WCO expresses concern over CPP purchase of Ontario wind farms

Are wind farms the problem-free “green” investment the CPP should buy for Canadians’ future?

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.”

What's your reaction?


  • Richard Mann
    Posted April 5, 2018 2:06 pm 0Likes

    For the latest information on Health Impacts of Industrial Wind Turbines please see the following link (Canadian Medical Association Journal Blogs). Please read the comments, including individual reports of health harm from citizens of Huron County Ontario. There are also links to my research there.

  • J.P. De Grandmont
    Posted April 5, 2018 2:08 pm 0Likes

    I thought that CPP was running out of money to pay for pensions? What is CPP doing investing in an industry that is not in keeping with conservation of agricultural lands, causing health hazards, and competing with foreign mega- investors which are saturating that field.

  • John Foreman
    Posted April 5, 2018 2:30 pm 0Likes

    NextTerror is getting out before the whole system collapses and we as citizens, and supposedly “beneficiaries”, of CPP get to “pay the price again” to clean up the mess. We’ll get to compensate, with our tax dollars, those suffering ill effects from McGuinty’s boondoggle if and when the truth ever comes out. Meanwhile, NextTerror walks away with even more of our money! “Take the money and run” is their mantra!

    • Wind Concerns Ontario
      Posted April 5, 2018 5:50 pm 0Likes

      NextEra has made the best business deal for themselves, taking the maximum value out of the contracts while they can, getting their debt assumed by the CPPIB, and getting paid to manage their own projects. There is no sign that anything is collapsing; however, as we have said, there are other points here beyond the financial, particularly that power demand is declining in Ontario, the guaranteed price program means Ontario is overpaying for renewables, and the rising electricity bills (due in part to the cost of renewables and of having surplus power) is contributing to energy poverty, a serious social and financial issue. You could write to your MPP and express your concerns about this investment with your CPP contributions.

  • Doug Corner
    Posted April 5, 2018 4:08 pm 0Likes

    I stand by my suspicion that Nextera whispered in Gerry Butts’ ear, and then Gerry, seeing a political opportunity to cause considerable pain to the Ontario Conservatives, whispered in the ears of the CPP managers. This makes no economic or environmental sense whatsoever.

    • Wind Concerns Ontario
      Posted April 5, 2018 5:46 pm 0Likes

      The CPPIB, as part of its goal for “Sustainable Investing,” requires a “Carbon Statement” from some companies they invest in.

  • malcolm
    Posted April 9, 2018 2:33 pm 0Likes

    For Immediate Release
    April 6, 2018
    Canadian Pension Plan Put at Risk
    Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke… The decision to spend 741 million Canada Pension Plan (CPP) payroll-deducted dollars from hard-working Canadians to purchase industrial wind turbines, risks the pensions of Canadians.
    The CPP tax was recently increased by the Trudeau liberals, rising to 11.9% in 2019.
    The industrial wind turbine scheme and the Liberal ‘greed’ Energy Act have been mired in controversy, including a criminal investigation that led to the conviction of a top ranked government official. According to Ontario’s Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk, Ontarians paid $37 billion above the market price for electricity over the past eight years, and face an additional $133-billion overpayment by 2032. Ontario is now burdened with the continent’s highest electricity rates.
    On April 2nd, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) announced that it signed an agreement to acquire a portfolio of six operating wind and solar power projects located in Ontario from foreign-owned NextEra Energy Partners, LP (NYSE: NEP) for $741 million. The deal includes the assumption of approximately $882 million in existing debt.
    What the pension plan purchase means for working Ontario electricity ratepayers is even higher rates. Their own CPP tax dollars are being used to purchase something that is causing the spike in electricity prices. High energy costs result in unemployment. Ontario has 713,300 low-income households, representing almost 16% of residential ratepayers in the province.
    This purchase goes against the mandate of the CPP Investment Management Board. The Board is required to act in the best interests of the beneficiaries of the Canada Pension Plan. As noted by 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, “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?”
    Worse, in 2017, Ontario sent 8,242 GWh (gigawatts) of cheap electricity to the State of New York at a loss of $700 million. In other words, Ontario electricity ratepayers are subsidizing our American competitors, by about $700 million to take away Canadian jobs.
    The four NextEra wind turbine projects being purchased in Ontario (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. The CPP Investment Board was established by an Act of Parliament in December 1997.
    For more information contact MP Cheryl Gallant at 613-732-4404

  • Sommer
    Posted April 9, 2018 7:03 pm 0Likes

    Does anyone know who it was at CPP who made this decision? We need to name names and hold them accountable.

  • Wind Concerns Ontario
    Posted April 10, 2018 5:08 pm 0Likes

    The CPPIB is you. Write to your MP.

  • Richard Mann
    Posted April 26, 2018 4:36 pm 0Likes

    NextEra: US offshore wind is ‘not good for customers’
    BYLINE: Lucas Bifera
    SECTION: SNL Extra
    NextEra Energy Inc.’s chief executive responsible for renewable development says there is no shortage of growth opportunities in the U.S. renewables market, but it is unlikely to include offshore wind or commercial and industrial projects for now.
    Fresh off announcing its drop down of the 250-MW Golden West Wind Farm to NextEra Energy Partners for some $420 million, NextEra Energy Resources LLC President and CEO Armando Pimentel delivered a candid view of the renewables market emphasizing NextEra’s traditional utility off-take model as the primary driver of demand in its pipeline.
    NextEra Energy Resources says it has signed contracts to develop about 1,500 MW of wind and solar in the U.S. and claims 3,900 MW of capacity in sight through 2018. The company tacked on an additional 621 MW of contracted backlog it sees beyond 2018.
    But the company has low expectations for the role of offshore wind and commercial and industrial, or C&I, projects in driving much of its development projects, citing risks that outweigh the rewards relative to the power purchase agreement model.
    “There are an enormous number of hurdles … and then you get to the biggest hurdle, which is just, it is bad economics for customers,” Pimentel said of offshore wind on the company’s April 21 earnings call. “It is really not good for customers to be doing offshore wind relative to solar or onshore wind. So to say that we are not fans would be an understatement.”
    One example of where NextEra is finding atypical opportunities, outside its long-term contracted projects, is the build and sell model recently employed with Xcel Energy Inc.
    NextEra said its deal with Xcel helped it tee up roughly 1,000-MW of wind capacity to develop and sell prior to commercial operations. Such a model could be replicated in the future, specifically with legacy customers, NextEra Energy Chairman, CEO and President James Robo said.
    “With a build-own-transfer like we are able to do with Xcel, where you can see an opportunity to generate an attractive [net present value] off of the sale and get contracts back from a customer that has been one of your largest customers, those can be attractive situations,” Robo declared.
    Still, rate-basing opportunities will remain a relatively small share of the addressable market. “The rate base market is just not that large,” Pimentel added.
    On the C&I market, NextEra indicated that non-utility-scale level projects could ultimately comprise about 20% of the company’s development pipeline in the future. But for now, the risks appear large enough to keep NextEra focused on the market for contracted assets.
    “It is a market that we will probably do more of than we’ve done in the past in certain regions,” Pimentel said of C&I. “But it’s also a market that doesn’t make sense for us in certain regions where folks are looking for very short-term contracts in places where we’ve got to take a significant amount of merchant risk in the term year.”

  • Ernest Coumont
    Posted August 14, 2018 10:19 am 0Likes

    I am a member of the Concerned Citizens of North Stormont. We are a group of residents of North Stormont who have been against the Wind Turbines coming into our area. There are many reasons we do not want them; from health related problems to humans, animals and birds, that fact that we have excess electricity which is far cheaper to produce and Hydro for instance determined by many to be the cleanest and greenest form of electricity. Today alone, more than 20 of the Hydro Dams in Ontario have not run from 1:00 AM until 9 AM. Many of the other Dams are running at 20 to 50 percent. I have been following Sygration, Ontario Generator Report for over a year. Sygration gives a report of the amount of electricity that has been produced by all of the systems in Ontario. They include: Nuclear, Hydro, Gas, Wind, Solar and Bio Fuels. The last \I heard is that there are more than 2500 Wind Turbines on Wind Farms in Ontario. For the last 4 days, the production of electricity by the Wind Turbines have not been impressive to say the very least due to the low winds in the province. Saturday for example throughout the 24 hour period, the lowest amount of energy produced by these 2500 Wind Turbines was 25 megawatts, the highest for that day was in the low 2 hundreds. We have single Hydro Dams which can produce more electricity than all of the Turbines combined on wind free days, which by the way in North Stormont, we routinely have at least 3 days a week where the Wind speeds are less than 6.0 meters per second. Which happens to be the minimum wind speed to make the turbine blades turn. For the over 9.6 Billion dollars spent on these Wind Turbines, less than 1 percent of the total amount of electricity produced, just does not make them a good investment in my opinion!!!

    • Wind Concerns Ontario
      Posted August 14, 2018 4:38 pm 0Likes

      These are all important statistics, and a great argument for why a 100-megawatt wind power project is not necessary.
      Please write to your MPP Jim McDonell (who is aware but will appreciate hearing from you), Premier Ford, Energy Minister Greg Rickford, and the IESO

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