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

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 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.

Wind farm to be ‘fatal’ to Collingwood airport study shows

Wind “farm” approval serves “narrow private interest” over greater public interest in busy aerodrome

Simcoe.com, January 11, 2016

Wind project would be ‘fatal’ to Collingwood Regional Airport: study

The location of wind turbines in close proximity to the Collingwood Regional Airport would be “fatal” to the facility, according to an economic impact study.

The report, prepared by Malone Givens Parson at the behest of Clearview Township and the Town of Collingwood as part of their case against the turbines proposed by WPD Canada, determined the turbines would have a “significant negative impact on the operations” of the local airport.

The study is part of the two municipalities’ submission to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and is intended to provide a thorough look at the potential economic impacts of the wpd Turbine Project, including the perception of the economic viability of the future of the airport for those looking to invest in the airport. The document was submitted to the ministry on Jan. 8, and released publicly on Monday.

“We conclude that the Collingwood Regional Airport is fulfilling its intended function as an economic engine and is attracting business expansion proposals that would deliver very substantial economic benefit to the South Georgian Bay region” Malone Givens Parson principal John Genest wrote in the letter to preamble the executive summary of the 190-page report. “Approval of the current wpd turbine project would be fatal to business expansion, such that, on balance, the offending turbines should be moved or wpd’s Renewable Energy Act Application denied.”

In the report, the consultants note the location of five turbines would “intrude, in several cases significantly, into the operating space” of the airport. While those ‘intrusions’ could be addressed to NAV Canada’s satisfaction by changes to operating procedures for pilots landing and taking off from the facility, the proposed changes “are expected to have consequences that are not reviewed as part of NAV Canada’s mandate, and were therefore not examined by that agency,” the consultant wrote.

The proposed turbine locations would have significant impact to the airport’s operating procedures that would significantly impair the airport’s attractiveness to the ongoing flight school, or any future aviation business operations, the report concluded.

“These impacts could be resolved by relocating the turbines to positions outside the airport’s air space, or by denying the wpd turbine project application,” the consultants stated. “The wpd turbine project, in its current configuration, risks the loss to the region of significant new investment in growing the regional economy and labour skillset.”

The consultants estimated the economic benefits of business expansion at the airport, which would notably include the Clearview Aviation Business Park, would create nearly 1,900 direct and indirect jobs, about $10.5 million in tax revenue and have a $152.6-million impact on the region.

The consultant’s report is particularly damning of a similar study submitted to the ministry last November by WPD Canada, noting it was of narrow scope and “narrowly executed by an author with no evident expertise or experience in economic impact analysis or economic development.

“It misses the single most important element in assessing the potential consequences of implementing the wpd turbine project – market and investor perceptions of the attractiveness of the facility as one enabling successful investment of risk capital, and its influence on current or prospective plans to invest.”

For the ministry to approve WPD’s renewable energy approval application in its current form, “would put a narrow and relatively small private interest ahead of the greater public interest in unimpeded operations at the [airport], and the future investment, job growth and related economic benefits the Airport could sustain in furtherance of local, regional, provincial and federal economic development objectives.”

WPD has acknowledged Simcoe.com’s request for comment, but has not yet responded to the comments in the report.

 

Canada’s wind power corporations are grateful for all your money

Big Wind is grateful to you for their success! You? Not so much...
Big Wind is grateful to you for their success! You? Not so much…

The Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) had this greeting on their website over the holidays:The industry reached a milestone of over 10,000 megawatts of installed capacity this year, and during the holiday season more than ever, our thoughts turn gratefully to all of you who have made our progress possible.”

Ontario is home to almost 50% of those 10,000 megawatts (MW) of industrial wind turbines (IWT) and CanWEA is right: they should be grateful. They should be grateful to the ratepayers of the province who have no choice but to pay for intermittent and unreliable wind power as it gets “first to the grid” rights, ahead of reliable power sources like hydro, nuclear and gas.

The source of the problem

The reason for CanWEA’s gratitude is evident when one reviews the Independent Electricity System Operator’s (IESO) 18-month Outlook for January 2016 to June 2017.  Due to low demand for electricity in Ontario, particularly during the spring and fall, IESO frequently experiences “surplus baseload generation” or SBG.  They note this as follows:  “Ontario will continue to experience surplus baseload generation (SBG) conditions during this Outlook period. The magnitude of SBG is trending higher with the addition of new renewable generation and decline in grid demand due to conservation and distribution-connected generation. SBG is expected to be effectively managed through existing market mechanisms, which include inter-tie scheduling, nuclear maneuvering or shutdown and the dispatch of grid-connected renewable resources.”

So, an official admission: Ontario’s power surplus “is trending higher” due to renewables!

In 2014 6.8 terawatts1. (TWh) of power was generated from wind turbines, and during 2014 OPG was forced to “spill” 3.2 TWh of clean hydro, while Bruce Nuclear was forced to “steam-off” 1.3 TWh of clean CO2-free nuclear (September 2014 to October 2015). At the same time, the turbines were curtailed from producing about 500,000 megawatt hours. All of the generated, spilled, steamed-off and curtailed generation was paid for by Ontario’s ratepayers along with the losses on our exports of surplus generation.

The costs of the 6.8 TWh and the curtailed 500,000 MWh was approximately $930 million (7.3 TWh at an average price of $125/MWh); spilled hydro’s costs were $179 million (3.2 TWh at an average price of $56/MWh), and the 1.3 TWh of steamed-off nuclear added another $87 million to the bills of Ontario’s ratepayers. That brought the cost of those 6.8 TWh of production from IWTs to almost $1.3 billion.   That alone translates to a cost per kilowatt hour (kWh) of over 19 cents — before charges for transmission, delivery, the Debt Retirement Charge2. etc. and before picking up the losses for surplus export generation. In 2014 that cost ratepayers $1.2 billion, and will end up at close to $2 billion in 2015.

The poor get poorer in Ontario

By November 2015 end, wind had already exceeded 2014 generation, at 7.9 TWh. Add its costs to constrained, curtailed, spilled and steamed-off power and the cost of electricity will continue its climb despite the false claim made by Ontario’s Energy Minister reported in Maclean’s in December 2013: “Looking to the future, we expect that rates will continue to increase, but we have taken very significant steps to mitigate those rate increases.”

Mitigation of rate increases is not in the immediate or near future: we just got hit with an increase effective January 1st, 2016 of 10% with the removal of the Clean Energy Benefit and a new charge to support the almost 600,000 Ontario households living in “energy poverty.”  We can also expect a further increase May 1, 2016 to pay for the costs associated with more renewable energy coming on stream (700 MW of wind and 300 MW of solar) in the next 18 months, exacerbating SBG and the cost of dealing with it.

CanWEA’s members certainly had a merry Christmas, but all the Dom Perignon was on you.

©Parker Gallant.

January 7, 2016

 

  1. 6.8 TWh is equivalent to 6.8 billion kilowatt hours.
  2. Small businesses will continue to be charged for the DRC.

Wainfleet Council protests changes to Niagara wind power project without public consultation

Newer turbines proposed will actually increase sound power levels, Alderman says. “They’re walking all over us.”

Erie Media, January 10, 2016

Ald. Betty Konc has requested a letter to be drafted from the Township of Wainfleet and sent to the Ontario Minister of Energy and the Deputy Minister of Energy.

“They need to hear from the municipalities,” Ald. Konc said in a later interview. “We need to stand up and fight for ourselves.”

This action is in response to a letter that was submitted to Wainfleet Township council from Shiloh Berriman, Project Coordinator – FWRN LP and J.A. (Al) Leggett, Project Manager – Stantec Consulting Ltd. The letter was in reference to proposed changes to the Niagara Region Wind Farm Renewable energy project.

“They are asking to change the entire project,” Ald. Konc said in the Jan. 5th Wainfleet Township Council meeting. “The whole 77 turbines, they’re asking to be switched out from E101’s and E82’s from a height of 135m down to 124m.”

“That may sound like it’s a win, but, it really isn’t,” she said. “It does have to do with sound power levels.”

“The province has stated in their EPR registry that taller turbines are quieter,” she said. “Though that’s not true, but that’s what they believe.”

“So this if particular project is allowed to go forward with these changes, which are massive, they have not submitted documentation for these changes,” she said. “It this is what they wanted to do why didn’t they ask for that when they were going through the REA process (Renewable Energy Approvals: http://www.ontario.ca/page/renewable-energy-approvals ).”

“So when they put the 135’s down to 124, you are actually increasing the sound power levels which means that people who are going to be closest to these turbines and affected by them are going to be listening to over 40dB of sound power which is against their own rules,” she said.

“We need to stand up as a community and stop being run over by these people,” she said.

According to the article Noise Pollution: A Modern Plague from Medscape  by Lisa Goines, RN, Louis Hagler, MD, “It is known, for example, that continuous noise in excess of 30 dB disturbs sleep.”

The article goes on to say “Long-term psychosocial effects have been related to nocturnal noise. Noise annoyance during the night increases total noise annoyance for the following 24 hours. Particularly sensitive groups include the elderly, shift workers, persons vulnerable to physical or mental disorders, and those with sleep disorders.”

The article also draws this conclusion regarding low frequency sound and vibration: “Other factors that influence the problem of night-time noise include its occurrence in residential areas with low background noise levels and combinations of noise and vibration such as produced by trains or heavy trucks. Low frequency sound is more disturbing, even at very low sound pressure levels; these low frequency components appear to have a significant detrimental effect on health.”

According to an article in  Environmental Health Perspectives, Wind Turbines: A Different Breed of Noise?  by Nate Seltenrich, “Multiple recent studies, including one coauthored by Daniel Shepherd, senior lecturer at New Zealand’s Auckland University of Technology, have demonstrated that sleep interference gets worse the nearer residents are to turbines. ‘Sleep is absolutely vital for an organism,’ he says. ‘When we lose a night’s sleep, we become dysfunctional. The brain is an important organ, and if noise is disturbing its functioning, then that is a direct health effect.’”

According to this article “Wind turbines generate lower frequencies of sound than traffic. These lower frequencies tend to be judged as more annoying than higher frequencies and are more likely to travel through walls and windows. Infrasound, or sound frequency lower than 20 Hz—inaudible to the human ear—has been associated in some studies with symptoms including fatigue, sleeplessness, and irritability, as well as with changes to the physiology of the inner ear that have poorly understood implications.”

“Because I work so closely with Mothers against Wind Turbines and the West Lincoln Wind Action Group (wlwag), they notified probably about a month-and-a-half ago that the changes were being requested,” Ald. Betty Konc said in a later interview. “I just saw red when I saw this in our correspondence package because we’re one of the municipalities that are going to be affected by the proposed changes and we are one of the last to find out.”

“This is so typical of wind developers, they have been given ‘carte blanche’ to come in and walk all over the municipalities,” she said.

“When I saw this, I thought ‘Really you want to wait till the last minute to tell one of the three municipalities you are working in that you want these changes?,’” she said. “They aren’t little changes, they’re huge!”

“It’s a whole new project,” she said.

“What’s the motive behind the company wanting to change the turbines from 135m down to 124m? I don’t know, it’s probably cheaper to produce for them or something like that, we will probably never know,” she said. “They will also change the output level as well from 3 megawatt to 2.9, only .1 difference.”

“So they are changing the whole project, if this what they wanted to do, why didn’t they submit the paperwork in the original REA process?” she said.

“In my mind and in the minds of the Mothers against Wind Turbines and wlwag, this is a whole new project and it needs to go through the REA process and the current one needs to be null and void,” she said.

“According to the rules that are coming out for 2016 with regards to the next intake of projects this (if started as a new project) would not be allowed under the new rules this year, so they are trying to slide it in,” she said. “So they submitted their paperwork for these changes back in October but, still, we didn’t get the notice until Dec. 16.”

“Because of the way they’ve done this, there’s no real formal comment time,” she said. “With an REA, the public and the municipality get 60 days to comment on the project.”

“I agree with you (Ald. Konc),” Mayor April Jeffs said in the council meeting when drafting the letter was discussed. “It’s been verified and there are other people concerned, I think this is a good idea.”

At the conclusion of the issue it was voted unanimously that officially Wainfleet Township council will be drafting and sending a letter to the Ontario Minister of Energy, the Deputy Minister and the Region of Niagara (on the Mayor’s suggestion) and copies will be sent West Lincoln and Lincoln as they too will be affected by the proposed changes.

“We’re standing up and saying ‘Look this is a whole new project, they’re walking all over us and we don’t want to see this happen,’” Ald. Betty Konc said.

 

Why TVOntario and The Agenda are no longer a trusted source of information

Formerly "impartial" journalist now an apologist for the Wynne government?
Formerly “impartial” journalist now an apologist for the Wynne government?

Here is a blog posting by energy analyst Scott Luft, based on the past week’s edition of Ontario public broadcaster TVOntario‘s The Agenda, which dealt with the Auditor General’s report on how the Ontario government has mismanaged the energy file. The panel was virtually a three-to-one set-up against the lone supporter of the AG’s report, Brady Yauch of the Consumer Policy Institute.

This is well worth a read.

It took Steve Paikin 4 seconds to mislead the viewers of Ontario’s public broadcaster last night.

“Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk’s year-end report found that Ontarians overpaid for electricity by 37 billion dollars. ” – podcast

No, The Auditor General’s year-end report stated, correctly:

Global Adjustment fees, which are the excess payments to generators over the market price, amounted to $37 billion from 2006 to 2014

Should this confuse Mr. Paikin?

The electricity issue is not a a new one in Ontario and the global adjustment, while complex in some respects, does essentially refer to the difference between what a generator is paid, by contract (say $100 per unit), and what the market valued that power at (say $20 per unit).

… “Joining us now to explore why rates keep rising and  other mysteries of the energy file…”

Of a three-person panel on Paikin’s show, one has a history of distracting people from understanding Ontario’s energy file, and another is actively paid by the government in multiple roles.

Martin Regg Cohn has been the Queen’s Park propagandist at the Toronto Star for long enough to have seen 3 annual auditor general reports critical of policies in the electricity sector. Of the 2011 Report he wrote:

Auditor’s aren’t infallible. This report is sloppy in its reliance on questionable foreign studies that claim every green job costs three or four jobs elsewhere when rates rise. These studies have long been discredited for their dubious methodologies and funding

Regg Cohn responded to the Auditor’s 2014 report by producing a distraction the morning of the report’s release.

Thanks to a whistleblower, we now have the secret details of how Ontarians are being hosed by The Beer Store…

This year Regg Cohn’s response to the 2015  AG report included the irrelevant but ominous:

… who watches the watchdog? Who audits the auditor to determine if Lysyk’s $16.5-million office budget delivers value for money?

$16.5 million is not a big worry among Ontario’s electricity consumers, who saw about $2 billion in charges added to their 2015 bills through the cost shifting of the global adjustment (the cost shifting is not discussed as it is complicated).

The second panel member was lawyer Lisa DeMarco. DeMarco’s attributes include:

These attributes don’t necessitate her being evil, but they do make Paikin’s first questions to her ridiculous:

  1. Do you think [Lysyk’s] criticisms are valid?
  2. So she got it all right except for all the things she forgot?

DeMarco produced pop platitudes predictably.

The third panel member was Brady Yauch, and I’m a fan of his, so I won’t dwell beyond advising all to follow the Consumer Policy Institute blog.

I don’t recommend listening to the show, but I did want to address the most blatant falsehoods presented.

Regg Cohn:

Saying we are paying a lot on conservation and then telling us we should not bother with conservation, or implying that, is I think taking things out of context.

context?

Ontario exported 22.6 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) in 2015, at a loss of over $1.4 billion, and it probably paid to curtail another 5 billion kWh. The total usage of all Regulated Price Plan consumers (households and low consumption businesses) likely ended the year under 59 billion kWh.

Within the context of paying for 3 watt-hours from every 2 consumed, how does the conservation spending make sense?

Paikin mention Jatin Nathwani’s recent TVO contribution, which I previously rebutted with commentary from Jatin Nathwani. Again the claim Paikin focuses on, as have other establishment men, is that the auditor stupidly harps on the global adjustment. Here’s my prior response:

Today’s professor claims today’s auditor:

…gets unnecessarily tangled up with the global adjustment mechanism (GAM) and its relationship to the hourly Ontario energy price (HOEP).

By tangled, he could only mean, accurately describes:

… Generation costs have increased by 74% over the last decade, from $6.7 billion in 2004 to $11.8 billion in 2014, and they are expected to grow to $13.8 billion by 2022. In particular, Global Adjustment fees have increased significantly, from $650 million in 2006 to $7.03 billion in 2014. From 2006 to 2014, electricity consumers have already paid a total of $37 billion, and they are expected to pay another $133 billion in Global Adjustment fees from 2015 to 2032. Figure 9 shows the actual and projected total cost breakdown of electricity service in Ontario from the year 2006 to 2016.

image

It’s charted for goodness sake. The auditor states facts exactly as they are.

Worse… back to Regg Cohn (“Martin, add to that by informing us…”)

…[the auditor] argued that we have, I think, $8 or $9 billion dollars we’re paying in addition to the so-called market price.

Nope to both. That wasn’t a thought about what the auditor wrote,and the $9 billion wasn’t about that at all:

Expensive wind and solar energy—We calculate that electricity consumers have had to pay $9.2 billion (the IESO calculates this amount to be closer to $5.3 billion, in order to reflect the time value of money) more for renewables over the 20-year contract terms under the Ministry’s current guaranteed-price renewable program than they would have paid under the previous program. Before 2009, Ontario already had several successful procurement programs for renewable energy that achieved renewable generation targets in record time. Nevertheless, in 2009 the Ministry directed the OPA to create a new guaranteed-price program…

 

The figures refer to needlessly upping the contract offers with procurement program changes in 2009.

Paikin follows Regg Cohn’s ill-informed answer with a soft-ball to the lawyer to set up a slam on coal’s elimination being a factor in driving up costs.

But most of the costs of 2009’s Green Energy Act (GEA) appear after coal is gone. By the end of 2013, which was the end of coal-fired generation, about 1300 megawatts (MW) of the capacity contracted with GEA era prices was in service; by September 2015 three times that amount was in commercial operation (~3900 MW), and the total will grow by 50% again if lax enforcement of contracted completion timetables continues.

The signature contract of the heightened GEA rates saw no capacity enter commercial operation prior to coal’s phase-out.

The lawyer’s ramblings are an irrelevant follow-up to Regg Cohn’s ramblings.

Brady Yauch properly acknowledged the cost exports, and the political imperative to phase-out coal, but fumbled in attributing a promised 1% a year increase from 2009’s procurement policy changes to a Long-Term Energy Plan. The claim was made in 2009, by the Minister raising rates for solar and wind in the Green Energy Act’s switch of procurement policies – which is what the Auditor did attribute the “$8 or $9 billions” to. In committee, 2009:

We anticipate about 1% per year of additional rate increase associated with the bill’s implementation over the next 15 years. Our estimate of cost increases is based upon the way that we actually amortize costs in the energy sector…

That wrong claim was repeated again by that Minister.

 

The last statement I’ll note comes from the host, Mr. Paikin – in response to Yauch’s use of the term “lie”:

I just want to be clear here because I’m still of the generation that when you call somebody a liar I think that’s a big deal. So, who lied about what?

Well, Mr. Paikin, you stated up front the show would be used to explore “why rates keep rising” but it mainly seemed a hit piece on the Auditor General – and the panel seemed to be stacked with 2 personalities to ensure that.

I am not of a disposition where the best publicly paid people are apologists for the inept governments that pay them – but that does seem out of step with a generation.

I am of the opinion that when you give a person a job, you give that person the job. Most of the Auditor’s claims butchered in the program came in the auditor’s “Electricity Power System Planning” chapter.

The planning issue wasn’t discussed at all on the Agenda – but the disrespect for planning was.

The Green Energy Act changes occurred because a Minister disregarded the people paid to do planning for the public and turned to special interests to set public policy without any hint of respect for the public.