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.

 

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.

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]

Big Wind attacks new Australian wind turbine noise study

“A waste of time and money”

The Guardian, March 22, 2016

An Australian research council has given two grants worth $3.3m to research the impact of wind turbines on human health despite concluding last year there was no evidence turbine noise was harmful.

Prof Anne Kelso, the chief executive of the National Health and Medical Research Council, said it had made the grants because “existing research in this area is of poor quality and targeted funding is warranted to support high-quality, independent research on this issue”.

A Flinders University associate professor, Peter Catcheside, will get $1.36m for a study that will compare wind farm noise to traffic noise to determine if low-frequency sound from wind farms could potentially disturb sleep through chronic sleep disruption or insomnia.

In February 2015 the National Health and Medical Research Council concluded there was “currently no consistent evidence that wind farms cause adverse health effects in humans”.

But it noted “the character of the emissions and individual perceptions of them are highly variable”.

“Given the poor quality of current direct evidence and the concern expressed by some members of the community, high-quality research into possible health effects of wind farms, particularly within 1,500 metres, is warranted,” it said.

The council then made a targeted call for research into wind farm noise and human health.

Kelso said: “These grants directly support the Australian government’s commitment to determine any actual or potential effects of wind farms.”

The Australian Wind Alliance’s national co-ordinator, Andrew Bray, said the grants were a waste of time and limited research funding.

Bray said: “The NHMRC’s own review failed to find reliable evidence that wind farms have a negative impact on health.

Bray said exhaustive international studies had also failed to find links between health and wind farms, including a $2.1m study by Health Canada that studied 1,200 households and measured 4,000 hours of wind turbine noise to calculate indoor and outdoor noise levels at different homes in the study.

The Australian Solar Council CEO, John Grimes, said claims of negative health impacts from wind turbines were “the worst pseudo science nonsense” and had been “completely discredited by reputable medical bodies here and around the world”.

Read the full story here.

New federal budget to spend billions on ‘green infrastructure’

money

News media and others are puzzling over the new federal budget this morning, assessing what the proposed expenditures mean.

Of note for those watching how electricity is generated in Canada are statements about “green infrastructure” and actions to curb air pollution and fight climate change.

See a summary of Budget 2016 prepared by The Hill Times, here. SUMMARY FEDERAL BUDGET 2016

Wind power’s ‘green jobs’: reality or rhetoric?

WEEKEND READING

Ontario’s Green Energy Act was put forward as a means of securing a “green” economy and producing job growth in “clean tech.”

Did that happen?

Ottawa energy economist Robert Lyman lays out the facts and research in this paper.

One of the persistent claims of those who advocate extensive government actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is that such actions will promote the economy as well as the environment by stimulating the creation of “green jobs”. On this basis, they justify truly massive subsidies to renewable energy production, stringent regulations and mandates either to suppress investment in hydrocarbon development or to force electrical utilities and consumers to use non-fossil energy, and intrusive regulations requiring manufacturers to produce and sell vehicles, residential buildings and appliances with lower energy consumption ratings. In theory, the jobs created in manufacturing and installing wind, solar and biomass plants and in installing newer energy technologies will be wonderful for the economy. 

To understand whether this is true, one first has to define what we mean by “green energy”. Environmentalists apply a very broad definition, including not just solar, wind and biomass energy used for electricity generation but also hydro-electric generation, ethanol, all the various industries that are associated with reducing energy consumption such as home insulation and high technology electric motors, and even companies that build bicycle paths. No doubt some of these industries have increased the number of people they employ with the large increase in public funding devoted to them. There are very few studies available that look at the question this broadly. It is possible, however, to examine specifically the claims that renewable energy (mainly wind, solar and biomass for electricity generation) has an overall positive effect.

Read the full paper here.GREEN JOBS-March19

Prince Edward County on the ‘eve of destruction’ as power developer threatens to clear vegetation for unapproved wind power project

No stay decision yet, developer and ministry make plans

Tree-Mauler

wpd Canada sent this photo to show what kind of machinery they’ll be using. Nice.

The Wellington Times, March 17, 2016

Many eyes will be watching the countryside south of Milford today, looking for signs of heavy equipment arriving to clear the land of not-yet-budding vegetation. As of Monday, there was no decision on a motion for stay in construction activity on the industrial wind project site.

The developer, wpd Canada, advised the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County (APPEC) and John Hirsch, appellants of the project at an Environmental Review Tribunal that it intended to commence vegetation destruction this week—despite the Tribunal’s decision that the project would cause serious and irreversible harm to two endangered species, the Blanding’s turtle and the little brown bat.

APPEC responded immediately seeking a halt on all physical activity at the site. Other parties have said they wish to be heard on the matter so the Tribunal has allowed a few days this week to hear those submissions.

In the meantime, the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) has advised the developer it must complete a stormwater management plan before construction begins.

wpd Canada spokesperson Kevin Surette says that report has been completed and his company is awaiting the MOECC’s signal to begin clearing the land.

“The intent of the notice provided to APPEC on March 1st was to make them aware that vegetation clearing could occur anytime after March 14,” said Surette. “MOECC has indicated the Stormwater Management Plan must be approved prior to vegetation clearing; it has been submitted, and it could be approved at anytime.”

Remember that this is a project that has been stopped by a Tribunal—yet wpd Canada and the MOECC continue to go about development of this project as though nothing has changed.

But APPEC and a variety of conservation groups are sounding an alarm about the devastation that will result for the habitat of vulnerable species that reside in and around the targeted area.

“wpd Canada will be clearing significant wildlife habitat for endangered species such as the Blanding’s turtle and endangered grassland species such as the whip-poor-will, eastern meadowlark and bobolink,” said Orville Walsh, APPEC chair. …

Read the full story here.

New wind power contracts means more power we don’t need, say analysts

The more wind power we add, the more expensive Ontario’s electricity becomes, say Tom Adams and Scott Luft

Consumers get it, why doesn't the Wynne government?
Consumers get it, why doesn’t the Wynne government?

Financial Post, March 17, 2016

The costs may be high and the need questionable, but Ontarians signed up to buy a lot more renewable power last week when Ontario’s Independent Power System Operator (IESO) announced the results of the province’s latest procurement. The new deal brings “low prices” for new wind and solar generation, says Ontario Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli.

No, not “low” like Ontario’s dysfunctional market price for electricity, which was less than two cents/kilowatt-hour (kWh) over half of all hours in 2015. And not “low” like the average 1.2 cents/kWh rate that electricity bound for New York and Michigan has sold for this year. When the Ontario government says “low,” it means seven to fourteen times as much as that, with the IESO reporting the weighted-average price of the new wind power at 8.6 cents/kWh and new solar at 15.7 cents/kWh.

But the effective cost to consumers for the new power, taking into account the portion of the total output that Ontario consumers will actually use, will be much higher than the costs the government quotes in its press releases.

The system operator’s announcement relies on the fallacy of relative privation. In other words: “this unreliable power is not as costly as some other unreliable power you’ve been stuck with.” For instance, the operator’s press release proclaims, “For context, these prices are lower than the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) rates…”

That’s not saying much. The non-competitive FIT wind and solar program started in 2010. Recall in 2011 Ontario’s auditor general warning the province was paying among the highest FIT prices in the world. Revisiting the issue last year, a subsequent auditor general said the program would add billions of dollars to future bills when compared to contracting solar and wind power purchase agreements through competitive bidding.

But rather than heed such warnings, the government barges on. Under the current version of the FIT program, the government will buy wind power from small projects at a 50 per cent premium over the competitive wind price, and solar power at a 30 to 90 per cent premium over competitive solar prices. Other bonuses available to FIT producers allow them to add even higher charges to the bill by, for instance, finding First Nations to accept ownership positions with their projects.

Whether procured competitively or non-competitively, payments to generators for wind and solar production are only the beginning of the ratepayer impact.

New wind and solar contract holders will likely be paid not only for how much power they actually generate, but for a significant portion of their “deemed generation” — that is, what they didn’t produce but might have had the grid been able to accept all of their production, but instead ended up “curtailed” because the grid was oversupplied.

Limiting generators’ exposure to potential curtailment is one way to attract more solar and wind investment (it was even made retroactive to contracts that originally only covered actual generation). When there’s no wind and no sun, such producers aren’t much good, of course. But, now when the wind really blows or it’s brilliantly sunny, Ontario’s power system is increasingly flooded with far more renewable power than it can use. The IESO manages this excess production by selling its power to export markets (with Ontarians subsidizing American power). But even then, the transmission system is often unable to manage carrying the entire surplus away. That leads to nuclear, hydro-electric, wind, and solar production being curtailed, while generators get paid anyway for what they didn’t produce. In 2015, the auditor general found that from 2009 to 2014, Ontario consumers paid generators $339 million for curtailment. And the more wind and solar power we add, the bigger these expensive surpluses become. …

Read the full article here.