IESO tries to justify wind power contracts in CBC interview

Spokesman says process is fair and transparent, but Ontario mayors say they’ve been betrayed.

March 16, 2016

CBC Ottawa’s host of the afternoon show All In A Day yesterday interviewed  spokesperson Shawn Cronkwright for the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) on the backlash to the recent contract award announcement.

“How do you justify putting wind power projects into communities that don’t want them?” asked Alan Neal.

The answer is interesting.

Even better is the IESO answer to the question, is there anything communities can do now? The Renewable Energy Approval “provides communities to make comment,” the IESO’s Cronkwright said.

“But getting people to comment isn’t the same as addressing concerns,” said Neal.

“I understand the concern, but that’s not how the regulatory process works,” said Cronkwright. (Oh, we know, we know.)

Then he said, concerns have resulted in changes to wind power project and even, in some cases, halting of a project.

This is absolutely stunning: the IESO is pointing to the appeals of Renewable Energy Approvals, which are funded by Ontario taxpayers struggling to protect their health and environment from their own government, as proof the system works! No mention of the fact that the appeal process and indeed all the legislation was crafted with input from the wind power lobby so that, in the words of CanWEA lawyer at a hearing on Ostrander Point, “This [a successful appeal] was never supposed to happen.”

 

Listen to the March 15 podcast here.

http://www.cbc.ca/radio/podcasts/ontario/ottawa-all-in-a-day/

Wind power resistance groups meet in Prince Edward County this weekend

Wind Concerns Ontario and member community groups meet this weekend

Industrial-scale wind power doesn't help the environment, community groups say
Industrial-scale wind power doesn’t help the environment, community groups say

Coalition building

Wellington Times, March 9, 2016

Rick Conroy

Jane Wilson says a shift has occurred over the past five years in the way wind energy is talked about in Ontario. The chair of Wind Concerns Ontario, a coalition of groups opposed to wind energy in this province, senses greater awareness of the negative impacts of industrial wind energy among voters, the mainstream media, and politicians.

Wilson will be in the County this weekend, chairing Wind Concerns Ontario’s annual general meeting and speaking at the CCSAGE (County Coalition for Safe and Appropriate Green Energy) meeting on Sunday.

“Everyone wants the best for the environment,” said Wilson, “but the way the Ontario government has gone about it has been viewed as undemocratic and destructive to both the economy and to consumers’ pocketbooks.”

Soaring electricity bills, persistent charges of mismanagement by the province’s Auditor General, and mounting evidence of the toll industrial wind turbines are exacting on wildlife—particularly endangered bats and turtles — is changing the conversation. Nevertheless, the damage already inflicted on consumers and the natural environment will be long-lasting, predicts Wilson.

“This [the December 2015 report] was the second Auditor General report that found that Ontario failed to do any cost-benefit analysis before embarking down this path,” said Wilson. “Perhaps if that had been done we wouldn’t be paying among North America’s highest electricity rates, and we wouldn’t be enduring these harmful environmental effects.”

“What has been happening in Prince Edward County has been very instructive,” said Wilson. “The [Environmental Review] Tribunals have uncovered deep problems.”

Wind Concerns Ontario is holding its annual general meeting for members in Wellington on Sunday morning — a first for the County. In the afternoon, Wilson will speak to a gathering of CCSAGE at the Waring House in Picton.

The WCO chair laments the way renewable energy has been thrust into rural Ontario –and local decision-making removed.

“It is tearing some communities apart,” said Wilson, who lives in North Gower just outside of Ottawa. She points to once peaceful and quiet communities divided by the money developers use to lure municipal support.

“It’s not illegal,” said Wilson, “but developers are now dangling many thousands of dollars in front of small rural councils, essentially telling them that if they want this money, they must pass a resolution of support.”

“People wish Ontario had pursued renewable energy goals more cautiously,” says Wilson, “that they had started with small projects — and measured their impacts. They could have helped Ontarians with geothermal heating or innovative conservation steps.

“If they had put money into these types of projects rather than filling the pockets of huge corporate wind power developers, I think we would be in a different place.”

(C)Wellington Times 2016

Clear message from City of Kawartha Lakes (and 60 others): NO new wind power contracts

CHEX-Peterborough

Opponents of wind and solar farms in the City of Kawartha Lakes received a boost of support from council today. As Jesse Thomas reports a resolution was passed, calling on Queen’s Park to stop issuing any more large scale energy projects and to halt any that are not yet in operation.

 

Ontario communities banding together to fight new wind power contracts

This is from the wind power industry’s own publication, North American Windpower

NAW Staff, March 8, 2016

Fifty-one Ontario municipalities are endorsing a resolution recently passed by the Township of Wainfleet Council that calls on the government of Ontario to stop awarding feed-in tariff (FIT) contracts for power generation from wind.

The resolution, passed in January, was based on December’s auditor general report that claimed Ontario has a surplus of power generation capacity and, under existing contracts, is paying double what other jurisdictions are paying for wind power, explains the Township of Wainfleet.

Thus, adding more surplus generation capacity would add to the already high costs of disposing of surplus electricity, says the township, which adds that the cost of electricity is a key concern for many Ontario residents.

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce has also reported the impact of high electricity costs on their members’ ability to grow their businesses and create jobs in Ontario. Thus, says Wainfleet, this suggests the need for a full, cost-benefit review of the renewable energy program before committing Ontario electricity users to even more surplus power.

According to Wind Concerns Ontario, the resolution also calls attention to the fact that wind power projects cause damage to the environment by killing wildlife.

April Jeffs, mayor of the Township of Wainfleet, is pleased with the support that her council’s resolution is receiving from across the province: “This quick response from other municipalities to the circulation of the resolution indicates that wind turbines are still front and center as an important issue in rural Ontario,” she says.

According to the township, Jeffs reports that at least one of the two projects in the area is the cause of citizen reports of deteriorating health. She is particularly concerned about the second project currently under development in her area – which involves 77 3.0-MW turbines in Wainfleet, West Lincoln and eastern Haldimand County.

The township says the more powerful turbines are located in areas with a sizeable residential population with an estimated 2,000 households living within 2 kilometers of the towers. The project will operate under one of the older, expensive FIT contracts criticized by the auditor general; the Wainfleet resolution asks the government to review options under the contract to cancel the project.

Now that coal-fired power plants have closed, says Wainfleet, the government should have met its carbon-reduction goals for the electrical power system in Ontario – which is now largely based on carbon-free hydroelectricity and nuclear power. This gives the province an opportunity to assess renewable generation alternatives that have less impact on the host communities, according to the township.

In addition, clauses in the 2015 RFP documents issued by the Independent Electricity System Operator do not commit the government to issue any wind contracts, so the government is protected against lawsuits from the bidders should it change course at this time, Wainfleet adds.

“Wind power is produced out of phase with demand in Ontario,” says Jane Wilson, president of Wind Concerns Ontario. “According to the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers, that can mean more greenhouse gas emissions, not less, because of the need for backup by natural gas power plants. Everyone wants to help the environment, but utility-scale wind power is not the answer.”

Brandy Giannetta, the Canadian Wind Energy Association’s (CanWEA) regional director for Ontario, calls the resolution a “political statement at the municipal level.”

Although it’s “unfortunate that it’s out there,” Giannetta tells NAW, she notes the importance of the province’s Large Renewable Procurement (LRP) process in showing the cost-competitiveness of wind power. The process calls for the procurement of utility-scale renewables projects; specifically, the LRP I requested up to 300 MW of wind.

The LRP, led by the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), aims to “strike a balance between early community engagement and achieving value for ratepayers,” according to the IESO. Giannetta says the LRP contracts will be awarded as soon as this week.

In March 2015, when the first request for proposals under the LRP was issued, Robert Hornung, president of CanWEA, said, “An important part of the RFP process will be early and meaningful community engagement. Effective community engagement is fundamental to the success of wind energy projects, and the wind industry values the right of individuals to have an important role in discussions about developments in their community.”

A full list of the municipalities supporting the resolution can be found here.

EDITOR’S NOTE: As of this writing the number of municipalities is now 59. See the list here.

APPEC files motion for a stay against power developer WPD

Tribunal rules serious and irreversible harm to wildlife will result from wind farm, power developer proceeds with construction anyway

Still fighting: County residents at Mount Tabor to protest wind power projects
Still fighting: County residents at Mount Tabor to protest wind power projects

Belleville Intelligencer, March 8. 2016

By Bruce Bell, The County Weekly News

PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY – 

Not so quick wpd Canada.
Only days after an Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT), ruled the 27-turbine White Pines wind energy development would cause irreversible harm to wildlife, including Blanding’s Turtles, wpd Canada informed the appellants the company intended to commence with site preparation — namely clearing of brush — as early as next week.
The Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County has responded quickly, filing a motion requesting a stay of any work on the site until the ERT has resolved the issue.
In its decision, the ERT ruled the development would cause “serious and irreversible harm” to the turtles and Little Brown Bats, suspending wpd Canada’s Renewable Energy Approval, pending remediation hearings.
In a letter to local resident John Hirsch and the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County (APPEC) as well as the director of  Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, wpd informed them of their intent to begin clearing brush on March 14.
“We are appalled by wpd’s chosen course of action (as) it is fundamentally disrespectful of the appeal process not to mention an ERT decision that to anyone’s mind would bring the White Pines wind project to a grinding halt,” said APPEC president Orville Walsh. “Instead, just four days after the tribunal issued its decision to uphold the appeal, wpd is behaving as though the decision does not apply to them.
“Vegetation clearing for turbines and access roads will cause irreparable environmental destruction. Of particular concern is the impact of heavy machinery that will be brought in on Blanding’s turtle habitat, where most of the wind turbines are located, and on Blanding’s turtles themselves as they emerge from their over-wintering sites early this year after a mild fall and winter.”
APPEC’s legal counsel has responded quickly submitting a motion requesting the ERT to issue a stay of all physical activity associated with this Renewable Energy Approval until this matter has been resolved by the Tribunal.

Read the full story here.

WPD announces plan to clear vegetation in Prince Edward County, despite successful appeal against wind farm

"Vegetation clearing" and road construction in Algoma in 2015. [Photo: Gord Benner]
“Vegetation clearing” and road construction in Algoma in 2015. [Photo: Gord Benner]
“Fundamentally disrespectful”: Environmental Review Tribunal finds for the appellant in wind farm fight over endangered wildlife: developer decides to clear trees anyway

From the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County, this announcement.

March 6, 2016

wpd has notified APPEC, John Hirsch and the Director of the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change of its plans to begin clearing vegetation for its wind project.  In an email early last week wpd stated that: “Further to the Tribunal’s decision dated February 26, 2016, I write to advise that wpd intends to proceed with vegetation clearing of private property on the Project site commencing on March 14, 2016.”

We are appalled by wpd’s chosen course of action.  It is fundamentally disrespectful of the appeal process not to mention an ERT decision that to anyone’s mind would bring the White Pines wind project to a grinding halt.  Instead, just four days after the Tribunal issued its decision to uphold the appeal, wpd is behaving as though the decision does not apply to them. 

Vegetation clearing for turbines and access roads will cause irreparable environmental destruction.  Of particular concern is the impact of heavy machinery that will be brought in on Blanding’s turtle habitat, where most of the wind turbines are located, and on Blanding’s turtles themselves as they emerge from their over-wintering sites early this year after a mild fall and winter.

APPEC’s legal counsel has responded quickly submitting a motion requesting the ERT to issue a stay of all physical activity associated with this Renewable Energy Approval until this matter has been resolved by the Tribunal. 

APPEC, Mr. Hirsch and the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists (PECFN) note the similarities between wpd’s attempt to start on construction while an appeal is underway and a prior attempt by Gilead Power to do the same at Ostrander Point.  In this instance the Ontario Court of Appeal had no hesitation in granting a stay on construction in order to prevent irreparable harm.  We are confident that wpd’s attempt will meet with the same outcome. 

Given the urgency of this motion we would expect that the Tribunal will issue a decision without delay.

Regards,

Orville Walsh

President, APPEC


51 municipalities tell Wynne government: NO new wind power contracts

Township of Wainfleet

“Wainfleet – find your country side!”

MEDIA RELEASE

Municipalities Call for Ontario to Stop Issuing Wind Turbine Contracts

WAINFLEET – March 4, 2016 – Fifty-one municipalities have endorsed the resolution passed by the Township of Wainfleet Council in late January 2016 that calls on the Ontario government not to award more Feed-In-Tariff contracts for power generation from wind.

The resolution was based on December’s Auditor General Report which reported that Ontario has a surplus of power generation capacity and, under existing contracts, is paying double what other jurisdictions are paying for wind power. Adding more surplus generation capacity would add to the already high costs of disposing of surplus electricity.

The cost of electricity is a key concern for many Ontario residents as it is adding strain to already stretched household budgets. The Ontario Chamber of Commerce has also reported the impact of high electricity costs on their members’ ability to grow their businesses and create jobs in Ontario. This suggests the need for a full, cost-benefit review of the renewable energy program before committing Ontario electricity users to even more surplus power.

April Jeffs, Mayor of the Township of Wainfleet, is very pleased with the support that her Council’s resolution is receiving from across the province. “This quick response from other municipalities to the circulation of the resolution indicates that wind turbines are still front and centre as an important issue in rural Ontario,” stated Mayor Jeffs.

She reports that at least one of the two projects in the area is the cause of citizen reports of deteriorating health that started when the turbines began operation. She is particularly concerned about the second project currently under development in her area which involves 77, 3.0-megawatt wind turbines being installed in Wainfleet, West Lincoln and eastern Haldimand County. The more powerful turbines are located in areas with a sizeable residential population with an estimated 2,000 households living within 2 kilometres of these turbines. The project will operate under one of the older, expensive FIT contracts criticized by the Auditor General. The Wainfleet resolution asks the government to review options under the contract to cancel the project.

Now that coal-fired power plants have closed, the government should have met its carbon reduction goals for the electrical power system in Ontario which is now largely based on carbon-free hydroelectricity and nuclear power. This gives the province an opportunity to assess renewable generation alternatives that have less impact on the host communities.

Clauses in the 2015 RFP documents issued by the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) do not commit the government to issue any wind contracts, so the government is protected against law suits from the bidders should it change course at this time.

-30-

Contact: Mayor April Jeffs (905) 899-3463 ext. 227 ajeffs@wainfleet.ca

Municipalities that have supported the Township of Wainfleet’s resolution calling on the Ontario government not to award more Feed-In-Tariff contracts for power generation from wind:

1. Coleman Township

2. Loyalist Township

3. Municipality of Bluewater

4. Municipality of Brooke-Alvinston

5. Municipality of Charlton and Dack

6. Municipality of Dutton-Dunwich

7. Municipality of Grey Highlands

8. Municipality of Kincardine

9. Municipality of Morris-Turnberry

10. Municipality of North Middlesex

11. Municipality of North Perth

12. Municipality of Northern Bruce Peninsula

13. Municipality of Red Lake

14. Municipality of Tweed

15. Municipality of West Elgin

16. Municipality of West Grey

17. Municipality of West Perth

18. Norfolk County

19. Town of Amherstburg

20. Town of Blue Mountains

21. Town of Bruce Mines

22. Town of Erin

23. Town of Gananoque

24. Town of South Bruce Peninsula

25. Town of Thessalon

26. Township of Alberton

27. Township of Amaranth

28. Township of Armour

29. Township of Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh

30. Township of Blandford-Blenheim

31. Township of Calvin

32. Township of Carling

33. Township of Cavan Monaghan

34. Township of Chatsworth

35. Township of Enniskillen

36. Township of Havelock-Belmont-Methuen

37. Township of Howick

38. Township of Huron-Kinloss

39. Township of Ignace

40. Township of La Vallee

41. Township of Macdonald, Meredith and Aberdeen Additional

42. Township of North Frontenac

43. Township of North Kawartha

44. Township of Otonabee-South Monaghan

45. Township of Pelee

46. Township of Perth East

47. Township of Severn

48. Township of South Algonquin

49. Township of Warwick

50. Township of West Lincoln

51. United Counties of Prescott and Russell

 

 

Wind power site “poorly chosen” : Environmental Review Tribunal

Power developer admits it was unaware of degree of risk to endangered wildlife

Toronto Star, February 29, 2016

By:

John Hirsch, a board member of the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory, filed an appeal of the Environment Ministry’s White Pines wind turbine approval. The appeal was upheld.
John Hirsch: appellant with Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County against WPD wind project
Blessed are the small and humble, for they, it seems, shall halt wind turbines.

In the latest instalment of the epic machine vs. nature struggle being played out in Prince Edward County, environmental activists have scored another victory against construction of wind turbines they say will do serious and irreversible harm to already endangered species.  This time, in a ruling released Feb. 26, an Environmental Review Tribunal upheld an appeal against a turbine development it concluded posed serious risk to the Little Brown Bat and the Blanding’s Turtle.

Last July 16, the Ontario Environment Ministry issued an approval to White Pines Wind Inc. to install and operate a facility of 27 turbines on the pristine south shore of what locals call the County. As it happens, a man named John Hirsch was scouting property in the County at the time for he and his wife to move to after wrapping up a career in customs consulting.

Hirsch had already become a board member of the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory, one of the most important bird-banding stations in Canada. He suspected — even before eventually buying property in another part of the County — that the White Pines proposal would profoundly alter the south shore. He was also, owing to his career in customs administration, quite familiar with tribunals.

By July 29, Hirsch had filed an appeal — “it’s not all that complicated” — of the Environment Ministry’s White Pines approval, getting in a day ahead of the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward Country.

“It turns out a case gets named after whoever gets in first,” he told the Star on Monday. “That’s why the case is named Hirsch v Ontario.”

“We didn’t think we were going to win”

While Hirsch, 66, might have got top billing, the alliance “came to the rescue,” he said, with funding, legal representation and recruitment of expert witnesses. During November and December, Hirsch, who now works part-time at Home Depot in Belleville, sat through 21 days of hearings, after which he wasn’t terribly confident of the outcome.

“Were we expecting this? No!” he said. “We didn’t think we were going to win. We didn’t get the birds. But we got the bats!”

The tribunal dismissed appeals on the grounds of human health risks. It also rejected appeals on the threat to birds, although it did call the project site “poorly chosen from a migratory bird perspective.”

The panel upheld the appeal because of the risk of serious and irreversible harm to the Little Brown Bat and Blanding’s Turtle.  …

Read the full story here.

ToughonNature

 

Wind farm will cause serious irreversible harm to wildlife, Tribunal finds

South Shore of Prince Edward County: [Photo Court Noxon, courtesy Point To Point Foundation]
South Shore of Prince Edward County: [Photo Court Noxon, courtesy Point To Point Foundation]
The decision on the appeal of the White Pines wind power project in Prince Edward County was released yesterday: the Environmental Review Tribunal found for the appellant and the environment (in part), in that serious and irreversible harm would result to the endangered Blandings turtle and the little brown bat. The Tribunal also noted risk to migratory birds.

This is a victory for a very hard-fought battle as members of this community fought to save the environment from Ontario’s own Ministry of the Environment.

See the decision in various formats here.

Statement from Orville Walsh, president of the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County:

We are pleased to announce that APPEC’s appeal of wpd’s White Pines Wind Project has been upheld in part.  The Tribunal has found that the White Pines project will cause serious and irreversible harm to Little Brown Bats and to the Blanding’s turtle.   
 
The Tribunal did not find serious and irreversible harm to human health, to hydrology or to migratory birds. However in regards to the latter the Tribunal did note that this wind project presents a significant risk of serious harm to migrating birds and that the project site was poorly chosen from a migratory bird perspective.
We are cautiously elated!  The Tribunal acknowledges that engaging in this wind project in accordance with the REA (Renewable Energy Approval) will cause serious and irreversible harm to animal life.  Therefore wpd no longer has an REA to stand behind.  
 
The ERT has ordered a hearing of submissions with respect to potential remedies. 
 
The board will be studying the decision over the weekend and following consultation with our legal counsel Eric Gillespie, will have more information to give you next week. 
 
Orville Walsh
President, APPEC
Please go to the Save the South Shore website for information on how to donate toward the legal costs of this fight for the environment. The work done by the community groups in Prince Edward County, Eric K. Gillespie’s legal team, and the witness statements benefit everyone in Ontario.
ToughonNature

Amherst Island raises funds to protect environment

Citizens engaged in an appeal of the approval of a huge wind power project that will threaten wildlife and change a heritage landscape

Owls, Blandings turtle, and migratory birds all at risk from Amherst Island power project
Owls, Blandings turtle, and migratory birds all at risk from Amherst Island power project

February 17, 2016

The Association to Protect Amherst Island has formally launched a fund-raising campaign to assist with its legal actions against the huge Windlectric wind power project. An appeal is underway, with more hearings scheduled before the Environmental Review Tribunal in coming weeks, and a Judicial Review has been filed, based on details of the approval of the power project despite clear inaccuracies and inadequacies in the application.

More details:

The MOECC approved Windlectric’s Renewable Energy Application on August 24, 2015. Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, Bill Mauro, approved an Overall Benefit Permit on the same day to allow Windlectric destroy the habitat of grassland birds on the Island.


Turbines are planned beside the world famous Owl Woods. Located on the Atlantic Migratory Flyway, the Island is a refuge for 11 species of Owls, wintering raptors, and grassland birds. 34 Species at Risk will be impacted.


The Ontario government claims to be a leader in environmental action but approval of a huge wind power project on Amherst Island will harm, not help the environment, say community leaders. “Approval of this turbine project indicates the hypocrisy of the government’s wind power program,” says Michele Le Lay, spokesperson for Association to Protect Amherst Island. “Constructing and operating wind turbines here will do great harm to the natural environment.”

 

After just one day, the group had raised over $2,600 toward its goal of $200,000.

Go to the fund-raising website here.

Planned devastation of Amherst Island, wildlife and Ontario economy
Planned devastation of Amherst Island, wildlife and Ontario economy