WCO expresses concern over CPP purchase of Ontario wind farms
Why buy wind power projects when Ontario has a surplus of power and when wind power is a factor in higher electricity bills leading to energy poverty, Wind Concerns Ontario asked in a letter. And why is Canada’s public pension fund investing in projects that are producing environmental noise?
April 4, 2018
Wind Concerns Ontario, the coalition of more than 30 community groups and hundreds of families and individuals concerned about the impacts of industrial-scale wind power development, has written a letter to the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, expressing concern about an announcement to buy four Ontario wind power projects from US-based NextEra Energy.
The CPPIB announced it was buying for wind power projects and two solar facilities in Ontario for $741M CAD, and further assuming NextEra’s debt of over $800M.
In a letter to President and CEO of the CPPIB Mark Machin, sent to the Board’s office in Toronto, Wind Concerns noted that Ontario is in a situation of surplus power, which is costing Ontario citizens millions.
“The surplus power is either sold at below-cost rates or given away to neighbouring jurisdictions,” WCO said, “a practice that has caused Ontario’s electricity costs to balloon and is contributing to the energy poverty situation now being faced by many of the pensioners that your plan supports.”
There is also the troubling fact that the four NextEra wind power projects (Summerhaven, Jericho, Bluewater and Conestogo) have been the source of more than 120 official reports of excessive noise and vibration, some including staff notes on health impacts, made to the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change. WCO obtained the Master Incident files under the Freedom of Information request process.
Citing one Master report from the Conestogo project in which MOECC staff noted that the mandated emissions and imissions audit were “incomplete at the time of submission” and also, that the Ministry had not provided resources for Provincial Officers to visit sites after hours and confirm or deny compliance, staff had no choice but to close the Incident Report file.
” Th[at] excerpt is typical of how noise reports are managed: there is no resolution, and the project is not compliant with key terms of its approval,” Wind Concerns Ontario told Mr. Machin.
WCO also referred to the Investment Board’s stated commitment to “Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors” in investment choices, and said, “We would think you would share local residents’ concerns about the operation of these projects. In short, there are other factors in this investment decision beyond the financial.”
“A critical factor will be resolution of these [noise] reports,” Wind Concerns’ president Jane Wilson concluded in the letter, “management and resolution of citizen health impacts, and liability for property value loss and other negative effects.”