Wind farm issues hit the country fairs

ListowelFairFloat

Country fair season is beginning and with it, opportunities for rural communities to make known their dissatisfaction with the Green Energy Act in Ontario, and the invasion of wind power developers.

Yesterday, a float at the Listowel Fair demonstrated community concerns about hydro bills, health and property values, as a result of a proposed wind power project in North Perth. The Elma-Mornington Concerned Citizens group also launched a weather balloon* to show fairgoers the actual height of the turbines proposed for their community.

A weather balloon is worth 1,000 words
A weather balloon is worth 1,000 words

*Need a weather balloon for an event? We may be able to help. Email us at windconcerns@gmail.com

 

Letter to WCO from Premier Wynne

Received by email today, a response to our letter of June 19.:

Thank you for taking the time to share your kind words of congratulation. It is an honour and a privilege to continue serving this great province as Premier.

I have noted your comments on behalf of Wind Concerns Ontario and have shared a copy of your correspondence with my colleague the Honourable Glen Murray, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, for his information.

My colleagues and I are committed to building a brighter future for all the people of Ontario. We understand that being fiscally responsible is fundamental to our future, and that building a fair and inclusive society is at the heart of a more prosperous Ontario. These are the principles that will guide us as we work with you, and all our partners, to make Ontario a better place to live, work and raise a family.

When it comes to building opportunity for the people of Ontario and securing our province’s future and well-being, my colleagues and I want to hear everyone’s voice and listen to everyone’s input. That is why I am grateful for your ideas and suggestions.

Thank you again for your kind words. Please accept my best wishes.

 

Kathleen Wynne
Premier of Ontario

Wind turbines ordered removed at Chatham-Kent airport

Kirk Dickinson, July 6, 2014, Blackburn News

Transport Canada has issued an order for the removal of eight wind turbines near the Chatham-Kent Municipal Airport by December 31, 2014.

Chatham-Kent Mayor Randy Hope says the municipality was surprised to learn that Transport Canada is demanding that the turbines be removed because of their proximity to the airport. He says two months ago, the municipality’s chief legal officer met with Transport Canada officials and proposed that the eight turbines be recognized as “exceptions.”

“I believe it’s ridiculous, there is an alternative that is there in front of (Transport Canada),” says Hope. “We’ve waited for months for them to reply to us, and they never replied, and came down with this order, which we don’t feel is right… We believe Transport Canada is just playing some politics with us.”

According to a media release from the municipality, this “simple solution” would be a one-time approval just for the eight turbines and would not affect the restriction of future construction near the airport.

Hope says multiple aeronautic consultants have stated the eight wind turbines do not impact airport operations or present any safety concerns for planes.

Hope says the municipality does not have a course of action regarding the order to remove the turbines, and that it is up to GDF Suez, the owner of the affected turbines, to file an appeal.

Read the full story and comments here.

RELATED STORY: MPP Pleased With Wind Turbine Removal Order

Editor’s note: GDF Suez’ CEO is Mike Crawley formerly of AIM PowerGen, and past president of both the Ontario and Canadian Liberal parties. His companies have gained contracts worth millions from the Ontario government.

The Ex Place Toronto turbine: disappointing investment

Not as advertised?
Not as advertised?

Toronto’s Exhibition Place Turbine Part 2: investment in a green future or financial sinkhole?

In Part 1, Parker Gallant revealed that the mythology around the iconic Toronto waterfront wind turbine doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. Yet, the venture was presented as a way to invest for a green energy future. Parker Gallant dives into the numbers and comes up with a different truth.

How well did Toronto Hydro Energy Services Inc. or THESI management perform in choosing the Exhibition Place turbine as an investment? It’s in the best interests of both ratepayers and taxpayers in Toronto to know!   I attempted to review the logic behind THESI’s acquisition to see if it made economic sense.  In 2011, I emailed several questions to CEO and President, Anthony Haines, copying several Toronto politicians—I was ignored.

Next, I used the FOI (freedom of information) process; the response to my application was a request for hundreds of dollars to answer these questions.

1. How much is THESI paying per kWh?

2. How much was THESI’s investment in WindShare?

3. What is the current depreciated value?

4. How many kWh of power has WindShare delivered?

After exchanges with THESI’s Executive Vice President, Paul Sommerville (formerly with the Ontario Energy Board) and getting the runaround I gave up and went to the Ontario Privacy Commissioner to seek mediation.   This was ultimately successful and I finally received the answers I sought but the information came via major Bay Street law firm Borden Ladner Gervais, not from Mr. Sommerville.  “Transparency” is apparently not a watchword for THESI’s executive—they will run up legal bills to avoid directly answering pertinent questions that may prove embarrassing!

The answers to the four questions were:

1. $111.30 per MWh (or 11 cents per kWh)

2. $1.1 million

3. Depreciated to $350,816.26 as of December 31, 2013

4. Approximately 9,000 MWh.

Not as advertised

On the last question, I assume that the power delivered was to the December 31st, 2013 date so the claim is that the last six years of operation produced more power (annually on average) than was delivered during the initial five years of operation.  I suspect this was/is an exaggeration but in any event, the turbine either operated at 15.6% of capacity @ 600 kw or 14.1% @ 660 kW or 12.4% @ 750 kw—nothing close to the original claims.

Looking further at the answer to payment per MWh, the 9,000 MWh delivered over the 11 years would have generated $1,001,700 or approximately $91K annually. That would barely cover the depreciation (assuming a 20-year life of the turbine) and leave nothing for maintenance or interest, let alone the ability to pay a dividend to the investors.  As well, the cost to THESI is fixed at 11.13 cents per kWh without considering the negative return on their investment—that would put the price per kWh well over 20 cents.

Trekking into TREC                                                                                                                                 So exactly how was THESI management convinced that the Exhibition Place wind turbine was a worthwhile investment?  From all appearances THESI were never in it for the money as a presentation by Brian Iler on March 20, 2013 to the Co-op Zone Legal Network, described WindShare as follows:

“II. Example 1: WindShare Financing

Early grants from Trillium Foundation

Partnership with Toronto Hydro: TREC did the work, TH paid invoice for 50% @ fmv. Staff were paid far less than fmv, so these first two elements were substantial financial resources.

Environment Canada – forgivable loan

TAF – bridge financing pending proceeds of offering (Toronto Atmospheric Fund)

Offering to members  ~$800K – Preference shares with a variable dividend; member shares were also sold for a nominal amount to give membership rights.”

Iler noted that TREC (Toronto Renewable Energy Co-op) incubates renewable energy co-ops. This is about “community power. WindShare was not a financial success.”  (My emphasis)

From all appearances “community power” in the mind of Brian Iler and those involved in TREC is all about securing taxpayer and ratepayer funds which truly involves the community—the community just didn’t have a choice.  The Offering Statement for the original shares in WindShare contains interesting information confirming the receipt of a Government of Canada forgiveable loan of $150K and a $495K repayable loan from TAF (Toronto Atmospheric Fund) a Toronto taxpayer-owned foundation.  TREC has also received considerable grant monies from the Trillium Foundation (well over $200K), TAF (over $400K), Toronto Hydro (compensation for TREC staff), and an unnamed “Foundation” via the share offerings in WindShare who purchased shares on behalf of the Daily Bread Food Bank and another  charity.

The Offering Statement carried some interesting forecasts on revenue and profit which have not come to pass despite all the taxpayer/ratepayers funds thrown at TREC for the project.  When TREC officers were out selling the shares they used a PowerPoint presentation which on page 9 offered these reasons to invest in WindShares:  “1. Earn a financial return, 2. Earn a good financial return and 3. Earn a good financial return for many many years”!  The presentation also had a disclaimer warning investors!

TREC is still trying to launch a 20-MW wind turbine development referred to as LakeWind near Kincardine and again they lie about the number of homes that could be powered. The claim is 3,000— that would require the turbines to operate at 71% capacity.

Despite the obvious inability of TREC’s management to “incubate” a viable renewable energy project without taxpayer,  the media holds them up as a great success.  The taxpayer and donor-funded TVOntario show The Agenda frequently invites TREC’s Executive Director Judith Lipp as a spokesperson for the renewable energy advocates.

While the “iconic” Exhibition Place wind turbine that WindShare erected with help from THESI costs each of the 701,000 Toronto Hydro ratepayers only 15 cents annually, the truth is, its impact is much larger. It played a key, emblematic role in the politicization of the electricity sector through the push for renewable energy and ultimately the Green Energy and Green Economy Act and that in turn was a major factor in the costs for average Ontario ratepayers individually of hundreds of dollars annually, and collectively in excess of $100 billion over the next 20 years.

TREC’s founders will go down in history not only for the Toronto turbine but also for their part in the biggest rip-off ever of Ontario’s taxpayers and ratepayers.

Parker Gallant,

July 4, 2014

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

Email us at windconcerns@gmail.com

Controversial wind power co-op claims approval coming soon

Tara Bowie, Woodstock Sentinel-Review, June 6, 2014

A local energy co-op that has caused some controversy in the county continues to move forward.

The Oxford Community Energy Co-operative (OCEC) announced the Financial Services Commission of Ontario approved its formation.

“The board of directors of the Oxford Community Energy Co-op is very excited that we have received the receipted Offering Statement from FSCO. We can now start our capital raising campaign. We would like to talk to anyone in this community who wants to become a part owner of the Gunn’s Hill Wind Farm because I am confident that we can offer a very attractive return on the investment,” Helmut Schneider, president of OCEC, said in a press release.

The first project on the co-op’s radar is the Gunn’s Hill wind turbines in Norwich Township being developed by Prowind Canada Inc.

Juan Anderson, vice-president of Prowind, said he expects the project to receive its Renewable Energy Approval by August after the Ministry of Environment completes its technical review of the application.

“We anticipate that under any new government there will be increased involvement of municipalities in the development process of renewable energy projects. We also see potential for further emphasis on co-operative and First Nations ownership in projects and we feel that the work we are doing with Oxford Community Energy Co-operative and Six Nations can be an example of how to share the benefits of a project more widely,” Anderson said when asked how a change in provincial leadership might effect the project.

The OCEC is looking to raise up to 49% of the project equity, which is approximately $9 million.

As per the OCEC website (http:// oxfordcommunityenergycoop. wildapricot. org), the hope is to raise $1.2 million of the equity from Oxford County investors and the remainder from across Ontario.

Currently the co-op has more than 50 members.

“The anticipated investment returns for preferred shares will be paid annually in the form of dividends, which are projected to be in the range 10 %,” the website stated.

The project is facing several hurdles in its last leg before possibly receiving approval to start building.

The East Oxford Community Alliance has notified Prowind of potential litigation if the project moves forward. Norwich Township deemed itself an unwilling host for the project several years ago and maintains that status.

Read the full story and take the poll here.

Editor’s note: Mr Anderson is possibly premature in his announcement; the documents filed by Prowind with the Ministry of the Environment which were deemed “complete” ae now the subject of a complaint to the Office of the Ombudsman of Ontario due to serious omissions and inadequacies in the documentation. Mr Anderson must also be unaware that there is an election in Ontario June 12th, and the further approval of wind power projects has been an important issue in the campaign.

 

Public in the dark on Kawartha Lakes appeal

Industry and the Ministry of the Environment not telling appellants or Tribunal what they’re up to.

Wind farm appeal on hold until August

Kawartha Lakes councillor Heather Stauble says appellants aren’t sure when hearing will move forward

Kawartha Lakes This Week, June 5, 2014

(KAWARTHA LAKES) Ward 16 Councillor Heather Stauble says it is disturbing that the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) hearing the appeal of a wind energy project in Manvers Township is not getting information from the developer and the Province.

Last December, the Province granted wpd Canada approval for its Sumac Ridge wind energy project, which would see the installation of five large turbines near Bethany.

READ MORE: Councillor Explains Rationale Behind Wind Turbine Fight

Manvers Wind Concerns, Cransley Home Farm Limited and the Cham Shan Temple are appealing. The Cham Shan Temple is an initiative of the Buddhist Association of Canada that will mirror the four great Temples in China. One is almost completed and three more are planned for the City of Kawartha Lakes, a total investment of about $100 million.

On Wednesday (June 4), Coun. Stauble noted the hearing was originally scheduled for three months, ending in June. But, after several date changes, she says it has been postponed until Aug. 13. “We don’t know when this will move forward.”

Coun. Stauble said there has been ongoing correspondence between wpd Canada and the Ministry of Environment, but the appellants and the ERT panel have not been privy to that information.

Asked why not, Coun. Stauble said, “That’s a great question. Something has changed and we don’t know what it is.”

Read the full story here.

Study shows association between turbine noise and distress

The review paper prepared by physicians Hazel Lynn and Ian Arra, and associates, is now available. The paper documents a review of previously published, peer-reviewed studies of turbine noise and human health, and concludes that there is “reasonable evidence (Levels Four and Five)  supporting the existence of an association between wind turbines and distress in humans.”

The paper may be read here:Arra-LynnStudyMay2014

 

Wind power documentary reveals victim suffering

The documentary film Down Wind airs tonight at 8 PM EDT on the Sun News network.

Here is a column from journalist Jerry Agar on the film.

DownWindPoster

JERRY AGAR | SUN NEWS NETWORK June 3, 2014

It is heart wrenching to see and feel the pain of fellow Ontarians breaking down in tears as they explain how the Liberal government drove them from their homes.

But to understand how cold and callous our current political leadership is in this province, you need to experience it.

Rebecca Thompson’s documentary, Down Wind: How Ontario’s Green Dream Turned into a Nightmare (Surge Media Productions), airs on Sun News Wednesday at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m.

It is a story of reckless, agenda-driven politics resulting in shattered lives.

The Ontario Liberal government’s Green Energy Act isn’t just an economic failure; it is an act of brutal indifference to the human cost of politics.

A cost ignored by people living far from the thump of the giant wind turbines, secure in their downtown Toronto homes and politically correct theories; a safe distance from places like Ripley, Clear Creek and Lucknow, Ontario.

Many may not care – worshiping as they do at the altar of so-called green energy – that the jobs promised by the Liberals through their Green Energy Act were never delivered, while the cost of hydro skyrocketed.

But the human cost should matter to us all.

Giant wind turbines, as high as 50 storeys, with blades the size of a 747, were foisted on communities in rural Ontario with no consultation or agreement from the residents, their municipal governments having been stripped of their planning powers by the Green Energy Act.

Unlike politicians who pay lip service to “serving others” while stomping all over people’s lives and looking after themselves, Norma Schmidt spent her life in Underwood, Ontario in the actual service of others as a nurse and instructor of future nurses.

She and her husband spent their lives in the home they lovingly restored over the years; a place they had hoped to share with their grandchildren.

But Norma has been forced out of her home by severe migraines and depression, brought on by the relentless noise and vibration from the industrial wind turbines erected practically in her back yard.

She left both the job and the home she loved, escaping to a room in her daughter’s house.

It is not the life she worked all these years to achieve, and it is not what she deserves.

Do Norma’s tears, and those of others similarly affected, fall to no effect at the feet of Premier Kathleen Wynne?

Norma’s story is one among many, some of them told in Down Wind.

This is the same Dalton McGuinty/Wynne Liberal government that used public money to reward violent aboriginal protesters who seized private property and terrorized people in Caledonia.

That “occupation” continues today and the government, knowing that their voting base in Toronto couldn’t care less about some rubes in the country, keeps the issue quiet by caving into thugs, rather than protecting law-abiding citizens.

Would the government be as forgiving to people across rural Ontario if some were to blow up a few of the industrial wind turbines that have made their lives hell? Of course not.

There are no turbines thumping the night away in Don Valley West or Toronto-Centre.

It remains to be seen whether the people in such ridings, who overwhelmingly voted Liberal in 2011, will care more for their fellow citizens in rural Ontario this time around.

There are any number of political parties to support other than the Liberals.

(Another) legal opinion on cancelling FIT contracts

Here from law firm Gowling Lafleur Henderson an opinion on whether FIT contracts can be cancelled, following a change of government. The answer? It depends. If a contract is at the stage where the Notice To Proceed or NTP has not been issued, then a contract may well not be fulfilled.

Read the full article here, and an excerpt follows.

“A perhaps somewhat overlooked section of the form of FIT Contract deals with the consequences of “discriminatory actions” by the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Non-discriminatory action clauses, developed and refined over the past three decades by project sponsors working on projects reliant upon concessions from government counterparties somewhat less reputable than Ontario, seek to provide project sponsors with some form of protection should the government take action to unilaterally amend the terms of the concession contract or affect an increase to the taxes, regulatory burden or other costs associated with the project in a way that could not have been reasonably expected under the terms of the original concession.

Ontario’s FIT contracts all contain a short-form version of a non-discriminatory action clause which, though protective of the supplier, is subject to key exceptions, including the passage of laws that are of “general application” and new regulations created under theGreen Energy and Green Economy Act, 2009. It is also worth noting that, unlike project finance concession agreements designed for use in emerging markets, which might provide for dispute resolution outside of the jurisdiction, the FIT contract is subject to dispute resolution provisions contemplating arbitration in Toronto.

The non-discriminatory action clause contained in Ontario’s FIT contracts is less than perfect from a sponsor’s viewpoint; however, it does provide some basic protection.

The possibility exists of new laws or regulations coming into force after the election that would have an adverse effect on suppliers who are in a post-NTP or post-commercial operation position under an existing FIT Contract. Given Ontario’s long history of carefully honouring electricity sector concession holder’s contractual rights, it seems unlikely that a new government would seek to use regulatory or legislative change to indirectly penalize electricity sector investors – particularly given the clear pre-NTP cancellation rights already existing in the FIT contracts. If unilateral legislative or regulatory change is promulgated, the challenge for suppliers will be to demonstrate that a specific law is not of general application or to challenge the scope of a regulation under the Green Energy and Green Economy Act, 2009. A government seeking to table unilateral changes of a material nature to the FIT program would presumably be made cognizant of the potential impact that such changes would have on the province’s reputation, as a contracting party and its credit rating by the Ministry of Finance.

In summary, we see parties holding FIT contracts which are pre-NTP as being most at risk from a possible change in government in Ontario and view post-NTP and, particularly, currently operating projects as being less at risk.”

Ontario power rates triple: “irrational” planning

| June 2, 2014 | Last Updated: Jun 3 8:17 AM ET
 

Ontario Hydro may well have been a mess. But it was a mess that produced less expensive electricity

In the summer of 2003, just before Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals gained power in Ontario, 50 million people in the U.S. Eastern Seaboard and Ontario suffered an electricity blackout caused “when a tree branch in Ohio started an outage that cascaded across a broad swath from Michigan to New England and Canada.” Back in 2003 Ontario’s electricity prices were 4.3 cents a kilowatt hour (kWh) and delivery costs added 1.5 cents per kWh. An additional charge of 0.7 cents — known as the debt retirement charge to pay back Ontario Hydro’s legacy debt of $7.8-billion — brought all-in costs to the average consumer to 6.5 cents per kWh.

The McGuinty Liberals claimed the province’s electricity sector was in a mess when they took over in 2003. The Liberals’ first Energy minister, Dwight Duncan, said then that he rejected the old Ontario Hydro model. “It didn’t work. We’re fixing it. We’re cleaning up the mess.”

Fast forward 11 years. Today, Ontario electricity costs average over 9 cents per kWh, delivery costs 3 cents per kWh or more, the 0.7-cent debt retirement charge is still being charged, plus a new 8% provincial sales tax. Additional regulatory charges take all-in costs to well over 15 cents per kWh.. The increase in the past 10 years averaged over 11% annually. Recently, the Energy Minister forecast the final consumer electricity bill will jump another 33% over the next three years and 42% in the next 5 years.

Whatever mess existed in 2003 is billions of dollars worse today

Summing up: Whatever mess existed in 2003 is billions of dollars worse today. The cost of electricity for the average Ontario consumer went from $780 on the day Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals took power to more than $1,800, with more increases to come. The additional $1,020 in after-tax dollars extracted from the province’s 4.5 million ratepayers is $4.6 billion – per year!

Why?

First, the Liberal Party fell under the influence of the Green Energy Act Alliance (GEAA), a green activist group that evolved into a corporate industry lobby group that adopted anthropogenic global warming as a business strategy. The strategy: Get government subsidies for renewable energy. The GEAA convinced the McGuinty Liberals to follow the European model. That model was: Replace fossil-fuel-generated electricity with renewable energy from wind, solar and biomass (wood chips to zoo poo). In the minds of those who framed the Liberal’s energy policies, electricity generated from wind, solar, biomass – green energy – was the way of the future.

The plan was implemented through the 2009 Green Energy and Green Economy Act (GEA), a sweeping, even draconian, legislative intervention that included conservation spending and massive subsidies for wind, solar and biomass via a euro-style feed-in-tariff scheme. The GEA created a rush to Ontario by international companies seeking above market prices, a rush that pushed the price of electricity higher. The greater the increase in green energy investment, the higher prices would go.

At the same time, Liberals forced installation of smart meters, a measure that added $2-billion to distribution costs. Billions more were needed for transmission lines to hook up the new wind and solar generators. At the same time, wind and solar generation – being unstable – needed back-up generation, which forced the construction of new gas plants. The gas plants themselves became the target of further government intervention, leading to the $1-billion gas plant scandal.

To force adoption of often unpopular wind and solar plants, the GEA took away municipal rights relating to all generation projects, stripping rural communities of their authority to accept or reject them.

To pay for the rising subsidies to wind and solar, the Liberals adopted an accounting device that would spread the cost over all electricity consumers. The device was called the “Global Adjustment.” The Global Adjustment draw on consumers grew fast and will continue its upward movement. In effect, the Global Adjustment is a dump on ratepayers for energy costs that are above market rates. During 2013, the total global adjustment was $7.8-billion. Of that, 52% went to gas/wind/solar/biomass.

The GA for 2014 is expected to rise to $8.6-billion, adding another 2.9 cents per kWh for each electricity consumer.

To oversee all this, the Liberals established the Ontario Power Authority to do long-term energy planning (LTEP) and to contract renewable generation under the feed-in tariff (FIT) program that guaranteed wind and solar generators above-market prices for 20 years or more. In 10 years Ontarians have seen four versions of the so-called long-term plan, suggesting there is nothing long-term or planned. The Auditor General’s report of Dec 5, 2011, disclosed that no cost/benefit analysis was completed in respect to those feed-in tariff contracts.

The numerous Liberals who have sat in the Energy Minister’s chair have had a penchant for believing how the sector should function, issuing “directives” from the cabinet. The directives created the most complex and expensive electricity sector in North America. The Association of Major Power Consumers issued a “Benchmarking” report in which they stated: “Our analysis shows that Ontario has the highest industrial rates in North America. Ontario not only has the highest delivered rates of all these jurisdictions; the disparity in rates also is growing.”

The almost 100 directives over the past 11 years from Liberal energy ministers have instructed the OPA, the Ontario Energy Board, Ontario Power Generation and Hydro One on a wide variety of issues from building a tunnel under Niagara Falls to paying producers for not generating power, subsidizing industrial clients for conservation while subsidizing other industrial clients for consumption. Numerous new programs have been created that support clients in Northern Ontario, urban clients for purchasing EVs (electric vehicles), homeowners for purchasing CFL light bulbs and a host of other concepts without weighing the effect on employers or taxpayers.
Aside from the burden on consumers, Ontario’s Power Trip has cost jobs as companies – Caterpillar, Heinz, Unilever and others – closed Ontario operations while others, such as Magna, failed to invest in Ontario due to high electricity prices and high taxes that would have created private sector jobs.

Were “green energy” jobs created? Government claims hit 31,000 in a press release in June 2013 but since then no mention of green job claims appears in releases. The recent budget of Finance Minister Charles Sousa reported 10,100 jobs in the “clean tech” sector, a far cry from earlier claims.

Ontario Hydro may well have been a mess a decade ago. But it was a mess that produced electricity priced to consumers at 6.5 cents a kWh. Current prices of 15 cents a kWh will rise to over 20 cents a kWh by 2018/19, forcing the average Ontario ratepayer to pay an additional $700 annually. By that date the cost of “renewable energy” to Ontario’s 4.5 million ratepayers will result in an annual extraction of $8-billion to satisfy the perceived benefits of wind, solar and biomass. Over the 20 years of the FIT contracts, $160-billion in disposable income will be removed from ratepayer’s pockets to access a basic commodity, all in the name of “global warming” and renewable power without use of a cost/benefit analysis.

Perhaps it is time for a change in the governing of Ontario and particularly the way the electricity sector is overseen.

Parker Gallant is a former Canadian banker who looked at his local electricity bill and didn’t like what he saw.

Read the full article and comments here.