From Blackburn News, the views of one landowner in Huron County, who does not want the County to declare itself Not A Willing Host.
Woman Wants Huron To Be A Willing Host
By Bob Montgomery on November 7, 2013
A woman from Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh is asking Huron County councilors not to declare the county an unwilling host to wind turbines.
Jennifer Miltenburg has a contract for a turbine on her property and has six voting adults in her household who support that contract. She says if that is extended to all of the people who hold contracts, there is likely at least as much support as their is opposition for wind turbines.
She also objects to the suggestion that the unwilling host declaration is just a symbolic gesture. Miltenburg explained that councilors are supposed to reflect the feelings of their constituents, and if they don’t have the support of all of their constituents, then it’s not a symbolic gesture.
Huron County Council will bring the matter up for further discussion at one of this month’s committee of the whole meetings.
Here from The Independent, is the responses received by the newspaper to a set of questions put to Ontario Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli, on the new procurement process for large-scale wind power projects. The announcement of the new process has been delayed.
Editor’s note: The Independent recently requested an interview with Ontario Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli about the concerns about industrial wind turbines. We submitted five questions and here are the unedited responses forwarded by the minister’s office.
When will the province outline how it will handle FIT program?
The Large Feed-in Tariff (FIT) program is being replaced with a new competitive procurement process for renewable energy projects. We asked the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) to develop a new competitive procurement process for future renewable energy projects larger than 500 kW, which will take into account local needs and considerations before contracts are offered.
The OPA has engaged with the public, municipalities, Aboriginal communities and other stakeholders to help inform the identification of appropriate locations and siting requirements for future renewable energy projects. The OPA has reported back to the government with interim recommendations and additional engagement activities will occur later this year.
We need to make sure our approach is balanced and considers the views of local communities while ensuring the long-term sustainability of Ontario’s electricity system. We expect to have more information on this once the province has updated its Long-Term Energy Plan later this year.
Is it deliberately ignoring those opposed to wind energy projects?
We’re moving forward with renewable energy in a balanced (way). We listened very extensively to the public and we’re changing the way we procure renewable energy projects to respond to community concerns while continuing to encourage a strong renewable energy sector in this province.
Will the government return planning authority to municipalities on Green projects?
The Ontario government is making key changes to increase local control over the siting of renewable energy projects. As a former Mayor and Regional Chair, I understand how important it is for communities to be involved in decision making from the beginning.
Our government wants to ensure that future renewable energy projects will be built in the right place at the right time. That’s why we are replacing the current Feed-in-Tariff program for large renewable energy projects with a competitive bidding process, tailored to the needs of communities. Potential developers will need to work directly with municipalities to determine appropriate locations and site requirements for any future large renewable energy project.
Our government will also provide up to $90,000 for municipalities to develop Municipal Energy Plans. These plans will help municipalities better integrate energy, infrastructure, growth and land use planning to support economic development, increase conservation and identify energy opportunities.
Finally, we’ll work with municipalities to determine a property tax rate increase for wind turbine towers.
If municipalities declare themselves “Not Willing Hosts” is it a guarantee there will not be wind energy projects in their municipalities in the future?
Recent changes will ensure that municipalities have more say over renewable energy projects. Through the priority points system municipalities will have increased influence over the siting of projects through the prioritization of applications that have demonstrated municipal support. Developers that work closely with municipalities and have broader support will receive points during the application process, helping those projects move forward. During the recent round of Small FIT contract awards, over 98 percent of the successful applications received municipal council support resolutions.
These recent changes also gives municipalities more tools and enables them to participate directly in the FIT program
Municipal energy plans will give municipalities a much stronger role in identifying local energy needs and opportunities. Municipal Energy Plans are comprehensive strategies to align infrastructure, energy and land use planning.
The competitive procurement process will ensure that renewable energy developers work directly with municipalities, before contracts are awarded, and that large renewable energy generation is targeted regionally, based on system needs. This process will better integrate renewable energy into our communities and economy, encouraging growth in the renewable energy sector and respecting communities.
Will there be a moratorium on the [wind] current projects until the two-year federal health effects study is complete as many municipalities have asked?
The government is committed to protecting the health of residents in communities that are home to renewable energy projects. We have taken a cautious approach when setting standards for wind turbine setbacks and noise limits to protect Ontarians.
Large-scale wind energy projects in Ontario are subject to the Renewable Energy Approval (REA) regulation, which includes minimum setbacks for wind energy projects, and minimum requirements for environmental studies and community consultation activities. Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Arlene King undertook a review of the potential health effects of wind turbines. Her 2010 report stated that there is no scientific evidence to date to support claims that wind turbine noise cause adverse health effects.
The Ministry of the Environment continues to review emerging scientific, health, acoustics and engineering studies to ensure Ontario’s REA regulation remains in line with the latest and best in science. The ministry also continues to support further research by funding, through an agreement with the Council of Ontario Universities, a Research Chair for the ongoing study of Renewable Energy Technologies and Health.
Translation: if we decide your community is getting a wind power project, you’re getting a wind power project. You can have “say” but the word “no” will not be allowed.
Obviously, at the time some person in the communications warren answered The Independent’s question, the results of the Renewable Energy Technologies and Health were not known—it will be very interesting now to see what the Minister does with that, keeping up as he is with the “latest and best in science.”
See also the blog Smithville Turbine Opposition Party for more comment. http://smithvilleturbinesoppositionparty.ca/news/energy-minister-bob-chiarelli-answers-turbine-questions/
|Signing petitions and donating to the cause|
North Gower-Richmond (Ottawa), October 26–Hundreds of residents jammed into the largest hall in the Recreation Centre in North Gower today, to listen to speakers and sign petitions to declare the community Not a Willing Host to a proposed wind power project.
The 20-megawatt project is on hold, waiting for Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli to announce the new “procurement” process and application procedure for large-scale renewable power generation projects, which is expected to happen in January, 2014. The wind power developer Prowind, based in Germany,already told The Ottawa Citizen it intends to reapply for the subsidy program, and that it would work to make local residents “comfortable” with the project.
But the citizens looked anything but comfortable Saturday as they lined up to sign a petition to go to the City of Ottawa demanding to be declared Not a Willing Host.
Ottawa Wind Concerns chair Jane Wilson said that the $20-million project has the potential to erase as much as $124 million in property values for the area, and is far too close to too many homes.
MP Pierre Poilievre, who earlier this year demanded in the House of Commons that Ontario place a moratorium on the power plant until the Health Canada study results were out, in 2015, says that cancelling wind power projects will actually save Ontario taxpayers money.
Lisa MacLeod, who is the PC MPP for the riding and also the PC energy critic, lambasted the Ontario Liberal government for inflicting giant wind power projects on Ontario communities without giving them any recourse, and for the impact on the Ontario taxpayers who have to pay for the billions in subsidies to expensive wind power that is produced out of phase with demand.She was in Strathroy last weekend for a Not a Willing Host demonstration that closed Highway 402, she said. “That was a peaceful demonstration that showed how angry the people of Ontario are.”
MacLeod also made reference to the University of Waterloo study on health impacts and wind turbine noise and vibration. Results ere showcased last week in a poster presentation at a symposium in Toronto, and showed a positive link between turbine noise and sleep deprivation, vertigo and tinnitus. “You can bet that Kathleen Wynne and her government won’t be organizing photo ops for that research,” she quipped.
Organizers have several hundred signatures on the petition already and will carry out a petition drive with volunteer canvassers and a special “voting day” over the next few weeks.
“We are not only Not a Willing Host, said Wilson, “we are not willing to be a hostage to huge, subsidy-seeking wind power developers.”
West Elgin debated a Not a Willing Host motion today, and became Ontario municipality number 73.
The Not a Willing Host communities are those that have declared via a motion or resolution that they are not willing to host industrial-scale wind power generation facilities, referring to remarks made by both Premier Kathleen Wynne and Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli that the government will not force power projects on communities that don’t want them.
Here from law firm McCarthy Tetrault (which is among the large law firms acting for the wind power industry) opines on what the new procurement process for “large” renewable power projects might feature. What it doesn’t include, of course, is a means by which communities can say a power project is not appropriate for it. Instead, the Ontario Power Authority will “continue to reflect government policy.”
Here is the article:
Ontario’s new procurement process for large renewable energy projects
Retrofitting Ontario’s FIT Program
In June 2013, we highlighted some important changes by the Ontario Power Authority (“OPA”) to Ontario’s renewable energy procurement program for microFIT, Small FIT, Large FIT as well as Contract Capacity Set-Asides.
Perhaps the most significant of these changes for renewable energy project developers was the removal of Large FIT projects (over 500 kilowatts) from the OPA’s Feed-In Tariff (“FIT”) Program. Pursuant to a Directive from the province’s Ministry of Energy, the OPA was directed to replace Large FIT Projects with a new competitive procurement process to be developed based on feedback from municipalities, Aboriginal communities, industry associations, the general public and other energy stakeholders.
On August 30, 2013, the OPA delivered its initial report and recommendations to the Minister of Energy based on this stakeholder feedback. Though the report does not discuss recommendations for identifying the quantity or types of renewable generation facilities that may be required, it does reveal a few important details of what a possible procurement process for large renewable energy projects in Ontario might look like. In particular, the OPA recommends:
- Continuing the “Request for Proposals” (“RFP”) model with a bidder pre-qualification process and project bid price as key RFP evaluation factors;
- Taking into account proponent experience and financial capability;
- Building on the recent consultation process by requiring community engagement sessions and council deputations during the RFP phase;
- Providing greater municipal control over land use and siting, with the OPA continuing “to reflect government policy priorities and set baseline land use”; and
- Adopting “minimum community acceptance criteria”, which extend beyond environmental or regulatory requirements to instead focus on acceptable standards for a project in a community.
The commencement and the exact content of the renewable procurement process for large renewable energy projects will be issued via a Minister’s Directive at a later date following completion of the province’s Long-Term Energy Plan review (which is slated for release later this month).
Here from today’s Sunmedia papers is a story on the planned Food Bank donation effort and rally, October 19, in southwestern Ontario. The rally is being organized by residents of Middlesex, Lambton Shores, Plympton Wyoming and Bluewater.
Anti-turbine activists taking protest to Hwy. 402 for mass rally Saturday 18
The road to Ontario’s wind turbine industry — heralded by many, hated by others — goes through Southwestern Ontario.
Now, anti-turbine activists plan to grind traffic to a halt on a stretch of one of the region’s busiest highways, Hwy. 402, with a mass rally next Saturday as they ratchet up their protest against Ontario’s growing number of wind farms.
“We can’t take this anymore — we won’t take this anymore,” vowed Esther Wrightman, an anti-turbine activist and member of the Middlesex-Lambton Wind Action Group.
Organizers are asking people to bring their tractors, pickup trucks, front-end loaders and signs to the protest that’s expected to start in the morning at the 402’s Forest on-ramp and continue to Strathroy.
Protesters are working with the OPP to ensure the rally is carried out safely, said Jane Wilson, president of Wind Concerns Ontario, an umbrella group for those opposed to wind turbines.
The protest will snake through an area of Lambton County slated for wind farm development, the heart of a region that’s become Ground Zero in the wind battle in Ontario. Many of Ontario’s industrial wind turbines are located in Southwestern Ontario, the rapid growth of which — and lack of local control over where they can be built — helped cost the ruling Ontario Liberals seats in the region in the 2011 election.
Since then, nearly one in five Ontario municipalities — including dozens in the Southwest — has joined a list of so-called “unwilling hosts” for the energy mega-projects.
The Liberals have ignored the growing ranks of unwilling communities, said Enniskillen Township Mayor Kevin Marriott, who led the charge behind the unwilling host movement.
“If they don’t soon recognize that, I think they’re making a huge mistake,” he said.
“It’s like they have blinders on and they want to hope that it goes away.”
The protest is symbolic of the frustration people feel, said Wilson.
“In the last five business days, three more big wind projects have been approved . . . They (the provincial government) are saying one thing and doing another.”
Conservative MPPs Lisa Thompson, Monte McNaughton and Lisa McLeod are expected to speak once the rally reaches Strathroy.
A series of new large-scale wind farms are scheduled to be operational in Southwestern Ontario by the winter of 2015, including the 40-megawatt Adelaide Wind Project, South Kent Wind Project (270 MW), Grand Bend Wind Farm (100 MW), Cedar Point Wind Farm (100 MW), Goshen Wind Energy Centre (102 MW), Jericho Wind Energy Centre (150 MW), and the K2 Wind Project (270 MW).
– With files by Kelly Pedro, QMI Agency
The residents of Middlesex, Lambton Shores, Plympton Wyoming and Bluewater are asking for donations to the local Food Bank, and for a demonstration of support at a special rally, next Saturday, October 19. Here is the notice:
Armow Wind Project Approved
click to open MP3 version
Kincardine councillors found out about it, just before Wednesday’s meeting and some are not happy.
Samsung Renewable Energy and Pattern Renewable Holdings, developers of the Armow Wind Project, got the green light late Wednesday afternoon from the Ontario Environment ministry.
The approval allows the project to consist of 92 industrial turbines which is a reduction from the 98 they had planned.
Mayor Larry Kraemer says personally, he’s not really for or against the turbines but he knows there will be controversy over the provincial decision but realistically, it wasn’t unexpected.
Kraemer says the municipality will now work closely with the Armow people to make sure Kincardine’s wind development policies are adhered to and that both sides honour the spirit of the agreement.
Kincardine councillor Jacqueline Faubert was not so diplomatic in her reaction calling it a sad day that has left her depressed and angry.
Faubert says the provincial government defends its billion-dollar move of two gas-fired electricity plants because they didn’t want to put them in a community that would not welcome them.
Yet Kincardine and Bruce County have declared themselves unwilling hosts to industrial turbines but the developments continue.
There’s been no comment from the wind farm developer but last August the company indicated that if approval came in the Fall, they’d like to start construction of the turbines next year.
Under terms of the approval, Armow has three-years to construct the turbines, many of which will be located near the Kincardine Airport, which has created controversy in the past.
More grief for Ontario’s rural communities, Ontario taxpayers and ratepayers: the 180MW Arnow wind power project was approved today.
Responses to comments and more details on the EBR here.