Monthly Archives: May 2013
Monte Sonnenberg, Simcoe Reformer
[excerpt] “This wasn’t something we at Nextera were happy about,” spokesperson Josie Hernandez said Friday. “But we had to remove the nest to preserve the eagles. We’re very pleased this has been a success. It’s something we’re very proud of.” Wind opponents reply that Nextera may be tooting its own horn prematurely. “Sure they’re proud of what they’ve done,” says Ernie King of Cayuga, chair of Haldimand Wind Concerns. “But when these blades start turning and an eagle gets cut in half, how much of a success story will it be then? Sure they can pat themselves on the back. But that doesn’t change that they took down a nest that a pair of eagles made themselves to make room for three turbines.”
Fred Ortt of Jarvis, also a member of Haldimand Wind Concerns, continues to question Nextera’s decision to remove the nest. Ortt says the company had ample room across the road where it could’ve situated the turbines. Ortt and others claim to know of another eagles’ nest that has yet to cross Nextera’s radar screen. “We’re not going to tell them where it is,” Ortt said. “The MNR will just give them permission to cut that one down too.”
Nextera speculated about the possibility of relocating the nest to another tree. It has decided against that because the nest is too fragile. The company has shown the nest to students in New Credit and plans to donate it to a school that can take care of it. Read article
By Debora Van Brenk, The London Free Press
Changes are expected “very soon” to give municipalities more power regarding the location of green energy projects, but it doesn’t instill much hope in a local anti-wind advocate. “I don’t imagine it will take any (wind turbines) down that are there,” said Lisa Michaud, a member of Chatham-Kent Wind Action Group. The Thamesville-area woman joined the group after her family launched a lawsuit against Suncor Energy in 2011. The lawsuit claims they have suffered such symptoms as vertigo, nausea and sleep disruption caused by the Kent Breeze Wind Farm being located near their home. She doesn’t believe any rule changes will have much of an impact, because she feels the Municipality of Chatham-Kent supports green energy projects.
A working group of four Liberal cabinet ministers is reviewing ways to improve the consultation process for green energy projects such as wind and solar installations as well as natural gas power plants, confirmed Beckie Codd-Downey, spokesperson for Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli. She said the group — which involves the ministers of municipal affairs, rural affairs, environment and energy — is looking at a number of options to improve local control. “Going forward, we need to give communities a strong role in the planning process so that we get these decisions right the first time,” Codd-Downey said. While one Liberal source said the new rules might come before provincial legislators take their summer break, Codd-Downey said the timing is not yet set. “The Minister has said he hopes to see something in the near future.”
Michaud said she would like to know what the government’s definition of soon is, asking is it 2013 or 2016? Read article
Is the Ontario government trying to make peace with rural communities on the controversial issue of industrial wind turbines? It’s certainly a question being asked after the province recently announced plans to improve how large energy projects are sited in Ontario. In a recent letter, the Ministry of Energy asked the Ontario Power Authority and the Independent Electricity System Operator to help develop a new regional energy planning process.
Under this new protocol, municipalities, the energy sector and other stakeholders are expected to be formally consulted about proposed projects, according to the Ministry of Energy. However, officials aren’t sure yet how this process would work under the existing Ontario Green Energy Act. “We are working closely with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Ministry of Rural Affairs and the Ministry of the Environment on developing a strategy to increase local control when it comes to the siting of future large green energy projects,” a Ministry of Energy spokesperson wrote in an email. “That process would be consistent with an improved regional energy planning process — communities must have a stronger voice and real engagement in decision making.”
While Ontario municipalities have been calling for greater oversight, Plympton-Wyoming Mayor Lonny Napper isn’t sold on the proposed process. Read article
Brian Keelan, First Monday
“You got to know when to hold’em, know when to fold’em, know when to walk away, know when to run.” That’s not just a cool line from an old Kenny Rogers song. It’s good advice and it has served me well over the years… in poker and in business. I see a lot of similarities between life and poker: you can win a lot and you can lose a lot but most of the time you just keep watching the ante go up while you wait for a good hand. If you’re smart, you learn how the game is played and you never, ever draw to an inside straight.
A few years ago, I was going for a walk along the old (original) Lakeshore road in Bright’s grove – a beautiful stretch from Brigden Road to Perch Creek. It was a sunny day and there was a north wind blowing so the sky was quite clear and visibility was good. That’s when I saw them; the colossal wind turbine machines up by Ipperwash. As the crow flies that’s eight and half miles or 13.6 kilometers from where I stood. They are highly visible in those conditions and now the Ontario Government want to add forty two more and they have plans for up to 500 more in this area.
Last year I drove up to Tobermory and drove past over a hundred of them. They are huge and they are everywhere, and I began to wonder how the people felt when they had one that close to their property. I wouldn’t want one in my back yard and I sure as heck wouldn’t want one in my neighbour’s backyard. I am quite sure that there is only one reason the neighbour would even tolerate one in his backyard and that (I am afraid) is money. Nobody that I have ever met wants one in their yard, not even if they think it is good for the environment… and I know that on paper you can prove it’s good for the environment… as long as the wind is blowing when you need the energy. You can’t store the stuff in giant batteries, you have to send it somewhere and use it as soon as you create it and therein lies a major problem; the ability to produce on demand. Read article
Peter Epp, Sarnia Observer
As discussion about wind turbine development in Sarnia-Lambton grows, so does information about the industry and some of the possible pitfalls associated with its activity. At the most recent meeting of CORE (Conserve Our Rural Enniskillen), an insurance agent suggested that farmers and other landowners who agree to become a host for turbine development should think twice about making that decision, because their insurance coverage might be affected.
Greg Cameron said Ontario’s insurance industry does not have uniform policies on liability insurance for farmers with industrial wind turbines, partly because the industry is so new. In fact, he said a recent Ontario Court decision – which ruled that property owners living near a proposed development in Collingwood could go to court to seek damages to cover the devaluation of their property once the turbines are built – has changed everything. Read article
Heather Wright, Sarnia Lambton Independent
A local insurance broker says a recent decision to allow neighbours of wind farms to sue for lost property value may make it harder for farms with wind turbines to get liability insurance. Greg Cameron of Cameron Insurance was one of the speakers at yesterday’s meeting held by CORE – Conserve Our Rural Enniskillen. CORE organized after three wind companies began moving throughout the area asking farmers to host wind turbines on their property. Up to 51 turbines are planned in the three projects
But Cameron is warning farmers they need to be careful about signing lease agreements because it may affect their insurance coverage. Cameron says a recent Ontario Court decision in which a judge ruled property owners around a proposed development in Collingwood could go to court to look for damages to cover the devaluation of their property once the project was built.
Cameron says the insurance industry, which does not have uniform policies on liability insurance for farms with industrial turbines, is closely watching the situation. “As more and more turbines go up and more and more liability suits are presented, you will be able to tell the appetite of the insurance companies, whether they will cover farms (with turbines),” says Cameron. Read article
Paul Morden, Sarnia Observer
Petrolia lawyer Wallace Lang questioned the amount of money wind energy companies are offering farmers who lease them land to build turbines on. Lang told more than 200 people gathered Thursday evening at Lambton Centennial School near Petrolia that the wind leases he has read typically offer landowners $15,000 a year, per turbine.
He was invited to speak by Conservation of Rural Enniskillen (CORE), a citizens group that formed earlier this year to oppose plans by several companies to build wind farms in Enniskillen Township. “You really have to wonder if it’s a good bargain or not,” Lang said about the amount of money wind companies are offering landowners.“It seems to be kind of chump change, really.”
The agreements can run for decades and may include inflation clauses but the lease payments are taxable, he said. Lang told the crowd he believes more realistic compensation for landowners would be in the range of $50,000 to $100,000 a year for each turbine. He urged landowners to be cautious, saying wind companies are sophisticated organizations that know how to market the documents they use to sign up landowners. While they’re called option agreements, “it’s a final document,” Lang said. “Make sure you want to do it, before you sign it.” Read article
The Bluewater Wind Energy Centre, one of two projects Next Era has proposed for the municipality of Bluewater, received Ministry of Environment approval last Monday, April 22.
The project that was approved plans for 37 turbines for a generating capacity of 60 megawatts. Although the turbines will be located in Bluewater, bounded by Blackbush/Bronson Line to the west, Mill Road to the North, Concession 5 Road to the east and Danceland Road/Staffa Road to the south, a transmission line is to be constructed through Huron East to connect to the Seaforth Transformer Station by way of Centennial and Hensall Roads.
“This is a major milestone for the project,” said Project Director Nicole Geneau. “Everyone will see a lot more of us in the future, and me in particular, over the next several months,” said Geneau who added, “Sometimes when you are working through everything and working through the steps, the excitement doesn’t come through, but we are very happy to receive the approval. We have been working with some of our landowners since 2008 and this is a very long-term experience for them as well. We are all thrilled.” Read article
By Heather Wright, Sarnia this Week
LAMBTON COUNTY – Wind activists say a transmission line hearing may be best way to stop a wind energy center north of Arkona. NextEra received approval for the Bornish Wind Energy center, a 45-turbine project just northeast of Arkona from the Ministry of the Environment recently. Esther Wrightman of Middlesex Lambton Wind Concerns has been among the people fighting the project. She’s frustrated. Wrightman saying looking at the Environmental Registry confirms her suspicion that the Ministry of the Environment simply rubber stamps wind projects. Wrightman says the registry on the Bornish project uses the name of another wind project in Eastern Ontario telling her the responses are not original.
“These are projects that are going to affect people’s lives and it seems that it’s just a matter of copy and pasting approval lines in it from one to another,” says Wrightman. “The MOE has never denied a project” she adds. “The system is broken…you don’t have a government agency that can help…you feel quite deserted at the end of the day.” Read article
NexTerror cut down one eagle nest in Ontario already this year, and are eying up another at the Bornish project that was just approved last week.
Please mark your calendar to join the Save the Bornish Eagles Gathering:
Date: Saturday, May 25
Place: West Williams Community Centre, 32217 Kerwood Road, Parkhill MAP (right beside the eagle nest)