Wind Concerns Ontario is a province-wide advocacy organization whose mission is to provide information on the potential impact of industrial-scale wind power generation on the economy, human health, and the natural environment.
Here from The Windsor Star, a project that has been refused at the application stage by the Ministry of the Environment.
LaSalle wind turbine project axed
Residents delighted with development
Julie Kotsis, The Windsor Star
Published: Saturday, November 30, 2013
The Ministry of the Environment has rejected a plan to install two industrial wind turbines in rural LaSalle according to opponents of the project. “(Our lawyer) informed us that (property owner Larry) Pajot would not be putting them up,” said Tim Parent, a member of Residents Against Industrial Wind Turbines. “I’m very happy … that it’s been rejected.” “The reason I bought this place was because of the privacy and the views,” said a relieved Parent. The controversial wind turbine project was opposed by the group of LaSalle residents who collected over 400 signatures on a petition in opposition to the project. Parent and others also launched a $10-million lawsuit against wind company River Canard Energy Inc. and Pajot Farms Ltd., the landowner, through Toronto-based lawyer Eric Gillespie. The residents said they feared their property values would decrease or that they would be unable to sell their properties if the two proposed 500kW turbines were installed on farmland off Disputed Road. The group also sought an injunction to stop the project. “Our lawyer says our lawsuit has stopped him from going ahead but then we get this other information from the ministry,” Parent said, referring to a notice that the applications had been turned down. “During our review of the company’s proposals, It was determined that they didn’t meet our ministry requirements,” said MOE spokeswoman Kate Jordan. Jordan would give no further details. When reached Friday, property owner Larry Pajot said he was unaware of the ministry’s decision. “Is that right? I didn’t know anything about that,” Pajot said. Asked if he would try to go ahead with the projects or address whatever the problems were with the applications, Pajot said “Like I said, I just found out. I don’t know what to say right now. “So I guess the best thing is I don’t have anything to say.” In Sept. 2012, Micah Jarvis, an energy services manager for Kitchener-based Mindscape Innovations, was the spokesman for the River Canard Energy group but Friday he refused comment saying, “we’re no longer involved with that project. “I’m afraid I’m not going to be able to help you today,” Jarvis said. MOE’S Jordan said River Canard Energy had submitted separate applications for two wind turbines. One was refused by the ministry in late October and one was deemed incomplete and returned. “Neither of those proposals can move forward,” Jordan said, adding that the company could submit a new proposal but there is no appeal allowed on the two rejected applications.
PENETANGUISHENE – Approximately 170 employees of CCL Industries Inc. learned Friday morning that the Penetanguishene plant will close by no later than the middle of 2015.
“The plant has been unprofitable since 2009, and posted sizable losses during the economic crisis,” president and CEO Geoffrey Martin stated in a press release. “Although results improved in 2012 and 2013, the operation continues to make losses; consequently, we feel it is now time to make this difficult decision.”
The company, which produces aluminum aerosol cans and bottles for consumer packaged goods, made the decision “with great regret,” Martin said, adding the closure of the Robert Street East operation will commence in the first half of 2014 and be completed by no later than mid-2015.
Company officials met with Penetanguishene Mayor Gerry Marshall on Friday morning to notify him of the decision and the rationale behind it.
“It’s crippling in a lot of ways,” Marshall said when asked about the impact on the town. “These are well-paying jobs…. The impact on those families is going to be heartbreaking.”
Martin said the affected employees will receive “appropriate severance and other benefits,” plus assistance with developing transition plans.
“Many of them have long tenure with CCL, so early notice of the closure gives reasonable time to consider options,” he said. “These will include outplacement assistance embracing, where possible, international transfers within CCL Container and domestic opportunities at our CCL Label and Avery business units.”
Sean Washchuk, the company’s senior vice-president and chief financial officer, said it has been a struggle to remain competitive with a high Canadian dollar and a customer base that had shifted entirely to the United States.
“We really tried to run the business as best we could for the last five years,” he said. “It wasn’t for a lack of effort or trying things to help the business along, but … some of it was just beyond our control.”
Marshall said the town is similarly powerless to do anything to convince CCL to stay. He also rejected the notion that his regular communications with local employers should have tipped him off to looming problems at the plant.
“We stay (in touch) on a continuing basis, but, in this particular case, that card was just held close to the vest,” he said. “I had no inkling those kinds of decisions were being made at the executive level.
“Certainly, we’ve always been worried about CCL in terms of they’ve had layoffs … but you always hope for the best.”
Another weekend of paradise for wind developers in Ontario?
The weekend of November 9th and 10th were great days for the wind power developers but horrible for ratepayers as I pointed out in a recent article (on Energy Probe)—in fact, it cost Ontario ratepayers upwards of $20 million.
This past weekend was even better for the wind power developers who supplied the grid with almost 60,000 megawatt hours (MWh) in 48 hours and who were obligated to constrain (and got paid for constraining) what looks to be another 3,500 MWh.
While the developers were being paid for that, Ontario was busy exporting 119,000 MWh at an average price of $7.06 per MWh (.07 cents per kWh) on the Saturday, and on Sunday we received
67 cents per MWh.All of the exports generated around$450,000 over the weekend to slightly offset the dollars that will be billed to ratepayers via the Global Adjustment (GA).
While the cost to ratepayers was once about $20 million, which included close to $14 million paid to the wind power companies for generated and constrained power, there is more: perhaps as much as $5 million was paid to Bruce Power for steaming off up to 2,500 MW per hour of nuclear, and another $1 million or so to the gas plant generators for sitting idle.Not included in that estimate is revenue lost to OPG for spilling clean hydro which may have gone to reduce the “residual stranded debt.”
What does it all mean? The IESO Market Summary reports for the two days on the weekend indicated Ontario’s demand was collectively 690,000 MWh but ratepayers were obligated to pay for approximately 900,000 MWh or 30% more than we consumed, without factoring in line losses which would add another 1-9%.
So the next time you go shopping for anything supplied by the governing Ontario Liberal Party be prepared to pay them 30% more than the value of what you are purchasing.You should also look for November to produce the highest GA amount so far as the Hourly Ontario Energy Price (HOEP) has averaged $9.98 per MWh or 1 cent per kWh which means, come May 1, 2014, we should expect electricity rates will climb again.
Actor Alan Alda is supposed to have said that “Insanity is just a state of mind.” Maybe that represents the way this province is run, considering the state of mind of our Energy Ministers and the giant, expensive mess they have created.
In explaining why Ontario’s Liberal government scrapped its previous intention to build two new nuclear reactors, Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli offered up that the province now has a “comfortable surplus” of electricity. That’s a strange way of describing the decimation of Ontario’s manufacturing sector — in part due to the uber-high electricity rates the Liberals have contributed to with their insane rush into expensive and unreliable wind and solar power. Indeed, the main reason Ontario now has a “comfortable surplus” of electricity — whereas a mere decade ago we were worried about shortages and rolling brownouts — is not because our supply is better but because our economy is worse. Simply put, when there are fewer manufacturers producing fewer goods, electricity demand goes down. If and when our manufacturing sector recovers, electricity demand will rise again, and that’s when we’ll need adequate sources of it if we’re not to return to the dire situation of just 10 years ago when Ontario was routinely described as “power starved” by energy experts. That’s what makes the decision of Premier Kathleen Wynne to reverse the policy of her predecessor Dalton McGuinty, on the issue of nuclear power inexplicable, at least if we’re talking about common sense versus politics. Simply put, nuclear power is the backbone of Ontario’s electricity sector and has been for more than four decades. Last year, nuclear power supplied 56% of Ontario’s electricity needs. Every time you turn on a light switch in this province, chances are better than one out of two the reason your light goes on is nuclear. As I’m writing this article on Friday afternoon, nuclear power is providing 69% of Ontario’s electricity needs, or 10,709 megawatts out of a total system demand of 15,595 megawatts. By comparison, the Liberals’ heavily subsidized and unreliable darling, wind power, is providing 4% (630 megawatts). Solar contributes so little power to the grid it’s not even worth mentioning. Contrary to what the Wynne government would like you to believe, nuclear power isn’t an unpleasant afterthought when it comes to meeting our energy needs. It’s the workhorse and if it isn’t properly looked after and maintained, the whole system will come crashing down on our heads when we need electricity the most. Further, nuclear power doesn’t emit pollution or greenhouses gases. If 69% of Ontario’s electricity needs were being met by coal today instead of nuclear, Toronto would like Beijing on many days. The McGuinty-Wynne Liberals, who in 2003 promised to phase out Ontario’s coal use by 2007, now promise to do it by 2014. But, contrary to their absurd propaganda, they aren’t replacing coal with wind. Wind power can’t replace coal because it can’t provide base-load power to the grid on demand, and, ironically has to be backed up by natural gas power in Ontario. What the McGuinty-Wynne Liberals are actually doing is replacing coal power with natural gas which emits less pollution and greenhouse gases. McGuinty let that Liberal secret out of the bag, when, in defending his decision to cancel the Oakville and Mississauga gas plants prior to the 2011 election he said, “We got 17 gas plants more or less right, but we got two very, very wrong.” In other words, the Liberals have been building gas plants like stink to replace coal, except in Mississauga and Oakville, where it would have cost them five Liberal seats. So there, they cancelled them, at a public cost of up to $1.1 billion. Meanwhile they imposed expensive and unreliable wind turbines on rural Ontario, despite widespread community opposition. If you’re getting the idea this is no way to run an electricity system, and that the Liberals are making their decisions on the fly and for their own political benefit, rather than on the basis of logic or common sense, then you understand their energy policies perfectly. Chiarelli says the Liberals will unveil a long-term energy plan later this year which will include the refurbishment of a couple of existing nuclear reactors, but which will de-emphasize nuclear power. In so doing, the Liberals will again be ignoring the advice of their own experts, who have told them to maintain and expand nuclear power as the backbone of Ontario’s electricity system. Instead, the Liberals have thrown in their lot with radical greens, many of them leftovers from the 1960s, who still associate nuclear power with nuclear war and who wax hysterical about Fukushima and Chernobyl, which have nothing to do with the safety record of nuclear power in Ontario. And we’ll be paying for their mistakes for generations to come.
From SooToday reaction to the Ontario government’s approval of the Goulais Bay wind power project.
Goulais wind farm approved, opponents consider next steps
Saturday, October 12, 2013 by: Darren Taylor
The Save Ontario’s Algoma Region (SOAR) group is clearly disappointed with the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MOE) October 4, 2013 decision to approve construction of the Goulais Wind Farm project. A Renewable Energy Approval (REA) has been given to SP Development Limited Partnership to build, install, operate and eventually retire a renewable energy facility, consisting of 11 wind turbines , with a total capacity of 25 MW, in the unorganized Townships of Pennefather and Aweres. The wind facility will be connected to Great Lakes Power’s distribution system. The REA comes with a long list of conditions, which include requiring SP Development Limited to construct and install the facility within three years of the date of approval, compliance with the MOE’s noise emission limits, keep an eye on storm water management, sediment and erosion during and after construction, the effect of the project on wildlife (such as birds and bats), establish a community liaison committee with members of the public, and properly decommissioning of the facility upon its retirement. SOAR’s Executive Member and spokesperson Gillan Richards, in an e-mail to SooToday.com, stated: “SOAR and Wind Concerns Ontario (WCO) will now consider what action to take in response to the Goulais Project Approval.” The group, if it decides to file an application to appeal the MOE’s Goulais Wind Farm project approval, must do so within 15 days. SOAR has long been opposed to the project, and has maintained that the whirring of wind turbines, for example, is detrimental to human health, and that the presence of more wind farms in Algoma would be an all-round disruption to the environment and wildlife in the area. Also ranking high among the group’s concerns is that, in its view, the project will create an eyesore on the area’s famous Group of Seven landscape, disturbing “the natural beauty of Algoma from industrial intrusion.” SOAR states the public in general has never been keen on wind turbine developments, claiming “Algoma residents and visitors are already annoyed and dismayed by the intrusion of the Prince Wind Farm turbines.” SOAR has also long insisted not enough public input has been gathered from the province and the developer regarding the Goulais Wind Farm project (along with other wind projects, proposed by other developers, for the Algoma region). The group agrees with criticism from The Fraser Institute (a Canadian think tank based in Vancouver) that forecasts Ontario’s energy prices will increase dramatically (40 to 50 percent) in coming years, putting the blame for that on the use of wind and solar farms, and insisting that wind turbines are simply inefficient in producing electricity. SOAR agrees with critics who state Ontario could have gone with cheaper alternatives, such as natural gas or nuclear power, when it sought to move away from coal-fired plants and brought in the Green Energy Act in 2009. The Ontario government has said the Green Energy Act, despite higher costs for electricity, will ensure “cleaner” electricity for future generations.
Here from The Sachem and Glanbrook Gazette, resident Betty Ortt writes a letter to the editor. We point out again that the Auditor General for Ontario noted in 2011 that NO cost-benefit analysis or business case was ever prepared for wind power in Ontario, and the impacts–both social and economic–have NEVER been assessed by the Ontario government.
Don’t taint my fond memories
A wind project is not a farm. A real farm produces food to feed our population and real farmers are stewards of their land. That name was coined by wind developers to make Industrial Wind Turbines (IWTs) sound acceptable to a farming community. The only thing turbines have to do with a farm is that they are taking up farmland. They are clearly industrial. Don’t taint my fond memories of being raised on a farm. The article said that they are sending “about” 124.4 mega watts (MW) of power to the grid. The descriptor “about” is definitely needed when production will be a far cry from that. According to the Auditor General’s 2011 Annual Report: “We analyzed the performance of all wind farms in Ontario in 2010 based on IESO data. Although the average capacity factor of wind throughout the year was 28 per cent, it fluctuated seasonally, from 17 per cent in the summer to 32 per cent in the winter.” One recent production example of NextEra’s project in Haldimand was Friday, October 4, 2013 when the IESO hourly generator report showed a range of 0-13 MW being produced each hour, far from 124 MW. As to the jobs wind projects create, as we saw in the article, the permanent jobs are few (seven) and other jobs were short term as we warned council in September 2011 when they passed the Vibrancy Fund agreement after hearing over 40 speakers until near midnight and much to the disgust of a packed council building. Mr. Hewitt once said that we would lose our passion of fighting the turbine issue after the last provincial election, but he was wrong. Council gave up. As to the economic benefits to the county, those too are short term. Did the CEO consider the economic losses to Haldimand? Our county is now contributing to the economic poverty of our province because of the government’s Green Energy Act with electricity prices that will keep going up and now property value losses. How much are short term economic benefits worth when some people and animals in Haldimand are already having health effects since the first project of turbines started up?
Here from the international energy industry magazine Recharge, is an interview with Ontario Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli. Note the timetable for the large-scale procurement process, the fact that the government plans to continue with wind and solar, and there is no chance whatsoever of returning local land use planning power to Ontario’s communities.
Ontario’s governing Liberals had hoped that it would never happen. But it did.
On 19 December last year, the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled that the local-content requirement in the province’s landmark renewable-energy programme violated international trade laws. Canada appealed on Ontario’s behalf, but in early May, lost the case. The policy, which the Liberals say attracted about C$37bn ($35.9bn) of investment, created 30,000 jobs and contracted almost 8GW of renewable energy, would have to be changed. To avoid trade sanctions, Canada agreed to a 24 March 2014 deadline for the province to end discrimination against foreign suppliers for procurement of goods and services. The ruling, which is not retroactive, came at a politically delicate time for Ontario’s first female premier, Kathleen Wynne, who had formed a minority government only three months earlier, following the resignation of fellow-Liberal Dalton McGuinty. He had been the driving force behind the 2009 Green Energy and Green Economy Act, which linked feed-in-tariff (FIT) eligibility to local production of equipment — at least 60% local content for solar projects and 25% for wind. Already struggling to address economic, healthcare and other problems inherited from McGuinty, she now had to come up with a new strategy to advance her party’s green-energy ambitions while staying on the right side of international law. Meanwhile, critics were up in arms, demanding to know why the Liberals could not copy the likes of the EU and Japan, which — despite making the successful WTO complaint against Ontario — managed to create policies favouring local industries that did not get them into trouble. Wynne asked her energy minister, Bob Chiarelli, the former mayor of Ottawa, to spearhead the government’s response and chart a path forward. He wasted little time. Soon after the WTO decision, the government announced it would replace the FIT for wind and solar projects over 500kW with a competitive procurement process that FIT administrator, the Ontario Power Authority (OPA), would devise. It also slashed domestic content criteria to a maximum of 25% for large renewables projects as an interim step towards WTO compliance.
At his constituency office in west Ottawa, Chiarelli tells Recharge that the OPA has submitted interim recommendations to him and that final guidelines are likely to be released in late October or early November. “We will then open procurement for large wind and large solar,” he says. (Separately, the province has also agreed to procure 800MW from small projects over the next four years.) The timing will also hinge on his ministry completing a review of the Long-Term Energy Plan adopted in 2010, which envisaged a need for 10.7GW of renewable-energy capacity by 2018. If all projects now awarded under the FIT’s 20-year contracts are completed, they commit the province to purchasing just under 5.8GW of wind and almost 2GW of solar power. “I don’t want to pre-empt the review, but it’s highly unlikely that solar and wind will not be continued in the system,” says Chiarelli. “It’s a question of how much and when.” Wynne’s cabinet must sign off on any proposed changes, which may include several new nuclear plants. “The big question is to what extent the WTO ruling will impact job creation? We’re assessing that,” Chiarelli says. The Liberals estimate their green polices created 31,000 jobs. McGuinty had promised 50,000 by 2012. Chiarelli acknowledges that the local renewable-energy supply chain will now be under pressure. “Some manufacturers will need to sharpen their pencil and become more competitive,” he says. That includes the many foreign companies lured to the fast-growing Ontario market amid expectations they would receive preferential treatment for the foreseeable future. The WTO action will also accelerate the current trend of lower green-energy prices in the province. Since 2010, cheaper component imports have helped reduce average prices for wind and solar projects by 15% and 50% respectively. The political opposition blames sector subsidies for the perceived high costs of Ontario’s electricity, which have been rising steadily since 2008. Jacob Andersen, who heads Siemens’ wind operations in Canada, is unperturbed by whatever new rules for procurement may emerge. “Any manufacturer will need to be competitive regardless of what the political structure is,” he says. “We will be.” Earlier this year, Siemens opened a plant near the quaint town of Tillsonburg, Ontario, that produces 49-metre rotor blades for 2.3MW wind turbines and 55-metre ones for 3MW direct-drive machines. Both are produced using its proprietary one-piece casting process, which utilises fibreglass-reinforced epoxy. “Given the size of these components, the fact you have local manufacturing is a sure cost benefit,” Andersen adds. The bustling industrial facility looks out of place in a surrounding rural landscape of cornfields, wooded countryside and small homes. Formerly an automotive parts plant that had been vacant since 2008, it now employs 250 people, with more being hired. About 133km to the east, near the city of Welland, REpower recently brought a blade plant on line, its first in North America. For now, the 150 or so workers will fabricate 45-metre blades for the 2.05MW MM92 turbine. Plans call for equipping it to produce 59.8-metre blades for the 3MW M122 low-wind-speed turbine. “We are now fast-tracking to bring it to North America and will launch it in Ontario,” Helmut Herold, chief executive for Canada, tells Recharge. Canada has become a core market for REpower, which has won initial orders in Ontario after huge success in Quebec. The company invested more than C$10m in the plant because it thought the Ontario wind market would develop favourably in the future. Herold believes that remains the case and that the government is committed to supporting a robust wind sector.
Nevertheless, he is concerned that challenges could result if the market is completely open to competition. That would allow companies to be aggressive with pricing if they use a supply chain outside Ontario. “At the same time, I hope there will be some kind of appreciation for companies who have invested so far in employing people in this province,” he adds. Another big change for the industry is that wind developers will now be required to engage aboriginal communities, stakeholders and municipalities to identify appropriate locations for projects, with siting requirements taking local needs and considerations into account. Developers cannot qualify to bid for a project without a “significant arrangement” with a host municipality. “We’re not looking at the world with rose-coloured glasses,” says Chiarelli. “The Green Energy Act was a tremendous success story, but there were things that needed adjusting. One of those was siting of some renewable energy.” Under the FIT, developers were given contracts without pre-arranged sites. They were required to consult with municipalities, but many communities complained they were given little input. “It was not a strong regime, if I can put it that way,” Chiarelli comments. However, the rule change does not constitute a veto over projects, which is what municipalities that oppose wind development are demanding. “We can’t have an electricity generation and transmission system that way,” says Chiarelli. The McGuinty government’s decision to wrest land-use planning power for large renewable-energy projects from Ontario’s 444 municipalities helped galvanise what is now the largest rural anti-wind movement in North America. At least 62 municipalities have passed resolutions declaring that they are not willing hosts for wind farms. “It’s a strong minority, but a minority,” says Chiarelli. “There is still a lot of tremendous support for wind and solar.” Jane Wilson, president of Wind Concerns Ontario, a non-profit coalition based in east Toronto, says the Liberals wanted to quickly bypass the patchwork of municipal regulations in the province, viewing them as an obstacle to wind development. Wilson says some groups in her non-profit coalition don’t oppose renewable energy. “It’s the way it was done. No local cost-benefit analysis. The impact of large-scale industrial wind development was never studied in any way,” she alleges. There are more than 1,200 turbines in Ontario. Opponents link turbines to sleep deprivation, and assert they have destroyed house prices or made property difficult to sell. In an ugly turn, so-called “wind wars” have erupted in several regions — rural landowners filing lawsuits against their neighbours who agree to accept turbines, fraying the traditionally close social fabric in farming communities. To ease hostilities, the ministry is retroactively changing property tax rules to give municipalities that have or will host wind turbines a larger slice of the fiscal pie. It will also give special consideration to projects where developers work in partnership with districts, municipalities, hospitals, schools or universities. This would help broaden their tax base. Despite the ups and downs of green-energy politics, Chiarelli remains optimistic about wind and solar. “It’s exciting,” he says. “The stakeholders from these sectors are reasonably happy with what we have been able to create so far.” Ontario’s installed capacity Nuclear 2002: 8.74GW | 2012: 12.998GW Hydro 7.615GW | 7.939GW Coal 7.564GW | 3.293GW Oil/gas 3.780GW| 9.987GW (gas only) Biomass/landfill gas 66MW | 122MW Wind zero | 1.511GW Note: Data omits generators that operate within local distribution service areas, except for those that participate in the Independent Electricity System Operator-administered market