Wind power approval process must change, says Wind Concerns Ontario

Devastation in Prince Edward County as power developer proceeded with unauthorized construction activity while approval under appeal. That appeal was eventually partially successful. [Photo: APPEC]
Wind Concerns Ontario says Ontario’s Renewable Energy Approval process is not protective of the environment. Pictured, devastation in Prince Edward County as power developer proceeded with unauthorized pre-construction activity while its power project approval was under appeal. That appeal was eventually partially successful.  [Photo: APPEC]
November 1, 2016

Comments filed on Renewable Energy Approval process

“The litany of failures is astounding,” says president of community group coalition

Wind Concerns Ontario filed comments with Ontario’s EBR yesterday, with recommendations on revisions to the Technical Guide for the Renewable Energy Approval process for industrial-scale or utility-scale wind power projects.

Basically, WCO said, the guidelines for the power industry are not protective of the environment … and there is plenty of evidence to prove it.

In short, the requirements in place for companies to get approval are not adequate, there is not enough proper oversight by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (or even, capacity to do fulfill that role), and there is no check on compliance with Renewable Energy Approvals post-operation.

  • Findings from the ERT decisions and other legal activities have shown that the current process is not adequate to assess the expansion of renewable energy generation while upholding the government’s commitment to protecting the environment.
  • The process contains no provisions to discuss the creation of clean energy jobs and encouraging energy conservation.
  • The proposed process does not reflect decisions from the Environmental Review Tribunals (ERT)

“The fact is, almost every single wind power project that received an approval in Ontario has been appealed on the basis of protecting the environment and human health,” says Wind Concerns Ontario president Jane Wilson. “And four of those appeals have been successful. The Ministry should be embarrassed that ordinary citizens are not only taking on this protective role, but that they find information about these projects and the damage they will cause, that Ministry staff were not aware of.”

Wind Concerns not only recommended more stringent requirements for a Renewable Energy Approval, the coalition of community groups and Ontario families repeated its call for municipal support to be a mandatory requirement for wind power project approvals.

“Municipal governments are the local voice of the people and communities,” says Wilson. “And they know best what kind of development is appropriate and sustainable. They are also aware of conditions locally that logically should prevent a wind power project — but those voices are not listened to under this process.”

Thousands of noise complaints have been made to the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, Wind Concerns Ontario says, which is a clear indication of the failure of the REA process. Moreover, MOECC protocols for measuring wind turbine noise emissions – when they do measure at all as follow-up – are not adequate and do not capture the full range of problematic environmental noise.

“In fact, the litany of failures of this process is astounding,” says Wilson.

The method in which projects are announced to communities is secretive and municipalities are forced to approve with almost no information on the impact of the power projects. Public “meetings” are a sham, consisting mainly of poster presentations and incomplete project information.

Post-operation, the numbers of bat deaths and bird kills far exceed what was expected from the wind turbines, noise complaints are being made more frequently as a result of more powerful turbines, and wind power companies have abused their approvals by removing trees from protected woodlands, for example, or placing turbines on sites not consistent with the approvals.

“Premier Wynne professed to be surprised recently at the removal of over 7,000 mature trees in the Niagara area for the huge power project there,” Wilson says. “Does the government not know what is really going on? The people of Ontario see the environmental damage being done and the effects on people’s health from high-impact wind power development — this process has to change.”

Wind Concerns Ontario

November 1, 2016

Trees being cut down along  1 km of the former old unopened road allowance and pioneer nature trail  known as Wild Turkey Road on the Oak Ridges Moraine in an area designated High Aquifer Vulnerability, a Significant Recharge zone, where two streams that support trout habitat and 12 species at risk as well as species at risk butternut trees adjacent to the Fleetwood Creek natural area are being destroyed and/or endangered to make way for new access roads for the Sumac Ridge wind facility. Photo sent to Kawartha Lakes Councillor Heather Stauble.]
Trees being cut down along 1 km of the former old unopened road allowance and pioneer nature trail known as Wild Turkey Road on the Oak Ridges Moraine in an area designated High Aquifer Vulnerability, a Significant Recharge zone, where two streams that support trout habitat and 12 species at risk as well as species at risk butternut trees adjacent to the Fleetwood Creek natural area are being destroyed and/or endangered to make way for new access roads for the Sumac Ridge wind facility. Photo sent to Kawartha Lakes Councillor Heather Stauble.]

Comments

Pat Cusack
Reply

I have no confidence whatsoever in Wynne and her incompetents.

Country Gal
Reply

No, this process does not have to change. This process has to stop.

Wind Concerns Ontario
Reply

If the standards are set high enough in order to actually protect people and the environment, as the government professes it wants to do, then building wind power developments the way it has been done in Ontario will not be possible.

Barbara
Reply

The South Australia renewable energy plan looked great on “paper” until it met/hit the forces of mother nature!

ScepticalGord
Reply

“Premier Wynne professed to be surprised recently at the removal of over 7,000 mature trees in the Niagara area for the huge power project there,”

Premiere Wynne acts like she knows everything when it suits her agenda, yet professes to know nothing when the truth is inconvenient.

BTW, she played the same role of “I know” / “I don’t know” with Ostrander Point. She told us that the OP area was a poor choice for wind turbines (she knows), but the government approved that development a few months later (she doesn’t know … la la la (hand cupped over ears).

concerned citizen
Reply

This is happening right now in the nation rise (EDP) . I asked at the Finch, ON meeting last week, will South Nation conservation would be contracted for any on the many environmental and natural history impact studies. I was answered, No, we need to hire experts. I then was able to explain, to the presenter hired by EDP, that researchers at SNC may have studied the area for 20 or 30 years in some cases!

Wind Concerns Ontario
Reply

It is critical that the community begin assembling information and proof of endangered species etc. RIGHT NOW. Work with your local community group if you can, Concerned Citizens of North Stormont.

notinduttondunwich
Reply

WCO right on the money….. again this whole process is riddled with backdoor greasy politicians (liberals) that have allowed the very people they are suppose to protect and work for to be put in harms way all for donations to the liberal party….. no where in the world are you allowed to place IWT’S this close to people’s homes… in fact the WHO is currently investigating the IWTS projects setbacks to residential homes that the liberal government has endorsed and continues to assure the Ontario public that the setbacks are indeed safe…..
BULL CRAP!!!!! is what it is…. people need to start standing up for themselves or this liberal government will literally start to evict more people from thier homes and thier land!!!!… like they said last week that the good folks of Ontario are being considered ” ENEMIES OF THE STATE”
the liberal government has gone too far and should start preparing for a civil revolt from all the BAD ACTORS in Ontario!!!!!!!!!

Barbara
Reply

If Ontario shuts down or curtails U.S. IWT power production companies without doing the same to Canadian IWT power producers, could Canada be sued under NAFTA for unfair treatment?

Janice Gonyou
Reply

Wynne and the Liberals did take into consideration the environment and the people of Ontario. The negative effects are huge. They did not research or do any studies before they went forward. Green energy my ass. They have done more damage to Ontario that cannot be reversed. All the agencies designed to protect us and the environment have turned a blind eye to all of this.

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