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

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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.

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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

 

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Ottawa area citizen groups to sue Ontario over wind turbine noise

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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.”

Two Ottawa-area citizens groups file legal action vs Ontario government over wind turbine noise

Ontario Environment Ministry sued over failure to protect public from industrial wind turbine noise

CAM01025

Concerned Citizens of North Stormont leader Margaret Benke, in Finch, Ontario: MOECC revised noise regulations for wind projects, but isn’t making power operators comply

January 25, 2018

NEWS RELEASE

TORONTO, Jan. 25, 2018 /CNW/ – A judicial review application has been filed against the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (“MOECC”) in the Divisional Court in Toronto. The application alleges Ontario regulations and directives limit the amount of noise any residence in the province should have to tolerate from a wind project. Modelling is used to predict these impacts.

The MOECC has admitted previous guidelines resulted in underestimates of the noise at nearby homes. However, without any evidence that this was necessary, the MOECC has allowed companies promoting at least five large-scale wind projects to ignore new government guidelines. The result is hundreds of Ontario residents near these planned turbines could be living next to turbines that produce noise out of compliance with government regulations. If these projects, located in various parts of Ontario, were required to comply with the new guidelines, it is estimated up to three-quarters of these turbines would have to be relocated or removed.

“The government knows the modeling done by wind companies is wrong. However, the government now doesn’t require them to follow the proper process. It’s not surprising people from across Ontario are joining together to vigorously oppose this,” said Eric Gillespie, legal counsel for the court applicant.

“We do not take this step lightly,” commented Bonnie Rowe, spokesperson for Dutton Dunwich Opponents of Wind Turbines, applicant in this suit. “But we estimate that these five proposed wind power projects will be out of compliance with noise levels as soon as they go on-line. In the Dutton Dunwich case, the majority of the proposed turbines, will likely produce noise over the MOECC maximum allowable levels. That is just unacceptable, especially to the many citizens living nearby, who will be forced to endure that noise. We appreciate the collaborative efforts in this application, of citizens in the other affected communities in Ontario – North Stormont, La Nation, and Wallaceburg.”

SOURCE Eric K. Gillespie Professional Corporation

For further information: Eric Gillespie, legal counsel, 416-436-7473 (phone/text); Bonnie Rowe, Dutton Dunwich Opponents of Wind Turbines, 519-639-5415 (phone/text); Margaret Benke, Concerned Citizens of North Stormont, 613-558-9236 (phone/text); Julie Leroux, Save the Nation, 613-307-1499 (phone/text); Violet Towell, Wallaceburg Area Wind Concerns, 519-350-1829 (phone/text)

No answers on Ontario government push for wind power

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November 19, 2017

Turbines near Strathroy — reports of noise ignored [Photo London Free Press]

After more than six years of working with communities facing wind power projects, the president of Wind Concerns Ontario still can’t find a rationale for Ontario’s wind power push

TORONTO SUN

By Jane Wilson, Guest Columnist

Every time I am interviewed by the media, or speak at a public meeting, I am asked: Why is Ontario continuing to push ahead with its program of industrial-scale wind turbines and wind power, when all the facts seem to argue against it?

I don’t know.

I don’t understand why Ontario’s Liberal government never did a cost-benefit analysis, or why it has ignored the admonitions of two auditors general about impacts and costs, or why it seems unable, or unwilling, to look at the real-world experience of its wind power experiment.

I don’t know why the government signed contracts in 2016 for 600 megawatts of wind power when we already have a power surplus.

In 2016, Ontario paid $2.7 billion for generators of electricity from nuclear, gas and hydro not to produce power, because we were forced to accept wind power (when it shows up) to the grid. 

In September, a new 100-megawatt wind power facility started commercial operation, but that same month, 42% of wind power in Ontario’s west region was curtailed (surplus, not added to the grid).

Ontario’s electricity customers paid for that power, anyway.

I don’t know why the government keeps adding more new power, which adds costs to people’s electricity bills, so much so that “energy poverty” is a new, sad phrase in Ontario. 

The government claims to have reduced electricity bills by 25%, but it has done nothing to cut costs by cancelling contracts for unneeded power.

I don’t know why we are adding more “green” power  when Ontario is already “green” by most standards.

 Ontario’s engineers point out that more intermittent wind power means more natural gas back-up, which means more fossil fuel use, not less.

I don’t know why the government persists in saying wind power is good for the environment when its effect on the natural environment and wildlife is well known. 

Last month, Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner pointed out that no request to “kill, harm or harass” wildlife had been refused for four years – she cited wind power projects where development actually took precedence over environmental balance.

Finally, I don’t know why the government is ignoring the thousands of reports of negative impacts from the huge, noise-producing turbines.

Between 2006 and 2014, the government received well over 3,100 formal reports of excessive noise and vibration, according to documents provided to Wind Concerns Ontario.

When the Green Energy Act was passed in 2009, the government already knew there were problems, but it pushed ahead anyway, going so far as to remove local land use planning power from municipalities seeking to protect their residents.

Of those thousands of reports, more than 50% received no response from the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change. Only 1% resulted in a priority response.

On the formal Pollution Incident Reports kept by the government, there is space to name the “client”.

Who might that be, for the ministry whose pledge it is to protect the environment and human health?

Not the people of Ontario.

Read the full article here: http://torontosun.com/opinion/columnists/guest-column-why-is-ontario-addicted-to-wind-power

Wind power: out of phase with consumer demand

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October 11, 2017

 

BelleRiverAug20

Turbines at the 100-megawatt Samsung Belle River power plant–power when we don’t need it

Friday October 6th, 2017 was a work day just before the Thanksgiving weekend. At 10 AM that morning, Ontario’s electricity ratepayers had much to be thankful for. Power generation from wind amounted to just 27 MWh, but that 27 MWh wasn’t really needed as nuclear, hydro and a little gas were providing all the power we needed.  And, both hydro and gas were capable of producing lots more if Ontario demand required it.

The hourly Ontario energy price (HOEP) during that hour was $13.50/MWh (megawatt hour) so the value of the 27 MWh that wind produced in that hour cost ratepayers about $365.

Two days later, Thanksgiving Sunday was a different story: at 3 AM wind power was working in the night, generating 1,145 MWh with another 2,797 MWh curtailed (wasted, held back, not added to the grid). Ontario’s ratepayers were paying $135/MWh for the grid-accepted wind and $120/MWh for the curtailed wind.

The HOEP was a negative $3/MWh so the grid-delivered wind was costing ratepayers $415.95/MWh or 41.6 cents/kWh! In total, that one hour cost ratepayers $476,274 for unneeded generation. On top of that, because Ontario demand for power was low (most of us were fast asleep so the LED lights were out), Bruce nuclear was steaming off excess generation (we pay for that), OPG was probably spilling water (we also pay for that), and we were exporting 2,802 MWh to Michigan, New York and Quebec and picking up the $3/MWh cost.

So, comparing the two hours suggests we didn’t need wind generation on October 6th during a business day and we didn’t need it on October 8th in the middle of the night!

This is more proof that wind power is produced out of sync with demand.

The time has come to stop all contracting for additional wind generation and to cancel any that are not under construction.

Parker Gallant

Wind Concerns Ontario

Re-posted from http://www.windconcernsontario.ca

Cornwall MOECC office unresponsive on wind turbine noise reports

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North Stormont residents concerned that no one will look out for them if new 100-megawatt power project is approved

(Re-posted from Wind Concerns Ontario)

This past spring, Wind Concerns Ontario conducted an analysis of Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) response to reports of excessive noise and vibration(MOECC) and concluded the process for responding to citizen complaints is deeply flawed and largely ineffective. Global News ran a two-part investigative report on this information, which featured Ontario families who have been complaining about turbine noise for years, with no resolution.

More documents recently released under Freedom of Information (FOI) and correspondence with Ministry staff reveal problems with the Cornwall office that are further examples of a poor strategy for response. The documents and email also are a clear indication that the MOECC has completely abdicated its role as a regulator, and leaves resolution of any problems up to corporate wind power developers.

The Cornwall office up to now has only had to deal with any reports of excessive noise stemming from the 30-megawatt South Branch power project in and around Brinston, Ontario. Documents show that noise complaints were made even before the project began commercial operation in March, 2014.

No report number means no records?

Our initial request for information resulted in three records, which did not match Wind Concerns Ontario members’ experiences with this power project. It turned out, the Cornwall office had not been giving Incident Report numbers to people reporting, as is procedure, so their complaints were not recorded or tracked. On the advice of insider, we re-filed a request, this time asking for “investigative” reports and received  and handful — again, at odds with our members’ real-life experiences–was turned over.

In the records was an email from the Senior Environmental Officer to the power developer EDP Renewables, in which the MOECC staff member actually apologizes for passing along a complaint. [Emphasis ours]

Tuesday July 22, 2014

Hi Ken [Ken Little , EDPR project manager for South Branch]

Sorry about this

I received a noise complaint last week –not specific to any particular time last week, but a complaint of noise when the winds are from the west or south west. The resident lives [redacted] and is bothered by the noise from the turbine [redacted] The caller stated he cannot open his winds when the winds are from that particular direction due to the noise. …

Do you have any acoustic results for that specific turbine yet?

Excerpts from other complaints

May, 2014: There have been several nights when I am awakened with the window closed. I shudder to think of having the windows open all the time now …

March 20, 2014: I have had several sleepless nights when the wind is in the east direction as the sound waves of the turbines kept me awake from 12:30 a.m. or 2:30 a.m. until morning. [Redacted] Is there any way we can control the wind turbine motion for daytime hours only as [sic] they do not run from 10:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m.?

And, in one actual Incident Report:

June, 2014 IR 5006-9KYK5D: ..caller report last night was the 7th night since start-up of wind turbines as SBWF that she has been unable to sleep for the noise …Noise is described as drone of an airplane — very loud with windows closed.

MOECC noted: “acoustic monitoring conducted by tech support July 14-18 2014, report under review with noise engineer”

This summer, a Brinston area resident wrote to Minister Murray about the complete lack of response to her reports of excessive noise (she has had to sleep in her basement on occasion because of the noise and vibration), and an officer with the Cornwall Office telephoned her.

Here’s what she was told.

*Ministry staff were completely unprepared for wind turbine noise complaints.

*They still don’t really know what to do.

*They “lost” her records — even though she had so many reports that the MOECC actually installed equipment and did noise measurement for several days.

*Last, it was too bad they lost everything pertaining to her situation and reports but it didn’t really matter, she was told because “You’re the only one complaining.”

“Lost” records? Citizen complaints under the regulations “don’t matter”? And she was “the only one”, which is completely false?

Outrageous behavior for a regulator

Wind Concerns Ontario wrote a letter to new MOECC Minister Ballard, stating “This is outrageous treatment of a citizen of Ontario, who is simply following the process communicated to her by both the Government of Ontario and the wind power developer, who is mandated under its Renewable Energy Approval to act on and resolve any complaints of excessive noise.”

Moreover, WCO noted in its letter to the Minister, the Cornwall office is not ensuring compliance to conditions of the Renewable Energy Approval, specifically results of the compliance audit, which must be posted on the wind power project website, but are not. The response from the Cornwall Office (August 10, 2017):

Copies of the acoustic audits can be obtained from the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request.  I haven’t had a chance to check, but some reports have been included in the SBWF website– I assume you’ve already checked there.  Let me know if you are interested in pursuing an FOI request and I’ll direct you to the form and process.”

When WCO responded that the report is supposed to be public as per the protocol released by the MOECC in April 2017, the Senior Environmental Officer replies [emphasis ours] on August 10, 2017:

“Ah…I haven’t had a chance to review this new protocol in its entirety…there are some changes worth noting.  Thank you for bringing my attention to this.  I will be requiring the SBWF to post their reports on their website.  I’ll keep you apprised.

“This is completely inappropriate behaviour for a regulator,” WCO president Jane Wilson wrote to Minister Ballard.

“The people of this particular area are now facing approval of a 100-megawatt power project by the same developer, this one close to TWO communities,*  and they have no assurance whatsoever that the Cornwall District Office is prepared, or even competent, to respond effectively to noise complaints.

“On behalf of our members, we ask that you investigate this situation. Government staff should be prepared to fulfill the department’s mandate, and carry out their responsibilities to the people of Ontario.”

As of September 4, 2017, the mandated compliance report is still not on the South Branch Wind Farm website.

 ****UPDATE****

The MOECC informed Wind Concerns Ontario that the documents filed for a noise compliance audit by EDP are “incomplete” and therefore cannot be posted.

South Branch is now in the same position as every other wind power project in Ontario — there is no valid audit to confirm compliance with noise regulations.

See the letter to Minister Ballard here: August28LetterMinisterBallardCornwalDO

Contact the Concerned Citizens of North Stormont here.

Read WCO’s report on noise response by the Ministry 2006-2014 here: NoiseResponseReport-FINAL-May9

Serious questions still unanswered as Nation wind power developer holds final Open House

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Citizens have concerns about impact of noise, and about environmental effects on water and wildlife

Citizens have unanswered questions about a huge power project in Nation Municipality [Photo: Ontario Farmer/PostMedia]

 

August 28, 2017

Wind power developer RES Canada has scheduled the final Open House events for the Eastern Fields wind power project in The Nation, east of Ottawa. The Nation includes St Bernardin and Casselman.

The power project proposed would be 32-megawatt capacity, and cost Ontario almost $140 million over the 20-year contract. Ontario is currently in a situation of surplus power, and is regularly selling off surplus power as well as paying power producers to “constrain” or not to produce.

Community group Save The Nation/Sauvons La Nation has many unanswered questions about the project says spokesperson Julie Leroux.

For example, the corporate power developer has not actually confirmed the type of turbines it will use, but has provided a Noise Impact Assessment Report based on computer noise modeling for a type of Vestas wind turbines.

There are questions too about studies of waterways and groundwater, and how the wind turbine foundations will affect the ground. The Nation has Leda Clay which can be unstable.

The water issue is of special concern as property owners in Chatham-Kent are now experiencing contaminated water or Black Water as vibration from turbine construction and operation has been implicated in disturbing aquifers, and causing toxic heavy metals to contaminate wells.

Another concern is the company’s response to complaints of excessive noise and vibration. Wind Concerns Ontario received documents under Freedom of Information legislation showing that thousands of noise complaints have been filed since 2006, very few of which have had any response or resolution. RES Canada’s Talbot development was the source of hundreds of noise complaints. The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) leaves response to noise complaints up to the power developers, in spite of the Ministry’s mandate to protect the environment and health.

There will be two Open Houses, the final events before the developer files documents for a Renewable Energy Approval.

Tuesday August 29, 2017 from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm

Caledonia Community Centre

6900 County Road 22

St-Bernardin, ON

 

Wednesday August 30, 2017 from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm

Vankleek Hill Curling Club

136 Bond Street

Vankleek Hill, ON

To contact Save The Nation and donate toward pre-operational environmental testing and legal fees

Website: www.sauvonslanation.ca

Email: Sauvonslanation@xplornet.com

Tel.: 613-678-6471

 

Wind power developer documents found lacking: engineers’ report

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Power developer project documents are missing key details, engineering firm tells Municipality of North Stormont

Concerned Citizens of North Stormont leader Margaret Benke, in Finch, Ontario: MOECC has poor track record in meeting its responsibilities

August 9, 2017

Last week, Portugal-based EDP Renewables filed documents with the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) as part of the Renewable Energy Approval (REA) process, to get final approval for its “Nation Rise” wind power project in North Stormont, just south of Ottawa.

Using every tool they have to act responsibly on behalf of citizens, North Stormont had engaged Ottawa engineering firm Morrison Hershfield to conduct a review of the documents presented earlier.

The firm found that key information was missing from the project documents in critical areas such as the impact of the project on groundwater, and on bird and bat populations, to name two. An excerpt from the Morrison Hershfield report, tabled at a late June Council meeting, follows.

  • No review has been completed for potential impacts of the project on potable water sources. While potential impacts to groundwater resources have been reviewed from a biophysical perspective, no review has been completed to assess the potential impacts to groundwater resources from a potable water quantity and quality perspective.

No review has been completed for potential impacts of the project on prime agricultural lands (Class 1-3 agricultural soils)

Confirmation letter from the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport regarding completeness of archaeological and cultural heritage assessments has not been received for the project as described in clauses 22 (a) and 23 (3) (a) of Ontario Regulation 359/09;

• Confirmation letter from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry regarding completeness of natural heritage assessment and birds and bats EEMP has not been received for the project as described in clauses 28 (3) (b) and (c) of Ontario Regulation 359/09;

Significant details are missing on the project description (e.g. location and type of permanent meteorological towers & location of the 2-3 proposed staging areas of 2-7 hectares each); and

No detailed review has been completed to assess potential effects of the project construction on municipal infrastructure.

The consulting firm recommended to Council that North Stormont ask for these reports to be provided, including an assessment of impact on groundwater and municipal infrastructure such as roads.

Read the engineering firm report here.

There is no information on whether EDP complied with the request from North Stormont before filing project documents to be screened for “completeness” by the MOECC.

Citizens in the area are very concerned about the power project. Margaret Benke, a leader with Concerned Citizens of North Stormont, told Ottawa Wind Concerns “You can imagine that with 825 homes within 2km of one and up to 10 proposed turbines, and both Crysler and Finch villages within 3km of multiple turbines, we are bracing for the worst.

The group is especially concerned following release of a report by Wind Concerns Ontario in June, showing that the MOECC has failed to respond to thousands of reports of excessive noise from wind turbines.

“We have many apprehensive citizens,” Benke said. “Unless the MOECC changes its approach, we expect that we could be treated with the same lack of respect and consideration as the 3,200 other residents of Ontario who were largely ignored.  We will continue our fight to protect our rural citizens, who deserve equal respect as citizens.”

EDP also operates the South Branch wind power project in Brinston; it took over a year to file its required acoustic audit to demonstrate compliance with provincial noise regulations for wind turbines, but there is no report posted on the company’s website.

The Nation Rise project will be 100-megawatt capacity using 30-35 industrial-scale wind turbines; Ontario currently has a surplus of electrical power and is regularly selling off extra at below-market prices, and paying wind power generators not to produce in times of low demand and high supply.

A report published by the Council for Safe a& Reliable Energy noted that 70 percent of Ontario’s wind power is wasted. (Ontario’s High-Cost Millstone, June, 2017)

Honesty required for new Environment Minister

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EDP wind turbine and home at South Branch project, Brinston, Ontario. Problems unresolved. [Photo by Ray Pilon, Ottawa]

With more wind power projects queued up for environmental approvals to produce intermittent electrical power Ontario doesn’t need, Ontario’s new Minister of the Environment and Climate Change needs a fresh approach.

The previous Minister left thousands of complaints about noise and vibration unresolved, and did not follow through on promises to help people affected by the huge wind turbine installations.

Right now, in the Ottawa area, two projects are planned: the “Eastern Fields” in The Nation and “Nation Rise” in North Stormont. Both are opposed by their communities, both projects will come with negative environmental and social impacts, and neither will produce power that’s needed.

Wind Concerns Ontario has sent a letter to the new Minister with a “To Do” list for his immediate attention.

Here it is:

To the Honourable Chris Ballard

Minister of the Environment and Climate Change

Queen’s Park, Toronto

Welcome to your new position as Minister of the Environment and Climate Change.

Unfortunately, Minister Glen Murray has left you an extensive list of action items requiring your immediate follow-up. We highlight the key issues for you in the following list, related to Ontario’s energy policy and wind power projects.

White Pines – Withdraw the Renewable Energy Approval for this project as developer wpd cannot meet the terms of their contract. There are significant environmental concerns with this project that remain, even after a successful appeal by citizens before the Environmental Review Tribunal.

Amherst Island – Rescind Renewable Energy Approval for this project which is planned for the tiny island heritage community. Significant environmental risks are present including the serious impact on migrating birds that congregate in this area; Ontario does not need the power from this project.

Saugeen Shores – The single wind turbine at the Unifor educational facility has been fraught with problems and engendered hundreds of complaints about excessive noise. This turbine would not be allowed under present regulations. You can immediately address the failure to meet a June 30 deadline for submission of a compliance audit report.

K2 Wind – This is another wind power project, a large one, with many problems in its relatively short history. You can deliver on Minister Glen Murray’s mid-May commitment to Black family, and others, to provide a solution to wind turbines that MOECC testing indicated were not compliant with Ontario regulations to protect the environment and health.

Address Concerns Raised at Request of Minister Murray – Many people across Ontario took Minister Murray at his word when he said that there were no complaints reaching his office and that he would ensure his officials responded quickly to address the issues. They wrote to him and are still waiting for action on their issues.

Complaint Tracking Process – Complaint records released to WCO in response to an FOI request indicate that the MOECC does not respond to most complaints about wind turbine noise. These complaints should be a source of learning for the Ministry rather than being ignored as currently appears to be the case. A full revision of the process is needed to ensure that complaints are actually resolved with procedures that allow the Minister’s office to track resolution. MOECC records indicate little or no resolution of more than 3,100 formal Pollution Reports made by Ontario citizens between 2006 and 2014.

REA Approval Process – Increase setbacks from residences to reflect learning from MOECC complaint records that include staff reports that confirm that current regulations are not sufficient to protect health of residents living in wind projects. Last week, the Supreme Court of Canada set out standards for consultations with communities which are substantially more rigorous than the standards used for Ontario Renewable Energy Projects.

MOECC Noise Modeling Procedures – implement new noise modeling procedures based on MOECC internal testing that demonstrates wind turbines routinely exceed predicted levels.

Otter Creek – Retract decision to deem this application “complete” for the Renewable Energy Approval process. The proponent is unable to provide noise emission data for the turbine equipment proposed. The noise report submitted with the application for a REA is not grounded in fact but rather is estimates based estimates. Also, a full MOECC investigation of the impact on well water is required.

LRP I Contracts – suspend REA process for remaining LRP I projects until full review of requirements based on internal complaint records is completed.

Noise Compliance Audit Protocol – Expand the wind speeds covered under the protocol to include wind speeds below 4 metres/second which are the source of a substantial portion of complaints about excessive noise. Even MOECC testing shows these wind speeds are the source of noise levels exceeding 40 dB(A), which completely undercuts the credibility of this audit process.

REA Enforcement – REA terms make the project operator responsible for addressing the concerns raised in each complaint to ensure that it does not recur. The MOECC needs to follow up on all operating with projects to ensure compliance with these terms and take action where it is not occurring.

Shadow Flicker – The flickering shadows produced when a turbine is positioned between the rising or setting sun is a major irritant for residents. It is not considered in the REA approvals and is easy to address by turning off the turbine for the times when it is casting moving shadows on a house.  In some projects, these changes have been implemented by the wind company but in other MOECC staff is telling residents no action is required, even though the REA requires the wind company to address complaints like these.

Infrasound – Expand MOECC testing to include the full range of noise emissions from wind turbines as independent testing shows the presence of elevated levels of infrasound in homes where residents have had to leave to protect their health.

Health Studies – The Ministry has been telling residents that its policy is based on the “best science” available since the first turbine projects were built. MOECC records clearly show that this is not correct, but the Ministry continues to be willfully blind to input from both residents and its own staff, quoting dated and selective literature reviews in a field where the science is rapidly evolving.  The need for noise studies and other investigation has been highlighted in numerous reports but never undertaken.  It is time for some serious field studies of the problems being caused by wind turbine projects in rural communities across Ontario. This was an information gap identified in 2010 by Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health.

 

Last, it is important that as you prepare for this major portfolio, you understand that industrial-scale wind power generation does NOT benefit the environment.

Wind power generation on this scale is a high-impact development for little benefit, if any. Two Auditors General for Ontario recommended that Ontario undertake a cost-benefit and/or impact analysis — that has never been done.

We ask you to approach this issue with honesty and honour, and respect the wishes of the citizens of rural Ontario.

Sincerely,

Jane Wilson

President

Wind Concerns Ontario

Wind Concerns Ontario is a coalition of community groups, individuals and families concerned about the impact of industrial-scale wind power development on Ontario’s economy, the natural environment, and human health.

*Ottawa Wind Concerns is a community group member of Wind Concerns Ontario

ottawawindconcerns@gmail.com

Ontario wasting clean energy and $1B while raising electricity bills

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The Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE) today released an announcement on its blog stating that because Ontario has a surplus of power, it is constraining or wasting power that already comes from clean sources.

So, WHY has the government issued two contracts for MORE wind power in the Ottawa area, in Nation Township and North Stormont, where neither community supports the idea of becoming power plants? And the power is not needed anyway?

Here is the post. Readers are invited to go to the blog and post their comments. If you want to comment to the government directly, email Glenn Thibeault, Minister of Energy at minister.energy@ontario.ca

Ontario Wasted More Than $1 Billion Worth of Clean Energy in 2016

Following a detailed analysis of year-end data issued by the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) and Ontario Power Generation (OPG), the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE) is reporting that in 2016, the province wasted a total of 7.6 terawatt-hours (TWh) of clean electricity – an amount equal to powering more than 760,000 homes for one year, or a value in excess of $1 billion.

“This represents a 58 per cent increase in the amount of clean electricity that Ontario wasted in 2015 – 4.8 TWh – all while the province continues to export more than 2 million homes-worth of electricity to neighbouring jurisdictions for a price less than what it cost to produce,” said Paul Acchione, P.Eng., energy expert and former President and Chair of OSPE.

OSPE shared these findings with all three major political parties, and will be at Queen’s Park this morning to speak to media regarding the importance of granting professional engineers more independence in the planning and designing of Ontario’s power system.

So why is Ontario wasting all this energy?

“Curtailment is an industry term that means the power was not needed in Ontario, and could not be exported, so it was dumped. It’s when we tell our dams to let the water spill over top, our nuclear generators to release their steam, and our wind turbines not to turn, even when it’s windy,” said Acchione.

“These numbers show that Ontario’s cleanest source of power is literally going down the drain because we’re producing too much. Speaking as an engineer, an environmentalist, and a rate payer, it’s an unnecessary waste of beautiful, clean energy, and it’s driving up the cost of electricity.”

In addition to curtailment, surplus hydroelectric, wind, and nuclear generation was exported to adjoining power grids in 2014, 2015, and 2016 at prices much lower than the total cost of production. This occurs because Ontario produces more clean electricity than it can use, so it is forced to sell off surplus energy at a discounted rate. Total exports in 2016 were 21.9 TWh compared to 22.6 TWh in 2015, and a significant portion was clean, zero-emission electricity.

“Taken together, those total exports represent nearly enough electricity to power every home in Ontario for an entire year,” said Acchione. “OSPE continues to assert that the government must restore the oversight of professional engineers in the detailed planning and design of Ontario’s power grid to prevent missteps like this from happening.”

Engineers have solutions

Because Ontario is contractually obligated to pay for most of the production costs of curtailed and exported energy, OSPE believes it would be better to find productive uses for the surplus clean electricity to displace fossil fuel consumption in other economic sectors. In the summer of 2016, OSPE submitted an advisory document to the Minister of Energy and all three major political parties detailing 21 actionable recommendations that would deliver efficiencies and savings, including reducing residential and commercial rates by approximately 25 per cent, without the creation of the subsidy and deferral account under the Ontario Fair Hydro Act.

OSPE also recommended the establishment of a voluntary interruptible retail electricity market in order to make productive use of Ontario’s excess clean electricity. This market would allow Ontario businesses and residents to access surplus clean power at the wholesale market price of less than two cents per kilowatt-hour (KWh), which could displace the use of fossil fuels by using things like dual fuel (gas and electric) water heaters, and by producing emission-free hydrogen fuel.

Ontario is currently in the process of finalizing its 2017 Long Term Energy Plan (LTEP), a multi-year guiding document that will direct the province’s investments and operations related to energy. This presents a key opportunity for the government to reduce Ontarians’ hydro bills by making surplus clean electricity available to consumers.

“It is imperative that we depoliticize what should be technical judgments regarding energy mix, generation, distribution, pricing and future investments in Ontario,” said Jonathan Hack, P.Eng., President & Chair of OSPE. “We are very concerned that the government does not currently have enough engineers in Ministry staff positions to be able to properly assess the balance between environmental commitments and economic welfare when it comes to energy.

Professional Engineers must be given independence in planning and designing integrated power and energy system plans, which will in turn benefit all Ontarians.”

About the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE)

OSPE is the voice of the engineering profession in Ontario, representing more than 80,000 professional engineers and 250,000 engineering graduates, interns, and students.

OSPE’s 2012 report Wind and the Electrical Grid: Mitigating the Rise in Electricity Rates and Greenhouse Gas Emissions detailed the mounting risk of hydraulic spill, nuclear shutdowns, and periods of negative wholesale electricity prices during severe surplus base load generation.

While curtailment will decrease during the nuclear refurbishment program that began in October 2016 and the retirement of the Pickering reactors scheduled to occur from 2022 to 2024, it will rise again when the refurbished reactors return to service, unless the government takes action.

OSPE’s Energy Task Force has provided strategic engineering input to Ontario’s Ministry of Energy for more than ten years. The majority of OSPE’s recommendations have been fully or partially implemented over the past five years, saving consumers hundreds of millions of dollars per year. But more can be done if government engages Ontario’s engineers to optimize the use of the province’s clean electrical power system.