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}

New evidence submitted in Prince Edward County on endangered turtles

The Environmental Review Tribunal accepted new evidence of harm to the natural environment in the form of aerial photos and a statement from a turtle expert

Hang on turtles! Somebody cares (not the Ministry of the Environment)
Hang on turtles! Somebody cares (not the Ministry of the Environment)

 

Save The South Shore, April 8, 2016

Late this afternoon the Environmental Review Tribunal granted a temporary stay of WPD’s Renewable Energy Approval (REA).  As a result of the stay all construction work at the project site has been brought to a halt.  The Tribunal will schedule a written hearing at a later date to decide on the merits of a more permanent stay.

This long-awaited decision is the outcome of a tremendous effort by Eric Gillespie and Priya Vittal, who have worked tirelessly around the clock since Wednesday when the Tribunal issued its reasons related to our previous stay motion.

In giving its reasons the Tribunal indicated that a further motion could be brought to the Tribunal should new evidence become available.  Thanks to the efforts of many individuals and above all our legal counsel, this new evidence was submitted this morning in the form of photographs showing the level of destruction, an affidavit from a Blanding’s turtle expert that turtles are out of hibernation and moving across the project, and letters from local and national groups including the Canadian Wildlife Federation.

We have many to thank for this welcome news including those who attended the Court of Appeal hearing in Toronto on Wednesday.  The concern and public engagement left an impression which may have reached out past the courtroom.

The good news is that WPD has been ordered to stop all construction at its project site.

In the meantime however our legal bills are growing.

Donations can be made by cheque or by PayPal on APPEC’s website www.appec.ca.  Please make cheques payable to the South Shore Appeal Fund and mail to the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County, P. O. Box 173, Milford, ON K0K 2P0.

Regards,
Orville Walsh
President, APPEC

– See more at: http://savethesouthshore.org/details-regarding-the-stay-statement-by-orville-walsh/#sthash.tWBt30B7.IpiXaqVk.dpuf

 

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

Ontario Liberals dole out wind power contracts to donors, says Opposition

 

cid:image001.jpg@01D18E61.77F371B0

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 5, 2016

Ministry of Energy Handing Out Renewable Contracts to Donor Companies 

QUEEN’S PARK – Ontario’s archaic fundraising rules have continued to make news due to the appearance that large-scale corporate donations are having an impact on the business of the government. Today during Question Period, members of the Ontario PC Caucus highlighted a number of concerning donations from wind power companies, who in turn received government contracts.

“The Minister of Energy is a prolific fundraiser for the Liberal Party, because he needs to meet his cabinet seat quota. It is reported that the Minister of Energy’s fundraising target was as high as $300,000,” said Leader of the Official Opposition Patrick Brown. “That’s not an easy task for anyone. Some could raise that money through hard work, or maybe the minister found other ways.”

Over the last few years, seven renewable energy companies donated $255,000 to the Liberal Party, and in the latest round of renewable procurements all seven of those companies were awarded contracts from the Ministry of Energy.  These contracts occurred despite the Auditor General confirming that the province is overproducing electricity and selling it at a loss.  

Three wind companies, Enerfin, SWEB Developments, and Innergex, who have never donated to the Liberal Party of Ontario applied for contracts in the same round of procurement but didn’t receive any contracts.

“The Premier can deflect from the real reasons these unnecessary contracts are being signed but we all know she’s just paying it forward,” added PC Energy Critic and MPP for Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke John Yakabuski. “How can the Premier claim this is an impartial process when the companies that don’t donate get nothing and companies that donate a quarter of a million dollars get signed lucrative contracts?”

“Will the Premier tell us, has any Minister of Energy solicited donations for the Ontario Liberal Party from companies seeking grants or contracts with the government of Ontario, yes or no?” concluded Leader Patrick Brown.

-30-

 

CONTACT: Jamie Hofing | 416-325-8505 | jamie.hofing@pc.ola.org

Source: PCPO
Source: PCPO

 

False promises of electricity bill relief from Ontario energy minister

Time the Energy Minister looked beyond the fund-raising dinner parties.
Parker Gallant: Time the Energy Minister looked beyond the fund-raising dinner parties.

In an effort to determine what track Energy Minister Chiarelli’s electric train is on I took a brief look at his ministerial forecast, “Achieving Balance”.  My interest was piqued by a recent article suggesting China has put a chill on new wind power projects.  As it turns out, China is having trouble because industrial wind turbines are “churning out power that’s being wasted” and they are being forced to curtail wind to ensure stability in some of the country’s grids.

Having recently noted the costs to Ontario ratepayers for just one day when power from wind was being curtailed, I decided to examine costs on a longer term. Thanks to Scott Luft, who does an incredible job of logging estimated curtailments of industrial wind turbines (IWT), I was able to determine the results for the final quarter of 2015.  Total estimated curtailments for the Quarter ended December 31, 2015 were 434,750 megawatt hours (MWh).

An Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) report released a couple of weeks age claimed IWT-generated 3.0 terawatts (TWh) in the last quarter of 2015, so, if one includes curtailed wind, ratepayers were obliged to pay for 3,434,750 MWh. That represents  93.9% of net exports (exports of 5.401 TWh less imports of 1.742 TWh) or 63.6% of gross exports.

What this means is that in the fourth quarter of 2015, wind-generated electricity was all surplus to our needs, without including steamed off nuclear, or spilled hydro!

The 3,434,750 MWh is estimated to have cost ratepayers approximately $460 million. The 3 TWh of electricity IWT delivered to the grid cost about $405 million and the curtailed cost was almost $55 million.  During the quarter, the HOEP1. averaged $1.50/MWh, meaning if all of generated and curtailed wind was a part of the 5.4 TWh exported, it would have generated only a shade over $5 million —that would have reduced the cost to ratepayers to $455 million.   With 92 days in the last quarter of 2015, the money paid by Ontario ratepayers averaged daily was almost $5 million.

Back to Energy Minister Chiarelli’s “Achieving Balance” long-term energy plan, we should be captivated by the promise made: “Significant ratepayer savings will be realized as a result of reduced Feed-in Tariff (FIT) prices, the ability to dispatch wind generation, the amended Green Energy Investment Agreement, and the decision to defer new nuclear.”

Clearly the “significant ratepayer savings” promised by Minister Chiarelli was for the benefit of our neighbours who purchase our surplus electricity at a fraction of the costs to Ontario ratepayers.

It is well past the time for Minister Chiarelli to look at China’s position and to cease any further procurement of IWT generation, or is the Ontario Liberal Party too dependent on party donations from the IWT developers as suggested in a recent article emanating from Queen’s Park?

©Parker Gallant,

April 5, 2016

  1. The Global Adjustment is not levied for exported electricity.

The views expressed are those of the author.

Mayors, citizen groups meet with Environmental Commissioner on wind farms

Citizens, municipal and provincial politicians and environmental groups met with Ontario Environmental Commissioner yesterday, detailing environmental, health and economic impacts from wind power projects and thousands of complaints about turbine noise. The Commissioner says she can’t do anything

Prince Edward County councillor Steve Ferguson and Mayor Robert Quaiff, and Warren Howard of Wind Concerns Ontario at the meeting table in Toronto yesterday [Photo: Todd Smith MPP]

April 5, 2016 TORONTO—

Wind Concerns Ontario was one of the presenters at a meeting in Toronto Monday with Ontario’s new Environmental Commissioner Dianne Saxe. The meeting was organized and led by MPP Lisa Thompson,  environment critic for the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario.

Wind Concerns Ontario (WCO) introduced its presentation by stating that our members of the coalition of community groups and individuals are about the impact of industrial- or utility-scale wind power development on the economy, environment and human health. “That sounds like three things, but it isn’t,” President Jane Wilson told the Commissioner. “The environment is everything: it is the economy, it is the natural environment, and it is health.”

Warren Howard, in speaking for WCO, detailed the fact that Ontario’s noise regulations are inadequate to protect health, which is borne out by research including the Health Canada noise study and the Cape Bridgewater study, to name two. He said that WCO learned from the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change that there are more than 2,700 files of noise complaints. Details have been requested under Freedom of Information from the Ministry but not produced after a year; the matter is now in the hands of Ontario’s Privacy Commissioner.

Wind Concerns told the Commissioner that it is not merely audible noise that is the problem but infrasound/low frequency noise that produces unique sensation among some individuals exposed to the emissions. The group referred to several individual locations as examples of problems such as Prince Edward County where an eminent acoustics specialist testified before the Environmental Review Tribunal that virtually everyone in that community would be exposed to the turbine noise emissions. WCO also mentioned the Niagara project where thousands of homes will be within 1.5 km of 77 industrial-scale turbines. By conservative estimates, as many as 1,000 people could be affected by exposure to the noise emissions.

WCO concluded its presentation by asserting that the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change is not fulfilling its mandate of ensuring a “healthy environment” for Ontarians. Wind Concerns asked the Commissioner for a full review of Ontario’s noise regulations under Section 61 under the Environmental Protection Act.

Other presenters made striking presentations including Barbara Ashbee of Victims of Wind, City of Kawartha Lakes councilor Heather Stauble, Prince Edward County councilor Steve Ferguson and  Robert Quaiff, Mayor of Prince Edward County, and Deputy Mayor Dutton-Dunwich, Bob Purcell. Representatives of citizens’ groups from Bruce County and Huron County also presented reports of environmental and health problems. There have been so many complaints of poor health from turbine noise emissions in Huron County, people told the Commissioner that, where the Health Unit has launched a formal investigation .

Mayor Quaiff detailed several environmental concerns about the two wind power projects proposed for Prince Edward County, saying that not only were the power plants to be built on land where endangered Blandings turtles and Little Brown Bats are found, the sites are also on important migratory pathways for birds. “Questions are not being answered,” he said, about the effects of materials used in turbine construction such as the reinforced steel bars and concrete foundations, which will leach into the water table. He added that the turbines will have a negative impact on the wineries locally, and the bird-watching areas. “The South Shore is the last undeveloped shoreline on Lake Ontario,” he said. “I think it should stay that way.”

MPPs Todd Smith, Laurie Scott and Jeff Yurek were also at the meeting.

In her closing remarks MPP Lisa Thompson said that while everyone wants to do the right thing for the environment, key parts of the wind power process are “not working.” “What is working,” MPP Thompson said, “is we have an Environmental Commissioner and I hope we can move forward.”

Commissioner Saxe said that her office is dealing with hundreds of issues and can realistically handle only five or six a year. She acknowledged “the passion” expressed in the meeting today but in the short term, she couldn’t do anything, and in the long term “we’ll have to see.”

MPP Thompson said that this serious issue is affecting “so many communities” that she hoped the Commissioner’s office would review all the information in the submissions presented.

(C) Wind Concerns Ontario

contact@windconcernsontario.ca