandled it is tearing communities apart; Province says it is a priority to ensure renewable energy protects the environment

600 green energy argument

 Ward 16 Councillor Heather Stauble and resident Ron Awde review a map showing the Snowy Ridge wind turbine farm approved near Bethany. Both say the Province is using the Green Energy Act to override legislation protecting the Oak Ridges Moraine. Mary Riley/This Week

 KAWARTHA LAKES – As opposition to industrial wind and solar energy projects in the City of Kawartha Lakes continues to mount, the Province’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change maintains it is ensuring those projects are developed in a way that will protect the environment and boost Ontario’s economy.

But, Manvers Township residents who continue to fight large-scale industrial wind turbine farms say the public outcry against big solar panels in City fields reveals a better understanding of the entire green energy picture.

Ward 16 Councillor Heather Stauble has battled for years to prevent industrial wind farms from being built near Pontypool and Bethany, especially since some of those turbines would be built on the protected Oak Ridges Moraine.

Manvers Wind Concerns (MWC), one of the groups who appealed the approval of wpd Canada’s Sumac Ridge wind project in 2013 is waiting to hear the results of a ministerial review after losing an appeal of that approval at an Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) earlier this year.

But, two more industrial projects are planned by another company, Capstone Infrastructure Corporation, in the area.

Snowy Ridge wind farm was approved in June and opponents immediately began preparations for another legal challenge. The second project is Settler’s Landing.

Both projects would include building some of their 500-foot turbines on the moraine.

The primary reason residents are fighting so hard to keep mega-turbines out is the unknown impacts on the moraine; plants and wildlife, and the underground water aquifers and human health. Those concerns formed the basis of the Sumac Ridge ERT and remain the same for the other two projects.

Coun. Stauble noted some of the points opponents to the wind farms have raised such as inadequate setbacks, poorly completed water studies, noise impacts etc.

Coun. Stauble said a key point is the Province’s own environmental legislation prohibits building anything on the moraine, but “they are using the Green Energy Act to do whatever they want” and override existing laws.

Worse, she said, both wind and solar projects are being forced on Ontario municipalities, which have no say in where such projects can be built.

Earlier this month, City council refused to approve 10 proposed solar farm around the city, to the delight of residents who don’t want them in their backyards.

Amid cheers and applause at the meeting on Aug. 11, Mayor Andy Letham warned the Province could override the City’s position on solar farms.

Ron Awde, an architect experienced in wind technology whose property abuts the Snowy Ridge wind project, said those opposed to large-scale solar farms now have a better understanding of the fight against industrial wind turbines.

He’s hoping that will revive a flagging interest in the Snowy Ridge and Settler’s Landing appeals.

He and Coun. Stauble say it is the mishandling of the Green Energy Act that is at the core of wind and solar projects and how they affect municipalities, which ultimately have no say in where such projects are built.

Mr. Awde said the Province considers green energy to be an economic driver that will create jobs in Ontario, but that is not the case.

“The rollout on wind energy was based on old technology. The approval for Snowy Ridge makes direct reference to the importance of these projects to the economy of Ontario. There is now a general recognition that the total projected nine-per-cent contribution of wind power to the provincial power supply by 2032 doesn’t back up the claim that this will get Ontario off fossil fuels or nuclear power.”

Both Coun. Stauble and Mr. Awde noted the Green Energy Act represents a “horrifying” precedent in provincial legislation; alleging the energy companies “wrote the legislation and presented it to the Province.”

“At any point a majority government can draft a single piece of legislation that has been essentially prepared by a self-interested industry, that negates in part, or in whole all other provincial Acts and guidelines,” Mr. Awde noted.

Coun. Stauble emphasized it is not wind/solar energy itself that is the problem; she says many smaller wind turbines and solar panels are erected on private properties, put up by people who want to live off the grid.

The problem is industrial-sized operations.

Wind and solar energy is big business, she said, with companies rushing to build their projects and then “flipping” them to make money.

“The Snowy Ridge and Settler’s landing projects have been sold six times since 2009,” she said. “It’s a gold rush.”

The councillor and Mr. Awde said developers of both solar and wind energy “dangle the carrot” of good money before landowners to get desirable sites. But, that is what is dividing communities across the City.

And, it is unlikely the original developer will be around in 20 years to do any promised rehabilitation, Coun. Stauble added.

Both noted the ERT process itself, through which opponents of wind farm approvals must appeal, is deeply flawed, because the onus is on the appellants to prove their case, rather than the Province or the energy companies.

For example, Coun. Stauble said, the appellants must prove there ‘will’ be harm to the environment (rather than ‘could’ be).

And, while she respects the Tribunal panel are doing their best, they are restricted to specific criteria they may consider.

And, so far, Coun. Stauble said, the Province and the wind companies have won. On Aug. 11 the ERT dismissed an appeal of the 18-megawatt ZEP Wind Farm Ganaraska, to be built in the municipality of Clarington.

“The Tribunal was created by the Province; there is definitely the perception that they won’t decide against the Province and the wind companies,” she said. “The tragedy is there has been an enormous erosion of confidence in the MOE.”

Mr. Awde agreed. “The Province and the wind industry have crafted an appeal process so biased toward a single outcome favouring the developers, that it has become regarded as a cynical and elaborate scheme designed to discourage opposition from individuals and municipalities.”

This Week contacted the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change asking for comment on three questions:

1. Provincial legislation prohibits building anything on the Moraine, so how can industrial wind turbines be permitted?

2. The City of Kawartha Lakes has made it clear they do not want wind/solar farms in its communities; the opposition here is significant and residents feel this is being forced upon them. Could the Minister comment on that?

3. Many opponents feel the Environmental Review Tribunal process is flawed; that no matter how hard they fight, the decisions are always in the Province’s favour…there is a perception that there will never be a ruling against the Province.)

Minister Glen Murray is attending the AMO conference in Niagara Falls, but a spokesperson provided the following response:

“Ontario is establishing itself as a leader in climate change action and science to build a strong low-carbon economy, avoid irreparable damage to our environment, and leave a legacy of a healthy planet for our children and our children’s children.

“The Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan allows utility facilities to be built on the moraine provided they meet the policies and restrictions outlined in the Plan. These include demonstrating the need for the project, and considering and assessing alternative site locations. The Environmental Review Tribunal plays an important role in the accountability and transparency of Ontario’s Renewable Energy Approval process, and has in the past overturned provincial approval of a project.

“Ontario’s clean energy initiatives have attracted billions of dollars in new investments, generated more than 42,000 jobs and significantly increased the amount of clean energy in the province. Our priority is ensuring renewable energy projects are developed in a way that will protect the natural environment. Ontario’s Renewable Energy Approval process requires developers to conduct extensive consultation, including with municipalities, and sets out clear requirements to protect the natural environment.”

Ontario’s energy policy is hurting business

Financial Post, August 18, 2015

Note: the Minister of Energy has admitted that Ontario’s renewables program is responsible for a significant portion of the increase in electricity bills.

Ontario’s Power Trip: How Hydro is walloping Ontario business

| August 18, 2015 | Last Updated: Aug 18 11:06 AM ET More from Special to Financial Post

Electricity bills for all segments of businesses and households are now a drain on the economy versus an attraction for new business and the jobs they might create.
Peter J. Thompson/National Post Electricity bills for all segments of businesses and households are now a drain on the economy versus an attraction for new business and the jobs they might create.

Over the past several months there has been a constant din of noise from all business segments in Ontario about the high price of electricity and its effects. Electricity prices have risen as they have absorbed the high costs of 20-year contracts for renewable energy in the form of wind and solar as additions to Ontario’s electricity grid. Ontario currently has a huge surplus which results in as much as 20 per cent of our generation exported at fire sale prices. Couple that with a drop in demand, annual spending of $400 million on conservation messages, smart meters that allow time of use (TOU) pricing and the Hydro One, OPG and other Ministry of Energy employees enjoying wages and benefits that outstrip the private sector means electricity bills for all segments of businesses and households are now a drain on the economy versus an attraction for new business and the jobs they might create.

The situation for many small business owners is dire

The foregoing recently manifested itself in a report from the Ontario Chamber of Commerce entitled: “Empowering Ontario: Constraining Costs and Staying Competitive in the Electricity Market.” The report stated soaring electricity prices would cause one (1) in 20 Ontario businesses to shut their doors within the next 5 years. The report didn’t suggest how much electricity those 5 per cent of businesses consume or how many jobs would be lost but it should represent a concern to the ruling Liberal Party of Ontario. Should the scenario play out it would also result in a revenue drop for generators, transmitters and local distribution companies. Due to how the electricity sector operates in Ontario a revenue drop results in rate increases to all remaining Ontario businesses and residential households.

The Chamber was not the first to note the problems with high electricity costs, as the Association of Major Power Consumers of Ontario (AMPCO) raised its concerns in a May 2015 release of its “Power Market Outlook” and the president was quoted in the media referencing large Ontario industrial concerns: “Not only are they paying very high costs for the commodity but they’re paying some of the highest delivery rates … so it’s not just a commodity cost problem, it’s not just a renewable energy or coal phase-out problem.”

The above concerns were expressed despite the fact AMPCO members qualify as “Class A” ratepayers, meaning they get a break on their rates as part of the Global Adjustment which finds its way to residential and small businesses (Class B ratepayers) who subsidize the reduction of Class A rates.

A mid June 2015 C. D. Howe study, noted: “Class B consumers are paying more in GA charges so that Class A consumers can pay less. The panel estimates that the new GA formula resulted in Class A consumers paying $422 million less in 2012 than they would have paid under the former formula. From a policy perspective, the relevant question is – is society better off?”

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) also expressed its concern in relation to electricity prices on “small businesses” in April, noting: “The situation for many small business owners is dire, said CFIB’s Ontario vice president Plamen Petkov. The advocacy group, which represents 42,000 small and medium-sized business, has been asking the provincial government to provide relief for businesses for years.”

The Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters in their January 29, 2015 “pre-budget” report submitted to the ruling Wynne-led Ontario government also expressed concern about electricity rates:

“Competitive electricity rates are fundamental to the success of Ontario’s manufacturing sector and our economy. Despite progressive reforms including the demand based allocation of the global adjustment for large volume users, Ontario has among the highest electricity rates in North America.”

The CME further stated: “The only path forward for Ontario is to adopt a manufacturing action plan with an industrial/electricity rate as a core component.”

Another association referencing the cost of electricity to their activities is the Ontario Mining Association which on May 11, 2015 reported: “Jurisdictions with higher mining tax rates have lower electricity prices and government cost-sharing on infrastructure. A recent report indicates that exploration and mining costs are particularly inflated in the North, where companies need to invest in lacking, but essential infrastructure such as ports, power plants, winter and permanent roads, and accommodation facilities.” And the Ontario Forest Industries Association in its January 9 pre-budget submission to the Ontario government noted: “As a primary resource industry, forestry is an energy-intensive and trade exposed sector. The government has introduced a number of programs that have provided some relief from the steady rise in electricity pricing. However, given the government’s own projections in the recent Long Term Energy Plan these benefits are quickly being erased, along with the small competitive advantage they bring.”

Parker Gallant is a former banker who didn’t like what he was seeing in his Ontario electricity bills.