Energy Minister on the defensive over distant aboriginal support for wind farm

 

Community protest at Dutton Dunwich; the community says no, but people 1,000 km away get more say
Community protest at Dutton Dunwich; the community says no, but people 1,000 km away get more say

 

London Free Press, April 14, 2016

Ontario’s energy minister is making no apologies for a locally unwanted wind farm being built in Southwestern Ontario with the backing of remote communities more than 1,000 kilometres away.

“We believe that providing opportunities for aboriginal communities to become involved in renewable energy projects is a key component of the renewable procurement process, regardless of whether the project takes place on their territory or not,” a statement by Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli’s office said.

Under a new competitive bidding process that was promoted as taking local sentiment into account, Chicago-based Invenergy won a contract to build the Strong Breeze wind farm in the Elgin County municipality of Dutton-Dunwich.

Eighty-four per cent of Dutton-Dunwich reidents who voted in a referendum last year opposed wind farm development.

But Invenergy partnered with six First Nations communities in northwestern Ontario — Fort Severn, Keewaywin, Deer Lake, North Spirit Lake, McDowell Lake and Poplar Hill — which boosted its bid in the intense competition for 16 renewable energy contracts. More than 100 bids were submitted.

“People are upset,” Jeff Yurek, Progressive Conservative MPP of Elgin-Middlesex-London said Wednesday after speaking to people in his riding.

“They assumed that it would be local groups that would be directly affected,” he said of the government’s policy of garnering First Nations support for the project.

Yurek said he believes the Liberal government is trying to divert attention from the fact it said municipalities would have a say on wind farms. “They ignored the wishes of the municipality.”

The new bidding system for the first time required companies to compete on price. Under the old system, companies were offered fixed rates for power.

But along with price, companies were awarded points if they could win the backing of landowners and the municipality and participation in the project by First Nations.

Local opponents of the wind farm said it was ludicrous for the remote communities to influence the decision to build in Elgin County. …

Read the full story here.

Plympton-Wyoming in court next week: prove wind turbines NOT harmful to health

Plympton-Wyoming citizens head to court next week

*Note change of date; venue remains the same

Tuesday, April 19th, 10:00 a.m.

Divisional Court, London, Ontario

Courthouse Address: 80 Dundas St. London, ON

Parking Address: 100 Queens Ave, London, ON

Your attendance is encouraged and appreciated.

 

Legal Summary:

In December 2014, The Ontario Superior Court of Justice (higher Court) in a ruling indicated that the Environmental Review Tribunal is required to engage in a two step analysis on appeals of wind turbine projects. While an Appellant is required to show that the project will cause harm (step 1), the Tribunal must also be satisfied that the project will NOT CAUSE harm (step 2).

Recent evidence that came out of the appeal of Gary Fohr showed that while the scientific evidence has been unable to conclusively demonstrate harm, the experts for the wind company and the government agreed that there is NO SCIENTIFIC DATA available to demonstrate that wind turbines do NOT CAUSE harm. The Fohr appeal has been joined with our appeal.  We, as well as the court, will have the benefit of the Fohr evidence at our appeal.

—————

The provincial government has recently approved more industrial wind projects into Ontario communities who were unwilling hosts.  More projects are slated for 2017.  On Monday, we have an opportunity to make a difference.

We appreciate your support, your attendance and your financial contributions. 

Your donations can be made:

  1. Online using Paypal or Credit Card www.wait-pw.ca
  2. Cheque made to WAIT-PW and mail to P.O. Box 219 Plympton-Wyoming, ON, N0N 1TO
  3. Deposit directly with Southwest Credit Union in Wyoming or Sarnia, ON

Distant indigenous peoples’ “support” of wind power project revealed

Some of the First Nations deemed to be in support of the Dutton Dunwich area wind power project by U.S. firm Invenergy are 1,000 km away—yet they are allowed to be in support of the project under the Wynne government process, for points toward a successful bid

MacDowell Lake is located in Ontario

McDowell Lake First Nation is north-west of Lake Superior … but able to help a U.S. firm get a southern Ontario wind power  contract

London Free Press, April 12, 2016

By John Miner

 First, they found out they’re getting giant wind turbines even though they didn’t want them.

Now, residents of a Southwestern Ontario township are learning the support of six Ontario First Nations communities — more than 1,000 kilometres away, some not even in the same time zone — helped give a Chicago-based energy giant an edge in its winning bid to build the unwanted wind farm.

One of the native communities is along Hudson Bay, the others in the province’s northwest near the Manitoba border.

It’s another sign that for all the changes Ontario has made to ensure the controversial projects aren’t imposed on areas that don’t want them, as they have been in parts of Southwestern Ontario, problems — and surprises — persist.

“It’s ludicrous for them to do something like that,” said Jamie Littlejohn, a spokesperson for Dutton/Dunwich Opponents of Wind Turbines.

Littlejohn heads a citizens’ group opposed to the project in Dutton-Dunwich Township, southwest of London.

Progressive Conservative MPP Jeff Yurek said he was “shocked” that communities so far away could influence an energy project in his riding, and he wants the ruling Liberals to shelve the wind farm.

“I don’t think it’s fair to residents of the municipality — it’s a huge loophole the government needs to close,” said the Elgin-Middlesex-London MPP.

Residents in Dutton-Dunwich, in rural Elgin County, are vehemently opposed to Invenergy LLC’s project.

Under Ontario’s new bidding system for wind-energy contracts, participation by a First Nation gives companies an extra edge.

Invenergy, which won one of the coveted contracts for its proposed Strong Breeze Wind Farm in Dutton-Dunwich, found its First Nation support — and investment — in Ontario’s northernmost community and remote reserves near the Manitoba boundary.

One of the First Nations communities participating in the project, McDowell Lake, has only 59 members. …

Read the full article here.

No point measuring infrasound if province doesn’t care, says Kincardine councillor

New noise studies will show infrasound from wind power projects, but why spend money to protect residents when province doesn’t regulate low frequency noise, Laura Haight says.

Ostrich

560 CFOS News, April 11, 2016

At least one Kincardine Councillor thinks it may be time to put the lid on spending for wind turbine noise studies.

Laura Haight says the municipality has already done a study on acoustics in an area that will have turbines operating and another study is scheduled now that the turbines are operational.

Haight says it’s likely there will be more infrasound in the “after” study but it means nothing to the province.

She says the Ministry of Environment doesn’t consider infrasound in its approval process, so she questions why they should spend money to prove the issue.

Haight says with the municipality facing myriad capital projects and an infrastructure deficit, she wants to know when the turbine studies will come to an end.

The issue came up after Central Grey Bruce Wind Concerns Ontario spokesperson, Rachel Thompson, questioned the scientific criteria of a study done for Kincardine recently.

Thompson would like to see another study done with the correct Request for Proposal parameters being spelled out.

She says with a correctly-done study, it will put the province in a position not to ignore the results.

Staff will return with a report on the issue for Councillors to discuss at a future meeting of council.

Meanwhile, Council has given its support to a study of health problems being done in Huron County on residents living close to turbines.

Weekend reading: energy policy, Ontario, and more

A selection of articles from the week gone by.

When energy policy goes bad, Financial Post, April 7.

Canada can build pipelines and wind turbines to build public confidence: federal Minister of Natural Resources, Financial Post, April 6

Green energy in Germany: green is the new colour of “sleaze” Blog posting [Note we would like to post the original article but the international edition of Der Spiegel did not include it}

No charges laid in wind farm methanol spill

Mehtanol spill on construction site [Photo: MCSEA]
Methanol spill on construction site: reported but the company says ‘it was vandals’ [Photo: MCSEA]
April 8, 2016

Community group the Manitoulin Coalition for Safe Energy Alternatives (MCSEA) has learned that the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) has not laid charges against a wind power developer after a methanol spill was reported on Manitoulin Island in 2014.

Chairman Ray Beaudry told Wind Concerns Ontario today that he followed up with MOECC Spills Investigator Angela Allen and was told that there was not enough proof to lay charges in connection with the spill at the work site for the McLean’s Mountain wind power project.

“I can’t believe it,” Beaudry told Wind Concerns.

“There was plenty of evidence at the site, but the developer claimed it was vandalism, or maybe someone using a snowmobile trail.

“It seems like with what’s happening in Prince Edward County this week [clearing vegetation in endangered Blandings turtle habitat, despite an ongoing appeal] these developers just get a pass on everything,” Beaudry said.

“I’m not sure what the public can do now when they see things damaging the environment like this.”

The original story carried in the Manitoulin Expositor on the toxic chemical spill may be found here.

 

Government lawyer derails citizen appeal to protect environment, endangered wildlife

Ministry of the Environment lawyer steps in as Prince Edward County citizens appealed for a stay of unauthorized construction activities in endangered turtle habitat

Massive clearing of vegetation in Prince Edward County wetland area. This project is still under appeal, but the developer has gone ahead
Massive clearing of vegetation in Prince Edward County wetland area. This project is still under appeal, but the developer has gone ahead [Photo: APPEC]
April 6, 2016, Picton, Ontario —

STATEMENT FROM ALLIANCE TO PROTECT PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY (APPEC)

First and foremost our great thanks to everyone who responded to our call to attend the Court of Appeal hearing.  The courtroom was filled to capacity with no seats left empty.  The numbers left an impression on all present from the judge to the security guards who were curious about what case all the commotion was about.  It was a packed courtroom by anyones’ standards and we thank all of you who made this possible.  Our special thanks to Mayor Quaiff and Warren Howard of Wind Concerns Ontario. 
 
However the outcome of today’s hearing is not what we had hoped for.  On our arrival we had hoped that Justice Katherine van Rensburg would hear our appeal and our new evidence including aerial photography of the destruction that has occurred at the White Pines project site since WPD began clearing vegetation two days ago, as depicted in one photograph attached. 
 
Instead Sylvia Davis, lawyer for the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, cited a ruling from over fifty years ago that only a panel of three judges could hear an appeal of this nature.  It became clear at that point that the motion would not be heard until after the legal matter of whether this was properly before the court had been dealt with, with a potentially unfavourable decision. Rather than spend considerable time and money on legal wrangling the decision was made to withdraw our motion for a stay on all physical activity at the White Pines project site.  The motion was withdrawn on consent of all parties and without costs.
We have received the written reasons from the Environmental Review Tribunal for its original refusal of our stay motion.  We will immediately be going to the Tribunal to once again request a stay.  As the saying goes when one door closes, another opens.  More information will follow soon.
 
Lastly, there is a short article on the Wind Concerns website with another photograph of the after-effects of vegetation clearing at www.windconcernsontario.ca
  
Regards,
Orville Walsh
President, APPEC

Wind power developer clears endangered wildlife habitat, without approval

ToughonNature
April 6—
On Monday April 4, wind power developer WPD Canada began clearing trees for turbine sites for the White Pines project in southern Prince Edward County. This work began in areas known to be habitat for the endangered Blandings Turtle; the power developer is continuing even though there are reports that milder weather has resulted in the turtles emerging early from their winter hibernation, and are at great risk.
 
This clearing work is also taking place despite the recent decision by the Ontario Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) to reverse the approval for the project on the grounds that it will cause serious and irreversible harm to the endangered Blandings Turtles. The ERT has not yet scheduled the next phase for the appeal process, which is hearings on remedy to the situation for the wildlife.
Until the Tribunal has reached a final decision, the power developer cannot have full approval to proceed with this project.
Please see the aerial photos provided by the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County (APPEC). APPEC will have a report shortly.
For more information on the legal fight, go to www.savethesouthshore.org
SSHore-3
SShoreDestruction-2

Ontario’s new wind power targets ‘insult’ to rural Ontario, Wind Concerns Ontario says

Ontario has a surplus of power, municipalities don’t want the power projects, but Ontario gives in to Big Wind

London Free Press, April 5, 2016

By John Miner

Just weeks after awarding controversial contracts for five wind farms, Ontario said Tuesday it’s opening bidding for double that amount of wind energy.

The government is also inviting bids from companies for solar, hydro and bio-energy projects.

Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli said the move will save consumers money by putting more downward pressure on electricity prices.

In a statement, Chiarelli also said the province will put emphasis on community support for the projects.

Chiarelli and the government were criticized recently when contracts for wind farms were awarded for areas opposed to wind farm development, including Dutton-Dunwich in Southwestern Ontario where residents had voted 84 per cent against industrial wind farm development.

Several Ontario municipalities have recently passed resolutions demanding veto power over wind farm developments within their boundaries, but both Premier Kathleen Wynne and Deputy Premier Deb Mattews have said that won’t happen.

Ontario’s largest wind farms, and the largest number of the highrise-sized wind turbines, are located in Southwestern Ontario.

The last round of wind farm development was for 300 megawatts of wind power.

This time, Ontario has opened the bids for 600 megawatts of wind energy, along with 250 megawatts of solar, up to 50 megawatts of hydroelectricity and up to 30 megawatts of bioenergy.

The size of the procurement stunned wind farm opponents.

“This is just amazing,” said Jane Wilson, president of Wind Concerns Ontario, a coalition of community groups fighting wind farm development.

“What can you say? They are selling off power at negative prices, we don’t need it. It is just throwing down the gauntlet to rural Ontario, it is so insulting.”

A report released last week by Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator c(IESO) oncluded Ontario has enough electrical generation in place to cover the province’s needs for at least a decade.

“Clearly, they have bowed to pressure from the wind industry,” said Wilson.

The wind industry, for its part, celebrated Ontario’s announcement Tuesday.

“Ontario is Canada’s wind energy leader and understands the need to cost-effectively and reliably integrate more clean energy sources, like wind energy, into the electricity grid if it is going to meet its environmental and economic goals,” said CanWEA president Robert Hornung.

Mayor Randy Hope of Chatham-Kent, the one municipality that’sconsistently backed wind farm development and called for more, said the wind energy companies have been good corporate citizens.

The companies now contribute more than $2 million a year in taxes to the municipality, helping to pay for crucial infrastructure and services, Hope said in a statement.

The IESO is responsible for running the bidding process …

Read the full article here.

Ontario triples original wind power target for 2017, IESO announces

Community opposition rampant, municipalities demand more power in planning decisions, and Ontario has a surplus of power, but Wynne government opens bids for more intermittent, expensive wind power

Ontario Newsroom, April 5, 2016

 

Ontario Launching New Competition for Renewable Energy Projects
April 5, 2016 12:30 P.M.

Ministry of Energy

Ontario is continuing to secure a clean energy future by launching a second phase of the competitive Large Renewable Procurement (LRP) process.

Working with the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), a Request for Qualifications process will be issued by August 1, 2016 for 930 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy from solar photovoltaic, wind, hydroelectric and bioenergy sources, following engagement with stakeholders, municipalities and Indigenous communities.

The province will continue to ensure renewable energy procurement encourages the selection of projects with local support and competitive prices, as well as projects with First Nation and Métis participation. Based on the results of the first phase of the LRP (LRP I), it is expected that $3.3 billion in LRP costs will be removed relative to the 2013 Long-Term Energy Plan (LTEP) forecast, saving the typical residential electricity consumer an average of $1.67 per month on their electricity bill over the forecast period.

The next phase of the Large Renewable Procurement (LRP II) will ensure Ontario remains a global leader in clean energy development. Since 2003, Ontario’s clean energy initiatives have attracted billions of dollars in private sector investment and it is estimated that they have generated over 42,000 jobs in the clean technology sector. There are more than 30 solar and wind manufacturers operating in communities across the province.

Building a safe, clean, reliable and affordable energy system is part of the government’s economic plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan includes investing in talent and skills, including helping more people get and create the jobs of the future by expanding access to high-quality college and university education. The plan is making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario’s history and investing in a low-carbon economy driven by innovative, high-growth, export-oriented businesses. The plan is also helping working Ontarians achieve a more secure retirement.

Quick Facts

  • The Large Renewable Procurement (LRP), which replaced the large Feed-In Tariff (FIT) program, covers renewable energy projects generally larger than 500 kilowatts (kW) and was designed to strike a balance between community engagement and achieving value for ratepayers.
  • In March 2016, the IESO offered contracts to 16 successful LRP proponents, for a total of almost 455 MW of renewable energy capacity. Of the 16 projects that received contracts, 75 per cent received support from local municipalities.
  • For LRP Phase II, Ontario has set targets of up to 600 MW of wind, up to 250 MW of solar photovoltaic, up to 50 MW of hydroelectricity and up to 30 MW of bioenergy.
  • The IESO engagement process will include surveys, webinars and meetings with industry associations, municipal associations and Indigenous communities. Further engagement opportunities will take place during the LRP II RFQ and RFP phases.
  • Background Information
  • Results of Large Renewable Procurement I
  • Ontario’s Long-Term Energy Plan“Ontario is a North American leader in the development of renewable energy projects. By putting emphasis on price and community support, the next phase of renewable energy procurement will save consumers money by putting further downward pressure on electricity prices.”Minister of Energy