Goldstein: Ontario making energy policy ‘on the fly’

Here from Sunmedia columnist Lorrie Goldstein, an analysis of Ontario’s completely daft energy policy, or lack of same…

Ontario’s Liberal government is making up its energy policy on the fly, for its own political ends

lorrie-goldstein

By ,Toronto Sun

First posted:
melancthon
Ontario’s electricity demands are largely handled by nuclear power from facilities like Darlington — last year providing 56% of our power needs. Wind power’s contribution is limited, and solar power is fractional in comparison to nuclear generation. ONTARIO MINISTRY OF ENERGY

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.

Behind closed doors: who is really setting energy policy in Ontario?

Parker Gallant on Energy Probe, today.

Parker Gallant: Who really sets Ontario’s Energy Policies?

(October 7, 2013)
In Ontario it’s a well-known fact that the Green Energy and Green Economy Act (GEA) was developed because a small group of people convinced a past Energy Minister, George Smitherman, it was needed. That group, the Green Energy Act Alliance (GEAA), even claim they helped him write the Act!

   Several ministers later and things haven’t changed even though current Energy Minister, Bob Chiarelli has talked a lot about engaging communities, smaller municipalities and other stakeholders in revisions to the siting of gas, wind and solar generating plants. Minister Chiarelli has even invited input on revisions to the Long-Term Energy Plan (LTEP). Despite the rhetoric however, it still appears that the time spent by all but the environmental non-government organizations (ENGOs) will fall on deaf ears.
   The writing was on the wall from the first announcement by Minister Chiarelli on April 16, 2013, when he was the keynote speaker at the Ontario Power Conference, where he told all present that revisions to siting, the feed-in tariff (FIT) program and the LTEP would shortly occur and that Ontarians would have a chance to provide input. Since that announcement the renewable energy approvals (REAs) issued by the Ministry of the Environment have not stopped. All have been issued without the consultations that were promised by Minister Chiarelli back on that April day!
   In keeping with the way the ENGOs had influenced previous energy ministers, it came as no great shock that OSEA (Ontario Sustainable Energy Association – the ENGO behind the GEAA) had had a one-on-one meeting with Minister Chiarelli in early June and posted their letter of thanks to the minister on their website!
   The foregoing discovery led to a freedom of information (FOI) request to the Ministry of Energy by the writer, sent August 26, 2013, shortly after an article in the Ottawa Citizen. The article in the Citizen carried the story about how 62 communities (now 69)  had declared themselves “unwilling hosts” for any industrial wind turbines at a meeting of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO). The article went on to say that Premier Wynne had approached OSEA: “Wynne has asked the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association to raise awareness in communities slated for the turbine projects about the benefits of hosting, including the financial gains that can come from being power generators in a cash-strapped economy.”
   Interestingly enough the Wynne engagement of OSEA would seem to be nothing more than a PR endeavour with OSEA launching a program they call “Green Energy Doors Open” which, on October 5 showcased the iconic small, useless Exhibition Place wind turbine as well as another group of events meant to convince communities of the wonders of renewable energy. It is unlikely that the 69 “unwilling host” communities will buy into what OSEA is selling.
   The FOI asked for a copy of Minister Chiarelli’s diary in respect to any meeting(s) he had with any ENGOs from the date of his April 16, 2013 announcement. The response was received a few days ago.
As it turns out, the minister met with several ENGOs. The first meeting occurred on April 18 and the last on June 26, 2013. The first meeting was with the Ontario Clean Air Alliance and doesn’t identify who the minister met with but expect that it would have been Jack Gibbons and perhaps Angela Bischoff who show up on their website as the only staff. We note that the OCAA does not appear to be registered with the Ontario Lobbyist Registry.
   As a matter of interest the OCAA show total revenues for their 2012 year were a shade over $120,000. Considering the expense associated with having an office in downtown Toronto there wouldn’t be much left to pay those two employees! Do these two staff work for free like the people fighting to keep industrial wind turbines away from their communities?
   The second meeting with Minister Chiarelli was with three individuals from Environmental Defence whom he met with on May 7 and again on June 26. In the latter case, it appears that only Gillian McEachern, the campaign director, attended. I would note that Ms. McEachern is not listed as an ED’s representative on the Lobbyist Registry. The third meeting that Minister Chiarelli had was on June 3with three members of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE). A search of the Lobbyist Registry came up blank for CAPE. Tagging along for that meeting were the two members of the Asthma Society of Canada (not found in the Lobbyist Registry) and one representative (senior economist Kim Jarvi) of the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario who were registered but Mr. Jarvi was not listed as their representative. The meeting with OSEA occurred on June 4.
   The question now becomes, exactly how much influence will those meetings (each a minimum of 45 minutes in length) have on what we will see in the way of changes to the siting of industrial wind turbines or gas plants and changes in the FIT program or the LTEP?
   In the latter stages (July 16, 2013) of the Energy Minister’s announcements came one that jumped on the “Conservation” bandwagon, which has been aggressively promoted by those who met with Minister Chiarelli. These ENGOs did exactly that in their testimonials, putting “conservation” first. The support came from: CAPE, OCAA, Pembina, Canadian Energy Efficiency Alliance (CEEA), Ryerson University and the Electricity Distributors Association (EDA). One would expect that the CAPE, OCCA, CEEA, Pembina ENGO crowd would be quick to add their support but what of the latter two? Well, one can only suspect that Ryerson University’s, President, Sheldon Levy, knew that endorsing the “conservation” movement would result in a favourable announcement on August 26 that would disclose Ryerson was chosen to receive provincial funds to establish a “smart grid laboratory”. In respect to the endorsement by the Chairman of the EDA, perhaps the fact that Chiarelli has done absolutely nothing about the recommendations contained in the Ontario Distribution Sector Review Panel’s report may have been sufficient for him to endorse the concept.
    Now if one delves further into the various relationships between the ENGOs that add their weight by endorsing Minister Chiarelli’s announcement, one should go to an August 2013 study released by “BLUE GREEN CANADA” posted on the Environmental Defence website: “BLUE GREEN CANADA is an alliance between Canadian labour unions, environmental and civil society organizations to advocate for working people and the environment by promoting solutions to environmental issues.”
   BLUE GREEN occupy the same premises as Environmental Defence and the Ontario Greenbelt Alliance and their members are identified as: United Steelworkers Union, Environmental Defence, CEP (Community, Energy & Paperworkers Union), Columbia Institute (an offshoot of Working Enterprises– a group of union enterprises), Pembina Institute and Clean Energy Canada, an offshoot of Tides Canada. The “BLUE GREEN study does not identify the authors but is full of unsupported rhetoric; promising 25,000 jobs, reduction of the Provincial and Federal deficits by $1-billion each, cutting global warming pollution by 9% and the biggest lie in the study: “We use less energy and pay lower bills as a result.”
   The unfortunate part of this whole ministerial exercise is that the ENGOs have set past policies for the Energy Ministry and appear to have the current energy minister firmly under their control.
   The policy changes we are likely to see later this fall, (after the Auditor General releases her report on the costs of the Oakville gas plant move), will be reflective of what the ENGOs have recommended to Minister Chiarelli. We should not expect any radical change to the GEA or any deviation from the original targets for wind and solar generation that formed the backbone of the LTEP.
   Minister Chiarelli is well aware that the Ontario Liberal Party is dependent on donations from the unions and the many corporations that rushed to Ontario to erect industrial wind turbines and plant solar panels. In 2011 they collectively donated $1.4 million to the OLP and the unions, via Working Families, along with Environmental Defence and OSEA and other ENGOs spent millions condemning the Ontario PC party because of their promise to kill the GEA.
   Ontario’s ratepayers will be stuck with the same energy policies that George Smitherman promised us would only raise our electricity rates by 1% – which has become one of the Liberal’s biggest lies.
   Keep on smiling; only two years left before the next provincial election or sooner, if Andrea Horvath decides to finally pull the plug!

Parker Gallant is a retired bank executive and a former director of Energy Probe Research Foundation. As with all independent bloggers on this site, Parker’s views do not necessarily reflect those of Energy Probe.

Ontario’s electricity bills: rising costs or a regressive tax? You decide


On September 10, 2013, when the temperature hit 34 degrees in Toronto, demand for electricity in Ontario peaked at 8 PM when we were consuming 22,417 megawatts (MW) of power.  At that point according to the Adequacy Report from the IESO, we still had excess capacity8,437 MW in fact, or enough to power over seven million average Ontario homes. 

So the question becomes, if we have power to spare, why do we continue to add expensive sources of power generation like wind and solar to the electricity grid?   Surely the addition of that expensive generation that must be backed up will do nothing more than drive electricity prices up. 
Has our electricity system turned into nothing more than a form of wealth transfer or, perhaps, a regressive tax?   The latter is defined as: “A tax that takes a larger percentage from low-income people than from high-income people. A regressive tax is generally a tax that is applied uniformly. This means that it hits lower-income individuals harder.
As it turns out, the management of our electricity system by the Liberal government during the past 10 years has been both.   Consider the following points and see if any of them were meant to keep our electricity prices competitive with other markets, and that might have helped to create jobs in Ontario. Job creation may have resulted in tax revenue that could have been use to reduce our deficit, improve health care, built better transit, or provide better government services. 
Reality in Ontario today
Here is what ratepayers must accept:
§     Paying for smart meters and resulting time-of-use pricing–we eat supper after 7 PM and do our laundry in the middle of the night
§     Paying to replace smart meters because they “don’t communicate”
§     Paying for the development of the “smart grid” which turns out to be not so smart.
§     Subsidizing very large energy consumers by picking up a chunk ($200/400 million) of what they would have to pay if they were a household, just to keep remaining manufacturing jobs
§     Paying huge Net Revenue payments to gas plant electricity generators for sitting idle
§     Paying wind generators to not produceelectricity
§     Paying solar generators to not produce electricity
§     Paying to erect meteorological stations to measure how much wind generators might have produced so that we can pay them for not producing
§     Paying for “steaming off” perfectly clean nuclear power from Bruce Power
§     Paying for the Ontario Power Authority to run ads on TV, radio and the newspapers to tell us to conserve electricity, racking up average annual spending of $300 million
§     Paying for costs of operating the Ontario Power Authority, which we were told was a temporary long-term planning agency
§     Paying to get the local distribution company to pick up old refrigerators and being told it’s free
§     Paying to move two gas generation plants at a cost of about $1 billion
§     Paying to have the school boards in Toronto and elsewhere put solar panels on their roofs so they could generate money to fix some of the roofs
§     Paying for grants to people that can afford to purchase new expensive electric vehicles (EVs)
§     Paying to put in charging stations for those EVs that use the streets but don’t pay gas taxes
§     Paying for someone else to use coupons to purchase CFL or LED light bulbs
§     Paying for grants to small and medium sized companies to retrofit their lighting systems
§     Paying for expensive electricity generated by solar panels placed on your local municipally owned arena
§     Paying for grants so your municipality can exchange incandescent and halogen street lights to LED lights
§     Paying your local distribution company extra money each year because their revenue deteriorated because you conserved electricity, so they asked for and got a rate increase blessed by the Ontario Energy Board
§     Paying to connect wind and solar generators to the transmission system run by Hydro One, a wholly owned provincial monopoly
§     Paying the cost of electricity produced by your neighbour for those solar panels on his roof for which he gets 80 cents a kilowatt hour
§     Paying for the costs of solar power produced by corporations like Loblaws, Canadian Tire,  IKEA, etc., which they sell into the electricity grid at 70 cents a kilowatt hour, but buy the power they need at the same (or lower) price that you pay
§     Paying forever for “residual stranded debt” that should have been paid off 5 years ago.
§     Paying for the sale of surplus electricity to New York, Michigan, etc. at a price 75/85% below its cost
§     Paying HST on our electricity bills which automatically added 7% to its cost and generates well in excess of $1 billion for the province’s coffers
Now look over these 28 points and think about which represent “wealth transfers” and which represent a “regressive tax.”   Review them again and pick out any that added cost-effective new generation.  Hint: you will probably have trouble finding the latter!    
Ontario’s legacy
Energy Minister Chiarelli recently bragged about the reputed $35 billion in new investment attracted to the province by the Green Energy and Green Economy Act and the 31,000 jobs that it supposedly created. Those 31,000 jobs (most are relatively short term construction jobs) will cost the ratepayers of the province over $3 million each.
What Minister Chiarelli didn’t say was that the $35-billion investment will cost ratepayers well over $100/120 billion by the time those 20-year contracts have ended, and most of that will be extracted from the pockets of many Ontarians who cannot afford the “regressive tax” it has become. Many are discovering they can’t afford to turn their lights on for fear of being unable to buy groceries. 
What a legacy for the McGuinty/Wynne team.
Parker Gallant,
October 3, 2013
The opinions expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily Wind Concerns Ontario.

Chiarelli on municipalities: no veto. “We can’t work that way”

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.

IN DEPTH: Ontario versus the world

The Ontario capital, Toronto
The Ontario capital, Toronto
By Richard A Kessler
 Wednesday, October 02 2013
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.

Tillsonburg1.jpg

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.

ontario_wto_panel.jpg

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

Greater Napanee: residents opposed, landowners don’t know what they’ve signed


We reported yesterday that Gilead Power is actively prospecting for landowners to lease 10,000 hectares of land for a wind power project. The citizens of Greater Napanee held a public information meeting last night. Note the comments from a landowner who has been approached numerous times by the aggressive wind power developer.
Here is a report from local resident Bill Daverne.

Greater Napanee says “No”
Tuesday night, the Town of Greater Napanee held an open council meeting dedicated to public input on the proposed Gilead Power 40-80MW Dorland wind power project.
Dorland is to be sited in a 10,000-hectare swath of properties south and east of Hay Bay in the waterfront community in which Sir John A. Macdonald lived as a child, and which is today a mix of farms, residences and recreation properties.
Lease acquisition is well underway, but no Feed In Tariff or FIT contract has been awarded.
It became clear early on in the meeting held in the South Fredericksburg Hall that the full-house crowd of 250 to 300 was opposed to the proposal.
At least 18 people spoke against Dorland; one person said he was for it, had signed a contract with Gilead, and didn’t “mind looking at wind turbine towers.” He said he already looks at the power towers running north from the Lennox Generating Station and “is used to them.” He admitted he had not had a lawyer examine the contract before he signed.
Only local residents were allowed to speak, and those opposed covered the range of issues in detail. Al Curtis and Jim Barrie pointed out that Dorland was in the important Atlantic Flyway bird migration route and would lead to a mass slaughter of birds, as is already being experienced at the wind power project on Wolfe Island, across from Kingston.
Wind turbine setbacks legislated in various jurisdictions around the world were shown, showing that Ontario has the smallest setback anywhere.
One speaker had calculated the impact of the proposed industrial wind turbines on property values was a conservative reduction of 25% while it was noted studies in Ontario, New York state and elsewhere have shown value declines of as much as 50%.
“We have calculated the value of the properties affected at $430 million with a loss of at least $100 million to be caused by this wind farm. Who will make up for the loss of this tax base?”
The impact on people across narrow Hay Bay, facing the big turbines, was noted by people on both sides of the fish-rich waters. One woman said she rented out her cottage. “But who would want to rent it to look at wind turbines and listen to that sound,” she said. “They come for the quiet, and the birds.” Others pointed out that birds that weren’t killed would avoid the area, costing residents one of the local joys.
When the room was asked who had visited Wolfe Islandto see the impact there, a lot of hands went up amid murmurs of disapproval.
Others noted the loss of farmland was rarely discussed but given the setbacks and separation involved, a lot of his land would be lost to construction and maintenance roads. The developer demands 100% control over roads, siting, access, etc. and this would take control of drainage, woodlots and wildlife corridors out of his hands.
“I would describe them as being ‘under-handed’ in my dealings,” he said, noting he had been approached six times and said no each time. It will destroy the look of the entire countryside, he said, noting he had time to reflect on that as he combined recently and was able to look up and down the peninsula and admire even the cell tower at Conway and the smokestacks at Lennox Generating Station: “They don’t spin around and distract from the view.”
He wants Council’s vote next week to be recorded, a sentiment supported and voiced by others as well.
Much was also made about the fact wind power is surplus power and has been sold at a loss of $2 billion a year outside Ontario due to over-production.
Early on, one speaker asked for a show of hands to see who was against the Dorland proposal and almost every hand went up. The message was clear. Those assembled want Council to declare Greater Napanee as an ‘Unwilling Host’ next week.
The October 8th meeting is scheduled to be held at the Napanee Town Hall but could be moved to a larger venue, based on the turn-out and interest Tuesday night. To double-check on the location, the Town website is: http://www.greaternapanee.com

Parker Gallant: the GEA is Canada’s biggest Ponzi scheme

Up today on Energy Probe is Parker Gallant’s analysis of Ontario’s Green Energy Act. Read on for who benefits (hint: it’s not you).

Parker Gallant: Ontario’s Ministry of Energy creates Canada’s biggest Ponzi scheme

The press release on September 24, 2013 from the Attorney General’s (AG) office was headlined: “Attorney General recovers $17 million for Victims of Ponzi Scheme” and went on to describe how the money had been seized and sent to the American authorities in respect to a US-orchestrated “Ponzi Scheme.”
The definition of “Ponzi Scheme” from the “Legal Dictionary” is:  “A fraudulent investment plan in which the investments of later investors are used to pay earlier investors, giving the appearance that the investments of the initial participants dramatically increase in value in a short amount of time.”
    In the case of Ontario’s Ministry of Energy those “investments of later investors” is the billions of dollars extracted from the pockets of the approximately 4.4 million ratepayers spread throughout the Province of Ontario. In Ontario, however, the extraction of monies from “later investors” is considered legal under the Green Energy and Green Economy Act (GEA) passed by the Liberal Government under Premier, Dalton McGuinty.
   McGuinty, via the Energy Minister, directed the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) to contract with investors who would be willing to put solar panels on their roof or on the ground. The OPA complied and offered above market rates and investors flocked to the OPA submitting thousands of offers and they dutifully signed them up offering to pay up to 80.2 cents per kilowatt hour.
   The OPA just released a list as of June 30, 2013 they refer to as “Active FIT Contracts”.  The list of approximately 1800 Feed-in Tariff (FIT) contracts don’t include the MicroFIT contracts but, according to an OPA spokesperson, include what the OPA refer to as “Capacity Allocation Exempt” (CAE) contracts. A separate undated list of the latter referenced as “Phase 2” has 800 contracts noted. The bulk of the two lists are “roof mounted” solar installations with a smattering of biogas, solar ground mounted, waterpower and a few others but about 85% are roof mounted solar contracts.
   Scrolling through the lists one finds many familiar names such as IKEA, Canadian Tire, Walmart, RBC, Toronto Hydro, Durham College, Powerstream, London Hydro, Loblaws, etc. etc. You also find hundreds of addresses and numbered companies that don’t identify either the “applicant” or the “supplier”. One would assume the applicant (Phase 2) or supplier (June 30, 2013 report) are one and the same but the carryover from the Phase 2 report to the OPA list switches the descriptive terminology.  
   The OPA spokesperson told me that: “Projects on the March 31, 2010, CAE list that are not on the June 30, 2013, list of active FIT contracts were those that have either been terminated or were not accepted/executed. Those projects are not included in the June 30, 2013, total of 814 MW of solar in commercial operation.”
   Investigating that premise allows you to determine that contracts on the Phase 2 list, as an example,  in the name of “Canadian Tire” or one of the “Loblaws” trade names disappeared.   On reviewing the addresses however a search reveals that both “AMP1” or “MOM Solar LP”  are listed as “suppliers” for addresses identified as “Canadian Tire” stores.  Canadian Tire, who appeared to have as many as 79 contracts (over 15 megawatts [MW]) on the Phase 2 list, is suddenly at zero (0) on the June 30, 2013 list. If those 15 MW produced at 15% of capability they would generate almost $14 million in annual revenue at $700. per MW hour and $280 million over 20 years.
   The two lists also disclose that many other retailers have taken advantage of the rates first offered for roof mounted solar over 10 kilowatts (kW) which was 71.3 cents per kWh (hour).   As another example; Loblaws has been very aggressive with 74 contracts under the “Loblaws, Real Canadian Superstores, Zehrs, No Frills” monikers and another 136 under the name of “Fresh from the Sun Energy Inc.” from the OPA’s March 10, 2010 list.  The latter were on the “Phase 2” report but the OPA listed only14 contracts and that name doesn’t even appear on the June 30, 2013 list.  So what happened?
   Loblaws and its iterations had contracts in excess of 20 megawatts (MW) of nameplate capacity.   Those 20 MW of solar roof mounted could generate annual revenue for Loblaws of approximately $18 million per annum ($360 million over 20 years) at a generation rate of 15% of rated solar capacity at an average price of $700. per MWh. Partially reviewing the OPA June 30, 2013 list, we note Loblaws are down to 74 contracts with 17.4 MW of listed capacity. The question I posed to the OPA spokesperson asked why the name change on some of those early Loblaws contracts?
   The response back was what we have come to expect and contradicted the earlier e-mail (above) from the OPA spokesperson:

FIT contracts permit the supplier to assign the contract or apply to the OPA for a change of control. It is not unusual for FIT contracts to be assigned to another company, for ex., a subsidiary, or for a portion or all of the project to be sold to another party. Through these processes, the Supplier Legal Name would change, but the term, end date and financial terms of the contract remain the same, so there is no additional exposure for the ratepayer when these changes occur.
The contract details that the OPA can provide to a third party are subject to confidentiality provisions, which is included in Article 7 of the FIT contract, available on the FIT website. With respect to Canadian Tire and Loblaw contracts, you will need to contact those suppliers for specific details.”

   The lists include schools, municipal arenas, community centres, hospitals, etc., but don’t include the Toronto District School Boards contracts for the 311 schools that will be outfitted with solar panels according to an article in the National Post on September 20, 2013.  This will allow the TDSB to repair 32 school roofs but it’s unclear how much the Board’s partner “School top Solar LP” is retaining out of the approximately $550 per MW they will be paid for the rated capacity of 33 MW. Those 33 MW should generate almost $24 million per annum or $480 million over the 20-year term of the contract. This makes one wonder if the TDSB are poor negotiators, or those school roofs cost millions each?
   In reviewing the three OPA lists it is almost impossible to connect them because,  as an example, the Fresh from the Sun Energy Inc. stores on the list fail to include full addresses and the June 30, 2013 list often does not even include an address under the multiple contacts awarded (or sold to) companies like MOM Solar LP or a supplier referred to as AMP1 (legal name) for which no information can be found!

Take the Money and Run:
As the Steve Miller Band said, “Take the Money and Run”; if I were a Loblaws or a Canadian Tire executive and wanted to reward shareholders, I would be tempted to “flip” the contracts. By simply having those contracts Loblaws and Canadian Tire have a huge guaranteed cash flow they could easily sell to a third party like Moms Solar LP (backed and partially owned by Morgan Stanley) or the anonymous AMP1! By selling the contract they can add it to their revenue stream. A search of annual reports, for Canadian Tire and Loblaws comes up empty in respect to those contracts.
   The retailers, municipalities, school boards, etc. who have obtained these contracts are either receiving a subsidy (private sector) or a hidden tax, for the benefit of the province (schools, colleges , hospitals, etc) and municipalities (community centres, local electricity distributors, arenas, etc.). Perhaps this is Premier Wynne’s reference to “revenue tools” means! All of the foregoing sell their generated electricity at prices up to 20 times the cost of power generated by OPG or Bruce Power and those same retailers, school boards, colleges, etc. buy back the power at the same (or lower) rates paid by 4.4 million residential ratepayers.      Those subsidies/hidden taxes wind up in the Global Adjustment pot and those “later investors”, pay them for the next 20 years.
   The “Ponzi Scheme” created by the GEA for just the “solar” portion of the GEA will be in excess of $1.3 billion each year for the next 20 years once the full contracted solar (approximately 2,000 MW) is hooked to the grid. The cost of the FIT contracted solar will add $300 per year to each ratepayer’s bill.
At $26 billion over the 20 year period of the contracts this must represent the largest “Ponzi Scheme” ever perpetrated  in North America and the poor ratepayers didn’t even have the ability to opt out of being a “later investor”.
   If the ratepayers of Ontario got the AG to declare the GEA  a “Ponzi Scheme” and pushed for the recovery of the billions of dollars they have been forced to pay, Minister Gerretsen would have something to really brag about!
Parker Gallant,
October 1, 2013
Parker Gallant is a retired bank executive and a former director of Energy Probe Research Foundation. As with all independent bloggers on this site, Parker’s views do not necessarily reflect those of Energy Probe.

Gilead Power sets sights on 10,000 hectares of land for wind power

Wind power means natural gas

Gilead Power, whose Ostrander Point project is stalled pending an appeal of the Environmental Review Tribunal decision rescinding approval of the project in a fragile environment in Prince Edward County (the company also has plans for a wind power project on Crown land in the Algoma region), is currently prospecting for willing landowners to lease land for another wind power project.
  According to the company’s website, the proposed Dorland project is in Greater Napanee. There is potential for 40-80 MW of wind power.
  With the addition of a new TransCanada natural gas power plant to the Lennox plant site, the Dorland project will be close to the REAL source of power for wind power facilities: natural gas.
  The company’s website is here.
   According to a joint presentation made earlier this year by the Professional Engineers of Ontario and the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers, “renewables currently use natural gas backup so they cannot achieve lower GHG emissions overall…low GHG emissions are only achievable economically with hydroelectric and nuclear generation.”
  See related story on the Lennox plant from the Toronto Star.

Parker Gallant to Energy Minister Chiarelli: another idea?


[Tongue in Cheek Letter # 3]
September 22, 2013
The Honourable Bob Chiarelli, Minister of Energy,
Dear Minister:
By now you have probably received both my September 9thand my September 13th letters but haven’t had the chance to reply because of your busy schedule.  I saw a picture of you smiling while at the International  Plowing Match in Mitchell last week, and a delightful picture of you with the Mothers Against Wind Turbines, so I know you have been running around the province doing lots of things.

In the meantime my family has been doing a lot of research and they have almost convinced me that instead of not producing electricity from industrial wind turbines I should look at not  producing it from solar panels.  They pointed out to me that rooftop solar pays 39.6 cents for not producing as long as you have 5 megawatts or more installed.  Now that would take a pretty big roof as I understand that solar needs about 44,000 square feet per megawatt, so you would need a darn big barn.

My barn is pretty small so wouldn’t work but I was thinking that the old Picton Air Base might be just the place.  I could look into renting the roofs if you could promise me one of those nice Ontario Power Authority contracts for the solar power that I will not produce.   I have attached an aerial photo of the Air Base (look at all those empty roof tops) so you can get some idea of what we are talking about.  I wouldn’t actually put any panels up because it doesn’t make sense to spend all that money on panels to produce power that you plan on paying me to not produce.

If you think I need to put up some solar panels I will, but, if that happens, I hope that I can get one of those nice grants from Deborah Doncaster at the Community Energy Partnerships Program (CEPP) that your Ministry gave money to.  I sure hope they still have some of that $10 million left.  A $500,000 grant would sure buy a lot of panels that I could use to not produce power and be paid $396.00 per megawatt hour for what they won’t produce.  I am hoping that I won’t need to install any, however, so that we can save some money for other people that are going to produce power that we might export to New York or Michigan.  
I would greatly appreciate it if you could you put in a kind word to Ms. Doncaster for me just in case I need some panels for show.  In the meantime I will look into renting those roof tops. Looking forward to your positive response,
Parker Gallant
The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily Wind Concerns Ontario.

Ontario’s “voodoo math” and electricity system

From Sarnia area local business paper First Monday, an opinion piece by Brian Keelan. (Who needs correcting on the notion that wind power generation is “carbon free—wind needs a real source of power such as natural gas behind it.) We especially appreciate Mr Keelan’s observation that the Liberal government’s energy policies have effectively resulted in “civil war” in Ontario. Read on…

I am furious green

Brian Keelan's picture

Sat, 09/07/2013 – 11:25Brian Keelan

Here in Sarnia Lambton we have been hearing that Nova is considering building a new polyethylene plant to go along with the three plants they already have (and which employ about 830 of Sarnia/Lambton’s taxpayers in what are widely believed to be great jobs). But… that polyethylene plant is also being considered for the Gulf coast of the USA due to a much better energy price; instead of paying 3.5 to 4 cents a kilowatt hour down there, the Ontario Government is asking them to pay over 10 cents a kilowatt hour up here… and these guys use a lot of kilowatts.
This project is therefore at risk due to the high cost of energy here in Ontario so, Nova – along with the residents of Sarnia/Lambton – is looking to the Ontario government to do something about it. But the Ontario government is reluctant to do anything since if they give Nova a ‘break,’ they are just going to tack the ‘break’ on to all the citizens of Ontario’s electricity bills They don’t want the voters in their precious 416 and 905 area codes upset because the government caters to them due to their voting power. Why give a break for those of us out here in the 519 area code who don’t regularly vote for them? Thus we are being punished and/or ignored.
Nova has what I think is a neat way to solve this dilemma without the Province of Ontario having to do anything more than use their head. Let them build their own electrical generation plant right here in Sarnia to power their three existing plants plus the new polyethylene plant and we get a new power plant to boot this means more good jobs and taxpayers for Sarnia/Lambton. But the fly in the ointment is that Nova would have to cross a public road with their transmission lines and they are legally forbidden to do that since that is the “domain” of Ontario Power Generation who in effect are telling them, “We know you can do it more efficiently than we can but we need you to pay the going rate.”
At this point I’d like to tell Kathleen and her crew something my dad told me many, many years ago that served me well: “You’re a fool if you think anyone is ever going to pay even five cents for the privilege of doing business with you. Sure, your service has to be great and so do your people and your products but if you aren’t there when it comes to price, you are dreaming.”
I don’t even know who to get mad at for that since our electricity costs involve so much voodoo math. As simply as I can figure it: our rates are determined by the Ontario Energy Board (the OEB) who regulate the Time Of Use plan (the TOU) as well as the Regulated Price Plan (the RPP) to determine our electricity rates. The basic cost of electricity consists of two elements; the Hourly Ontario Electricity Price (the HOEP) which comes from Ontario Power Generation (the OPG) and a vague catch-all factor known as the Global Adjustment (the GA). The GA is where OPG would add the cost of the price-break they would give to Nova (if they want the business). By law, OPG can only make this GA/HOEP price adjustment twice a year and they don’t even have to raise rates unless they really need the money. Sadly for us, they really do have to do it because the Ontario government is way too deep in their own bottomless money pit to help them out. But does it really matter where the money that the OEB gets comes from anyway?
“Ask not from whom the money comes… it comes from thee stupid.” While they rob Peter to pay Paul and then rob Paul to pay Peter back, it will ultimately be passed on to you (thee) and me and then our kids as we try to get out of this financial quagmire due in large part to Ontario’s financially flawed Green Energy policies which have led us to this Financial Energy Crisis or as I like to call it, the FEC.

Read the entire column here.