Ontario’s power system needs change, not blame

Ontario Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli released a new Long Term Energy Plan at Queen’s Park today. The result? Nothing much has changed. Unfortunately.

  The “new” plan maintains the same targets for wind power development, just to be accomplished within a longer time frame. That’s bad news for ratepayers and taxpayers affected by higher electricity rates as a result of the province’s push for “green” power.
   “Ontario never did a cost-benefit analysis for wind power, but now we know what the costs are,” said Wind Concerns Ontario president Jane Wilson.
   “Very little power produced, power produced out of phase with demand, and few of the thousands of jobs promised. At the same time, the costs are skyrocketing electricity rates, plummeting property values, and absolute tyranny through industrialization of Ontario’s rural communities with huge wind power plants.”
   Wilson noted that the Energy Minister’s response to criticism about electricity rates is to produce a new website that featured a tutorial on how consumers can better use electricity.
  “That was pure insult,” she said, “especially to rural residents forced to pay horrendous delivery charges for power, and who are already doing all they can to conserve while the government continues with policies that drive up costs.
   “We need change, not blame.”
Wind power by the numbers:

  • ·         Currently 3,700 megawatts of wind power under contract but not yet connected to the grid– could mean another $1 billion per year to Ontario costs or $250 to average ratepayer’s bill annually
  • ·         Over 6,700 huge industrial wind turbines are already built or are proposed for Ontario
  • ·         76 Ontario communities have declared themselves “Not A Willing Host” to wind power project
  Contact Wind Concerns Ontario at windconcerns@gmail.com

Dufferin County to Ontario: you have to listen to the people

As we know, Dufferin County recently passed a Not A Willing Host motion. Here from today’s Brampton Guardian, a report and interviews.

No more wind turbines, county tells province

Wind turbines

Bill Tremblay

Dufferin Wind Power Inc. doesn’t expect that its wind farm will be up and running by its commercial start deadline on Jan. 30, 2014.

Orangeville Banner

Wind farm developers should look elsewhere than Dufferin, according to a motion passed by county council.
On Nov. 14, council approved a motion declaring Dufferin County as an unwilling host for any future industrial wind farm development.
Although the Green Energy Act prohibits municipal councils from actually denying wind farms from setting up, Melancthon Mayor Bill Hill said the motion aims to dissuade such development.
“It will send a message that Dufferin County is tired of the Green Energy Act,” Hill said, who moved the motion.
Amaranth, Melancthon, Mulmur and Grand Valley have all approved similar motions announcing their request that wind farm developers find another home.
Hill said more than 90 municipalities have approved similar motions.
“We’re one of many. We may be the first county that’s done it and we don’t mind being leaders,” Hill said.
Will the motion hold any weight at Queen’s Park?
“Based on what I’ve seen so far, regarding the province and the Green Energy Act, no,” Hill said. “But  at least they should get the message that we’re serious about what we’re saying.”

Read the full story here.

Tom Adams on CBC Ontario Today

Ontario: the once great province now in energy poverty

Ontario is now one of the most expensive jurisdictions for power in the world. How is it affecting Ontario’s citizens and businesses?

Listen in to this hour-long podcast of Tom Adams as a guest on CBC Radio’s Ontario Today.

Warning: the stories of people who can;t feed their children, whose businesses are on shaky ground, and seniors who may not be able to keep their homes, are very moving.
Energy poverty? It’s here.

Listen here:

And read more Tom Adams here

Change your approach to energy planning, Ontario: energy specialist lawyer

George Vegh who is the head of the energy regulatory sector practice at law firm McCarthy Tetrault, has published a paper titled Energy Planning: the case for a less prescriptive approach.
  Elegantly written, the paper is nevertheless as rebuke of Ontario’s energy policy and, in advice reminiscent of University of Toronto law and economic professor Michael Trebilcock, Vegh pretty much says Ontario has gotten everything wrong. He is hoping, he says, that the new Long Term Energy Plan, soon to be released, has some “fairly dramatic potential course corrections, particularly with respect to the role of renewable power, new nuclear facilities and conservation.”
  Trebilcock’s refrain is that governments should never be picking winners in technology as Ontario did with its power sector; Vegh  says “although dictating specific supply mixes may have been necessary to get through the coal phase-out transition starting in 2005, the completion of that transition, and the dramatic changes to the technological, social and economic climate for energy projects since that time, have made that approach unnecessary and unproductive.”
  “It was once thought that siting gas-fired generation plants was easy and that environmentalists would support the wind facilities required to ‘green’ the electricity grid. If those assumptions were ever true, they are clearly not true today.”
  Vegh goes on to say that “making resource decisions based on long-term demand forecasts is a high-risk activity.”
  A less prescriptive approach, Vegh says, is the answer, and he encourages Ontario’s apparent and new openness to allowing imported power. “For some reason, Ontario has, until now, insisted upon electricity self-sufficiency.” [Editor’s note: Liberal MPP Yasir Naqvi, speaking to TVO’s Steve Paikin on a show based in Ottawa, with the Ottawa River and Quebec in the background, suggested that Quebec was unstable politically and Ontario didn’t want to buy power from that province!]
  Addressing wind power specifically, Vegh said “..commercial developments will follow their own path without regard to societal costs. For example, in the 2007 IPSP [Integrated Power System Plan], the OPA [Ontario Power Authority] recommended the development of at least eight transmission lines to ‘enable’ renewable power. This was based on identifying optimal locations for  wind facilities by reference to the societal costs of wind development. However, wind developers have chosen wind sites that bore virtually no relation to the sites that the OPA models thought were optimal.”
  So, get real, Ontario Vegh seems to say, and lay off the heavy-handed supply planning.


Warning: your blood will boil (and your wallet will drain) on reading this

Another weekend of paradise for wind developers in Ontario?
The weekend of November 9th and 10th were great days for the wind power developers but horrible for ratepayers as I pointed out in a recent article (on Energy Probe)—in fact, it cost Ontario ratepayers upwards of $20 million. 
This past weekend was even better for the wind power developers who supplied the grid with almost 60,000 megawatt hours (MWh) in 48 hours and who were obligated to constrain (and got paid for constraining) what looks to be another 3,500 MWh. 
While the developers were being paid for that, Ontario was busy exporting 119,000 MWh at an average price of $7.06 per MWh (.07 cents per kWh) on the Saturday, and on Sunday we received
67 cents per MWh.  All of the exports generated around  $450,000 over the weekend to slightly offset the dollars that will be billed to ratepayers via the Global Adjustment (GA).  
While the cost to ratepayers was once about $20 million, which included close to $14 million paid to the wind power companies for generated and constrained power, there is more: perhaps as much as $5 million was paid to Bruce Power for steaming off up to 2,500 MW per hour of nuclear, and another $1 million or so to the gas plant generators for sitting idle.   Not included in that estimate is revenue lost to OPG for spilling clean hydro which may have gone to reduce the “residual stranded debt.”
What does it all mean? The IESO Market Summary reports for the two days on the weekend indicated Ontario’s demand was collectively 690,000 MWh but ratepayers were obligated to pay for approximately 900,000 MWh or 30% more than we consumed, without factoring in line losses which would add another 1-9%.
So the next time you go shopping for anything supplied by the governing Ontario Liberal Party be prepared to pay them 30% more than the value of what you are purchasing.   You should also look for November to produce the highest GA amount so far as the Hourly Ontario Energy Price (HOEP) has averaged $9.98 per MWh or 1 cent per kWh which means, come May 1, 2014, we should expect electricity rates will climb again.
Actor Alan Alda is supposed to have said that  “Insanity is just a state of mind.” Maybe that represents  the way this province is run, considering the state of mind of our Energy Ministers and the giant, expensive mess they have created.
Parker Gallant
November 19, 2013

Planner: Ontario citizens absolutely need a voice on wind power plants

Turbines: major impact on surrounding land use

In today’s Ottawa Citizen, subsequent to the motion by Ottawa City Council this week, to ask Ontario for  more substantive role in siting wind power generation plants, is this letter from a  professional planner.

Cities should have a say

The city’s motion regarding windmill projects is to the point: it is only logical that municipalities and residents should be involved in the decision-making process relating to the location of wind power projects.
   Windmills are significant structures that have a major impact on surrounding land uses. From a planning perspective, municipalities should have the authority to include the development of windmill projects in their Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw in order to minimize negative impacts and optimize the livability and sustainability of communities within the municipality. If it were any other type of development of a similar magnitude, there would be no question of this need.
   Municipal governments and citizens absolutely need a voice on this issue.
May Gabbour, Ottawa
Registered professional planner
Ontario Professional Planners Institute

Ontario Liberal video of Premier running in rural Ontario (not a turbine in sight)

The Ontario Liberal Party has just released a new promotional video of Premier Kathleen Wynne, who is seen running in a lovely rural Ontario setting (which we are told may be Belfountain). Wynne is the MPP for Don Valley West in Toronto.
  The video is not going to sit well with Ontario’s rural voters whose communities have been invaded by subsidy-seeking corporate wind power developers, with the help of their own tax dollars.
  Worse, Ontario’s rural residents are having to raise funds from after-tax dollars, to fight their own government in order to protect the health of their citizens and the environment.And every Ontario electricity customer is paying for the province’s disastrous green energy program and the Green Energy Act.
   The video is here.

Premier greets Not A Willing Host demonstrators in Stratford

Here is a report of the peaceable demonstration before an appearance in Stratford yesterday by Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne. Note the hints about the new process: “community buy-in.”

Wynne meets briefly with wind turbine opponents during Stratford stop

By Mike Beitz, The Beacon Herald

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne chats with students and staff during a tour of the University of Waterloo Stratford campus on Friday. (SCOTT WISHART The Beacon Herald)

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne chats with students and staff during a tour of the University of Waterloo Stratford campus on Friday. (SCOTT WISHART The Beacon Herald)
  • Bookmark and Share

Change text size for the story

Report an error

Local pixels, local products and a local protest were all on Kathleen Wynne’s agenda Friday during a stop in Stratford.
The Ontario premier toured the University of Waterloo Stratford campus and Monforte Dairy before attending a fundraising dinner hosted by provincial Liberal candidate Stewart Skinner and the Perth-Wellington Liberal Riding Association.
As she arrived for the meal at the Army Navy and Air Force Veterans hall, Wynne was greeted by about a dozen wind turbine protesters carrying “Not a Willing Host” signs.
“We just want the premier to know that there are 73 municipalities and community groups that have declared themselves not willing hosts,” said Listowel-area dairy farmer Tim Martin, as he stood with the group waving signs to passing motorists on Lorne Ave.
Despite claiming to have changed the process behind siting wind turbines, Wynne’s Liberals are still essentially ignoring municipalities — like North Perth — who don’t want them within their boundaries, suggested Martin.
“So that’s why we’re here. We’re just hoping to get the premier’s attention,” he said.
They did that.
After arriving at the hall, Wynne stepped out of her vehicle and walked over to greet the protesters.
She acknowledged that there are “strong feelings” about wind turbine projects in Ontario.
“There’s strong feeling on both sides,” she told the crowd huddled around her by the roadside. “We are putting a new process in place. If we could roll back time and have a better process up front I would do that. We can’t do that, but we’re very aware that having community planning and community buy-in is the way that we need to go.”
After those brief comments, Wynne met privately with Martin and another representative to hear their concerns in more detail.
“It was a polite conversation,” said Martin afterward. “She listened, but I didn’t get the impression that there was going to be any action taken.”
Martin said protesters were specifically looking for a moratorium on new wind turbine projects until the potential health effects can be studied more thoroughly.
Larger setbacks from farming operations — 2,500 metres instead of the current 550 — would also go a long way toward alleviating some concerns, he said.
“The reset button needs to be pushed on this,” he said of the Green Energy Act in general.
While Wynne made him no promises, Martin said he was pleased that she at least agreed to speak with representatives from the group Friday.
“But actions speak louder than words,” he said.
While the protest was peaceful and polite, Wynne received a much warmer welcome earlier in the day as University of Waterloo officials gave her a guided tour of the Stratford campus.

Parker Gallant to Minister Chiarelli: is it my turn yet?

[Tongue in Cheek Letter # 4 ]
October 29, 2013
The Honourable Bob Chiarelli, Minister of Energy,
Dear Minister Chiarelli:
I hate to bother you but I’m still waiting for a response to my three letters of September 9th, September 13th and September 22nd.   I am becoming concerned about being able to not produce electricity from wind or solar and get paid for it. I sure would like to know if I can be one of the chosen ones.   I see that Mike Crawley who used to be the President of the Ontario Liberal Party has done pretty darn good.  Those CanWEA people gave him a nice pat on the back in their magazinefor getting 700 megawatts of wind turbines up and running so I`m hoping I can have the same success.  I will be happy to serve a term as President if that will help make my requests happen.  Just let me know, please! 
I see you have been very, very busy closing coal plants, raising money for the Liberal Party and visiting the Bruce nuclear plants, so I kind of understand why you haven’t answered me yet but I want to plan for all the things on my “wish list” and really want to know when the money will start coming myway.
I have also been keeping track of all the money you are saving, going back to your June announcement about the reduction in the Samsung contract.  You told us that one saved us $3.7 billion; your recent announcement about saving $95 million from closing the Lambtoncoal plant seems like small potatoes compared to the “billions and billions” you said we are saving by not building new nuclear plants. I did note however that the press release said that the coal plants were costing us $4.4 billion annually so that makes it worthwhile.  That sure sounds like they were paying way too much for coal!  Good for you for saving us all that money. 
I also read that the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) would save $200 million from constraining wind —that is a pretty big number too, which was the subject of my first letter.   The new president of IESO also said that profits from exporting our electricity had generated $5/6 billion dollars, which is even more than you said it was generating.   But he probably has more details than you do so I guess he is right about that, eh?
You have probably been way too busy to add up all those savings so I will do it for you. 
Here’s what I get:  Samsung $3.7 billion plus savings of $16 billion by not building new nuclear plants, plus $4.5 from closing the coal plants and $200 million from constraining wind.  Add the $6 billion we make from selling our electricity to NY and Michigan —I think that adds up to $30.4 billion.

Samsung Savings $  3.7     billion 
No new nuclear   $16.0    billion  
Closing coal plants   4.5     billion  
Constraining wind      .200 million                                                                                         
Exp to NY & MI$  6.0     billion                                                                                                 Total                        $30.4    billion

Impressive! I bet Finance Minister Sousa will be thanking you for getting rid of his deficit and handing him an extra $15 billion or so to pay down Ontario’s debt.  He owes you big time for saving all that money and should at least treat you to a couple of beers at your local pub near Queens Park.
I think you should hold back on some of those savings however to pay me and the other guys for not generating electricity from any wind turbines or solar panels.  
Keep up the good work but please, let me know soon about my offer as I would like to head south for the winter.  I heard the electricity rates in Florida are much lower than Ontario’s, especially now that they are going up again November 1st.
Yours truly,
Parker Gallant
The opinions expressed are those of the author and not Wind Concerns Ontario policy.

Minister Chiarelli answers questions about siting wind power plants. Sort of.

Here from The Independent, is the responses received by the newspaper to a set of questions put to Ontario Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli, on the new procurement process for large-scale wind power projects. The announcement of the new process has been delayed.

Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli answers turbine questions

Posted : Business, Featured, Front Page, News.

wind turbines and lines

Editor’s note: The Independent recently requested an interview with Ontario Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli about the concerns about industrial wind turbines. We submitted five questions and here are the unedited responses forwarded by the minister’s office.
When will the province outline how it will handle FIT program?
The Large Feed-in Tariff (FIT) program is being replaced with a new competitive procurement process for renewable energy projects.  We asked the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) to develop a new competitive procurement process for future renewable energy projects larger than 500 kW, which will take into account local needs and considerations before contracts are offered.
The OPA has engaged with the public, municipalities, Aboriginal communities and other stakeholders to help inform the identification of appropriate locations and siting requirements for future renewable energy projects.  The OPA has reported back to the government with interim recommendations and additional engagement activities will occur later this year.
We need to make sure our approach is balanced and considers the views of local communities while ensuring the long-term sustainability of Ontario’s electricity system. We expect to have more information on this once the province has updated its Long-Term Energy Plan later this year.
Is it deliberately ignoring those opposed to wind energy projects?
We’re moving forward with renewable energy in a balanced (way).  We listened very extensively to the public and we’re changing the way we procure renewable energy projects to respond to community concerns while continuing to encourage a strong renewable energy sector in this province.
Will the government return planning authority to municipalities on Green projects?
The Ontario government is making key changes to increase local control over the siting of renewable energy projects. As a former Mayor and Regional Chair, I understand how important it is for communities to be involved in decision making from the beginning.
Our government wants to ensure that future renewable energy projects will be built in the right place at the right time. That’s why we are replacing the current Feed-in-Tariff program for large renewable energy projects with a competitive bidding process, tailored to the needs of communities. Potential developers will need to work directly with municipalities to determine appropriate locations and site requirements for any future large renewable energy project.
Our government will also provide up to $90,000 for municipalities to develop Municipal Energy Plans. These plans will help municipalities better integrate energy, infrastructure, growth and land use planning to support economic development, increase conservation and identify energy opportunities.
Finally, we’ll work with municipalities to determine a property tax rate increase for wind turbine towers.
If municipalities declare themselves “Not Willing Hosts” is it a guarantee there will not be wind energy projects in their municipalities in the future?
Recent changes will ensure that municipalities have more say over renewable energy projects.  Through the priority points system municipalities will have increased influence over the siting of projects through the prioritization of applications that have demonstrated municipal support.  Developers that work closely with municipalities and have broader support will receive points during the application process, helping those projects move forward.  During the recent round of Small FIT contract awards, over 98 percent of the successful applications received municipal council support resolutions.
These recent changes also gives municipalities more tools and enables them to participate directly in the FIT program
Municipal energy plans will give municipalities a much stronger role in identifying local energy needs and opportunities. Municipal Energy Plans are comprehensive strategies to align infrastructure, energy and land use planning.
The competitive procurement process will ensure that renewable energy developers work directly with municipalities, before contracts are awarded, and that large renewable energy generation is targeted regionally, based on system needs.  This process will better integrate renewable energy into our communities and economy, encouraging growth in the renewable energy sector and respecting communities.
Will there be a moratorium on the [wind] current projects until the two-year federal health effects study is complete as many municipalities have asked?
The government is committed to protecting the health of residents in communities that are home to renewable energy projects.  We have taken a cautious approach when setting standards for wind turbine setbacks and noise limits to protect Ontarians.
Large-scale wind energy projects in Ontario are subject to the Renewable Energy Approval (REA) regulation, which includes minimum setbacks for wind energy projects, and minimum requirements for environmental studies and community consultation activities.  Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Arlene King undertook a review of the potential health effects of wind turbines. Her 2010 report stated that there is no scientific evidence to date to support claims that wind turbine noise cause adverse health effects.
The Ministry of the Environment continues to review emerging scientific, health, acoustics and engineering studies to ensure Ontario’s REA regulation remains in line with the latest and best in science. The ministry also continues to support further research by funding, through an agreement with the Council of Ontario Universities, a Research Chair for the ongoing study of Renewable Energy Technologies and Health.

Translation: if we decide your community is getting a wind power project, you’re getting a wind power project. You can have “say” but the word “no” will not be allowed.
Obviously, at the time some person in the communications warren answered The Independent’s question, the results of the Renewable Energy Technologies and Health were not known—it will be very interesting now to see  what the Minister does with that, keeping up as he is with the “latest and best in science.”
See also the blog Smithville Turbine Opposition Party for more comment. http://smithvilleturbinesoppositionparty.ca/news/energy-minister-bob-chiarelli-answers-turbine-questions/