Monthly Archives: March 2013
Sarnia Lambton Independent
NextEra Energy is facing stiff opposition to its transmission plan. Dozens of people, organizations, and businesses have filed to be interveners at an Ontario Energy Board Hearing on the transmission line project to serve three of NextEra’s projects including the Jericho Wind Energy project in Lambton Shores.
The company plans to erect 100 foot poles over 30 km along roads in Middlesex County to carry the power generated by the wind projects near Strathroy and Lambton Shores. But some neighbours are not pleased. The OEB allowed 10 days for people to register to take part in the hearing to approve the plan, at least 15 landowners and nine other organizations want a say in the hearing.
Middlesex County, Adelaide Township and North Middlesex want to be involved in the hearing. So does Hydro One, the Independent Electric System Operator, and Entegrus Transmission Lines. The Middlesex Lambton Wind Action Group – a citizens group which has been objecting to the industrial wind projects in the area – also wants a say. Read article
By Paul Morden, Sarnia Observer
Aamjiwnaang First Nation officials gathered Thursday to celebrate the community’s investment in a $380-million wind farm near Grand Bend. Aamjiwnaang and Bkejwanong First Nation at Walpole Island have each taken 25% shares in Northland Power’s Grand Bend Wind Farm project.
“We’re expecting a large influx of generated revenue from the project,” said Aamjiwnaang Chief Chris Plain. “It’s going to create some opportunities for us for further development in the community … we’re excited about those opportunities.”
Northland CEO John Brace said construction could begin as early as this fall on up to 48 turbines planned for Huron County. The company has a contract to sell power from the wind farm into the province’s electricity grid and is now awaiting provincial approvals. “We’re aiming for being online and in full production by the end of next year,” Brace said. He said a pair of provincial programs helped make the partnership with the First Nations possible. One program adds an incentive to the price paid for the energy generated by renewable projects involving First Nations. The second is Ontario’s Aboriginal Loan Guarantee Program that helps First Nations borrow money to investment in renewable energy projects. Read article
Terry Heffernan, Special to the Times-Advocate
GRAND BEND — About 70 people were in attendance at a protest Sunday of the planned installation of wind turbines in or around the Thedford Bog near the Lambton County Museum.
At issue is the tundra swans that use the bog to rest and feed on their way from their wintering grounds in Chesapeake Bay to the Arctic shores breeding grounds. Protesters believe that building turbines in the bog will disrupt the flight path of the swans and they will disappear from the area and never return as long as the turbines are in place.
Before the turbines get final approval, members of the Trees Not Turbines on Ontario’s West Coast, Ontario Wind Resistance, Middlesex Lambton Wind Action Group, WAIT Plympton-Wyoming and Wind Concerns Ontario are attempting to convince NextEra to stop the turbine invasion in the area. Read article
There is a map of renewable generation on the Ministry of Energy’s website, however, it does not list all OPA contracted facilities, as well, it lists certain projects that are not contracted by the OPA. This is not an OPA map so we cannot verify it’s accuracy.
The microFIT Team
Sarnia Lambton Independent
Lambton County Warden Todd Case is worried southwestern Ontario will be flooded with industrial wind turbines when the provincial government offers energy contracts to large companies soon. He wants the provincial government to rethink the green energy agenda before awarding any more contracts to produce power.
Case was recently in Windsor at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities Sustainability Conference. He visited a wind turbine plant in the city where the talk was about the province’s next round of announcements for the Feed In Tariff (FIT) projects to large energy companies. Case says industry leaders expect that next round will place hundreds of turbines in southern Ontario and that has him worried.
“There are rumblings from the government there will be about 900 expected in (the region) the second process,” says Case. Read article
By Barbara Simpson, Sarnia Observer
SARNIA – A concerned Lambton County resident is calling on the local public school board to support a moratorium on industrial wind turbines being built within the school board district. Plympton-Wyoming resident Keith Douglas said the board needs to act especially since wind projects are being proposed for sites near two Lambton Kent District schools.
Scientific research shows wind turbines generate both audible and inaudible noise, which could potentially impact the health of students and teachers, Douglas told trustees. “Closing the windows in a school will not keep (low frequency sound) away from the children or teachers,” he said, adding low frequency sound has been linked to cases of motion sickness and disorientation. Suncor Energy Products is proposing to erect as many as 46 turbines in the area of Plympton-Wyoming, Lambton Shores and Warwick Township. Read article
Ontario Ministry of Environment Officer Martin McConnochie November 29, 2012 at the home of a person affected by wind turbines. He explains why he could not measure the noise of the wind turbines on a particularly windy/noisy night. More evidence of corruption in this wind energy scandal.
By Chip Martin, The London Free Press
She faced a hostile crowd of about 80 wind-turbine opponents later in Clinton, when she arrived to address a roundtable on agricultural issues sponsored by the Huron Chamber of Commerce. Huron-Bruce riding, which takes in Clinton, is considered hostile territory for Wynne and the Liberals because of opposition to turbines.
In the 2011 election, the riding opted against returning agriculture minister Carol Mitchell as MPP, a reflection of the fight against her party’s energy policies that have left 1,100 industrial wind turbines dotting rural Ontario with thousands more planned. “I am aware there are people outside who are angry,” Wynne said after running a gauntlet of signs, chants and catcalls, some amplified by loud hailers. Security was tight.
“I met a lot of people who are concerned about placement of wind turbines and how we could have a better process,” Wynne told the crowd of 100. Earlier, she told her Lucan audience Energy Minister Brad Duguid is modifying the approvals process for wind farms. The Liberals took away local control over where the massive wind turbines can be built, angering many in rural areas. Wynne said in Clinton she was in farm country to listen and she spent time over lunch hearing concerns of the chamber guests. Read article
By Bob Boughner, Chatham Daily News
[Excerpt] “I know how many good people there are in our rural farm communities and I believe farmers do care about their neighbours,” she said. ‘We can do better together.” Thompson said she considered selling her home in south Chatham-Kent because of nearby turbines but has been told she would have to list it for 50 to 55% of her investment or 30 to 40% of replacement value.
Thompson has also asked the Power Authority and Ministry of Environment to not allow the two closet turbines to her home to be activated until there is proof they won’t interfere with her husband’s ICD heart implant and until her other concerns have been satisfactorily addressed and resolved.
Thompson said she is opposed to any cash payments to municipalities, local residents and community trust funds by wind turbine companies. “If they believe something has to be done to address identified or perceived adverse impacts and feel some obligation to do something, any money made available should be used for physical protection and enhancement of the rural environment and rural family heritage,” she said. Read article
By Debora Van Brenk, The London Free Press
Get ready for the next tilt in Southwestern Ontario’s transformation into the province’s wind-energy hotbed: 10-storey-high poles to help collect all that power. Debora Van Brenk looks at the early static one wind energy giant’s plans are creating in Middlesex County.
A wind energy giant’s plan to put up 10-storey poles and high-voltage wires along Middlesex County roads is sparking energetic attention. The Ontario Energy Board will consider the application by NextEra Energy Canada to put up poles from its proposed three wind farms along about 30 km of Middlesex roads north and northwest of Strathroy. The county and two residents want permission to speak at a hearing — no date set yet — and more than 24 others have asked to be observers.
The county wants to make sure any poles on municipal rights-of-way don’t interfere with existing or planned infrastructure such as bridges, utilities or drainage ditches, Middlesex engineer Chris Traini. “Anything that would be of public use to the residents should take precedence over transmission poles,” he said.
The county is obligated to share its rights-of-way with utilities, and Traini said he wants to make sure residents’ interests are protected. Council has also expressed concerns about the possible effect on drivers of roadway sign and pole clutter. Traini said the county also wants the energy board to help draw lines of clear responsibility for maintenance and safety of the lines and poles. Read article
Doug has been a gem for MLWAG and other wind action groups in Ontario with his ever changing, updated presentation that he has taken across the province to just about anyone who asks! Congratulation Doug – you truly deserve it!
London St. Thomas Association of Realtors – March 13, 2013
The Board of Directors of LSTAR congratulates Doug Pedlar, its 2013 President, on having won the prestigious 2012 Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) Volunteer Leader Award. This award recognizes an individual who has played an important role or addressed a major issue or challenge facing his or her association over the past year.
“In our estimation, Doug’s ongoing efforts over the past year to educate Organized Real Estate, real estate associations and the public on the potential negative impacts of wind turbines on human and animal health and on property values made him an absolute stand-out for the OREA Volunteer of the Year Award,” says Barb Whitney, 2012 LSTAR President. “Not only did he thoroughly research the issue himself and put together his own presentation on the subject, he took that presentation across the province in 2012, speaking to a total of twenty different groups.” Read article
London Free Press
GRAND BEND – With thousands of tundra swans honking in the background, dozens of anti-wind protesters rallied Sunday against plans for giant turbines in the area. “These companies have no concerns for nature. It is just sad,” said Dave Griffiths of Bluewater Against Turbines citizens group. The protesters harvested signatures from more than 50 carloads on a petition calling for a stop to plans to establish the wind farms in the area. The protesters maintain the turbines will disrupt the migratory patterns of the swans and other wildlife. NextEra Energy Canada, which is seeking government approval for the Goshen and Jericho wind farms, has said it will abide by any setbacks required to protect the swans. Read article
By Paul Morden, Sarnia Observer
Convincing landowners to turn down wind companies is the best way to keep Enniskillen Township free of wind turbines, says its mayor. The rural township that surrounds Petrolia has been targeted by wind energy companies, leading to the forming of a citizens’ group opposed to wind turbines, as well as plenty of concern in the community.
Enniskillen Mayor Kevin Marriott said he’s encouraged by the number of farmers and large landowners who have already told him they won’t sign leases with wind companies. “I’m not leasing my land,” said Marriott, who farms in the township. “It’s still possible to stop these projects in Enniskillen, but the landowners have to be willing to not sign.”
Marriott said he believes a community information meeting township resident Chad Burke and his family organized earlier this month helped make the case against signing leases with several landowners who attended. “If enough people can say, ‘No,’ then it stops them in their tracks.” The meeting attracted about 250 people and Burke said the citizens’ group that has since formed – Conservation of Rural Enniskillen (CORE) – plans to attend an upcoming township council meeting. “We do have some questions that we want to ask, just to see what Enniskillen’s going to be doing moving forward.” Read article
Anti-wind turbine group jumps to the defence of tundra swans and area rest stops they covet during migration
By John Miner, The London Free Press
After losing their battle to save a bald eagle nest from the chainsaw, anti-wind turbine activists are turning their fight to the tundra swan. “If we continue to allow industry to displace and destroy our habitat, we are really looking at an environmental disaster in the long run. It is not just the tundra swans, it is the geese, it is the eagles,” said Muriel Allingham of the Middlesex Lambton Wind Action Group.
An information rally is planned for 11 a.m. Sunday, south of Grand Bend at the Thedford Bog, where the swans stop to rest on their spring migration from the Chesapeake Bay area to nest on the Arctic coastline. The Grand Bend area, where thousands of the tundra swans can sometimes be viewed, also falls within two large wind farms planned by NextEra Energy, a subsidiary of U.S. energy giant NextEra, formerly known as Florida Light and Power.
At least one of the 80-metre-tall wind turbines is proposed to be sited within the bog area. Plans for the two wind farms — Jericho and Goshen — call for construction of 169 turbines. Allingham said the turbines will disrupt the swans’ migration route. “This Florida-based company is coming into our province and running roughshod over our wildlife,” Allingham said. Read article
Paul Morden, Sarnia Observer
Tundra Swans fly over farm fields near the Lambton Heritage Museum earlier this month. The swans traditionally visit the area during their annual migration. Members of the Middlesex-Lambton Wind Action Group plan to rally Sunday. 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., along Greenway Road in Lambton Shores to take their message to swan watchers.
Muriel Allingham, with the Middlesex-Lambton Wind Action Group, said some of its members will out along Greenway Road from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to pass along information to the public. The road, near the Lambton Heritage Museum, is a popular spot to view tundra swans stopping over in the Thedford bog during their annual migration. The wind action group is fighting plans to build wind farms in the area, and says turbines could impede the swan’s migration.
Nextera Energy Canada is seeking provincial approval to build as many as 154 wind turbines in the area with its Jericho and Goshen wind projects. “A lot of people believe wind power is green,” Allingham said. “They don’t understand how it affects the environment, the wildlife and people’s health.” Read article
By Paul Morden, Sarnia Observer
Enniskillen Township Mayor Kevin Marriott says he knew getting a moratorium on new wind farms in Ontario was a long-shot when he hand-delivered his request to the Premier Kathleen Wynne. It was in a letter he gave her when they met up Monday at the Grain Farmers of Ontario March Classic conference in London.
A past-director on the board of the grain farmers commodity group, Marriott was serving as a master of ceremonies at the conference Wynne had agreed to attend. The opportunity to speak directly to Wynne came along as wind company agents have been knocking on doors in Enniskillen and looking for landowners willing to lease land for wind farms. “I put some thought into it last weekend when I knew I might have the chance to talk her and give her a letter,” Marriott said.
It says wind energy development is dividing rural communities. It also ties turbines to high electricity prices the mayor says hurt Ontario’s manufacturers and jobs. Along with asking for a moratorium on new wind projects, while federal health officials study its impact on human health, Marriott’s letter urges Wynn to meet with rural leaders. He said the premier appeared open and willing to consider the request when he spoke to her Monday, but he added, “She stopped short of promising anything.” Read article
John Spears, Toronto Star
Two rural Ontario municipalities are putting expensive new hurdles in front of wind farms in their communities. Councils in Bluewater, on the Lake Huron shoreline, and West Grey, about 165 kilometres northwest of Toronto, have passed bylaws squeezing more money from prospective wind developments.
Politicians say they’re trying to protect the interests of their communities, where many people greet large-scale wind farms with apprehension: West Grey, for example, has formally declared itself an “unwilling host” for big wind farms. But the wind company in both cases, NextEra Energy Canada, isn’t going quietly.
It has dispatched lawyers from Torys LLP to both councils to argue that the bylaws won’t hold up under Ontario law. “We believe the law is on our side,” said NextEra spokesman Steve Stengel in an interview from the company’s head office in Florida. In a letter from Torys to the Bluewater council, the company argues that the new rules “would unlawfully impose financial obligations on NextEra.” Read article
Heather Wright, Sarnia-Lambton Independent
They’re putting their money where their mouth is. The anti-wind group WAIT in Plympton Wyoming is accepting donations to help pay for the municipality’s court battle against Suncor Energy. Suncor is in the final planning stages of the Cedar Point Energy Project which will place about 28 industrial turbines in Plympton-Wyoming.
But Plympton-Wyoming Council balked at the project and its lack of input because of the Green Energy Act. Council passed its own bylaw under the Municipal Act to “protect the health of our people,” according to Mayor Lonny Napper. The bylaw called for turbines to be 2 km away from homes instead of 550 meters mandated by the Green Energy Act and placed large fees on each turbine for decommissioning.
The municipality was served notice of a court challenge by Suncor earlier this month. Plympton-Wyoming has vowed to fight the move, hiring lawyer Eric Gillespie who is known for his work with anti-wind activists. The move was applauded by WAIT and now it will be supported financially as well. “The council is meeting next week to figure out how they are going to pay for the legal battle, says WAIT spokesperson Elizabeth Bellavance “in the meantime, WAIT is going to accept funds on behalf of the municipality.”
WAIT has a bank account set up at the Southwest Credit Union in Wyoming to accept any donations. Donations can also be sent to WAIT at Box 219, Plympton Wyoming, N0N 1T0. Read article
Paul Morden, Sarnia Observer
Anti-wind farm activists in Plympton-Wyoming say they plan to deliver a petition with more than 2,500 signatures Friday to Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey. The group, We’re Against Industrial Turbines in Plympton-Wyoming (WAIT-PW), has been circulating the petition since forming to oppose Suncor Energy Products’ plan to build up to 46-turbines across a wide stretch of rural northern Lambton County.
The petition calls for wind turbine development to stop “until citizens are property consulted and informed, and the local government processes respected.” Members of WAIT-PW group plan to meet up with Bailey, a member of Ontario’s PC opposition, at 4:30 p.m. outside the municipal office on Niagara Street in Wyoming. “I intend to take those petitions and present them in the House to the minister of energy and formally let him know what the people of Plympton-Wyoming, and the surrounding area, think of their wind turbine program,” Bailey said. Read article
Nextera Adelaide/Bornish/Jericho transmission OEB Application – file for ‘Observer’ or ‘Intervener’ status
Please read through this letter from Nextera and the attached Notice of Application to the Ontario Energy Board. This is important for anyone in the Adelaide, Bornish, Jericho and Cedar Wind Point Projects.
If you haven’t filed as an ‘Observer’ or ‘Intervener’ in this hearing, please do so now (before March 24 if possible).
This is the OEB hearing on the 115kV transmission lines on 100′ poles along Kerwood and Elginfield/Nairn Rd AND the substations and switching stations. There are MANY concerns to be raised on this development – make sure your voice is heard and you are involved.
- February 7, 2013: Letter from Minister of Natural Resources Michael Gravelle Regarding Bird and Bat Guidelines for Wind Power, January 25, 2013
- February 11, 2013: Letter from Monte to the North Middlesex Council regarding Wind Turbines
- March 1, 2013: Letter From MPP Monte McNaughton to the Minister of Energy Requesting Municipalities Have Planning Authority Over Industrial Wind Turbines
- November 13, 2012 Response letter to MPP McNaughton from the Ombudsman of Ontario regarding the Bornish Wind Project
- November 7, 2012: MPP McNaughton’s second letter to the Minister of the Environment about the Bornish Wind Project
- October 25, 2012: MPP Monte McNaughton’s letter to Andre Marin, Ombudsman of Ontario
- October 23, 2012: MPP McNaughton’s letter to the Minister of the Environment
- August 8, 2012: MPP McNaughton’s letter to Minister of Energy Christopher Bentley regarding apparent contamination of well water by wind turbines
By Paul Morden, Sarnia Observer
John Barros says it’s time for a new, and less divisive, approach to building wind farms. The senior project development manager for Mainstream Renewable Power said he wants everyone within the boundaries of its proposed Sydenham wind projects in southeastern Lambton County to be able to benefit from them.
That why, for the last six months, he and Mainstream have been talking about sharing some revenue from its wind projects with all landowners who sign up, and not just those who end up with turbines. He’s also talking about setting up a community energy co-op that residents of the project area can invest in. “It takes a community to develop a wind farm,” Barros said. “The minute you get off that concept, is the first step toward a project failing.”
Barros and Mainstream have been working for five years on its Sydenham proposals to erect turbines in two or three phases that would generate a total of about 167 megawatts of electricity. In that time, opposition to wind farms has taken hold in rural communities. Ontario’s push into renewable energy is at risk of falling, along with the Liberal minority government and a provincial deal with Samsung that ate up transmission capacity west of London. Read article
LELAND ROAD- Middle-school student Brian Reilly says he can’t play basketball on Leland Road when the strobing effect from the Kingston Wind Independence (KWI) Turbine’s shadow flicker is at full throttle. “I get a wicked bad headache so I have to go inside,” Brian told the Journal as he stood on the front steps of his neighbors house.
Dan Alves, also a resident of Leland Road, refuses to allow his epileptic son to stay in his bedroom when the KWI Turbine’s shadow flicker penetrates into his house. “That’s pretty much the rule,” Alves told the Journal on Friday afternoon. “We don’t want him in his room but we’re not always home so we can’t control it.” Read article
“However, biologists are also concerned that leaving the nest in this location may have led to adult eagles being killed or injured due to the proximity of the nest to wind turbines.”
Letter from Minister of Natural Resources:
Thank you for your e-mail to my predecessor the Honourable Michael Gravelle about the removal of the bald eagles’ nest in Haldimand County. I appreciate that you took the time to share your views, and I am pleased to respond.
Expanding clean and renewable sources of energy is key to the government’s plan to phase out coal-fired generation, mitigate climate change, create green jobs and support technological innovation in renewable energy.
The Summerhaven Wind Energy Centre, located in Haldimand County, is expected to produce enough energy for approximately 32,000 homes in Ontario. This project is contributing to the development of clean renewable sources of energy so Ontarians will have a sustainable supply of power now and in the future.
This project has been awarded a Feed-in-Tariff contract by the Ontario Power Authority. It has also received the Renewable Energy Approval from the Ministry of the Environment and an approved Natural Heritage Assessment (NHA) from the Ministry of Natural Resources. No Significant Wildlife Habitat was identified at this location during the preparation of the NHA. Read the rest of this entry
Paul Morden, Sarnia Observer
Plympton-Wyoming has hired a lawyer to defend its wind turbine bylaws from a court challenge by Suncor Energy Products. Mayor Lonny Napper said Toronto-based environmental lawyer Eric Gillespie is representing the town in the suit, launched recently by the company planning to build up to 46 turbines as part of its Cedar Point Wind Power project in Plympton-Wyoming, Lambton Shores and Warwick Township.
Plympton-Wyoming’s bylaws include tough rules for wind farms, including a 2-km separation from neighbouring homes. Ontario only requires a 550-metre setback.
“He came highly recommended,” Napper said of Gillespie who has experience in wind energy cases. “We had a meeting with him and we’re very pleased with the outcome.” Napper said court dates haven’t been set yet. “We’re not pulling back,” he said about the town’s resolve to defend its bylaws.
“We feel stronger about this now than we ever did before.” Read article
Tyson Dyck, legal counsel for NextEra:“You may also know that under Ontario law there is potential liability, not only for municipalities, but also for individual municipal officials,” Dyck continued, “where there are actions taken that result in damages based on unlawful legal actions, such as the passage of a bylaw.”
Mac Christie, Times-Advocate Staff
VARNA – The Municipality of Bluewater has passed high building permit fees for industrial wind turbines in the municipality, but a legal battle may be looming. Council passed fees which will see developers pay $434,000 per turbine, as part of an updated bylaw March 4 under the direction of Toronto-based lawyer Eric K. Gillespie, whose legal firm drafted the bylaw. The updated fees will charge a $14,000 base permit fee, a $220,000 security per turbine for decommissioning, a $100,000 fee per turbine for matters related to health and property devaluation and a $100,000 fee per turbine for potential legal matters arising as a result of the turbines.
Gillespie told council in his view the bylaw does not conflict with existing legislation, such as the Green Energy Act. “You may . . . hear a point of view that says there may be issues around whether this bylaw conflicts in any way with legislation,” Gillespie said. “It’s our respectful view it does not.” Gillespie noted his firm looked at the bylaw in a practical sense, of how it would be applied in the real world and in the face of a legal challenge. “Thought has gone into how these amounts should be applied and what seems to be reasonable and something that the municipality can stand behind,” Gillespie said. “That is the basis for the recommendation.” He noted that’s why the firm recommended the originally proposed $25,000 per turbine, per year economic development fee be removed from the bylaw and instead levied as a development charge. Based on the expected 20-year lifespan, the fee worked out to roughly $500,000 per turbine. Read article