Category Archives: Economics

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

Hello wind turbine – Goodbye insurance

Even the insurance brokers want nothing to do with wind turbines on your property!

Moratorium is needed on green energy bill

Sarnia Observer – Letter to the Editor

Sir: Why would an oil company be in the “Wind farm business”? Don’t they profit enough from our, and I repeat “our” oil that they have to increase their profits on the backs of the taxpayers who are subsidizing “wind farms” on their electric bills?

On one hand you cant blame them; Mr.McGuinty has put out such a lucrative incentive that, being businessmen, they could not resist.

These contracts are guaranteed for 20 years; a win-win (pardon the pun) situation. Read the rest of this entry

Green energy woes discussed at Lambton NFU annual meeting

By John Phair Today’s Farmer

There’s not a whole lot good about wind turbines, or for that matter, Ontario’s Green Energy Act.

At least that seemed to be the general opinion expressed at the annual meeting of Local 328 (Lambton County) National ­Farmers Union, held recently at the Forest Agricultural Society Hall.

The organization’s outgoing president said issues surrounding wind generators and the Green Energy Act were among his greatest concerns for the rural community as he wrapped up his term of office.

“The thing that had the biggest impact on me are issues regarding wind generators and green energy and the true costs behind them,” said Joe Vye in his report to the membership.

Vye stressed that he hopes no one signs a lease agreement with any energy company, whether it be a natural gas, oil, wind or solar company without having it vetted by a lawyer who specializes in that field.

He noted that he was recently asked to look over a contract from an oil company that wanted to drill on one of his neighbour’s land and was astounded by what he read. Read the rest of this entry

TORONTO UN-FiT PROTEST – take over the streets pics!

~800 rural residents blocked the streets of Ontario to march against the FiT and Wind Turbines!

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Farmers again near boiling point

By Jim Merriam, QMI Agency

In the early 1980s, a group of angry farmers grabbed their rifles and shotguns, donned ski masks and posed for the press.

The picture, taken in the haymow of an old barn near Owen Sound, was front-page news across the country.

The farmers in the picture and many others had reached the breaking point.

It was the age of usurious interest rates that made farming and other small businesses impossible to operate.

The sympathy of much of rural Ontario was with those farmers who courageously brought the rural plight to the public’s attention.

Many residents who lived and worked along the back roads of the province believed the real criminals were government leaders that sanctioned rates of more than 20% on an ongoing basis. (Some businesses paid up to 24% interest on operating loans during the period).

Because of these rates, farmers had been in a fight for their lives and livelihoods against the bureaucracy and banks long before the picture appeared.

But the photo-op was the point at which city folks finally sat up and took notice of the turmoil that was destroying lives and communities throughout the province.

Thirty years have passed and there are similarities with the rural Ontario of today. Family farms are rapidly disappearing, even though the economics of agriculture have improved, particularly in the last few years. But relations with the government are little different. The province continues to run roughshod over rural communities as if nothing has been learned since1980.

Green energy — particularly wind turbines — is one issue that has rural Ontario boiling. But there are many others, including the future of rural health care, government’s love for bigger schools even when they are no better, an assault on small school bus operators, mind-boggling regulations for something as simple as a liquor licence for a community dance, etc.

The folks battling the wind turbines are among the first to reach a frustration point not seen since the ’80s. This week, those activist municipal politicians led a public shunning of Premier Dalton McGuinty by 80 or so delegates to the annual good roads convention.

For their trouble, they got a vague promise that the province will restore “some” autonomy to municipalities that want to limit the number of wind turbines. “Some” change is the best the premier can come up with after years of rural residents battling the issue.

Contrast that to the sudden response the province provided to Toronto when that council discussed transit needs in the Big Smoke and you get an understanding of how neglected and ignored rural residents feel.

I asked one opponent of turbines about the similarities to the unrest of the early ’80s. “The time for civil unrest may be approaching,” this individual said.

Combine that comment with others, such as “let’s meet cabinet ministers outside of the cities with spreaders full of manure” and it’s obvious trouble is brewing.

Thirty years ago a band of gun-totin’ farmers got some action from the banks, the government and among themselves.

That photo was the seminal event in the founding of the Canadian Farm Survival Association. An organization of rural ministries also sprang into action to help families facing loss of livelihoods and the possible suicide of family members.

New ways were developed to finance the beef industry, based in part on the co-op model. Rural communities eventually calmed because something was being done about their concerns.

Nothing is being done today.

Getting tough on turbines – Plympton-Wyoming

Plympton-Wyoming wants big money from wind operators

By Heather Wright  Sarnia This Week

PLYMPTON-WYOMING – Plympton-Wyoming says industrial wind turbine operators will have to put down a $200,000 deposit for each of the massive energy makers before any soil is turned.

It’s one of two new standards the township council passed recently in an effort to “protect our people,” according to Plympton-Wyoming Mayor Lonny Napper.

After the province passed the Green Energy Act, municipalities had very little say in where or how many industrial wind turbines would be erected in the territory. Suncor currently plans a 29 turbine project in Plympton-Wyoming, a move Napper is worried about.

In January, council passed the bylaw calling for the $200,000 deposit reasoning there had to be money available so the turbines could be dismantled if, in 20 years, the original owners abandon the machinery.

For Suncor, that would mean cutting a $5.8 million check to Plympton-Wyoming.

“We thought with all the companies coming in – we don’t know these companies – if the turbines have to be removed, it gives you some security,” says Napper. “We want the assurance that if some company comes in and puts up forty of them, (and) they’re gone – when they are worn out – what do you do with them? Read the rest of this entry

Exeter Times Editorial – Blowin’ in the wind

February 22, 2012 Exeter Times-Advocate
Based on letters in this week’s and last week’s Times-Advocate, and very strong attendance at an information meeting in Grand Bend last week, we can safely say the hot topic of the day for our area is wind turbines.And you can expect the debate will get even hotter in the upcoming months and years as the several large-scale industrial wind turbine farms planned for the region come closer to fruition.
It seems to us that the more people learn about wind turbines and the closer these projects come to reality, the less people want them. The concerns are many, and are detailed elsewhere in this week’s newspaper, but chief among them are the impacts on the health of those who live near turbines, what wind energy will do to our hydro bills and our economy, how they will affect wildlife and how property values will be impacted.

These are not small concerns – these are major items.

The Middlesex-Lambton Wind Action Group last week in Grand Bend presented a well-organized, informative meeting about wind turbines. Even if you attended the meeting not having strong feelings against wind turbines, you left the meeting with many things to think about. Read the rest of this entry

Concerned citizens attend wind turbine meeting

February 22, 2012 Scott Nixon– Exeter Times

GRAND BEND – Those interested and concerned about the several large-scale wind turbine projects planned for the region packed the Grand Bend Public School gym last Thursday for an information meeting presented by the Middlesex-Lambton Wind Action Group (MLWAG).

Guest speakers presented information on the health concerns of humans living near wind turbines, the impact on the environment, real estate values and electrical pollution.

MLWAG is appealing the Zephyr Wind Development in the Watford area and member Muriel Allingham kicked off the meeting by noting that 422 industrial wind turbines are planned for Huron County, with 250 in Lambton Shores, including 48 in the Grand Bend area. She said the turbines are taller than a 50-storey building.
“These things are quite big monstrosities.”

Of the concerns some members of the public have about large wind farms is the potential of the harm the turbines will do to their health. On that note, the Michaud family of Thamesville spoke about how their health has been affected since turbines were erected near their hobby farm.

The family built their home in 2006, discovering in 2009 that turbines were planned for the area. Within two days of the new turbines going online, Lisa Michaud was in the emergency room with vertigo. She has experienced sleep deprivation from the constant sound of the turbines and has a constant ringing in her ears, along with pain. Read the rest of this entry

The pics that wind reps DON’T show farmers….(this is Zephyr)

So this is the Brooke-Alvisnton Zephyr project from the air yesterday. I’m just looking at al those tracks across the fields — were they crop touring , or what? Why even have roads and lanes if they don’t use them? Nice and gentle onthat land, eh?

Then imagine you are driving a tractor— you used to have a straight field to plow, but now you are wheeling around the lanes and towers; your field is all cut up into triangles and squares. Be sure to calculate in the extra time and fuel to plant, plough and harvest this field.

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Wind Action Group issues warnings

Property values and health effects of turbines to be discussed

By Heather Wright  Sarnia this Week    February 7, 2012

Middlesex Lambton Wind Action Group wants people in Lambton Shores to be aware of what they’re facing as industrial wind turbines begin to dot the landscape.

The group is holding a public meeting Thurs. Feb. 16 at the Grand Bend Public School to talk about the effects of turbines on human health, real estate values and local wildlife.

Lambton Shores will soon be a hotbed for wind energy. The largest project by NextEra Energy will put 92 turbines near the Lake Huron shoreline around Forest, Thedford, and Arkona.

Under the Green Energy Act, municipalities have very little control of the power projects. Groups like the Middlesex Lambton Wind Action have filed appeals to stop some of the projects in the province, so far without success.

So Muriel Allingham of the local Wind Action Group wants to prepare people for some of the possible problems associated with the turbines.

Allingham says the scope of the industrial wind farms which are coming to Lambton Shores is “unbelievable. The amount of focus on Lambton Shores is quite heavy and its going to completely change the landscape,” she says. Read the rest of this entry

Wind protesters stand their ground near Watford

By Cathy Dobson The Observer Feb 7th 2012 

BROOKE-ALVINSTON — About 40 protesters rallied along a muddy rural road Tuesday where four wind turbines are under construction in an open farm field.

“This is our community, this is our home. We will push it as far as we can push it,” said organizer Marcelle Brooks, holding a sign saying “McGuinty is not listening.”

“If that means we will be standing in front of a bulldozer, that’s where we’ll be,” she said.

Members of the Middlesex-Lambton Wind Action Group (WAG) staged the protest to demonstrate against the $22-million, 10-MW project near Watford on Ebenezer Road and Churchill Line.

WAG has been a vocal opponent during the entire planning process and has appealed the Ontario Ministry of Environment’s approval of the project known as the Zephyr Wind Farm. A hearing is set for Feb. 21 in Alvinston.

“It’s an atrocity,” said Jill MacInnis, who lives about two kilometres west of the site.

She is concerned about the wind farm’s effects on human health, as well as its impact on birds and animals.

“This is a pre-staging ground for 300 to 400 tundra swans that come every year, and six different hawk species and bald eagles,” said MacInnis. Read the rest of this entry

OFA calls for a MORATORIUM!!!

Ed. -What a difference a day can make!!

Farm group calls for turbine halt

By John Miner, The London Free Press  January 20

In a major blow to the McGuinty government’s controversial green energy plan, the largest farm lobby group in the province has pulled the plug on its support for wind turbines.

The Ontario Federation of Agriculture, which represents 37,000 farm families, issued a call Friday for the province to suspend wind turbine development.

OFA President Mark Wales said industrial wind turbines have split rural communities, pitting neighbour against neighbour.

“The situation is untenable,” Wales said. “It is taking away from what farmers do best and that is grow food and create jobs.”

“We need to slow this down and put some calm out there and then government needs to resolve the issues.”

Wales said technical solutions also need to be found before further development, such as how to store the energy from wind turbines when it is being produced but isn’t needed.

Selling such energy to other jurisdictions at a loss just isn’t good economics, he said.

Wales also said health concerns need to be addressed.

With hundreds of the giant turbines under construction, the Ontario government has come under intense criticism from rural groups for taking planning control away from rural municipalities.

Several Liberal MPPs, including former Agriculture Minister Carol Mitchell, were defeated in rural areas where turbines were being installed, helping to push the Liberals into a minority government position.

After the election, Premier Dalton McGuinty shifted veteran London Cabinet minister Chris Bentley into the politically hot energy portfolio.

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Wind Turbine Letters to the Ed. (LFPress)

In his letter, “Wind Trumps Nuclear”, Gideon Forman shows that he doesn’t understand the anger that has been directed against wind turbines in this province. None of the protest groups has ever claimed that wind power is worse for your health than coal or nuclear. But because wind is safer, Forman seems to think Ontarians should happily allow industries to put windmills wherever they wish, to let the provincial government continue to trample on individual and municipal rights, to ignore declining property values due to nearby windmills, and to ignore any possible link between windmills and repeated cases of ill health.

I find it apalling that an association of physicians is willing to allow the health risks that seem to follow windmills. Doctors in Ontario, the US and Europe have all recommended that windmills be set back far more than Ontario’s 550 meters. The French Academy of Medicine recommends 1500 meters, and some American doctors recommend 2000 meters or more. Given the correlation between windmills and stories of poor health, even if there is not yet a proven direct link, any group of physicians worthy of the name should at least be pushing for more than 550 meters between windmills and houses. It is unacceptable that the best the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment can do is to advocate that we let people suffer for the common good.

Adam Shirley, London
December 28, 2011


Wind energy can kill you

In response to the letter by Gideon Forman, Wind trumps nuclear (Dec. 26): Forman mention’s “the new study,” but gives no indication of what the study is or who conducted it. He goes on to say: “Windmills produce no smog, no acid rain, no toxic ash, no radioactive waste, no cancer.”

I wonder if Forman has ever looked into how these structures are produced and from what they are produced, what their longevity is and what happens to them when they fail. His letter is about as far from accurate as one could get.

Many of Ontario’s residents are reporting health problems they claim are caused by wind-turbine syndrome, but letters such as Forman’s suggest they are all liars or possibly, it’s in their heads. There are way too many persons claiming ill effects by wind turbines, so dismissing them all is not credible.

Green energy? Hogwash.

The only thing green about wind-generated electricity is all the extra green each Ontarian has to pay for this “green energy.” Wind is notoriously unreliable, blowing when not needed and needed when not blowing – which means if the so-called non-green production is cut too much, we’ll not have the capacity needed to heat or cool our homes during severe periods of weather, resulting in the death of vulnerable people when the power fails.

Ian Tuck, Exeter
December 29, 2011

Higher wind turbine fee sought- Adelaide-Metcalfe

GREEN ENERGY: Adelaide Metcalfe is considering charging thousands of dollars a unit instead of the current $500

By DEBORA VAN BRENK, The London Free Press December 21, 2011

A plan to escalate fees for companies wanting to erect wind turbines in Adelaide Metcalfe has been deferred until politicians can determine if charging $10,000 per turbine would cover the potential costs.

The current fee is $500, which local politicians have said is far too low to justify the engineering costs and other expenses which the Strathroy-area municipality could incur as the massive wind machines are put into service.

A council meeting this week to determine how much more to charge — the proposal was $10,000 per turbine — drew scores of residents.

Many called for even higher fees, along the lines of the $40,000 some Ontario communities are charging.

One resident said $10,000 would be too low even to inspect one of the structures.

Council heard submissions for about two hours before sending the matter back to staff to look at whether Adelaide Metcalfe should be a leader or a follower in the fee battle.

“What really pleased me was the response from the community,” said Esther Wrightman, who recalled that she and her family felt alone in their opposition when they first started talking with council a year ago.

Two wind energy giants, NextEra and Suncor, are looking to build as many as 68 turbines in the rural community.

Although the province has been promoting its green energy strategy — and this week promoted a report that says wind turbines don’t have any direct health effects — opponents say turbines can produce low frequency noise, harm bird migration and reduce property values.

Green energy giants NextEra and Suncor plan to build as many as 68 wind turbines in the Adelaide Metcalfe area in two separate projects.

No date was set for Adelaide Metcalfe council to debate the issue again.

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NextEra Land Takeover

A new NextEra ad for the Bornish project  in the London Free Press today- just like the Adelaide one a month or so ago.

You know what really bites about these ads? This sentence:

“The legal effect of this Notice is should another party, not affiliated with this project, pursue future development in the area, they are soley responsible to ensure noise levels meet all regulatory requirements….”

Yep, what they are saying is they are moving hundreds of turbines into our townships, and from now on all the residents and other devlopers must ensure that THEY are 550m away from the turbines NextEra has proposed. They have basically stole 550m of land around each proposed turbine – even if it is not on the signed property. People should be screaming about this type of invasion, plain and simple.

Liberal energy plan leaves opponents green around the gills

*READ Auditor Generals Report on the Green Energy program*

By CATHY DOBSON, The Observer Dec 6 2011
Local renewable energy opponents jumped on the auditor general’s report Tuesday, saying it adds steam to their argument Ontario should back away from its Green Energy Act.

“The main problem with wind turbines is health concerns but there hasn’t been a lot of consideration given to the costs,” said Ann Towell, a member of the Dawn-Euphemia chapter of Wind Concerns Ontario.

“I think our group is thrilled the auditor general is pointing out the costs to taxpayers. It may mean people on the periphery take a look at the Green Energy Act again.”

Ontario Auditor General Jim McCarter’s annual report estimated the Liberal’s green energy plan could drive up hydro bills 8% a year for the next five years.

He said wind and solar projects were fast-tracked without the usual oversight.

“There has been a lack of analysis that you’d normally find when you’re investing billions of dollars,” McCarter said.

Generous financial incentives such as the FIT (Feed-in-Tariff) system of subsidized power contracts may impact the energy bills of homeowners and businesses more than anticipated.

FIT has helped kickstart a number of renewable energy projects, but will cost $4.4 billion more than the previous renewable energy program, said McCarter.

As well, the intermittent nature of renewables means guaranteed FIT contracts will pay generators up to $225 million a year when they’re not producing power.

Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey called the auditor general’s report scathing.

“The McGuinty government’s expensive approach to energy, especially its rich FIT subsidies, permanent debt retirement charge and energy exports, is actively killing jobs in Ontario’s broader economy.”

Rather than create 50,000 green energy jobs, as the Liberal’s claimed, the Green Energy Act will fall short, according to McCarter. An estimated 30,000 of those jobs will be temporary construction work only.

“The auditor general has once again given this government a failing grade on his annual report card,” Bailey said. “What’s more, this report confirms what we in Sarnia-Lambton already know: the McGuinty government’s approach to energy is too expensive and is killing good jobs.”

Brooke-Alvinston Mayor Don McGugan has been an outspoken critic of the legislation because it took decision-making authority away from municipalities. Read the rest of this entry

Adelaide Metcalfe to up Wind Building Permit- Meeting Dec 19th

A fee hike for turbines in Adelaide-Metcalfe is long overdue – right  now a spinning, electrical machine that stands 500′ tall pays the same fee as a wood shed to our township – $500. The Twp is willing to raise it to $10 000 but that is still much too low, especially when looking at having over 120 of these machines operating here. To the residents in Adelaide-Metcalfe – please attend the meeting :
Adelaide-Metcalfe IWT Building Permit Fee Meeting
Date: Mon. Dec. 19
Time: 7:00-8:30 PM
Location: Adelaide-Metcalfe Council Chambers
2340 Egremont Dr., Adelaide MAP 

Turbine fees could soar

WIND ENERGY: Adelaide Metcalfe considers upping building permit charge to $10,000 from $500 per unit

By DEBORA VAN BRENK, The London Free Press Dec. 6, 2011

Wind energy companies may have to pay sky-higher fees if they want to set up shop in Adelaide Metcalfe.

And the Strathroy-area municipality’s plan is only one of several ways turbine opponents and politicians are showing frustration with what they see as a lack of local decision-making power about green energy.

Charging a building-permit fee of $10,000 per turbine — the current fee is $500 — isn’t a cash grab and is intended to be a break-even plan, Adelaide Metcalfe Mayor David Bolton said Monday.

“Our fees are enough to cover our costs.”

An engineering review of a single turbine can cost $4,500, Bolton said, and that doesn’t include re-reviews or inspection costs. Adelaide Metcalfe has planned a public meeting on Dec. 19 about the proposed fee hike.

Bolton hopes the higher levy will be in place by January — well before any turbines are in the ground.

Green electricity giant NextEra Energy has applied to build 38 turbines in Adelaide Metcalfe; in addition, Suncor has prepared a draft plan to erect as many as 30 more turbines in roughly the same area, to a maximum of 154 metres (500 feet) high. Read the rest of this entry

How the wind industry works….

20-40% DROP in property value from Wind Turbines

How to Conserve energy the Liberal Way (Use More!)

Lambton Kent Middlesex Liberal MPP Maria VanBommel explains how running appliances non-stop (and completely ignoring conservation) can save you money with Dalton McGuinty’s new “Smart Meter”; tracking your hydro consumption. Uh, somebody tell her she just proved the system isn’t working!!

Lambton Shores backs call for moratorium on wind farms

PAUL MORDEN   The Observer
August 8, 2011

Lambton Shores council has joined the list of municipalities asking for a moratorium on new wind farms in Ontario until an independent study is commissioned to determine their impact on human health.

Council voted Monday in favour of resolutions from Lambton Shores Concerned Citizens, a group formed earlier this year in opposition to plans to substantially increase the number of wind turbines in the municipality.

“We’re pleased that we got the support,” said group member Mike Mahood, “and really pleased that the council members have informed themselves.”

Lambton Shore is home to the only 10 wind turbines in Lambton County but in July the province announced contracts for the Jericho Wind Energy Centre, a 150-turbine farm proposed for the Thedford area, and the 75 to 100-MW Cedar Point project Suncor wants to build in Lambton Shores and Plympton-Wyoming near Forest.

“At the very least,” Mahood said, “we hope that it slows the development of these things down and gives time for the community to develop it’s own plan, its own made-in-Lambton-Shores strategy to deal with so-called renewable energy.”

Municipal councils in neighbouring Plympton-Wyoming and Dawn-Euphemia Township have also passed resolutions calling for a provincial moratorium and independent health study. Read the rest of this entry

Lambton-Middlesex hooks into the Bruce transmission line??

Other projects that received contracts under the disputed rules will take years to complete and will require extensive planning of new, expensive and unnecessarily long transmission lines,” said Cole Robertson, a Mesa Power executive.  – ed. note – ‘other projects’ are the ones in Middlesex/Lambton

VANCOUVER (Reuters) – Mesa Power Group, a Texas-based renewable energy company owned by billionaire T. Boone Pickens, plans to file a complaint with Canada charging that the province of Ontario’s green energy plan violates the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Mesa said on Thursday it initiated the complaint process after Ontario made “last-minute” changes to rules for awarding power purchase agreements under the feed-in tariff (FIT) provisions of its Green Energy Act, passed in 2009.

Mesa Power was unsuccessful in winning contracts for two wind energy projects it wants to build in western Ontario in the latest round of FIT awards made by the province on July 4.

Ontario’s FIT scheme pays generous, above-market rates to producers of renewable energy from sources such as the sun and wind under 20-year, fixed-price contracts.

The program has lured C$20 billion ($21 billion) in investment commitments to the province from both local and international investors, including Mesa Power.

The Canadian government has received Mesa Power’s notice of intent to submit a claim, and should it proceed with the complaint, Ottawa will “vigorously defend” the country’s interests, a Trade Department spokeswoman said. Read the rest of this entry

Ontario’s Power Trip: Bring in ‘da noise, bring in ‘da facts

by Parker Gallant, National Post
Wind power generates noise at levels that Ontario says must meet enforceable standards — but it has no enforceable standards. The long shabby story of wind noise from the province’s wind energy regime: Misguided Direction or Failure to Communicate?

The issue of noise from Ontario’s wind farms deserves a full public review. Instead, people are getting a run around from bureaucrats and politicians. Standards don’t exist, yet approvals are being issued without regard to consequences or the impact on people of noise levels.

Donna Cansfield, in November 2005, as Ontario Minister of Energy issued a “Direction” to the Ontario Power Authority instructing it to enter into contracts for up to 1000 MW of new electricity supply from renewable energy. Most were wind turbines. The health and other effects of wind turbines wasn’t actively studied before the contracts were signed. Noise, building codes, environmental standards etc. existed and were adapted to fit. No real review was undertaken.

To cite an example, the Amaranth wind contract used Stantec Consulting Ltd. of Guelph, Ontario to complete an Environmental Screening Report in February. They used Helimax Energie Inc. for the “noise” sector portion of that report. Three and a half years later Helimax presented a paper at the June 2008, World Wind Energy Conference which stated: “no recognized standard exists for measuring the noise impact of an operational wind farm.”

So the “noise” information used for Amaranth in the Environmental Screening Report in 2005 to secure the licence from the Environment Ministry was done without a “recognized standard”.

A leaked paper from the Guelph district office of the Ontario Ministry of the Environment stated the local authority “knowingly issued a series of Certificates of Approval (AIR) that are unenforceable.” Read the rest of this entry

Critique of Sierra Club of Canada’s “Report”

Critique of The “Real” Truth About Wind Energy An Analysis of the Potential Impacts of Wind Turbine Development in Ontario by the Sierra Club of Canada” by Wayne Gulden,

In passage after passage, all 51 of them, I showed where their research was incomplete, biased, sloppy, even borderline fraudulent. And after preparing this miserable excuse for a report, they then have the gall to present it to the world as the “Real Truth about Wind Energy”. The quicker this report dies the better, and not just because it is pro-wind energy. The Sierra Club could be a valuable resource in protecting – really protecting – our environment, but not given its current behaviour.

David Libby- Living with Wind Turbines in Ridgetown, ON

David Libby lives in the once quiet area near Ridgetown, Ontario. 50 wind turbines have since started up, and the noise from these machines is now affecting his health. No form of government will help him, nor protect him. This is the very real, and upsetting reality that is hitting rural Ontario residents over and over again, with politicians turning a blind eye so that they can continue their very destructive energy program.

MicroFIT operators left unplugged


Some necessary upgrades to inadequate power grid are four years away

There was a time Russell Elliott thought becoming involved in Ontario’s micro feed-in tariff program was a great opportunity to invest some savings.

That was before the cash crop farmer, who lives between Strathroy and Parkhill, learned it could take years to obtain a connection to the power grid.

Elliott had done everything by the book.

In April 2010, he applied to the program that offers small-scale power developers an opportunity to sell green power to Ontario’s power grid. By December, he had received a conditional offer to buy power from the Ontario Power Authority, which administers the program, installed a ground-mounted solar tracking unit and obtained — as the OPA required —Electrical Safety Authority approval.

Then he discovered his distribution company, Hydro One Network Inc., didn’t have the capacity to hook up his project.

“There’s a lot of frustration in this whole thing,” he says. “We’ve done exactly as we were supposed to; the government presented us with a program; we went ahead and did it.”

About five per cent of all microFIT program projects are stalled because the local infrastructure capacity can’t accommodate them. In February, Brad Dugout, Ontario’s Minister of the Environment, responded by fast tracking three Hydro One transmission projects in southwestern Ontario and upgrading the distribution company’s transmission stations.
Elliott asked Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MPP Maria Van Bommel to look into the issue. In early June, he received an email response from Helen Kwan, a senior project advisor with the ministry. That’s when he discovered it would take Hydro One 48 months to do the upgrades it had begun in March.

Elliott has obtained a year extension for his conditional offer, which otherwise would have expired in August. “But nobody has said they would go beyond that,” he says. “What’s going to happen the other three years?”

Mary Bernard, a spokesperson with the OPA, says there’s no policy decision yet for those in Elliott’s situation. “We don’t want to put additional hardship on folks who have followed all the rules and not been able to connect immediately.”

On Thursday, Elliott was among eight microFIT participants and solar contractors who met with members of Warwick Township council in Lambton County to discuss options and share their plight to local media.

Not knowing where Hydro One’s upgrades were taking place or when they would be complete was one of the group’s main concerns. How to obtain relief for project owners stuck in limbo during the interim was another.

“A timetable we can deal with,” says Dean Kulich, who represents Fritz Renewable Energy Services in Chepstow. “That way you can talk to your lenders.”

He says his company had to tear down 95 units because of delays and concerns they would not meet the province’s new domestic content requirement. (In January, the province raised its domestic content requirement in solar units to 60 per cent from 40 per cent). Kulich says he has another 317 potential customers dealing with constraints on their lines. His company is making interest payments for affected customers to compensate for the delay.

“The word class action has been mentioned everywhere,” he says. “We’re staying neutral.”

Frank Hogervorst, a sales representative with Penner Farm Services in Granton, says some people used retirement money to pay for the projects, thinking it would generate income, and now can’t connect. “It’s like a mutual fund gone bad.”

His company is giving customers an interest credit to help them cover their costs. He suggests the province should allow those who are affected to transfer their approvals to areas where there are no problems with capacity.

Todd Case, Warwick’s mayor, says representatives from the ministry, the OPA and Hydro One declined invitations to join the meeting.

Case has requested a meeting with Agriculture Carol Mitchell to discuss the issue. “As a municipality we are going to continue asking the questions,” he says.

With an election looming, Elliott expressed a desire to act quickly to find a solution. “The only bargaining chip we have now is the Liberal government,” he says.

On Thursday, the OPA announced that those who submitted their application before October 8, 2010 would be allowed to use the lower domestic content requirements of 40 per cent.

As of the end of May, the OPA had received 30,168 applications for the program. It had terminated 3,049, issued 21,255 conditional offers and had 5,093 projects executed.

Applications are terminated if they are incomplete, don’t meet eligibility requirements or are withdrawn by the applicant, says Bernard. “We know from our conversations with Hydro One and other LDCs (local distribution companies) that there’s a large number of people who are sitting on conditional offers who have not yet applied for a connection.”

A spokesperson for Hydro One could not be immediately reached for comment. BF

McGuinty vulnerable on wind power: opponent

By Paul Morden, The Sarnia Observer 06-10-2011

The president of Wind Concerns Ontario says Premier Dalton McGuinty and the Liberal Party are setting themselves up for an election defeat if they don’t start listening to wind farm opponents.

John Laforet brought his “Truth About Turbines” tour to Lambton Shores this week for a meeting at Bosanquet Central School, hosted by a group called Lambton Shores Concerned Citizens.

Laforet estimated the turnout at about 150 people who, he said, have the same concerns he’s hearing at other stops on the 36-community tour.

“They don’t like the process by which the decisions are being made and they don’t like how their concerns are being addressed by the government.”

Laforet said he told the audience in Lambton Shores about how to oppose industrial wind development, and he encouraged them to get involved in the Oct. 6 provincial election campaign.

“I think what we’re going to see is a lot of Liberal MPPs will be losing their seats . . . because communities can’t afford another four years of this government refusing to listen.”

Laforet is a former federal Liberal riding association president in Scarborough and once even worked for current Liberal Energy Minister Brad Duguid.

Laforet said he left the party when it passed its Green Energy Act and Premier Dalton McGuinty called opponents of wind farms in Scarborough “NIMBY’s.”

“I had to choose between my community and my political party,” Laforet said, “and I choose my community.”

Wind Concerns Ontario is a coalition of about 60 local organizations opposed to the province’s push to back industrial wind farms as part of its green energy plan.

They want the government to halt the building of any more wind farms and arrange for an independent study of their impact on human health.

The groups include one opposing a wind farm project in Dawn-Euphemia, as well as the recently formed group in Lambton Shores.

That community is home to the only 10 wind turbines currently operating in Lambton County, but hundreds more are on the drawing board.

“If Lambton Shores gets 273 structures that are 500 feet tall, this area would have more 50-storey structures than the City of Toronto,” Laforet said.

Industrial wind turbines don’t fit the lifestyle or existing land uses in rural areas, Laforet said. He added that noise from turbines cause health problems — a point disputed by the government and environmental groups who back its energy plan.

But, Laforet said he thinks the Liberals made a big mistake when it decided to get behind large wind farms, instead of concentrating on smaller individual home-sized green energy projects.

“We’re just one of the many jurisdictions that decided big and stupid was the way to go.”

Laforet said Wind Concerns Ontario is waiting to review all of the parties’ platforms before formally endorsing any of them, but he added, “We are pleased with what Tim Hudak and the Progressive Conservatives are calling for.”

Laforet said that includes its support for a moratorium and health study, restoration of local control over the approving wind projects, and the ending of Ontario’s feed-in tariff program and its deal with Samsung.

Maria Van Bommel, the Liberal MPP in Lambton-Kent-Middlesex, said it’s too early to say what issue will be at the top of voter’s minds in the fall, but added she feels good about the outlook for her reelection.

“Right now I wouldn’t want to put bets on what the issues are or aren’t.”

Van Bommel she has been talking with farmers in her riding interested in forming a co-op to develop wind projects, “and I also have constituents who have concerns.”

Van Bommel said she sees wind turbines as part of a renewable energy program that includes other approaches like solar projects and bio-gas.

“I see it, for a number of farmers, as another source of income for them,” she said.

Tom Adams: green energy insanity

Tom Adams is an independent energy and environmental advisor. He has held a variety of senior responsibilities including Executive Director of Energy Probe, membership on the Ontario Independent Electricity Market Board of Directors and membership on the Ontario Centre for Excellence for Energy Board of Management. As well he lectures on energy studies at University of Toronto and his guest columns appear in many major newspapers.
Tom provides insights into the profound changes the Green Energy Act is imparting on Ontario’s electrical system. He explains how our now “politicized” electrical system with lucrative Feed In Tariffs for wind development and “take it or pay” generator contracts is encouraging inefficiencies and increased cost to rate-payers.

Realtor Mike McMurray – who will buy that optioned property?

Based on years of experience handling rural properties as well as information provided by other realtors, Grey County realtor Mike McMurray offers insights into the effect proximity to Industrial Wind Development can have on property values. Various studies have suggested a range of impacts, from negligible to very significant. In some cases even the threat of wind development in close proximity may depress land values.