The unfairness of the Green Energy Act: taxes

Raymond Beaudry of the Manitoulin Coalition for Safe Energy Alternatives (MCSEA) sends along this presentation that was made to the Manitoulin and the Islands budget committee this week.
The fact is, there would have to be significant changes to the Green Energy Act  to realize what is proposed in this presentation, but what remains is the unfairness—homes are taxed at a rate higher than wind power projects—and the true extent to which this industry is being subsidized in Ontario.

Here is the presentation:

Municipal Taxes and Potential IWT Revenue

In our township, one hundred acre local farm lots and managed wood lots
without structures are assessed at approximately $26,225 that contribute
to around $81 in taxes.

The wind industry (Northland Power Inc) pays the taxes on property it has
rights of use for in lease agreements. For several years though, still
assessed as farmland, this land once signed over will be used for
industrial purposes.

The 100 acre lots, less the legislated, wind turbine footprint of 2
hectares (4.94 acres) also require wind turbine infrastructure such as
wide right of ways, collector lines, wide access roads, transmission
lines. All of this supporting infrastructure should be assessed at the
industrial rate and the balance of the farm lots remain at the farm
assessment rate.
These lots should be assessed and taxed industrial for the area of
planned use when the lease options for industrial use are signed. This
creates more income for our municipal taxes from highly subsidized multi
million dollar corporations.

As I understand the process, the township does not receive the taxes when
the turbines, buildings, distribution stations and switching stations for
the wind farm are erected. Assessment legislation states that structures
are added to the assessment roll when they “commence to be used”. MPAC
would therefore issue a supplementary assessment from the date the
turbine becomes operational. This is several months of lost industrial
tax revenue for townships.

Another subsidy the wind industry receives is the assessed value of the
turbines. Homes are paying more taxes than a multi million dollar
industrial wind turbine generator. The turbines should be assessed at the
full value as in any other industrial or house construction.

For assessment, the McLean’s Mountain turbines are not 2.5 MWs in size
but are rated by General Electric at 2.85 MW . MPAC states wind turbines
are assessed as per their nameplate capacity. The legislated assessed
value of $40,000 per MW times the 2.85 MW rather than 2.5 mw is an
increase of $14,000 in value up to only $114,000 assessed value rather
than the 2 to 3 million dollar or so wind turbine value.

$114,000 assessed value times industrial rate of .03087360 only produces
$3,519.59 of taxes.
 A 2 million dollar turbine assessment equals $61,747.20. Diff –
 A 3 million dollar turbine assessment, equals $92,620.80. Diff –

Not including the other potential lost tax revenue mentioned previously,
this 24 industrial wind turbine project at even the lower 2 million
dollar turbine cost alone should have rather than the $84,470.16 in tax
revenue for the township, should be around $1, 397,462.60. Difference in
lost potential revenue of $1,312,990.

This influx to the tax base would probably lower the tax bills in half
for everyone in this township.
 The Feed In Tariff for this project is $150 for each MW hour or 15 cents
per kwh and under these FIT contracts they will be paid by all
electricity users whether the province requires the generation or not.
They will get paid to not even generate in electricity surplus scenarios
as currently practiced.

Townships should be receiving their fair share of tax revenue from
industrial development to pay for provincially downloaded costs and
rising expenses that affect township local temporary and full time
employment, operating expenses and every tax payers rates.

Requests to implement fair taxation in relation to renewables and in
particular industrial wind turbines should be sent by our town council to
the appropriate ministries.

This is an issue all ratepayers and taxpayers should be endorsing.
Editor’s note: using the $150/MWh rate, the McLeans Mountain project on Manitoulin will be costing Ontario ratepayers in excess of $21 million per year, or over $400 million over the life of the 20-year contract.Yet, there is no arena in Ontario except for the ballot box, in which issues like this can be discussed.

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