National seniors organization targets Ontario electricity bills

Wind power contracts a factor in highest rising bills in North America

The Canadian Association of Retired Persons or CARP has created a “Heat or Eat” campaign designed to focus on the plight of senior citizens in Ontario, who are being affected by the province’s rapidly increasing electricity bills.

CARP has created an online petition, and plans a special television event with a panel of experts to look at the choices people on fixed incomes have to make, such as heating their home or buying food, or paying for medication.

“Shame on you, Kathleen Wynne!” says a senior profiled in a Zoomer TV video.

Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) officials have admitted that Ontario’s above-market contracts with generators of renewable power such as wind, are a significant factor in the rising electricity bills, which are now the fastest rising in North America. While the government has announced certain measures for relief on electricity bills, the government has yet to introduce any real measures to actually reduce costs, such as the cancellation of wind power contracts awarded in 2016, which will cost Ontario citizens more than $3 billion over 20 years. Ontario has a surplus of power generation which is expected to persist for the next 10 years.

Surplus power: the not so rosy side of wind power

One of the reasons behind the skyrocketing electricity bills for Ontario consumers is the cost of dealing with surplus power, a result of the fact that wind produces power out of phase with demand (refer to two Auditors General reports for confirmation of that fact).

While the current Minister of Energy claims that Ontario is making a “profit” on its exports of surplus power, that is blatantly untrue: Ontario’s electricity ratepayers pay premium rates for wind power, which is then sold when not needed at a loss.

Parker Gallant takes aim at both the wind power lobby group and the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) in his latest article on Parker Gallant Energy Perspectives.

Here’s an excerpt:

What IESO’s concerns and subsequent recommendations suggest is the variable and unpredictable nature of wind generation has created serious problems in the eyes of those entrusted to run Ontario’s electricity system.

So, here are the facts: power generation from wind cost Ontario’s ratepayers over $1.7 billion (approximately 12% of total generation costs) in 2016 for just over 6% of demand, and will cause ratepayers hydro bills to be further affected negatively.   IESO’s responsibility to manage the system through the exercises suggested in their recommendations will cost the system more money, increasing costs just to ensure industrial wind developments are able to extract money from the pockets of Ontario’s ratepayers.

A clear example of “alternative facts” from both the industry and an agency of the Ontario government.

More Ontario municipalities demand final say in wind power sites: more than 100 stand up to Wynne government

Ontario municipalities want local land-use planning control back
Ontario municipalities want local land-use planning control back

September 11, 2016

Now 111 municipalities in Ontario have either passed or formally endorsed a resolution at Council, demanding that municipal support be a mandatory requirement for contracts in the Wynne government’s next round of Large Renewable Procurement.

The municipalities include several urban municipalities with rural components including Ottawa, Hamilton, and Stratford.

“That number, 111, represents more than a quarter of all Ontario municipalities,” says Wind Concerns Ontario president Jane Wilson.

“They believe that they are the best judge of where important infrastructure should be sited, and that they are the voice of their community concerns about where power generation projects are located. Development is only sustainable and appropriate where there is community support — and as we are seeing, many rural communities don’t support the government’s policy of forcing these power facilities on people, and the environment.”

Local land-use planning for developments such as wind and solar power generation facilities was removed by the Green Energy Act in 2009.

Despite a surplus of power in Ontario, the cost of long-term contracts for renewable sources of power,  and province-wide protests about Ontario’s rising electricity bills, which have forced several hundred thousand residents into “energy poverty,” the Wynne government still plans to launch a new procurement process in 2017. The deadline for corporate wind power developers to file a request for qualification with the IESO was Thursday, September 8th.

Energy analyst Tom Adams told Global TV news last week that the government needs to cancel contracts where it can, and cancel the planned Large Renewable Procurement (LRP II).

Wind turbines may close busy airport: pilots launch political campaign

This is an excerpt from the August edition of COPA Flight, provided by a member of the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association.

So ridiculous, pilots can't believe anyone would put turbines at an airport
So ridiculous, pilots can’t believe anyone would put turbines at an airport

Windmills may close airport

By Russ Niles

The owner of an Ontario airport that will be in the shadow of a proposed wind turbine project fears Transport Canada [TC] will close his strip if the windmills are built.

Kevin Elwood says he’s been told by a senior TC official that the department will not intervene to prevent construction of the windmills but it will act to ensure public safety after the fact by restricting or even stopping operations at the affected airport.

“He said that if [the province of Ontario] chooses to put green energy before airports, that’s their choice,” he said. “We will respond by restricting airport operations and we will go so far as to close airports,” he {Elwood] quoted the official as saying.

That would seem to fit with the scenario now playing out over the so-called Fairview Project, a group of eight, 152-metre turbines planned for farmland adjacent to Elwood’s Clearview Aerodrome (also known as Stayner Airport). The huge windmills will be directly in the flightpath of aircraft in the circuit for his airport and the nearby Collingwood Airport.

TC has declined to oppose the project and that means the only hope Elwood and other opponents of the windmills have is the rarely used power on the Minister of Transport to unilaterally stop the project on safety grounds.

Minister Marc Garneau has so far been silent on the issue and COPA is calling on its 17,000 members (and voters) to apply their significant political influence to nudge him out of that complacency.

COPA has launched a full-scale letter writing campaign to draw attention to the issue that Elwood is convinced is an immediate threat to both airports and will set a precedent that could affect airports across the country.

The turbines would be in blatant violation of Transport Canada’s airport obstacle guidelines and Garneau, a long-time pilot and COPA member, has the power to stop their construction. In fact, because of the protection afforded such projects by Ontario’s Green Energy Act, Garneau is probably one of the few who can stop them. He won’t even talk about the issue, however.

“We really have a good working relationship with Transport Canada, very open and collaborative,” [says COPA President Bernard Gervais]. “As part of our regular discussions I presented the situation and possible course of action,” Gervais said. “Section 6.41 of the Aeronautics Act authorizes the minister to make an interim order to deal with such threats to aviation. If the minister is of the opinion that the windmills are hazardous to aviation safety, he (or his deputy) has the authority to stop such construction. … the lack of feedback from TC and knowing this is a very sensitive political issue, drives me to think that our only course of action at this point is to go on the political front.”

ERT members unfamiliar with aviation safety

COPA appeared at the original [ERT] hearings in the approval* process along with many other opponents, and all of the arguments were essentially ignored. … Complicating that process is the fact that the two members hearing the health arguments have no aviation background at all and have had to be schooled on airport operations and aviation terminology.

… [Elwood] says that if it plays out as he thinks it might, TC will either close his airport or make it so difficult and inconvenient to use that it might as well be closed. The aerodrome is home bas to Elwood’s business, an aircraft management and business charter operation. Over the years he’s invested heavily in hangars and other infrastructure and if the windmills go ahead, a lifetime of work might go down the drain.

[The wind turbines] will prevent pilots from using the recently re-invigorated [Collingwood Airport]. Ironically, the federal government has spent millions on improvements to the field, including a new terminal and lots of new pavement.

“Even people who don’t fly, [says Collingwood based pilot Austin Boake], they realize it’s just common sense …It’s just so ridiculous I can’t even believe it.”

*The author means the “appeal process.”

For more information on the COPA appeal go to: http://www.copanational.org/FeedFeds.cfm

Letter to PM, Minister of Health has 200 Ontario signatories

Letter to Ottawa: investigation needed
Letter to Ottawa: investigation needed

June 16, 2016

A letter from Ontario residents has gone to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and federal Health Minister Dr Jane Philpott, asking that there be an investigation into adverse health effects reported by residents of Ontario living near wind turbines.

Signed by Barbara Ashbee of Mulmur Ontario, the letter also carried signatures of 200 Ontario citizens.

Ashbee gives examples of other investigations of an environmental health nature that are being funded by the federal government, and asks that the government consider a project related to wind turbine noise and health effects.

“The purpose of this letter is to formally request a meeting with the Minister of Health and staff to discuss compliance by the wind turbine industry with the Radiation Emitting Devices Act and wind turbine industry compliance obligations, and the need to conduct an investigation of complaints relating thereto,” Ashbee writes.

She also says that the wind turbine noise and health study completed by Health Canada did not ascertain environmental factors affecting “patient outcomes.”

See the text of the letter here: Open letter Prime Minister Trudeau industrial wind turbines June 14_2016 (3a)

Huron County Board of Health to consider collaboration on health investigation

June 2, 2016

At the June meeting of the Huron County Board of Health meeting today, the (acting) Medical Officer of Health suggested collaborating in an investigation with the University of Waterloo as a means of addressing the Board’s concerns with the current follow-up project.
Collaboration with the University of Waterloo would provide a wider purpose to the proposed Huron Health Unit investigation of health complaints.
Wind Concerns Ontario has been exploring the possibility of investigating health/noise complaints with the University of Waterloo for some time.
 As the work being done in Huron County would provide good input into the investigation, Wind Concerns approached the Medical Officer of Health as requested by the University of Waterloo during a recent teleconference, to see if there was interest in a collaborative approach.
Though more discussions are pending, we see this as a positive development. More information will be provided when available.
Jane Wilson, RN
President
Wind Concerns Ontario

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)

Wind turbines an invasion of Ontario’s power grid, says engineer

Wind turbines are not just an eyesore in Ontario says retired engineer Jim McPherson, they are responsible for unreasonable increases in electricity bills, affecting quality of life and business competitiveness.

An excerpt follows:

Toronto Sun, May 8, 2016

In his April 26 Letter to the Editor, Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli wrote that “for the first time the cost of producing electricity from wind is below the average cost of producing electricity in Ontario.”

Using this Orwellian “doublespeak”, Chiarelli failed to mention that under his 20-year “Feed-in Tariff” (FIT) contracts, we pay wind energy corporations much more, not less, than the rates we pay for each kilowatt of the hydro, nuclear or gas-generated electricity that wind energy replaces. In addition, in Ontario, most wind and solar energy is generated when not needed.

In fact, wind and solar “farms” have become troublesome “gridmonsters”. They are uncontrollable, cruel and unreasonably costly.

Gridmonsters have a licence not only to kill, but also to bill.

Enabled by Ontario’s Green Energy Act , they drive up electricity prices while ravaging rural neighbourhoods and wildlife. They are malignant tumours attached to our electricity grid. They will continue to force electricity rates to rise unless we act now to bring them under rigorous control.

When gridmonsters were in their infant stage, we were able to store their fluctuating output in rechargeable batteries for later use in electric cars or household power. But they have grown much too big for batteries, and they keep growing because governments keep feeding them subsidies.

Gridmonsters were created by huge wind and solar corporations that lobbied governments for subsidies that guaranteed ongoing profits. That was the beginning of the scam, to which governments and citizens succumbed because of our fear of climate change.  But unlike other energy sources, the sun and the wind cannot be turned on and off when demand fluctuates.

On dark and still nights, gridmonsters lurk in rural fields. Then, when the sun shines or the wind blows, they invade power transmission lines. With government permission, they replace cheaper electricity from hydroelectric power, nuclear, or gas plants. Electricity rates then rise. When the wind dies or when the sun is obscured, the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) routinely fires up recently-added backup natural gas power plants.

Rates routinely rise again.

Whenever we can’t find consumers for this unneeded electricity, we pay solar and wind energy producers to not produce power. Rates rise more!

Gridmonsters keep metastasizing. Ontario is exporting more and more excess green energy to Quebec or Michigan, at a loss of millions more dollars every month.

Rates keep rising.

Amazingly, the Ontario government recently invited proposals for even more subsidized, unneeded and unreliable wind factories and solar farms. …

Read the entire article here.

Wynne government: keeping truth in the dark (or disguised)

WEEKEND READING

 

Randall Denley writes in the Ottawa Citizen about the current ad campaign by Ontario Power Generation (started in advance of the latest increase announcement). Eliminating coal was done in the most expensive way possible, Denley says. But here’s the kick: with wind and solar needing backup by natural gas, Ontario is still producing greenhouse gases (we’ll produce more with wind and solar, Ontario’s engineers say) but it’s done by private companies, so the government’s hands are “clean.” Read the story here.

Community engagement in wind power siting is a myth, says columnist and veteran journalist Peter Epp in the current edition of Ontario Farmer.[Not available online]

Here is the column:

“Unwilling”or not, it’s a go

Peter Epp, for Ontario Farmer

The Ontario government is spouting fiction when it suggests that the renewable energy projects it approves are welcomed within the communities in which they are to be developed.

In the most recent round of approvals [WCO editor’s note: the projects are not “approved” they have contracts, but …] announced in early March, three of the five wind projects were approved for municipalities that have been consistent in their formal rejection of such projects, each of them adopting status as an “unwilling host.”

They include the Town of Lakeshore in Essex County, the Municipality of Dutton Dunwich in Elgin County, and the Municipality of North Stormont in Eastern Ontario. [Editor’s note: the Municipality of Nation also got a contract and is also an unwilling host.]

Yet Ontario Energy Minister Chiarelli continues to pretend that these projects  are welcomed. Earlier this year he said the government has changed the way in which it consults with communities, “and ensures that only the most cost-effective and locally supported projects get built.”

But that can’t be the case when 60 per cent of the most recent round of approved wind projects were awarded to jurisdictions that don’t want them.

Dutton Dunwich on the phone again? Warwick too? Kawartha Lakes? Prince Edward County? Aw geez...
Dutton Dunwich on the phone again? Warwick too? Kawartha Lakes? Prince Edward County? Aw geez…

Chiarelli used the same line on April 5 when his ministry announced it would be launching its next round of wind, solar and other renewable energy contract bids [procurement] this summer. A request for qualifications for 930 megawatts of renewable energy …is to be issued by August 1. The contracts for successful bidders are to be issued no later than May 1, 2018.

“By putting the emphasis on price and community support, the next phase of renewable energy procurement will save customers money by putting further downward pressure on electricity prices,” Chiarelli said in a press release.

Planning for renewable energy is in Toronto, and continues to reside there

This is again fiction. There has never been any emphasis on community support. When the Ontario Green Energy Act was approved in 2009, municipalities were purposely excluded from any participation in the approval process. Planning authority was concentrated in Toronto, and that authority continues to reside there.

The government did give a small concession to local governments three years ago, allowing them to contribute to the planning discussion, while suggesting that municipal support for a renewable energy project would contribute to its approval.

But at no time has the government ceded its real authority.

It still makes the final decision: even if that decision doesn’t have local support.

That Chiarelli would continue in this charade is curious, given the strong opposition that some municipalities continue to provide…Dutton Dunwich even held a referendum on wind farms, in which 84 per cent of its residents cited their opposition.

90 communities opposed–and they’re not going quietly

Like Dutton Dunwich, Warwick Township in Lambton County is one of almost 90 “unwilling hosts” in Ontario, and yet there are nine wind turbines within its boundaries. Its mayor on April 5 said it would continue to remind Chiarelli and his ministry that Warwick doesn’t want any more turbines.

“We were very strong sending that message during the last phase, and we’ll continue…”

 

Editor’s note: Last month North Frontenac passed a resolution demanding that municipal support be a mandatory requirement in the procurement process, not just a means for bidders to get more points and a higher price. Other municipalities are expected to join in.

Weekend reading: energy policy, Ontario, and more

A selection of articles from the week gone by.

When energy policy goes bad, Financial Post, April 7.

Canada can build pipelines and wind turbines to build public confidence: federal Minister of Natural Resources, Financial Post, April 6

Green energy in Germany: green is the new colour of “sleaze” Blog posting [Note we would like to post the original article but the international edition of Der Spiegel did not include it}