EDPR, the Portugal-based power developer for the Nation Rise wind power facility planned for, and partially constructed, in North Stormont, south of Ottawa, will appear in court in Toronto February 14th, with an application to “render without legal effect” or quash the recent revocation of the Renewable Energy Approval by environment minister Jeff Yurek.
Minister Yurek issued his decision in response to a direct application to his office by the local community group, filed early in 2019.
Minister Yurek revoked the Renewable Energy Approval on the grounds that there was a significant risk to endangered bat species, which are critical to the eco-system, citing the fact that Ontario also does not need the power from the proposed 100-megawatt project.
The wind power lobbyist Can WEA, the Canadian Wind Energy Association, is seeking status in the legal proceedings as an intervenor, which would mean their lawyers could cross-examine witnesses.
Community group the Concerned Citizens of North Stormont (CCNS), which filed the direct application, may also participate. CCNS had appealed the original approval before the Environmental Review Tribunal but the appeal was dismissed.
While statements have been made that the cancellation is unprecedented, the fact is, several power projects have been cancelled in Ontario historically. The Ostrander Point project in Prince Edward County was also revoked due to danger to the Blandings Turtle, and the White Pines power project, also in Prince Edward County, was reduced from 29 to 27 and eventually 9 turbines over multiple environmental concerns. That project was ultimately cancelled by the Ford government.
Statements have been made that the Nation Rise project was mostly constructed when the approval was revoked. In fact, of 29 turbines, only eight were approaching completion. The company’s target date for completion and providing power to the grid in Ontario was near the end of March or this year. That deadline has now been extended because of legal actions.
The power developer has also claimed that the community will suffer because of the cancellation, because the project would have brought jobs to the area. The usual case, however, is that there is one technical job per 10 turbines in operation; other jobs are short-term, construction-related positions that end with the construction phase.
North Stormont was one of the original unwilling host communities in Ontario, and was also one of 116 municipalities that demanded a return of local land-use planning powers removed by the Green Energy Act.
The Wynne government did not respond.
The Ford government returned planning powers to municipalities last year.
Almost every wind power project has been appealed on the basis of environmental concerns in Ontario since 2009; prior to that date, communities appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board.
Despite a full appeal of the Nation Rise wind power project by community group Concerned Citizens of North Stormont, which raised serious issues of concern about human health and the environment, and despite a final appeal and request for a Stay of construction, the 100-megawatt wind power project is under construction in the Finch, Berwick, and Crysler areas.
Construction updates are to be provided by the developer EDPR on its website here
There have already been citizen complaints about dust and noise during construction, as well as a couple of mishaps with trucks and trailers delivering turbine components, and citizens have reported concerns about road safety.
EDPR at its construction update meeting in Finch last week said anyone concerned about safety, or who notices a worksite where there are no flagmen, should contact the company at: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: (613) 240-0348
The Ottawa Citizen recently ran an article by Kelly Egan which outlined community concerns. Ontario does not need more intermittent or variable wind power, which is produced out of phase with demand (source Auditor General Ontario). The Nation Rise project will cost Ontario electricity customers $450 million over its 20-year contract.
Power that could be produced “like a fly on the flank of an elephant” says energy watcher Parker Gallant
February 4, 2019
Last week, a news article appeared in the Nation Valley News reporting the local Conservative MPP, Jim McDonell’s response to a question asking on why the government hasn’t cancelled the 100-MW Nation Rise wind power project. Mr. McDonell said, “We’ve always been clear: We would cancel any project we could cancel economically,” and he added “… we just can’t spend a billion dollars to cancel a project and get nothing from it.”
The same day, a press release from the Ford government noted that Premier Doug Ford told people attending the annual Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) conference, that “We’re lowering electricity costs”.
I am at a loss to explain Mr. McDonell’s suggestion that cancellation of the Nation Rise IWT project would cost the same as the McGuinty/Wynne gas plant moves, but that’s what he said. It’s worth a look back at how this power project came into being, as it illustrates the disaster that has been Ontario energy policy for the last 15 years.
The Nation Rise wind project was one of five awarded contracts in March 2016; after that, its history gets really interesting … and very political.
Cost of the project
The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) at that time noted the average price for all the projects proposed was $85.90/MWh (or 8.5 cents per kWh). Over 20 years that would produce revenue of about $450 million, or less if their bid was lower than the average.
If the project were cancelled, no court would award them the full contract amount; it is more likely the government would be on the hook for perhaps 5 to10 % of that amount (on the high side).
There is no doubt that cancelling this project would save Ontario citizens hundreds of millions.
Timing of the approval
According to the Environmental Registry the Nation Rise entry for the Renewable Energy Approval or REA is dated May 7, 2018 and indicates it was loaded to the registry May 4, 2018. That is just four days before the writ was drawn up by former Premier Kathleen Wynne, formally announcing the upcoming Ontario election. It was known* the voting date would occur on June 7, yet the REA — a major decision — was given by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC). At that time, not only were polls forecasting a defeat for the Liberal government, “electricity prices” and hydro bills were a major election issue. The MOECC issued the decision anyway.
Is the power needed?
In 2015 (before the IESO called for more wind power proposals) Ontario had a huge surplus of generation. Our net exports (exports less imports) were 16.8 TWh (terawatt hours) or enough to supply almost 1.9 million average households (over 40% of all Ontario households) with their electricity needs for a full year. It cost ratepayers an average of 10.14 cents/kWh to generate that power which was sold for an average 2.36 cents/kWh, representing a cost of $1.3 billion to Ontario’s ratepayers.
Due to the highly intermittent nature of output from wind turbines, the IESO’s projections of long-term capacity use only 12% of the nameplate capacity for wind power installations when calculating their contribution to overall capacity. So for Nation Rise, the IESO is projecting that the useable contribution of the project will be 105,120 MWh — just .0765% of the IESO’s forecast power consumption of 137.4 TWh. That is a fly on the flank of an elephant, in my estimation.
Cancellation of Nation Rise would not affect the long-term supply of electricity for the people of Ontario.
Worse, adding more capacity, particularly from an intermittent source, could result in more spilling of hydro, more curtailment of wind power generation, additional nuclear shutdowns or steam-off, all of which would drive Ontario’s electricity bills rates higher.
Property value loss
The property losses in value caused by the presence of 33, 650-foot industrial wind power generators throughout the countryside in the Nation Rise project will be in the tens of millions of dollars according to a study which notes: “Using research completed recently by a land economist with the University of Guelph and published in Land Economics, Wind Concerns calculates that overall, the property loss for houses within 5 km of the 33 planned turbines could be $87.8 million. Using other research that is less conservative, however, the property value loss could be more than $140 million.”
A loss of either magnitude would impact North Stormont’s realty tax base leading to either significant drops in revenue for the township or realty tax increases as a multiple of the COL (cost of living).
And then there’s the water
One condition among many in the REA given to EDP/Nation Rise was related to identifying and mapping all water wells in the project area within a set range of any proposed equipment, meteorological tower or wind turbines. This was due to concerns about construction activities on the local aquifer. While EDP identified 444 wells, the community group says there are more than 800 homes within the immediate project. Water wells in other areas of Ontario and elsewhere have become contaminated allegedly due to drilling and vibrations from wind turbines. There is significant concern about contamination of the wells, and the assessment taking place.
North Stormont is dairy farm country, and each farm operation uses thousands of litres of water every day — what would be the effect on these businesses, and Ontario’s food supply, if suddenly, the water wells were not functioning?
Who is EDP?
EDP (parent of EDPR) is a Portuguese utility company partially owned by two of the Chinese government’s companies; China Three Gorges (23.27%) and CNIC Co., Ltd., (4.98%) and the former has been trying for several years to acquire the balance of the shares. That attempt is speculated to be off; however, a recent NY Times article suggested otherwise, based on discussions with Portugal securities regulator CMVM.
Where is democracy?
North Stormont, where the Nation Rise wind project is planned, declared itself an “unwilling host” in 2015, well before the award of the contract or the issuance of the REA. The people perhaps relied on promises made by former energy minister and Ottawa Liberal MPP, Bob Chiarelli, when in 2013 he declared: “It will be virtually impossible for a wind turbine, for example, or a wind project, to go into a community without some significant level of engagement”. Despite their council passing the unwilling host motion, and also joining the 117 Ontario municipalities demanding a return of local land-use planning for energy projects, the IESO still granted Nation Rise the contract.
There are many questions about this project and many reasons why it simply isn’t needed. Cancelling this contentious project is a perfect way to lower future electricity costs, directly.
*The Toronto Star reported in an article dated October 19, 2016 the next Ontario election would be on June 7th, 2018
What it looks like: Tree clearing for turbines in Prince Edward County [Photo: Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County]
At its first mandatory Community Liaison meeting held this past week in Crysler, Portugal based power developer EDP announced that construction will begin soon on the 33-turbine, 100-megawatt wind power project that will cover the communities of Finch, Crysler and Berwick.
In a story published by the Cornwall Standard-Freeholder EDP spokesperson, Toronto-based Ken Little, said that the first step will be clearing of trees, and construction of access roads for the turbines.
While the turbine type and size was not specified in documents filed with government at the time of application for the Renewable Energy Approval, Little said they will be German-built machines, built to a maximum height of 200 metres or 656 feet.
The Peace Tower in Ottawa in 321 feet.
Little was also asked if the company will be employing local workers during construction, but he said he could not guarantee that.
He did say that there will be a $300,000 benefit to the municipality.
Wind Concerns Ontario, however, estimates the property value loss for properties exposed to the noise and visual effects from the huge turbines could be in the millions, which could in turn have the effect of forcing the municipality to raiser taxes.
The power project could be operating by December of this year. It is estimated to cost the people of Ontario more than $380 million over 20 years; the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) said in its power supply forecast last fall that Ontario does not need any new power generation at this time.
Community group Concerned Citizens of North Stormont launched an appeal of the power project based on concerns about the impact of turbine construction and operation on the aquifer in North Stormont, which is designated as “highly vulnerable” and on safety and health concerns. The appeal was dismissed but the group said recently it is considering all other option, including a further appeal.
Berwick area farm: 33 huge industrial wind turbines planned could mean a loss of $37 million for nearby property owners [Photo Dorothea Larsen, Kemptville]
Homeowners in North Stormont will have to make a big sacrifice to “green” energy if the proposed “Nation Rise” wind power project is constructed, says Wind Concerns Ontario, a coalition of community groups and Ontario families.
Using research completed recently by a land economist with the University of Guelph and published in Land Economics, Wind Concerns calculates that overall, the property loss for houses within 5 km of the 33 planned turbines could be $87.8 million. Using other research that is less conservative, however, the property value loss could be more than $140 million.
Research done in 2016 by the partnership of Clarkson University and Nanos Research on U.S properties with a view of Wolfe Island wind turbines showed an overall property value loss of 15 per cent for homes “with a view” of the turbines. Older research done by Ontario real estate appraiser Ben Lansink in 2012 found a more dramatic reduction for properties closest to turbines, an average loss of 37 per cent.
University of Guelph associate professor Richard Vyn found a property value loss in communities opposed to wind power projects of 8.98 percent for houses within 2 km of turbines, and 8.62 per cent for properties within 4 km, post-construction of turbines.
For the Nation Rise power project, there are 828 properties within 1,500 metres of turbines according to the wind power developer, Portugal-based EDP, and approximately 2,500 residences within 2 to 5 km of the turbines, according to community group Concerned Citizens of North Stormont.
The houses within 1,500 metres of a turbine in the “Nation Rise” project could see a loss of $21.8 million using professor Vyn’s estimate, $37 million according to Clarkson-Nanos, or as much as $91 million in losses using Mr. Lansink’s calculations.
The community group has appealed the project approval on the basis of environmental, safety and health concerns, and is worried about the effect of turbine construction on the water supply, which could be an additional factor in property value loss.
Wind power proponents and Ontario’s municipal assessment agency have maintained that there is no appreciable property value loss, but an energy commentator wrote in Forbes magazine in 2015 that “there’s a heavily funded public relations machine to make Americans think that wind power doesn’t impact property values.”
“Renewable energy and the ‘environment’ are big businesses and they include not just energy producing companies but also various agencies, interest groups, and even university researchers,” Jude Clemente wrote. “Their grant money and careers are at stake.”
Clemente added that “Many members of the Real Estate and Appraisal businesses, however, have been clear that wind power DOES impact property values … it would seem to me that these groups have no vested interest in supporting wind power or not supporting it.”
A decision is expected on the Nation Rise project appeal in the first week of January, 2019.
Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) says Ontario has an adequate supply of power until 2035. The 20-year contract for the Nation Rise project will cost Ontario more than $450 million.
End unnecessary wind power project and save $400 million: Wind Concerns Ontario tells Premier Doug Ford
A new wind power project will be a huge expense to Ontario consumers, and has worrisome environmental features, too. End it, Wind Concerns Ontario says.
October 31, 2018
At the meeting of the Standing Committee on Social Policy at Queen’s Park on Monday, October 29, the president of the wind power industry’s trade association and lobbyist, the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) spoke against ending the Green Energy Act in Ontario because, he said, wind power is now the cheapest option for power generation.
He claimed that contracts in Alberta now average 3.7 cents per kilowatt hour, which actually excludes support payments funded by carbon taxes in that province. We leave analysis of this almost certainly false claim to the usual analysts (Parker Gallant, Scott Luft, Steve Aplin, Marc Brouillette and others), but we have questions:
Why did Ontario contract for wind power at Nation Rise for 8.5 cents per kWh?
Why is this project going ahead at all, when there is no demonstrated need for the power?*
Why will Ontario electricity customers have to pay more than $400 million for a power project we don’t need?
The Nation Rise project in North Stormont (between Cornwall and Ottawa) is an emblem of everything wrong with Ontario’s renewables policy, under the former government. The 100-megawatt power project, being developed by wind power giant EDP with head offices in Spain, is minutes away from the R H Saunders Generating Station, whose full 1,000-megawatt capacity powered by the St. Lawrence River is rarely used.
Wind power, on the other hand, unlike hydro power, is intermittent and not to be relied upon — in Ontario, wind power is produced out-of-phase with demand (at night and in the spring and fall when demand is low).
And, it’s expensive.
Lawrence Solomon, executive director of Energy Probe in Toronto wrote Monday in the Financial Post that Ontario’s renewables are a significant factor in the mess that is Ontario’s power system. Renewables, he said, “which account for just seven per cent of Ontario’s electricity output but consume 40 per cent of the above-market fees consumers are forced to provide. Cancelling those contracts would lower residential rates by a whopping 24 per cent”.
Nation Rise may cost Ontario as much as $451 million over the 20-year contract, or $22 million a year.**
But there is more on Nation Rise, which again highlights the problem with many wind power developments — the dramatic impact on the environment for little benefit.
Serious environmental concerns have arisen during the citizen-funded appeal of the Nation Rise project, including the fact that it is to be built on land that contains many areas of unstable Leda or “quick” clay, and it is also in an earthquake zone. No seismic assessments were asked for by the environment ministry, or done. In fact, a “technical expert” for the environment ministry did not visit the project site as part of his “technical review” it was revealed during the appeal, but instead visited quarries outside the area.
He testified in fact that he didn’t even know Leda clay was present until after his inspection, until after he filed his report with the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, and until after he filed his evidence statement with the Environmental Review Tribunal.
Nation Rise received a conditions-laden Renewable Energy Approval just days before the writ for the June Ontario election.
It is Wind Concerns Ontario’s position that the Renewable Energy Approval for this project should be revoked, and the project ended, to save the environment, and save the people of Ontario hundreds of millions of dollars.
We don’t want to pay $400+ million for the power from Nation Rise.
*CanWEA and others neck-deep in the wind power game recite a statement purportedly from the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) in a Globe and M<ail article that Ontario will be in a power shortage in five years. This is false, of course, as the IESO hurried to correct.
**Thanks to Parker Gallant for these calculations.
The citizen-funded appeal of the 100-megawatt, 30+ industrial-scale wind turbine power project in North Stormont (between Ottawa and Cornwall) resumes Monday with expert testimony from a hydrogeologist. Testimony will centre on the danger to area water supply as a result of vibration from construction and operation of the turbines.
Residents in the Chatham-Kent area of Ontario have already experienced problems connected to wind turbine construction, with dozens of families and farms now without water when turbines were constructed on a highly vulnerable aquifer.
The aquifer in the “Nation Rise” wind power project is also designated “highly vulnerable” and residents are concerned.
One of the conditions of the Renewable Energy Approval given to the project by the Wynne government in its last days before election defeat requires that wells within a prescribed distance of turbines must be identified and the water tested prior to construction. That hasn’t happened, say residents, who note that as far as they can tell, the Spain-based power developer EDP has identified less than half the wells that could be affected.
Now, residents whose wells have not been noted by the developer are posting signs.
“We do not want EDP to be able to say that they did not know that we have wells,” Margaret Benke of Concerned Citizens of North Stormont explains. “They counted only 444 domestic wells within 2 km of a turbine/infrastructure, although there are 816 residences in the same area. As long as this project continues to proceed, we want our wells taken into consideration for health and safety.”
That count does not include wells used by local farm operations for livestock, which could also be affected by the vibration from construction and turbine operation.
The danger to water supply was one of the principal issues noted in the appeal launched against the project, and appears also to be a concern to the provincial environment ministry, reflected in the conditions in the project approval. In fact, even though the appeal had already begun, the power developer actually filed notice that it was changing the construction method for the wind turbines, which have huge concrete foundations. This material change to the project has never been subjected to public scrutiny and was not part of the company’s documentation on the project.
“It’s not good enough,” says Benke. “We’ve seen what happened to the people in North Kent, some of whom still don’t have any water, not even to take a bath or shower—any damage to the aquifer could be serious and irreversible harm to the environment, and a risk to human health.”
The appeal resumes in Finch at the community centre and arena on Monday morning.
Residents in Arkwright, NY, are shocked at the noise and environmental disturbance from a wind power project, which just started operation.
The project developer and operator is Spain-based EDP, the same company that runs the South Branch project in Brinston and which is planning the contentious Nation Rise power project in North Stormont.
Residents had hoped the project would be cancelled when the new Ontario government cancelled three other wind power projects, but the IESO claims the project–which is under appeal–has met all its contractual milestones.
Here is the news story with resident complaints of never-ending noise and visual disturbance.
OBSERVER Photo by Jo Ward A large crowd fills the Arkwright Town Hall, as complaints of noise are heard regarding the wind turbines.
ARKWRIGHT– This week saw the powering up of the wind turbines in Arkwright, and the area received its first taste of what a wind farm is like when fully operational.
Kellen Ingalls, project manager for EDP Renewables, gave his report to a crowded house at Monday night’s Arkwright town board meeting, stating the obvious, “the turbines are operational. All 36 of them are connected to the grid. We’re waiting to hear back any day now that they accepted power and is declared operational.”
Despite what many deem as good news, others were not impressed.
“We were up at the lean-tos,” Joni Riggles, a concerned citizen stated. “I am so upset, EDP was asked not to put turbines within viewshot by the county planning board. It is a nightmare, a sonic nightmare, a visual nightmare. It sounded like sneakers in a laundromat. The campground is surrounded, it’s a toxic environment. Who’s going to want to camp here?”
Carrie Babcock, an Arkwright resident said, “It’s like jetliners surrounding my house. It’s a form of noise pollution. It’s awful. How can you help me move away from here? How do I get out of here and still have some property value?”
“I could be sitting on my couch reading and all I have to do is barely crack open a window and it sounds like a jet that’s going by that never goes by. We were told by these people everyday that you’ll never know they’re even there, and if you think that’s not a problem, you’re taking money from the windmill people,” Doug Zeller, another resident added.
“What do you want us to do about it?” Councilman Larry Ball asked. “What do you want us to do about it today?”
“Take them down,” Riggles voiced.
“That’s not going to happen,” Fred Norton, town supervisor, and others on the board responded.
In response to Riggles’ original question, Norton did note that the county gave a release to the developer allowing them to put their windmills there.
Beyond the noise complaints, a letter from Dorothy Fogelman-Holland was read by her husband, citing issues with cell phone interference. Within the letter she claims that there have been times, no matter the day or to who or what type of phone she calls, she’s unable to make a connection. These incidents are sometimes 11 calls being made consecutively and none of them connecting. She states that the issues started in July and are ongoing. Both she and her husband have spoken with their carrier and the carrier has found no issue with their phones or with the towers.
The problem for her is that she undergoes at home dialysis care, and is in need of a constant outside line in case she was to need emergency services. Fogelman-Holland is concerned that others might be in the same predicament with their phones, and that if someone is unable to make a call to 911 that it could be the difference of a life.
Concern was also raised with health issues the turbines might cause. In response Ingalls reminded citizens that, if there’s a complaint or health issue with them, the company has a hot line on the door of the Arkwright Town Hall that has been up throughout construction. If there is an issue they want to hear about it so that they can address it; those messages are checked every day.
There is a fund-raiser/information Brunch event Saturday September 15 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the arena in Finch, hosted by the Concerned Citizens of North Stormont.
Berwick area farm: 33 huge industrial wind turbines proposed, with risk to health, safety, environment and wildlife [Photo Dorothea Larsen, Kemptville]
September 12, 2018
The Concerned Citizens of North Stormont are hosting a special Country Breakfast-Brunch event this Saturday, September 15 at the Finch Arena, to offer information on the 100-megawatt “Nation Rise” wind power project, and to help raise funds for the citizen appeal of the power project.
The project is neither necessary nor wanted by the community.
The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) has stated that the project has met all the milestones; this is not possible as the project is under appeal, and is subject to a condition-laden Renewable Energy Approval. That approval was granted just three days before the writ for the recent Ontario election was drawn up.
In response to citizen concerns about damage to the aquifer and water supply and health impacts of exposure to noise emissions from the turbines, the power developer, EDPR of Spain, actually changed material aspect of the project in the middle of the appeal. The company announced in documents filed with the Environmental Review Tribunal that it was changed the method of construction to be used for the foundations, and changing the equipment type for the turbines.
The appeal has been halted for the moment but resumes next week with testimony on hydrogeology and risks to the environment.
Witnesses for the community opposition present fresh evidence on harm to people and the environment
Berwick area farm: 33 huge industrial wind turbines proposed, with risk to health, safety, environment and wildlife [Photo Dorothea Larsen, Kemptville]
Ontario Farmer, August 14, 2018
By Tom Van Dusen
The Environmental Review Tribunal hearing into North Stormont’s approved Nation Rise wind turbine project has been adjourned until September 10-11.
The adjournment was called by tribunal chair Maureen Carter-Whitney July 31, with three days remaining on the original two-week schedule.
Key issues in deciding whether authorization given to EDP Renewables for the wind farm should be revoked are that it poses serious risk to human health, or that it could create irrevocable damage to the natural environment.
When the hearing resumes, hydrology will be the main topic. Before it broke, opponents presented their case on the threat to bats and birds posed by the installation of 33 turbines in the farming community south-east of Ottawa, the last wind power project to be approved in Ontario before the recent provincial election.
Expert witness Philippe Thomas, a resident of nearby Chesterville, educated the panel on barotrauma, a phenomenon which can cause the lungs of bats to implode when they fly in low-pressure areas close to turbine blades.
He described a study in Western Canada where it was part of his job to retrieve 400 bat carcasses at the base of wind turbines; only a few showed injuries consistent with being struck by blades, while the majority would have succumbed to barotrauma.
..EDP had a chance to rebut bird and bats arguments with its own expert witnesses. Biologist Andrew Ryckman and Dr Paul Kerlinger concluded the danger to bats would be minima and the impact on songbirds and migratory birds would be equally limited because they’re commonly found closer to shorelines. …
[Opposition coordinator Margaret Benke] indicated opposing witnesses brought forward some fresh points on wind turbine noise and on “debris fling” — the fact that pieces sometimes break off wind mills and are hurled long distances, posing a threat to humans in the area.
A major issue now, she emphasized, is paying the $20,000 debt opponents have accumulated in going against the project while raising more money to continue to fight to the end.
To help with fundraising for the North Stormont appeal, go to Go Fund Me here or send a cheque to Concerned Citizens of North Stormont c/o Wind Concerns Ontario, PO Box 509, 250 Wellington Main Street, Wellington ON K0K 3L0.