Monthly Archives: September 2012

OPP save wind developers from “us”

So this is the new norm of a rural neighbourhood poised to see turbines in the future? Police on our dead end roads to ‘protect’ the wind developers (sticking flags int he ground) from .. a school bus? Maybe someone should tell the cop that the real danger lies in where this school bus goes every day – to a school that will be surrounded by 16 turbines within 3 km of it. Now THAT is criminal. Gives NextEra’s nickname ‘NexTerror’ a completely new meaning.

A couple reports and a reaction to ponder from Adelaide area this afternoon:

“When I was coming home today around 1pm, there was a Callon Dietz van parked on the corner of Cuddy and Kerwood Rd….  there were 2 or 3 other vehicles AND an OPP cruiser with his lights on.  I passed them, and was wondering what was going on.  They then came past our home – escorted by the OPP car.  They were milling about.  It leaves me wondering why my tax payer dollars are going to pay for a cop to escort them around!  And perhaps if you need a police escort, you shouldn’t be mucking about in the dirty windmill industry.”

“1 truck, 1 van and a little blue car to look at flags. Oh don’t forget about the cop! He stood guard first in the middle of the road while my child got off the bus. That school bus is pretty shifty, eh! And you better watch out wind workers ya never know what traffic could pass them on that dead end road!!!”

“Why in god’s brown earth should any company need police escort if they are doing things that are ethical…”

Advertisements

Their story needs to be told in the time it takes to tell it.

by Harvey Wrightman
It’s been 10 months since we became involved in the Zephyr Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) appeal where we attempted to present a case that was built on the soundest evidence of all – the testimony of those people who live in wind projects and suffer the many different and terrible maladies that these projects induce. Obviously such a case has merit. Why else would the wind companies and its shameless Ministry of Environment (MOE) collaborator/facilitators fight tooth and nail to prevent or at least nullify such testimony. They know the power of personal experience. The effect of hearing such testimony would be “cleansing.”  Having chosen immersion in the villous fluid of green, they are not ready to be cleansed. The ERT, caught in the middle of this dance, desperately wishes to appear fair to all parties. The process for presenting “lay witness” testimony seems hardly any clearer to me today than it was 10 months ago. More than once I have heard panel members of the ERT allude to the newness/novelty of the Renewable Energy Approvals as a reason to develop the rules “on the go”, yet admonish the parties (mainly appellants) that the process must be streamlined to fit into the 6 month deadline the Green Energy Act provides for an appeal decision.

Oh, really! So how does one fighting an appeal fix on a moving target.

So on Friday, Haldimand Wind Concerns (HWC) lawyer, Eric Gillespie reasonably sought an adjournment of the Samsung Haldimand hearing so that specific issues re: the “lay witness” testimony could be finally settled.

The outstanding issues centre around:

  1. The MOE and Samsung’s demand for “relevant” (read 10 years worth) medical files for all witnesses.
  2. Relevancy issues concerning a curious set of 176 “interrogatories” – rather intrusive questions that each lay-witness is to complete and hand in.
  3. The “interrogatories” raise serious issues of confidentiality; but MOE lawyer, Frederika Rotter, affectionately known as Freddy, dismisses those concerns because she considers anyone so emboldened as to testify before ERT and herself as being an “advocate” and therefore not entitled to any sort of confidentiality privilege. Read the rest of this entry

The Imaginary Waltz of Umbrella Man and the Mannequin

“In these, the dying days of Babylon…” –  Utah Philips  

by Harvey Wrightman
That’s how it felt in the Kinsnmen Hall Cayuga, sitting at the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) appeal of the Samsung wind project. About thirty residents came to watch the pitiful charade that the ERT appeals process has become.  The change in tone at these hearings mirrors what has happened in the more recent kindergarten, story board wind company “open houses” –  they are much grimmer and  have a “get-it-over-with” feeling, the windies know that Big Brother will bring in the muscle to force this down the throats of rural Ontario.

You see it in the way Ministry of Environment lawyer Freddy refers to the post-turbine witnesses. If you thought that the MOE’s  term “receptors” was bad, how would you like “so-called witnesses”. That she gets away with such degrading language speaks to the atmosphere in the room –  the arrogant superiority. From the podium she turned to the audience  to instruct that the 6-month time-table is sacrosanct,  “…while we may not like it, we have to live with it.” She may as well have said, “Shove it.”

And, without any hint of irony, Freddy took us into a lecture about providing a “…fair, open and accessible process for all parties…” What a hoot!

It was pleasant to hear the rain on the roof, as it did lessen the irritating noise coming from Freddy who bobbed from left to right, turning her whole body, like a mannequin. Read the rest of this entry

Rebuked for participating

London Free Press
The article Backlash stalls hundreds of jobs (Sept. 8) fails to explain how we rural Ontarians apparently have stopped Samsung from building a wind turbine manufacturing plant in London.

If by following the public process that the Ontario government has set up for us to use, we happen to be causing a slowdown in approvals, that shouldn’t be a problem for the Minister of Energy, should it?

The public is always chastised for not participating, but it doesn’t seem to be appreciated when we do attend meetings, fill in forms, ask questions, demand answers and, yes, appeal government decisions. If this causes Energy Minister Chris Bentley anxiety, he only has himself and his Liberal government to blame.
Esther Wrightman

What ails you, Mr. Bentley?

London Free Press, by Harvey Wrightman, Kerwood
I’m so sorry to hear that poor Minister Bentley is getting anxiety attacks about the rural backlash for his “wind follies” program. Perhaps he is anxious about the Zephyr wind project near Watford which is a case study in everything that can go wrong. It’s what you get when green evangelists team up with door-to-door salesmen. Nothing works.

Now relax Chris. Please sit down and answer these questions for us, the rural people who are so upset with this mess your government is making. Let’s identify the problems:

  1. The developer, Greenbreeze/Oneworld is bankrupt leaving four lawsuits filed by contractors and other parties for non-payment. The final “cost” was rumoured to be over $30,000,000 for 4 turbines, a tad high don’t you think?
    Further, on the remnants of the Oneworld website, we find, “No funds are expected to be available for secured creditors, unsecured creditors or the shareholders of Oneworld.”
    Where did the money go and who owns the project now? Oh well, who cares about the money part.
  2. One of the wind turbines (# 3) hardly ever operates. It is said to be “defective”. Apparently the foundation was poured over a rather large, fresh water spring. As a result the tower is floating on a “bubble”. Turning the blades causes it to shake and ultimately lean.
    With all the stringent environmental controls that you have in place, how could they (the MOE) not know about this?
    This turbine may tip over as one did in Fenner, NY in 2009. I imagine that must cause you some anxiety. Read the rest of this entry

Ontario tweaks green energy rules

by Paul Morden, The Sarnia Observer

Ontario’s new rules for green energy projects should prevent solar farms from sprouting up on vacant residential lots, like one did in Alvinston more than a year ago.

The revised rules followed a review launched last fall of the province’s Feed-in Tariff (FIT) program for awarding contracts to buy electricity from green energy projects.

One change is to not allow new ground-mounted solar energy projects on residential property, or next to it.

“The only problem is that it’s not retroactive,” said Don McGugan, mayor of Brooke-Alvinston Township.

He sounded the alarm in the spring of 2011 after a ground-mounted solar farm was built on four vacant residential lots in a quiet Alvinston neighbourhood.

The lots were purchased by an out-of-town buyer and there was nothing municipal council could do to stop the solar farm from being built since Ontario’s Green Energy legislation stripped communities of their planning authority on renewable energy projects. Read the rest of this entry

The company comes to tea

by Harvey Wrightman
In the Nextera Bornish project near Parkhill, a 115 kv line is proposed to link projects in north Lambton (the Jericho and Camlachie wind projects) and another 115 kv line is planned for the west Middlesex (Adelaide) wind project.  Both lines to converge at a new substation at Nairn that will “tap” into the 500 kv line. Nairn and Seaforth are the only two “taps” that Hydro will allow. That  both would be built by NextEra/FPL (NexTerror) is interesting.

NexTerror has an inside track in its dealings with this government.

Because both lines are high voltage, they require easements with adjoining landowners. I’m not sure of the status of those easement acquisitions for Bluewater; but, there is considerable resistance to both the Jericho/Camlachie line and the Adelaide line. Both happen to feature buildings of historical significance that are on the municipal road – you can’t just shove string lines over them.

Another feature of NexTerror is it’s cheap – it doesn’t offer much compensation fto landowners for what is a permanent easement with rather vague,open-ended in wording, and paltry, one-time compensation compared to the decrease in property value that will occur with 100′ poles out front, strung with multiple lines.

I attended a landowner meeting in late July where a NexTerror  rep (project manager) was present with two “landmen” from the land acquisition company that does the sign-up work for the needed easements and options, some interesting statements were made:

  1. To a resident’s question about responsibility, ” …if someone did hit one of these poles, where would you phone, Florida?”  the NexTerror rep replied that, “… what we would do is ummmm, if we had Hydro One infrastructure there as well, uhhh if we had both on the poles (combined Hydro and NexTerror lines), uhhh we would actually give them to – sell them for a dollar to Hydro One, and then we’d rent back off them so you’d phone Hydro One. Typically, what would happen regardless even if Hydro One didn’t own them, we’d enter into an agreement for Hydro One to respond.”
    One wonders, if Hydro doesn’t own the lines, what incentive would Hydro have to look after a line that may very well cause stray voltage and power surges? Hasn’t that happened elsewhere?
  2. Re: pole siting on road allowance or private land, the rep states, “…well, we’d have a couple of options. Under the Ontario Electricity act we have the right to go on the municipal right of way. In our permit applications…we’ve shown them in the road right of way. So that’s the first option and that’s what we would press for.”
    A resident then asks, “What gives you the right to do this as a foreign company?”  The rep replies, “The Ontario Electricity Act….as a transmitter in Ontario, the road right of ways were built or exist in part to allow utilities such as the gas line to go up there. A transmitter in Ontario is considered a utility like that and as such has the right to use.”  The resident interjects, “It’s still a private company.” and the rep says, “Just like Enbridge or Union Gas.”
    The problem here is that NexTerror would be both a transmitter and generator and with very little regulation applied to it.
    Read the rest of this entry

Zephyr project developer goes bankrupt

Oneworld Energy was the company behind the Zephyr Wind project in Brooke-Alvinston, Ontario.

“We regret to inform you that Oneworld Energy Inc. filed an assignment of bankruptcy on June 5, 2012 with the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy Estate 32-163280. All the remaining subsidiaries of Oneworld are dormant with no assets and/or also bankrupt.

As per Canadian bankruptcy law, creditors have been notified of the bankruptcy process. No funds are expected to be available for secured creditors, unsecured creditors or the shareholders of Oneworld.  Shareholders are advised to contact their financial advisor regarding the tax treatment of their investments.  Should you have any other queries, please email info@oneworldenergy.com.

Let’s wait for study, councillors urge

Health Studies Before Wind Turbines

By Debora Van Brenk, The London Free Press
The province should halt wind-turbine approvals until a federal health study is complete in 2014, Middlesex County councillors say.

They have joined scores of other municipalities that have in various forms called for more control over the timing and location of turbines, one of the key elements in Ontario’s Green Energy Act.

Admitting to some reservations about supporting a moratorium, Southwest Middlesex Mayor Doug Reycraft also said he has “a bit of doubt” about turbine safety.

He said the Health Canada study announced six weeks ago should have been commissioned long before wind contracts were signed and investments made in the technology in Ontario.

“It really is an initiative that is late into the game and I regret that it didn’t happen earlier.” Read the rest of this entry

Wind farm setback ignored

by Paul Morden, The Sarnia Observer
The mayor of Plympton-Wyoming says he’s disappointed Suncor Energy isn’t following the town’s two-kilometre setback requirement in plans for its Cedar Point Wind Power Project.

While Ontario’s Green Energy Act removed municipal control of planning approvals for renewable energy projects, Plympton-Wyoming passed a bylaw calling for wind turbines to be built no closer than two kilometres from neighbouring homes. The province only requires 550-metres.

“I was hoping they would abide by our bylaw and set them at the required distance we were looking for,” Mayor Lonny Napper said. “I was disappointed with that.” Read the rest of this entry