Sun editorial:Libs deep into green energy disaster

Here is the editorial from the Toronto Sun today, responding to Energy Minister Chiarelli’s comments about paying for power we don’t need.
  The Sun’s editors aren’t buying this government’s explanations of the money being paid out to huge corporations to NOT produce power, and they also see the entire “green” energy program as it’s been implemented as an unmitigated disaster. Here is the editorial.
  

Libs blowing in the wind

53

First posted: | Updated:
BIGBOB
Ontario Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli says we’ll save money by paying wind energy suppliers not to produce electricity. MICHAEL PEAKE/Toronto Sun Files

Ontario Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli argues it’s better to pay wind developers not to produce electricity than to pay them to produce electricity we don’t need. Seriously, that’s what he said.
He also claimed it will save Ontarians $200 million a year.
Presumably, what he meant is that it will cost $200 million a year less than under the Liberals’ previous program, in which we had to buy wind energy first, while dumping cheaper forms of energy like hydro power.
In reality, the Ontario Liberals’ disastrous experiment with wind (and solar) energy will continue to cost us billions of extra dollars for the better part of the next 20 years, according to a December, 2011 report by the Ontario Auditor General on the Liberals’ renewable energy program.
Citing the government’s own estimates, that report said renewable energy is responsible for 56% of the 7.9% average annual increases we’re now seeing on our hydro bills.
This despite the fact we don’t need the small amount of electricity wind (and solar) provide because Ontario has an energy surplus, which should be driving prices down, not up.
Indeed, we could easily replace the tiny amount of electricity supplied by wind, which costs between 11.5¢ and 13.5¢ per kWh, and solar, which costs between 34.7¢ and 80.2¢ per kWh, with cheaper, clean alternatives like hydro power (3.5¢ per kWh).
Chiarelli argues nuclear plant operators are also paid not to produce electricity, which is true.
The reason is the need for electricity constantly fluctuates, meaning the supply sources have to be adjusted quickly, while energy providers are guaranteed a certain rate of return.
But what Chiarelli didn’t say is that because wind is so unreliable, the entire system runs less efficiently because of the constant need to accommodate wind.
This is only going to get worse because the Liberals are planning to bring thousands of more megawatts of expensive, unreliable wind energy on line in the coming years.
They are so deep into the green energy disaster they’ve created, they’re never going to admit they made a mistake.
The longer they’re in power, the worse things will get.
Which is one more reason they need to be defeated in the next election.

Health issues dominate Dufferin Wind Power hearing

By WES KELLER
For the Citizen, August 29, 2013

The Energy Review Board’s hearing into the Renewable Energy Approval (REA) for Dufferin Wind Power (DWP) is progressing into what observers say will be protracted arguments about health issues, and a war of words is continuing in Melancthon apart from the hearings.
Threats to human, animal and plant life are among the issues the ERB is mandated to rule on. Recently, a tribunal revoked an REA in Prince Edward County on the basis of possible serious and irreversible harm by Gilead Power’s Ostrander Point wind turbine project on the habitat of the endangered Blanding’s turtle.
On the DWP hearing, the tribunal was meeting in Toronto rather than Shelburne earlier this week. Part of the time was devoted to procedural issues, according to observers, and some to arguments over light flicker, one of the concerns of the CORE group.
At some point next week, health evidence will be admitted via a video conference with an Australian specialist.
In the meantime, Melancthon Mayor Bill Hill has received a response from the Ontario government to his letter criticizing the Green Energy Act which he sent to Premier Kathleen Wynn.
The response from Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli is essentially a reiteration of the premier’s position as stated in the Throne Speech and also of the minister’s stated position that “the Ontario government’s priority is to develop renewable energy in a way that both engages and protects local communities.” Mayor Hill’s response to the minister is that, “we are well aware of the changes that have been announced and feel that ‘in reality’ they will make very little difference. “Your response is another indication, in my opinion, of how out of touch your Government is with the results and impacts your flawed legislation has on people and municipalities that have to live with the results of it.” He goes on to invite the minister “and anyone else” to visit the township to discuss the situation.
On the other hand, Wayne Hannon, who has spoken out in favour of DWP on more than one occasion, denies there’s any kind of war going on as, he says in an Aug. 15 letter to county council, “Melancthon Township signed a ‘treaty’ with (DWP) in the form of a mutually binding and fully executed Road Use and Amenities Agreement.”
Mr. Hannon says he doesn’t feel that the mayor “represents all of council and definitely not the majority of people in my township.” He says the issue has “become personal.”
The oddity in the DWP situation is the ownership – a majority held by Longyuan and a minority by the farmers who have also leased property and easements to the wind company.
It is not unusual that foreign money is involved in the developments. When Canadian Hydro Developers was seeking funding for its Phase 2 Melancthon wind farm, the prospective lenders included bankers from New York City, among others.
In the CHD case, however, the lenders did not become owners. The shares were traded publicly on both TSE and NYSE. Later, TransAlta acquired ownership in what began as a hostile takeover.
 Correction – In last week’s story entitled ‘County demanding burial of entire 230kv line: DWP’, we erred in stating the amount of the company’s donations. The correct figure should have been $9,450. We apologize for the error.

Not a Willing Host communities heard at AMO

Representatives of the now 64 communities in Ontario who have declared themselves Not a Willing Host to giant wind power developments, made their voices heard yesterday at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario convention, in Ottawa. Questions were raised during the afternoon “bearpit” session, during which Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli appeared to contradict himself, by saying that preserving valuable Ontario farmland and the quality of rural communities was a priority and then later saying that wind power was necessary for the province. He also said that there is no chance of giving municipalities a “veto” on wind power projects.
   Enniskillen Mayor Kevin Marriott remarked later that he was appalled by the Minister’s “doublespeak.”
   The municipal representatives held a meeting later in the day, and discussed what the effects of wind power had been on their communities to date, and what options were left open to them as they struggle to protect the health and financial wellbeing of their citizens.
   Here is a report from today’s Ottawa Citizen. Comments are open at the time of writing.
  

Windmill opponents demand province give power to municipalities

 
By Teresa Smith, OTTAWA CITIZENAugust 20, 2013
 

 
Windmill opponents demand province give power to municipalities
 

Sixty-two Ontario communities have declared themselves ‘unwilling hosts’ to provincially approved industrial wind-power projects. They are demanding that Premier Kathleen Wynne’s government allow municipal governments to choose whether and where to put them.

Photograph by: Peter J. Thompson , National Post

OTTAWA — A coalition of 62 communities in Ontario have declared themselves “unwilling hosts” to provincially approved windmills and they’re demanding that Premier Kathleen Wynne’s government allow municipal governments to choose whether and where to put industrial wind projects.
A group of residents in North Gower, a region of Ottawa that the province pegged for a large-scale wind-power project, is supportive of the coalition’s demands, but Ottawa is not officially a member of the unwilling hosts coalition.
Progressive Conservative Party leader Tim Hudak told 1,600 delegates gathered at the annual Association of Municipalities of Ontario conference this week that, if elected, he would “scrap the Green Energy Act” entirely. If communities don’t want windmills, the municipality should not be “forced” to house “industrial wind turbines,” Hudak said.
New Democratic Party leader Andrea Horwath said “short-sighted” decisions on the energy file have created a needless backlash against wind power in communities that feel inadequately consulted.”
The Liberal government’s 2009 Green Energy Act gave the province control over the location of wind energy projects but, in May, the province announced changes that will require developers to work more closely with municipalities. Energy projects that are part of a co-op, owned by a First Nation or at least half-owned by a municipality, will get priority for the Feed-in Tariff program “which is good, because if the private company has community support already, then the project will be more successful,” said Kristopher Stevens, executive director of Ontario Sustainable Energy Association (OSEA).
To that end, Wynne has asked the OSEA, a non-profit organization, 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.
“It’s going to require a transformation in the way we think about energy,” said Stevens, who noted one of the best things about the Green Energy Act is that it supports smaller scale projects.
“What we want is to have lots of points of light — sort of like the Internet — so that if part of the system goes off, the rest of the system can isolate it and keep running.”
He said such a change would prevent blackouts like the one that happened in much of Eastern Ontario and the Northeastern United States 10 years ago. “What happened in Ohio affected everyone because were pushing power from one centralized place,” said Stevens.
So far, 62 municipalities across Ontario have declared themselves not willing hosts to wind-power projects, citing health problems and loss in property values as their main concerns.
However, while research into the issue is limited. Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, in a 2010 report, concluded that “the scientific evidence available to date does not demonstrate a direct causal link between wind turbine noise and adverse health effects.”
The report said that while some residents might find the sound and vibrations from nearby wind turbines annoying, the sound is not sufficient to cause hearing problems and there is no scientific evidence the vibrations cause health issues.

The report recommended that “community engagement at the outset of planning for wind turbines is important and may alleviate health concerns.”
Health Canada has launched a major study into the effect of wind turbines on health.
The Marlborough 1 project in North Gower is on hold until the province announces its new procurement process. However wind developer Prowind, headquartered in Germany, has said it intends to reapply when the new process is in place.
In a letter to Ottawa Wind Concerns, a North Gower anti-wind turbine group, Mayor Jim Watson reiterated that the province is responsible for granting approval for wind projects and called the regulatory regime “quite onerous.” However, before any project is approved, he said, the city “will review all documentation and information relating to the proposed development and fully participate in any such consultative process.”

Wind ‘farms’ not a success: letter to Hill Times

In this week’s edition of the Hill Times, following last week’s feature, the following letter to the Editor:

Ontario’s wind farms not a success

Published: Monday, 08/19/2013 12:00 am EDT
Last Updated: Monday, 08/19/2013 3:37 pm EDT

Bob Chiarelli is quoted in The Hill Times as saying “wind power produces no greenhouse gases and is part of a program of modernization of Ontario’s power system. It’s a tremendous success story” (“Critics call Ontario’s wind farms ‘a disaster’ in rural areas but Energy Minister Chiarelli says government is working with municipalities,” Renewable Energy Policy Briefing, Aug. 12),
   I beg to differ with that statement. Mr. Chiarelli is either uninformed or very disingenous and he is totally wrong. It takes several thousand tons of coal to produce one industrial wind turbine. How is that modernizing the system? Coal produces greenhouse gasses.
   Ontario has spent millions of dollars ($60-million in 2009) for the Bruce Power Plant not to produce power. We do not need nor can Ontario afford IWTs. It is all a financial disaster for Ontario.
IWTs were forced on us by the McGuinty/Wynne Liberals. They turned our rural area into an industrial zone.  
   As a result, we are “enjoying” our senior years surrounded by IWTs. We have tried to sell and move to a smaller property but no one is looking. The whole area is in turmoil as family members, neighbours and friends are about to start a class action law suit against the land owners and wind proponents. Many are suffering health problems related to IWTs and Mr. Chiarelli calls this a “success story?”
Frank and Helen Belbeck
Fisherville, Ont.

Wind developer claims airport turbines a zoning, not safety issue

Questions continue about the eight turbines at the Chatham-Kent airport that were supposed to be removed because they do not comply with zoning at the airport (which is in the jurisdiction of wind business-friendly mayor and Golden Pinwheel award-winner, Mayor Randy Hope). Here, in a stunning revelation by the wind developer, is an explanation.

Company says it never received order
Chatham Daily News

Transport Canada is being asked to clarify why it hasn’t taken action against a wind turbine company advised in June to remove eight turbines near the Chatham-Kent Municipal Airport.
Chatham-Kent Essex MPP Rick Nicholls said Friday the turbine company – GDF Suez Canada – is dragging its heels “and the longer it stalls the more money it makes from the turbines.”
“It irritates me, especially since this is a safety issue,” said the MPP. “I’m constantly being asked by people why the turbines haven’t been removed and I’ve written to Transport Canada to get answers.”
Chatham-Kent Essex MP Dave Van Kesteren said Friday he is also concerned over the lack of answers and intends to follow up with the agency in Ottawa.
Meantime, David Timm, vice-president of the turbine company, insisted Friday his company has never received an “order” from Transport Canada to remove the eight turbines.
“It’s not a safety issue, but rather a zoning issue,” said Timm. “We are working with Transport Canada, just as we have for the past five years.”
Timm said his company is convinced it has satisfied all concerns of Transport Canada and is continuing to hold talks with the agency.
But he again stressed that the company has never received an order from Transport Canada to remove the eight turbines.
A spokesperson for Transport Canada told The Daily News in June that the eight wind turbines south of the airport violate height limits at the airport, which are subject to airport zoning regulations.
“Transport Canada is enforcing safety rules and requires the removal of the turbines,” Tina Morris told The Daily News.
She said the turbine company was advised of height restrictions on two occasions prior to turbine construction.
“While Transport Canada is willing to work with the wind turbine company to set a practical deadline, the illegal turbines must be removed,” she said.
Morris said federal airport zoning regulations (AZR) at the airport protect a radius of approximately four kilometres around the airport.
“The AZR protect the operations of an airport and help ensure that development surround the airport remains compatible with safe operations of aircraft and the airport itself,” she said. “These regulations include obstacle height restrictions.”
When reminded of Morris’ e-mail, Timms said “show me where it says we have been ordered to remove the turbines.”
Chatham-Kent Mayor Randy Hope agreed with Timms during an interview Friday. He said he wrote to Transport Canada complaining of the way officials “bungled” the announcement by making it public before notifying the company.
“The turbines remain operational and the airport remains operational,” said Timm. “We’ve complied with all of Transport Canada’s requests.”
Nicholls has said he is also concerned the turbines could limit use of the airport by larger companies that might consider locating in Chatham-Kent and making use of company planes.
In a previous article he said not only do the turbines make it unsafe for pilots, but that he has been told the spinning blades affect radar.
“There are rules and regulations in place and the wind turbine company should be adhering to those rules and regulations,” he said. “Do they think they are above the law? They are not and they should comply.”
Nicholls said the last thing he wants to see is a plane accident at the airport caused by wind turbines.

Images from Belwood protest August 14

Dozens of community members from the Belwood area near Elora, gathered to attend the final meeting for wpd’s wind power project. Here are a few views of the event.

Ian Rae, wpd president, admits he would not live near an industrial wind turbine

The company announced that construction would begin within days, on August 19. Residents are completely left out of this process by the Green Energy Act.

People are told to report noise complaints to the Ministry of the Environment; complaints are not followed up on. There is no one to protect our families.

Melancthon Mayor to Wynne: get rid of Green Energy Act

Here from yesterday’s Orangeville Banner, the story of an Ontario Mayor who has had more than enough. Full story here.

There will be one turbine per 15 people in Melancthon if Chinese-owned Dufferin Power gets its way

Orangeville Banner

Melancthon Mayor Bill Hill is urging Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne to step up and address what he labels the “seriously flawed” powers of the Green Energy Act (GEA).
    It’s no secret Melancthon council and Dufferin Wind Power Inc., which received approval to operate a 99 MW wind farm in the township and construct a 230 kV transmission line to Amaranth, have a less than amicable relationship.
    With Dufferin Wind filing for expropriation, taking the township to court over the storage of wind turbines, and recently applying to have the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) institute a road use agreement, the township has reached a breaking point, Hill said.
    “People are incensed by the bullying tactics employed by Dufferin Wind Power Inc.,” Hill wrote in his letter sent to Wynne on Tuesday (Aug. 13).
    “The reason they can act that way is because of the flawed Green Energy Act that allows them to steam roll over municipalities and individuals.”
    At nearly every turn, Hill contends the Chinese-owned wind power developer has brought the GEA hammer down to get whatever it wants. The mayor is now urging the premier to “intervene” into the situation.
    “It does appear your government has chosen to favour foreign owned wind farm developers, over the interest and livelihood of Ontario farmers,” Hill said. “It is imperative that further charges are made.”

Environmental Review Tribunal decision appealed

It was to be expected, we suppose, that the decision to revoke the approval of the wind power project at Ostrander Point in Ontario’s Prince Edward County would be appealed. Three parties are weighing in: the Ontario government in a bizarre move of appealing a decision made by another government body, the wind power developer, and community group (and WCO member) Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County.

Here is a report from Garth Manning, QC,  of CCSAGE:

Right at the August 2nd deadline, three appeals were launched against the recent decisions of the Environmental Review Tribunal relating to Ostrander Point. The first two were by Ostrander Point Wind Energy LP (alias Gilead Power) and the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) respectively against the Tribunal’s decision, sought by Prince Edward County Field Naturalists (PECFN), to disallow 9 wind turbines on the grounds of serious and irreversible harm to Blanding’s Turtles, an endangered species. The third, by the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County (APPEC) appeals the Tribunal’s decision dismissing APPEC’s claim that the turbines would cause serious harm to human health.
   Dealing with them in reverse order, the APPEC appeal was to be expected, given the evidence provided by several witnesses, described as “credible” by the Tribunal, of serious health problems suffered in close proximity to existing Ontario wind factories and the linking of those problems to the operation of turbines by outstanding medical experts.
   The appeal by Gilead Power was also to be expected; it has invested considerable time and resources on its own behalf and for its major investor to secure an above average, Ontario Government (read taxpayer) guaranteed, return over a minimum 20 year period and can afford to retain one of the largest and most expensive of Canadian law firms. If its appeal is successful, it is claiming costs from PECFN, a small not-for-profit which totally depends on the generosity mostly of individual County residents.
   The appeal by MOE could not likely have occurred without approval from the Ontario government of which it is a part, specifically of the Cabinet which includes the Premier. It is unlikely that any Ministry or Minister would act on its or his/her own initiative without such approval on a matter of major delicacy and importance. The only implications to be drawn seem to be that the Premier’s efforts to distance herself from her predecessor and her assurances of more cordial relations and cooperation with rural municipalities on Green Energy Act matters are spent. And let us not forget that the salaries of the MOE lawyers are paid by many of those very taxpayers in opposition to MOE’s position.
   There are other troubling aspects about Ostrander Point. The Tribunal was not allowed to hear evidence about the devastating cumulative effects on one of Canada’s major flyways which has existed for millennia from turbines existing or planned on Wolfe Island, Amherst Island, Prince Edward County and the mainland to the east, and offshore when the moratorium is lifted. Nor has the Ministry of Natural Resources, the owner of Ostrander Point in trust for Ontario residents, disclosed exactly how much payment it will receive each year from Gilead for each of the nine turbines. And is there not a conflict of interest in one Ministry issuing a permit to Gilead to erect turbines which would facilitate the receipt by a sister Ministry of such payments? And then exacerbating the initial conflict by appealing?
   In the world of the Green Energy Act, democracy is paid but lip service. The only prospective ray of light at the moment is that the appeals are to the Divisional Court of the Superior Court of Ontario on alleged “points of law”. Superior Court judges are of a high calibre, federally appointed and completely independent.
   If ever PECFN and APPEC needed our help, it is now. Go to their websites to see how we can all step up to the plate.  Their websites are www.saveostranderpoint.org and www.appec.ca .

Garth Manning
Chair, CCSAGE
Wellington