More Ontario municipalities demand municipal support be mandatory in wind power contract bids

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As of August 19, 2016, 86 Ontario municipalities have passed a motion or resolution at Council, demanding the Wynne government and the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) make municipal support a mandatory requirement for new wind power contract bids going forward.

Despite a surplus of electricity and the fact that Ontario ratepayers take losses weekly on sell-offs of extra power, while paying generators to “constrain” or, in the case of hydro and nuclear, to spill or steam off, the Ontario government still plans to proceed with a request for proposals for 600 megawatts of new contracts in 2017. The new contracts will cost Ontario electricity customer billions, at a time when bills have risen dramatically, and more than 8 percent of electricity customers have allowed their accounts to fall into arrears, according to a report recently released by the Ontario Energy Board.

Wind power aiming at the wrong thing

Ontario’s “green” energy program, now widely regarded as a failure, was brought in to benefit the environment, specifically air quality. Ontario’s new Environmental Commissioner Dianne Saxe has commented that the government has made a mistake—the true source of emissions is in the transportation sector.

Municipalities say that wind power projects have been a very invasive and high impact form of infrastructure on their communities: aside from the increasing electricity bills (which have social costs in terms of energy poverty, resulting in more visits to food banks and greater strain on social services), reports of noise, inaudible sound and health effects, and environmental impacts such as the deaths of birds and bats.

As a result, several passed resolutions to the effect that they want municipal support to be a necessity in successful wind power bids. As a City of Ottawa councilor put it, before Ontario’s second largest city passed its own resolution, the siting of power plants should be in line with municipalities’ own development plans. Moreover, truly successful sustainable development must have “buy-in” from the community — there are many serious concerns about wind power projects that warrant municipal control over siting … or whether a project goes ahead at all.

“This has been growing over the last several years,” says Wind Concerns Ontario president Jane Wilson. “Three years ago, the Association of Municipalities [AMO] met in Ottawa and we attended a special meeting on wind power. Sixty-three municipalities were represented that day, and I recall one mayor saying, ‘We’ve been beaten up pretty badly’ by government and the wind power corporations. Now, the municipalities want the land use planning powers removed by the Green Energy Act returned—it’s the fair and transparent thing for this government to do.”

A symposium was held prior to the recent AMO 2016 conference in Windsor, attended by municipal representatives, the IESO, and the Energy ministry. The IESO told the municipal officials that they were open to change but that they were “bound” by ministerial directive.

Asking Wynne to restore democracy to rural Ontario

“Democracy should be restored,” comments North Frontenac Mayor Ron Higgins, whose municipality faced proposals by two huge wind power developers in the last contract round and where a plebiscite revealed more than 80 percent of voters did not support the power projects. Environmental impact and property values were key concerns for the community. “I am hopeful the new Minister of Energy will meet with municipalities to discuss this,” he says.

While the 86 communities represents about 20 percent of all municipalities in Ontario, in fact it is the majority of municipalities that are vulnerable to wind power projects. The 86 span the province from east to west and include several in Ontario’s North. Several of the municipalities already have wind power projects operating—they have seen the complications first-hand, and have had enough.

See the list of communities here:

  1. Adelaide-Metcalfe, Middlesex County
  2. Alfred & Plantagenet, Prescott-Russell County
  3. Amaranth, Dufferin County
  4. Asphodel-Norwood. Peterborough County
  5. Algonquin Highlands, Haliburton County
  6. Armour, District of Parry Sound
  7. Arran-Elderslie, Bruce County
  8. Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh, Huron County
  9. Bayham, Elgin County
  10. Bluewater, Huron
  11. Brockton, Bruce
  12. Brooke-Alvinston, Lambton
  13. Bruce Mines, Algoma District
  14. Cavan-Monaghan, Peterborough
  15. Central Elgin, Elgin
  16. Central Huron, Huron
  17. Chamberlain, Timiskaming District
  18. Chatsworth, Grey County
  19. Clarington, Region of Durham
  20. Dutton-Dunwich, Elgin
  21. East Ferris, Nippissing District
  22. Elgin, County of
  23. Elizabeth-Kitley, Leeds and Grenville County
  24. Essex, Essex County
  25. Enniskillen, Lambton County
  26. Gananoque, Leeds and Grenville
  27. Georgian Bluffs, Grey
  28. Greater Madawaska, Renfrew County
  29. Greater Napanee, Lennox and Addington County
  30. Grey Highlands, Grey
  31. Hastings, County of
  32. Hastings Highlands, Hastings County
  33. Havelock-Belmont-Methuen, Peterborough
  34. Hawkesbury, Prescott-Russell
  35. Hornepayne, Algoma
  36. Howick, Huron
  37. Huron, County of
  38. Huron-Kinloss, Bruce
  39. Kawartha Lakes, City of
  40. Killarney, Sudbury District
  41. Kincardine, Bruce
  42. Lakeshore, Essex
  43. Lambton, County of
  44. LaSalle, Essex
  45. Laurentian Hills, Renfrew County
  46. Leeds and the Thousand Islands, Leeds and Grenville
  47. Lennox & Addington, County of
  48. Madawaska Valley, Renfrew
  49. Mapleton, Wellington
  50. Magnetawan, Parry Sound
  51. Marathon, Thunder Bay District
  52. McDougall, Parry Sound
  53. McNabb Braeside, Renfrew
  54. Meaford
  55. Merrickville-Wolford, Leeds and Grenville
  56. Newbury, Middlesex
  57. Mono, Dufferin County
  58. Morris-Turnberry, Huron
  59. Nairn and Hyman, Sudbury District
  60. North Frontenac, Frontenac County
  61. North Glengarry; Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry
  62. North Grenville, Leeds and Grenville
  63. North Perth, Perth
  64. North Stormont; Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry
  65. Northern Bruce Peninsula, Bruce
  66. Ottawa, City of
  67. Perth, County of
  68. Peterborough, County of
  69. Plympton-Wyoming, Lambton
  70. Prescott-Russell, United Counties of
  71. Prince Edward, County of
  72. Rainy River, Rainy River District
  73. Ramara, Simcoe County
  74. South Bruce Peninsula, Bruce
  75. Southgate, Grey
  76. Southwald, Elgin
  77. Tillsonburg, Oxford County
  78. Trent Lakes, Peterborough
  79. Tudor and Cashel, Hastings
  80. Tweed, Hastings
  81. Val Rita-Harty, Cochrane District
  82. Warwick, Lambton
  83. Wainfleet, Niagara Region
  84. West Grey, Grey
  85. West Lincoln, Niagara
  86. Zorra, Oxford

Ottawa to IESO: municipal support must be mandatory for wind power bids

Municipal approval key to sustainable development, Canada’s capital city tells the Wynne government

Ottawa: how about WE get to say what happens?
Ottawa: how about WE get to say what happens?

The City of Ottawa, Ontario’s second largest city and Canada’s capital, has sent a letter to the Minister of Energy requesting a return of local land-use planning powers removed under the Green Energy Act.

Ottawa is a city but it also has a large rural area, which makes it a “draw” for wind power developers, Councillor Scott Moffatt wrote in the letter. Moffatt is Chair of the city’s Agricultural and Rural Affairs Committee, and the representative for the rural Rideau-Goulbourn ward in the city.

The City is not opposed to renewable energy projects, the letter states, but because wind power projects have “significant implications” for planning, Ottawa believes their approval should “go through the existing planning framework that takes Ottawa’s Official Plan, community sustainability, and input of the community into consideration.”

Under the current Large Renewable Procurement process, Ottawa’s letter says, municipalities’ role is “consultative” only, and without “decision-making authority.”

The letter was sent to the former Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli, whose own riding is in Ottawa.

In 2013, the City supported a Not A Willing Host declaration by residents faced with a 20-megawatt wind power project that would have been close to hundreds of homes and a school.

See the letter from Ottawa here: OttawaLetter2016-05-30-minister-chiarelli-wind-power

The Ottawa resolution, passed unanimously at Council in May reads as follows. Ottawa is among 75 municipalities now requesting the IESO and the Ontario government to make municipal support a mandatory requirement for new wind power bids.

Ask the Province of Ontario to make the necessary legislative and/or regulatory changes to provide municipalities with a substantive and meaningful role in siting wind power projects and that the “Municipal Support Resolution” becomes a mandatory requirement in the IESO (Independent Electricity System Operator) process.

Wynne government thumbs nose at rural communities, unlike Manitoba: Merriam

While Manitoba is bending over backwards to foster cooperation and benefit for both rural and urban communities, the Ontario government is doing the opposite, says PostMedia writer Jim Merriam. In fact, the Wynne government has made it very clear what it thinks of rural/small-town Ontario –you’re there to supply our power and bury our garbage.

Orillia Packet, May 31, 2016

You tiny little annoying people...
You tiny little annoying people…

Rural-urban divide a wedge issue in Ontario

By Jim Merriam

Although Manitoba and Ontario are neighbours, their differences far outnumber their similarities.

One of these differences is the way their leaders treat the rural-urban divide.

Brian Pallister, recently elected Conservative premier of Manitoba, has coined two new words: “rurban” and “urbal,” according to the Western Producer.

The Manitoba premier is trying to create a new reality in Manitoba, wherein his urban members of the legislature care about rural areas and vice versa. He is trying to convince legislators that, “You do not think about yourself. You think about your team.”

The new boss went on to say “there are rural situations that many people in the city don’t fully appreciate.”

In contrast, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has been all over the map on the same issue.

As recently as two years ago she denied the divide even existed. Then last November, she told a rural audience “the issue of bridging the rural-urban gap” has been on her mind since she was first elected in 2003.

The reasons for the divide are various, but some stand out.

No. 1 is the way this government has shoved industrial wind turbines down the throats of rural dwellers. The province is still approving new developments over the strongest objections of municipal leaders in a wide area of the province.

During the last provincial election, the Liberals told rural Ontarians their voices would be heard on wind farm developments.

Yet, in April, just weeks after awarding controversial contracts for five wind farms, Ontario said it’s opening bidding for double that amount of wind energy.

Recent approvals included a development in Dutton-Dunwich in southwestern Ontario where 84 per cent of residents who voted, didn’t want such developments.

In November 2013, Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli testified before a legislature committee that municipalities wouldn’t be given a veto over projects but it would be “very rare indeed” for any to be approved without local backing.

Garbage is another source of friction …

Read the full article here.

Prince Edward County says local support must be mandatory for new wind power contracts

Municipalities vote for more say in wind power locations

NoMeansNo_FB (2)

May 25, 2016

Hard as it is to believe, with electricity bills soaring, hydro and nuclear power being wasted, and Ontario’s surplus power being sold at bargain-basement rates to neighbouring  U.S. jurisdictions, Ontario still plans to let contracts for 600 more megawatts of expensive, intermittent utility-scale wind power.

The new bid process begins later this year.

Although the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) claims the citizens of Ontario have a “say” in where these huge power projects — which result in considerable impact on the environment and communities forced to have them — they still can’t “say” NO.

In March, Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli said it was “virtually impossible” for a power developer to get a contract for wind power without municipal support—then the IESO announced five new contracts, three of which were in Not A Willing Host communities. One, Dutton Dunwich, had even held a referendum on the wind power bid, which resulted in a resounding 84 % NO vote, but a contract was awarded there anyway.

Now, more than 60 Ontario municipalities have told the Ontario government under Premier Kathleen Wynne that they don’t think that’s right — in future, the municipalities say, local or municipal support must be a mandatory requirement in wind power bids, not just a way to get more points in the bidding process for Large Renewable power projects.

Last evening, council in Prince Edward County voted unanimously to send that motion to Queen’s Park. The County is currently battling two high-profile wind power projects on the basis of the clear danger to wildlife, specifically the endangered Blandings Turtle and the Little Brown Bat. The County is also on the flyway for hundreds of thousands of migratory birds each spring and fall.

Among the cities and municipalities which have passed the resolution are the City of Kawartha Lakes (which is itself the size of a county) and the second largest city in Ontario and Canada’s Capital city, Ottawa.

“Communities have good reasons for not wanting these huge power projects,” says Wind Concerns Ontario president Jane Wilson. “Wind power represents high impact on the environment, both natural and social, for very little benefit. What’s worse, wind power on this scale has no benefit in actions aimed at climate change. Everyone wants to do what’s best for the environment —this isn’t it.”

A list of municipalities that have passed the motion to date is here.

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.