This gallery contains 46 photos.
Monthly Archives: November 2012
Deb Van Brenk, London Free Press
North America’s largest wind energy company generated local static Tuesday as it asked Middlesex County to smooth the process in allowing transmission lines along county roads.
The transmission poles would connect NextEra’s three proposed wind farms near Thedford, Parkhill and Strathroy along county-owned roads.
County councillors expressed concerns about the poles’ height — each would be about 35 metres tall — possible conflicts with other services, such as drainage and hydro, and clearance at intersections.
Southwest Middlesex Mayor Vance Blackmore wondered if they would exacerbate worries that Middlesex roads already have too many signs and poles.
County engineer Chris Traini said, “In a perfect world, we would limit the amount of above-ground utilities if possible.”
But he conceded the county is required to share its rights-of-way and needs to make sure policies are in place to protect county interests.
That means NextEra should not consider this a negotiation but a matter of following county policies, said Adelaide Metcalfe Mayor David Bolton. Read the rest of this entry
Heather Wright, Sarnia This Week
Lambton Shores plans to use a development agreement to spare municipal taxpayers any unforeseen costs from industrial wind farms now in the planning stages. Suncor Energy and NextEra have two large green energy projects planned for the community with over 100 industrial turbines being erected.
Residents have voiced opposition to the plans but have also raised concerns about the impact the construction will have on municipal roads, bridge and drains. But municipalities have little control over the projects since the province passed the Green Energy Act. It takes away the municipality’s ability to approve the projects or suggest placement of the turbines.
So Lambton Shores is going through the agreement it usually uses with subdivision developers, thinking of all the possible items to which could come up as the turbines are built. Lambton Shores Clerk Carol Mackenzie says there should be an application fee for the projects to cover staff costs for dealing with the projects. She’s suggested $5,000. Councilor Doug Bonesteel isn’t sure if that would be enough for a review and questioned whether staff could analyse the documents – which are hundreds of pages long. He says the wind companies should pay for that. “If we’re going to be given information from the wind turbine companies, they need to run by Ontario Professional Engineers Association to certify the information is true …spend their money to do it,” he says. Read the rest of this entry
In Middlesex County, Nextera has two wind projects up for final public comment: Adelaide and Bornish, totaling 83 turbines, for now. The company’s plan is to connect these two projects, as well as the 92 turbine Nextera Jericho and 62 Suncor Cedar Point projects, with one massive transmission line. Problem is, the route isn’t figured out yet. Remember, the public is supposed to be filing their final comments right now on complete project documents, and yet this very significant piece of information isn’t available for the public to comment on, or even view.
The map (above right) shows a ‘proposed’ route – this is all the public, the county, the townships and the Ministry of Environment are supposed to know right now. In fact, this route has not been secured. Landowners refused to sign easements; Hydro Ones said ‘no’ to sharing their poles. And now Nextera is planning to ask Middlesex County council to allow the company to erect their own 90’ poles with 115kv lines on the other side of the county’s road; hoping that council will ignore the significant safety risk that this will pose to regular travelers by doubling the number of hydro poles on county road allowance.
But this isn’t the whole story. Nextera has a plan “C”, lovingly called the “Back Country” route. The locals started cluing into this plan when residents were being approached by CanAcre landmen to sign 100′ transmission easements through the back of their lots— in some cases through mature, hard maple bush. At the final public meeting when company representatives were asked about this route, they twisted away from saying it was so, until they were certain that we were not going to tolerate being lied to. One rep was asked: if they were to use this route, would they not have to have another public meeting to unveil this new plan? Yes, he said they would. But no new meeting has taken place, so we just assumed they were using one of the other routes….until we saw these documents at the MOE office in London (they were only placed on the company’s website 3 days ago, after complaints to the MOE were made). Take a look at pg.11 and on – these are personal notes that the CanAcre landmen took while trying to sign-up the ‘Back Country’ land. Why was this sent to the MOE? Do they intend to still use this route? It would appear that that would still be a big possibility as to this day, CanAcre is still making their rounds in the community, trying to get the land signed that they need.
What would this ‘Back Country’ route look like? Nextera of course does not have a map available, but residents were able to piece it together by basically following the plow lines in the fields and assembling the map below. The Red line is the “Back country” and the Yellow is the current Proposed Line. Be sure to follow those lines, right through the woodlot— and remember this is supposed to be ‘green energy’.
Does it not fly in the face of reason that council and the public are only now being shown all the various transmission routes that this company is contemplating? We are in the middle of the final 30 day comment periods for both the Bornish and Adelaide projects – this is the last time the Ministry of Environment allows us to comment on these projects. If the MOE has truly reviewed all of Nextera’s Bornish and Adelaide Project Documents, and deemed them complete so that we could review them – does it not seem like they may be missing a large piece of the puzzle, of WHERE the transmission lines are going? We know of three different transmission routes: on Hydro One’s poles, on the other side of the county road, and the ‘back country route’ – all of which are still being actively pursued by the wind company. We are being asked to comment on incomplete and unavailable information… or perhaps they do not wish to have the public’s comments and that is why we are left out of the decision making.
Heather Wright, Sarnia This Week
THEDFORD – Steve Walker has been working for four years to restore an 11 acre plot of land near the Thedford Bog.
He’s planted thousands of native plants, trees and prairie grasses, all the while watching the wildlife in awe.
In March, the Courtright man watched as the majestic tundra swans swooped over his land to land in the nearby bog.
Now that NextEra Energy has revealed where it will place some of its 92 turbines for the Jericho wind Energy project in Lambton Shores, he’s worried about those swan.
There are a number of turbines which could be placed near the Thedford bog and the draft report shows more than a dozen sites along the Ausable River which Walker believes the swans use to find their migration resting spot.
“The number one concern I have is the tundra swans; to me their almost like a big 747 coming in for a landing and then you put up all these CN towers -you wouldn’t do that at end of the runway,” he told Sarnia Lambton This Week. “I was very surprised they put two of them right tight to their northern border.”
But NextEra Spokesperson Josie Hernandez says the company has been very careful in placing the turbines with wildlife in mind. “The closest one is 920 meters away from the bog,” says Hernandez adding the company’s plan “meets and exceeds the requirements by the province.” Read the rest of this entry
Avery Moore, Blackburn News
A local wind action group is calling on the provincial government to make information on wind farms more accessible. Members of the Middlesex Wind Action Group participated in a 2 hour ”read-in” at the Exeter Road Ministry of the Environment offices Friday.
They were there to read the one and only hard copy of a plan for a wind farm going up near Parkhill. The group’s leader, Esther Wrightman, says traveling to the MOE in London is the only way to get access to specific details on wind farm plans. Wrightman says the provincial government should make the documents available online and in township offices and libraries in rural communities.
Date: November 27
Time: 1:00 pm
Place: Middlesex County Building, 399 Ridout St. North, London MAP
Nextera is seeking use of Middlesex County’s road allowance for their own personal 115kv transmission line to connec the Adelaide, Jericho and Bornish wind projects, or so they think for now. You see, they have several plans inplay, and even though the wind projects are in their final days of public comment period, the wind company still does not have a transmission route figured out. They seem to be under the illusion that we don’t need/want to comment on this as well?
This proposal to county council asks that we allow the double lining our roads with hydro poles, doubling the safety risk for road traffic. They will be 90′ poles, erected in front of residents homes and farms. For who? For a company from Florida. Be there to say NO!
Submit Comment for Adelaide-Kerwood Wind Project — Due December 20 — 38 Wind Turbines
Proponent: Kerwood Wind, Inc., 5500 North Service Road, 205 Burlington Ontario, Canada L7L 6W6
Instrument Type: Approval for a renewable energy project – EPA s.47.3(1)
Ministry Reference Number: 6465-8XGLQT
Ministry: Ministry of the Environment
Date Proposal loaded to the Registry: November 20, 2012
Comment Period: 30 days: submissions may be made between November 20, 2012 and December 20, 2012. Read the rest of this entry
Paul Morden, Sarnia Observer
Municipal councillors in Plympton-Wyoming want to know what wind turbines heading their way will do to property values.
Council passed a resolution recently asking the Ontario government for information about the impact wind energy projects are having on property value assessments.
“There have been all kinds of rumours out there and we’ve been trying to get the information from MPAC (Municipal Property Assessment Corporation) or municipal affairs about the severity of it,” said Plympton-Wyoming Mayor Lonny Napper.
“We’re just looking for some answers” and haven’t received any so far from MPAC, he said.
“Council put together a motion that we put a little heat on them.”
The municipality is expected to be home to several of the up to 62 wind turbines Suncor plans to build as part of its Cedar Point wind project.
Napper said residents have been telling council they’re worried about their property values. He added councillors are also concerned because those values determine property assessments, and that impacts the tax dollars available to maintain roads and other services.
“If we’re going to have our tax base eroded, we’ve got to make some other changes,” Napper said. Read the rest of this entry
Heather Wright, Sarnia this Week
LAMBTON SHORES – Mitt Romney may have binders of women, but Lambton Shores – his summer vacation spot – has binders of wind turbines. Suncor Energy has delivered its draft plan for the Cedar Point Wind Energy Project to Lambton Shores. Suncor has a contract with the Ontario Power Authority to provide 100 megawatts of energy from the 62 turbine development. About 24 of the industrial turbines will be in Lambton Shores. There will also be substations, a switching station and a 115 KW transmission line.
The company has to provide extensive documentation about the project to the municipality on everything from the placement of the turbines to studies on bird kills, the environmental impacts and the impact to the natural heritage of the area. The work fills three large binders.
Municipalities are given the documents to review before deciding if they support the project. New rules under the Green Energy Act give more weight to the municipalities’ opinions. Premier Dalton McGuinty recently reiterated when municipalities don’t support wind energy projects, they will move to the back of the line. But Lambton Shores’ administrators say they are not equipped to evaluate the technical data. Read article
Rex Crawford, former Dover reeve and Liberal MP, added his voice Thursday to a growing chorus of politicians and citizens demanding a moratorium on wind turbine construction.
Crawford, along with Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MP Bev Shipley and Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MPP Monte McNaughton, called for the moratorium while standing at the site of a yet-to-be constructed turbine less than 1,500 feet from Crawford’s home on Bear Line Road.
Crawford said the province is breaking all the rules that Dover had in place while he was reeve to protect farmland.
“We have some of the best farmland in Canada in Dover and it’s being taken over by wind turbines,” he said. “More than 55 turbines are being built in this area alone.”
Crawford said a potential Toronto buyer for his property withdrew his interest once he learned a wind turbine was being constructed within a stone’s throw from the property. Read article
We made a visit to Heath Minister Deb Matthews’ office on Nov 2nd after the protest on McGuinty in London. She wasn’t there, but the police were, and they (this is funny) told us we couldn’t go up the sidewalk to her door because it was ‘private property’. That went over real well with us. Anyhow, we already knew where she WAS…. ’cause we just so happened to chase her across the street behind the London Convention Centre, calling her name. When she caught sight of us (she looked frightened…of what?) she scurried across the road with her assistant, safely into the Hilton… and the cop car screeched his car in front of us, and that was that. Really, how scarey do we look? I wrote a note to tape on her door asking that she gives us a call so we can meet, but you guessed it, no call back. Should have asked her to a ribbon cutting or something, eh?
Date: Friday, November 23rd
Time: 3:00 pm
Place: 733 Exeter Rd., London MAP
Wind project documents continue to be inaccessible from the Ministry of Environment – concerned residents looking to review the documents during comment period time cannot view them on the MOE’s website, they must travel to cities hours away to view the one hard copy document that is available to the public for a measly 30 days. The MOE office is only open 8:30am-5:00pm on Mon. to Fri., when many of us are at work.
The wind company is not even obligated to have a website. If it does have a website, the MOE does not monitor or check that the documents are correct, or even available. The EBR site does not direct concerned residents to the proponents website — it tells you to book a ‘viewing’ at the MOE offices in London or Toronto. Read the rest of this entry
By Paul Morden, Sarnia Observer
The Ontario Energy Board has approved Hydro One’s plan to spend $40 million upgrading a transmission line through Lambton County. The project is designed to enable about 500 MW of renewable power generation west of London by installing higher capacity wire and new insulators on existing towers, between the Lambton Transfer Station in St. Clair Township and the Longwood station near London.
In a ruling dated Nov. 8, the board says it finds “the proposed project to be in the public interest.” The project will have “a small impact” on transmission rates, adding 0.01% to the average residential consumer bill, the board says.
“The company does now have the approvals necessary to proceed with the project,” said Hydro One spokesperson Nancy Shaddick. She added construction is scheduled to begin in the spring and the updated line should be in service by the end of 2014.
“Anything like that is a positive thing,” said St. Clair Township Mayor Steve Arnold. “We need to make sure we keep things as modern as we can so we continue to be the energy producer of the province down in Lambton County.”
The board’s approval came over objections by the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation and the Haudenosunee Development Institute at Six Nations. Chief Joe Miskokomon, of the Chippewas of the Thames, said recent courting rulings have required industry to “consult with First Nations and accommodate their concerns” in these types of projects. “This is not a new issue being raised by us,” he said. “It’s an issue that has been raised across this country, in many different locations.” Read the rest of this entry
by Paul Morden, Sarnia Observer
A map that pinpoints sites for more than 90 turbines proposed for the Jericho Wind project in northeastern Lambton County has been released by Nextera Energy.
The company has a contract to sell Ontario electricity generated by the wind farm it’s seeking environmental approval on in Lambton Shores and Warwick Township.
“It’s absolutely devastating how dots on a map can have such an impact on one’s life,” said Marcelle Brooks who lives near the centre of the project in Lambton Shores.
Brooks, a member of the Middlesex-Lambton Wind Action group that opposes wind turbine projects in the region, added, “It’s one thing to know that they’re coming and then another to see them in relation to where your home is.” Read the rest of this entry
(1.1) A person who proposes to engage in a renewable energy project but does not comply with the requirements set out in subsection (1) may [not] be eligible for the issue of a renewable energy approval if the
Director [Public] is of the opinion that failure to comply with those requirements will not compromise an adequate understanding of the negative environmental effects of engaging in the renewable energy project. O. Reg. 521/10, s. 5 (2).
(1.2) A person who proposes to engage in a renewable energy project but does not comply with the requirements set out in subsection (1) may [not] be eligible for the issue of a renewable energy approval if the
Director [Public] is of the opinion that failure to comply with those requirements will improve [impede] consultation respecting the project with the public, local authorities or any aboriginal communities. O. Reg. 521/10, s. 5 (2).
With only 2 days left in the Bornish comment period, the Ministry of Environment squeezes out a 15 day extension — conceding that the wind company was at fault for not posting the project documents, but not acknowledging that the MOE is making matters even worse by not making these documents accessible to the general public. Really Mr. Bradley, you know that the whole EBR/MOE/ERT ‘system’ is a mess — such a mess that citizens cannot work with it. But are you willing to make the appropriate changes to make it accessible, transparent and accountable? Are you?
The Ministry of Environment has extended the comment period another 15 days.
Comments due November 23, 2012. Comment HERE
One day before the 30 day comment period for the Bornish project is over, the MOE quietly releases a statement on the EBR acknowledging a 15 day extension was added to the comment period. Sorry MOE, that is not enough, pay us in FULL!
Consider this, and perhaps you have had or are having similar issues with projects in your area. If you do, be sure to object to both the MOE and the Ontario Ombudsman’s office:
Re: Bornish Wind Comment Period — EBR Registry Number: 011-7317
Dear Ms. Rudzki,
I am requesting that an extension be added to the Bornish Wind project’s comment period, due to the following reasons:
- Documents were not fully available on the proponent Nextera’s website until October 18th. The comment period was initiated on October 9th. With only 30 days to comment, the documents were lacking from the proponent for 9 of these days. This seems extremely unfair as we are left with blank pages to review for one third of the comment period.
- An ad in the London Free Press from Nextera was posted on the documents of the Bornish Wind Project:
- “Project Description Report; Design and Operations Report; Wind Turbine Specifications Report; Natural Heritage Assessment Report; Water Assessment and Water Body Report; Stage 1 and 2 Archaeological Assessment Reports; Heritage Assessment Reports; and Noise Study Report. These documents will be available for review starting on October 18 2012 on our website.
- An ad in the London Free Press from Nextera was posted on the documents of the Bornish Wind Project:
- Until Oct 15, the Bornish Wind “Appendix F Noise Impact Assessment” was still unavailable. This document was not available at any of the company’s public open house meetings as it was submitted on September 21st , 2012 and the final public meeting was on August 15th, 2012. I had no way of reviewing this document until it was posted 9 days into the public comment period on October 16th. For a very technical and extremely important document, this is completely unacceptable and unfair as it takes much time to review such difficult material. I also found that the “Addendum Consultation Report”, dated August 29, 2012, is unavailable on the proponent Nextera’s website, yet is available at the MOE office in London. I feel I may be missing other documents if I solely rely on the proponent’s website documents. Read the rest of this entry
Four rural Ontario women visit Energy Minister Mr. Chris Bentley’s constituency office in London. Two of the women, who currently live in wind developments, drove 2 1/2 hours to his office and have one simple question for him to answer: “Why won’t you believe people are suffering from wind turbines?”. This proves to be a difficult one for him to answer. Note: Mr. Bentley has never met with wind turbine victims in his full year as Energy Minister.
by John Spears, The Star
Another group of Ontario landowners has filed a lawsuit against a wind power project in the escalating legal skirmishing over renewable energy. The latest action – against the East Lake St. Clair wind project near Wallaceburg – is the 10th that his firm is working on, according to lawyer Eric Gillespie, who filed the claim.
Like several previous actions by residents living near wind developments, the suit claims damages from not just the wind developer, International Power Canada. It also seeks damages from seven landowners who have leased out their property for turbines.
Gillespie said his clients are seeking a total of $9 million. “The claim is based on alleged devaluation of property,” Gillespie said in an interview. The claimants are asking to be compensated for up to the full value of their properties, he said.
Gilllespie said some studies have shown that property near wind power developments declines in value by up to 40 per cent. But he said some landowners near wind projects have found no buyers at all when they try to sell, which is why his clients are asking for the full value of their holdings in compensation. The East Lake St. Clair project is designed to deliver 99 megawatts of power, using about 55 turbines. Read article
New scientific study links wind turbines to health hazards
By Lorrie Goldstein , Toronto Sun
One of the worst things the Dalton McGuinty government did in its disastrous dash into green energy was to ride roughshod over the health complaints of rural Ontarians regarding industrial wind turbines.
Basically McGuinty dismissed them as NIMBYS.
That is, people who weren’t really suffering any ill health effects from wind turbines other than “Not In My Back Yard Syndrome” — NIMBYism for short.
The Liberal government cited studies — many from the wind industry itself — claiming no adverse health effects from wind turbines, and a report by Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Arlene King, concluding there were no “direct links” between wind turbines and ill health.
But wind farm opponents are now armed with a new weapon — a controlled, peer-reviewed, scientific study published in the current issue of the periodical Noise and Health which for the first time links industrial wind turbine noise and vibration to serious health problems. Read the rest of this entry
Randy Richmond, London Free Press
As dozens of anti-wind turbine protesters marched outside, Premier Dalton McGuinty reiterated in London his government’s commitment to the controversial plan to dot Ontario’s landscape with the turbines.
“I want to convey I respect the right of these individuals to express their concerns,” McGuinty said Friday. “We are always careful to listen to what they have to say.”
But health studies and property assessment studies show ill effects to neither people or property because of turbines, he said.
“One of the most common refrains that I received from the medical community during my 22 years in politics . . . (is) when are you going to shut down coal, it’s making our kids sick,” he said. Read the rest of this entry
By Jonathan Sher, The London Free Press
They live in the shadow of wind farms and their stories of turbine-induced illness have been brushed aside by the wind industry, Ontario regulators and the province’s Liberal government.
But now, researchers have published the first-ever, peer-reviewed study linking wind turbines and ill health — giving opponents of wind turbines their heaviest arsenal in a fight that could shape the landscape of rural Ontario and perhaps political fortunes in the next election.
“I view it as a huge step forward. It definitely gives credibility to our case,” said Esther Wrightman, who’s led a crusade against 70 wind turbines west of Strathroy.
The study, published in the periodical Noise & Health, found that a random sample of residents living within 1.4 km of wind turbines in two Maine communities suffered more from impaired mental health and sleep deprivation than those who lived at least 3.3 km away.
That was their finding, even though most of the closer residents had welcomed the turbines because they came with a financial benefit.
While the study looked at Americans, the epidemiologist who created it is a Guelph resident who worked eight years for Health Canada.
Jeffery Aramini says he’s not eager to cross swords with public health officials — Aramini’s company does business with the provincial and federal governments, helping them, for example, to monitor certain diseases based on pharmacy records. Read the rest of this entry
By Jonathan Sher, John Miner, The London Free Press
Lawsuits are the new front in the fight to stop wind turbines
The war over Ontario wind turbines is shifting to the courts, with property values brandished as the main weapon by opponents of the multi-billion-dollar provincial push to develop wind farms.
Toronto lawyer Eric Gillespie said he has lawsuits in the works from 10 different parts of Ontario and is in talks with at least three other groups in its southwest.
“That number is growing quite rapidly,” Gillespie said Thursday.
“Currently, we have either filed claims or are about to file claims that go all the way from Windsor to Ottawa.”
Lawsuits have already been launched in Chatham-Kent, LaSalle, Prince Edward County, Clearview/Creemore and the Stayner area.
Another lawsuit is in the works involving wind turbines in the Port Dover area.
“Property devaluation is clearly becoming a major concern right across Ontario,” said Gillespie.
The shift to fighting in the courts follows a failed campaign by anti-wind forces in last year’s Ontario’s election — the McGuinty Liberals eked out a minority government, despite losing rural seats where opposition is strongest — to stop wind-turbine development.
Southwestern Ontario, home to Ontario’s largest wind projects, is one of the key battlegrounds. Read the rest of this entry
The meaning of Section 12.1 is not nearly as boring as the number might lead you to believe. If you would like to only read several sentences of the GEA Reg 359/09 in your lifetime, skip down to this number. Twelve-point-one is the loop hole through which all wind projects are funneled, to ensure guaranteed approval by the Ministry of Environment.
Doing so will save you years of fighting, and quite simply sums up how once you have gone through the process set out by the Ministry of Environment, the wind company meetings, the comment forms, the reading of thousands of pages of technical documents, the questions, more comment forms and more reading, … and once you have finally come to the end, depleted of energy, resources and life, you get one real chance at appealing the MOE Directors approval of this project: The Environmental Review Tribunal Appeal.
But what if I were to tell you that right in the midst of the Green Energy Act it says that even if there are some serious mistakes made in the wind company’s research, documents and consultation, it is written in the GEA that the MOE Director can approve the project anyway, as long is it is his “opinion” that none of these mistakes really matter. Such as, whether you were properly consulted (you don’t really matter), or the wrong noise map was presented (there isn’t any noise, right?), or the archaeological or water assessments were incomplete (it’s all underground, nobody will see.)
Unfortunately it’s true. Have a quick read through it:
(1.1) A person who proposes to engage in a renewable energy project but does not comply with the requirements set out in subsection (1) may be eligible for the issue of a renewable energy approval if the Director is of the opinion that failure to comply with those requirements will not compromise an adequate understanding of the negative environmental effects of engaging in the renewable energy project. O. Reg. 521/10, s. 5 (2). Read the rest of this entry