Rural residents vow long fight in Dutton Dunwich vs wind power contract

Flawed bid evaluation process is one of nine points as basis of the community’s continuing fight

Mayor Cameron McWilliam stands on the front steps of the Dutton Dunwich municipality offices in Dutton.
Mayor Cameron McWilliam: this isn’t right

St Thomas Times-Journal, March 22, 2016

A citizens’ group which has led the opposition to industrial wind turbines in Dutton/Dunwich says it’s ready to fight them at every turn, despite approval granted for a proposed for wind turbine farm in the municipality.
“At this point our primary objective is to seek the cancellation of this project and future inappropriate industrial wind turbine developments,” said Jamie Littlejohn, a spokesman for Dutton/Dunwich Residents Opposed to Wind Turbines.
Invenergy’s proposal for the Strong Breeze wind farm was approved recently by the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) and is seen as a crushing blow against Dutton/Dunwich, where 84% of people who responded in a poll two years ago were opposed to them.
Dutton/Dunwich council was also one of the earliest municipalities in Elgin county to declare itself an unwilling host to turbines.
DDOWT met last week after the announcement to review the situation and discuss strategy.
As a result, it formed a response based on nine key points.
Littlejohn said DDOWT will be doing everything to see that Invenergy’s proposal was properly presented to the IESO.
“This may be difficult due to the lack of transparency in the process,” Littlejohn said.
The citizens’ group said it also wants to challenge the political decision on Invenergy’s application and “flawed policy that led to this decision.”
DDOWT’s strategy is based not only on countering Invenergy’s plans, but challenging the philosophy behind the province promoting wind turbines as a green energy solution based on the environmental, health and economic damage they are inflicting on rural Ontario.
Littlejohn said DDOWT will also investigate what it believes are flaws in the IESO evaluation approach.

Read the full story here.

Points from the DDOWT news release:

DDOWT is going to:

1)      Do everything we can to make sure that the Invenergy proposal was properly presented and evaluated by the IESO. This may be difficult due to the lack of transparency in the process.

2)      Challenge the political decisions and flawed energy policy that led to this award

3)      Raise public awareness of the fallacy of the “green energy” policy of the current provincial government and the environmental, health and economic damage it is inflicting on rural Ontario.

4)      Investigate and expose the flaws in the IESO LRP-1-RFP evaluation process and the potential abuse by proponents including Invenergy.

5)      Publicize the impact of the current energy policy on all Ontario electricity rate payers

6)      Actively campaign for the removal of the current provincial government at the next election based on their disregard for the concerns of rural Ontario

7)      Vigorously fight the potential development of this project at every phase of the approval process including the Renewable Energy Approval, Environmental Review Tribunal and any appropriate legal challenges.

8)      Provide support for leaseholders and adjacent land owners to rescind agreements if there were any misrepresentations, undue influence, or coercion to seek support for the proponent (Invenergy)

9)      Work with Dutton Dunwich Council and represent the residents to respect the will of the community who overwhelmingly oppose this project.

At this point, our primary objective is to seek the cancellation of this project and future inappropriate IWT developments. Failing that, we will still fight to minimize the impact of this development, on our community, economy, and natural environment.

In short, we are going to oppose and challenge Invenergy and the IESO on every possible front!

Jamie Littlejohn and Ric Walford,

Spokespersons, DDOWT

Wynne government running roughshod over rural communities says MPP McDonnell

North Stormont declared itself an unwilling host twice during the procurement processes for large power projects — now it’s getting a 100-megawatt giant wind ‘farm’

MPP Jim McDonnell

Seaway News, March 23, 2016

CORNWALL, Ontario – Local Tory MPP Jim McDonell believes the provincial government is “running roughshod” over a nearby township, by forcing a wind turbine project down its throat.

McDonell continues to attack the Liberals at Queen’s Park for approving the controversial Nation Rise Wind Project, which North Stormont has turned down.

“North Stormont deserves to be heard – they voted on at least two occasions against the Nation Rise Wind Project, rejecting cash incentives in the process,” he said. “There are other communities across Ontario willing to take renewable energy developments – there is no excuse to impose the wind turbines on North Stormont’s residents.

McDonell has demanded answers on the file from the Ministry of Energy, but has been dissastisfied with the response at Queen’s Park. He’s now taking a bureaucratic approach to getting answers.

“Members who are not satisfied with the answer given by a minister can request what is conventionally called a ‘late show’ – an opportunity to present the question and issue to a member of the government during a five-minute speech,” said McDonell.

The parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Energy, MPP Bob Delaney, has been taksed with proving a response. But McDonell wants Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli to weigh in.

“The government refuses to answer for their running roughshod over municipal jurisdiction and residents’ wishes” McDonell said. “The people of North Stormont don’t need platitudes – they need a commitment from this Liberal government that an unwilling community won’t have industrial renewable projects shoved down its throat.

Read the full story here.

Stay motion against wind farm construction dismissed

Approval was overturned in by Environmental Review Tribunal but wind power developer announced plans to clear vegetation anyway; the Tribunal has dismissed community groups’ motion for a stay

On the side of the developers, not the environment or people
On the side of the developers, not the environment or people

Here is the announcement from the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County

As you know APPEC submitted a motion for a stay stopping all physical activity in the White Pines project area.  The stay motion that was submitted to the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) on March 5, was considered necessary after WPD notified APPEC that it would start clearing vegetation at the project site the following week.   
We received notice from the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) yesterday that our stay motion has been dismissed. The Tribunal did not provide any reasons for dismissal. 
We are of course very disappointed with the decision.  But we are also disappointed in the Tribunal itself.  In denying APPEC’s motion for a stay the Tribunal is putting APPEC in the bizarre position of defending its successful appeal of the White Pines wind project at the ERT at the very same time the project is begin constructed.   
APPEC is currently examining possible courses of action and will use all legal means available to prevent WPD from carrying out its plans.   We will continue to work with the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists (PECFN) and CCSAGE-Naturally Green to prevent this destruction of the natural and cultural environment.
Orville Walsh
President, APPEC

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’


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

MPP demands answers on contract process from Chiarelli



March 22, 2016


QUEEN’S PARK – This morning MPP Jeff Yurek rose in the Legislature to question the Minister of Energy on the recently awarded industrial wind turbine project in the Municipality of Dutton/Dunwich, found in MPP Yurek’s riding of Elgin-Middlesex-London.

“This government has stated that municipalities will have a say in wind projects however; in this latest round of contracts this seems not to be the case.  Minister will you explain to the municipalities in my riding why their views do not matter to this government?”  questioned MPP Jeff Yurek.

On March 10, 2016 Invenergy was awarded a 60 megawatt project in the Municipality of Dutton/ Dunwich.  The Municipality of Dutton/Dunwich had declared themselves an unwilling host for Industrial Wind Turbines after conducting a survey which showed 84 per cent of residents were opposed to a wind project.

On the contrary, the municipality of Malahide declared itself as a willing host and their project was denied. The government promised to listen to rural Ontarians but has failed to do so.

“It is unfortunate that this government has blatantly chosen to ignore the local voice on these projects. The approval of the Dutton Dunwich project is literally tearing this community apart.  Unfortunately, this government continues to ignore the voice of rural Ontario,” concluded MPP Jeff Yurek.


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


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

Stantec staffer qualifications questioned at Amherst Island appeal

Power developer says no turtles on Amherst Island; turtle experts and residents say there are.
Power developer says no turtles on Amherst Island; turtle experts and residents say there are.

Kingston Whig-Standard, March 18, 2016

By Elliot Ferguson

BATH — The two sides fighting it out at the Amherst Island Environmental Review Tribunal sparred over the qualifications of an expert witness Friday morning.

Andrew Taylor, an ecologist with Stantec Consulting, the company that performed environmental studies for the proposed wind energy project, had been called to testify on behalf of Windlectric, which has received conditional approval from the Ontario government to build up to 26 wind turbines on Amherst Island. Taylor was called to provide testimony about the impact the project could have on bats and turtles on the island.

Windlectric lawyer Arlen Sternberg said Taylor was qualified to testify about the project’s potential impact specifically on birds, bats and turtles.

“He’s got a lot of experience he has developed on those topics over the years,” Sternberg said.

Eric Gillespie, the lawyer for the Association to Protect Amherst Island (APAI), had opposed Taylor’s expert qualification and instead wanted him declared a witness with experience in wildlife.

In the end, tribunal member Robert Wright ruled Taylor could be considered an expert witness on the effects on wildlife of wind energy projects, but he did not specifically label him an expert on birds, bats and the Blanding’s turtle.

Sternberg had noted earlier in the morning that Taylor has testified at five other ERTs as an expert witness and has studied the impact on wildlife at the pre- and post-construction stages of wind energy projects.

Sternberg said Taylor was more qualified than many expert witnesses called by APAI.

Under questioning from Sternberg, Taylor said he has performed wildlife studies at 19 large construction projects, including nine wind energy projects, and had delivered testimony at previous ERTs.

“This tribunal has accepted him five other times as an expert witness,” Sternberg said.

Earlier in the hearing, Taylor provided expert testimony about the impact of wind energy projects on birds.

A 2013 study from Stantec stated there are no Blanding’s turtles on Amherst Island. Island residents have testified earlier in the tribunal that they have seen Blanding’s turtles on the island.

APAI’s lawyer Gillespie admitted that it is rare to challenge the qualifications on an expert witness, but he noted that Taylor was not accepted as an expert witness at the 2013 Ostrander Point ERT. Gillespie argued that little has changed in Taylor’s qualifications since then that would make him an expert witness in this hearing.

“We say nothing has changed,” Gillespie said. “It’s the same Andrew Taylor who is standing here.”

Read the full story here.

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


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.

Missing the point of Earth Hour in Ontario

Earth Hour: cruel irony in Ontario where government policy is actually causing poverty and hardship
Earth Hour: cruel irony in Ontario where government policy is actually causing poverty and hardship

Earth Hour 2016 is tomorrow, March 19, 2016 from 8.30 PM to 9.30 PM when all the world is encouraged to turn off their lights for an hour of symbolic action. Specifically the goal is: “Earth Hour aims to encourage an interconnected global community to share the opportunities and challenges of creating a sustainable world.”

This is an admirable objective – everyone wants to do their best for the environment – but the truth is, much depends on how sustainability is positioned by politicians.

In Ontario the OEB (Ontario Energy Board) noted in a 45 page report dated December 22, 2014:  “Using LIM1. as a measuring tool, and relying on Statistics Canada household data, Ontario has 713,300 low-income households. The OESP is estimated to reach 571,000. This estimate recognizes that not all low-income households in the province pay their electricity bills directly (i.e., utilities included in rent).” That report led to the introduction of the OESP or Ontario Electricity Support Program start-up on January 1, 2016, expected to cost between $175 and $225 million, paid for by those 3.9 million households who don’t qualify for the OESP.

So did the Ontario government simply not understand creation of the Green Energy & Green Economy Act (GEA) would result in so many low-income households? It is now apparent the advent of the GEA played a major role, by raising the cost of the production of electricity by well over 70% since its enactment. The push for renewables in the form of industrial wind turbines, solar panels, etc., which require back-up from gas plants due to the intermittent and unreliable nature of renewables, added billions in costs. The transmission builds to bring wind and solar power to the grid added billions more and, coupled with the other billions spent trying to convince us to conserve, added even more costs.

The addition of almost 10,000 MW (so far) of renewable generation at prices over market impacted disposable income for all Ontarians living at, or close to, minimum wage and for many others living on fixed incomes. The other result of adding renewable power is that Ontario is now in the position of having surplus power generated at the wrong time of the year and night when demand is low. This surplus must be either sold off (exported), curtailed (wind and solar) or steamed-off (nuclear). Additionally, ratepayers and taxpayers are charged for the ideasNB: related to conservation such as paying for grants for electric vehicles and their charging stations.

March 13, 2016 is an example: it was a day when the sun shone and the wind was blowing. Ontario demand was low reaching only 320,000 megawatt hours (MWh) while generation, coupled with curtailed wind, idling gas plants, spilled hydro and even curtailed solar along with all of the distribution connected (Dx) power (principally wind and solar) was about 463,000 Mwh2.. Ontario’s ratepayers needed only 68% of that 463,000 MWh, so the other 32% was either exported or curtailed (to avoid blackouts) while being billed to Ontario ratepayers. Production costs (without the other items tossed into the “Global Adjustment pot) were over $100/per MWh, meaning the 143,000 MWh surplus picked ratepayers’ pockets for more than $14 million or $2.85 per ratepayer for just one day. (Bob Chiarelli, our Minister of Energy, would probably say that was just the cost of a “Timmies”!)

In 2015, Glen Murray, Ontario’s Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, said Earth Hour “Every passing year it becomes more infectious. It’s actually really doing what it intended to do, which is to get into the popular culture.”

Minister Murray should note we have turned off the lights, not because we want to but because we can’t afford to “keep them on.”

It appears to this Ontario ratepayer that what is really “infectious” is the Ontario government’s ability to create “energy poverty” for hundreds of thousands of Ontario’s households and, instead of promoting sustainability, it has instead driven many to a situation where they now have to decide whether to “heat or eat”.

Hardly the lofty goal that Earth Hour aspires to, and clearly not what well-meaning citizens wanted to happen.

©Parker Gallant,

March 17, 2016

NB: Note to Minister’s Chiarelli and Duguid: If you can afford a $100,000 Tesla automobile you can afford a charging station!

  1. LIM stands for “Low-Income Measure” per Statistics Canada.
  2. Big hat tip to Scott Luft for his great “daily reports” which go well beyond what IESO (Independent Electricity System Operator) provide.


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