Party positions on wind power in Ontario: ICI Radio-Canada

ICI Radio-Canada reviewed the positions of all four major Ontario political parties on wind power development, ahead of the Ontario election June 7

Wind power construction on environmentally fragile Amherst Island (Photo: Brian Little)

May 16

Original story: https://ici.radio-canada.ca/nouvelle/1100241/energie-eolienne-ontario-elections-2018

What future for wind energy? The position of the top four parties in Ontario

Colin Cote-Paulette, ICI Radio-Canada

Ontario has nearly 3,000 wind turbines on its territory in 2018. The facilities, especially the way they are “forced” in some communities, are generating heated debate in many parts of the province. In the middle of the election campaign, the leaders of the four major parties told CBC whether they intend to amend the Green Energy Act.

Ontario’s wind development has accelerated under the Liberals.

Since the introduction of the Green Energy Act in 2009, 2,446 wind turbines have been installed in the province, according to statistics provided by the Canadian Wind Energy Association at the end of 2017.

1995-2008: 480 wind turbines, 2009- 2017: 2426 wind turbines

According to this legislation, the support of a community where the wind turbines are built is desirable, but it is not essential to go ahead with a project.

Originally seen as an ideal alternative to fossil energy, wind energy has gradually raised the resentment of residents who complain about the collateral effects of wind farms .

Some experts also said that Ontario does not need this surplus energy and that the growing number of wind turbines is contributing to the increase in residents’ electricity bills.

The next Ontario government will determine in what direction the wind will blow in the next few years.

Green Party

Ontario Green Party leader Mike Schreiner is in favor of wind energy, but not how it has been implemented by the government in recent years.

“I understand that [residents opposed to wind power] are angry at the Liberals, but do not be angry at a technology that has been successfully implemented everywhere else in the world,” said the politician.

Mr. Schreiner believes that wind energy can create jobs and wealth in communities hosting this type of project, as long as certain measures are respected.

“We would have the same rule as in Denmark, that is to say that 20% of renewable energy projects belong to members of the community where they are located,” he says.

If elected, Schreiner also promises to amend the Green Energy Act .

Progressive Conservative Party

Long before the election campaign began, Conservative leader Doug Ford decried the province’s wind farms during his public outings.

” Kathleen Wynne’s Green Energy Act is a disaster,” says the Conservative leader.

However, it must be mentioned that when the law was passed, it was Dalton McGuinty who was Premier of Ontario and not Ms. Wynne.

Mr. Ford promises to abolish the law.

Asked how he will do it, the politician remains elusive.

“We will have an energy policy that puts people who work hard before the Liberals’ friends,” answered Mr. Ford.

New Democratic Party

New Democrat Leader Andrea Horwath says she supports the Green Energy Act concept , but laments the fact that the Liberals have given Ontario’s green energy sector to private companies.

“Green energy should go hand in hand with the participation of municipalities, Aboriginal communities and cooperatives,” she says.

Without promising to amend the law to give more powers to municipalities, Horwath proposes to ease the tension around wind projects in order to restore their image.

“The wealth from these projects must go to municipalities and communities,” says the New Democrat.

Liberal Party

The Liberal Party defends its record by saying that the province’s wind projects are all subject to environmental impact studies and public consultations.

If Kathleen Wynne is re-elected, it is not yet clear what will happen to future wind farms.

“We reached a point in 2016 when, after years of investing in clean energy, we did not need to go further. That’s why we have suspended our program of major renewable energy projects, “wrote a party spokesman.

In relation to rising bills that would be related to wind energy, the Liberals claim to have inherited a provincial electricity system neglected by previous Conservative governments, although the Liberal Party has been in power since 2003.

Three wind farm projects are still awaiting approval from the province: Otter Creek, LSRA Solar and Strong Breeze Wind.

According to the Wind Concern Ontario Citizens Group, these contracts are worth several million dollars.

The vote will be held on June 7th.

 

Wind Concerns Ontario note:

-the Liberal Party statement that they have halted wind power development is not quite complete — they have “suspended” the program because of a surplus of power. They had the option to not issue five contracts for 300 more megawatts of power in 2016, but they did not take that option. The five projects represent $1.3B, not “millions.”

-the Green Party statement that wind power has been implemented “successfully” around the world is not quite accurate. Many jurisdictions are now backing away from utility-scale wind, removing subsidies and halting procurement.

-the Progressive Conservative Party does have more details on their plans, including cancelling contracts where possible, renegotiating the costs in contracts where possible, and enforcing noise regulations in Ontario.

-the NDP position is not detailed as described here: by saying projects should go “hand-in-hand” do they mean that municipal approval would be critical for wind power projects as 116 Ontario municipalities have demanded?

 

contact@windconcernsontario.ca

 

Ontario government approves new wind farm over “vulnerable aquifer”

May 8, 2018

The Ontario government announced late in the day last Friday it had given Renewable Energy Approval (REA) to the 100-megawatt “Nation Rise” wind power project, proposed by Portugal-based EDP Renewables.

The project is proposed for North Stormont, between Ottawa and Cornwall.

Many comments were received by the government during the comment period for the power project, many of which related to the unusual geology of the area.

In fact, according to a map of the project, almost every single wind turbine will be located over what is designated as “vulnerable aquifer.”

Ontario has already seen the results of wind turbine construction over fragile hydrogeology (though denied by the government), in Chatham-Kent where water wells have been disturbed such that at least 20 families do not now have water from their own wells. Several parties are now calling for a public health investigation.

Nation Rise map: the fine pink striped area is all “vulnerable”

In the case of the Nation Rise project, the ministry responded in the notice (emphasis is ours):

Impacts to groundwater
Concerns were raised that ground-borne vibration generated during construction (pile-driving) and operation of turbines (blade rotation) may impact well water quality. These concerns were based on allegations and complaints that ground-borne vibration generated during pile driving and blade rotation of wind turbines in another area of the province has impacted well water quality. Concerns were also raised regarding the potential for other project-related activities to contaminate groundwater.

Upon review of the groundwater aspects of the application, the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) has decided to include a series of conditions in the Renewable Energy Approval (REA) related to groundwater and ground-borne vibration monitoring. Among these conditions is the requirement for the proponent to: not commence pile driving or blasting activities until groundwater monitoring and ground-borne vibration monitoring plans are submitted to and approved by the MOECC; implement groundwater monitoring and ground-borne vibration monitoring during various project phases; and implement a well water complaint response plan/protocol and contingency plan, as necessary.

and

Geological/geotechnical concerns and impacts as a result of natural hazards
Concerns were received regarding the viability of installing the project within leda clays and the potential impacts of the project as a result of natural hazards, such as landslides and earthquakes. Concerns were also received regarding the potential for the project to facilitate the development of a landslide.

To ensure that the project will be safely constructed in this geological setting, as a condition of the REA the proponent will not be permitted to commence construction of turbine foundations and access roads until a detailed geotechnical report has been submitted to and approved in writing by the MOECC.

One would think that, given the seriousness of these concerns, and irreversibility of any damage to the aquifer, the Ministry would have required these reports before issuing an approval.

Residents have other concerns including effects of being exposed from the noise emissions from that many wind turbines which will also be among the most powerful in the province. That concern is magnified by the fact that this new wind power project did not have to abide by Ontario’s newest set of rules for wind power generators, but was able to opt for the less strict, older guidelines. It is possible that many turbines will be out of compliance with new regulations the minute they begin operation.

If the project goes ahead.

The community is now pondering next steps, which could include an appeal of the approval.

For more information, contact Concerned Citizens of North Stormont : http://concernedcitizensofnorthstormont.ca/

or Wind Concerns Ontario at contact@windconcernsontario.ca

#MOECC

Ontario Environment Minister served with summons on violation of the Environmental Protection Act

“We had no choice” : Wind Concerns Ontario on taking legal action regarding wind turbine noise reports

NEWS RELEASE

Citizens’ group charges Environment Minister with violation of Environmental Protection Act

May 1, 2018, Toronto, 10:00 EDT – The president of Wind Concerns Ontario (WCO), a volunteer-led coalition of 30 community groups and many Ontario families, has filed a private prosecution against the Honourable Chris Ballard, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC), for violating Ontario’s Environmental Protection Act (EPA).

Private prosecutions are important tools in empowering private citizens to hold those persons in power to account.

The EPA prohibits anyone from permitting the “discharge of a contaminant into the natural environment, if the discharge causes or may cause an adverse effect.” Adverse effects listed in the EPA include “an adverse effect on the health of any person,” “harm or material discomfort to any person” and “loss of enjoyment of normal use of property.” (Section 14 subsections 1 and 2)

“We don’t take this step lightly,” says Jane Wilson, WCO President and a Registered Nurse, “but with the MOECC not responding to thousands of reports of excessive noise from wind turbines, which is affecting sleep and health for Ontario families, we had no choice. These are examples of adverse effects that Minister Ballard should not be permitting to continue.”

WCO recently received MOECC documents under a Freedom of Information request that showed thousands of unresolved reports of noise, many with staff notes about sleep disturbance and health impacts. Between 2006 and 2016, there were more than 4,500 recorded reports, 35% of which contained staff notes about adverse health effects; between 2015-2016, the MOECC response rate to the reports of excessive noise was less than 7%.

“Citizens report going without sleep for days, weeks, even months,” said Wilson. “Sleep disturbance is linked to other health problems such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Mr. Ballard, as steward of environmental protection in Ontario, is responsible for allowing this environmental noise pollution to continue.”

On April 30, 2018, Mr. Ballard was served with a summons to appear before the court on May 17, 2018.

CONTACT: Jane Wilson  president@windconcernsontario.ca

www.windconcernsontario.ca

 

Excerpts from Ontario resident wind turbine noise reports:

“You have done nothing to help myself or my family. How many times [do we have to complain] before the MOECC will do something?”

“Another week has passed with no response from you. It has been terrible here off and on the past week …continue to be unable to get a good night’s sleep.”

“When will you reopen our file and help us?”

“We just want to sleep…”

“After a week of east wind and no sleep in our house this has become intolerable … it is up to you to address this”

 

Read Wind Concerns Ontario’s reports on the MOECC pollution Incident Reports here.

The 2017 report on noise complaints 2006-2014 NoiseResponseReport-FINAL-May1

The 2018 report on noise complaints 2015-2016 Second Report Noise Complaints February 2018-FINAL

 

Legal foundation for a private prosecution

Ontario Private Prosecution

 

#MOECC