Wind power developer uses threat to influence environmental agency

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Power developer announcement it is about to clear land which is habitat for an endangered species is an attempt to force the Environmental Review Tribunal to issue a decision on the Prince Edward County wind power project, and proposed “remedies” for species at risk

The Environmental Review Tribunal determined the Blandings Turtle was endangered by the wind farm; the company is proceeding with construction in the absence of a final decision

April 15, 2017

Minutes before 4 PM on the Thursday of the Easter weekend, Germany-based wind power developer WPD issued notice to the Environmental Review Tribunal that the company intends to start clearing land in advance of building the White Pines power project.

Land clearing is to begin on Wednesday, the corporate power developer said, which meant there is only one day after the Easter weekend to file any documents against the action.

The White Pines project has been contested in an appeal before the Tribunal; the original decision found that the power project would cause harm to endangered species of turtles and bats. A hearing was held in late January to hear possible “remedy” actions to prevent loss of life, but a decision accepting or rejecting the remedies has not yet been rendered.

WPD is in danger of being in breach of its contract with the Ontario government if it does not begin supplying power by the critical Commercial Operation Date.

The Blandings Turtle, one of the endangered species at risk from the wind power project construction, has already been seen in the County by residents, so has emerged from hibernation.

The rush to construction shows how willing the wind power developer is to risk environmental damage, a spokesperson for the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County told news media Quinte News.

At an earlier phase of the White Pines project WPD began unauthorized land clearing but was halted by an order from the Environmental Review Tribunal. WPD is also the power developer behind the contentious Fairview Wind project near Collingwood. It threatened to sue the Ontario government if a contract was not issued for the power project.

Previous attempt by WPD to clear land for unauthorized construction of the Prince Edward County wind power project

 

 

Wind turbines found to exceed legal noise levels

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Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change to conduct more tests on homes near Goderich; wind corporation says it is confident the power project is operating legally

April 11, 2017

CTV News London is reporting that several residents living near the K2 wind power project have received notification from the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) that the turbines near their homes, and causing them to report excessive noise, are in fact out of compliance with provincial noise regulations for the power generating machines.

In the conclusion of the “Acoustic Recording Quantitative Screening Measurement Report” of testing performed by the MOECC recently, the MOECC states

… it is acknowledged that sound from the wind turbines was audible during the measuring campaign at levels that appear to exceed the applicable sound level limits, and based on C3 measurements conducted at a nearby receptor (the distance is about 1250 m from R876; where the same turbine(s) within 1500 m distance impact both receptors) it was further concluded that there is a possibility that sound from the nearby turbines could be tonal.

The use of the word “tonal” is key as the MOECC–and the wind power industry–have up to now refused to admit that the noise emissions from turbines are tonal, or producing vibration.

The complaints voiced by people living near turbines, however, seem to indicate that pressure or vibration is a key feature of the emissions being experienced.

See the CTV London video here:

http://london.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=1098781&binId=1.1137796&playlistPageNum=1

K2 wind is located in Huron County and is operated by a consortium of Capital Power, Pattern Energy, Manulife, and the Alberta Teachers pension fund.

Residents near the South Branch project are reminded that they should report any adverse effects from wind turbine noise to the MOECC Spills Action Centre by calling 1-800-268-6060. Callers should provide their name and telephone number, location, location relative to the nearest wind turbines, direction of the wind and wind speed if available (this can be noted from weather data on your cellphone), and a rating of the noise/vibration on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the most severe.

Callers should be sure to get an INCIDENT REPORT reference number at the time of their call, and keep a record of their call(s) together with the reference numbers.

 

Picton barge incident highlights wind developer attitude to environment

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The recent sinking of a commercial barge near Picton, Ontario, in Prince Edward County, has resulted in a spotlight on the activities by wind power developer Algonquin Power, and its controversial Windlectric project on Amherst Island.

The project will virtually subsume the little island, which is home to 34 at-risk or endangered species of wildlife, and change life for its residents dramatically. However, that wasn’t enough to sway the Environmental Review Tribunal, which dismissed a citizen group appeal. The project is still before the courts, with a new phase beginning in Toronto this week, before Divisional Court.

One of the requirements in a power developer’s Renewable Energy Approval or REA is a marine logistics plan, which documents how marine safety will be managed as construction proceeds, and equipment and material such as gravel are transported over water.

Windlectric had no Marine Logistics Plan in place.

Until the day after the barge sank.

The barge was to transport gravel from Prince Edward County across the water to the Windlectric site but encountered ice which “sandpapered” a two-foot by two-foot hole in the hull, and partially sank.

Windlectric hastily issued a Marine Logistics Plan which, interestingly, made no mention whatsoever of the use of Picton Bay, and how the barge traffic was going to work with the Glenora Ferry trips every 15 minutes. Picton elected officials also expressed surprise at the use of the Picton Terminal: they had no idea that Algonquin Power was getting gravel from Prince Edward County, and there had been no agreements for road use.

Use of the Picton facility has now been halted, and Prince Edward County remains under a Boil Water advisory due to the spill of diesel fuel, although the state of emergency has been revised from earlier this week.

This weekend, the power developer issued a statement saying the barge sinking was “unfortunate” but “outside the project’s boundary at the time of the event.” So, not our concern.

Algonquin Power is also seeking the use of a stretch of parkland near Millhaven and Bath to use as a construction staging area; the company claims it will return the parkland to its original state after it is finished.

Barge carrying construction equipment and material: no plan in place at the time of accident [Photo Jay Pickerel/Facebook]

The fact remains that the construction of wind “farms” is actually construction of huge power plants, no matter what bucolic photos of benign “windmills” are used.

Questions should be raised about the environmental impact of these construction activities not only of the developers but also the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, which citizens have a right to expect is overseeing events and confirming that mandated conditions for environmental protection and safety are being met.

Prince Edward County in state of emergency following pollution incident

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Barge carrying construction equipment and material: no plan in place at the time of accident [Photo Jay Pickerel/Facebook]

A barge carrying construction materials to the Windlectric wind farm site on nearby Amherst Island sank this past weekend, polluting Picton Bay with diesel fuel. The bay is the source of drinking water for Picton; at the time of the incident, the wind power company had not yet filed a mandatory Marine Logistic Plan to document safety measures.

The Amherst Island group says in light of violations of terms of the power developer’s agreement with the government, the project –which will cost Ontario electricity customers $500 million over 20 years–should be cancelled.

A news story from CTV is here:

http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/picton-water-treatment-plant-reopens-but-water-emergency-remains-in-place-1.3345517

The Association to Protect Amherst Island issued this statement today.

Dear Premier Wynne

Prince Edward County Mayor Robert Quaiff has declared a water emergency as a result of contaminants approaching the Picton-Bloomfield water intake due to a partially sunken barge in Picton Harbour under contract to McNeil Marine and ultimately under contract to Algonquin Power/Windlectric for the proposed Amherst Island Wind Project.
The silence from Algonquin Power/Windlectric is deafening.
Indeed Algonquin/Windlectric had the audacity to attempt to continue aggregate delivery from Picton Terminals to Amherst Island yesterday (Tuesday March 28 2017) but was thwarted either because either the water was too low or the dock too high, yet another example of the comedy of errors associated with this ill-conceived project.
The Association to Protect Amherst Island reiterates its request for MOECC to issue an immediate stop work order for the Amherst Island Wind Project until such time as a comprehensive report is available for the Picton Harbour incident and a preventative action plan is is place to address the high risk to public and environmental safety of all aspects of the project. and to address the need for a Major Design Modification to address the changed project location to include Picton Terminals.
 
At the same time, the Association reaffirms its request to reject the proposed amendment to the Certificate of Property Use for the contaminated  Invista Lands on Bath Road (EBR 012-9749) designated as parkland.  Similar to the Picton Harbour situation, a water intake exists in proximity to the proposed mainland dock for the Amherst Island Wind Project and serves a local industrial park.  Algonquin/Windlectric in its Marine Safety Plan now advises that fuelling of barges is proposed at the mainland dock location.  Not only is the land contaminated with the possibility of pollution of Lake Ontario, the company plans to fuel in proximity to a water intake.

The same “Marine Safety Plan” fails to address any aspect of transport of materials from Picton terminals except for a vague reference that “The bulk barge and the ATV (Aggregate Transfer Vessel)  will approach and leave the island dock area from the west, . . . ” as if from the Land of Oz.  The Association is in the process of reviewing this “too little, too late” document and will have further comments about use of barges in ice conditions, the lack of traffic volume, lack of simulation of barges crossing the ferry path, incomplete information about the installation of the high voltage transmission line from the mainland to the Island and the total lack of risk assessment, failure to mention Picton Terminals,among other matters.

The use of an “Aggregate Transfer Vessel” was not identified in the REA submission and no stockpiling of aggregate was proposed other than in immediate proximity to the proposed cement batching plant by the Island school.
The Association has emphasized the importance of marine safety since this project was proposed and has pleaded with politicians, MOECC, Ontario’s Chief Drinking Water Official and the Chief Fire Marshall and Head of Emergency Preparedness.
Please take immediate action to stop the Amherst Island Wind Project before a tragedy occurs.
Thank you.
Sincerely
Michèle Le Lay
President
Association to Protect Amherst Island

MPP Lisa MacLeod says Ontario farmers in dire straits over hydro bills

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Nepean-Carleton MPP Lisa MacLeod addressed Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault in an evening session of the Ontario Legislature, to express concern about the plight of Ontario farmers and growers whose livelihoods are suffering due to high electricity bills.

She used the examples of the Manotick-based greenhouse operation SunTech, Osgoode Mushroom, and North Gower Grains to show how different growers are being affected by unrelenting increases in electricity bills, much of which is due to the government’s push for wind and solar power.

See MPP MacLeod’s speech and the Energy Minister’s response here.

Even though her riding will soon split, MacLeod said, she will “always” stand up for Ontario farmers.

Site plan for North Stormont wind power project shows 34 turbines planned

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The 100-megawatt project will cost more than $400 million, while Ontario already has a surplus of power

EDP Renewables, headquartered in Madrid, has posted the site plan for its 100-megawatt “Nation Rise” wind power project, in North Stormont, about 40 minutes south and east of Ottawa.

Details posted:

Project Name: Nation Rise Wind Farm

IESO Reference Number: L-006351-WIN-001-100

Project Location: The proposed Nation Rise Wind Farm will be located on private and public lands in the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry in the western portion of the Township of North Stormont, Ontario, and bounded to the south by the Township of South Stormont and to the west by the boundary of the Township of North Dundas. The north portion of the site is delimited by the municipality boundaries of Russell and the Nation. Courville Road and MacMillan Road are the east boundaries of the project.

Dated at: the Township of North Stormont this 17th day of March 2017.

Other project documents including the draft noise impact assessment are available on the Nation Rise wind “farm” website here.

Residents interested in learning more about the impact of the power project on the area’s homes, environment and wildlife, and in supporting the group’s activities and legal fund, should contact the Concerned Citizens of North Stormont*, whose website is here.

The 20-year contract with the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) will cost Ontario electricity ratepayers about $436 million.

The Minister of Energy, Glenn Thibeault, has stated, meanwhile, that Ontario currently has a surplus of power (which is being sold off at prices below what power developers are paid). The Nation Rise contract could be cancelled under a pre-construction liability clause for $600,000, according to IESO documents.

Minister Thibeault told a business audience in Toronto last year that the government’s “arbitrary” selection of wind power led to “sub-optimal siting” and “heightened community concerns.”

North Stormont is a Not A Willing Host community.

Concerned Citizens of North Stormont leader Margaret Benke, at a recent information event in Finch, Ontario

*Concerned Citizens of North Stormont is a chapter of Wind Concerns Ontario, as is Ottawa Wind Concerns.

What’s driving up your hydro bills? Ontario’s renewable energy disaster

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Wind and solar energy can’t be delivered on demand so we pay twice to back it up with gas power

Energy debate

Tom Adams: Wind is a renewable energy ripoff

Bloor West Villager

With the Ontario government introducing a new program severing the link between the cost of power and the price of power so it can shift 25 per cent of household power bills today to future generation by way massive new debts, it seems like a good idea to know why Ontario’s power rate crisis developed.

Ontario’s power rates were relatively stable until 2008, when they started steep yearly increases. With the fastest rising rates in North America since then, Ontario’s rates surpassed the U.S. average years ago. The largest single factor driving this increase has been new generating capacity from wind and solar renewable generation.

The Ontario government and its supporters commonly report the costs of different types of generation counting only payments made directly to particular forms of generation.

But, when renewable energy costs trickle down to consumers, those costs are much more than just payments to renewable generators. While it is true that the payments to generators for wind power – 14 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) – is cheaper than for gas power — 17 cents/kWh – not all electricity has equal value. (For context, the average rate households pay for the commodity portion of their bill is about 11 cents/kWh.)

Why don’t we replace wind power with gas power, save money and cut emissions?

Where gas power is delivered on demand, wind is fickle. Eighty per cent of Ontario’s wind generation occurs at times and seasons so far out of phase with usage patterns that the entire output is surplus and is exported at a substantial loss or squandered with payments to generators to not generate. Gas power in Ontario backs up unreliable wind and solar, a necessary function if the lights are to stay on, but we pay twice for the same service.

Direct payments to solar generators average 48 cents/kWh, but the output is similarly low value. Except for a few days per year, Ontario’s peak usage of power is just as solar panels shut down – in the evening.

Massive losses through exports

Not only is Ontario’s renewable energy production driving massive losses to subsidize exports and payments to generators to not generate under the terms of contracts that obligate consumers to buy even useless power, but it is also driving costly but low-value “smart grid” projects required to accommodate renewables.

Rising power rates have driven down usage. Spreading rising costs over declining sales has amplified the pace of rate increases.

Again, government and its supporters have pumped their claim that using less will save us money. What has actually happened is that conservation in Ontario is indeed saving money but mostly for utilities and their customers in Michigan and New York State on the receiving end of our subsidized exports.

But didn’t renewables enable Ontario to get off coal, saving us from smog days, and slash health-care costs? Although endlessly repeated by the government and its supporters, none of these claims bear scrutiny.

Coal’s replacement in Ontario was achieved with increased output from nuclear and gas generators. Improvement in air quality in recent years has been the result of a massive conversion to gas power in the mid-western states upwind of Ontario as well as improvements in transportation fleets and industry. Most of the coal power Ontario produced in its last years came from plants with good new scrubbers, delivering effectively smog-free energy. Predicted health-care savings from the coal phaseout never materialized.

But isn’t the cost of renewable energy plunging?

Ten years ago, the average payment to Ontario wind generators was around 8.3 cents/kWh. Taking into account inflation, the average today is up 50 per cent.

THE OPPOSING VIEW: “Don’t blame renewable energy for Ontario’s electricity costs”

Wind and solar aren’t the only renewable energy ripoff. Recent additions to Ontario’s hydro-electric capacity have added billions in new costs but no additional production. Ontario’s most costly generator is a converted coal-fired station in Thunder Bay, now fueled with a wood product imported from Norway.

Punishing contracts in place for 20 years

A bad smell emanates from renewable politics at Queen’s Park. Renewables developers who made the biggest donations to the provincial Liberals have tended to win the biggest contracts.

Ontario’s renewable energy program is not the only disaster on consumers’ bills. Excessive payroll costs and wasteful conservation programs also lurk, but no single factor has contributed more to the compounding semi-annual increases in rates since 2008 than renewables.

Most of the punishing cost consequences of Ontario’s radical renewables program are locked in with 20-year contracts. Children today will be paying these irresponsible contracts long into the future, along with current costs that the Wynne government has now decided will be added to this future burden.


Tom Adams is an independent energy and environmental advisor and researcher focused on energy consumer concerns, mostly in Eastern Canada. He has worked for several environmental organizations and served on the Ontario Independent Electricity Market Operator Board of Directors and the Ontario Centre for Excellence for Energy Board of Management.

What Premier Wynne doesn’t want you to know

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What Kathleen Wynne isn’t telling you about hydro bills

Premier Wynne says she’s being ‘fair’ but she’s not telling you everything, says Wind Concerns Ontario… [PostMedia photo]

The Premier of Ontario put out a news release on March 2, claiming the government was going to reduce Ontario’s electricity or “hydro” bills substantially.“I’ve heard from you loud and clear,” Kathleen Wynne said in her statement. “Nobody should have to choose between keeping the lights on or buying groceries.”

The Ontario Liberal government still claims the high electricity prices were because of improvements it “had to” make to the system. The news release concluded with these statements.

“We are – and always will be – committed to making Ontario a fairer and more inclusive place for everyone. And fairness means ensuring government investments don’t disproportionately affect today’s electricity ratepayers. One generation of ratepayers should not have to pay for the sins of the past and for a system that will benefit Ontario for decades to come. So our plan reduces costs today and stretches out costs over the long term so rates are fairer for everyone.”

Fairness. We’ve heard that before, like “transparency.” But again, the government is being disingenuous. Its latest move is simply stretching out the costs of its policy decisions, not taking action to reduce costs. (Our favourite pronouncement on this comes from electricity analyst Bruce Sharp who calls this tactic, “delay and pray.”)

Not reducing costs

The truth is, the government has signed more expensive wind power contracts for power the province doesn’t need.

At the moment, these six contracts, awarded in 2016,  total $3.3 billion in costs over 20 years. In addition, there are five more contracts for wind power projects that were approved but which are not yet on the grid –including White Pines, Amherst Island and Fairview Wind which are all in legal contests– that add up to another $1.8 billion.

The total for wind power contracts awarded, which represents new costs no yet on Ontario electricity ratepayer bills, is $5.1 billion.

That is not “reducing costs today”.

The government needs to cancel the 2016 wind power contracts (which contain clauses for pre-construction liability should the government cancel), and buy out of other contracts.

 

2016 Contracts and 20-year costs

Otter Creek Chatham-Kent– $218 million

Romney Wind Chatham-Kent– $$261 million

Strong Breeze Dutton-Dunwich — $250 million

Eastern Fields The Nation Twp — $$139 million

Nation Rise North Stormont — $436 million

Henvey Inlet Parry Sound — $$2 billion

Source: IESO

***

Related Stories: Kevin Libin in The Financial Post: http://business.financialpost.com/fp-comment/kevin-libin-kathleen-wynnes-sleazy-desperate-hydro-ploy-to-fool-ontarians-is-well-brilliant

Steve Aplin: http://canadianenergyissues.com/2017/02/23/torstar-inadvertently-hamfists-a-headline-thats-true-they-had-it-right-the-first-time-no-one-cant-you-read-that-right-cant-make-electricity-cheap-again/

Video of Kathleen Wynne announcement: http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/national-post-view-kathleen-wynnes-liberals-bail-themselves-out-with-public-money-again

 Reposted from Wind Concerns Ontario www.windconcernsontario.ca

Wind power contracts add to rising hydro bills, says Ottawa Wind Concerns

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February 25, 2017

Wind power contracts should be cancelled: Mike Baggott of Ottawa Wind Concerns

Wind power contracts should be cancelled to control electricity costs: Mike Baggott of Ottawa Wind Concerns

Ottawa Wind Concerns was an invited guest speaker this week at a pre-budget consultation event held by Nepean-Carleton MPP Lisa MacLeod, at the Alfred Taylor Centre in North Gower.

Executive member with the group and North Gower resident Mike Baggott told the audience that while Ontario’s electricity bills are among the highest in North America, more costs, specifically expensive wind power contracts awarded to power developers, were yet to come.

“Everyone wants to do the right thing for the environment,” Baggott explained, “but has the Ontario government done the right thing?” Two Auditors General said there was never any cost-benefit or impact analysis for the province’s green energy plan, and the Wynne government pays twice as much for renewable energy as other jurisdictions do. The expensive wind contracts are among the factors pushing electricity bills up.

“As high as our bills are now,” Baggott said, “they will get worse if projects in Ontario recently awarded contracts are allowed to proceed.”

He noted the power projects in La Nation, east of Ottawa, and North Stormont –both opposed by the local communities — will cost Ontario ratepayers over $600 million for the 20-year contracts.

In all, Ontario is facing $5 billion in new wind power contracts, at a time when the province has a surplus of power. Wind power also cannot demonstrate any benefits to the environment, Baggott said.

“It’s time to stop digging the hole,” Baggott concluded.

The main speaker at the event was Parker Gallant, a former banker whose energy sector analysis is frequently published in The Financial Post, who explained line by line, “What’s in Your Hydro Bill.”

MPP MacLeod outlined steps that can be taken to control electricity costs, and answered questions from the audience.

“It’s hard not to get depressed when you hear, line by line, how we got here with our electricity bills,” commented Rideau-Goulbourn councilor Scott Moffatt.

Parker Gallant: what's in your hydro bill? A lot of government mistakes

Parker Gallant: what’s in your hydro bill? A lot of government mistakes

 

Fix the root problems energy analyst says

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This past week, Zoomer Media hosted a panel discussion on Ontario’s growing electricity rates which the media organization (affiliated with the Canadian Association of Retired Persons/CARP) says is adversely affecting seniors and others on fixed incomes.

Watch the hour-long presentation here:

http://www.thezoomertv.com/videos/hydro-rates/

Energy analyst Tom Adams was one of the panel members, who called on the government to rescind the Green Energy Act, which he says is at the core of the problems today. Wind power produces only 6 percent of the Ontario supply, he said, but at 30 percent of the cost.

Wind: 6% of the power for 30% of the costs

Wind: 6% of the power for 30% of the costs

McMaster University professor Marvin Ryder agreed that expensive contracts were a problem but he said the damage has been done, and it will be 10 years before Ontario can climb out of the hole.

NDP leader Andrea Horwath said she still supports the Green Energy Act, but suggested creating subsidies for everyone having problems paying their electricity bills. (The cost of that would be …. added to the bills…)

The Ontario government awarded five contracts for new wind power generation in 2016, including two in the Ottawa area. The cost of these projects is about $1.3 billion. If the projects proceed (they do not yet have Renewable Energy Approvals/REA), the cost will be a further addition to Ontario electricity ratepayers’ bills.

theZoomer: Television For Boomers With Zip!