Missing electricity data shows Wynne government not ‘transparent’

Premier Wynne: promise of "open" government means you have to look for the truth...it's hiding
Premier Wynne: promise of “open” government means you have to look for the truth…it’s hiding

Omitted data means Ontario government and IESO, not transparent 

A Government of Ontario website, updated January 11, 2016, is all about the promise of  “Open Government”.  Premier Kathleen Wynne is quoted: “Our Open Government initiative will help create the transparent, accessible government the people of Ontario deserve. This is part of our vision for One Ontario, where every voice counts.”

That looks like an empty promise in respect to the Energy Ministry anyway: the IESO (Independent Electricity System Operator) just released its “2015 Ontario Electricity Data” and it’s full of missing data. Perhaps that would have been considered too open and too transparent.

What IESO didn’t tell us:

  •  Exporting 22,618,000 megawatts (MWh) of surplus power in 2015 cost Ontario ratepayers $1.759 billion.
  • Those 22,618,000 MWh would have powered about 50% (2.4 million) average Ontario households that consume 800 kWh monthly and 9.6 MWh annually.
  • Those 22,618,000 MWh represented 16.5% of total Ontario Demand in 2015 and 14.8% of total Ontario generation from all sources (except imbedded).
  • Embedded (referred to as Dx) capacity in Ontario at the end of the third quarter of 2015 totaled 3,579.2 MW of capacity and included 2,103 MW of solar and 669 MW of wind; the amount of energy those two sources alone probably generated (estimated as IESO don’t provide this data) was in the order of 4,500,000 MWh.
  • Estimated cost of Dx solar, $1.4 billion and of Dx wind $220 million additional to the reported wind production cost of $1,125 million and the $125 million cost of reported solar bringing total costs of those two sources to almost $2.9 billion. That’s without factoring in other related costs!
  • Wind and solar generation are given “first to the grid” rights meaning they often create SBG (surplus baseload generation) which requires Bruce Power to “steam off” nuclear production for which they are paid, but that potential generation and its cost to ratepayers was not reported by IESO. In fact, there were 588 incidences in 2014 when nuclear was “steamed off,” but IESO don’t report the incidences for 2015.
  • IESO don’t disclose how much wind or solar was curtailed or constrained, so we are unable to determine how much additional surplus generation may have been produced without grid constraints, and what that may have cost ratepayers.
  • The spilling of clean hydro is also part of the maneuvers to prevent SBG often caused by power generation from wind, produced out-of-phase with demand, but IESO don’t disclose either the generation spilled, or the cost to ratepayers for that lost carbon-free power production.
  • IESO claim Ontario Demand fell by 2% in 2015 thanks to “conservation,” etc., but the reader isn’t told the cost of the conservation program, nor is it explained what IESO meant by “broader economic shifts.” Does this mean Ontario is losing (more) manufacturing jobs, or households and businesses are simply going off-grid?
  • IESO doesn’t disclose costs of generation by source so the reader is completely uninformed; for example, what did the 15.4 terawatts (TWh) of gas generation cost us in 2015? Would it be asking too much for IESO to, at the very least, disclose in their press release what the capacity of each generation source was at the year-end right above where they disclose its production?
  • IESO casually include the Global Adjustment as a per kilowatt hour cost but don’t disclose that average households pick up a large part ($500/600 million annually) of the total costs to allow Class A (large industrial customers) lower rates.
  • IESO fail to note the cost of a kilowatt of electricity (exclusive of distribution, etc. costs) increased from an average of 9.06 cents/kWh to 10.8 cents/kWh, an 11.9% increase from 2014 to 2015.

 

 

 

 

And last,

  • IESO don’t disclose the total value of the GA except to note it was 7.78 cents/kWh. If one extrapolates the per/kWh GA, against total generation (total Ontario consumption of 137 TWh plus net import/exports of 16.885 TWh plus Dx of 4.5 TWh = 158.355 TWh), the Global Adjustment becomes $12.3 billion!

With this amount of important data missing, should we consider IESO to be open and transparent?

Surely the current provincial government can’t seriously believe Ontario’s ratepayers are so simple minded as to be satisfied by empty promises of an “open” and “transparent” government when they view the incomplete utterances from an entity directly under the purview and control of the Minister of Energy, Bob Chiarelli.

It’s time for the current Premier to stop pretending “every voice counts”!

© Parker Gallant,

January 18, 2016

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

 

 

Ostrander Point wind farm developer stuns appeal hearing Friday

On last hearing day, developer alleges bias and asks Tribunal panel to step down. Then the MOECC demands new criteria be used for the decision

January 16, 2016

The multi-year saga of the appeal of a wind power project approval at Ostrander Point on the South Shore of Prince Edward County continued yesterday in Toronto, at what was supposed to be a hearing of final oral submissions.

The day began slowly with the usual formalities.

Appellant lawyer Eric Gillespie said at the outset of the day that the purpose of the hearing was to review the proposed remedy to avoid killing endangered turtles. The developer needed to prove that the remedies will work, Gillespie said, and they have not.

Lawyer Chris Paliare said that the wind power project at Ostrander Point will be a costly experiment, with wildlife suffering as a result.

Then, counsel for the power developer Doug Hamilton stunned the audience and panel with his assertion that the panel was biased and should recuse itself. While both lawyers for the appellant and Intervenor objected, Chris Paliare said that this was the result of a “sinister plot” by the developer who saw that “things aren’t going their way.” It was preposterous to bring up such an unfounded and serious motion at this stage of the proceedings, Mr Paliare asserted.

Stunning tactics by lawyers for the developer, MOECC
Stunning tactics by lawyers for the developer, MOECC

Even more amazing was the introduction of the concept of “public interest” into the decision process, by Ministry of Environment and Climate Change lawyer Sylvia Davis. “It’s OK to kill turtles,” Ms Davis told the panel, if it’s for wind power because the project will reduce greenhouse gases and that is in the public interest.

“Are you saying that ‘public interest’ trumps everything?” asked panel chair Robert Wright.

“I’m not saying that,” Ms Davis answered, then said she didn’t have any further information.

Eric Gillespie said that in light of the issues now raised by the MOECC, he would be asking for an adjournment of the Amherst Island, White Pines, and Settlers Landing appeals until the issues were resolved.

Lawyers were directed by the panel to file final submissions by Wednesday January 20th.

Here is a report from the appellant, Prince Edward County Field Naturalists.

 

The drama continues

by Cheryl Anderson, Prince Edward County Field Naturalists

On Friday Jan 15 Heather Gibbs and Robert Wright of the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) panel, convened yet another day of hearings into the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists’ (PECFN) appeal of the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) Renewable Energy Approval (REA) of the Gilead Power Industrial Wind turbine project at Ostrander Point Crown Land Block.

This hearing was held to hear final oral submissions from Eric Gillespie, representing PECFN, Chris Paliare representing the South Shore Conservancy or SSC (intervenors supporting PECFN), Douglas Hamilton, representing Gilead Power and Sylvia Davis, representing MOECC.

This so-called re-hearing was brought about by the Court of Appeal decision last year which confirmed the original ERT decision, but sent the matter back to the ERT for consideration of Gilead’s proposed remedy to serious and irreversible harm to the Blanding’s Turtle — that is, to install gates on the turbine access roads. Arguments about this issue were heard throughout the late summer and fall and were remarkable for the admission from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) Blanding’s Turtle expert, Joe Crowley, admission that he had recommended against the project when it was first proposed due to the danger it would cause to the population of Blanding’s Turtles at the site.

The final submissions of the Gilead Power legal team included two issues that began the hearing. One was the assertion that the time for making any decision about the remedy to the project had expired. The other was that the panel, specifically Mr. Wright was biased and that as a result the panel should recuse itself. This assertion was based on the fact that after giving the decision on Ostrander, Mr Wright was on the panel for another appeal where the ruling quoted from the Ostrander decision. On that panel with him was the ERT vice chair Jerry DeMarco, spouse of Anne Bell, Ontario Nature’s director of Conservation and Education.

In contrast to the usual, Ms. Davis did not agree with Mr. Hamilton in these two matters. Eric Gillespie and Chris Paliare spoke, also disagreeing with Mr. Hamilton. The panel reserved their decision (they will let us know later what they have decided).

We then came to the main arguments for the day which were oral presentations which essentially set out again all the reasons that PECFN (Eric Gillespie) and SSC (Chris Paliare) had for denying the remedy. This evidence relied on and reiterated the information given by Dr. Fred Beaudry and Ms. Kari Gunson at the hearings in the fall. Arguments were presented against the position of the approval holder (Gilead) and the MOECC that gates on the roads would save the turtles from serious and irreversible harm.

After lunch Mr. Hamilton and Ms. Davis had their turns to respond to the arguments presented by PECFN and SSC. This was, as expected, a reiteration of the written material which was sent before Christmas. Both commented that by installing gates serious and irreversible harm to the Blanding’s Turtle will be reduced to merely ‘universal’ harm and therefore the project should be approved.

However, in her written submission Ms. Davis had introduced a new issue which she now emphasized. That is, the MOECC is asserting that it was acting in the public interest by approving the Gilead power project because it involves renewable energy. There ensued a “discussion” between Mr. Wright and Ms. Davis regarding the MOECC’s Statement of Environmental Values (SEV). Mr. Wright has required Ms. Davis (and all other legal representatives) to submit to the Tribunal by Wednesday January 20 the arguments she is using to support her contention that approving the Ostrander Point project satisfies (or doesn’t) the Statement of Environmental Values of the MOECC.

Eventually the Tribunal will issue a decision on the issue of timing and bias. The final decision on the remedy issue will follow.

For more information and for a link to help out with fundraising in this important legal action, please go to: http://savethesouthshore.org/overview-of-issues/#sthash.b2k6ItFm.dpbs

Beleaguered Shirley Wind residents refuse to give up

People living near the Shirley Wind Farm in southern Brown County attend a meeting of the Board of Health on January 12, 2016. (Photo by Jeff Flynt/Midwest Communications).

Residents at Board of Health meeting January 12 [Photo Jeff Flynt]

“You are now part of the problem”

WTAQ, January 13, 2016

GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) – Residents in southern Brown County upset with last month’s decision by the county’s health director not to order a shutdown of the Shirley Wind Farm spoke out during a meeting Tuesday evening.

The Brown County Board of Health put room on its agenda to allow for follow up to Health Director Chua Xiong’s call not to formally classify the turbines in Morrison and Glenmore as a public health hazard.

“Please help us, this is serious business,” said one of the approximately 40 people attending the meeting solely to urge Xiong to change her mind.

“You are now part of the problem,” said another resident.

Ben Schauer is an Army veteran who lives in Denmark near the Shirley Wind Farm.

“I’m imploring all of you, fight for me, fight for my family as hard as I’ve spent 22 years fighting for this country and your rights to sit there,” said Schauer, who was accompanied by his wife and sons who told the board their personal illnesses they say are from the wind turbines.

Xiong was largely silent during the meeting, while some board members backed her conclusion that insufficient evidence links turbines to illnesses suffered by residents.

COUNTY SUPERVISOR GOES AFTER XIONG

Among the attendees Tuesday was Brown County Supervisor Patrick Evans. He was one of the several who spoke during the public forum on the Shirley Wind Farm.

“It’s almost borderline on misconduct in public office, it’s almost criminal,” Evans said, directing his remarks toward Xiong’s announcement during the December 15 meeting. “I don’t like it that she comes out and tells the people yes I know you’re not crazy and there’s a problem, but then doesn’t do anything to help them.”

In 2014, the Brown County Board of Health declared that turbines do emit low-frequency noise which can endanger health. But it is Xiong who holds the power to order a shutdown of those turbines in the southern part of the county.

“She has to make a decision based on the best available evidence she has,” said board member and Brown County Supervisor Richard Schadewald, who echoed fellow board member Karen Sanchez in saying there is no “direct causality” shown.

NEXT MOVE?

Talk during the public feedback portion of the meeting ranged from performing more studies, to courses of action in a potential lawsuit to whether or not the Board could do anything moving forward.

But for many of the residents impacted by the daily issue of wind turbines, time is running out.

“If this was happening in Allouez or the City of De Pere, you’d be on this in a flash, because people getting this sick this fast, you’d do something about it,” said one woman.

“We cannot wait any longer,” said Steve Deslauriers. “Holding off for future study, the process at the state level is corrupt enough that it will likely turn out that we get a response like we did last month.”

Evans, who chairs the Brown County Human Services Committee, says at their January 27 meeting that Xiong will speak.

“She hasn’t taken the science to say why I’ve made this decision,” Evans said. “I would hope that we would hear some explanation from her, I think she’s probably working on it right now instead of before.”

Evans added he doesn’t expect Xiong to change her mind and that while he supports her background, in his view, she’s dropped the ball on this decision.

Xiong was unavailable for comment after the meeting.

Ontario power surplus continues: new wind farm approved

Thanks to Orville Walsh of Prince Edward County for monitoring the approvals and appeals of wind power project applications in Ontario.

Here is his report from yesterday:

The Belle River project (County of Essex, Samsung/Pattern, 44 turbines, 100MW) was approved by the MOECC.

I have not read the REA but the posting on the EBR notes among other things the following which included removal of three (3) turbines, moving some and not allowing erection of 13 turbines until NAV Can agrees with their location.  This means 17 of 44 turbines (>38%) were not approved with the issuance of the REA.
Note that since the REA application was deemed complete on July 30, 2015, SP Belle River Wind GP Inc. made changes to the project. The changes included the following:
  • removal of T13, T34 and T4 from the project; and
  • adjustments to the placement (< 20 m) of T15, T35, T49, T51, T57 and T206 within the existing project location.
and also
not erect T200, T201, T202, T204, T205, T206, T210, T211, T212, T213, T214, T215 and T219 until the company provides confirmation to the Director and District Manager from NAV Canada that NAV Canada no longer objects to the locations of these wind turbines,
Currently only the Fairview project remains unapproved with two other projects yet to submit their applications (North Kent and Henley Inlet).
See the latest summary report here: REA Status Update Jan 14 2016

No more wind power contracts: Dutton-Dunwich Council to Wynne government

Got the message, Invenergy and Ontario? No means NO.
Got the message, Invenergy and Ontario? No means NO.

Dutton Dunwich, Ontario, January 14, 2016—

Dutton Dunwich Council passed a resolution at its regular meeting January 13, requesting that the Ontario government not sign any new contracts for wind power, and that it “not proceed with any related projects within our Municipality.”

Invenergy submitted a bid for a power project in the municipality during the 2015 bid process for Large Renewable Procurement (LRP). Eighty-four percent of residents in the area said NO to the wind power project when  the municipality conducted a survey last year.

Dutton Dunwich is also officially an unwilling host community to wind power projects.

Concerns noted in the resolution were the danger to wildlife from the industrial-scale wind turbines, the fact that Ontario has a surplus of power, and that the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation also do not support the power project.

“DDOWT  [Dutton/Dunwich Opposed to Wind Turbines*] is very pleased that our local Dutton Dunwich Council has passed this resolution,” said Bonnie Rowe, chair of the community group. “Our civic leaders continue to stress to Provincial government bodies that  84 percent of our our citizens are opposed to IWT being built in Dutton Dunwich.”

Council directed that the resolution be forwarded to Premier Kathleen Wynne, Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli, MPPs, and the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO).

 

Read the resolution here: DuttonDunwich20160114091524101

 

*DDOWT is a community group member of Wind Concerns Ontario

 

West Lincoln council asked to collect noise data for huge wind farm

Groups ask council to collect noise data

[Photo: Amanda Moore]

Niagara This Week, January 13, 2016

By Amanda Moore

WEST LINCOLN — With some of the largest industrial wind turbines in North America rising from the rural West Lincoln landscape, two citizens groups are asking the local government to begin monitoring noise.

“We want the township to appreciate the scope of the risk we are about to run with one of the largest wind projects in North America next to such a densely-populated area,” said Mike Jankowski, chair of the West Lincoln Glanbrook Wind Action Group (WLGWAG), which made a joint presentation to West Lincoln’s planning, building and environmental committee Monday with Mothers Against Wind Turbines (MAWT). “There are some risks that aren’t mitigated and we require the township to start collecting data both before and during the turbines.”

Jankowski, who said he has personally experienced health effects related to the HAF Wind Energy project already in operation in West Lincoln, said it’s a matter of when, not if, those living near the Niagara Region Wind Farm currently under development will experience adverse health effects. The groups say the noise data will help establish a clear picture of what residents are dealing with.

“This data can be used for a number of things,” explained Jankowski. “First and foremost, it can be used to aid in a response if necessary. To indicate what people are being subject to.”

What began as a mild ringing in the ear turned into dizziness and decreased mental capacity for Jankowski. His teenage daughter has also suffered debilitating migraines with stroke-like symptoms. The problems have been ongoing for the past year and a half.

WLGWAG and MAWT came before committee with several asks Monday, the main of which was for a commitment from the municipality that it will protect the community.

“The township should act immediately to manage risks by collecting measurement data about noise emissions in our community,” Jankowski said. “We need to monitor full range noise on an ongoing basis to provide an understanding of what people are subject to in their homes.”

The groups are requesting the township immediately look into ways of establishing and collecting noise data, to establish an advisory committee to hear turbine-related concerns and that it presses the government to purchase more sound measuring devices.

Coun. Joanne Chechalk, vice chair of the planning committee, said she was all for collecting noise information but wanted to take the request one step further.

“My concern is that if we do all of this, we monitor all … the municipality can’t do anything, as we all know,” said Chechalk. “There is no mechanism, nothing to say or do. It’s akin to drinking water. After Walkerton happened, we now have policies in place and councils have been trained. So now when water levels are unsafe they are declared that way and we have boil water advisories. There is nothing for wind turbines. If this says that we get to 40 or 60 decibels, what do we do?”

On top of asking for a staff report addressing the concerns of the citizens groups, Chechalk asked that the township request the province to develop and implement a process to handle events where wind facilities exceed the 40 decibel regulation outlined in the Green Energy Act. She also requested the township begin working with opposition critics and establish a province-wide advisory committee, which would pool representatives from municipal governments across Ontario who are dealing with the same issues.

“If it’s a concern, I’m looking for the province to give us a stiff remedy,” said Chechalk. “What happens if it exceeds the levels? Is it safe for humans, for chickens or whoever is in the proximate? We need to know.”

A staff report is expected at the Feb. 8 planning committee meeting which will  outline next steps the township can take.

The groups also encouraged committee to follow on the heels of other municipalities in the province that seek a stall on projects until important questions are answered.

MAWT, specifically, has concerns with numerous changes to the NRWF project currently under development. The Township of Wainfleet has sent a letter to Ontario’s minister of energy questioning why there was no public process on major changes to the project. Both groups pressed West Lincoln committee to send correspondence to that same effect to the province.

“The township should press for answers,” said Jankowski.

Read more here.

Who pays for wind turbine teardown? Not clear, says lawyer

"No pocket to go to in 20 years": wind turbine teardown can cost thousands
What goes up must come down

“No pocket you can go to in 20 years”: Environmental lawyer says taxpayers and landowners could be responsible for costs

Farmersforum.com , January 2016

By Brandy Harrison

Toronto- With more wind turbines coming to Eastern Ontario, there has been a lot of talk about what happens when it comes time to take down the towers. While the provincial government may put the onus on wind project developers to pay for teardown, it’s far from certain they’ll be able to collect if a company goes bankrupt — which could mean taxpayers are on the hook, says a Toronto-based environment and municipal lawyer.

“Many of these companies are relatively small, or based outside of Canada, and that creates what appears to bea real risk as there will be no pocket you can go to 20 years from now when a cleanup is actually required,” says Eric Gillespie, who has represented landowners and municipalities with wind turbine concerns.

It’s anybody’s guess who would end up paying for decommissioning — the landowner, the municipality, or provincial taxpayers, he says.

Farmers shouldn’t underestimate what it takes to remove a single turbine, Gillespie warns. The nacelle — the central hub containing the generator — is 80 to 100 metres in the air and weighs as much as 70 tonnes. “It’s not something where you just call your neighbor and ask him to bring his tractor over.”

While Ontario costs are yet unknown, world-wide decommissioning has ranged from $30,000 to $80,000 per turbine.

But the worst case scenario can be avoided if funds are set aside as part of the approval process, suggests Gillespie.

Decommissioning plans are required to get renewable energy approval but they don’t have financial strings attached.

There is already a good model in place, says Gillespie. Under the Environmental Protection Act, the government will ask for financial assurance if there is a risk of adverse effects that could require remedial work. A letter of credit or security is required up front.

“Anything other than that might keep lawyers busy for a long time but won’t help communities. It’s about addressing the issue now rather than waiting for the end and crossing your fingers. It should be the companies that are earning the profits that have to pay the bill.”

 

Ontario’s electricity Powerball jackpot

Ontario’s electricity “Powerball” giveaway

It’s official! The cost of exporting Ontario’s surplus electricity paid for by electricity ratepayers actually exceeded the prize up for grabs in the U.S.-based “Powerball” lottery. In this case, prize winners were neighbouring states, New York and Michigan and a few other lucky Ontario neighbours.  The other big winners were the wind and solar developers in Ontario who were busy generating surplus unreliable and intermittent electricity.

The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) released the “2015 Ontario Electricity Data”, and buttered it up with verbiage that made it sound like everyone in the province won — but they didn’t.  Everyone who uses electricity for their daily needs actually lost a lot of money; the current year will simply make it worse.

Let’s have a look at some of the data. IESO told us Ontario demand fell by 2% to 137 terawatts (TWh)   The press release tells us the drop in demand “can be attributed to conservation initiatives, increases in embedded generation, mild weather and broader economic shifts”.  They don’t say what those “broader economic shifts” were, but they do sort of comment in respect to “embedded” generation.  They tell us that embedded generation grew by 20% last year to 3,000 megawatts (MW,) but they don’t tell us what they produced meaning we are not being told if demand actually fell by the 2% claimed.  If it didn’t fall the claim about those “conservation initiatives” would be false.   We will never know because IESO won’t disclose what embedded generation produced.   That doesn’t sound very “transparent” despite IESO first “Mission Statement” which is to operate the “electricity system and market in an effective and transparent manner.”

Other data released indicates Ontario exported 22.618 TWh (enough to power about 2.4 million1. average Ontario households for a full year) and those exported 22,618,000 MWh generated average revenue of $23.60/MWh each, meaning Minister Chiarelli would claim we made a profit of $534 million.  Well, we didn’t make a profit!  The data in the IESO release indicates the average hourly Ontario energy price (HOEP) for 2015 was $23.60/MWh (2.36 cents per kilowatt hour) and the GA or Global Adjustment added another $77.80/MWh to the costs of producing that exported surplus power bringing the all-in cost to $101.40/MWh.  Our U.S. neighbours don’t pay the GA!

The total cost of producing those 22,618,000 exported MWh was therefore $2,293 million. Now, if we deduct Minister Chiarelli’s “profit” of $534 million, the “Powerball” number picked up by Ontario’s benevolent ratepayers was $1.759 billion.

The press release also told us that power generation from wind reached a record 9.0 TWh in 2015 (without accounting for constrained generation).   The average cost of those 9 TWh was approximately $125/MWh or $125 million per TWh, so if we had had no wind turbines in the province producing electricity intermittently and out of phase with demand, we could have reduced the “Powerball” number by $1.1 billion. That would have saved the average ratepayer $223.

To many Ontario ratepayers, saving $223 in electricity costs would have been a “win” but instead, we all lose.

©Parker Gallant,

January 13, 2016

  1. Ontario has approximately 4.8 million households so our exports were sufficient to power 50% of them using 800 kWh per month or 9.6 MWh annually.
  2. Calculations are $125. X 9 million = $1.125 billion or about the cost of moving two gas plants.