Wind power project divides community

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

[Excerpted]

By Ian Cumming

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Phone call from the Liberal MPP

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

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

 

 

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

 

Premier refuses to meet Prince Edward County Mayor

Mayor Quaiff: "They think I will accept this?"
Mayor Quaiff: “They think I will accept this?”

County Live, July 30, 2015

Mayor Robert Quaiff has been notified there is little chance of having a meeting with Premier Wynne regarding industrial turbines in Prince Edward County.

Quaiff wrote the Premier and Minister of the Environment Glen Murray a week ago, pleading action for a moratorium and calling on them “to truly hear our concerns – and discuss them with us. We are incredibly distraught over this decision and its devastating impact on our community.”

“I have just received a phone call from Premier Wynne’s assistant Andrew who says the chance of a meeting in all likelihood will not happen,” said Quaiff.

Quaiff said he was told the process is in the stages where the government will not interfere or become involved in discussing or placing a moratorium on wpd Canada’s project for 27 turbines in South Marysburgh and Athol.

The environment ministry approved the $200 million 20-year project July 16.

“He has said, however, that the premier’s office will expedite a response to my letter quickly. Further he will be in touch directly with Minister Murray’s office to express my concerns regarding the residents’ safety in Prince Edward County if the wind turbines arrive. I will share the response as soon as I receive it.”

Monday, Council voted against taking immediate legal action following a report from the County’s solicitor. The only basis for an appeal is that the project “will cause serious harm to human health, or serious and irreversible harm to plant life, animal life or the natural environment”. These were the only appeal options open to the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists in their on-going appeal against the nine turbine Gilead Power project on land at Ostrander Point.

wpd hopes to begin construction this fall, or next spring.

Any resident of Ontario may require a hearing by the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) within 15 days after July 16, 2015 by written notice.

Quaiff’s July 23 letter to Premier Wynne

Quaiff was interviewed on CBC Radio’s Ontario Morning program, Wednesday, July 29, about wind turbines in Prince Edward County and the need to meet with Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Environment Minister Glen Murray.

Ontario citizens pawns in government power game

Ontario government: playing with your future
Ontario government: playing with your future

Talk about adding insult to injury: the Ontario government’s poorly thought-out energy policy–done completely without any cost-benefit analysis–has resulted in job losses, higher power prices for consumers and small business, exports of surplus power that cost ratepayers millions every month, lost property values in the millions and lost human productivity due to the invasion of huge wind power plants … and the government thinks it is all a laugh-riot GAME.

This isn’t new but the Ontario Liberal government is once again promoting its little Power Play game. “Imagine you are an energy planner…” it begins.

Yes, imagine.

Doubtless a 13-year-old experienced gamer would know better than to wreak havoc on his entire environment.

Write to the Ministry of Energy to say you object to being a pawn in the government’s energy game.

By email: http://www.energy.gov.on.ca/en/contact-us/

By mail: Ministry of Energy
900 Bay Street, 4th Floor
Hearst Block
Toronto ON M7A 2E1
Canada

 

Subsidies and grants for green entrepreneurs

ONE can be a lonely number, especially on Valentine’s Day, but not in Ontario where ONE, according to their website, is the “Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs.” That’s their current name anyway: “In June 2009, the Ontario Government introduced the Ontario Network of Excellence (ONE) –Ontario’s revitalized, client-focused, province-wide innovation network. In May 2013, the ONE was re-branded to the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs.”

Sounds impressive; even more impressive are some of the claims they make about their network of 90 branches throughout the province and their funding sources such as MaRS and provincial agencies including the three regional Development Funds.   ONE will be hosting the “Discovery” Conference April 27, 2015 and says this about their efforts to entice attendees and sponsors:  “Discovery is a showcase of leading-edge technologies, best practices and research from sectors such as health, manufacturing, digital media and cleantech, including energy, environment and water.”

Now let’s look at some of their claims:

What we should ask about the government’s definition of “entrepreneurs”

Why would you call a network (90 offices) of government programs administered by bureaucrats, an network “entrepreneurs”?

Why would 20 colleges and several not-for-profit foundations dependent on government grants be considered an “entrepreneurial network”?

Why would ONE claim they have created or retained 192,000 jobs in a document released January 1, 2014 but show only two examples of those “jobs”? (The document included two examples with one of them named “Desire2Learn” which received a $4.25 million grant from the Ontario government. As recently disclosed one of those Desire2Learn jobs might represent ONE job for our former Premier, Dalton McGuinty now registered as their lobbyist in the Ontario Lobbyist Registry.)

Why is the Liberal Government showing investments in “clean tech” via the Ontario Capital Growth Corporation or OCGC of $74 million (as of March 31, 2012) which represented 18% of the total investments of OCGC, when MaRS and other Liberal government creations are handing out our tax dollars in the same market to the same parties?

The March 31, 2014 Financial Statements under “Revenues” for OCGC indicate they received $15 million directly from the province, $50 million from the Ontario Emerging Technologies Fund or OETF 1. and $1 million from Northleaf Venture Capitalist Fund (NVCF) 2..  They claim they generated $13 million in “Realized gains on sale of investment funds” but the latter is not even mentioned in the auditor’s notes.

OCGF  in their March 31, 2014 annual statement under “Assets” claim they invested $59 million in OETF and $44 million in OVCF 3.and $2.6 million in NVCF; their “Investing Activities” show them buying and selling OETF investments, selling investments in OVCF and obtaining a “Return of capital from OVCF” as well as a “Purchase of Investments in NVCF”.

So exactly what is happening between these various investment funds that the Liberals created? Is someone actually auditing the success or failure of these entities?  Are the bureaucrats using our tax dollars to pick any “winners” or are they trading assets to make it look like they are creating value?

Perhaps this is another area that the Auditor General should tick off as an area for future review, as well as the power system in Ontario under review for 2015.

©Parker Gallant

February 14, 2015

 

1. Ontario Emerging Technologies Fund (OETF)

OETF was launched in July 2009 with a commitment from the Province of Ontario to provide funding of $250 million. OETF, as a direct co-investment fund, makes investments into innovative high potential companies alongside other qualified investors with a proven track record of success. Investments are in three strategic sectors: (a) clean technology; (b) digital media and information and communication technologies; and (c) life sciences and advanced health technologies.

2. Northleaf Venture Catalyst Fund (NVCF) is a joint initiative between major Canadian institutional investors and the Governments of Canada and Ontario to invest in Canada-based venture capital and growth equity funds and direct investments that support innovative, high growth companies.

3. Ontario Venture Capital Fund LP (OVCF)In June 2008, the OVCF was established with an investment commitment from the Province of Ontario of $90 million. OVCF is a $205 million joint initiative of the Government of Ontario and private institutional investors,formed to invest primarily in Ontario-based and Ontario-focused venture capital and growth equity funds  that support innovative, high potential companies.

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

Ontario “charities”: giving to other “charities”

Rick Smith's 2009 book; next, The Slow Death of the Ontario Taxpayer?
Rick Smith’s 2009 book; next, The Slow Death of the Ontario Taxpayer?

What we should know about Liberal government-created charities

My previous article on Green Energy subsidies focused on those that grew directly out of the Ontario Ministry of Energy but in the quest to find further information on how the taxpayers are involved (beyond the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit) I was led to Liberal government-created charities.

This is just one of those that we taxpayers should question as to its purpose in life.   The first annual report of Friends of the Greenbelt contained the following message: 

“The physical area of the Greenbelt is enormous and the challenges inherent in pursuing our mission are significant. As such, we need to concentrate our resources over a short time period in order to achieve our ambitious goals and we intend to gift the $25 million endowment over a period of five years.”

Details follow on the success of gifting:

Why has the Ontario Liberal Government created charities focused on anthropogenic global warming or AGW?  One example isthe aforementioned “Friends of the Greenbelt” (FOG), created in 2005, funded almost entirely by the Ministry of the Environment and, now, Climate ChangeDalton McGuinty‘s 2003 Speech from the Throne included the following:  “It will keep its commitment to introduce legislation that will establish a permanent greenbelt across the Golden Horseshoe, and a new commission to protect it.”

Why has FOG used the $45 million in taxpayer dollars to hand out money to the likes of other charities such as: Environmental Defence (5),NB: David Suzuki Foundation (3), Sierra Club (5), Toronto Environmental Alliance (5),  Pembina, Tides, etc.

NB:  Brackets ( ) indicate the number of grants those charities received.  Also one should note Rick Smith, formerly Executive Director of Environmental Defence, is a Board Member of FOG.

Why has FOG doled out tax dollars to the likes of Ecojustice (2), University of Toronto (2), TV Ontario, Corporate Knights, OSEA and another charity that the Liberal Party have supplied with over $150 million of tax dollars as grants and recently bailed out at a cost of $300 million?  I am referring of course to the MaRS Discovery District.

Why does FOG even have “charity” status, having raised only $5,779 in charitable donations in their last reported year-end of March 31, 2014?

Why did FOG’s staff compensation in 2014 ($1.1 million) exceed annual grants ($1 million) and represent over 50% of their expenses?

I am sure the likes of Environmental Defence, David Suzuki Foundation, the Sierra Club, and the others loved the fact that fund raising was made so much easier by having an entity focused on doling out $25 million of taxpayers’ money, and to see it replaced with another $20 million as soon as the first “endowment” was gone.

©Parker Gallant

February 12, 2015

Federal government funds study of “large penetration” of wind power development

Industry association “lead proponent” in Natural Resources Canada study

Last week, in researching his series on the Canadian Wind Energy Association’s campaign to influence Ontario citizen attitudes toward wind power, and recommendations for the lobby group’s “Ontario campaign,” Parker Gallant discovered via the Ontario Lobbyist Registry that CanWEA disclosed publicly it has received funding  of $663,000 from the federal government.

The funding is presumably for CanWEA’s role as lead proponent of a $1.7-million Natural Resources Canada project called the Pan-Canadian Wind Integration Study,  “that will evaluate how large penetration of wind energy could be integrated on the provincially run Canadian electric grid and show the challenges and opportunities in doing so. “

In the first paragraph of the NRCan page on this study, which names CanWEA as the lead proponent, is a significant error. CanWEA’s mandate is most decidedly NOT “to promote the responsible and sustainable growth of wind energy in Canada.” CanWEA itself says its mission is “to ensure Canada fully realizes its abundant wind energy potential on behalf of its members.”

In other words, as any specialized industry group does, CanWEA’s goal is to represent and promote the interests of its members.

It is not an environmental organization.

Why, we ask, is an industry group, with some very well-financed members, that states outright its goal is to act in the best interests of its members, receiving government financing to further its members’ fortunes?

A question for your Member of Parliament. And the Minister of Natural Resources, and the Minister of Finance (Joe.Oliver@fin.gc.ca ).

Ontario’s big wind bonanza: subsidies for a few rich developers

The sad (and very expensive) truth
Rural Ontario communities had it right

Everyone losing on renewable energy in Ontario

FP Comment, Financial Post, February 4, 2015

by Brady Yauch, executive director Consumer Policy Institute

When the Ontario government launched its Green Energy Act (GEA) in 2009, it promised “new green economy jobs” and a “wide range of ecpnomic opportunities.” Then Minister of Energy George Smitherman argued that the GEA would be a boon to Ontarians of all stripes: “We see opportunities in our rural communities for farmers, not just to lease their land for big companies that are the proponents of wind farms, but indeed for clusters of farmers to see themselves as investors in projects … the emergence of thousands of smaller green energy projects–micro-generation–in urban as well as rural areas.”

Yes, everyone would need to pay a little more for renewable power, the public was told, but the benefits would be widely shared, for the ultimate benefit of all.

As it turned out, power rates didn’t go up a little–they soared. And the subsidies weren’t widely shared among the folk–a handful of billion-dollar companies pocketed most of them, most outside the province.

According to an analysis by the Consumer Policy Institute and Energy Probe, 90 per cent of the wind subsidies went to just 11 companies,  80 percent of the subsidies went to companies with revenues over $1 billion, 60 per cent of the subsidies went to six companies with more than $10 billion in annual revenue. …

The damage to ratepayers for such policies has been significant. Since 2009 ratepayers have seen the commodity cost on their energy bills climb dramatically… just over 9 per cent annually–more than five times the rate of inflation, making electricity price increases worse in Ontario than anywhere else in Canada.

To make matters worse, the high rates being pushed onto ratepayers has lowered demand for electricity across the province in recent years. That means Ontario now has a significant surplus of power* which it exports to neighbouring jurisdictions at a loss. Ontario ratepayers are now subsidizing the energy consumption in America and other provinces.

Nearly everyone is losing when it comes to renewable energy in Ontario–except for those few companies that planted industrial wind turbines across the province and are receiving billions in subsidies for their effort.

 

*Note: Wind Concerns Ontario issued a statement Monday to the effect that Ontario does not need more wind power and that the IESO should not reopen the contracting/subsidy process for new wind power contracts.

Wind farm procurement process not needed says Wind Concerns Ontario

Ontario's wind power program has never undergone a cost-benefit analysis, and has contributed significantly to increasing electricity bills. Not needed.
Ontario’s wind power program has never undergone a cost-benefit analysis, and has contributed significantly to increasing electricity bills. Not needed.

February 2, 2015

The Independent Electricity Systems Operator of IESO has delayed the start of its new Large Renewable Procurement (LRP) process, which was originally scheduled to begin today.

The delay is to work out more details stemming from comments filed during the public comment period, said renewables manager Adam Butterfield during a recent presentation, in which he also said the IESO’s goal is to have a “robust product that meets industry needs.”

Wind Concerns Ontario believes procurement of further wind power generation is not needed in Ontario, and here’s why:

  • The Ontario government has achieved its core objective of closing the power plants using coal as fuel.
  • Ontario has a surplus of power; no increase in demand is predicted. Ontario exported enough power during September-November 2014 to power 584,000 homes. There is no reason to add more capacity at this time.
  • The Ontario government is enacting a program to encourage conservation of power use.
  • While a decrease in nuclear power is expected due to refurbishment of one or more facilities, wind power cannot replace the baseload power provided by nuclear.
  • Renewable sources of electricity such as wind are expensive, and have been responsible in large part for the increase in electricity bills to consumers; this situation is already causing hardship for people on low or fixed incomes.

Given all these circumstances, it is our view that the IESO needs to step back and undertake a full needs assessment and independent cost-benefit analysis. Two successive Auditors General have pointed out (2012 and 2014) that NO cost-benefit analysis has ever been done for Ontario’s renewables program. The current Auditor General has also announced that her office will be reviewing how the power system is planned, throughout 2015.

We would further suggest a review of current contracts for wind power generation facilities not connected to the grid; these contracts have expired—terminating them and the cost of that action would be preferable to imposing a greater burden on Ontario ratepayers for the next 20 years.

Public opposition to the high-impact, low-benefit installation of utility-scale wind power facilities will continue and will intensify through legal proceedings.

We request that a moratorium be placed on further wind power generation, and that a full financial analysis of Ontario’s electricity rates is completed.

Contact us at windconcerns@gmail.com