Prowind was the wind power developer based in Germany that had a proposal for the North Gower-Richmond area of Ottawa. The company failed to qualify for bids for new projects in 2015.Norwich Gazette, June 22, 2015
A local group is appealing the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change’s decision to issue a renewable energy approval for the Gunn’s Hill wind farm. East Oxford Community Alliance Inc., a group of local citizens that has opposed the project since its announcement, has challenged the approval, citing several points to demonstrate the project will cause serious harm to human health and plants, animals and the natural environment. The matter will now be heard in front of the Environmental Review Tribunal. The hearing is scheduled for June 29, 30, July 6 through 8, July 14 and 16. The location is Oxford Centre hall. Information posted to the provincial Environmental Registry states the Alliance is asking the Tribunal to revoke the decision to issue the REA. The Alliance’s grounds for the hearing, as outlined on the registry website, include impacts to human health, the project’s proximity to Curries Aerodrome and harm to local animals. “Industrial wind turbines are known to cause a range of serious health effects (e.g., sleep disturbance, headaches, tinnitus, ear pressure, dizziness, vertigo, nausea, visual blurring, irritability, depression, problems with learning and concentration, increased stress, memory and panic episodes) and further impacts arising from these impacts (e.g., increased morbidity and significant chronic disease) in approximately 5 per cent to 30 per cent of the population,” the appeal posting states, adding the health effects are more likely than not caused by exposure to infrasound, low frequency noise and visual impact. The appeal posting also claims the construction and operation of the project as proposed will result in interference with radar systems at London and Hamilton and thus affect the safety of aviation-related activity in the area. The project is also proposed for an area in close proximity to Curries Aerodrome, which would expose pilots to unsafe conditions and require them to adopt unsafe practices during takeoffs and landings. Another point of the appeal is the impact it could have on livestock health, reproduction or productivity, which would affect the livelihoods of farm operators. Prowind Canada’s Gunn’s Hill wind farm project received environmental approval from the MOECC April 9. At that time, Prowind Vice-President Juan Anderson said the company is prepared to follow the appeal process, but was confident in the process it followed to receive ministry approval.
Editor’s note: the community group found that there were numerous errors and omissions in Prowind’s submission to the Ministry of the Environment.
The power developer who bought the 30-MW South Branch project in South Dundas from German developer Prowind, EDP Renewables, is now proposing to expand into Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, and apply for a Feed In Tariff contract. Spokesman Ken Little told South Dundas council the company was planning 30-50 turbines.
Ontario is currently offering contracts for 300 MW of new wind power in 2015, despite a situation of surplus power in Ontario, and the fact that Ontario lost more than $425 million in the first quarter of 2015, exporting surplus power cheap.
A public meeting will be held in Finch this coming Wednesday at the community centre/arena at 7 PM. The goal is to have a panel present various viewpoints on wind power.
Guest speakers will be Tom Levy of CanWEA, Jane Wilson of Ottawa Wind Concerns /Wind Concerns Ontario, and Don McCabe of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture.
EDP’s Brinston project is about 40 minutes south of Ottawa.
Construction of one of the 3-MW turbines at Brinston, now operating–30-50 more proposed by EDP Renewables
Ottawa Wind Concerns has learned that a “Charge of Lease” has been placed on the South Branch wind “farm” in the amount of $70 million. The charge is on the leasehold interest in five properties, where property owners have leased land for wind turbines, access roads, substations, and other parts of the wind power generation project.
Earlier this month, details came to light on the 140-turbine K-2 project near Goderich, Ontario, where a charge of lease has been filed on the title for 100 farm properties, in the amount of $1 billion.
The Charge of Lease is basically a financing agreement between a lender (who may represent investors in the wind power project) and the wind power developer, that can function as a line of credit. The basis for the Charge, as we understand it, is that the present value of the contract for the turbines, i.e., the Feed In Tariff contract for power with the Province of Ontario is greater than the present value of the lease agreements with the landowners; the difference between those two values is the security for the loan.
The South Branch contract with the Ontario government runs for 20 years and is worth millions to the developer, who bought the project from Germany-based Prowind.
The importance of the existence of these agreements is the effect they have for the landowner leasing land for the wind turbines. In the opinion of a lawyer advising us (who prefers the term “Demand Debenture” for this arrangement:
It’s not so much that the farmer lessors might on default lose their land (the land itself is not mortgaged, just the turbine contract on that land) but the damage it does to that farmer if he/she wants to sell or to renew an existing mortgage, or place a new one or in any way borrow money for which the lender would want security on his/her land.
Assume a binding Agreement of Purchase and Sale. The lawyer for the purchaser does a title search and discovers the Demand Debenture. The lawyer would immediately tell his/her client that the client is entitled to get out of the deal unless the registration of the Demand Debenture is removed from title, and would also insist to the farmer’s lawyer that this be done otherwise the deal cannot close. A purchaser is not expected to assume any risk of this nature nor to be in the position of “buying a law suit”.
in the case of renewing an existing mortgage or placing a new one, the lawyer for the Bank or other lending institution would take the same position – no renewal or new mortgage unless the customer sees to it that the Demand Debenture disappears from title. Period. End of story.
This is another example of the very serious questions that need to be asked by anyone considering leasing their land for a wind power generation project. There are many serious and long-lasting effects to signing these agreements that need to be properly understood.
In 2013, the Not A Willing Host group of municipalities met in Ottawa at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario convention. At that meeting, one Ontario mayor said, What people need to understand is that basically, they sold their property for the amount of the lease agreement.
** Please see also, the article from the May 5th edition of Ontario Farmer on the charge of lease issue, here.
Wind Concerns Ontario yesterday posted a list of the lobbyists who had registered with the provincial registry on behalf of wind power developers. Germany-based Prowind, which has an office apparently in Hamilton, Ontario, is among them, with Sussex Strategy Group representing them.
Sussex has a number of Big Wind clients, and is famous for the leaked strategy document in which it recommended that wind power developers align themselves with organizations associated with health care, in order to support the “clean” “green” and environmentally healthy perceptions about wind power. The consultants advised their wind power clients to “confuse” the issue by changing focus from high energy prices to job creation and clean air.
Prowind’s project in Ottawa is currently inactive and the company did not qualify as an applicant to the new Large Renewable Procurement process; however, as we learned listening in on an industry-focused webinar recently, an unqualified applicant can partner up with a company who did qualify (begging the question, what was the point of THAT?).
Prowind is currently trying to raise funding for its project near Woodstock Ontario by a community investment fund.
NOTE: Ottawa Wind Concerns was active in creating a plebescite via legal petition to Ottawa City Council in 2013, which resulted in a motion of support for the community in its opposition to the wind power project. The community group remains active, with a legal team on retainer.
From the Financial PostComment, February 4, by Brady Yauch, executive director the Consumer Policy Institute
When the Ontario government launched its Green Energy Act (GEA ) in 2009, it promised “new green economy jobs” and ” a wide range of economic opportunities.” Then Minister of Energy George Smitherman argued that the GEA would be a boon to Ontarians of all stripes: “We see opportunities in our rural communities for farmers, not just to lease their land for big companies that are the proponents of wind farms, but indeed for clusters of farmers to see themselves as investors in projects…. the emergence of thousands of smaller green energy projects—microgeneration—in urban as well as rural areas.”
Yes, everyone would need to pay a little more for renewable power, the public was told, but the benefits would be widely shared, for the ultimate benefit of all. As it turned out, power rates didn’t go up a little – they soared. And the subsidies weren’t widely shared among the folk – a handful of billion dollar companies pocketed most of them, most of them outside the province.
According to an analysis by the Consumer Policy Institute and Energy Probe, 90% of the wind subsidies went to just 11 companies, 80% of the subsidies went to nine companies with annual revenues over $1-billion, 60% of the subsidies went to six companies with more than $10-billion in annual revenue.
As for the province’s claim that it wants to create an Ontario-based “green economy,” less than 10% of subsidies to wind generators went to small-scale or local owners.
Since 2006, when the province first started subsidizing wind turbines, the province has provided more than $1.92 billion in subsidies. This act of corporate welfare is far from over.
According to the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) – the provincial agency in charge of energy planning and contracting – the province has signed deals for another 2,630 MW of wind energy to come on stream in the coming years, on top of the 3,065 MW already in commercial operation. All of that generation will receive above market rates courtesy of ratepayers for their output. In total, the amount of subsidies to wind producers could hit $8-billion over the next decade and $13-billion over the next 20 years.
The list of companies receiving the lion’s share of subsidies reads like a “who’s who” in Canada’s energy sector and corporate heavyweights. Brookfield Renewable Energy (a subsidiary of Brookfield Asset Management), Enbridge and Transalta alone accounted for about 38 percent of all subsidies handed out to wind generators. Those companies combined brought in $54-billion in total revenue in 2013.
Samsung, which posted $217-billion in revenue last year, is expected to triple its wind capacity in Ontario – and the subsidies that go along with it – in the next couple of years.
The damage to ratepayers for such policies has been significant. Since 2009 – when the GEA was introduced – ratepayers in Ontario have seen the commodity cost on their energy bills climb dramatically, with the regulated price of power over that time having increased on average by 56%, or just over 9% annually – more than five times the rate of inflation, making electricity price increases worse in Ontario than elsewhere in Canada.
To make matters worse, the high rates being pushed onto ratepayers has lowered demand for electricity across the province in recent years. That means Ontario now has a significant surplus of power, which it then exports to neighbouring jurisdictions at a loss. Ontario ratepayers are now subsidizing the energy consumption of households in America and other provinces.
Nearly everyone is losing when it comes to renewable energy in Ontario – except for those few companies that planted industrial wind turbines across the province and are receiving billions in subsidies for their effort.
NOTE from Ottawa Wind Concerns: The Library of Parliament, on request from MP Pierre Poilievre, estimated that IF the wind power project proposed for the North Gower-Richmond area of Ottawa by Germany-based Prowind had gone ahead (it almost reached approval), the 20-MW project would have cost Ontario ratepayers $4.8 million per year.
Health Canada study results show North Gower wind farm would have made more than 100 people sick
Many people were disappointed in the results contained in the summary of the Health Canada Wind Turbine Noise and Health study, which was released in a hurry on November 6th.
While the mainstream media picked up on the message as being “there is no association between wind turbine noise and health effects” what Health Canada actually said in its news release was this:
No evidence was found to support a link between exposure to wind turbine noise and any of the self-reported or measured health endpoints examined. However, the study did demonstrate a relationship between increasing levels of wind turbine noise and annoyance towards several features (including noise, vibration, shadow flicker, and the aircraft warning lights on top of the turbines) associated with wind turbines.
In fact, the study found that an average of 16.5% of people within 2 km of wind turbines, or a wind turbine (whether multiples were considered is not clear), had severe distress or “annoyance”. The closer people lived, the worse that result was: 25% of people at 550 meters or less (some people waived the setback as part of their contract with the wind power developers) had adverse health effects related to the distress or annoyance, annoyance being a medical term.
The adverse health effects from the annoyance listed by Health Canada were:migraine, tinnitus (chronic ringing in the ears), dizziness, sleep disturbance or disorder, and cardiovascular effects such as elevated blood pressure.
So, what would that mean for North Gower, if the wind power generation project proposed by Prowind in 2008 gone ahead (remember, it got as close as one could to a Feed In Tariff contract, before the government paused the subsidy program in the spring of 2013–it is NOT true that it would never have been approved, it was virtually there).
Thanks to volunteers who have mapped the area, using a schematic of the turbine locations which was leaked to us, we know this:
Number of homes within 800 meters of a turbine: 43
Number of homes within 1.6 km of a turbine: 234
TOTAL number of homes that would be most affected: 277
At an average of 2.5 people/home, that would be 692 people, and at an average of 16.5% affected by distress/annoyance, that would be 114 people.
This is considered to be a conservative figure as Health Canada did not do any follow up on the significant number of houses it discovered vacant or demolished in the study. These were “mature” turbine projects and as we know from the experience of people living in areas like Chatham-Kent, Clear Creek, Ripley and Kincardine, the people most affected leave within six months to a year.
At least some of them children.
And yet the Ontario government continues to approve these power projects, despite evidence of harm to health, and the fact that Ontario does not need the power. And the wind power lobby group, the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) persists in the mythology that wind power is clean and good for the environment.
Health Canada is taking no action, despite these results, and has no intention of studying wind turbine noise further*. The people of North Gower have a right to expect more from the federal government, and from Health Canada, which is supposed to used sound science principles to protect citizens.
Our Member of Parliament is Pierre Poilievre at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any comments on what the Health Canada study means to you and our community.
Ottawa Wind Concerns
PO Box 3, North Gower ON K0A 2T0
*As per a personal meeting with the study team representatives, Ottawa, November 7.
The Ontario Power Authority released its list of Qualified Applicants for Large Renewable power projects today. The deadline for applicants to apply for qualification was one month ago, on September 4th.
The Government of Ontario will now proceed to contract for more wind and solar power, despite the fact Ontario has a surplus of power and has been selling off power to neighbouring jurisdictions throughout October at a loss of millions of ratepayer dollars.
The company that had proposed a wind power project in North Gower, Prowind of Germany (incorporated as Prowind Canada here) is NOT on the list of qualified applicants.
The chair of Ottawa Wind Concerns Jane Wilson says the community is cautiously optimistic: “The citizens of North Gower, Richmond and Kars demonstrated solid opposition to the project via a plebescite last year, which resulted in a supportive motion unanimously passed at Ottawa City Council. We think any other company looking at coming here will get the message that a huge wind power project close to over 1,000 homes and our school is not appropriate. We continue to stand ready to take every means available to fight another proposal.”
LRP I RFQ Qualified Applicants List PostedThe LRP I RFQ submission deadline was September 4, 2014, at 3:00 p.m. Seventy Qualification Submissions were received by the deadline. Following two months of review for completeness and eligibility, the OPA has now completed its evaluation of all Qualification Submissions and has determined the final list of Qualified Applicants. These entities would be eligible to submit proposals under any future LRP I RFP.
Those RFQ Applicants that are not listed on the LRP I RFQ Qualified Applicant List are reminded that they would not be eligible to submit a proposal under any future LRP I RFP but may qualify to participate in any future round of LRP procurement.
More information and the LRP I RFQ Qualified Applicant List are available on the LRP Website.
Next Steps in the LRP Process
The OPA is working to finalize the draft versions of the LRP I RFP and LRP I Contract and anticipates they will be posted in November. Once the documents have been posted, municipalities, communities, stakeholders and other interested parties will be invited to review them and provide feedback. A webinar will also be scheduled to discuss the draft documents – details on the timing of the webinar will be posted with the draft documents.
Brinston–While some critics of wind turbines howl that the cost of the eventual teardown of a turbine is astronomical, the actual cost today would be $30,000 to $100,000, per turbine.
The bigger issue is, who is going to pay for it.
Municipalities are on the hook to ensure companies tear down or, in industry jargon, decommission a turbine, unless they’ve got a binding agreement with the wind power company. Some municipalities demand from wind turbine companies ongoing payments into protected (or escrow) accounts or bonds to set money aside annually to pay for decommissioning.
Some municipalities require a letter of intent from wind turbine companies to ensure they will be responsible for decommissioning. Some municipalities have no agreement at all, including Wolfe Island, said its mayor, Denis Doyle. TransAlta communications manager Stacey Hatcher said the decommissioning plans are between the company and the landowner and because of that, the info is confidential. [See editor’s note #1]
The 86 turbines on Wolfe Island, on the St. Lawrence River at Kingston, were built by Canadian Hydro Developers, later purchased by Trans Alta and there is no bond or escrow account in place. The company does, however, reimburse the island about $100,000 per year for hosting the project. Based on current decommissioning projects around the world, it can cost $30,000 to $10,000 [sic] to dispose of a turbine. If it were to cost $50,000 to remove each turbine on Wolfe Island, it would cost $4.3 million to remove them all. Of course, that price goes up over time. [See Editor’s note #2] Hatcher said the company plans to repower or recontract when they [sic] current contracts are up.
There are 10 three-megawatt wind turbines at Brinston, between Kemptville and Winchester, and the power company ProWind [see Editor’s note #3] pays $1,000 per megawatt per year over the next 20 years into an escrow account that will rack up $600,000 to pay for decommissioning. [Editor’s note #4]
Windlectric Inc. wants to build 36 turbines on Amherst Island where Statec Consulting said that decommissioning costs are up to Windlectric. Typically, decommissioning will not remove all of the concrete base, but that’s only the first few feet of concrete that went into the ground. [We’re done adding editor’s notes at this point.]
One of the most infamous decomissionings involved 37 decrepit turbines in Hawaii that stood unused for six years before they were taken down in 2012. Tawhiri Power estimated that the take-down cost $30,000 per turbine. [OK, one more; see Editor’s note #5]
The seven-turbine community-owned Black Oak Wind Farm in New York State will start construction in late 2014. The decommissioning plan would currently cost about $55,883 per turbine, although the project expects to generate at least $50,000 per turbine by selling it as scrap metal. The municipality agreement means the power company must pay $140,000 per turbine in escrow but also means the payment can be reviewed and changed if decommissioning estimates change.….
WCO Editor’s notes:
1. Many landowners were told that it was to their benefit to decommission the turbines themselves as there is so much scrap value in the turbines; this is untrue due to the quality of metal being used, and also the other costs of decommissioning such as crane rental, and disposal of the toxic components.
2. So, that would be the millions then…
3. ProWind, properly “Prowind,” does not own the Brinston project, and hasn’t for several years. It is now owned by EDP Renewables.
4. In the original negotiations with Prowind, the developer wanted the landowners and the municipality to be responsible for decommissioning costs. It was the local community group that brought these costs to the attention of the municipality, and played a significant role in the agreement now in place.
5. US dollars? Canadian dollars? Also, the size of the turbines and the machinery involved is a factor. The turbines erected in Hawaii over a decade again, and the turbines at Wolfe Island are now miniscule compared with the 500-foot-plus, 3 -MW behemoths being built and proposed.
Not from around here: just visiting for the brainwashing
The executives at the wind power developers’ lobby group, the Canadian Wind Energy Association, took a trip down the road from their offices on Carling Avenue in Ottawa to see the wind power project in Brinston, just south and east of Ottawa.
Here’s a report on the visit:
CanWEA Staff Tours South Branch Wind Farm
On June 25, several EDPR employees led a tour of the South Branch wind farm for staff members of the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) , including CanWEA’s president, Robert Hornung, who had this to say about the visit: The siting characteristics of South Branch and how well the wind farm blends with the natural landscape are truly impressive, said Mr. Hornung. We were equally impressed by the care and attention that EDPR has taken in building a high level of enduring community acceptance.
The tour of the wind farm, located near Brinston, Ontario, included stops in the O&M building as well as the inside of the base of a tower and the substation building. After an informative tour, CanWEA expressed interest in working with EDPR to improve its information packages for farmers. Several CanWEA representatives also said they planned to stop by the upcoming South Branch Kid Wind Day, which will be held on Thursday, July 24, and attended by 150 kids.
The claim that EDP has “enduring community acceptance” would be laughable, were it not for the truth about this community: once the wind project was publicly announced by the original developer, Germany-based Prowind, the community became divided between the few farm owners leasing their land for turbines, and others in the community who had no choice but to watch this happen to them. A community group was organized and held several information meetings…but of course, with the Green Energy Act, there are no solutions through elected representatives. South Dundas Council voted on a resolution to say there would be no support for further wind power development as Ontario doesn’t need any more power generation.
The so-called South Branch Kid Wind Day is NOT for local families (hard for them to miss the huge, 3-megawatt turbines) but it will be for kids being bused in from elsewhere. The community has not even been informed of this PR event.
Of greater concern, though, is the news that an “information package” is being developed for farmers: this is being worked on because Eastern Ontario has a green light from the province for wind power development…it is rumoured that 5,000 more acres in North Dundas have been optioned for future wind power development.
Our question: will EDP and CanWEA provide full disclosure on noise, health problems, sleep disturbance, property value loss, and the potential for lawsuits from neighbouring landowners?
The South Branch wind “farm” has only been in operation for two and a half months, but already people are talking about the noise and vibration from the turbines. Last week’s super-windy days were especially troublesome. The turbines are 3-megawatt capacity, the first of the powerful turbines to be operational in Ontario … for now.
From contacts we have, it appears that some residents are completely unaware that they can–and should–alert the Ministry of the Environment’s “spills action” line and notify them about the excessive noise.
Complaints have to be Registered with BOTH EDP Renewables and Ministry of Environment. You need to provide your Name, Civic number Address, date and time of the noise and be specific with your complaint information.
Contact: Ken Little, EDP Renewables 1-877-910-3377 ext.3 or email@example.com
Ministry of Environment – spills action line 1-800-860-2760 request the Cornwall Office and speak with Terry Forrester.
We should add that we know from experiences with contacts in Harrow, Norfolk, and Grand Valley, that callers must be polite, and have details about the noise experienced, and the time of day and duration.
More information on the Ministry of the Environment Spills Action line may be found here.
South Branch was originally developed by Prowind of Germany, and sold to EDP Renewables, a firm with headquarters in Portugal.