The bullies win in Bluewater?

Here is a report on the Bluewater Council meeting this week, from resident Hal March, who made a presentation to the Council.

      What a disaster! Last night, Bluewater council passed the Building Permit changes unanimously without making a single modification! The IWT companies are happy for sure. For details of the by-law check
   Mayor Bill Dowson did not declare a conflict until the last five minutes of the meeting and led the meeting for the three hours until the vote. He asked the very first leading questions to lawyer Eric Gillespie, which were clearly asked to support his agenda. When he declared a conflict it was after being asked about his prior conflicts (with the same by-law) and he said it was about building permits not IWT.  
   Clearly all the changes from the original were solely for IWT and due to Nextera and Northland negotiations with Bluewater. Two by-laws were passed the amended building permit fee and the decommissioning and it was the latter Bill Dowson had a conflict on. Councillors Klopp and Becker who also previously declared a conflict were absent.
  There was a gentleman there who warned Council about the risks of putting IWT and related equipment on top of the massive underground natural gas storage in Bluewater. No one seemed to be too concerned, even when compared with unforeseen disasters like what happened in Lac Megantic. $5million insurance should cover it right?
  Councillor John Gillespie was the most disappointing as he indicated the original building by-law he proposed for IWT was there to protect Bluewater not the residents. He seems to think that if Bluewater cannot afford to take on the IWT, each individual resident can! There was no protection discussed for the residents, it was all about protecting the government of Bluewater.
   They took no notice of the Bluewater Shoreline Residents Association suggestion to get the parent company guarantee beyond the $5 million unspecific insurance policy. This was clearly done for the wind company demands who had representatives in the audience.
  Paul Steckle a former Liberal MP with IWT leases stood up and demanded that council provide the legal cost “wasted” on fighting IWT at the next council meeting. Zurich residents and the Zurich chamber complained about the notice but refused to ask for a vote to defer. There was little notice: the only reason there were 40 or so people there was they read about it on Monday on the municipal website.
   A suggestion was made that the decision be postponed several times, but Eric Gillespie said they needed to talk about that in-camera. After the in-camera session, they all looked very sheepish when they came back and obviously agreed to go 100% support so no one looked bad.
   I could see George Irvin was disgusted by the look on his face, but he fell in line anyway.
   I feel like we have been sold out due to a council fearful of legal action, and they should have been at least willing to force a corporate guarantee from the publicly held companies.


What’s in a large-scale wind turbine (you’ll be surprised)

In keeping with our theme today of how miraculously clean and green the equipment involved in power generation from wind is, here from physicist John Droz is a listing of the chemical and construction components of a single 3-MW wind turbine.
   The list of ingredients includes 2 tons of “rare earth elements” which we know is an environmental health hazard in China, where the rare earth elements are mined, polluting air and water.
  And where does all that stuff go when the predatory wind power developers have sopped up their subsidy money and left town? (Still in possession, however, of lease agreements that mean they virtually own the land they leased…)

Wind power project announced for Quebec nickel mine

Here is a story today from the Globe and Mail announcing a wind power project for a nickel mine in Quebec’s Nunavik region.
Many people (including the lawyers for Gilead Power at the recent Environmental Review Tribunal) try to characterize Wind Concerns Ontario and our members as being opposed to anything “renewable” or “green.”
Not true.
Here you have an industrial use of power generation from wind (note that otherwise, the mine would be totally dependent on diesel fuel for power generation) for an industrial use. There are several diamond mines in the Northwest Territories also using wind energy to generate power.
These examples simply underscore how wrong-headed Ontario’s policy is regarding wind power: these industrial-scale turbines are more appropriate for an industrial use–they should never be placed near homes and schools.

Harper announces wind energy project for Nunavik mine

Stephen Harper used the final stop in his annual northern Canadian tour to champion a project that would harness wind energy to help power a massive nickel mining operation in Quebec’s Nunavik region.
Remote communities and industry such as Xtrata Nickel Inc.’s Raglan Mine are dependent on diesel-based energy generation today.
The Harper government has given $720,000 to TUGLIQ Energy Co. and Xstrata Nickel Inc. to study the feasibility of integrating wind energy into an existing diesel-based electricity system in Nunavik.
The proposed system would generate energy from wind and store surplus wind energy through hydrogen, providing a stable and sustainable source of energy at Raglan Mine.
If the plan works, a clean energy project could be operating at the mine by March 2016.
“Canadians … expect that Canadian resources will be developed with future generations in mind … in ways that make sensible use of energy and respect the environment,” Mr. Harper said.
“If this technology works here in the way we hope it will, the implications for power generation across the North are enormous. In other words, it could be a ’Eureka!’ moment.”
This project is one of the 55 that aim to produce and use energy in a cleaner, more efficient way. Support is being provided through Natural Resources Canada’s ecoENERGY Innovation Initiative.
Raglan Mine, located in the sub-arctic permafrost of Northern Quebec, was brought into production in 1997. Raglan employs almost 1,000 full-time workers, many of whom come from local communities.

Good times at Charter challenge fundraiser!

More than 100 people are gathering at this hour for the fundraiser for the Charter of Human Rights legal challenge, sponsored by SWEAR, S.T.O.P., and Central Huron in Clinton!
  Among the many special items auctioned were a golf bag, and Billy Beer from former MPP Bill Murdoch’s own brewery—the last bottle went for $100.
 Pictured are guests at the fabulous steak dinner, which followed a day of golf. Stephana Johnston of Norfolk and Helen Brimley of Ashfield.

What’s wrong with Energy in Ontario? Yes Ministers, Not “Yes Minister”

Unlike the brilliant BBC satire, Yes Minister, in which a minister of the Crown makes decisions with the advice of staff, Ontario’s energy portfolio has been headed by ministers who are inclined to say “Yes” when confronted by environmental non-government organizations (ENGOs).
   On June 2, 2008, the Toronto Star published an article by Tyler Hamilton, former environmental columnist for the paper, that described the ideas formulated by the ENGO crowd, including quotes from David Suzuki, Kristopher Stevens, Executive Director of the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association, as well as Deborah Doncaster, who was and still is heading up the Community Power Fund (a fund granted millions of dollars by those “Yes Ministers” of the McGuinty government).
    Doncaster once made a presentation to the committee established to review the premise of the Green Energy and Green Economy Act (GEA) and said this:  “Finally, we believe that one of the most significant features of the act is that it will create jobs—tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of jobs.”  We are still looking for those “hundreds of thousands of jobs.”  
   Marion Fraser, who claims “architect” status of the GEA, was also quoted in that Tyler Hamilton article.
    The fact is, the individuals instrumental in persuading the then Energy Minister, George Smitherman, to produce the controversial GEA  are still around and are as active today as they were in 2008. 
    Ontario has had six Energy Ministers since the start of 2008 (Gerry Phillips served twice) making the average term less than a year.  In that period, the various ministers issued 45 directives to the Ontario Power Authority dealing with all aspects and types of generation, smart meters,  smart grids,  transmission, conservation, grants (via the Community Power Fund), etc.  Is it really possible to understand Ontario’s complex electricity system in less than a year? Or is it possible that there is influence from individuals who are designing a system that will be beneficial to them and their close business associates?
    We are now about to see the current Minister of Energy Bob Chiarelli demonstrate his knowledge as he launches a purported  redesign of the Long-Term Energy Plan (LTEP) together with the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) and MicroFIT programs and the process for siting large generation projects.  The LTEP was a creation of Energy Minister, Brad Duguid, who launched it in November 2010 approximately one year after his appointment as Minister. 
     Premier Wynne is big on “conversation” so Minister Chiarelli says he wants one with all interested parties.  The conversation is off balance, however, in that it appears that many conversations are one-on-one with ENGOs.  Look at the submissionmade by the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association (OSEA) on June 7, 2013 and you’ll see that conversations with the rest of Ontario will be taken with the proverbial grain of salt.  OSEA’s suggestions include the establishment of two committees to recommend changes to both the siting of large generation projects and the MicroFIT program.  In other words, the changes should be overseen by the very people who were responsible for the design of the GEA! 
    Worse, it seems the intent is to continue actions spurred by the GEA that increase electricity costs, and benefit only those involved in sectors of the renewable energy business. To hell with Ontario’s ratepayers and taxpayers!  
    Will this Minister abide by their wishes?
    Wind Concerns Ontario (WCO)  has already seen evidence that the concerns of rural Ontario will be ignored.   WCO’s submission to the joint task force (IESO/OPA), to review the “siting” of large energy projects was made after intense discussion and deliberation, and with the best of intentions.   The recommendations of WCO, and those of other stakeholders, were basically ignored in the OPA/IESO document provided to Minister Chiarelli on August 1, 2013, although they at least noted our involvement.
    The WCO and many community groups have encouraged and supported rural municipalities to pass resolutions to indicate they are “not a willing host” to monstrous industrial wind turbines; currently, 62 municipalities have done so. The submission by the joint committee on the “siting” aspect made no mention of the “willing host” concept.
   The principal influencing ENGO is OSEA, which not only published its June 7 recommendations, but also organized a “webinar series” in August, aimed at developing further input.  In a brazen demonstration of confidence in their role as an influential organization, they even invited Colin Andersen, CEO of the OPA, to join them.  (He wisely declined.)  The webinar panel is identified on the OSEA website and includes such luminaries as Chris Benedetti of the Sussex Group,  (which famously was seen in a leaked strategy documentrecommending that the Liberal Party “dupe” the public about the true cost of the  government’s push for green energy), and others who directly benefit from the FIT and MicroFIT program.  
    No doubt the post-webinar OSEA recommendations presented to Minister Chiarelli (who met personally with Kristopher Stevens of OSEA recently) will favour the companies and individuals who benefit from the continued largesse of the GEA, FIT and MicroFIT programs. 
    I expect that when the current Yes Minister of Energy Mr. Chiarelli deals with the LTEP he will do as his predecessors have done— ignore the public and accommodate the ENGOs.  Ontario ratepayers and taxpayers will continue to hand over their hard earned income via their electricity bills, to fulfill the ENGOs’ “green” dreams.
Parker Gallant,
August 15, 2013
The opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the policies of Wind Concerns Ontario.

Scene from the BBC hit comedy, Yes Prime Minister, in which Sir Humphrey explains the balance of power in government decisions to Bernard

The 2003 blackout:truth and lobbying

Now that the media “Where were you when the lights went out?” pertaining to the black-out in north-eastern U.S. and Canada  10 years ago is over, we can take a look at what really happened (it wasn’t an Ontario event) and then be able to look at the comments being made by the current Ontario government and lobbyists in context.
Here from energy analyst and blogger Scott Luft, a posting from Cold Air.

Satellite photo from NOAA

NOAA image of blackout in the Northeastern USA taken Aug. 14, 2003, at 9:03 p.m. EDT.

Legal action: rural Ontario takes an interest

The town of Listowel, population 6,600, in Perth County, was the location last evening of a public event on the legal options open to residents of rural and small urban communities, facing invasion by predatory, subsidy-seeking wind power developers.
   More than 120 local residents gathered to hear Toronto-based lawyer Eric Gillespie. The community is facing a wind power project by U.S.-based Invenergy, who sent a representative to the meeting last evening.
   Gillespie and his firm were counsel for WCO member group APPEC during the recent Environmental Review Tribunal hearing the appeal of the approval of the Gilead Power wind power project at Ostrander Point, and for a group of residents near Clearview, among many other cases.
  The Clearview case is noteworthy because previously, it was thought one had to wait for a project to be built (such as cellphone towers) before suing for nuisance and property value loss; in the Wiggins et al case, the decision was that legal action can be taken at the time of approval.
  The province has approved a wind power project a week during the summer of 2013, but that is being met with opposition throughout the province. Currently, there are at least five appeals of approvals ongoing in Ontario plus other actions pending, or being contemplated.

Eric Gillespie at the Listowel Agricultural Hall, August 13, 2013.

Is the OPA up to the job?

Ontario gas plants and the future of power: is the Ontario Power Authority up to the job?
 Gas plant cancelled for political expediency, millions wasted
The Auditor General’s report dated April 2013 on the Eastern Power Mississauga gas plant contained the following remarks:
 Eastern Power was awarded three of the seven contracts, including one for the Greenfield South Power Plant. This was proposed as a 280-MW combined-cycle gas-fired facility to be located in Mississauga and to operate over a 20-year period. Ultimately, it was the only contract Eastern Power executed. For various reasons, including Eastern Power’s challenges in securing financing, the other two projects were terminated. The Greenfield South contract was signed in April 2005.
   It appears the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) in awarding the contracts to Eastern Power didn’t bother to ensure they would be able to obtain financing, but awarded the contract(s) anyway. 
   Now, in 2013, the OPA will soon be handed the full authority by Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli to ramp up their powers to negotiate and sign competitive contracts, as part of his idea of how to fix the feed-in tariff (FIT) program.   Minister Chiarelli directed the OPA via his June 12, 2013 directive to make the following change to the FIT program:
Replacing the Large FIT program with a new competitive procurement process and working with municipalities and Aboriginal communities to help identify appropriate locations and siting requirements.
   That “gas plant scandal” the Liberals have been dealing with was partially caused by the OPA’s prior actions as the Mississauga plant was to be up and running by 2007; yet the Minister is now proposing to give them moreauthority.  Past and present Energy Ministers appear to think the bureaucrats that made mistakes in the past have learned their lesson.  Or have they?
   Recently The Hill Times (Ottawa) did a complete review of the “energy” scene in Canada and took the time to do an article on the Ontario electricity sector and its push for renewable energy via the Green Energy and Economy Act. The following quote from Ontario’s Energy Minister, Bob Chiarelli appears:
“He also outlined a number of other incentives for municipal participation in the renewable energy sector, including making it easier for cities[my emphasis] to become equity partners in wind energy projects and provisions for increased tax and assessment revenues from turbines. “And that will be retroactive—it includes existing turbines as well,” Mr. Chiarelli added.”
   I’m not sure how that last comment will play out as the “assessment” on wind turbines was defined by the previous Finance Minister, Dwight Duncan, who instructed the Municipality Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) to assess a maximum taxable assessment of $40,000 per megawatt (MW).  If the contracts executed by the OPA carry guarantees on the assessed values, we should expect threats of further lawsuits, and unless Chiarelli has got clearance from current Finance Minister Charles Sousa, his premise may be dead in the water.  Nevertheless the many processes recently announced by Minister Chiarelli are moving forward, but most anti-wind turbine groups see this whole exercise as a worthless “conversation” (to paraphrase Premier Kathleen Wynne).   Those groups are also having trouble understanding what “cities” have to do with the process when it is chiefly rural communities that are affected.  I am confident Minister Chiarelli would have difficulty pointing to a major wind turbine development near any “city” in Ontario.
   In any event it appears to this writer that the OPA, charged with running this new “competitive procurement process” may be challenged as the Mississauga Greenfield project and another contract they awarded has recently demonstrated. 
   A recent case has surfaced: a small OPA contract of 6.15 MW awarded to Redbird Energy, reportedly chaired by  Kevin Loughery.   The President is listed as Nancy Loughrey and coincidently, an Internet search turns them up (or two people connectedwith the same name) in Atlanta, Georgia.  As a further coincidence the FBI in the U.S. has charged a Kevin P. Loughery with “wire fraud” for using investor funds for his personal use. 
   Is the chair of Redbird, described on the Redbird website as “Kevin has been actively involved in reviewing and assessing renewable energy companies and projects since 2006 and brings 20 years of investment experience as a stock broker for Bear Stearns, a currency trader for Thomas Cook, etc.”  and the person charged by the FBI one and the same?  If so, it appears the OPA awards contracts to companies possibly controlled by individuals charged with fraud. 
   I’m sure this latest finding will provide Minister Chiarelli with even more confidence in the OPA’s abilities to negotiate future contracts.
   This recent example and the past history of the OPA’s awarding of the Eastern Power/Greenfield contract(s) fails to provide the voters, taxpayers and ratepayers of Ontario with confidence in the  process that the previous and the current Ministers of Energy seem to feel is active in the OPA.    
   We Ontarians have certainly had our share of scandals over the past 10 years; at some point someone must draw a line in the sand—it appears the government won’t!
    Now is the time!
Parker Gallant
August 13, 2013
The opinions expressed in this posting are those of the author and are not necessarily the policy of Wind Concerns Ontario.

Niagara Region letter: what could make people leave their homes?

Here from Niagara Region, a letter to the editor on a recent council meeting, and claims of “NIMBY” against people concerned about the effect of a wind power project on the health of their families.

Grimsby Lincoln News

At the Aug. 1 regional council meeting I attended Mr. Tom Rankin* was heard in a loud angry voice giving the entire council gallery the label of NIMBYs. Of course he did not include himself even though they are not being built in his backyard.
    Rankin continued spewing out his displeasure that council had the audacity to vote in favour of Wainfleet and West Lincoln declaring themselves unwilling hosts to wind turbines in their municipalities. A grateful thank you goes to those councillors who had that courage to recognize that Canada is a democracy.
    There has been a back and forth argument whether wind turbines do cause serious health issues. But, on the other hand, gravely speaking why would people be leaving their beloved homes that they worked a lifetime for? Leaving their highest investment of their lifetime? The documented cases were not happy planned moves; on the contrary they all claimed they were ones they say were forced by illness caused by wind turbines.

Read the full article here.

*Editor’s note: Mr. Rankin is a partner in Wainfleet Energy Inc.

Environmental spills at McLean’s Mountain, Manitoulin

Further to the opinion piece in the Sudbury Star today on the environmental damage being done at the Northland Power McLean’s Mountain wind project, here are some photos from a volunteer on the island.
   Wind is green, wind is good.

 Turbine 21: wetland being drained onto neighbouring, non-participant property

Oil spill on McLean’s Mountain Road

Turbine 9; Northland Power releasing crusher dust onto pasture (with livestock) and homes downwind