April 17, 2018
Wind Concerns Ontario wrote a letter recently to the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, expressing concern about the planned investment in a portion of U.S.-based power developer NextEra portfolio in Ontario, namely four wind power projects and two solar power facilities.
“Our concern with this announcement stems from the fact that at present, there are dozens of unresolved official reports of excessive environmental noise emissions from the four wind power projects in the portfolio,” Wind Concerns Ontario president Jane Wilson wrote in the letter.
WCO also provided excerpts from documents received under the Freedom of Information request process, related to one of the wind power projects involved in the purchase.
“Many of the formal complaints involve staff records of health impacts from sleep disturbance or deprivation (a known factor in health problems such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stress, etc.) … we offer staff records (these are legal documents) pertaining to the NextEra Conestogo project.
“Staff notes in 2013: resident bothered, sleep disturbed for the family every day, headache, resident “had to stay out of the house all day due to operation of the [wind turbines”. (Master Incident Report 7145-93U9N3, which contains 30+ subordinate records and staff notes)
“And, Staff notes November 2015, noise from this project is an ‘ongoing issue.’ With regard to one specific complaint, the MOECC Provincial Officer wrote, “Subsequent to February of 2015 no resources have been made available for any additional after hour WTG [wind turbine] compliance monitoring/observation/measurements. Additionally, emission and imission audits required by the facility REA [Renewable Energy Approval] despite indicating compliance with the REA have been found to be incomplete at the time of submission. As no resources are available to confirm or deny an after hour WTG noise exceedance and EAB/EASIB have not rejected the above noted audit reports, Abatement Staff are left with no further options to address this complaint. As such: no further action on this IR.” (Source: Master Incident Report 6238-A3W75J)
WCO added that it was concerned the MOECC has not fulfilled its responsibilities as a regulator, as regards wind turbine noise.
Yesterday, Wind Concerns Ontario received a response from the CPP Investment Board Director of Industry and Stakeholder Affairs, Jeffrey Hodgson, who explained the Board’s decision.
“I do want to assure you that our singular objective is to achieve a maximum rate of return on our investments without undue risk of loss, securing the retirement of 20 million workers in Canada. CPPIB’s decisions are not influenced by government direction or any non-investment objectives.
When evaluating transactions such as this one, our organization engages professional advisors and undertakes thorough due diligence on elements including contracts and approvals. And as a long-term investor, we are committed to being a responsible steward of the assets in our portfolio in light of legal requirements, and environmental and safety guidelines.
Thank you again for sharing your perspective and providing us with an opportunity to respond.”
The purchase agreement must now go through a regulatory review by the federal government but if approved, the sale could close in the second quarter of 2018.