Nation Rise wind power project likely to create noise, health problems: WCO president

Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

Turbines near Strathroy — 1000s of unresolved noise complaints elsewhere in Ontario mean Nation Rise likely to have problems, too. Especially since the developer got to use outdated rules [Photo London Free Press]

(C) ONTARIO FARMER

July 31, 2018

Report by Tom van Dusen

Finch, Ontario — Sitting demurely and speaking quietly, on July 24 the volunteer president of Wind Concerns Ontario blasted the provincial government approach to monitoring industrial wind turbines, accusing it of ignoring complaints about noise, health and other issues, or deferring them with no subsequent action.

Jane Wilson made  her comments while presenting as a witness during an Environmental Review Tribunal hearing into the Nation Rise wind power project planned for Stormont County. The hearing is scheduled to continue through August 2.

Currently engaged in the approval process, the project is sponsored by EDP Renewables Canada and calls for installation of some 33 turbines in North Stormont farm country delivering a total of 100 megawatts of power that, opponents observe, the province doesn’t need.

Headed by local resident Margaret Benke, opponents were hopeful the new Doug Ford government would cancel Nation Rise just as it did the White Pines wind project in Prince Edward County. But that didn’t happen and opponents’ legal fees and other expenses are up to $20,000. Benke noted that, with Ford in place, Nation Rise isn’t likely to proceed and yet opposing residents are still on the hook for costs.

Government not enforcing the law

A registered nurse, Wilson said Wind Concerns represents a coalition of more than 30 community groups across Ontario.

She emphasized that the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change–renamed Environment, Conservation and Parks — has pledged to protect the environment and human health from any turbine side effects.

She cited former Environment Minister Glen Murray congratulating his officials for responding quickly to complaints and enforcing the law. However, Wilson’s review of incident reports obtained through Access to Information indicated the ministry doesn’t respond to all complaints and “does not, therefore, enforce the law.”

No answer to that

Total number of incident reports filed with the ministry between 2006 and 2016 was 4,574, Wilson told Maureen Cartier-Whitney, chair of the one-person panel. Records showed that in more than 50 per cent of formal complaints, there was no ministry response. Another 30 per cent were deferred. “In fact, only one percent received priority response.”

While he asked for some clarification, Paul McCulloch of the ministry’s Legal Services Branch, didn’t dispute Wilson’s basic facts. Representing EDP, lawyer . Grant Worden also offered no challenges to Wilson.

The repetitive nature of various complaints suggests, Wilson continue, that wind power developers are failing to live up to the terms of their approvals by allowing conditions triggering adverse effects including on health, to continue.

“Documented health effects include headache, sleep deprivation, annoyance, and ringing or pressure sensation in the head and ears. Most disturbing was the fact that these health effects were reported many times, and also among children.”

Wilson indicated that 39 per cent of 2006-2016 incident reports referred explicitly to sleep disturbance which is generally blamed for a myriad of diseases and disorders.

“Given the thousands of unresolved noise complaints in Ontario, and given Health Canada results of adverse health effects at distances of 550 metres to 1 km, it is reasonable to question whether the Nation Rise power project will not also engender community reports of excessive noise and adverse effects.”

contact@windconcernsontario.ca

To help support the appeal, which is bringing forward issues never presented to the ERT before, please send a cheque to Concerned Citizens of North Stormont, c/o Wind Concerns Ontario, PO Box 509, 250 Wellington main Street, Wellington ON  K0K 3L0

 

Nation Rise project: significant concerns over health, environmental damage

 

Advertisements

North Stormont community fight for environment begins Monday

Tags

, , , , , , , , , ,

Citizens of North Stormont are preparing for their appeal of the 100-megawatt wind power project, which begins Monday in Finch before the Environmental Review Tribunal

Wind turbine near Brinston, south of Ottawa: citizen reports of noise from industrial wind turbines are unresolved in Ontario [Photo: Ray Pilon]

July 22, 2018

In a bizarre fight which sees ordinary citizens marshalling scarce after-tax dollars to fight the Ontario government’s environment ministry to try to protect the environment (and safety and health), the Concerned Citizens of North Stormont begins its appeal of the 100-megawatt “Nation Rise” wind power project tomorrow, July 23rd.

The appeal goes before the quasi-judicial Environmental Review Tribunal, a panel that is part of the Environment and Lands Tribunals (ELTO) of Ontario.

Almost every single wind power project in Ontario has been appealed, but there have been few victories in a system apparently set up to favour the power developers. Most successful appeals were won on blatant risks to wildlife and the environment, and one on aviation safety (the completely insane Fairview Wind project, planned between two airports near Collingwood).

Despite decisions that note the pain suffered by people forced to live inside wind power projects, the Tribunal has refused to consider any risk to health from the huge industrial-scale wind turbines, that do emit a range of noise.*

The power developer, Portugal-based EDP, is represented by John Terry of international law firm Torys LLP; Mr Terry has also represented the wind industry lobbyist and trade association, CanWEA, in the past. The new environment ministry, now the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks or MECP, will also be represented by a team of lawyers.

The citizens’ group will be represented by lawyers from the environmental law firm of Eric K. Gillespie.

Risks to environment, safety and health

The community concerns filed with the Notice of Appeal include the danger to the area water supply (most of the project is on a “highly vulnerable” aquifer), safety from turbine operations, and health impacts from the noise from the industrial-scale wind power generators/turbines.

Tomorrow’s appearance will consist of Opening Statements, and a series of presenters including mechanical engineer Vern Martin, who will discuss safety concerns posed by the wind turbines and blades.

Tuesday, the themes are noise and health, and public safety, with Wind Concerns Ontario president Jane Wilson presenting data on the thousands of noise complaints lodged with the Ontario government which have not been resolved. Engineer William Palmer will present information on turbine events in Ontario related to debris and ice throw from the turbine blades.

Thursday will see appellant presenters discussing the risk to the aquifer and local water wells, posed by the foundation construction and wind turbine vibration.

The proceedings will take place in the Finch Community Centre and Arena, beginning at 9 a.m., and are open to the public.

Fund-raising for the citizen effort to protect the community is ongoing, please see the Go Fund Me link, here.

contact@windconcernsontario.ca

  • From the report on wind turbine noise by the Council of Canadian Academies, 2015: “Wind turbines are a particularly complex and distinctive source of sound, which can span a wide range of frequencies including low-frequency tones. …The evidence shows a positive relationship between outdoor wind turbine noise levels and the proportion of people who report high levels of annoyance. (“Annoyance” is employed here as a medical term denoting stress or distress. Annoyance is listed by the World Health Organization as an adverse health effect.)

Ottawa area community ramps up wind farm fight

Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

Last chance for justice

CAM01025

Concerned Citizens of North Stormont leader Margaret Benke : power not needed, plenty of environmental dangers ahead

July 17, 2018

Residents of Berwick, Finch and Crysler, just 40 minutes south of Ottawa, are working day and night to prepare for their appeal of the Nation Rise wind power project, scheduled to begin next Monday in Finch.

The power project, planned to have a capacity of 100 megawatts of power (though wind power is typically less than 30% efficient) and would see more than 30 huge industrial wind turbines throughout the project area.

If it goes ahead, that is.

And that’s something many in the community are determined to fight.

The project was one of five new wind power contracts awarded in 2016 under the Large Renewable Procurement program (LRP). The 20-year cost of the contract, which will be added to Ontario electricity customers’ bills, will be more than $436 million, or almost $22 million a year. The new Ontario government pledged to cancel all five of those contracts and so far, has dispatched three of them, with an announcement last Friday.

Without formal cancellation, however, the community through a citizens group Concerned Citizens of North Stormont, is forced to proceed with its expensive appeal of the project’s Renewable Energy Approval. That approval, or REA, was given just three days before the writ period began for the recent Ontario election—an act that runs counter to the accepted idea that governments go into “caretaker” mode immediately prior to the election.

That is costing North Stormont residents thousands, but it’s costing all Ontario taxpayers, too, says Margaret Benke, spokesperson for the community group. “They have to send all those lawyers up here from Toronto, they have to stay somewhere, they have to eat — it all costs money, as they defend a bad decision made by the previous government.”

Why a bad decision? The majority of the power project would be built on land that is designated as a “highly vulnerable aquifer” meaning it is at risk for contamination by pollutants, and that the hydrogeology is such that the aquifer could be disturbed and wells for farms, homes and businesses could fail. That’s already happened near a wind power project in North Kent, and the new government has promised a public health investigation.

There are other environmental concerns about the project, including the risk of injury from blade failures and ice throw from the huge blades.

And then there’s the noise. The industrial-scale wind power generators produce a range of noise emissions which affect a significant portion of the population. The turbine noise can cause disturbance of sleep which results in other health problems; the unique quality of the turbine noise also results in “annoyance,” a medical term for stress or distress.

Almost every wind power project in Ontario has been appealed by Ontario citizens, and a few have been successful, but none on human health. At present, according to Wind Concerns Ontario, there are thousands of official reports of excessive wind turbine noise, almost none of which have ever been resolved.

The power developer, Portugal-based EDP Renewables, operates the South Branch wind power project in nearby Brinston; there have been noise complaints for that project, but they are unavailable under Freedom of Information requests because the Environment ministry’s Cornwall office did not follow procedures and issue tracking numbers for the complaints.

Wind Concerns Ontario president Jane Wilson, a Registered Nurse, says that situation “is an outrage. If it were anything else, like a model of automobile that had a few engine fires, or a food product that was contaminated, it would be recalled. In Ontario, this terrible situation is allowed to go on and on, with the Environmental Review Tribunal and the former Ministry of the Environment just letting it happen.”

“This appeal is the community’s last chance for justice outside of the court system or the Legislature,” says Wilson. “I hope the Tribunal will finally recognize its responsibility to this community, and rescind the approval for this project.”

The appeal begins Monday morning in Finch, at the Finch Community Centre/North Stormont Arena.

Rural Ontario heartbreak: wind power invasion was all for nothing

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , ,

Turbines near Strathroy — the environmental impact, the noise, the high hydro bills. It was all for nothing. [Photo London Free Press]

June 13, 2018

Many analysts and commentators are now looking over the ruins of the Ontario government from the election last week, and pointing to the McGuinty-Wynne government’s disastrous handling of the electricity sector, particularly the ideology-driven push for renewables, as a factor.

Two Auditors General said Ontario had never done a cost-benefit analysis for its aggressive support of industrial-scale wind power and that we were paying too much — far too much — for the power. Which was intermittent and unreliable to boot, so it could never do what they said it would.

Now, Ottawa-based energy insider Steve Aplin says, not only was large-scale wind expensive it was also a waste of time: wind power has never been shown to reduce CO2 or carbon emissions.

Never.

Wind did not replace the power produced by Ontario’s shuttered coal plants, gas and nuclear did.

Read Mr Aplin’s excellent analysis here, but remember, a 100-megawatt power project was just approved for North Stormont, just south of Ottawa, and an approval is pending for another project east, in The Nation.

Neither community wants the power projects, there are significant environmental concerns, and Ontario doesn’t need the intermittent power produced out-of-phase with demand.

For a list of other comments on the election and the role of Ontario’s renewable power program, please go to http://www.windconcernsontario.ca

 

A tale of two wind ‘farms’: betrayal and discrimination

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

June 4, 2018

Prior to the suspension*of Ontario’s “Large Renewable Procurement I” or LRP I, the government program to procure contracts for renewable power from solar and wind energy, five contracts were awarded in 2016 for new wind power projects.

Two of those were in the Ottawa area: the “Eastern Fields” project proposed by RES Canada in La Nation, the Township of Champlain and the United Counties of Prescott Russell, and “Nation Rise” proposed by Portugal-based EDPR.

Those projects are all now in the process toward approval and ultimate construction, in spite of the fact that the contracting authority, the Independent Electricity System Operator or IESO, says now that Ontario has surplus power for the forseeable future, and the fact that the communities do not unanimously support these power projects.

Let’s catch up with where the projects are right now.

Nation Rise, North Stormont

Concerned Citizens of North Stormont leader Margaret Benke : power not needed, plenty of environmental dangers ahead

This project was granted a Renewable Energy Approval or REA a few weeks ago, just days before the writ for the 2018 provincial election was drawn up. (The government is not allowed to make any major decisions after the writ.) The announcement came at 5 PM on a Friday; the community had 15 days to decide whether to appeal the REA, five days of those were on weekends, which restricts the ability of community members to consult with lawyers and subject matter experts.

The Concerned Citizens of North Stormont has decided to appeal, and a first appearance before the Environment Review Tribunal will be June 25 in Finch (to be confirmed).

There are a number of environmental concerns, principally the fact that the project will be located on what is designated a “highly vulnerable aquifer” — the Raisin-South Nation Protection Area serves 10,000 water wells. After the reports of disturbed and failed wells in Chatham-Kent during and following construction of a wind power project there, citizens in North Stormont are very worried about what could happen to their wells.

The other issue is noise: many residents will be exposed to the noise emissions coming from the more than 30 industrial-scale wind turbines planned for the area. Here’s the kicker: Ontario knew its noise assessment protocol for wind turbines was flawed so it revised the guidelines, and released a new document in April 2017. But, the five newest wind power projects don’t have to abide by them, instead using a “transitional” process, in spite of the fact their wind turbines are not yet purchased or built. A legal action on behalf of four community groups, North Stormont among them, is in process.

The wind power project will “have a huge impact on our communities,” said Concerned Citizens spokesperson Margaret Benke in a recent news release. North Stormont feels particularly betrayed because the current Premier told Ontario rural residents that wind power projects would not be put in areas that didn’t want them — a contract was awarded anyway, and last week the Premier, on a whirlwind election campaign tour that included North Stormont, was asked about that. She said “We had no choice.”

Listen to Wind Concerns Ontario president Jane Wilson here, in an interview with Bell Media’s Evan Solomon on the project.

This community group has started a GoFundMe effort to raise funds to defend the community, and they need help. Go to the GoFundMe link here: https://ca.gofundme.com/stop-wind-turbines-in-northstormont

Eastern Fields

Save The Nation protester: the MOECC and RES Canada don’t understand “Non”

This power project was in the mandated comment period which ended June 2nd, Saturday. The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) says that consultation with the public is very important to the renewable energy process and that the comments from the public are welcome and valued.

That’s why all the documents were available in English only, in communities that are at least 60-percent francophone.

When pressed by residents and the community group Sauvons La Nation, the power developer RES Canada — which stands to make about $7 million a year–  said it would cost too much to translate the documents.

Apparently now, the MOECC says that francophone residents should have responded by the June 2nd deadline to say they need the French documentation and to request an extension to the deadline. Why wasn’t the information provided in the appropriate language in the first place, instead of discriminating against the francophone community?

There are environmental concerns with this power project as well, as it is close to the Alfred Bog, a site for migratory birds and other wildlife (Hint: migratory birds don’t count in Ontario — the wind power legislation, crafted by the industry, says that a species has to be on the edge of extinction before a wind power project could be denied).

There are concerns about water in the area as well, as it is rife with waterways, and also features areas of Leda clay or “quick” clay (as does North Stormont).

Noise will also be an issue for residents. Meanwhile, RES Canada, which also operates the Talbot wind power project, has had hundreds of complaints of excessive noise from the wind turbines, with no action taken by the MOECC.

Betrayal? Again, the Ontario government promised it would not inflict power projects on unwilling communities but again, it has. In this case, the gigantic turbines are all planned to be on land owned by members of a single family, involved in agriculture.

 

*The LRP/wind power program was suspended, which means, if the current government returns to power, or another is elected that also supports wind power, it could be revived and continue.

Ottawa resident’s case goes to court with charges against government on environment

Tags

, , , ,

A private citizen alleges the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change has violated terms of the Environmental Protection Act

Wind turbine near Brinston, south of Ottawa: citizen noise reports unresolved [Photo: Ray Pilon]

May 15, 2018

A resident of North Gower in the City of Ottawa is represented by lawyers in a Toronto court Thursday with a charge against Chris Ballard for violating a section of the Environmental Protection Act. Mr. Ballard is Ontario’s minister of Environment and Climate Change.

Using a little known legal option available to citizens known as a private prosecution, Jane Wilson has charged Mr. Ballard with “causing or permitting the discharge of a contaminant, namely noise, into the natural environment that has caused, or may cause an adverse effect.”

“I am not taking this step lightly,” Wilson says, “this is very serious. But with thousands of reports of excessive noise from wind turbines unresolved in Ontario, and more new power projects planned, I had no choice. He is responsible for allowing the noise to continue to be discharged into the environment.”

Wilson, a Registered Nurse, is president of Wind Concerns Ontario, a coalition of 30 community groups and individuals and families concerned about the negative impacts of utility-scale wind power generation projects. She is also the chair of local community group, Ottawa Wind Concerns, which battled a wind power project proposed for North Gower. That project would have exposed hundreds of families to noise from wind power generators or turbines placed close to the rural village.

People forced to live near wind power projects are going without sleep for days, weeks, even months because of wind turbine noise, Wilson says. Documents provided to Wind Concerns Ontario under Freedom of Information show that the government has received more than 4,500 formal reports of excessive noise from wind turbines since 2006, but responds to about 7 percent of the complaints.

“Sleep disturbance has been confirmed as a link to other health problems such as high blood pressure and diabetes,” says Wilson. “Staff notes in these reports contain reference to health impacts in about 35 percent of the complaints.”

“I am just trying to do whatever I can to get some help for these people.”

The MOECC just gave Renewable Energy Approval to a 100-megawatt project in North Stormont, south-east of Ottawa, despite environmental concerns about noise and impact on the “vulnerable aquifer” that serves 10,000 wells in the area.

The charge against Mr. Ballard was signed by a Justice of the Peace in Toronto and the first appearance in the matter is in Toronto, May 17 at 9 a.m. at the Toronto East provincial courthouse. Wilson will be represented by Andrew Chachula of environmental law firm Eric K. Gillespie, in Toronto.

Contact: president@windconcernsontario.ca

Wind Concerns Ontario report on MOECC response to noise reports: Second Report Noise Complaints February 2018-FINAL

References: Environmental Protection Act Section 14 (1) and (2)

Adverse effect definition EPA 1 (1)

 

Ottawa-area wind power project approved; community concerns over water ignored

Tags

, , , , ,

Concerns about damage to the environment, and exposure to industrial power generator noise continue as the community ponders options

Concerned Citizens of North Stormont leader Margaret Benke : power not needed, plenty of environmental risk ahead

May 7, 2017

As seems to be typical for the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, the announcement of a Renewable Energy Approval (REA) for the controversial “Nation Rise” wind power project came late in the day last Friday, May 4.

The project has a nameplate capacity of 100 megawatts of power. Ontario currently has a surplus of electric power for the foreseeable future, the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) has said, but approved five more contracts in 2016, regardless.

The community group, Concerned Citizens of North Stormont, is worried about the impact of turbine construction on the aquifer and local water wells, especially following the failure of 20 wells in the Chatham-Kent area during construction of the North Kent Wind power project. The geology there is fragile Kettle Point Black Shale; independent hydrogeologists have said the vibration from pile-driving disturbed the shale and now wells are clogged with shale particles. The shale is known to contain toxic heavy metals such as arsenic.

In the Nation Rise project area, the hydrogeology is not shale but there are concerns nonetheless; in fact, almost all of the turbines are planned in an area designated “highly vulnerable aquifer.” (See map, below)

And, in spite of just receiving approval late Friday, the company has already done pile-driving for the project, without a formal construction plan or indeed, a formal Notice To Proceed from the government.

The community group has 15 days from the approval announcement to decide whether to appeal.

To contact Concerned Citizens of North Stormont, go to: http://concernedcitizensofnorthstormont.ca/

MEDIA: to contact the community group leadership, email Wind Concerns Ontario at contact@windconcernsontario.ca

#MOECC

 

 

 

 

Ottawa area community groups petition Queen’s Park today

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

Concerned Citizens of North Stormont leader Margaret Benke, Same rules for everybody.

April 30, 2018

The Ontario government realized there were inadequacies in their protocols for wind turbine noise and the assessment procedures needed in the approval process for new wind power projects, so they changed them.

And then gave the five newest wind power projects the option not to use the new rules.

As a result, the powerful power generators in projects that received contracts in 2016 but which are not yet built — in fact four don’t have Renewable Energy Approval yet — will be out of compliance with the new regulations the minute they start operating.

Four Ontario community groups think that’s not right.

They’re heading to Queen’s Park today as three MPPs present thousands of signatures on a Petition, asking the government to follow its own rules.

Representatives of Ottawa-area Concerned Citizens of North Stormont and Save The Nation will join their colleagues from Dutton Dunwich Opponents of Wind Turbines (DDOWT) and Wallaceburg Area Wind Concerns as the Petition is presented in the Legislature.

The Petition is related to the creation of “Transition Provisions” by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) in the Renewable Energy Approval process, which allows wind power developers to ignore new noise modelling guidelines, even for the newest unapproved power projects.

“The MOECC recognized that the previous requirements for turbine noise modelling were inadequate and they revised them,” says Bonnie Rowe, spokesperson for Dutton Dunwich Opponents of Wind Turbines (DDOWT), whose citizen group has applied for a Judicial Review of the Transition. “The noise modelling requirements are important to protect health and safety for people living near the turbines but now, the government has allowed the developers for the new projects to use the old ones — we think that’s wrong.

“If the government sets rules, especially for health, then everyone should have to follow them, no exceptions.”

Wind turbine noise has been linked to sleep disturbance, which in turn leads to other, serious health problems. According to Wind Concerns Ontario, documents received from the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change #MOECC show that thousands of reports of excessive noise remain unresolved, and not responded to in Ontario.

MPPs presenting the petitions Monday are: Jeff Yurek, from Elgin-Middlesex-London where the Strong Breeze Wind Power Project is proposed for Dutton Dunwich; Monte McNaughton, from Lambton-Kent-Middlesex where the Otter Creek Wind Farm is proposed for the Wallaceburg area; and Jim McDonell, MPP for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry, who will be delivering petitions on behalf of the North Stormont area where the Nation Rise Wind Farm is proposed, and also the Municipality of The Nation, where the Eastern Fields Wind Power Project is proposed.

Concerned Citizens of North Stormont: Margaret Benke  macbenke@aol.com

Ottawa Wind Concerns: ottawawindconcerns@gmail.com

Most Ontario wind farms are foreign-owned: Wind Concerns Ontario

Tags

, , , , , , ,

April 16, 2018

The rainbow didn’t end in Ontario after all …

Wind Concerns Ontario, the coalition of more than 30 community groups and hundreds of individuals and families, published a review of the ownership of large-scale Ontario wind power projects yesterday, and revealed that nearly 80 percent of the power projects are owned by offshore corporations.

The developers were attracted by the tax breaks, subsidies and other incentives offered by the Ontario government.

Two new wind power projects currently have contracts in the Ottawa area: “Eastern Fields” in The Nation, proposed by foreign-owned RES Canada, and “Nation Rise” in North Stormont by EDP Renewables of Spain. EDPR also operates the South Branch project in Brinston, south-east of Ottawa, which was originally developed by Germany-based Prowind.

Here is the article reposted from Wind Concerns Ontario’s website at www.windconcernsontario.ca

Follow the money … out of Ontario

A profile of who’s who in Ontario wind power development

Tax benefits and subsidies were important incentives

 

With the recent announcement that the Canada Pension Plan decided to purchase some of U.S. energy giant NextEra’s wind and solar portfolio (a $741M CAD deal that also involves assuming $800M in debt), many people are suddenly noticing ownership of Canada’s renewable power sector.

A popular view of the wind industry in Ontario is that it is composed predominantly of Canadian companies in an “infant industry” that needs government subsidies to survive. The reality only becomes clear when one looks behind the scenes at the actual participants in the industry.

Ontario’s industrial wind generators enjoy the benefits of many federal and provincial programs, all of which were intended to ease their access to financing and improve investors’ returns. The list of special incentives is a long one, but here are the five most important:

 

  • The implementation of special feed-in-tariff (FIT) rates far above the market rates received by conventional energy producers; these rates started at $135 per megawatt hour (MWh) and have only recently declined to $125 per MWh;
  • The guarantee of these rates for the twenty-year life of the contracts;
  • Granting wind and other renewable energy sources priority access, or “first-to-the-grid” rights, requiring the Independent Electricity System Operator to take their production whenever it was available, even when that meant curtailing the purchase of other (often cheaper) generation or dumping surplus energy at distressed prices on export markets;
  • Special tax benefits, including the federal government’s accelerated capital cost allowances and the Canadian Renewable and Conservation Expenses allowance and the Ontario government’s cap on the property taxes that industrial wind turbines pay to local municipalities;
  • Other subsidies, including the federal government ECOenergy for Renewable Power Program, $1.4 billion over five years in Budget 2017, and continuing large research and development assistance.

 

As a result, the Ontario wind industry, in general, has found the “pot of gold”, a level of income and wealth that far exceeds its general image. To illustrate this, let us examine some of the most prominent firms in the industry.

Here is a summary of the companies active in Ontario both as developers and operators, with financial statistics gleaned to the best of our knowledge and ability.

 

 

Acciona: With headquarters in Madrid, Spain, Acciona develops and builds power projects for itself and third-party companies in 20 countries worldwide. In Ontario Acciona operates the 76-MW Ripley wind power project. As part of its “wind power value chain” the company also manufactures some turbine components. Revenue in 2017 was €7.2B and net income was €220M or $350M CAD. Chairman is José Manuel Entrecanales; no compensation data is available.

Boralex: HQ France. Ontario Projects are Port Ryerse (10 MW) and the proposed/contracted Otter Creek (50 MW). Revenue from energy sales in 2017 to September 30 were $285M CAD. Total equity: $2.7B USD. Compensation for CEO Patrick Lemaire was $1.2M CAD in 2016.

Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners: Headquartered in Bermuda with an office in Toronto, Brookfield is “multi-technology, globally diversified, owner and operator of renewable power assets” which includes more than 70 wind power projects around the world. In Ontario the company operates the 189-MW Prince project, Comber (165 MW) and Gosfield (50.6 MW) Brookfield also owns 51% of US-based Terraform Power, which operates the Raleigh Wind Farm. North American revenue in 2017 was $1B USD. CEO is Sachin Shah; 2016 compensation was $3.8M USD.

 

EDF Renewables: This company is associated with EDF or Electricité du France, the Power utility in France. Headquarters for EDF Renewables is in San Diego, California; the company operates in Canada as EDF EN Canada (EDF Energie Nouvelles). EDF EN Canada currently has a contract for the 60-MW Romney Wind power project. CEO is Tristan Grimbert. No further financial data is available.

EDP Renewables : EDPR is a division of EDP or Energias du Portugal. The company’s headquarters are in Oviedo, Spain. EDPR claims to be the world’s fourth largest wind power developer. In 2017, the company states, it produced 27,600 GWh of power from wind. In Ontario, it operates the 30-MW South Branch project between Ottawa and Cornwall, and currently has a contract for the 100-MW Nation Rise project in North Stormont, south of Ottawa. Revenues in 2017 worldwide were €1.3 M or $2M CAD. CEO of EDPR is Joᾶo Manso Neta; there is no compensation data available for the CEO. In June 2017 it was announced that the CEO of parent company EDP was being investigated on corruption charges related to power contracts; the CEO of EDPR was also being investigated, but there has been no news since of any charges.

Engie: Based in France, with North American Headquarters in Houston, Texas, and an Ontario office in Markham. This company bought AIM Power Gen (operated by Mike Crawley who is known to many Ontarians, and is now VP at Northland) which had become GDF Suez; it now operates the wind power projects at Cultus-Clear Creek Frogmore (30-MW), Harrow (40 MW), Erieau (99 MW), East St. Clair (99MW), Plateau (27 MW), and Point Aux Roches (49 MW). Revenue for 2016 was €13M or $20M CAD. CEO is Isabelle Kocher, whose 2016 compensation was €2.8M or $4.4M CAD.

Horizon Wind: See EDPR. The Horizon “Legacy” company operates the 10-MW Ernestown Wind project near Kingston.

Invenergy: This U.S.-based company has its headquarters in Chicago, and offices in Toronto, Denver and Mexico City plus a European office in Warsaw. It currently manages or has developed 82 wind power projects. Net worth is approximately $1B USD. Current Ontario project: Strong Breezes Dutton Dunwich (57.5 MW). Invenergy also developed the 78-MW Raleigh Wind project, which it sold to TerraForm and Sun Edison. Invenergy had proposed a project in North Perth, but the contract with IESO was terminated when it became impossible for the company to meet the contracted amount of power generation, due in part to citizen action and community opposition.

Longyuan Canada Renewables/China Longyuan Power Group: With 10,000 wind turbines worldwide in its portfolio producing 17,000 MW of power, the China Longyuan Group is the world’s largest wind power developer. The company also produces power from coal, and has minor interests in thermal, biomass and solar. Wholly owned subsidiary Longyuan Canada Renewables is headquartered in Toronto with nine employees, and operates the 91.4-MW Dufferin Wind power project (Melancthon). President is Zhu Dong; no compensation data is available. The company recently applied for an amendment to its renewable energy approval, to install optimization software which will increase power output but not exceed its nameplate capacity of 99MW. Operating profits for China Longyuan in 2017 were CNY 8.3B ($1.7B CAD), up from 2016 due to higher prices for coal. The President/General Manager is Li Enyi whose 2016 compensation is reported by Bloomberg as CNY 1,074,00 ($219,000 CAD)

NextEra Energy: NextEra Energy Canada is a division of NextEra Energy Inc. The company’s headquarters are in Juno Beach, Florida FL with a Canadian office on Bay Street in Toronto. NextEra operates the following Ontario wind power projects under contract to the provincial government: Conestogo (22.9 MW), Jericho (149 MW), Adelaide (60 MW), Bluewater (60 MW), Summerhaven (124.4 MW), Goshen (102 MW), Cedar Point II (100 MW), Bornish (73.5MW), and East Durham (22 MW). Income of the parent company was $5.3B USD; president and CEO James Robo earned a base salary in 2016 of $1.3 M USD but topped it up with incentives, bonuses and stock options for a total compensation package of $16M USD. On April 2, 2018, it was announced that the Canada Pension Plan had agreed to purchase four NextEra wind facilities, plus two solar projects, in Ontario; the deal is subject to Canadian regulatory approval and if approved, may close in the second quarter of 2018.

RES Group, operating in Canada as RES Canada: Headquarters are in the UK with a Canadian office in Montreal. RES’ slogan is “Power for Good.” The company boasts a portfolio of more than 7,000 wind turbines and asset management of 2 GW of wind power generating facilities. RES Group was the subject of a BBC documentary called “Blown Apart” which featured an RES employee “Rachel” who infiltrated a village community with dreams of a green future for her community, only to be revealed eventually as a corporate operative trying to get people to sign wind turbine leases. In Ontario, RES was involved in construction of South Kent Wind, Brooke-Alvinston, Grand Valley 3, and Gunn’s Hill, and as a developer, has a contract for the 32-MW Eastern Fields in The Nation, near Ottawa. RES bills itself as a full-service provider, offering asset management and project design services. No data found on earnings, and no information on compensation for CEO Ivor Catta.

Pattern/Pattern Energy Group: The company’s slogan is “Transitioning the world to Renewable Energy.” Headquarters are in San Francisco; the company operates the Belle River (see Samsung), and North Kent projects in Ontario, is a partner in K2Wind, and is constructing the Henvey Inlet 300-megawatt project. 2017 revenues were $411.3 million USD. CEO/President is Michael Garland, whose 2016 compensation was $2.7 MM ($430.7K salary, $456K bonuses, and $1.8MM stock).

Prowind: Prowind is a very small player but managed to attract attention for its 18-MW Gunn’s Hill project near Woodstock, which it claims is a totally community endeavour. In fact, the lone community member in the investment leadership group went on to be president of Prowind Canada, and other “community” members were Toronto-based environmental organizations. The community launched an appeal of the REA, but was not successful. Prowind is a subsidiary of Prowind GmBH of Germany; president and CEO in North America is Frank Mascia and chair is Johannes Busmann. No financial data is available.

Samsung Renewable Energy: The company is a division of Samsung C&T Investment Trading Group. Samsung C&T is headquartered in Korea; there is an office in Canada located in Mississauga. Samsung developed the huge 270-MW K2 Wind project with Pattern and Capital Power, (its share was sold in 2016 to insurance giant ManuLife, the Alberta Teachers Retirement Fund and Toronto-based Axium). Samsung operates three wind power projects in Ontario: Belle River (100 MW) , Armow (180 MW), and South and North Kent (270 and 100 MW respectively). Samsung, also known as “the Korean consortium,” was given an extraordinary contract by the Ontario government in 2010 to buy $9.7B CAD worth of electricity. The contract amount was slashed by a third in 2013; the government claimed Samsung had missed some deadlines, but the fact is, that much power was not (is not) needed. Canadian vice-president is Steve Cho; Samsung C&T president and CEO is Chi H. Choi; no compensation data is available. Samsung C&T operating profits in 2017 were 881.3B won or $1.05B CAD.

Saturn Power: Saturn operates the 10-megawatt Gesner project. It is a private company so no financials are available; headquarters are in Baden, Germany.

Terraform Power: Headquartered in Bethesda, MD, Terraform is the “owner and operator of a 2,600 MW diversified portfolio of high-quality solar and wind assets, primarily in the U.S., underpinned by long-term contracts” which includes the 78-MW Raleigh Wind project, which it purchased from Invenergy. Revenue for 2017 according to the company pro forma was estimated to be $585 M USD. CEO is John Stinebaugh; no compensation data available.

Veresen Inc.: Veresen was the owner and operator of the 20-MW Grand Valley 1 wind power project; the company was recently acquired by Pembina in 2017 for $6.4B CAD.

WPD Canada: This is a wholly owned subsidiary of WPD Europe/WPD AG, a private company headquartered in Bremen, Germany. The Canadian office is in Mississauga. The company is active in 18 countries and says it has installed 1,700 wind turbines. In Ontario, WPD operates the Springwood (8.2 MW), Whittington (6 MW), Napier (4 MW) and Sumac Ridge (10.25 MW) projects, and has a contract (currently being disputed in the courts by a citizens’ group) for the 18-MW White Pines project in Prince Edward County. WPD Power’s CEO is Dr. Gernot Blanke; no compensation data is available

 

Canadian companies: the minority

Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp.: Algonquin is described as a Canadian utility involved in the generation, transmission and distribution of power. The headquarters are in Oakville, Ontario. At present in Ontario, the company’s wholly owned subsidiary Windlectric Inc. sold half its lone wind project to Newfoundland-based construction company Pennecon to build a 75-MW wind power project on Amherst Island. Algonquin Power is estimated to have $10B CAD in assets. With a five-year return of 73% the company has been the darling of Canadian investors but has tumbled with a more recent 1-year return of 2.06%. CEO of Algonquin is Ian Robertson, whose 2016 compensation was $3.5M according to Reuters; Pennecon’s president is David Mitchell for whom no compensation data is available.

BluEarth Renewables: With headquarters in Calgary, Alberta, BluEarth is described as a “private independent” company whose major shareholder is in fact the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan. It operates two wind power projects in Ontario: Bow Lake Wind (60-MW), and St Columban (33 MW). In February 2018, BluEarth announced a deal with Veresen in which it would acquire an interest in three Ontario wind power projects, with a view to own and operate, in the long term.   Net worth is estimated at $10B CAD. President and CEO is Grant Arnold; no compensation data is available.

Capital Power: Based in Edmonton, Capital is involved in a variety of power generating enterprises, including wind; Capital is a partner in K2 Wind, and operates the 40-MW Kingsbridge project in Ontario. Revenues in 2017 were $1B and net income was $144M. CEO is Brian Vaasjo whose 2016 compensation was $2.9M.

Enbridge: The company is best known as a producer of fossil fuels in Canada. Headquartered in Calgary, Alberta the company says it transports, generates and distributes energy, in that order. It operates 16 wind power projects in North America, including the Talbot (98.9 MW) and Underwood (181.5 MW) power facilities in Ontario. Adjusted earnings for 2017 were $3.2B CAD of which “green power” earnings were $101MM. CEO until recently was Al Monaco who is listed as one of Canada’s 100 highest paid executives with a base salary of $1.377MM and total compensation of $11.391MM.

Kruger Energy: Kruger is a family-owned company headquartered in Montreal that is involved in paper, paperboard recycling, and energy. Kruger Energy was founded in 2004 to develop power projects in Canada, and currently operates the 101.2-megawatt facility at Port Alma, and the 99.4-MW Kruger Chatham Wind Farm in Ontario. The company also put forward a proposal in 2015 for another Chatham-Kent facility. The company is privately held by the Kruger family. CEO is Jean Roy; no compensation data is available.

Northland: Northland is a rare bird in wind power development in Ontario, with headquarters in Toronto. The company operates two wind power projects at present: McLean’s Mountain on Manitoulin Island (60 MW), and the Grand Bend facility in Zurich (100 MW). Profits for 2017 were up 37% to $1.2B CAD, with net income up 45% to $276 MM. Northland is involved in two offshore wind projects in Europe and owns 100% of the Nordsee wind power project. Northland is also involved in solar projects in Ontario. CEO is John Brace whose 2016 compensations was $1.9MM CAD ($473K salary, $1MM stock, and $9,000 “other”). Also on Northland’s executive team is Mike Crawley, former CEO of AIM PowerGen and also famously chair of a McGuinty government panel that looked at a mix of energy resources for Ontario, and he was later president of the Ontario Liberal Party, and subsequently, the Liberal Party of Canada. Mr. Crawley’s 2016 compensation was $923K.

Suncor: The company describes itself as an “integrated energy company.” With headquarters in Calgary, Alberta, Suncor currently operates four wind power projects in Canada, one of which is the Adelaide power project. But the company used to own more: in 2015, however, Suncor announced it was divesting almost all its wind assets, particularly in Ontario, and so sold off Ripley and Cedar Point as well as its share in the Kent Breeze project. Funds from operations in 2017 were $3B CAD. CEO is Steven Williams who is also listed by Canadian Business as one of Canada’s 100 highest paid executives. His base salary in 2017 was $1.375M, and total compensation was $11.482M.

TransAlta: Based in Calgary, TransAlta owns and operates the wind power project on Wolfe Island (famous for being one of the wind power projects with the highest number of bird kills in North America) and phases 1 and 2 of the Melancthon project in Shelburne (199 MW). The company claims production of 2,300 megawatts of power, of which 54% is from wind, in 18 facilities around the world. Wolfe Island and Melancthon 2 receive payments not only from their power purchase agreements with Ontario but also federal ECOenergy payments. Revenues for 2017 were $2.3B with operating income of $138M. The President and CEO is Dawn Farrell whose compensation came under fire in 2017 at the shareholders’ meeting; they objected to the 60% rise in compensation. Ms Farrell was paid $7.4M, which included a base salary of $960,000 plus stock options and bonuses.

Ownership at a glance

Developer ownership Megawatts in operation/planned Ontario
Non-Canadian 4,023.35
Canadian 1,048

Almost 80 percent of Ontario’s wind power projects are owned by non-Canadian companies

 

 

 

Suppliers:

Senvion Canada: Senvion Canada is a division of Germany-based Senvion S.A., one of the world’s leading turbine manufacturers. The company began operating in Canada in 2009 and now has more than 660 turbines installed. Senvion Canada is headquartered in Montreal, Quebec, with offices in Toronto, Ontario and Vancouver, British Columbia. Senvion’s 2017 revenue was €1.8M ($2.8 CAD), sales or “order book” were €5B ($8B CAD). Senvion is owned by Centerbridge Partners, a New York-based private equity firm. CEO is Jurgen Geissinger; no compensation data is available.

GE Renewable Power is a division of GE or General Electric, which is aiming to profit from the renewables sector by manufacturing equipment including turbines. GE headquarters are is Boston, Massachusetts. In Canada, GE manufactures wind turbine blades at a plant in Gaspé. Profits have been down lately for the company, with a 1-year return on investment of -54%. In 2017, operating cash flow was $10B USD. CEO of GE Renewables is Jérôme Pécresse; no compensation data is available.

Vestas Wind Systems: Based in Aarhus, Denmark, publicly owned Vestas is perhaps the best known among wind turbine suppliers. According to one 2015 industry article, Vestas is the number one company in the world for turbine installations. Annual revenues for 2017 were €9.9B or $15.5B CAD, and operating profit was €1.6B or $2.5B CAD. CEO is Anders Runevad, who came on board in 2013 to help shift the company back to good fortune. Mr. Runevad maintains a low public profile and there is no compensation data available.

Siemens Canada is a division of worldwide engineering firm, Siemens AG, headquartered in Munich, Germany. Siemens Canada claims expertise in the fields of electrification, automation and digitalization and is involved in sustainable energy, “intelligent infrastructure,” healthcare and manufacturing. One of the world’s largest producers of energy-efficient, resource-saving technologies, Siemens is a foremost supplier of power generation and power transmission solutions. The company is also a leading provider of medical imaging equipment and laboratory diagnostics as well as clinical IT. With Headquarters in Canada in Oakville, Siemens Canada has approximately 5,000 employees, 44 offices and 15 production facilities from coast-to-coast. Siemens AG assets as of 2017 were €134B or $214.6B CAD; revenue was €83B ($9.61B CAD); operating cash flow was €6B ($132B CAD). Siemens Canada President and CEO is Faisil Kazi; no compensation data is available.

 

Aecon: This Canadian construction company is engaged in infrastructure and energy projects throughout Canada. The company is currently in negotiations to be sold to Chinese company CCCC International, but the sale is under review by the federal government on the grounds of national security interests. Aecon has headquarters for various regions but the Canada East office is in Toronto. Financial results were presented under Infrastructure and Energy—we’re not sure where the company’s work for wind power developers fits. Results for 2017 are: Infrastructure revenues $685M CAD and operating profit was $32.5 M CAD; Energy revenues were $395.7 M, and operating profits were $23.1M. Total assets for Aecon were $2.5B. President and CEO is John M. Beck whose 2016 compensation was $3.6M.

***

Thanks to energy economist Robert Lyman and energy commentator Parker Gallant for their input. Sources: company financial reports, Bloomberg, Reuters, Canadian Business

contact@windconcernsontario.ca

 

Ottawa area citizen groups to sue Ontario over wind turbine noise

Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

CBC.ca

Citizens sue province over proposed industrial wind turbine projects

Groups allege 5 wind power projects are allowed to defy safe noise limits

By Amanda Pfeffer, CBC News Posted: Jan 28, 2018 6:20 AM ETLast Updated: Jan 28, 2018 6:20 AM ET

Citizens living near five proposed wind turbine parks in Ontario have launched a lawsuit alleging the provincial government is allowing the companies behind the projects to defy safe noise limits.

The province approved the wind park projects in 2016. They are scattered around rural Ontario, and two are within an hour’s drive from Ottawa.

The projects are now going through a “technical review” as part of the final approval process by the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change.

In 2016, the Ontario government also introduced new and more accurate standards for how companies model the noise impact of turbines before they’re built.

Map of wind turbine impact, Eastern Fields Wind Power Project

Map depicting range of impacts of wind turbines for Eastern Fields project near St Bernardin and St Isidore, east of Ottawa [Photo: Radio-Canada]

Suit alleges standards out of date

The lawsuit, however, alleges the proponents behind the five projects have been using old modelling standards.

“It appears that the majority of proposed turbine sites are out of compliance with the [new] requirements,” states the suit, which has been filed with the Ontario Divisional Court.

If the projects were forced to adhere to the new standards, three quarters of the more than 200 proposed turbines in the province would be breaking the rules, according to Eric Gillespie, the Toronto lawyer who filed the suit on behalf of concerned citizens.

If the companies used the new guidelines for modelling, Gillespie said, those rule-breaking turbines “will have to be relocated or removed.”

Citizens concerned about impact on health

The suit doesn’t ask for monetary damages, said Gillespie, but is about ensuring “that anyone living near an industrial wind turbine project is safe.”

“There’s well-documented research that you don’t want to go above the legislated level,” said Gillespie, adding that the noise associated with the loud, rhythmic drumbeat of the turbines can affect sleep, heart health, and general well-being.

“Unfortunately, it appears almost all these projects and most of the turbines in them are going to [break the guidelines] if they’re allowed to proceed.”

The lawsuit includes affidavits from experts on noise pollution, as well as from residents affected by the projects.

Gary Wheeler, a spokesperson with the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, wrote in an email that the ministry is working with the companies behind the wind turbine projects to make sure they meet “our stringent noise standards.”

“We will be determining the appropriate next steps,” said Wheeler, who declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Margaret Benke

Margaret Benke, right, lives near the proposed Nation Rise Wind Farm located in the Township of North Stormont. She met Saturday with other residents to discuss the lawsuit. [Photo: Radio-Canada]

Residents plan strategy

The five proposed projects include two in eastern Ontario:

  • Eastern Fields Wind Power Project, in the Municipality of The Nation.
  • Nation Rise Wind Farm, in the Township of North Stormont,

Some of the residents living close to those projects met Saturday to discuss the suit and their next steps.

“We’re asking the government to consider the sentence they’re imposing on the people of rural Ontario,” said Margaret Benke, who lives near the proposed Nation Rise Wind Farm, about 60 kilometres southwest of Ottawa.

Benke said she’s concerned that almost three quarters of the turbines proposed in her community would break the current noise standard.

“I can move out,” she said, “but there are many people without that option. Even if their health is affected.”

The three other projects are all in southern Ontario:

  • Otter Creek Wind Farm, north of Wallaceburg, Ont., in the Municipality of Chatham-Kent.
  • Romney Wind Energy Centre, in Lakeshore, Ont.
  • Strong Breeze Wind Power Project in the Municipality of Dutton/Dunwich.

###

Wind Concerns Ontario obtained records of noise complaints and government response in two batches, 2006-2014 and 2015-2016, under Freedom of Information legislation. There are thousands of unresolved citizen complaints about wind turbine noise and vibration; yet, the government is in the process of approving more industrial wind power projects. Read the WCO report here. NoiseResponseReport-FINAL-May9

NOTE: these power projects are NOT “parks.”