Suncor, NextEra proposing new wind farms in Lambton

People are not happy: local mayor. Democracy absent in Ontario
People are not happy: local mayor. Democracy absent in Ontario

Paul Morden, Sarnia Observer, May 26, 2015

Suncor is proposing another wind power project in Lambton County.

The company says it’s planning to bid for a renewable energy contract with the province for a 60-MW Nauvoo Wind Power Project proposed for eastern Lambton’s Warwick and Brooke-Alvinston townships.

Recently, Suncor, along with project partner NextEra, began construction of the 100-MW, 46-turbine, Cedar Point wind farm in Plympton-Wyoming, Lambton Shores and Warwick.

The company has scheduled public meetings in June for its new Nauvoo proposal.

“It’s very much in the early stages of the provincial process,” said Suncor spokesperson Jason Vaillant.

“We’re looking to start the conversation with the community.”

Applications from companies seeking contracts to build up to 300 MW of new wind energy generation across the province are due to be submitted by Sept. 1 to Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator, with the successful bids expected to be announced late in the year.

NextEra is also working on a proposal for a 100-MW to 120-MW wind project in Warwick, Brooke-Alvinston and neighbouring Adelaide-Metcalfe Township in Middlesex County.

NextEra’s 92-turbine Jericho wind project began operating last year in Lambton Shores and Warwick.

The project area for Suncor’s Nauvoo proposal covers a large portion of Warwick and extends south into Brooke-Alvinston to Petrolia Line.

Suncor said proposed turbine locations have not been determined yet.

“It’s relatively new,” Vaillant said.

“It’s some of the property that we’ve accumulated over the last number of years working in this area, along with some new properties.”

Brooke-Alvinston Mayor Don McGugan said the company is scheduled to make a presentation at a township council meeting June 11.

“It’s a hot topic, and a lot of people are not very happy,” he said about wind energy projects proposed for the township.

“But, as a council, we do not have control and we have to work with the odds we’re given.”

McGugan added he has heard of additional wind project proposals for the area.

McGugan said Brooke-Alvinston council is expected to be asked in the coming months by NextEra to consider passing a motion supporting its proposal, known as the Hardy Creek Wind Energy Centre.

“It’ll be tough,” McGugan said.

“People have got to realize that even if we don’t give them a motion, they can still come.”

Ontario recently changed the way it awards large renewable energy projects to give company’s extra points for bids with municipal council support.

But, McGugan said, lack of council support isn’t enough to stop a wind project.

Several years ago, Ontario took away municipal planning powers for renewable energy projects.

McGugan said residents in the township are split over the issue of wind turbines.

McGugan said he turned down a wind company land agent who approached him several years ago about leasing land on his own farm.

But McGugan has taken heat for saying he believes the township should try to get the community the best deal from wind companies it can if a turbine project is approved by the provincial government.

“No matter what council does, we’re walking a slippery slope,” McGugan said.

“If they come and we make a deal, well, we’re wrong. And, if they come and we don’t make a deal, we’ve let an opportunity slip.”

The township is already host to a small four-turbine wind project.

paul.morden@sunmedia.ca

Suncor has scheduled three public open houses for its 60-MW Nauvoo Wind Power Project proposal:

• June 22, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., at the Brooke-Alvinston-Inwood Community Centre, Walnut Street, Alvinston;

• June 23, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., at the Warwick Community Centre, Egremont Road, Warwick;

• June 24, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., at the Adelaide-Metcalfe Township Hall, Egremont Drive, Strathroy.

Wind farms: turbines assessed at fraction of value

Low tax assessments just another wind power subsidy

May 13, PostMedia Network

by Peter Epp

Among the incongruities found within the Green Energy Plan is the way in which wind turbines are assessed by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC). In a word, the assessment is low.

The Ontario government’s purpose, when the plan and its accompanying legislation were approved in 2009, was to encourage the development of wind energy in this province. Developers would be given incentives, including generous subsidies. They would also be modestly taxed, which was just another form of subsidy.

For those rare municipalities that actually welcomed wind turbine development (Chatham-Kent, for one), the relatively low assessment on turbines wasn’t seen as a hurdle; it was viewed as new-found tax revenue, even if that revenue was modest when compared to what other developments might generate.

But for those municipalities that called themselves “unwilling hosts” to turbine development, the lack of sufficient assessment has become just another irritant.

In Plympton-Wyoming – which has been on the forefront of those municipalities that have been actively and vocally campaigning against wind turbine development – Mayor Lonny Napper says wind turbines worth an estimated $5 million have been assessed at a mere fraction of their value, by an estimated $60,000. Indeed, Napper suggests that every time a new turbine is erected in Plympton-Wyoming, his municipality loses tax revenue.

Speaking to a representatives of MPAC last week at Lambton County council, Napper said he finds it unfair that wind turbine developers get such a sweetheart deal – especially when it comes at the expense of local taxpayers, many of whom don’t even want the wind turbines in their community.

“Everyone else has to pay their own way,” he told the MPAC representative. “All we’re saying is pay your way upfront.”

Napper’s judgment is correct. If any other industry or commercial enterprise wanted to set up shop and do business in Plympton-Wyoming, they would have to abide by the assessment schedule of the province. They would, to use his word, pay their own way. There would be no sweetheart deal. In fact, such sweetheart deals are illegal in this province, at least according to the Ontario Municipal Act.

But the wind turbine industry gets a pass. Not only is the electricity that’s produced by the industry heavily subsidized, but so is the industry’s tax obligation to its municipal hosts, most of whom – ironically – don’t want the industry there in the first place.

Dutton-Dunwich says NO to wind farm

Got the message, Invenergy? No means NO.
Got the message, Invenergy? No means NO.

April 20, 2015, Dutton/Dunwich, ONA crowd of over 50 peaceful demonstrators took to the streets of Dutton/Dunwich Friday evening, April 17, to show their concern that Industrial Wind Turbines (IWT) are being considered for the Municipality. Carrying signs, and wearing t-shirts and buttons, the protesters spoke up as part of the 84% of citizens that voted “No Wind Turbines!” when asked in a Dutton/Dunwich (D/D) municipal survey last year.  Following the survey, the D/D Council passed a motion that D/D be allowed by the Government of Ontario to remain IWT-Free.

Despite this strong public and Council opposition, the Chicago-based company Invenergy has continued to promote an IWT project in D/D. The company has optioned approximately 17,000 acres of D/D farmland, with a goal to place a 30 turbine 90-MW project in the municipality. This summer they will submit a proposal to the IESO (Independent Electricity System Operator) to be considered for this industrial development. The Liberal-approved Green Energy Act has essentially stripped local governments of their right to decide whether Industrial Wind Turbine projects are placed in their municipality.

Last Friday Invenergy was celebrating their annual meeting at the Dutton/Dunwich Community Centre, with some of the local landowners who have optioned their land.  Protesters lined the streets leading up to the Community Centre, to show their opposition. Concerns expressed by the protesters include the high costs of electricity, which IWT contribute to in a large way; the health issues that result from placing huge IWT too close to homes; the loss in property value that results when these projects are built in a community; and the community discord that results when a small minority of landowners profit, while the majority of citizens suffer.

Submitted by – Dutton/Dunwich Opponents of Wind Turbines – contact info@ddowt.ca for more information or to support this opposition group.

84% of Dutton-Dunwich citizens said NO to proposed wind farm
84% of Dutton-Dunwich citizens said NO to proposed wind farm

Act fast to stop wind farm, says Perth Cty farmer

Tim Martin: contracts are one-sided
Tim Martin: contracts are one-sided

Tom Collins, Farmers Forum, March, 2015

Perth County–Groups looking to stop a wind turbine project need to act fast said a member of a Western Ontario anti-wind group that successfully prevented 24 turbines from being constructed.

In 2011, Invenergy started leasing land in the Elma-Mornington area near Waterloo with the intention of building wind turbines. At first, 13 people signed up for the project. But, residents in the tight-knit community started talking amongst themselves and discovered they didn’t like the idea. After a community meeting, no one else signed up for a wind turboine lease, and nine of the 13 who did sign wanted out.

The project was cancelled just before Christmas last year.

“Your first line of defence is not to have people sign up for leases,” said Tim Martin, who milks 40 cows at his dairy operation at Alma and fought against the project.

After that, the group was busy looking at every document possible to find mistakes in Invenergy’s plan.

“We looked for mistakes the company was making along the way,” he said. “There are things companies have to do to move ahead with the REA (Renewable Energy Approval) and we found a lot of mistakes.”

One set of mistakes had to do with vacant lot receptors. Basically, in every piece of property purchased, land needs to be put aside to allow neighbours the space to do future construction. Invenergy missed some of that in their original agreements.

The group spent about $150,000 in the battle, including $45,000 paid to retain a lawyer. Since the project was cancelled, 30 of the people who each paid $1,500 will get a refund.

…There are 1,916 turbines already up and running in Ontario and there could be another 1,000 operating by the end of 2016. Eighty-seven of Ontario’s 444 municipalities have declared themselves as unwilling hosts to wind turbines, even though the designation has no teeth.

Martin said people were concerned that once a contract was signed, the company could do whatever it wanted. Martin knew of a farmer in his region who signed up for one turbine but when the site plan was released, was shocked to discover there were plans for three on his property.

“These contracts are really one-sided,” said Martin. “They really protect the wind companies and not the landowners. You basically lose control of your land once you sign these land leases. The wind company can really do anything they want with it at any time.”

(C) Farmers Forum

Skyway 8: Back-room deals, spin as turbine numbers climb

Transformer at Skyway 8: more than 5 turbines coming, people
Transformer at Skyway 8: more than 5 turbines coming

The Skyway 8 Project in Southgate Township, County of Grey, presently owned by Capstone Infrastructure, has been a myriad of confusing and secret deals as well as a debacle of onus ownership.

The five  95-meter turbines totalling 9.8 MW and transformer(s) are well within Grey County and Southgate’s borders yet the township of Melancthon had more correspondence, updates and notifications with the proponents than either Grey County or Southgate township. In fact, an invitation to a BBQ celebrating the end of construction was on the Melancthon council agenda June 5, 2014. Nowhere was it found in any newspaper in Southgate nor mentioned at Southgate council or on their website.  The power lines from the transformer(s) were supposedly buried on a little used portion of the Melancthon 260 road allowance in order to join up with a HONI less than four miles away.

A document produced by the Grey County TAPS (Transportation and Public Safety) Committee dated December 19, 2013, said oversized and overload permits had not been submitted, two entrances on Grey Rd. 8 must be reduced to the required size/width by the proponent post construction, and there would be no request to install power transition equipment within the Grey County. This document went to county council and was passed as resolution CC12-14 on January 9, 2013.

The two entrances off Grey Road 8 have not been reduced and a washed away south east corner of Grey Rd. 8 & Southgate Road 10 has not been repaired. Some time ago I contacted the CAO of Grey County with no response, and twice to the CAO and the Public Works Manager (PWM) of Southgate Township. I received a reply from the PWM that he would contact the county CAO. To date no further correspondence has been received.

The transformer that was specifically not to be in Grey County is indeed well within the boundaries of Southgate Township, a municipality of Grey County.  An electrical worker on the transformers was asked why the need for transformers of this size when there are only five turbines. The worker replied “Five? There’s a whole lot more than five turbines coming.”

This is an area which has declared itself an unwilling host.

The original application to the MoE, granted September 29, 2011, approved  103 – 105 dBA for the turbines and 67 dBA for the transformer. That was amended  July 29, 2013 to increase the dBA for the transformer to 94 dBA. Both dBA allowing for the cooling fan noise.
In an article published in the Dundalk Herald September 17, 2014, the author says Samsung is planning 65 more turbines. He also says the project was received with broad acceptance by local residents and municipal council. One wonders why then there are three For Sale signs and one For Rent sign nearby. He does not stipulate which municipal council. Melancthon was a willing host at the time of negotiations.

One land owner that has two of the turbines and is eagerly waiting for approval of the 65 larger turbines planned as he has signed up for more was interviewed. He also has solar panels and is paid 80 cents per kilowatt under the FIT program. He says the money is secondary.  A neighbour of his who signed up three years ago for a turbine and is also waiting for the next phase said “the people who protest the loudest are people who live outside the area.” He went on to say that “the people that are protesting are ones that can’t get one.” A pat answer we have heard time and time again by the proponent’s script writers.

The neighbour also mentioned in the interview a petition she started that was in favour of the project  and had 100 signatures. In fact, it was an online survey with approximately 75 signatures, the majority of whom not only don’t live in the area but do not reside in Canada. A legal survey which was signed by over 720 residents of Southgate were not in favour of IWT’s was presented to Southgate council in March. Pecuniary interests were not declared at Southgate council even though at least one incumbent has  recently admitted he is getting 28 turbines on 14 farms he owns during the next phase.

Needless to say, the upcoming municipal election is clearly about “Trusted, Timely Transparent Decision Making.”

Louise Morfitt Hall is a resident of Southgate, and is running for council in the municipal election, October 27

 The views expressed here are those of the author.

Ontario doesn’t need more wind power

ListowelFairFloat

ONTARIO DOESN’T NEED MORE POWER SAYS WIND CONCERNS ONTARIO

Large Renewable Procurement means higher electricity bills for consumers

September 1, 2014, Toronto— Ontario’s new Large Renewable Procurement process aims to add more expensive, intermittent wind power to Ontario’s power capacity at a time when Ontario doesn’t need the power, and can’t afford new generation, says Wind Concerns Ontario.

In comments made to the Ontario Power Authority on the draft new procurement process for “renewables” such as wind and solar, the advocacy organization said it cannot understand why suppliers for more power are being sought at this time.

“Ontario lost more than $1.5 billion last year because we had power being produced at the wrong time of day for people to use it,” says president Jane Wilson. “We had to sell it off to other jurisdictions like neighbouring U.S. States at bargain-basement prices. And now, we ‘re looking for more? It doesn’t make sense.”

Adding more renewables to the mix will increase electricity bills for Ontario’s already strapped consumers. “I am very concerned about energy poverty,” Wilson, a registered nurse, says. “We are hearing from young people and seniors who say they have reached or exceeded their limits and just can’t pay any more. Why is Ontario scaling back on cheap hydro power, and looking to buy more expensive wind?”

Wind Concerns Ontario also noted concerns about the approval process for wind power projects. At present 85 municipalities in Ontario have declared themselves to be unwilling hosts to the wind power plants, which can reduce property values, diminish attractiveness for tourists, and produce noise and vibration that disturbs sleep and affects health for some residents. Seven projects have been approved since the June election, Wind Concerns says. The cost of those projects works out to $135.7 million a year or $2.7 billion over the life of the 20 year contracts, or an additional $28.28 per household every year.

“Kathleen Wynne, Bob Chiarelli and their government keep saying that they are not going to ‘force’ wind power projects on communities,” Wilson says, “but just last week they approved a huge power project at Plympton-Wyoming in Lambton County—that community has been very clear about its wishes. This new process fails to define what community approval means. Our communities need to know that, now.”

Wind Concerns commented on other issues with the Ontario Power Authority such as a need for power developer to disclose all the impacts of a proposed project to local governments, for their sales staff to adhere to a code of practice, and for wind power contracts to contain measures that allow landowners to change their minds about having turbines on their property.

Wind Concerns Ontario is a coalition of community groups and individuals concerned about the potential impact of large-scale wind power generation projects on the economy, on the natural environment and wildlife, and on human health.

Read the full Wind Concerns Ontario comment to the Ontario Power Authority on the new Large Renewable Procurement process here: Aug23Input into Large Renewable Procurement RFP Framework

wco.president@gmail.com

 

 

Single wind turbine to hamper development in KIncardine

Concerns Over Single Turbine

Wednesday, August 13, 2014 6:05 AM by John Divinski, Bayshore News
Kincardine says Quixote turbine could hamper future development

There is audio for this story.

MP3 - click to open

click to open MP3 version
or click the play button to listen now.

(Kincardine ) -It’s only one turbine but its recent approval by the province has many Kincardine councillors seeing red.

The Quixote One stand-alone turbine is to be constructed on Bruce County Road 23, near Tiverton and Kincardine CAO Murray Clarke says it could have ramifications on future growth in the area.

Because the turbine did not meet the set-back rules of the municipality of 2,000 metres, it flatly opposed the project and wrote a letter to the ministry stating so.

Clarke says they received no acknowledgement about their letter of concern until a directive was received in late July stating the turbine project had been approved.

He says the location of the turbine could potentially conflict with future growth in the Tiverton and Inverhuron areas, even if it abides by the provincial set-back requirement of 550 metres.

Clarke says they’ve invested millions of dollars in infrastructure in the area on the premise that there would be future development but the turbine approval could throw a wrench into their investment.

The Quixote One project is a single 2.5 megawatt industrial wind turbine project.

Council has instructed staff to get a legal opinion to see if any option is open to the community.

Read the full story and hear the audio clip here.

To Premier Wynne: No means NO on wind farms

SMM June Cover

From The South Marysburgh Mirror, August 2014:

“No” means “No

Two years ago on July 14th, 2012, in a secret ballot referendum sponsored by The Mirror, the citizens of South Marysburgh were asked the following question:

Do you want industrial wind turbines installed in South Marysburgh like the ones proposed by wpd Canada and Gilead Power for their projects near Milford and on the south shore?”

90.2% voted “No”. Those referendum results were widely publicized.

Now, over 2 years later, neither the wind developers nor the Ontario government have shown any signs of complying with the wishes of the people who still live peaceably in the neighbourhoods where developers are planning wind factories. Instead, the Ontario government and the developers continue to fight against South Marysburgh citizens, both in court and with bureaucratic processes.

To the citizens of South Marysburgh, “No” means “No”. We will not give up this fight.

Jim McPherson, Milford

The Ontario government’s ‘bogus’ benefits: higher costs for citizens

Energy Minister Chiarelli: building Ontario UP with higher costs--works for me
Energy Minister Chiarelli: building Ontario UP with higher costs–works for me

Minister Chiarelli’s bogus benefits

Bob Chiarelli, Ontario Minister of Energy, made another  announcement about the energy sector and the Municipal Energy Plans or MEP.  Launched a year ago, the MEP has had five municipalities take the money from the Ministry to do Municipal Energy Planning. The relaunch offers $90,000 towards development of a plan, as did the last one.

The press release stated:  “These plans complement regional energy planning and help municipalities by focusing on unique community needs and goals.

There are 440 municipalities in Ontario and  yet, fewer than 1% of them jumped on Bob’s program, demonstrating meagre support for the ministry’s attempt to convince municipalities it has fixed their complaint about the Green Energy Act and the loss of local land-use planning. In fact, as we know, 85 municipalities have chosen to declare themselves Not A Willing Host to large-scale wind power generation projects — in other words, the “unwilling” outnumber the “willing” by a factor of 16:1! Most politicians would see this as some kind of message from the people, but not the Wynne-led Liberals!

Acceptance by those five municipalities of the grants cost ratepayers $450,000 but this pales next to the billions cost us from the other ideas crafted by ministers Duguid, Smitherman, Duncan, and Chiarelli and the guiding outsiders like Rick Smith (former ED of Environmental Defence), Kris Stevens (OSEA), Bruce Lourie (Ivey Foundation), to name a few.  Ratepayer money is shovelled into the pockets of mainly foreign wind and solar developers, while Ontario loses jobs and “energy poverty” grows rapidly.

Let’s compare what support goes towards the Liberal supporters, and who has had their support cut by Hydro One, PowerStream, Toronto Hydro, etc.

Where ratepayers and taxpayer money flows for the electricity sector:

$1.1 billion annually!  The minimum amount of money required to pay the salaries of the 10,800 employees at Hydro One and OPG that were on the 2014 “Sunshine List”

$483.4 million!  The money budgeted by the Ontario Power Authority for “Conservation” initiatives in 2014 to get us to install CFL bulbs, pick up that old fridge, etc.

$2.8 million!  Earnings of the top 5 executives at H1 for the year ended December 31, 2012

$2 million!  The average pension benefit for one of the 10,800 Hydro One or OPG employees on the “Sunshine List” if they retire when they are 55 and live to 84 years old

$6.9 million!  What we are paying to erect meteorological stations to measure how much electricity wind turbines and solar panels might have produced so we can pay them for not producing

$3.5 billion!  What Ontario’s ratepayers are on the hook for to pay wind and solar developers for each year over the next 20 years to produce intermittent, unreliable power

$10 million!  What the Trillium Foundation handed out in grants in 2012 to environmental groups

$1.1 billion!  What ratepayers and taxpayers paid to move those two gas plants

$1 billion annually!  What ratepayers subsidize to export excess electricity

$6 million!  An estimate of what taxpayers and ratepayers have paid for the legal teams that the Ministry of the Environment use to defend their Renewable Energy Approvals

$5 billion!  What taxpayers will have paid to get the 10% reduction on electricity bills referred to as the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit to the end of 2015

$480 million annually!  What ratepayers paid in 2012 towards retirement plans for employees of OPG, H1, IESO and ESA according to the pension report that the Liberals hid until after the election

$1.6 billion!  What it cost to put “Big Becky” under Niagara Falls for marginal electricity

$2.6 billion!  What it will cost to build the Lower Mattagami expansion, that will deliver marginal electricity!

$400 million!  The approximate annual cost  “residential” ratepayers pick up in their electricity bills to provide a supplement to “large industrial user,” referred to as Class A customers.

This doesn’t include Ontario’s taxpayer and ratepayer contributions to the obscene waste that the Liberals have created in this portfolio, but if one totes up the annual costs it comes to  $9 to10 billion.  That money has achieved a very small increase in the province’s ability to generate electricity.  The wind and solar push should be recognized as the biggest waste in the above list — delivering marginal intermittent power at the wrong time of the day and year.  The model adopted by the Liberal government in Ontario has driven up electricity rates making Ontario  number 1 for electricity costs”.

The “fair society”?

The recently approved Budget had a section titled,   “Fostering a Fair Society” in which there was a subsection headed  “Cutting Electricity Costs”. The Budget brags about “Removing the Debt Retirement Charge from Residential Bills” but says nothing about eliminating the “Ontario Clean Energy Benefit,”   which increases the average electricity bill by over $115 annually and does nothing to foster a “fair society.”

If fairness means alleviating energy poverty, what has the government done? Well, it established the LEAP (low-income energy assistance program) which in 2012 handed out $3.9 million — money from ratepayers, actually, to assist low-income ratepayers whose power has been cut off by their local distribution companies! The Liberal government took almost $10 billion dollars from all Ontario’s ratepayers and taxpayers and returned $3.9 to help about 8,500 people.

On the other side of the balance sheet in the energy portfolio, ratepayer and taxpayer dollars made a lot of insiders in the wind and solar power industry very happy with huge subsidies for giant power projects: little benefit for great cost.

Parker Gallant

August 4, 2014

The opinions are those of the author.

Desecration of Ontario’s North by wind ‘farms’: needless

Radar

Lake Superior. Montreal River Weather Radar Station, upper right corner. Foreground, ridge where wind turbines will be places for Bow Lake Wind Farm.

Once again, we do not usually re-post from blogs but this is an excellent summary of the recent appeals of the Goulais Bay and Bow Lake power projects, together with excellent photography by Gary McGuffin.

An excerpt:

In Ontario there have been 20 appeals in opposition to industrial wind turbine farms brought before the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) and 19 have been dismissed. An appeal by Prince Edward County Field Naturalists to kill the development of an industrial wind turbine farm on Ostrander Point was won before an ERT in July 2013. However, the decision has since been reversed by the Ontario Divisional Court and appellants are seeking an appeal before the Ontario Court of Appeal.

George [Brown, of LSARC] commented, “The 240 Bow Lake appeal came close to winning. Based on the Ostrander Judicial Review decision the Tribunal found that in order to prove irreversible harm it was necessary for the appellant to know the size of the populations being harmed. Having found that the 240 appeal failed to prove irreversible harm the Tribunal declined to make a finding on the issue of serious harm, though it agreed with virtually all the arguments on bats submitted by the 240 appeal.

As a result the Tribunal imposed immediate and more stringent mitigation measures on the project – a tacit admission that species-at-risk bats would otherwise be killed, which would be a serious harm.

The Tribunal’s decision is peculiar in that it allows these more stringent mitigation measures to be rescinded should they prove effective. Had the MNR required, or done, a baseline study, or had the 240 appeal had the time and money to do one, to determine the size of existing bat species populations in the project area, we would perhaps have had the final piece of the puzzle required to win.” …

Read the full post here.