St. Columban appeal dismissed; power project to cost Ontario millions

The appeal of the St. Columban wind power project has been dismissed, in a decision released by the Environmental Review Tribunal. The Tribunal said the appellants had failed to demonstrate any risk of serious harm to human health. The decision is here.
The 33-MW power project is being developed by Veresen Inc., and is located in the Municipality of Huron East.
The cost to the people of Ontario for this one wind power project will be $11.3 million, annually.

Dufferin Wind appeal is dismissed

[523] The Tribunal finds that the Appellants have not established that engaging in the Project as approved will cause serious and irreversible harm to plant life, animal life or the natural environment.
[524] The Tribunal finds that the Appellants have not established that engaging in the Project as approved will cause serious harm to human health.
[525] The Tribunal finds that the Appellants have not established, on the facts of this case, that the renewable energy approval process violated the Appellants’ right to security of the person under section 7 of the Charter.
Appeals Dismissed 
Good afternoon,
The decision with respect to the above noted file is issued on December 23, 2013.
The Tribunal will not be mailing a copy of the decision to the parties.
The decision will be available on the Tribunal’s website:

Community undaunted: Manvers community to file appeal today

Storm or no storm, wind opponents will file an appeal by Dec. 24  

Credit:  Storm or no storm, wind opponents will file an appeal by Dec. 24; Manvers Wind Concerns is leading the charge against the decision for wpd Canada to build five wind turbines | Kawartha Lakes This Week | December 23, 2013 | ~~
Manvers Township residents opposed to a recently approved wind energy project near Bethany are determined to meet the Dec. 24 deadline to file an appeal to the Province.
Ward 16 Councillor Heather Stauble said there is a team in place working hard to prepare the appeal, and much of that work was already done “because the community was prepared for the possibility the project would be approved.”
Coun. Stauble said when wpd Canada’s Sumac Ridge five wind turbines were approved earlier this month, the Province virtually ignored the 2,874 comments from the public opposing the project.
She said the deadline to appeal changed to Dec. 24, and the weekend’s severe ice storm that hammered the region has made filing its appeal in Toronto “challenging,” but confirmed it will be done.
The councillor added that given the number of people who submitted comments to the Province, “it would not look good at all if they don’t grant the appeal.”
Following the filing a request for an appeal, a Notice of a Preliminary Hearing date will be sent to every individual or organization who filed a comment with the Environmental Registry, Coun. Stauble said.
“Any individual or organization may then apply for status as a party, participant or presenter at the environmental tribunal anytime up to four days before the preliminary hearing date.”
In an email sent to her constituents, Coun. Stauble advised residents who live in the area and any individuals or organizations who have an interest can express their concerns at the tribunal. A lawyer is not necessary for this process.
She said there is no guarantee the group — headed by Manvers Wind Concerns — will win the appeal, but remains hopeful the multi-million dollar Cham Shan Buddhist Temple planned for the City may carry some weight.
The four temples, one in Cavan-Monaghan (almost completed) and three more planned in the City, is overseen by the Buddhist Association of Canada and represents a meditational pilgrimage that mirrors the same in China.
Coun. Stauble, noting the project could represent an investment of up to $100 million and is in jeopardy, as the Buddhists feel the wind turbines would have a negative impact on a temple promoting peaceful meditation.
“They have made it clear they will not build the remaining three temples” if the wind project goes forward, she said.
Coun. Stauble recalled a recent meeting with Minister Bob Chiarelli, also attended by local MPP Laurie Scott “where we were told there would be more discussion” before wind projects for the City were approved. Pointing to current legislation protecting the environmentally sensitive Oak Ridges Moraine, Coun. Stauble said by approving wind energy projects, the Province “is overriding its own legislation.”
She added this will be “a Christmas [the community] will never forget.”
For those who would like to know more about the legal Appeal or would like to make a financial contribution, contact or visit

Source:  Storm or no storm, wind opponents will file an appeal by Dec. 24; Manvers Wind Concerns is leading the charge against the decision for wpd Canada to build five wind turbines | Kawartha Lakes This Week | December 23, 2013 |

Goulais bay appeal concludes; Ontario awaits ruling

The appeal of one of two wind power projects in Ontario’s Algoma region has concluded; a ruling may not come down for months.

Appeal completed; ruling could take months

By Elaine Della-Mattia, Sault Star

(QMI Agency file photo)
(QMI Agency file photo)
  • A decision into the appeal of the Goulais Wind Farm project may not be rendered until mid April.

An Environmental Review Tribunal heard arguments for more than two days earlier this week from opponents who don’t want to see a wind farm created in Goulais.
The appeal was filed by Heyden resident Doug Moseley with the assistance of Lake Superior Action Research Conservation (LSARC) and the law offices of Eric Gillespie. The appeal was also supported by the Save Our Algoma Region (SOAR) groups.
In October, it was announced that the Goulais Wind Farm project had been approved by the provincial government.
The decision, posted on the Ontario Environmental Registry, said the renewable energy approval has been issued to SP Development Limited Partnership to engage in a renewable energy project for a Class 4 wind facility that will have a total capacity of 25 MW.
The 11-wind turbine facility must be built and operational within three years.
But opponents argued that the industrial wind turbines are harmful to human health and disruptive and destructive to the natural environment and wildlife habitat.
They also argued that the wind turbines contribute to the rising cost of electricity and are totally unnecessary to produce clean energy in Ontario.
Involved parties will file their final written submissions to the tribunal by Jan. 20 and a decision on the appeal is expected to be made before April 22.

Read the full story here.

Health effects the focus of Armow ERT

Here from Bayshore Broadcasting, a report on the first official day of the Armow Environmental Review Tribunal hearing. The audio clip is of engineer William Palmer.

Health Effects at Wind Turbine Tribunal

Friday, December 20, 2013 7:00 AM by John Divinski
Hearings into an appeal against a wind project, centred on medical testimony

There is audio for this story.

MP3 - click to open

click to open MP3 version
or click the play button to listen now.

(Kincardine ) – Much of the first day of hearings by the Environmental Review Tribunal into an appeal against the Armow Wind Project in the Kincardine region centred on qualifications of a presenter and whether or not anecdotal medical testimony would be allowed without formal medical diagnosis.
Retired engineer Bill Palmer was the subject of questioning by counsel for the Director, Ministry of the Environment, Danielle Meuleman and counsel for the Approval Holder, Samsung Pattern, Sarah Powell and appellant counsel Asha James.
Palmer says after the submissions from the three parties, the tribunal reserved judgement as to whether or not Palmer can testify as an expert.
The MOE and Samsung Pattern have concerns in that area.
Palmer says he’s asked to be qualified as a professional engineer to testify about the public safety and acoustic issues that will relate to the Armow project.
Earlier in the day, the tribunal dismissed any effort to exclude medical evidence that wasn’t backed up by formal medical diagnosis.
ERT Chair Marcia Valiante said witnesses could testify to personal health effects and symptoms but they could not draw conclusions from those events.
Appellate lawyer Asha James says she believes the tribunals decision is the correct one.
The hearings come as a result of an appeal by Ken and Sharon Kroeplin who charge the Armow wind project could be a major threat to their health.
The Kroeplins say one of the more than 90 turbines to be constructed will be within 600 metres of their home.
The hearings are continuing today and an additional three weeks have been set aside in January, beginning on the 6th.
The Armow Wind project was approved by the province in October.

Environmental Review Tribunal issues stay against turbine construction near Wainfleet

The Environmental and Lands Review Tribunal has issued a stay against the construction of two industrial-scale wind turbines near Wainfleet, Ontario.

Precedent setting decision stops wind turbine construction

TORONTO, Dec. 12, 2013 /CNW/ – The Environmental Review Tribunal of Ontario has ordered a stay preventing the construction of two industrial wind turbines in Wainfleet, Ontario.
The motion, decided by Executive Chair Lynda Tanaka who oversees the ERT, OMB and three other tribunals, temporarily stops the construction of two turbine towers during the appeal of the Ministry of the Environment’s approval of the project. The Appellants, Skydive Burnaby Inc. and the company’s co-owner Mikel Pitt, argue the turbines are too close to their skydiving school.
“We’re so relieved,” said Pitt, “This project is a real threat to our business and the Tribunal appears to have recognized that at this early stage.”
The Appellants’ lawyer, Eric Gillespie, has argued a number of Industrial Wind Turbine appeals in Ontario.  Gillespie said, “this is a precedent setting decision, it’s the first time a stay has been ordered during a Renewable Energy Approval appeal. We’re very pleased for our clients.”
Gillespie’s associate, lawyer Ian Flett remarked, “the Tribunal gave all the parties a fair opportunity to make our cases, we’re happy with the result”.
The hearing of the main appeal is scheduled to begin January 6, 2014 in Wainfleet, Ontario.
SOURCE Eric K. Gillespie Professional Corporation

For further information: Ian Flett at 416-703-7034 or

Goulais wind project appealed

October 22, 2013
For Immediate Release:

“A Renewable Energy Approval (REA) has been issued to SP Development Limited Partnership to engage in a renewable energy project in respect of a Class 4 wind facility consisting of the construction, installation, operation, use and retiring of 11 wind turbines, with a total name plate capacity of 25 MW. The wind facility will be connected to Great Lakes Power’s distribution system.

This Class 4 wind facility, known as the Goulais Wind Farm, consists of areas required for the wind facility components, as well as power lines. The wind facility is located in the Unorganized Townships of Pennefather and Aweres, Algoma County. (”
Appellant, Doug Moseley, Heyden Ontario, with the assistance of Lake Superior Action Research Conservation (LSARC) and the law offices of Eric Gillespie, has requested a hearing by the Environmental Review Tribunal  (ERT) into the approval granted by the Ministry of the Environment to the Goulais Wind Project and posted October 4, 2013 on the Environmental Registry website following a 45-day Public Comment Period.
Save Ontario’s Algoma Region (SOAR) fully supports Mr. Moseley’s appeal.
Both LSARC and SOAR oppose industrial wind development in Algoma and elsewhere in Ontario on the grounds that industrial wind turbines:

  • ·         Are harmful to human health
  • ·         Are disruptive and destructive to the natural environment and wild life habitat
  • ·         Contribute to the rising cost of electricity 
  • ·         Are totally unnecessary to produce clean energy in Ontario.

Further, both groups have objected to the Renewable Energy Approval (REA) process which through the Green Energy, Green Economy Act, 2009:

  • ·         removes the authority to approve industrial wind projects from local governance
  • ·         supersedes Environmental Protection Acts
  • ·         empowers wind developers to control public information sessions and consultation opportunities.

Citizens wishing assistance to participate in the appeal of the Goulais Wind Project may contact:
George Bowne, Co-Chair, LSARC at:
Telephone:      (705) 542-3482
Skype:             LSARC1
Submitted by:
Gillan Richards, Executive Member
Save Ontario’s Algoma Region (SOAR)
150 Churchill Blvd.
P.O. Box 20052
Sault Ste. Marie, ON  P6A 6W3


“Activists” shut down Middlesex ERT hearing

An update on the Adelaide appeal at the Environmental Review Tribunal, held in London this morning, from the London Free Press.

London hearing on health effects of wind turbines shut down due to activists 36

By Debora Van Brenk, The London Free Press

It was a turbulent beginning to a hearing about the impact of turbines on human and environmental health, as the adjudicator shut down the process after only a few minutes.
As two protesters refused to turn off their video equipment, hearing chairperson Dirk VanderBent warned they must comply or he would have to adjourn the hearing.
They didn’t; he did.
At issue are 37 turbines wind energy giant NextEra Canada plans to build in Adelaide-Metcalfe, west of Strathroy.
The Environmental Review Tribunal, VanderBent said, is to hear and adjudicate whether the Adelaide wind farm would cause serious harm to human health or serious, irreversible harm to the environment.
Anti-wind activist Esther Wrightman was set to argue that the turbines would pose unacceptable health risks and should be scrapped.
Sitting in the gallery were about 30 other wind opponents, many of them holding signs.
As the hearing at the Middlesex County buidling started Tuesday morning, Wrightman asked that cameras be allowed in the room to accommodate a person with a learning disability.
That was denied, except for VanderBent’s opening statement, after which he asked that all cameras be turned off.
One person continued to record with her iPad and another with her camera.
Exasperated, VanderBent adjourned until the afternoon.
Marcelle Brooks, who continued recording with her iPad until lawyers for NextEra and the provincial Environment Ministry had left the room, said she has no plans to comply. “The people in Ontario have a right to see what goes on in these tribunals…People need to see.”
Her frustration escalated as she learned that several of the witnesses she had planned to call — including Skype (video phone via the Internet) testimony from an Australian doctor and a property appraiser from Chicago — would not be allowed as witnesses.
With nine of her 11 witnesses barred from testifying, or whose testimony would be severely restricted, “It’s dead. This hearing is dead,” she said as she pondered her next steps.

Environmental Review Tribunal: Paul Muldoon revisited

A year ago, Parker Gallant wrote this on the Environmental Review Tribunal and had several questions about the impartiality of some Tribunal members. He takes a special look at Paul Muldoon, the environmental lawyer, who is vice-chair at the Adelaide appeal, being heard in London this morning.
  We reprint this excerpt:

Examining the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT), adjudicator of licences under appeal, issued by the Minister of the Environment (MoE), is an interesting exercise. One of the criteria for application as a member of the ERT is: “Experience, knowledge or training in the subject matter and legal issues dealt with by the tribunal; Aptitude for impartial adjudication”.

A focus on that latter qualification means Ontarians should expect [it] is the pinnacle of member qualifications, because the “tribunal”, is a quasi court, set to administer justice as defined under the Act which it adjudicates. Looking at members of the ERT one notes that four of its members have the “experience” but one could question whether those four have the “aptitude for impartial adjudication.”

Appointments to the ERT are made by the Premier or the Minister and follow “a recruitment and review process managed by the Public Appointments Secretariat” (PAS). All appointees are required to sign a “Conflict of Interest Disclosure Statement” which asks the question: “Have you been involved in any issue or controversy in the past, or that may be subject to public review in the future, in which the government may have an interest?”

One would assume that extensive lobbying of the government in the past on energy related matters would have automatically generated a “yes” to the foregoing question, and may have rendered the applicant inappropriate. At least one (and possibly four) of those now sitting on the ERT may have answered that question with a “yes” but that yes didn’t generate a rejection.

The first is Paul Muldoon, Vice Chair of the ERT. In his prior position as Executive Director with the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) Mr. Muldoon had occasion to lobby the current Liberal government. In fact Mr. Muldoon on November 4, 2003 sent Premier McGuinty a letter claiming CELA were one of the founders of the Campaign for Nuclear Phase-out and that CELA supported renewable energy: “Energy efficiency programs and renewable energy are cheap, clean, and safe ways to secure Canada’s energy future”. The letter finished with the words; “We look forward to working with your government on appropriate energy solutions for Ontario.”
CELA get the bulk of its funding (73% or $1.2 million) from “Legal Aid Ontario”, according to their March 31, 2011 annual report, with a big chunk of the balance (17% or $295,000) from grants. Two of the latter came from the Trillium Foundation who report they granted CELA $502,200 between 2007 and 2009. CELA list other funders including the Canadian Environmental Network, Environmental Defence, CAW and several others.

CELA team up with other environmental groups such as Ecojustice (formerly Sierra Legal Defence Fund and Jerry DeMarco’s [another ERT member] former employer), Environmental Defence, Sierra Club, etc. to push their “renewable energy” views to the Ontario Provincial government (as recently as June 6, 2012). CELA claim their organization is a “Legal Aid Clinic”.

The “legal aid clinic” aspect is interesting as the writer is aware that CELA was approached a few years ago for legal help by a small conservation group, concerned that industrial wind turbines on the shores of Lake Erie would harm migratory birds. That group never even received a response. CELA tout objectives in their 2011 annual report including this one; “to prevent harm to human and ecosystem health through application of precautionary measures” but apparently they tend to pick and choose those health and ecosystem issues when it suits their purpose. One such example appears to be the Sierra Club (revenue reported to the CRA Charities by the two “foundations” that comprise the Sierra Club were in excess of $2 million) who they name as a client in the annual report. This is a blatant example of our tax dollars (legal aid and government grants) being used to fund a charity’s legal actions so taxpayers effectively pay twice for those activities. …

So Paul Muldoon, whose past involved both controversy and issues, bound to be subject to public review, applied for a position on the ERT. Mr. Muldoon was presumably blessed by PAS, appointed by the Minister of the Environment, Laurel Broten, and is gainfully employed as Vice Chair of the ERT. In my personal opinion, I have difficulty believing that Mr. Muldoon does not continue to harbour some of that green religion in his position and would be personally concerned of bias in any ruling(s) he might hand out and indeed if he has the “aptitude for impartial adjudication”?

Interpretation of the law or the regulations governing our lives is judged through the eyes of the adjudicator who pays close attention to those presenting the best and most relevant “case law.” The MoE with an unlimited budget are in a much better position to do research than the poor appellant. While the “appellant” can certainly appeal the ERT’s decision or order he/she must be prepared with a pile of cash to support the process and possibly pay for the court costs. The ability to pay is an attribute the MoE is not concerned with as they use our tax dollars to fight anyone appealing an ERT decision.

It’s not a difficult conclusion to realize the odds of winning an appeal favour the MoE, without even stacking the Board with individuals that may be inclined to have a bias or, to some extent, may have actually played a role in creating the legislation/regulations that they now adjudicate.

The opinions expressed are those of Parker Gallant and not necessarily Wind Concerns Ontario.

Lawyers ask: what is going on with Ontario’s FIT?

On August 16, 2013, Ontario’s Minister of Energy, Bob Chiarelli, issued a Directive to the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) to make changes to the Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) program. This Directive builds on a previous Directive issued June 12, 2013 that made significant changes to the FIT program. (See: Ontario Minister of Energy Issues New Directive on the Feed-in Tariff Program).
The most important changes that stem from this most recent Directive are the modifications to the domestic content requirements for renewable energy projects under the FIT program.
As discussed below, the helpful clarity provided by the latest Ministerial Directive on the domestic content changes contrasts somewhat with the lack of clarity developing with regard to both the Ontario Renewable Energy Approvals (REA) process and the re-creation of a Large FIT program.
Changes to the Domestic Content Requirements
On May 24, 2013 the World Trade Organization (WTO) issued a ruling from two WTO disputes which determined that Ontario’s domestic content requirements violated Canada’s trade obligations. (See: The WTO Decision – What it Means for Ontario FIT 1.0 and 2.0 Projects).
In response to this ruling, the Minister of Energy has now directed the OPA to take an interim step towards compliance by reducing the domestic content requirements for new FIT procurements. All new FIT contracts will require that facilities achieve domestic content levels lower than previous contracts. The new domestic content levels are as follows:

  • On-shore wind facilities are required to maintain a minimum domestic content of 20%
  • Solar photovoltaic (PV) facilities utilizing crystalline silicon are required to maintain a minimum domestic content of 22%
  • Solar PV facilities utilizing thin-film PV technology are required to maintain a minimum domestic content of 28%
  • Solar PV facilities utilizing concentrated PV technology are required to maintain a minimum domestic content of 19%

These new content levels will apply to the Fall 2013 procurement window for Small FIT, microFIT, pilot solar projects on unconstructed buildings and unused capacity carried over from the Small FIT that closed on January 18, 2013.
The Future of Domestic Content
The Ministerial Directive indicates that the new domestic content levels shall remain in effect until further direction is given by the Minister. This Directive is an indication that the provincial government is prepared to respond to the WTO ruling and demonstrates a willingness to begin a transition to the elimination of the domestic content rules. It remains unseen if further reductions or an all out removal of the domestic content rules will be implemented by the Ministry of Energy.
The OPA has reviewed and updated the FIT and microFIT price schedule that it offers to renewable energy generators. Prices have been declining for both wind and solar contracts since the original FIT prices were set. In the most recent price schedule change effective August 26, 2013, prices have declined significantly for solar contracts with reductions ranging from 25.8% to 39% from previous levels. All wind project prices remain unchanged at 11.5 cents per kilowatt. These prices will apply to any new contracts that are issued until a new price schedule takes effect on January 1, 2014. The OPA has justified the price decreases as reflecting both the changes in upfront costs to develop a renewable energy project, and shifts in the ongoing operation and maintenance costs for projects.
FIT/microFIT Price Schedule Changes
Click here to view table.
Large FIT: New Competitive Procurement Process
The Large FIT program (more than 500 kilowatts) is being removed from the FIT program and being replaced with a new competitive EOI/RFP type procurement process which will require developers to consider input from stakeholders, municipalities and Aboriginal communities to assist in identifying suitable locations and siting requirements.
The OPA is currently in a consultation process with stakeholders to receive feedback regarding the proposed competitive bidding process. This new process is currently under development by the OPA, however, there is no set timeline regarding when the RFP process is to be implemented. The OPA will be providing the Minister with interim recommendations by September 1, 2013 and additional engagement activities are expected in fall 2013.
The OPA will continue to procure renewable energy capacity through the microFIT program (10 kilowatts or less). The new microFIT application window is expected to open shortly for the remainder of 2013, which has a procurement target of 30 megawatts.  Following this, the next application window will begin in 2014, with a procurement target of 50 megawatts.
In the interim, though little noticed by the media, Ontario has managed to reach a cost-effective accommodation with the numerous grid-capacity constrained microFIT projects which were unable to connect to the Hydro One grid for technical reasons.
Small FIT
The OPA will continue to procure renewable energy capacity through the Small FIT program (500 kilowatts or less), but will now include a priority system whereby municipalities and public sector entities will be provided with incentives such as priority points during the application process.
The upcoming application window for Small FIT projects is expected sometime in the fall of 2013, which has a procurement target of 70 megawatts. The new Directive states that beginning in 2014, the OPA will prepare annual schedules of planned Small FIT application windows which will be published in January of each year.
REA Changes for Large Projects
In contrast to the recent details on FIT domestic content and pricing, there are now two sources of uncertainty for proponents of large renewable energy projects.
The first uncertainty arises from a process initiated pursuant to the June Directive.  This Directive tasked the OPA with developing a new procurement process for large renewable energy projects that “takes into account local needs and considerations before contracts are offered”. This task resulted in the OPA hosting an August 7th webinar, conducting meetings during the week of August 12th, and soliciting comments up to August 21st.  These dates are input to the OPA providing the Minister with recommendations by September 1st.  The only outcome offered publicly on this process is that it is “expected” that additional “engagement activities” will occur this fall.
But the OPA process is not the only uncertainty facing REA proponents.  On July 3rd, the Ontario Environmental Review Tribunal released the landmark decision regarding the proposed Ostrander Point wind development, revoking the Director’s REA (See: An Ontario First, Tribunal Revokes Wind Farm Approval).  On August 1st, both the REA applicant and the REA Director at the Ministry of the Environment issued notices of appeal to Ontario’s Divisional Court to have the Tribunal decision set aside and the REA confirmed.  The central issue in the appeal is regulatory authority over endangered species: how does the authority of the Tribunal under the REA statutory appeal co-exist with the authority of the Minister of Natural Resources to issue permits under the Endangered Species Act, 2007? Right now, proponents facing endangered species issues are subject to a two-part process whereby an ESA permit is necessary but not sufficient to address such issues.