Ontario wind power contract process trounces democracy

No one is forced to have wind turbines on their land; communities shouldn’t be, either.

Ontario Farmer, May 17, 2016

By Jane Wilson and Warren Howard

Recently, a Mitchell, Ont. resident wrote to Ontario Farmer saying that the wind turbine siting process seems fair to him: “no one [has been] forced to have a wind turbine.”

We beg to differ: with almost 2,600 industrial-scale wind turbines now operating or under construction, the fact is thousands of Ontario residents have been forced to live with wind turbines, without any effective say in the matter.

The decision to host wind turbines should not rest with the few individuals who lease land for the project, but also with the entire community; many people can be affected by this decision.

The Green Energy Act of 2009 removed local land-use planning for wind power projects, at the same time as it overrode 21 pieces of democratically passed pieces of legislation, including the Planning Act, the Heritage Act, the Environmental Bill of Rights — even the Places to Grow Old Act.

Can’t say NO

The result is a process in which citizens and their elected governments now have no “say” whatsoever. Ontario Minister of Energy Bob Chiarelli said this past March that it would be “virtually impossible” for a power developer to get a contract in a community that did not support turbines, but that’s exactly what happened.

It's 'impossible' to get a wind power contract without community support, Minister Chiarelli said. Turns out, it wasn't.
It’s ‘impossible’ to get a wind power contract without community support, Minister Chiarelli said. Turns out, it wasn’t.

Even a community that held a formal referendum, in which 84 per cent of residents said “no” to wind power, is now being forced to have turbines.

Compare this to the procedures for other forms of development: they are relatively open, in which the community is presented with detailed information and opportunities to comment on the type and scope of development proposed.

The opposite is true for industrial-scale wind power projects. Municipalities are asked for support with very little information on environmental, economic, or social impacts. In some cases, where the developer has determined formal municipal support is unlikely, the company simply files a document saying it “tried” to get municipal support but failed — the truth is, municipalities will meet with anyone. Failure to meet on such an important project should be a red flag to contracting authorities about the nature of the development and the degree of opposition to it.

The public information meetings held by developers often occur after municipal support is requested. A paper produced by a team of academics published this year termed these meetings “dog-and-pony shows” which is an indication of how much real information is offered.

Municipal support must be mandatory

Wind Concerns Ontario submitted a series of recommendations to the Independent Electricity Systems Operator (IESO) on the contracting process, which included: a requirement that all documents related to the project should be released prior to any public meeting or municipal consultation; the precise location of turbines must be revealed as well as a broader set of site considerations; there must be a process through which municipal government, community groups and individuals can comment on these documents and their accuracy; and last, municipal support must be a mandatory requirement of any contract bid.

It may be true as the letter writer suggests: no one is forced to have a turbine on their own property, but communities and neighbours should not be forced to have them either.

Before people sign for lease turbines, they need to talk to their neighbours (because the whole community will be affected by the decision to lease) and learn from the experiences in other communities where turbines are operating. They may discover that the small lease payments offered are not worth the impact on the community, and on their friends and neighbours.

The fact is, wind turbines result in high impact on communities for very little benefit. The Ontario government needs to respect the right of Ontario citizens to make decisions on wind power developments for themselves.

Jane Wilson is president of Wind Concerns Ontario. Warren Howard is a former municipal councillor for North Perth.

 

NoMeansNo_FB (2)

No autonomy for Ontario communities with Wynne government wind power push: Dutton Dunwich mayor

Cameron McWilliam sets the record straight on why Dutton Dunwich residents didn’t deserve a wind power contract … and why another community should not be responsible for that happening.

84% of Dutton-Dunwich citizens said NO to proposed wind farm. They got one anyway.
84% of Dutton-Dunwich citizens said NO to proposed wind farm. They got one anyway. Why does another Ontario community get to make that happen?

London Free Press, May 13, 2016

I want to be certain the nature of my concern with regard to the awarding of the industrial wind turbine project in my community, the Municipality of Dutton Dunwich, is understood.

As the mayor of Dutton Dunwich, it is my responsibility to represent the citizens in my community. We spent the time and resources to survey the entire community about IWTs and asked for responses from every adult. Eighty-four per cent of the 1,503 who responded stated they were not in favour of having wind turbines. Our total adult population is 3,020. Based on this response, council stated it was not in favour of an IWT project coming to Dutton Dunwich.

Council and staff took action and had community meetings and requested delegations with the Minister of Energy. We were granted several delegations, both with the minister of energy as well as the parliamentary assistant to the minister. We prepared briefs and presented them. Each of these stated we did not want this project.

Nevertheless, on March 10, we learned that IESO had decided to award an American wind development company, Invenergy, a contract for an IWT project in Dutton Dunwich.

This is very disappointing news. It can never be good news to see the people you represent have no say and no power as it relates to the land they live on and decisions about what happens in their community.

I realize a small number of landowners did sign options to lease with the wind company, but this pales in comparison to the number of citizens who voiced opposition to this project.

I appreciate the work Geordi Kakepetum, chief executive of NCC Development, identified in his April 30 column, Northern natives have wind energy expertise, with regard to seeking solutions to challenges faced by his communities, such as replacing diesel fuel use with more sustainable sources of electricity like solar. In fact, I applaud his ingenuity, intelligence and business acumen, as well as that of NCC Development and the First Nations communities involved.

I also celebrate the fact he and the other decision-makers in these communities will be able to choose where to spend revenue and savings from these investments on important community priorities. This is a good example of communities having voice and autonomy. Any community looking after its vital needs is to be commended. It is no wonder he is proud.

On the other hand, I do not accept the gain in power Kakepetum speaks of should be at the expense of the citizens of Dutton Dunwich.

There are a number of communities that stated they were willing to host IWT projects, yet their applications were not successful. Given the provincial government’s statements with regard to taking communities’ preferences into account regarding the location of IWT projects, I am left deeply disappointed for my community.

None of the benefits highlighted by Kakepetum make up for the fact the citizens did not want the project.

My community is now divided. The calculations of revenue to be received by this project seem to vary widely, depending on who reports them.

We calculate a tax revenue vastly different. The construction and rezoning of farmland results in an assessed value of approximately $100,000 per IWT. Based on the 2016 industrial tax rate, and assuming annual increases of three per cent over 20 years, the proposed 20 industrial wind turbines would provide about $1 million in property tax from the province through Chicago-based Invenergy to the Municipality of Dutton Dunwich. Annually this would be $50,000 on average to Dutton Dunwich. Over this same period, the County of Elgin would receive about $740,000 in property taxes and the province would collect about $830,000 for education purposes. The aggregate property tax collected by all three levels would be about $2.5 million. This is significantly less than the $4 million estimated for Dutton Dunwich tax revenue alone.

Regardless, no financial incentive will make those opposed to the turbines feel better about their loss of autonomy and concern for their community.

In conclusion, I regret that the voices of the people of Dutton Dunwich were disregarded by the province for this important decision, which has significant implications for the life of our community.

 

Rural councillors demand more say in wind power contract bids

No way for citizens to express concern in current process, Ottawa councilor says

3-MW wind turbine and house near Brinston, south of Ottawa. No way to express concern. [Photo: Ray Pilon, Ottawa]
3-MW wind turbine and house near Brinston, south of Ottawa. No way to express concern. [Photo: Ray Pilon, Ottawa]
CBC News, may 5, 2016

As the Ontario government prepares to open a second, more ambitious round of bidding on large-scale renewable energy projects across the province, some Ottawa city councillors want more local control over where wind farms go.

“There’s no way for a municipality to express concerns about location, or if and when these projects would happen in our municipalities,” said Scott Moffatt, who represents the rural ward of Rideau-Goulbourn.

In March Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator awarded contracts to 16 renewable energy projects, three quarters of which had support from the local municipality, the government said at the time.

Five of the contracts were awarded to wind projects, including the 100-megawatt Nation Rise Wind Farm in North Stormont Township, a municipality which had previously declared itself an “unwilling host” to wind farms.

A motion approved Thursday by councillors on Ottawa’s agriculture and rural affairs committee urges the province to strengthen legislation to require municipal buy-in before contracts are awarded.

Communities want a voice, councillor says

Moffatt said communities want a voice in the planning process.

“This isn’t just for Ottawa. We’ve had this issue in the past in Ottawa, specifically in North Gower, but you look at Nation, you look at South Dundas and Brinston,” said Moffatt, describing proposed wind farm locations.

“Are those municipalities able to respond adequately or is the IESO just going to run roughshod over them? That’s the concern.”

In an email, a spokesperson for Ontario’s Energy Ministry said the government is proud of the 75 per cent support rate from municipalities for its first round of contract offers, and noted 60 per cent of neighbouring landowners also supported them.

“By putting emphasis on price and community support, we believe the right balance has been struck in early community engagement and reduced prices for consumers through the procurement process for renewable energy projects,” wrote the spokesperson.

930 megawatts sought in 2nd round

The IESO is gathering feedback on its first competition, and could use that information to fine-tune the process the second time around.

The Ontario government intends to issue a request for qualifications by August for projects that can generate a total of 930 megawatts of renewable energy, two thirds of which will go to wind farms.

That’s more than twice the size of the initial contract offer.

The ministry’s ultimate goal is to have 10,700 megawatts of wind-, solar-, and bioenergy-powered projects feeding the grid by 2021.

Municipal support must be mandatory for wind power contract bids, says WCO

Communities have valid reasons for objecting to huge power projects but government is not listening [Photo: Prince Edward County]
Communities have valid reasons for objecting to wind power projects. Government is not listening [Photo: Prince Edward County]
May 4, 2016

Wind Concerns Ontario submitted a series of recommendations to the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) as part of the “engagement” process on the Large Renewable Procurement (LRP) process on May 3rd.

In a letter to IESO CEO Bruce Campbell, WCO president Jane Wilson wrote:

WCO has been involved supporting individuals and community groups dealing with wind turbines imposed on communities since before the Green Energy Act was enacted. We saw the government’s commitment in 2012 that it would only place wind turbines in communities willing to host them as a positive first step toward addressing the concerns of rural Ontario.  The results from the RFP I process, however, made a complete mockery of this policy. The Minister of Energy stated as recently as March 7 that it would be “virtually impossible” for a contract to be awarded without municipal support.  Yet, three of the five successful bids for wind turbine contracts in LRP I were awarded to municipalities that did not support the project.

The wind power contracting process shows no respect for Ontario citizens and communities, Wilson said.

The key issue is: neither the government nor participants in the procurement process have listened to valid community concerns or displayed any learning from problems created by the existing projects. Most people in rural Ontario seem to know more about the impact of wind turbines (economic, environmental, societal) than the people proposing projects, who continue to use outdated and limited information to support their proposals.  Far from streamlining the process, the Green Energy and Economy Act has created a confrontational environment.  Based on local activities such as municipal resolutions, public demonstrations and media stories, it is clear this situation is not going to change until provincial government agencies deal seriously with the problems that have been created by wind turbine projects to date.

WCO recommendations: let communities choose

The recommendations to change the RFQ and RFP process as well as the generic contract are driven by four objectives.

  • Activities within the process need to be consistent with the high levels of openness and transparency that the provincial government expects of agencies and municipalities.
  • Full disclosure of project information is needed to allow the community to provide meaningful feedback.
  • Mechanisms need to be included within the process to measure the responsiveness of proponents to input from the community.
  • The process needs to place value on and respect for community views on proposed projects.

Among the recommendations was the need for municipal support to be mandatory. “More than 90 municipalities have declared themselves ‘unwilling hosts’ to wind power projects,” says president Jane Wilson. “They have good reasons for that. But this government has no respect for Ontario citizens and their elected governments, who want to plan what is appropriate and sustainable for their own community.”

 

Highlights of WCO Recommendations:

Qualification of bidders

Failure to deliver past projects on time should result in disqualification of bidders

Inappropriate behaviours or actions such as clearing land that is habitat for endangered species while a project is still under appeal, should result in disqualification as a bidder

The qualifications of proponent team members should be evaluated: “experts” in noise and health impacts for example, should have appropriate training/education and proper professional credentials

 

Community engagement

“Engagement” should not be confused with “support”

Public meetings should be more accessible and greater in number, and take place before a municipality is called upon to determine whether it supports a wind power project bid

Communities need much more detail about projects than they were given under FIT or LRP I

Proponents should disclose and have available the full range of documentation on impacts of the proposal including impacts due to environmental noise (potential for adverse health effects), and effect on property value as well as other economic considerations (e.g., airport operations, tourism)

Municipal support must be a mandatory requirement in contract bids

Proponent engagement with Aboriginal communities should be subject to the same disclosure requirements as for other communities

Site considerations

IESO needs to do an independent technical review of proponent submissions

Municipal support

Full documentation should be provided to municipalities prior to bid submission, so that local governments can review the information and comment as to completeness and accuracy

Again, a resolution of support from a municipality must be a mandatory requirement for a bid in the RFP process

contact@windconcernsontario.ca

 

No means NO, London-area municipality tells Wynne government

Community ‘engagement’ just means meetings, says Dutton Dunwich mayor: municipal support of wind power bids should be mandatory requirement for bids

84% of Dutton-Dunwich citizens said NO to proposed wind farm. They got one anyway.
84% of Dutton-Dunwich citizens said NO to proposed wind farm. They got one anyway.

London Free Press, April 28, 2016

By Deborah van Brenk

An Elgin County community that stands to gain a wind farm it doesn’t want has told regulators they should count native endorsement of a project only if the bands have claims near the planned site.

Dutton Dunwich says any future renewable-energy rules should also require municipal support before any contract can be awarded.

Still steamed by a 20-turbine project awarded to Chicago-based Invenergy this month, Dutton Dunwich wants the province to do more than just tweak rules for Large Renewable Procurement (LRP) for wind, solar and water power. The Independent Electricity Systems Operator has asked for corporate and municipal feedback for the next two LRP rounds.

Under current rules, a company needs to prove it has engaged the community if it wants to win a contract. But that doesn’t mean what Dutton Dunwich thought it meant. “They talk about community engagement. All that means is public meetings,” said Mayor Cameron McWilliams.

His council has unanimously passed a resolution saying a municipality’s no should mean no and only a municipal ‘yes’ can place a project in the running.

In Dutton Dunwich, in a referendum answered by 56 per cent of voting-aged residents, 84 per cent said they didn’t want turbines.

NCC Developments — a green-energy partnership among six Northern First Nations groups — has a 10% ownership interest in the Invenergy Strong Breeze project in Dutton Dunwich.

In a letter to The Free Press NCC chief executive officer Geordi Kakepetum said the proximity of native partners should have no bearing on a project’s value.

NCC’s revenue from this project will help First Nations develop remote solar microgrids and reduce dependence on diesel, it says.

Dutton Dunwich also wants to know why some projects were selected and others rejected. “As elected officials, we are supposed to be transparent . . . but it doesn’t seem to work at a provincial level,” McWilliams said.

The six northern First Nations are hundreds of kilometres northwest of Dutton Dunwich.

But there is precedent for green-energy contracts with aboriginal support far from where the power would be generated: A solar project in Ryerson Twp west of Algonquin Park is backed by Missanabie Cree First Nation near Sault Ste. Marie; a hydro-electric project on the Trenton Locks near Belleville has backing from Dokis First Nation west of North Bay; and Invenergy’s solar contract at Lake Simcoe Airport also has support from the NCC in Ontario’s northwest.

NCC says Dutton Dunwich should be proud to be part of the greening of Ontario.

And, it notes, Dutton Dunwich will see economic benefit from the $150-million development: 150 construction jobs, plus local suppliers providing many of the materials; and tax revenue in excess of $4 million during the 20 years of the contract.

McWilliams said the province limits tax assessments of turbines to about one-fiftieth of their actual value. “I’m not disputing there’s some tax revenue but it’s not significant.”

Neighbouring Malahide Township offered to be a host site to turbines but the bidder there was unsuccessful. …

Read the full story here.

NO wind turbines: Ontario municipality tells Wynne government (again)

…because the government clearly doesn’t get that No means NO.

Lucknow-Sentinel, April 28, 2016

IESO’s designation of Huron-Kinloss as potential host for green energy projects forces township to reaffirm its no wind turbine stance

IESO map of power development capacity for LRP II
IESO map of power development capacity for LRP II

The Township of Huron-Kinloss has reaffirmed its stance as an unwilling host for wind turbines.

The decision was made during the April 18, 2016 council meeting, following notification of Huron-Kinloss’ designation as a potential site for future projects by Ontario’s electricity market regulator, the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO).

During the regular council meeting Monday night, Huron-Kinloss was informed that the IESO had designated the municipality, along with all of Bruce and Huron counties, as ‘Low Area Capability’ for large-scale renewable projects.

It had previously been labeled a ‘No Area Capability’ by the IESO. The change in designation was mentioned by the regulator as part of an April 12 webinar concerning the second phase of its competitive process to find locations for a total of 930 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy sources.

The change in designation was brought to the attention of Huron-Kinloss through a motion by the Multi-Municipal Wind Turbine Working Group (MMWTWG) to support its demand that the IESO necessitate municipal approval and involvement in the selection process.

“We’re low, but we were right out of that,” said Deputy Mayor Wilfred Gamble during discussions on the motion. “… So that’s why [the MMWTWG] is recommending that we start screaming.”

The IESO is looking to contract upwards of 600 MW of wind capacity, or the equivalent of 300 2MW turbines. The Request for Qualification process will launch Aug. 1, according to the IESO website.

Huron-Kinloss has long been an opponent to wind turbines, passing a resolution in May of 2013 blatantly stating it is not a willing host for wind projects. Also, in 2011 it passed a motion prohibiting the municipality from issuing developers building permits, unless they adhere to Huron-Kinloss’ own wind turbine rules.

However, its declarations of being unwelcome to this green energy is of little use, said Mayor Mitch Twolan.

“We can say that we are not a willing host, but what does that mean at the end of the day? Nothing because the contracts are let out by the IESO,” Twolan said, following the council meeting. “We’ve always said we’re not a willing host. We passed that a long, long time ago, but the new map that came out, it changes all the time and we had no input into that. And it doesn’t matter that we passed that we’re a non-willing host, they can still put that in there.”

Generally motions passed by municipalities on the siting of turbines are symbolic, as the IESO is the ultimate arbiter under the Ontario Green Energy Act.

Chuck Farmer, the IESO director of stakeholder and public affairs, said the change in designation was to indicate that there is room on the transmission system for more projects and not a reflection of community or municipal support.

“I do understand their concern and I do want to stress that this is an assessment of transmission capabilities — so an assessment of the system ability and not a statement of any community stance,” Farmer said in a phone interview on April 27.

He said the redesignation occurred because previous projects slated for the area are now no longer moving forward, which freed up space on the system.

“That creates an indication there maybe room on the transmission system to connect some more projects in the area,” he said.

Farmer said he couldn’t elaborate on the disbanded wind projects previously set for the area.

The slide from the IESO presentation also states that the designation is the result of preliminary results and is subject to change.

As part of the second phase of its process, called the Large Renewable Procurement (LRP), to construct large-scale energy projects, the IESO is asking stakeholders, including municipalities, for opinions on how the project can be improved.

“Right now we are in the middle of collecting feedback and comments from people about the first LRP process,” said Mary Bernard, the IESO media relations manager.

With a IESO deadline for feedback of May 3 (which Bernard called a “soft deadline”), the motion was added to the agenda the day of the April 18 council meeting. Many councillors had not seen the motion prior to it being announced as new business during the meeting.

After having several minutes to read the motion and its accompanying powerpoint presentation by anti-wind turbine group Wind Concerns Ontario, council raised concern that …

 

Read the full story here.

Crusading mayor says he is game for a fight over wind power

Image result for free image boxing gloves

North Frontenac Mayor Ron Higgins told the audience for a noon-hour public affairs show yesterday that he is “game” for a fight against wind power projects … and he is gathering steam among other municipalities to “bring it on.”

Although North Frontenac missed a contract in the recent announcement by the IESO, he is under no illusion that his community, where the majority of residents are opposed to a wind power project, is safe.

“Those bids” will just roll over into the next round, he said, and his community is not only ready, they are striking out for change. Last week, North Frontenac Council passed a resolution asking the provincial government to make municipal support a mandatory requirement in the new bid process, not just a means to score higher in points for wind power developers.

In spite of declarations by more than 90 communities in Ontario that they were “Not A Willing Host” to the power projects, the Independent Electricity Systems Operator (IESO) awarded contracts to unwilling communities anyway.

Higgins’ issue is not only are community wishes overruled by the current process, the fact is wind power doesn’t live up to the hype. “It isn’t really ‘green’,” he said, citing studies which list concerns about the need for fossil-fuel back up and the possibility that greenhouse gas emissions actually increase with wind power.

The Ontario government never did any studies on cost-benefit analysis, Higgins said, echoing two Auditors General in Ontario, and the real impacts of industrial-scale wind power development are not known. But there are enough concerns about damage to the environment, health impacts due to the noise and vibration, and the alteration to North Frontenac’s scenic landscape to worry him.

“Here in North Frontenac,” he said, “we never take action without studying everything … the province didn’t do that.”

Listen to the interview on Rideau Lakes radio station Lake88 here: https://t.co/rfub3uVCyo

See the North Frontenac Resolution here

Communities to get “more input” to wind power siting decisions: Chiarelli

Rubbing salt in the wounds of the communities who just got notice of wind power contracts forced on them, despite unwilling host declarations, Energy Minister now says process will allow for input earlier in the process. (We’re still not hearing communities can say “No.”)

Just a little bit more "input"? But Bob still doesn't want to hear you say "no."
Just a little bit more “input”? But Bob still doesn’t want to hear you say “no.”

simcoe.com, March 28, 2016

By Jenni Dunning Barrie Examiner

Towns to have input ahead of solar, wind farm decisions

“There was a problem with particular large wind and solar farms. There was not enough of an alignment of what they were doing and what the municipalities wanted,” said Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli.

“We are in the process now… It involves much more communication with the municipality. It (will be) almost impossible for (contractors) to win a contract without having participation with a municipality.”

Chiarelli clarified that “participation” referred to approval from a municipality, adding all contractors will be required to show proof they consulted municipalities. One wind energy and 13 solar projects have been approved in Simcoe County, according to the provincial Renewable Energy Projects Listing.

The Clearview project is the only wind farm. There are five solar energy projects in Springwater Township (three of which are in Midhurst), four in Tay Township (three of which are in Waubaushene), three in Orillia, and one in Oro-Medonte.

Chiarelli said he expects the ministry to announce more projects “in a month or two.”

Springwater Township Mayor Bill French said he has noticed the province has slowly started asking municipalities for more input on solar and wind projects in the past year.

They have been asked to use a scoring system to rank their support for proposed projects, he said.

“We always thought there should be a final approval process at the municipal level. It should’ve always been that way,” he said. “We’re quite welcome to that change in legislation.”

French said the township has been concerned when “fairly good agricultural land” was chosen as the location for solar farms.

“The ones that are approved, you can’t turn back the clock on those ones,” he said, adding once municipalities are more involved, Springwater will likely approve energy projects in areas with steep slopes or on smaller properties.

“Multi-acre ones, that’s going to be much more of a challenge,” he said. “We have acres and acres of rooftops around. That’s where solar panels belong.”

Collingwood Mayor Sandra Cooper said she has heard the promise of more municipal involvement from Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne.

“I’m hopeful. I just have not seen it thus far,” she said. “Municipalities have been sending the message for quite some time — we need to be part of the process.”

Cooper and the rest of Collingwood council voted last month to legally oppose plans to build a wind farm with eight turbines west of Stayner, near the Collingwood Regional Airport. The town is concerned about the possibility of a plane hitting a turbine.

Cooper said the province made a “snap decision” to approve a wind farm despite of this possibility.

By allowing municipalities more say in the approval process, they can help stop decisions that may negatively affect residents, said Oro-Medonte Mayor Harry Hughes.

For example, a couple in the township built a home about five years ago that ended up being surrounded by a solar farm, he said.

“If municipalities had a say in it, that would never have happened,” he said. “Residents expect their municipal council to have some protection for their property.”

When municipalities are more involved, they can demand companies complete up-to-date soil testing to avoid solar projects taking up quality agricultural land, he added.

The province also does not require companies to repair local roads if damage is caused by solar or wind projects, but some have anyway in Oro-Medonte, said Hughes. …

Read the full story here.

Council seeks more clout in denying wind power projects

North Frontenac Council requests municipal support be a mandatory feature of the bid process, and ask other municipalities to support them

KIncardine area house w turbine

Kingston Whig-Standard, March 25, 2016

By Elliot Ferguson

PLEVNA — A municipal council opposed to wind energy projects is calling for the province to make local government support for such projects a mandatory requirement.

North Frontenac Township council, which last year declared itself an unwilling host to a pair of wind energy projects proposed for the area, passed a resolution asking the Independent Electricity Systems Operators (IESO) to change the way municipal council consideration is viewed in companies’ requests for proposal for the Large Renewable Procurement (LRP) program.

Under the current rules, municipal support for a renewable energy project strengthens a project proposal but is not needed to ensure a successful bid. Likewise, municipal opposition does not prevent a project from being approved.

The resolution called for the IESO to make a municipal support resolution a mandatory requirement rather than one of many rated criteria.

The resolution also called for municipal councils and communities to be given the full details about proposed projects before any support resolutions are considered.

“The current process does not meet the government’s standards for openness and transparency because municipal councils are asked to support power projects based on little or no detail,” the resolution stated.

“The province has not demonstrated that renewable energy projects are of sufficient strategic importance in meeting Ontario’s electricity generation requirements and/or carbon emission reduction targets to warrant the province taking action to override municipal decisions.”

The resolution from North Frontenac council came more than a week after the province announced the projects selected as part of the first round of the LRP program earlier this month.

North Frontenac Mayor Ron Higgins noted that four of the projects selected are to be located in municipalities where councils did not provide supporting resolutions to the companies.

On March 7, three days before the projects were announced, Ontario Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli said during a visit to Kingston that municipal support would be critical to the success of any project.

“It’s almost impossible [now] for a proponent to win a [wind or solar] contract without having some kind of agreement with the municipality,” Chiarelli said.

Higgins is calling for other municipalities in Ontario to …

Read the full story here.