New federal budget to spend billions on ‘green infrastructure’

money

News media and others are puzzling over the new federal budget this morning, assessing what the proposed expenditures mean.

Of note for those watching how electricity is generated in Canada are statements about “green infrastructure” and actions to curb air pollution and fight climate change.

See a summary of Budget 2016 prepared by The Hill Times, here. SUMMARY FEDERAL BUDGET 2016

Ontario communities banding together to fight new wind power contracts

This is from the wind power industry’s own publication, North American Windpower

NAW Staff, March 8, 2016

Fifty-one Ontario municipalities are endorsing a resolution recently passed by the Township of Wainfleet Council that calls on the government of Ontario to stop awarding feed-in tariff (FIT) contracts for power generation from wind.

The resolution, passed in January, was based on December’s auditor general report that claimed Ontario has a surplus of power generation capacity and, under existing contracts, is paying double what other jurisdictions are paying for wind power, explains the Township of Wainfleet.

Thus, adding more surplus generation capacity would add to the already high costs of disposing of surplus electricity, says the township, which adds that the cost of electricity is a key concern for many Ontario residents.

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce has also reported the impact of high electricity costs on their members’ ability to grow their businesses and create jobs in Ontario. Thus, says Wainfleet, this suggests the need for a full, cost-benefit review of the renewable energy program before committing Ontario electricity users to even more surplus power.

According to Wind Concerns Ontario, the resolution also calls attention to the fact that wind power projects cause damage to the environment by killing wildlife.

April Jeffs, mayor of the Township of Wainfleet, is pleased with the support that her council’s resolution is receiving from across the province: “This quick response from other municipalities to the circulation of the resolution indicates that wind turbines are still front and center as an important issue in rural Ontario,” she says.

According to the township, Jeffs reports that at least one of the two projects in the area is the cause of citizen reports of deteriorating health. She is particularly concerned about the second project currently under development in her area – which involves 77 3.0-MW turbines in Wainfleet, West Lincoln and eastern Haldimand County.

The township says the more powerful turbines are located in areas with a sizeable residential population with an estimated 2,000 households living within 2 kilometers of the towers. The project will operate under one of the older, expensive FIT contracts criticized by the auditor general; the Wainfleet resolution asks the government to review options under the contract to cancel the project.

Now that coal-fired power plants have closed, says Wainfleet, the government should have met its carbon-reduction goals for the electrical power system in Ontario – which is now largely based on carbon-free hydroelectricity and nuclear power. This gives the province an opportunity to assess renewable generation alternatives that have less impact on the host communities, according to the township.

In addition, clauses in the 2015 RFP documents issued by the Independent Electricity System Operator do not commit the government to issue any wind contracts, so the government is protected against lawsuits from the bidders should it change course at this time, Wainfleet adds.

“Wind power is produced out of phase with demand in Ontario,” says Jane Wilson, president of Wind Concerns Ontario. “According to the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers, that can mean more greenhouse gas emissions, not less, because of the need for backup by natural gas power plants. Everyone wants to help the environment, but utility-scale wind power is not the answer.”

Brandy Giannetta, the Canadian Wind Energy Association’s (CanWEA) regional director for Ontario, calls the resolution a “political statement at the municipal level.”

Although it’s “unfortunate that it’s out there,” Giannetta tells NAW, she notes the importance of the province’s Large Renewable Procurement (LRP) process in showing the cost-competitiveness of wind power. The process calls for the procurement of utility-scale renewables projects; specifically, the LRP I requested up to 300 MW of wind.

The LRP, led by the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), aims to “strike a balance between early community engagement and achieving value for ratepayers,” according to the IESO. Giannetta says the LRP contracts will be awarded as soon as this week.

In March 2015, when the first request for proposals under the LRP was issued, Robert Hornung, president of CanWEA, said, “An important part of the RFP process will be early and meaningful community engagement. Effective community engagement is fundamental to the success of wind energy projects, and the wind industry values the right of individuals to have an important role in discussions about developments in their community.”

A full list of the municipalities supporting the resolution can be found here.

EDITOR’S NOTE: As of this writing the number of municipalities is now 59. See the list here.

Ontario municipalities call for no new wind power contracts

Wind Concerns Ontario, the coalition of community groups and individuals concerned about the impact of utility-scale wind power projects on Ontario’s economy and environment, and on human health, has issued a statement of support for the 50+ municipalities endorsing the Wainfleet Resolution, which calls on the Wynne government to not issue wind power contracts for the 2015 bid process, as planned.

The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) plans to announce successful bids for 300 megawatts of new wind power generation soon. Ontario’s Auditor General pointed out in the recent report that Ontario pays double for wind power compared to other jurisdictions, and that a surplus of power means losses as the power is sold off cheap. The report also expressed concerns about environmental impacts, such as the effect on migratory birds, and the need for fossil-fuel generation back-up because power from wind is produced intermittently.

“Everyone wants to do what they can for the environment,” says Wind Concerns Ontario president Jane Wilson, “but with all the negative impacts, utility-scale wind power is not the answer.”

See the news release at Canada Newswire  March 7, 2016

 

Wind power developer sues Ontario over contentious project

The Thunder Bay area project was opposed by the Fort William First Nation and the community

Another beautiful Ontario location: perfect for power machines, right?
The Nor’Wester Escarpment–Another beautiful Ontario location: perfect for power machines, right?

Wind farm dead, but law suit alive

Chronicle-Herald, February 10, 2016

BY CARL CLUTCHEY NORTH SHORE BUREAU chroniclejournal.com

The Toronto energy company that proposed to build an ill-fated wind farm on the Nor’Westers escarpment is proceeding with a $50-million lawsuit against the Ontario government, despite having dropped an appeal of a provincial decision against the project.

“Upon careful consideration, we have decided to not appear before (Ontario’s) Environmental Review Tribunal, and instead pursue a remedy at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice,” Horizon Wind spokeswoman Nhung Nguyen said Tuesday in an email.

Horizon withdrew its appeal to the tribunal on Jan. 25. The appeal had been launched last fall, after the Ministry of Environment said the proposed 16-turbine wind farm south of Thunder Bay couldn’t go ahead over lingering concerns over potential impacts on moose habitat.

In its lawsuit against the ministry, Horizon claims the province committed “negligent misrepresentations and misfeasance of public duty.”

None of the allegations in the suit’s 33-page statement of claim have been proven in court.

The lawsuit alleges that the ministry was “unlawfully influenced by the Ontario cabinet and the premier’s office” when it delayed the issuing of the project’s approval. …

Read the full story here.

First Nation, community group applaud power developer withdrawal

Environmental impacts from Thunder Bay area wind “farm” would have been significant and irreversible

 

TB Newswatch, February 9, 2016

By Jon Thompson, tbnewswatch.com

THUNDER BAY — Horizon Wind has withdrawn its appeal to the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, effectively ending its decade-long pursuit of a wind farm on the Nor’Wester escarpment.

The company filed the appeal in July of 2014 after the Ontario Power Authority terminated its Feed-In-Tariff contract, citing a lack of progress on the proposed 32-megawatt wind turbine farm.

Horizon had been fighting a Fort William First Nation court injunction over land rights and the company had to drop a $126-million lawsuit it filed against the City of Thunder Bay over the project’s location.

It was also facing outspoken opposition from Thunder Bay-Atikokan MPP Bill Mauro and a grassroots mobilization of neighbours and conservationists.

Nor’Wester Escarpment Protection Committee president John Beals estimates his group has spent $150,000 and countless volunteer hours to oppose the wind farm.

“Fort William First Nation has done the lion’s share of the work with their concerns and we’re proud to take our hat off to them and say, ‘job well done,'” Beals said.

“Their rights are being acknowledged today.”

Read the full story here.

Electricity costs up 97 percent in Ontario: power surplus exports rising

wind contract banner

Ontario gives away $4.5 billion ratepayer dollars; persists in directive to add more wind and solar

The GA or Global Adjustment first made its appearance on IESO’s Monthly Market Report in January 2007. As noted in the chart below, that year, the GA finished 2007 at $3.95 per megawatt hour (MWh) which means it cost Ontario’s electricity ratepayers about $600 million for the full year. In, 2015 the GA was just shy of $10 billion.

To be fair, the GA includes the price of “contracted” power, less the value given to it on the hourly Ontario electricity price (HOEP) market. As a result of Ontario’s high surplus of generating capacity and the intermittent presentation of wind and solar in periods of low demand, has resulted in the HOEP showing declining values. Despite declining values the cost of a kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity increased from an average of 5.43 cents/kWh to 10.7 cents/kWh from November 1, 2007 to November 1, 2015 — up 97%. The upsetting part, and a driving force behind the 97% increase is surplus generation sold to our neighbours. We sell excess output to New York and Michigan, etc. without inclusion of the GA. The GA lost on those sales is charged to Ontario ratepayers and has become increasingly large. The chart indicates the “intertie flows” (exports/imports netted) initially cost Ontario ratepayers $20 million for 2007, but that has increased, and representing more $1.3 billion for 2015.

It is anticipated the annual cost of subsidizing surplus exports will continue to climb.

Scott Luft notes results for January 2016 are 20% higher than January 2015 for the cost of electricity as the HOEP was lower despite what Ontario’s Liberal government says about pricing stabilizing. With plans to add 500 MW of capacity for wind and solar, the climb will continue for at least another two years. Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli recently stated: “Our government’s focus is now on preparations for the next long term energy plan and the ways in which we can continue to drive down costs for Ontarians”. (Note to the Minister: a 97% increase does not “drive down costs”!)

Further reference to the chart points out addition of more wind and solar over the past nine years has driven up the percentage of renewables exported. The “Net Intertie” (net exports) increased from 19.6% in 2007 to over 57% in 2015.

What the Energy Minister needs to accept is this: we don’t need more intermittent and unreliable power.

That message is not getting through, despite evidence presented by the Auditor General of Ontario on several occasions and by numerous critics in the media.

Costing ratepayers $4.5 billion in after-tax dollars to help our neighbours is what’s happened. Perhaps Minister Chiarelli could suggest to Finance Minister Charles Sousa, that the money extracted from ratepayers provides no benefits to Ontarians. Perhaps a tax receipt is in order — that would help cash-strapped citizens, but there is a better idea.

The Energy Minister needs to immediately recall his directive to the IESO to acquire another 500 MW of contracts for intermittent wind and solar power.

© Parker Gallant,
February 7, 2016

The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent Wind Concerns Ontario policy.

Year Net Intertie 1. Global Adjustment Cost to Ratepayers % of Renewables to Wind Solar &
TWh 2. Million of $/TWh GA X Net Intertie Net Intertie Biomass generation
(millions)
2015 16.86 TWh $77.80 $1,311 57.20%        9.65TWh
2014 15.15 TWh $54.59 $846 47.00%        7.12TWh
2013 13.40 TWh $59.22 $794 48.50%        6.50TWh
2012 9.90 TWh $49.23 $487 59.60%        5.90TWh
2011 9.00 TWh $40.48 $364 56.70%        5.10TWh
2010 8.80 TWh $27.18 $239 46.60%        4.10TWh
2009 11.30 TWh $30.56 $345 31.00%        3.50TWh
2008 10.90 TWh $6.12 $67 22.00%        2.40TWh
2007 5.10 TWh $3.95 $20 19.60%        1.00TWh
       Totals 100.40 TWh $4,473     37.00TWh

Beleaguered Shirley Wind residents refuse to give up

People living near the Shirley Wind Farm in southern Brown County attend a meeting of the Board of Health on January 12, 2016. (Photo by Jeff Flynt/Midwest Communications).

Residents at Board of Health meeting January 12 [Photo Jeff Flynt]

“You are now part of the problem”

WTAQ, January 13, 2016

GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) – Residents in southern Brown County upset with last month’s decision by the county’s health director not to order a shutdown of the Shirley Wind Farm spoke out during a meeting Tuesday evening.

The Brown County Board of Health put room on its agenda to allow for follow up to Health Director Chua Xiong’s call not to formally classify the turbines in Morrison and Glenmore as a public health hazard.

“Please help us, this is serious business,” said one of the approximately 40 people attending the meeting solely to urge Xiong to change her mind.

“You are now part of the problem,” said another resident.

Ben Schauer is an Army veteran who lives in Denmark near the Shirley Wind Farm.

“I’m imploring all of you, fight for me, fight for my family as hard as I’ve spent 22 years fighting for this country and your rights to sit there,” said Schauer, who was accompanied by his wife and sons who told the board their personal illnesses they say are from the wind turbines.

Xiong was largely silent during the meeting, while some board members backed her conclusion that insufficient evidence links turbines to illnesses suffered by residents.

COUNTY SUPERVISOR GOES AFTER XIONG

Among the attendees Tuesday was Brown County Supervisor Patrick Evans. He was one of the several who spoke during the public forum on the Shirley Wind Farm.

“It’s almost borderline on misconduct in public office, it’s almost criminal,” Evans said, directing his remarks toward Xiong’s announcement during the December 15 meeting. “I don’t like it that she comes out and tells the people yes I know you’re not crazy and there’s a problem, but then doesn’t do anything to help them.”

In 2014, the Brown County Board of Health declared that turbines do emit low-frequency noise which can endanger health. But it is Xiong who holds the power to order a shutdown of those turbines in the southern part of the county.

“She has to make a decision based on the best available evidence she has,” said board member and Brown County Supervisor Richard Schadewald, who echoed fellow board member Karen Sanchez in saying there is no “direct causality” shown.

NEXT MOVE?

Talk during the public feedback portion of the meeting ranged from performing more studies, to courses of action in a potential lawsuit to whether or not the Board could do anything moving forward.

But for many of the residents impacted by the daily issue of wind turbines, time is running out.

“If this was happening in Allouez or the City of De Pere, you’d be on this in a flash, because people getting this sick this fast, you’d do something about it,” said one woman.

“We cannot wait any longer,” said Steve Deslauriers. “Holding off for future study, the process at the state level is corrupt enough that it will likely turn out that we get a response like we did last month.”

Evans, who chairs the Brown County Human Services Committee, says at their January 27 meeting that Xiong will speak.

“She hasn’t taken the science to say why I’ve made this decision,” Evans said. “I would hope that we would hear some explanation from her, I think she’s probably working on it right now instead of before.”

Evans added he doesn’t expect Xiong to change her mind and that while he supports her background, in his view, she’s dropped the ball on this decision.

Xiong was unavailable for comment after the meeting.

Rally planned Sunday September 27 in The County

Come to the APPEC Rally – September 27, 2015

syndrome

APPEC will be hosting a rally at the Milford Mount Tabor Fairgrounds on September 27th starting at 11AM and going onto until 4PM. Come and show your support for the Protecting What We Love movement in Prince Edward County. Come and show just how angry you are with what is happening to our small community by big business and big government. Come and see just how big these monstrous Industrial Wind Turbines are and how they will tower over our small community. Just how big is 50 stories? … along the South Shore … too big.

Come and learn what the noise will be like from these planned wind turbines as they are just too close to family residences, our wild life and our neighborhood.

Come to understand how our heritage will be impacted by these views and how property may get damaged in the construction. Do you need to find out where the 28km transmission will be buried and just how close to residences the construction will come? Are you worried about the changes in the hydrology and wetlands and how wells may get impacted?

Come and find out.

Come and learn how the wpd White Pines Wind Project will be industrializing the South Shore and consider for yourself if there are too many for the people that live here and the important wild life and habitat that the County is known for.

There will be a lot to learn with many displays presented by APPEC and other local groups including PECFN, CCSAGE and individuals who have been critiquing the wpd White Pines Wind Project since 2010. There will be fun for all ages with live local entertainment, bands and music. There will be lots to eat with several different food trucks. It will be a pleasure for your eyes, your ears, your taste buds and your mind.

Come and join the rally this September 27th.

No apologies: Addington Highlands reeve justifies his wind farm position

14-01 hogg henry

Hogg: in touch with the people

Frontenac News, September 10, 2015

A few jobs is better than none

There has been persistent opposition from a number of Denbigh residents as well as the group BEARAT (Bon Echo Area Residents Against Turbines) before and after Addington Highlands Council decided to support the bids by RES Canada and NextEra for wind generation contracts.

Reeve Henry Hogg, who has expressed his support for the projects ever since they first surfaced in early March of this year, has been the target of much criticism from the opposition groups, including Paul Isaacs, a Denbigh resident who has launched a public call for the Denbigh ward to secede from Addington Highlands entirely.

In the end, with Council deadlocked at two, it was Hogg who settled all three votes on the matter, each time by supporting wind power in Addington Highlands. Through it all, Reeve Hogg has said little about his own reasons for supporting the project.

“I was in a position of presiding over a process,” he said early this week in a telephone interview, “and not in a position to express my opinion except when I ended up having to vote on the motions that came forward”.

At the first presentation to Council in March by NextEra, Hogg was inclined to support the proposal on the spot, which is something he now says “may have been premature.”

For one thing, delaying acceptance resulted in a significant increase in the “community vibrancy fund” that the township will receive if either company succeeds in the bidding process and ends up putting up turbines in the township.

As well, the township ended up doing research on turbines, talking to other municipalities where both NextEra and RES have constructed and are running projects, attended presentations by the companies, and heard from the public.

“None of that has changed my view about the turbines,” said Hogg. “I felt they were good for the township from the start and I still feel that way.”

Hogg said that he has not only served as reeve of Addington Highlands for many years, but has lived and worked in Ward 1 of the township for 40 years. “I was the only member of council from Ward 1 who has made his living and raised our family in Ward 1”.

One of the critiques of the decision to support the turbine companies was that the Ward 2 politicians out-voted the local Ward 1 politicians who opposed them, but Hogg takes exception to that argument, because with him the majority of Council comes from Ward 1, which is slightly less populated than Ward 2.

“When you look at Highway 41 north of Bon Echo and see the number of businesses that are boarded up, restaurants that are closed, it tells you that the local economy could not sustain them,” he said. “Even if there are only a few jobs created by this, a few is better than none.”

He related that what the research township staff has done and the information he received from other municipalities indicate that turbines don’t cause either adverse health effects or a drop in property values and have been of net benefit to the local economies wherever they are located.

“We don’t have a tourism base”

“We looked at these things; we had our staff do research and this is what they found,” he said. “Some of the people who are against it are saying it will harm our tourism base and the pristine wilderness. We don’t have a tourism base; we never have. We do have cottages, of course, and they are crucial to us keeping anything going at all, but that isn’t tourism. We also don’t have pristine wilderness; everything was logged in what is now Addington Highlands 200 years ago.”

He said that most of the opposition is based on people not wanting to see turbines, even at a distance, from their property or their township.

“To me, people come up with arguments against them mainly because they don’t want to see them. We had the same reaction when we wanted to bring an eco-lodge to Skootamatta Lake a number of years ago. But in this case, they can go ahead even without our approval, and if they do go ahead, I want to be on the inside instead of on the outside looking in.”

And far as the process that council went through before passing a motion of support, he said that he never talked to any of the council members before the vote about what they were planning.

“I didn’t think that was appropriate, but I kind of knew the way four of the five of us were going to vote.”

He does admit, however, that the opposition to turbines caught him by surprise.

“When RES first came here in 2008, nobody said a word against it, and when we put it in our Official Plan, nobody said anything, so I was not ready for what has happened, but then again there are 4,600 permanent and seasonal residents in the township and we have only heard from 50 to 100 people against this. When I look down the road at the long-term needs of Addington Highlands, I see this as a potential benefit if it goes ahead. Nothing I have heard has made me think any differently about it.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: No tourism base? Really. Not what Tourism Ontario says: ontariohighlands.ca

Only heard from 50 to 100 people? What about the 81% who voted NO in an online plebescite?