“No veto” on wind power for Ontario communities says Wynne

Give you a CHOICE? Like, you know, democracy? I don't think I said that...
Give you a CHOICE? Like, you know, democracy? I don’t think I said that…

Eastern AgriNews, October 2015

by Nelson Zandbergen

Finch- Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne will not intervene to quash proposed wind turbine projects currently being evaluated for the Township of North Stormont and the Municipality of South Dundas, despite her earlier stated position that communities not wanting such developments shouldn’t be forced to receive them.

The councils of both municipalities have declared themselves unwilling hosts to wind projects in recent months.

But the premier, in reply to a question posed by The AgriNews at the International Plowing Match September 22, made clear that she won’t veto the projects in officially unwilling communities.

“We’ve been clear, it’s not a veto… but what we are seeing is that there is a much more collaborative process going on between proponents and municipalities,” said Wynne, explaining that her government does put “an emphasis on the municipality being willing.”*

Said the premier, “You will know that the process, as it has been changed by our government, is that now there is much more weighting toward the municipality. In terms of procurement, there is much more of an emphasis on the municipality being willing, we have already changed the process, and I think that has changed the way turbines are sited.”**

Ontario Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Minister Jeff Leal then jumped in to highlight how the Wynne government has imposed restrictions on the siting of solar projects. …

“I never use the term solar farms because it’s the wrong term to use, they are solar generating entities.”***

Editor’s notes:

*False. Municipal support is just one factor in the bid process. Proponents simply find other strong sources of points such as First Nation support, or a lower bid price.

**This is false. Municipalities in the 2015 bid process often DIDN’T EVEN KNOW where turbines were to be located, and the proponents were not obligated to provide that information or anything else such as environmental impact studies, before being asked to say yes or no.

***So wind “farms” are now “wind power generating entities”?

Wind power developer records protesters in Prince Edward County

WPD’s slogan: “Wind has no limits.” Apparently, greed doesn’t either

MILFORD Ont., September 28, 2015—

As more than 300 residents of Prince Edward County gathered on Sunday to protest the assault on their community and the environment by two wind power projects (Ostrander Point and White Pines, both being appealed) Germany-based wind power developer wpd Canada recorded the event, including speeches given by various presenters.

“Shame on them,” says Paula Peel, secretary for the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County (APPEC).

If the power developer’s presence recording people was meant as an intimidation tactic, it didn’t work, Peel says.

The organizers did a brisk business selling T-shirts and protest signs, she says. “If you didn’t come to the rally with a T-shirt or sign, it’s likely you left with one.”

“The one thing wpd will take away from our rally is that the fight is only just beginning.”

 

Contact APPEC and read more here.

Environment Minister cancels promised meeting with Mayor of Prince Edward County

ToughonNature

This news from Prince Edward County, where the Mayor has been very vocal protesting the approval of wpd Canada’s White Pines project, which will endanger birds and other wildlife, and affect the County’s tourism base. The approval came while the appeal of a power project at Ostrander Point is ongoing. Both that area, and the South Shore included in the White Pines project, are designated Important Bird Areas for migratory birds. Two weeks ago, an at-risk species specialist with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry testified that he had recommended against giving a permit for the Ostrander Point project.

CountyLive, September 15, 2015

The provincial environment minister has reneged on a promise to meet with Prince Edward County Mayor Robert Quaiff – at least until the current Environmental Review Tribunal has concluded.

Speaking in person with Glen Murray, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC), at Association of Municipalities of Ontario Conference in August, “he gave his word we would meet within a couple of weeks,” said Quaiff. “His assistant Neville contacted my office and asked what specific questions I would ask at the arranged meeting so he could have the proper departments there in the room.”

In the letter, Murray stated that since the matter of the renewable energy approval for the White Pines industrial wind turbine project is before the ERT, “it would not be appropriate for me to comment on, or discuss this matter. I would, however, be pleased to meet with you after the Environmental Review Tribunal process has concluded to discuss my ministry’s work going forward.”

Quaiff wanted to discuss the Green Energy Act and how the County is already doing its part.

In his conversation at the AMO, Quaiff told Murray that “Prince Edward County has done its part on providing a net negative, which means that when the sun shines in PEC we produce more power than what we consume.”

Quaiff indicates he’s frustrated but will continue to persevere – as will the 89 communities that are now listed as unwilling hosts for wind turbines. (See below)

The ERT regarding Gilead Power’s nine turbines on Crown Land at Ostrander Point continues Sept. 23-25 in Demorestville. The ERT for the wpd White Pines 27-turbine project on private property in South Marysburgh and Athol and south shore, has been delayed to Nov. 2 in Wellington.

Bon Echo residents file brief with Wynne government, IESO on wind farm bid

Filing objections to the Wynne government on behalf of the community
“We won’t force wind farms on unwilling communities.” Filing objections to the Wynne government on behalf of the community

From bearat.org residents of Addington Highlands have filed a detailed document with the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) concerning the bids by NextEra and RES Canada.

BEARAT Delivers More Blows on Local Wind Proposals As Submissions are Due to IESO

Addington Highlands, Sept 1, 2015 –

Bon Echo Area Residents Against Turbines has prepared and delivered a detailed submission to the IESO attacking elements of the NorthPoint I, NorthPoint II and Denbigh Wind LP proposals in the Addington Highlands and North Frontenac area.

“We are hopeful our efforts will pay off and these projects will not make the final cut as the IESO works it’s way through the process. We believe there are elements of each proposal that should disqualify each of them outright from consideration by the IESO.”, said Dan Carruthers.

Carruthers also expressed gratitude to the hundreds of community members who have taken up the cause, including fellow BEARAT members, local MP Scott Reid, MPP Randy Hillier, North Frontenac Mayor Ron Higgins, North Frontenac Council and Addington Highlands Councillors Tony Fritsch and Kirby Thompson.

Says Carruthers:

“Our work isn’t done yet. There is more to do, but as a community we are committed to exercising every opportunity possible to defeat these projects. We are urging the public to continue with their opposition to these projects by visiting the “What Can I Do” section of the BEARAT website  and acting on its recommendations. These projects are in no way a ‘done deal’ and we will continue the fight the process at the IESO and Provincial levels until they’re no longer a threat to our Communities.”

 

WIND CONCERNS ONTARIO COMMENT: Again, Ontario’s political stance as a jurisdiction active on climate change and positive environmental policy does not stand up to an examination of its actions. A wind power approval here, as in other locations, would actually harm the environment. And again, Ontario has never done a cost benefit analysis of the renewable power program. At the same time as the Wynne government is entertaining bids for utility-scale power projects, it is using tax dollars to promote Addington Highlands a s a tourist destination (see ontariohighlands.ca ).

Wind power project divides community

500+ people gathered in Nation Twp to fight two wind power projects...and farm owner greed [Photo: Wind Concerns Ontario]
500+ people gathered in Nation Twp to fight two wind power projects…and farm owner greed [Photo: Wind Concerns Ontario]
Ontario Farmer, August 25, 2015

[Excerpted]

By Ian Cumming

Emotions were high the late afternoon of August 10 among the 200 or so folks who gathered outside the Nation Township Municipal Hall. They also lined the road beside, waving No Windmill signs, with most trucks and cars driving past honking support.

Doctors told mothers of ill children: you have to move if the turbines come

Two concerned mothers approached Ontario Farmer one the day before this protest, the other at the protest; one with an autistic son, the other with a daughter waiting for a heart transplant. Both said they were given medical advice that “we’ll have to move if the windmills come.”

The son, Michael, “who can hear a grasshopper deep in the grass that far away,” would be tormented beyond anyone’s comprehension, from the windmill swooshing sound that non-autistic people can barely sense, said his mother Susan, a former nurse. “When I drive by windmills I cry and choke with anger.”

Marc Bercier had windmills go up plus a substation on his land*, to the minimum sum of $95,000 per year for 20 years. A heck of an offer for a father who has two sons wanting to take over the operation.

“I’m pulling out of the windmill contract,” said Bercier recently. He detailed the venom that his family has faced for their decision to have windmills, including his elderly mother, when attending a public meeting the week before. [Editor: this was the huge meeting attended by 500+ people in St. Bernardin.] “I don’t want to put my family in that situation.”

The $22,000 he gets to keep as a down payment from EDF “wasn’t worth it,” said Bercier, “We value peace and family over money.” *

Even when he [Bercier] had gone public to Ontario Farmer (June 23) and other media this summer, detailing his contracts and the reasons for signing them, farmers who had done the same “attacked me, wanting me to keep quiet,” said Bercier.

Perhaps it was that self-imposed silence and the smoothness of the wind company EDF attempting a quick sales job for the community which contributed to the mounting opposition, said Bercier. “EDF didn’t do the real work with people.”

Phone call from the Liberal MPP

A last-minute pitch from EDF, which included offering to double the yearly stipend to the Nation Township from $150,000 to $300,000 per year on August 10, came the exact same day his council was meeting to reverse its earlier decisions to support the two projects [Editor: the writer fails to mention that there is a 150-MW project by EDF, and a 40-MW project by RES Canada being proposed] and declare itself an unwilling host, said Nation mayor Francois St. Amour. … The motion to reverse [Nation’s] earlier decision hadn’t even been on the agenda, but a call from local Liberal MPP Grant Crack to the mayor to deal with it, forced the issue ahead.

… [Developer EDF commented…] If people in the area have legitimate health concerns, we can certainly work with them and place the windmills so they are not affected, [Stephane Desdunes, director of development] said.

 

 

*Editor: you just don’t care about other people’s families and peace…

 

You don’t care about irreparable damage to environment, economy: Mayor to Premier Wynne, Environment MInister

  

Prince Edward County

August 5, 2015

Sent by Fax and Email

Honourable Kathleen Wynne

Premier of Ontario

Room 281, Main Legislative Building

Queen’s Park Toronto, Ontario

M7A 1A1

-and-

Honourable Glen Murray

Minister of the Environment and Climate Change 11

th Floor, Ferguson Block 77 Wellesley Street West Toronto, Ontario

M7A 2T5

Premier Wynne and Minister Murray,

It is with great regret, but no surprise, I acknowledge the receipt of a telephone call on July 30, 2015 from an aide in the Premier’s office, and the July 31, 2015 letter from Minister Murray, in response to my plea to meet with you directly to discuss the issue of the wpd White Pines Wind Incorporated industrial turbine development.

Following my clear and direct letter of July 23, 2015 to you both, it strains credulity to be informed not by the Premier herself but by her aide that she refuses to meet with the Mayor of an Ontario Municipality, and by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change that he has no intention of further involvement.

Through these actions, it is clearer than ever that neither of you understand nor care about the irreparable damage the White Pines and Gilead wind factories will cause to the landscape, tourism, hospitality industry and general economy of Prince Edward County, the current and acknowledged jewel of Ontario and go-to destination of thousands of urban dwellers and visitors from other Provinces and abroad. Nor, apparently, are you concerned about the looming slaughter of birds, bats, raptors, butterflies, reptiles and endangered species by these two factories, exacerbated by those in place or to come on Wolfe Island, Amherst Island and Ernestown. I await your explanation as to why protection is permanently afforded to Point Pelee National Park and its migration path, but not to the greater migration volume which visits the sites now threatened by your latest demonstration of irresponsible and ideologically-driven destruction.

Shortly after receipt of your respective telephone call and letter, our famous Sandbanks Provincial Park was filled to capacity this past weekend to the extent that further entrance was impossible and approach roads had to be closed to traffic. Do you really believe that this popularity will continue if wind factories are inflicted on Prince Edward County? I assure you that it will not, for those tourists will be driven away by the industrialization of Ontario’s former crown jewel with the disappearance of these vistas.

I am not impressed by Minister Murray’s suggestion that remedies are available to our Municipality through the Environmental Review Tribunal process. The undemocratic Green Energy Act, and the manner in which it is administered, ensures that success by this route is virtually impossible to achieve.

It is becoming apparent that the legacy of this term of government will be the destruction of and discrimination against rural Ontario, and the waste of literally billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money, both occasioned by the Green Energy Act and the complete lack of cost analysis and informed technical advice which should have preceded its introduction.

I am discouraged by your lack of concern relating to the important, indeed vital matters mentioned in my July 23rd  letter, but nevertheless am calling on you one more time to impose a moratorium on all new wind factories, including that of wpd White Pines, until the Green Energy Act is revisited, democracy is restored, and municipalities are again permitted to decide for themselves whether or not to host these devastating projects which so greatly impact our economic health.

Respectfully,

Mayor Robert L. Quaiff

Ontario defends trampling municipalities, environmental legislation for wind power

My Kawartha.com, August 19, 2015

Province rebuts allegations of opponents to wind and solar projects

 Councillor, architect say the Green Energy Act has been so mishandled it is tearing communities apart; Province says it is a priority to ensure renewable energy protects the environment

600 green energy argument

 Ward 16 Councillor Heather Stauble and resident Ron Awde review a map showing the Snowy Ridge wind turbine farm approved near Bethany. Both say the Province is using the Green Energy Act to override legislation protecting the Oak Ridges Moraine. Mary Riley/This Week

 KAWARTHA LAKES – As opposition to industrial wind and solar energy projects in the City of Kawartha Lakes continues to mount, the Province’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change maintains it is ensuring those projects are developed in a way that will protect the environment and boost Ontario’s economy.

But, Manvers Township residents who continue to fight large-scale industrial wind turbine farms say the public outcry against big solar panels in City fields reveals a better understanding of the entire green energy picture.

Ward 16 Councillor Heather Stauble has battled for years to prevent industrial wind farms from being built near Pontypool and Bethany, especially since some of those turbines would be built on the protected Oak Ridges Moraine.

Manvers Wind Concerns (MWC), one of the groups who appealed the approval of wpd Canada’s Sumac Ridge wind project in 2013 is waiting to hear the results of a ministerial review after losing an appeal of that approval at an Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) earlier this year.

But, two more industrial projects are planned by another company, Capstone Infrastructure Corporation, in the area.

Snowy Ridge wind farm was approved in June and opponents immediately began preparations for another legal challenge. The second project is Settler’s Landing.

Both projects would include building some of their 500-foot turbines on the moraine.

The primary reason residents are fighting so hard to keep mega-turbines out is the unknown impacts on the moraine; plants and wildlife, and the underground water aquifers and human health. Those concerns formed the basis of the Sumac Ridge ERT and remain the same for the other two projects.

Coun. Stauble noted some of the points opponents to the wind farms have raised such as inadequate setbacks, poorly completed water studies, noise impacts etc.

Coun. Stauble said a key point is the Province’s own environmental legislation prohibits building anything on the moraine, but “they are using the Green Energy Act to do whatever they want” and override existing laws.

Worse, she said, both wind and solar projects are being forced on Ontario municipalities, which have no say in where such projects can be built.

Earlier this month, City council refused to approve 10 proposed solar farm around the city, to the delight of residents who don’t want them in their backyards.

Amid cheers and applause at the meeting on Aug. 11, Mayor Andy Letham warned the Province could override the City’s position on solar farms.

Ron Awde, an architect experienced in wind technology whose property abuts the Snowy Ridge wind project, said those opposed to large-scale solar farms now have a better understanding of the fight against industrial wind turbines.

He’s hoping that will revive a flagging interest in the Snowy Ridge and Settler’s Landing appeals.

He and Coun. Stauble say it is the mishandling of the Green Energy Act that is at the core of wind and solar projects and how they affect municipalities, which ultimately have no say in where such projects are built.

Mr. Awde said the Province considers green energy to be an economic driver that will create jobs in Ontario, but that is not the case.

“The rollout on wind energy was based on old technology. The approval for Snowy Ridge makes direct reference to the importance of these projects to the economy of Ontario. There is now a general recognition that the total projected nine-per-cent contribution of wind power to the provincial power supply by 2032 doesn’t back up the claim that this will get Ontario off fossil fuels or nuclear power.”

Both Coun. Stauble and Mr. Awde noted the Green Energy Act represents a “horrifying” precedent in provincial legislation; alleging the energy companies “wrote the legislation and presented it to the Province.”

“At any point a majority government can draft a single piece of legislation that has been essentially prepared by a self-interested industry, that negates in part, or in whole all other provincial Acts and guidelines,” Mr. Awde noted.

Coun. Stauble emphasized it is not wind/solar energy itself that is the problem; she says many smaller wind turbines and solar panels are erected on private properties, put up by people who want to live off the grid.

The problem is industrial-sized operations.

Wind and solar energy is big business, she said, with companies rushing to build their projects and then “flipping” them to make money.

“The Snowy Ridge and Settler’s landing projects have been sold six times since 2009,” she said. “It’s a gold rush.”

The councillor and Mr. Awde said developers of both solar and wind energy “dangle the carrot” of good money before landowners to get desirable sites. But, that is what is dividing communities across the City.

And, it is unlikely the original developer will be around in 20 years to do any promised rehabilitation, Coun. Stauble added.

Both noted the ERT process itself, through which opponents of wind farm approvals must appeal, is deeply flawed, because the onus is on the appellants to prove their case, rather than the Province or the energy companies.

For example, Coun. Stauble said, the appellants must prove there ‘will’ be harm to the environment (rather than ‘could’ be).

And, while she respects the Tribunal panel are doing their best, they are restricted to specific criteria they may consider.

And, so far, Coun. Stauble said, the Province and the wind companies have won. On Aug. 11 the ERT dismissed an appeal of the 18-megawatt ZEP Wind Farm Ganaraska, to be built in the municipality of Clarington.

“The Tribunal was created by the Province; there is definitely the perception that they won’t decide against the Province and the wind companies,” she said. “The tragedy is there has been an enormous erosion of confidence in the MOE.”

Mr. Awde agreed. “The Province and the wind industry have crafted an appeal process so biased toward a single outcome favouring the developers, that it has become regarded as a cynical and elaborate scheme designed to discourage opposition from individuals and municipalities.”

This Week contacted the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change asking for comment on three questions:

1. Provincial legislation prohibits building anything on the Moraine, so how can industrial wind turbines be permitted?

2. The City of Kawartha Lakes has made it clear they do not want wind/solar farms in its communities; the opposition here is significant and residents feel this is being forced upon them. Could the Minister comment on that?

3. Many opponents feel the Environmental Review Tribunal process is flawed; that no matter how hard they fight, the decisions are always in the Province’s favour…there is a perception that there will never be a ruling against the Province.)

Minister Glen Murray is attending the AMO conference in Niagara Falls, but a spokesperson provided the following response:

“Ontario is establishing itself as a leader in climate change action and science to build a strong low-carbon economy, avoid irreparable damage to our environment, and leave a legacy of a healthy planet for our children and our children’s children.

“The Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan allows utility facilities to be built on the moraine provided they meet the policies and restrictions outlined in the Plan. These include demonstrating the need for the project, and considering and assessing alternative site locations. The Environmental Review Tribunal plays an important role in the accountability and transparency of Ontario’s Renewable Energy Approval process, and has in the past overturned provincial approval of a project.

“Ontario’s clean energy initiatives have attracted billions of dollars in new investments, generated more than 42,000 jobs and significantly increased the amount of clean energy in the province. Our priority is ensuring renewable energy projects are developed in a way that will protect the natural environment. Ontario’s Renewable Energy Approval process requires developers to conduct extensive consultation, including with municipalities, and sets out clear requirements to protect the natural environment.”

Ontario rejects wind farms: 90+ communities say NO

NEWS RELEASE

Wind Concerns Ontario

OTTAWA Aug. 11, 2015 /CNW/ – More than 90 communities have now declared themselves to be unwilling hosts to huge power generation projects using wind turbines. The municipality of Nation, east of Ottawa, yesterday reversed an earlier statement of support, and the Town of Essex declared it wants no more wind turbines.

“The Premier promised not to force power projects on communities,” says Wind Concerns Ontario president Jane Wilson. “But we still can’t say ‘no.’ Making the unwilling host declaration is a powerful statement to this government.”

Ontario citizens are increasingly aware that large-scale wind power brings potential environmental damage, harms wildlife, is linked to health impacts due to the noise and infrasound, and is causing electricity bills to climb beyond affordability.

Despite a surplus power supply and the high cost of renewables, Ontario is contracting for more wind power this year.

“The people of Ontario are saying ‘We’ve had enough,'” says Wilson. “The current procurement program should be abandoned immediately.”

www.windconcernsontario.ca

SOURCE  Wind Concerns Ontario

Essex says NO MORE WIND TURBINES

Blackburn News, August 11, 2015

GDF Suez representatives are met with a vocal contingent of residents in Essex opposed to the company's proposed wind project. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

GDF Suez representatives are met with a vocal contingent of residents in Essex opposed to the company’s proposed wind project. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

Essex council is making it clear it doesn’t want to see any more wind turbines in the town, rejecting a community benefit agreement for the Blue Sky Wind Project.

“We are not interested in any more windmills in our municipality,” says Ward 3 Councillor Bill Caixeiro to loud and long applause in council chambers Monday night.

Councillors even charged the company behind the project, GDF Suez, had paid for letters of support to be sent to council.

“There was no payment made for any letters of support,” says Bonnie Hiltz, government relations for GDF Suez. “They, I believe, were referring to letters of support for landowners who have voluntarily come forward to participate in the project.”

Hiltz is disappointed in council’s strong negativity towards the project.

“This is the very, very early stage of the project and so we’ve heard from residents that they want to be engaged and help inform the project as it evolves. That’s what we’re doing here, that’s what we’re doing with our public meetings,” says Hiltz.

Public meetings are scheduled for Tecumseh and Essex this week.

Essex residents like Anna Markett feel the company is trying to bully people into backing the project, “We’ve been hounded for the last three or four months.”

The Blue Sky Wind Project would have turbines mostly in Essex and into Tecumseh Township as well.

Wind power project rejected: the people of Nation speak

Council for the municipality of Nation, just east of Ottawa, met last evening and decided to reverse a motion of support for two wind power projects, in St Bernardin and St Isidore. Nation is now Not A Willing Host to wind power projects, making it the 90th community in Ontario to reject wind power proposals.

The community group Save The Nation/Sauvon La Nation held a huge public meeting last week, and revealed that council had passed the support motion with no public discussion or input.  The majority of residents are opposed to the power projects on the grounds that the potential for environmental damage is significant, and the impact on agriculture and the social fabric of the communities would be extensive.

“We are not for sale,” said Julie Leroux of Save The Nation in an interview.

EDF of France had claimed it has spent hundreds of thousands wooing the community, paying for hockey dinners and other events designed to sway farm owners to sign leases for the project.

See the story from CTV News here: http://ottawa.ctvnews.ca/residents-of-nation-east-of-ottawa-fight-wind-turbine-projects-1.2510730