NO veto on wind power for municipalities says Wynne

“They have more say than they did five years ago,” Premier says. She also says people “get used to” living near the power projects.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne speaks to students at Regiopolis-Notre Dame Catholic High School about reforms to the student loan system on Thursday, March 31, 2016.
Elliot Ferguson/The Whig-Standard/Postmedia Network
Premier Wynne speaking to high school students in Kingston today: no veto on wind power. [Photo: Elliot Ferguson, The Whig]

Kingston Whig-Standard, March 31, 2016

By Elliot Ferguson

Senior Ontario politicians are in no mood to consider giving municipalities more say in the approval and construction of renewable energy projects.

Premier Kathleen Wynne, in Kingston on Thursday, said changes were made to how renewable energy projects were approved that allowed municipalities more input.

The current rounds of Large Renewable Procurement have angered many rural politicians who say they have no say in projects proposed for their areas.

Last week, North Frontenac Township, which in 2015 declared itself an unwilling host to a pair of wind energy projects proposed for the municipality, passed a resolution calling on the provincial government to make municipal approval a mandatory requirement.

Since early February, more than 90 municipalities in Ontario have passed a resolution from the Township of Wainfleet that calls on the provincial government to cancel the request for proposals for new wind energy projects.

Of the 16 renewable energy projects announced in March, 13 were located in municipalities that had declared themselves willing hosts, Wynne said.

Wynne said the Ontario government changed the way energy project proposals are considered, making municipal support one of the criteria upon which an energy project is judged.

“I would say to them that they have a whole lot more say than they did five years ago,” Wynne said during a visit to Regiopolis-Notre Dame Catholic High School Thursday morning. “We never said there was going to be a veto for municipalities, but we put in place much more rigorous consideration of municipalities’ concerns.”

Wynne said the change motivated energy companies to work with municipalities to find solutions to challenges.

“What we’re finding is more and more proponents work very closely with municipalities to find a way to make it work in the local community,” added Deputy Premier Deb Matthews, in Kingston the day before Wynne. “The local voice does matter, but we are not prepared to give people a veto. …

Read the full story here.

Decision on White Pines construction stands: Ontario Divisional Court

Court cannot rule when quasi-judicial Environmental Review Tribunal gave no reasons for decision
Blandings turtles: endangered but not protected by Ontario government
Blandings turtles: endangered but not protected by Ontario government
Ontario Divisional Court ruled yesterday that it cannot overturn a decision made by the Environmental Review Tribunal, on the motion for a stay in construction activities for the White Pines power project in Prince Edward County. White Pines’ approval was overturned at appeal, and the ERT is now waiting on submissions for “remedy” hearings.
Here is a statement from the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County.
Late this afternoon we received word from the Ontario Divisional Court that our appeal of the motion for a stay has been dismissed. 
 
APPEC provided evidence from four expert witnesses of serious and irreversible harm to Blanding’s turtles if WPD proceeds with vegetation clearing.  What APPEC could not provide to the Court however was the ERT’s reasons for its decision of last week to dismiss our stay as the ERT never provided reasons.  Justice Stewart noted in her decision that “the specific grounds of any such appeal are uncertain given the fact that reasons for the decision are still forthcoming.”   
 
By not providing any reasons for dismissing our motion for a stay the ERT has handcuffed APPEC in appealing its decisions.     
 
According to the Court this disposition is without prejudice to the entitlement of the Appellant (APPEC) to renew its motion if it so chooses “on a fuller record that will include the reasons for the Tribunal’s decision under appeal.”
Regards,
Orville Walsh
President, APPEC
To help with fundraising, or for more information on these proceedings and the fight in Prince Edward County, go to www.savethesouthshore.org
ToughonNature

Crusading mayor says he is game for a fight over wind power

Image result for free image boxing gloves

North Frontenac Mayor Ron Higgins told the audience for a noon-hour public affairs show yesterday that he is “game” for a fight against wind power projects … and he is gathering steam among other municipalities to “bring it on.”

Although North Frontenac missed a contract in the recent announcement by the IESO, he is under no illusion that his community, where the majority of residents are opposed to a wind power project, is safe.

“Those bids” will just roll over into the next round, he said, and his community is not only ready, they are striking out for change. Last week, North Frontenac Council passed a resolution asking the provincial government to make municipal support a mandatory requirement in the new bid process, not just a means to score higher in points for wind power developers.

In spite of declarations by more than 90 communities in Ontario that they were “Not A Willing Host” to the power projects, the Independent Electricity Systems Operator (IESO) awarded contracts to unwilling communities anyway.

Higgins’ issue is not only are community wishes overruled by the current process, the fact is wind power doesn’t live up to the hype. “It isn’t really ‘green’,” he said, citing studies which list concerns about the need for fossil-fuel back up and the possibility that greenhouse gas emissions actually increase with wind power.

The Ontario government never did any studies on cost-benefit analysis, Higgins said, echoing two Auditors General in Ontario, and the real impacts of industrial-scale wind power development are not known. But there are enough concerns about damage to the environment, health impacts due to the noise and vibration, and the alteration to North Frontenac’s scenic landscape to worry him.

“Here in North Frontenac,” he said, “we never take action without studying everything … the province didn’t do that.”

Listen to the interview on Rideau Lakes radio station Lake88 here: https://t.co/rfub3uVCyo

See the North Frontenac Resolution here

Communities to get “more input” to wind power siting decisions: Chiarelli

Rubbing salt in the wounds of the communities who just got notice of wind power contracts forced on them, despite unwilling host declarations, Energy Minister now says process will allow for input earlier in the process. (We’re still not hearing communities can say “No.”)

Just a little bit more "input"? But Bob still doesn't want to hear you say "no."
Just a little bit more “input”? But Bob still doesn’t want to hear you say “no.”

simcoe.com, March 28, 2016

By Jenni Dunning Barrie Examiner

Towns to have input ahead of solar, wind farm decisions

“There was a problem with particular large wind and solar farms. There was not enough of an alignment of what they were doing and what the municipalities wanted,” said Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli.

“We are in the process now… It involves much more communication with the municipality. It (will be) almost impossible for (contractors) to win a contract without having participation with a municipality.”

Chiarelli clarified that “participation” referred to approval from a municipality, adding all contractors will be required to show proof they consulted municipalities. One wind energy and 13 solar projects have been approved in Simcoe County, according to the provincial Renewable Energy Projects Listing.

The Clearview project is the only wind farm. There are five solar energy projects in Springwater Township (three of which are in Midhurst), four in Tay Township (three of which are in Waubaushene), three in Orillia, and one in Oro-Medonte.

Chiarelli said he expects the ministry to announce more projects “in a month or two.”

Springwater Township Mayor Bill French said he has noticed the province has slowly started asking municipalities for more input on solar and wind projects in the past year.

They have been asked to use a scoring system to rank their support for proposed projects, he said.

“We always thought there should be a final approval process at the municipal level. It should’ve always been that way,” he said. “We’re quite welcome to that change in legislation.”

French said the township has been concerned when “fairly good agricultural land” was chosen as the location for solar farms.

“The ones that are approved, you can’t turn back the clock on those ones,” he said, adding once municipalities are more involved, Springwater will likely approve energy projects in areas with steep slopes or on smaller properties.

“Multi-acre ones, that’s going to be much more of a challenge,” he said. “We have acres and acres of rooftops around. That’s where solar panels belong.”

Collingwood Mayor Sandra Cooper said she has heard the promise of more municipal involvement from Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne.

“I’m hopeful. I just have not seen it thus far,” she said. “Municipalities have been sending the message for quite some time — we need to be part of the process.”

Cooper and the rest of Collingwood council voted last month to legally oppose plans to build a wind farm with eight turbines west of Stayner, near the Collingwood Regional Airport. The town is concerned about the possibility of a plane hitting a turbine.

Cooper said the province made a “snap decision” to approve a wind farm despite of this possibility.

By allowing municipalities more say in the approval process, they can help stop decisions that may negatively affect residents, said Oro-Medonte Mayor Harry Hughes.

For example, a couple in the township built a home about five years ago that ended up being surrounded by a solar farm, he said.

“If municipalities had a say in it, that would never have happened,” he said. “Residents expect their municipal council to have some protection for their property.”

When municipalities are more involved, they can demand companies complete up-to-date soil testing to avoid solar projects taking up quality agricultural land, he added.

The province also does not require companies to repair local roads if damage is caused by solar or wind projects, but some have anyway in Oro-Medonte, said Hughes. …

Read the full story here.

Ontario power demand down, prices up—what gives?

2016 off to a great start as ratepayers pay hundreds of millions for surplus power (mostly wind)

tallturbine

March 27,m 2016

By Parker Gallant

The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) released the February 2016 Monthly Market Report and it is full of more bad news for Ontario’s beleaguered ratepayers.

Combined with the bad news in the January 2016 report, the average commodity price for the first two months of the current year jumped from $85.37 per megawatt hour (MWh) in 2015 to $108.17 per/MWh.   This could translate to an average household increase of as much as 27% in electricity rates levied, when we get the news from the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) mid-April about effective rates for the ensuing six months.  If “commodity” cost jumps $22.80/MWh, the average Ontario household (consuming 800 kilowatts (kWh) per month) would pay an additional $220 annually and $28.00 more in HST.

So, what caused the 27% jump in the first two months compared to a year ago?

Wind 63 % of wasted power

First, the weather in 2016 was milder meaning demand dropped 6.5%, and many generators were paid to not generate.   My friend Scott Luft does a great job at estimating the power we steam off (nuclear), spill (hydro), curtail (wind), etc.; he estimates the first two months of 2016 saw that class of surplus power was 675,000 MWh versus 332,000 MWh in 2015. Wind was 63% (425,000MWh) of 2016’s wasted power and 28.5% (95,000 MWh) in 2015.  Ratepayers pick up the full cost of that power!

Additionally Ontario’s exports were significant both years; the price achieved excludes the Global Adjustment (GA) or $95.02/MWh for 2016 versus $45.34/MWh in 2015. The GA cost is paid for by Ontario ratepayers and was more than double 2015. Also, a large chunk of the GA  for “Class A” ratepayers (large industrial clients) is paid for by “average” ratepayers who also picked up the costs of the newly launched Ontario Electricity Support Program for ratepayers living in “energy poverty.”  The OEB estimated the annual cost would be $175/$225 million.

If this continues, electricity costs will jump $2.5B … in one year

In all the first two months of 2016 extracted an additional $410 million dollars out of Ontario ratepayers’ pockets, compared to the same 2015 time frame — despite reduced demand.  If this pattern continues, electricity costs will jump $2.5 billion in just one year.

This is despite the promise made by Minister Chiarelli in an article in the Windsor Star June 24, 2015:  “Rates are going to continue to go up everywhere. There was a blip in rate pressures because of the investments that we made but starting in 2016 that will be flatlined very significantly.”

Minister Chiarelli seems unable to comprehend the cause and effect of adding unreliable, intermittent wind and solar generation to the grid when they are not needed. In just the first two months of the current year, the costs of decisions by ministers of Energy (past and present) appear to have added billions to ratepayers’ bills without any perceptible environmental or economic benefit.

©Parker Gallant,

March 25, 2016

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

NB:  From the just released IESO 18 Month Outlook

“About 1,400 MW of new supply – 950 MW of wind, 300 MW of gas and 140 MW of solar generation – will be added to the province’s transmission grid over the Outlook period. By the end of the period, the amount of grid-connected wind and solar generation is expected to increase to about 4,550 MW and 380 MW, respectively. The embedded wind generation over the same period is expected to increase to about 700 MW. Meanwhile, embedded solar generation is expected to increase to about 2,180 MW. “

Outlook from Ontario’s Electricity System Operator: MORE GHGs, not less

Model of new natural gas power generating station at Napanee. Wind and solar mean MORE greenhouse gas emissions. (Photo: Kingston Whig-Standard)
Model of new natural gas power generating station at Napanee. Wind and solar mean MORE greenhouse gas emissions. (Photo: Kingston Whig-Standard)

 

Our friends at the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE) note that  the latest (March 2016) IESO planning outlook up to 2035 for the Ontario electrical grid has been issued.  The outlook can be downloaded at:

http://www.ieso.ca/Documents/consult/sac/SAC-20160323-Ontario-Planning-Outlook.pdf

The IESO now confirms that carbon dioxide emissions will nearly double over the next 20 years as Ontario reduces its reliance on nuclear power, and increases its reliance on wind and solar generation with natural gas backup (see slides 19 and 23).

This rise in emissions was identified in an OSPE report in March 2012 titled “Wind and the Electrical Grid”.  The report can be downloaded at:

https://www.ospe.on.ca/public/documents/advocacy/2012-wind-electrical-grid.pdf

Recent OSPE studies show that we can eliminate a portion of those additional emissions if we modify our electricity rates to enable surplus carbon-free electricity to economically displace fossil fuels used in other sectors for thermal and transportation needs.  A presentation describing OSPE’s proposed voluntary smart electricity pricing plan can be downloaded at:

https://www.ospe.on.ca/public/documents/presentations/smart-pricing-ontario-electricity.pdf

Council seeks more clout in denying wind power projects

North Frontenac Council requests municipal support be a mandatory feature of the bid process, and ask other municipalities to support them

KIncardine area house w turbine

Kingston Whig-Standard, March 25, 2016

By Elliot Ferguson

PLEVNA — A municipal council opposed to wind energy projects is calling for the province to make local government support for such projects a mandatory requirement.

North Frontenac Township council, which last year declared itself an unwilling host to a pair of wind energy projects proposed for the area, passed a resolution asking the Independent Electricity Systems Operators (IESO) to change the way municipal council consideration is viewed in companies’ requests for proposal for the Large Renewable Procurement (LRP) program.

Under the current rules, municipal support for a renewable energy project strengthens a project proposal but is not needed to ensure a successful bid. Likewise, municipal opposition does not prevent a project from being approved.

The resolution called for the IESO to make a municipal support resolution a mandatory requirement rather than one of many rated criteria.

The resolution also called for municipal councils and communities to be given the full details about proposed projects before any support resolutions are considered.

“The current process does not meet the government’s standards for openness and transparency because municipal councils are asked to support power projects based on little or no detail,” the resolution stated.

“The province has not demonstrated that renewable energy projects are of sufficient strategic importance in meeting Ontario’s electricity generation requirements and/or carbon emission reduction targets to warrant the province taking action to override municipal decisions.”

The resolution from North Frontenac council came more than a week after the province announced the projects selected as part of the first round of the LRP program earlier this month.

North Frontenac Mayor Ron Higgins noted that four of the projects selected are to be located in municipalities where councils did not provide supporting resolutions to the companies.

On March 7, three days before the projects were announced, Ontario Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli said during a visit to Kingston that municipal support would be critical to the success of any project.

“It’s almost impossible [now] for a proponent to win a [wind or solar] contract without having some kind of agreement with the municipality,” Chiarelli said.

Higgins is calling for other municipalities in Ontario to …

Read the full story here.

Citizens to file appeal vs wind power developer over premature construction start

The White Pines’ wind power project by Germany-based wpd Canada had its approval overturned on appeal, and does not have a Notice To Proceed, but the developer has threatened to begin construction anyway.

Prince Edward County residents appeal to the court
Prince Edward County residents appeal to the court

This notice is from the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County, on the Save The South Shore website.

March 25, 2016, PICTON —

Earlier today APPEC’s legal counsel Eric Gillespie notified WPD and the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change of APPEC’s intent to appeal the ERT’s dismissal of our stay motion.

This legal action is considered to be necessary following the ERT’s decision this week to not allow APPEC’s motion.  WPD still plans to start construction on the White Pines wind project.  In WPD’s own words: “We are entitled to begin vegetation clearing immediately.”  We strongly disagree.

APPEC will be making an application as an urgent matter to the Ontario Divisional Court.  Our intent is to submit the application at the beginning of next week.

During the past few weeks we have received many messages of encouragement.  Your support is always appreciated but especially so when faced with a developer that is determined to destroy the natural and cultural heritage of our community for its own financial gain.

Regards,
Orville Walsh
President, APPEC

appec.wordpress.com

– See more at: http://savethesouthshore.org/appec-will-be-making-an-application-as-an-urgent-matter-to-the-ontario-divisional-court-orville-walsh/#sthash.zfdjkJBb.dpuf

 

Make municipal support mandatory for wind farm contracts, says Ontario municipality

North Frontenac missed the wind farm bullet this time but the community is taking no chances–it wants the unwilling host status to mean something to the Wynne government

logo

Press Release – Renewable Energy

March 24, 2016, PLEVNA —

The Council of the Township of North Frontenac passed a resolution on March 18 2016 that will request that the Independent Electricity Systems Operators (IESO) rate an unwilling municipality for renewable energy to be a mandatory requirement versus a rated criteria in future requests for proposals (RFP) for the Large Renewable Procurement  (LRP) program.

Currently RFP has the Proponents bid submission as a points system rated criteria for municipality support. North Frontenac is proposing that this RFP requirement needs to be a mandatory requirement. Four of the six contracts announced on March 10, 2016 did not have municipal support for the renewable energy project. Although the Minister of Energy indicated on March 7 that it would be ‘almost impossible’ for a contract to be granted under the current process without municipal agreement it has happened.

Mayor Ron Higgins stated that he wants all Ontario Municipalities, who object to Industrial Wind Turbines and/or Solar Farms, to support this resolution and to provide additional input to the IESO on their thoughts for improving the LRP RFP procurement process for future projects.

Mayor Higgins knows this is but one step but this one needs to be done before the end of April as per IESO deadlines. He states that his focus on now on the government policies and directives related to renewable energy in rural municipalities.

To view the resolution please go to the following link http://www.northfrontenac.com/news/IESOletter.pdf

For more information please do not hesitate to contact:

Cheryl Robson, AMCT, Chief Administrative Officer (CAO)

6648 Road 506, Plevna, ON K0H 2M0

(613) 479-2231 or 1 (800) 234-3953 Ext 221 [email protected]