Power bill costs turning political opinion on wind power

Wind power costs turning the political tide

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This is from today’s Toronto Star. While Martin Regg Cohn still doesn’t “get it” (he still think resistance to wind power plants is “NIMBYism”) he at least has opened his eyes to the numbers and the economic cost to Ontario.

Ontario tilts against wind turbines as costs spiral: Cohn

Economics, more than politics, is causing the greatest drag on wind power as Liberals look for light at the end of the wind tunnel.

Resistance to wind turbines in Ontario emanated mostly from rural residents and was quickly exploited by opposition politicians eager to steal Liberal seats.
VICTOR BIRO / TORONTO STAR FILE PHOTO
Resistance to wind turbines in Ontario emanated mostly from rural residents and was quickly exploited by opposition politicians eager to steal Liberal seats.
By:  Provincial Politics, Published on Tue Dec 10 2013
Who would have imagined Ontario as Ground Zero for the global anti-wind movement, pitting people power against wind power? Instead of a low-carbon environment, the governing Liberals generated a highly toxic political environment.
Yet it is economics, more than politics, that is causing the greatest drag on wind power today. Diminishing returns have prompted the Liberals to tilt against wind turbines.
The pace of future wind expansion will be scaled back over the next 20 years, according to the Long Term Energy Planreleased this month by the government. The latest plan is a belated admission that previous energy plans were off target.
To understand how much the Liberals miscalculated, it’s worth looking at another report that preceded this one. Prepared for influential clients in the energy industry by global consulting firm IHS-CERA, the title of this private study says it all: “Too Much, Too Fast — The Pace of Greening the Ontario Power System.”
It treats our wind turbines as a case study on how greening the power system can plunge it into the red. A cautionary tale for international clients, the report would have been essential reading for provincial energy planners as they looked for the light at the end of our wind tunnel:
“What happened in Ontario . . . provide(s) universal lessons regarding how a simple, appealing, but unrealistic idea can intersect with the political process and set in motion environmental policies that run counter to the underlying costs and complexity of the electric power sector.”

Read the full story here.

TVO The Agenda podcast

Last night, TVO’s The Agenda with Steve Paikin, had a panel discussion on Ontario’s “current” situation and the Long Term Energy Plan announced on Monday. While most of the panel played nice, there are some very interesting comments particularly from Universuty of Toronto’s Don Dewees (“I was never in favour of the Green Energy Act”) and the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers’ Paul Acchione, who said Ontario is committing suicide economically with its energy policy.

The podcast is here.

Lambton County votes to participate in Environmental Review Tribunal

From the Sarnia Observer, this report on yesterday’s ground-breaking vote at Lambton County Council.

Lambton County will spend $20,000 to join legal battle before Ontario’s Environmental Review Tribunal

By Barbara Simpson, Sarnia Observer

In a potentially precedent-setting move, Lambton County council will financially back a legal battle before Ontario’s Environmental Review Tribunal in an attempt to halt wind turbine construction.
After months of debate and staff reports, county politicians narrowly voted 17-16 Wednesday in favour of spending $20,000 to become a presenter in Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) cases involving Huron County families who are challenging further wind development near their homes.
Local anti-wind activists, who packed county council chambers Wednesday, erupted with applause after the recorded vote was tallied.
“I’m still in shock,” said Elizabeth Bellavance, of We’re Against Industrial Turbines Plympton-Wyoming (WAIT-PW). “I can’t believe we got it.”
Fellow WAIT-PW member David Bartlett said he wasn’t sure where the group’s request stood after months of debate around the council table.
“When I reflected back on the proceedings of the past council meeting, I didn’t think we had much chance,” he said.
Members of WAIT-PW had initially asked council to become involved in a civil case concerning a Goderich-based family and one wind turbine developer. However, they refined their request to ask for council’s support in front of the Environmental Review Tribunal.
That means council will now be able to state their concerns about the health impacts of wind turbines to the tribunal — the body responsible for wind turbine appeals from landowners.
It isn’t clear yet who will represent council at the proceedings.
County councillors remained divided Wednesday on whether taxpayer money should be spent on a case outside its jurisdiction.
While the county may benefit from a ruling, county solicitor David Cribbs said the specific tribunal decision wouldn’t likely halt wind development across Ontario.
“It’s more likely, I think, that a decision by the ERT would hold itself to the cases before it,” he said.
He also remained skeptical that $20,000 will cover the application process and lawyer’s fees.
“I don’t think $20,000 is going to bring us through the ERT,” Cribbs said.
Toronto lawyer Julian Falconer, who provided the estimate, currently represents three cases before the tribunal.
The county may also be out of time to apply to list its health-related concerns to the tribunal as a presenter, Cribbs said.
Proceedings have already begun in two of the three cases.
If the time to apply has elapsed, county council would instead give $20,000 to anti-wind turbine groups involved in the process.
Bellavance believes the county has a shot at still becoming involved in the cases.
Members of WAIT-PW successfully became presenters on one of the ERT cases late in the game, she said.
“The chance is there.”
But expect resistance from the Ministry of the Environment and wind companies involved in the proceedings, she said.
“They will attempt to keep the county out.”
Bellavance credited the work of supporters who sent emails and placed calls to county councillors before Wednesday’s vote.
She believes council’s decision may inspire other Ontario municipalities to become involved at tribunal hearings.
“Lambton County is showing leadership on this issue,” she said.
Plympton-Wyoming Mayor Lonny Napper also served a notice of motion to label Lambton County an unwilling host of wind turbines. The motion will come up for further discussion in the new year.

Wall Street Journal in Toronto Sun: Ontario worse off than California

Ford’s follies hogging criticism for Wynne

Simon Kent

By ,Toronto Sun

 Updated:

TORONTO – Come, let us annoy Kathleen Wynne.
The leader of the biggest province in Canada has never had her claim to be premier tested by the electorate, but she presses on regardless.
All rictus grin over outstretched arms, forever seeking to have yet another conversation (sigh) with voters, Wynne also happens to oversee the biggest budget and deepest debt this side of the Ottawa treasury benches.
The same person who recently entertained OPP officers investigating the destruction of gas plant e-mails in her office to help them “familiarize themselves with the operation.”
Meanwhile, the whole world — literally and figuratively — and its maiden aunt talk about Rob Ford’s personal foibles and not Ontario’s nominal leader and her appalling inability to manage the public purse.
I know that at a personal level because I have been inundated with media requests about Toronto’s mayor.
I’ve provided a newspaper op-ed for The Sydney Morning Herald in Australia, fielded numerous television interview calls from Al Jazeera America, joined a radio debate on the BBC World Service, and had queries from ABC Radio.
Rob Ford. Rob Ford. Rob Ford. Rob Ford. Rob Ford. Rob Ford.
The 64th mayor of Toronto is just about the only game in town.
All the time Wynne is able to pull her con trick and convince pretty well anyone who will listen that she is doing a just fine and dandy job at Queen’s Park, thanks for asking.
Which she isn’t.
Here is what the Wall Street Journal said a week ago.
“In the wake of the financial crisis, the state of California has been something of a poster child for fiscal dysfunction, with years of budget deficits, service cuts and public-sector job losses.
“By some measures, though, the Canadian province of Ontario’s fiscal situation is worse than California’s, according to Moody’s Investors Service.
“The bond-rating firm noted in an Oct. 21 report that California’s debt burden, for example, was about 50% of total revenues in 2012-13, while Ontario’s net direct and indirect debt was at roughly 226% of consolidated revenues at the end of March 2013.”
Ouch.
By any measure, Ontario has a massive liquidity problem. It will not be solved by Kathleen Wynne borrowing still more money.
Yet, that is exactly what she intends to do. Not cut spending, mind you, just put more on the tab.
She honestly thinks we can borrow our way out of debt, spend more taxpayer dollars and hope nobody will notice because … hey, look over there … Rob Ford!
Which is a betrayal of the future generations of Ontarians who will be saddled by the prodigious amounts of debt created by the fiscally illiterate McGuinty/Wynne duumvirate.
My Queen’s Park colleagues Christina Blizzard and Sue-Ann Levy have never stopped pursuing the Liberals about their casual approach to our taxes.
Where is the rest of the media attention?
Cue crickets.
For what it’s worth, Tim Hudak and his team have been trying to amend the media attention deficit disorder that spreads in the wake of Toronto’s mayor.
A full week ago, Ontario PC finance critic Vic Fedeli exposed gaping holes in the government’s Fall Economic Statement, but he was largely ignored. “The government is hiding the truth from Ontarians,” Fedeli said. “For one, the numbers in their Fall Economic Statement do not add up to being on track for their promise of a balanced budget for 2017.
“And, most telling of all, the government refused to provide the traditional three-year spending and revenue outlook in their statement in order to hide the true impact of a weaker economy.
“To put it bluntly, it tried to pull a fast one.”
Fedeli makes a good point. The Wynne government publishes numbers that don’t add up and it appears they have no chance of making a balanced budget by 2017.
All predicated on a conspicuous lack of forward fiscal projections, even to the accepted three-year mark for standard financial forecasts.
If we are supposed to get the government we truly deserve, you have to wonder what Ontarians have collectively done in a past life to have Kathleen Wynne foisted on us.
Now back to the Rob Ford show.

Green energy: not playing the role it was supposed to

Here from the Lucknow Sentinel, an opinion on what is being done to our fair province…and its fortunes.Lucknow is the location of the ongoing Drennan appeal of a Renewable Energy Approval.

Green energy not playing the role it was meant to

Tracey Hinchberger
By Tracey Hinchberger, Kincardine News Freelancer

A Wind Concerns Ontario 'STOP' sign is seen on a post in Bruce Township, while Enbridge Ontario Wind Power Project turbines spin in the background near the Bruce-to-Milton transmission corridor. Health Canada announced July 10, 2012 that a study would be conducted on the health impact of noise from wind turbines, with results to be published in 2014. (TROY PATTERSON/KINCARDINE NEWS/QMI AGENCY)
A Wind Concerns Ontario ‘STOP’ sign is seen on a post in Bruce Township, while Enbridge Ontario Wind Power Project turbines spin in the background near the Bruce-to-Milton transmission corridor. Health Canada announced July 10, 2012 that a study would be conducted on the health impact of noise from wind turbines, with results to be published in 2014. (TROY PATTERSON/KINCARDINE NEWS/QMI AGENCY)

Is this what “green energy” is supposed to look like? This is a question I keep asking myself, and would like to pose to Premier Kathleen Wynne and Minister of Energy Bob Chiarelli.
As a writer of an environment-themed column I should be pleased to see the fruits of the provincial government’s Ontario Green Energy Act sprouting up all over our municipality.
Instead, as yet another wind farm project has been approved for the area, I find myself dismayed. I am also heartsick for the residents who have fought so hard to oppose these developments and who will be impacted the most by their presence.
While I realize wind turbines utilize an unlimited resource and produce energy that does not create pollution (at least the operational turbine itself) I have never been convinced they are the Holy Grail of clean energy. There are too many cons, such as unstudied health risks, environmental impacts and effects on energy costs.
But some of the biggest concerns I have with the “green energy” the provincial government has been installing in Ontario are the unquantifiable costs.
What I think Queen’s Park has been ignoring is the impact this program is having on Ontarians’ lives.
By denying municipalities the right of refusal in their jurisdictions, and seemingly disregarding opposition to wind projects, an environment of distrust and anger has been created. Unwilling host communities have lost trust in the process, in the government and the corporations who are developing these installations.
By not giving a meaningful voice to individuals who are impacted by neighbours’ decisions to option land, animosity and distrust have been created between former friends.
Communities have been divided.
Too many reports of ill health effects and lives disrupted have come to the forefront. Too often these same families are left unable to escape because of their inability to sell properties that fall within the boundaries of wind developments.
Pro-wind agents will argue that no health effects have been proven. However, even if no physical impacts truly exist (which I’m not convinced is the case) what about the emotional and psychological effects on these families? What about the anguish people have faced, the feelings of helplessness as massive mechanical structures are erected around their properties, and the stress in knowing their homes are now largely unsellable?
The Kincardine area is already inundated with wind development. To the south there are the 38 turbines of Ripley Wind, to the north 115, when combining the towers of Enbridge Bruce and the handful from Huron Wind. From some vantage points in the municipality there are turbines in every direction for as far as the eye can see.
The recently approved Armow Wind project will see another 92 towers erected in the north east of the municipality, almost doubling the number of turbines already in existence north of town. Compounding this is the fact that these towers will be markedly bigger than those already in place.
What the government refuses to acknowledge is that these benignly labelled “wind farms” are in reality large industrial installations, huge pieces of machinery being erected in great numbers across our rural landscape, amongst people’s homes. The province is essentially turning our municipality into a big factory.
Lives in host communities are being impacted significantly, whether it is health-wise, financially or socially.
If I could, I would invite Premier Wynne and Minister Chiarelli to actually stand amongst the turbines, take it all in and attempt to comprehend the impact of masses of towers sprawling off in every direction, with scores more to come.
I would then ask them to look at every one of the lives that have been so wrongly disrupted, imagine their own loved ones in the same position and ask “is this really what green energy is supposed to look like?”

Results from U Waterloo RETH study: statistically significant

University of Waterloo Research Chair

industrial wind turbine (IWT) study results statistically significant

Oct. 24.2013/ At a recent symposium in Toronto facilitated by former Toronto Mayor David Miller titled Symposia of the Ontario Research Chairs in Public Policy, a poster entitled ‘Wind Turbine Noise, Sleep Quality, and Symptoms of Inner Ear Problems’ was displayed by Claire Paller, Phil Bigelow, Shannon Majowicz, Jane Law, and Tanya Christidis.
The research indicates statistically significant results for sleep, vertigo and tinnitus (excerpt):
“All relationships were found to be positive and statistically significant.”
The University of Waterloo – Ontario Ministry of Environment funded IWT health study was publicly displayed during the symposium on sustainability held at York University , Toronto on October 17, 2013.
It is reported that 396 surveys were included in the analysis (excerpts include):
“In total there were 412 surveys returned; 16 of these survey respondents did not provide their home address. Therefore, 396 surveys were included in the analysis.”
Of note is the acknowledgement that as the distance from the IWT increases, sleep improves:
“The relationship between ln(distance) (as a continuous variable) and mean Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) was found to be statistically significant (P=0.0096) when controlling for age, gender and county. This relationship shows that as the distance increases (move further away from a wind turbine), PSQI decreases (i.e. sleep improves) in a logarithmic relationship. Multivariate analysis involved assessing distance to the nearest wind turbine as both distance and ln(distance). In all cases, ln(distance) resulted in improved model fit.”
In addition the authors state that the relationship between vertigo and tinnitus worsened for those living closer to IWTs:
“The relationship between vertigo and ln(distance) was statistically significant (P<0.001) when controlling for age, gender, and county. The relationship between tinnitus and ln(distance) approached statistical significance (P=0.0755). Both vertigo and tinnitus were worse among participants living closer to wind turbines.”
The conclusion states:
“In conclusion, relationships were found between ln(distance) and PSQI, ln(distance) and self-reported vertigo and ln(distance) and self-reported tinnitus. Study findings suggest that future research should focus on the effects of wind turbine noise on sleep disturbance and symptoms of inner ear problems.”
Counties and projects in the study include:
§         Bruce (Enbridge project);
§         Chatham-Kent (Raleigh);
§         Dufferin (Melancthon);
§         Elgin ( Erie Shores );
§         Essex (Comber):
§         Frontenac ( Wolfe Island );
§         Huron (Kingsbridge); and
§         Norfolk (Frogmore/Cultus/ClearCreek).
Based on this evidence, it is not clear what the next steps will be for the Ministry of Environment. However, based on these results, evidence gathered by other researchers in Ontario and elsewhere supports these statistically significant findings.
Carmen Krogh BSc Pharm
Ontario , Canada

William Palmer testimony Adelaide ERT

As you know, appellant Esther Wrightman has had most of her witness list destroyed by wind developer NextEra and the Ministry of the Environment (the latter supported by taxpayer dollars to fight taxpayers). Engineer William Palmer was allowed to provide “limited” testimony at the hearings in London yesterday.
  Here is a lively account from Bob Lewis, excerpt courtesy the website Ontario Wind Resistance.

….They start out trying to reduce him as much as possible. They are ‘concerned’ about the ‘breadth’ of his planned testimony. They talk about his appearance at the Erickson hearing, that he wasn’t qualified as an expert. He pointed out that this was because the point became moot. He wasn’t DISqualified as an expert. This is how the game is played – they make insinuations hoping that the defense won’t be strong enough to save you or that you won’t be able to prove that it didn’t happen. It’s a game invented and tweeked and perfected by lawyers and it gives them good income but is really based on a dual of wits between different teams who have spent years mastering the arcane rules of the game – the law.
Then Nextera’s [lawyer] John Terry [of Torys LLP] makes his offer: We will let him speak without hassling him if you put him on as a presenter – no Expert status. Esther doesn’t have to even think about that. Or we can fight for his Expert status and risk losing him altogether. Or let him testify and they’ll decide later if he’s an expert.
Esther says, ‘He is a professional engineer. He IS an expert. What you suggest would reduce him to just someone like me.’
Qualifications: William Palmer is a professional engineer in the province of Ontario experienced in public safety, risk assessment, and environmental assessment related to electrical power generating systems, including wind turbines and advising and reporting specific to the professional engineering aspects of safeguarding life, health, etc,requiring the application of engineering principles.
He has taken courses at MIT in risk assessment of nuclear facilities. He was chosen by Bruce Power to train their people. Bruce is the largest nuclear power station in the world. He also did the risk assessment on the restart of units 3 and 4. Public safety is an essential part of being a professional engineer.
It would be boring to read, but it was fun to watch – as they tried to suggest he couldn’t be expert in this or that – he just kept coming up with more qualifications and experience. When they asked about accreditation, he took them through accounts of the qualifications for acoustical societies in Canada, US, and Europe – and he’s a member of all of them. Even when they brought up that he had been a member of the board of Wind Concerns Ontario, he countered that he had also been a member of CanWEA five years ago.
Nextera’s Terry had four problems with accepting his expertise: 
1.       He’s taking expertise in one area and applying it in another
2.       He’s learned a lot from self-study to achieve his qualifications (engineering degree from UofT)
3.       He’s been an advocate for anti-wind
4.       (Missed the last one – then another 30-40 minutes of crap.)

Jumping ahead to summation – Mr. Palmer outlined several reasons that he thinks the Director’s approval should be revoked – and most of these apply to all wind farms – not just this one.
1  – He says there will be harm to humans from shadow flicker generally, and with the turbines along the 402, for a distance of 8km, drivers will sometimes be exposed to five minutes of very distracting continuous shadow flicker and the OPP have already listed driver distraction as a major safety issue.
PANIC!! OBJECTION!! No mention of the OPP in the witness statement. Can’t use that!
So drop that – but Nextera is not required to do anything about shadow flicker. The REA doesn’t deal with it at all. It’s a serious flaw, so the approval should be revoked.
2  – Physical risk to neighbours – You can put a turbine within 60 m of a neighbour’s property. I have photos of ice falling further than that. Burning blades can go 200 m, he said. At mention of the Goderich turbine that burned, they asked if he had been there. He went and took photos. But did you actually see it burning?
One of the lawyers objects – he doesn’t see the Goderich failure in the evidence. Mr. Palmer says it’s in tab… but they can’t find it, and time is fleeting – he says, ok – I’ll say Ontario, not Goderich. Really – this is what these legal eagles are resorting to. And the MOE guy was really offended by Esther’s accusation of nitpicking.
He says that there’s a one in 14 million chance of winning the lottery and a roughly one in a thousand chance of failure so they shouldn’t be allowed to put them that close to a neighbour.
Lawyer asks if anyone has died yet.  Nobody. Except for the 33 during construction. There haven’t been more because most of the world’s turbines are older, smaller, and further from homes than these in Ontario.
Nobody’s died yet.
 Ontariocitizens are not protected from known events that have happened.
3   – Under REA rules, a leaseholder is allowed to VOID SAFETY RULES, which exposes to danger, family, children, employees, contractors, visitors and they have no voice in the matter.
4  – He quotes Ben Greenhouse saying that IWTs are needed to replace coal, reduce CO2 emissions, etc, and then he goes on to show that it’s not happening and CO2 output is actually up, so the reason for having them is invalid.
5  – MOE claims to be responsive and following the latest science but they fall very short in both instances.

6   – He said wind noise is different from other sound – more disturbing – the cyclical nature of it. At the Denver Noise converence, where MOE had people registered, there were 12 mentions of the special,unique quality of IWT sound. MOE denies any knowledge but even Vesta, a manufacturer, has made reference to it. People have complained about it all over the world and in the US, even 44% of LEASEHOLDERS found the sound bothersome.

Forbes Magazine: wind gets away with murder

Wind Energy Gets Away With Murder

The variable radial speed of wind turbines, up to 170 miles per hour can be lethal to birds and bats, especially our iconic bald eagle, seen here. Photo credit: John & Karen Hollingsworth, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

I’m not sure what all the fuss is about. So Wind Farms kill eagles. It’s not like we don’t kill beautiful endangered animals all the time. True, these are federally-protected and they’re an iconic symbol of our democracy. But hey, who minds using taxpayer dollars to kill a few icons?
I guess it’s the hypocrisy that galls. Under both the Bald and Gold Eagle Protection Acts and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the death of a single eagle is a felony, and the Administration has prosecuted oil companies when birds drown in their oily facilities, and fined utilities when birds are electrocuted by their power lines.

But, come on, everyone hates oil companies. And who even knows what a utility is.
So the Interior Department can be forgiven for never fining or prosecuting a wind-energy company that repeatedly kills eagles. And we taxpayers can be forgiven for subsidizing them to the tune of a billion dollars a year.
According to an estimate published in the Wildlife Society Bulletin in March almost 600,000 birds are killed by wind farms in America each year, including over 80,000 raptors such as hawks and falcons and eagles (Wildlife Society). Even more bats die as their lungs are inverted by the negative pressures generated behind the 170 mile-per-hour spinning blades.

Read entire article here.http://www.forbes.com/fdc/welcome_mjx.shtml