Category Archives: Ministry of Energy
Bentley flew the coop, and Chiarelli doesn’t deal with something he views as important as chicken shit, so he wrote this:
By Paul Morden, Sarnia Observer
Ontario’s pledge to increase local control over large wind and solar farms is “a lot of smoke and mirrors,” says one Lambton County anti-wind activist. Marcelle Brooks, a rural Lambton Shores resident with the Middlesex-Lambton Wind Action Group, dismissed Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli’s announcement Thursday that municipalities will have a greater role in where future large renewable energy projects locate.
“There’s not a lot of credibility here,” Brooks said. “Truly, did they change direction, or did they just put a new spin on it?” Chiarelli said Ontario’s Feed-In Tariff (FIT) system for awarding renewable energy contracts will be replaced, for large projects over 500 kilowatts, with a new competitive process where the government says wind companies will be required to work with municipalities on locations and site requirements.
The change comes as a growing number of municipalities are declaring themselves unwilling hosts for wind farms, and some mayors are saying Ontario’s wind energy push is dividing their communities. The Liberals lost the Lambton-Kent-Middlesex riding, and other rural seats, in the last provincial election. Brooks said Thursday’s announcementsdoes nothing for residents opposed to projects that already have FIT contracts, including Nextera and Suncor’s proposals to build a total of nearly 140 turbines in Lambton Shores, Plympton-Wyoming and Warwick Township. Read article
London Free Press
Local politicians and leaders of community groups took turns Thursday piling on the Wynne government, saying new rules for wind farms fall far short of what’s needed. The rules, revealed by Sun Media this week and outlined Thursday by Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli, promise to increase consultation with affected municipalities.
“Unless we can get full veto, I just don’t know if it’s going to be very good for us,” Middlesex County Warden Brad Richards said. “Don’t do it halfway.”
The Liberals still have their work cut out for them in rural Ontario — where they were nearly wiped off the map in the 2011 election — because residents there are going to be “very, very suspicious” about the changes, said political scientist Peter Woolstencroft of the University of Waterloo. “People will question the commitment.” The best way to win over rural Ontario would be to give both sides — the province and municipalities — a veto over large projects, Woolstencroft said.
Many communities in Middlesex County already have wind farms, and more are planned.Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said municipalities will be consulted before major projects proceed. “It’s true that there’s not a veto power involved in this process, but we always have to balance the greater good with the local good,” Wynne said. “I hope it meets the needs of the municipality but we’re going to work on it.” 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
April 15, 2013
PC MPP Delivered Hundreds of Unanswered Letters to Minister of Energy Today.
(Queen’s Park, ON) – Lambton-Kent-Middlesex PC MPP Monte McNaughton is pressing new Liberal Minister of Energy Bob Chiarelli to respond to hundreds of unanswered letters and emails from constituents and residents across Ontario. McNaughton delivered the file of unanswered letters to Chiarelli in the house this morning.
“Coming from a family business and one where customer service is paramount, I find this to be completely and totally unacceptable,” said MPP McNaughton. “Our constituents deserve answers, especially when they have taken the time to write and express their concerns or ask important questions. For a minister of the crown to simply choose to ignore these letters is not acceptable and is not right.”
The letters raise important questions and concerns about the Liberal efforts to encourage further development of industrial wind turbines. MPP McNaughton and the Ontario PCs continue to push for changes to the Liberals failed green energy act and costly FIT program. McNaughton will support MPP Lisa Thompson’s Bill 39 the ‘Ensuring Affordable Energy Act, 2013’ when it comes to a vote on April 18.
“Tim Hudak and the Ontario PCs are the only party fighting to halt further wind turbine development,” said McNaughton. “I have heard from thousands of people from across Lambton-Kent-Middlesex and they have told me loud and clear that they would like a pause, a moment to stop and consider these developments prior to more shovels breaking ground.”
As outlined in the Ontario PC policy white paper Paths to Prosperity: Affordable Energy, McNaughton and the PCs propose winding down the provinces Feed-in-Tariff Program (FIT), immediately halting all new projects still in the approval queue and stop contracting for power we don’t need, at prices Ontario residents cannot afford
By John Miner, The London Free Press
Ontario’s opposition Tories have intensified demands for a halt to wind farms after the release of government documents showing bureaucrats repeatedly raised concerns about noise from turbines.
“I think the taxpayers of Ontario deserve to know the truth,” Lisa Thompson, MPP for Huron-Bruce and PC deputy critic for green energy, said Wednesday.
“It goes to show there is uncertainty everywhere with regards to the impacts of industrial wind turbines. Let’s hit the pause button and let’s do proper studies based in Ontario and get it right.”
The documents were obtained through a Freedom of Information request by an Orangeville resident who asked for all letters, memos, records and e-mails between the Guelph district Environment Ministry office and other ministry staff regarding a proposed order against the Amaranth and Melancthon wind turbines. The request covered a period from March 2009 to September 2010.
Of 300 pages of records, the government released only 26 pages with sections removed.
But the 26 pages that were released showed the Guelph Environment Ministry office was being hit with a large number of noise complaints dating back to 2006 for the 133 wind turbines, the largest turbine installation in the province at the time.
In a draft plan to deal with the complaints, the district supervisor wrote that Environment Ministry officers had gone to several homes of complainants and confirmed the noise emissions “are in fact causing material discomfort to the residents in and around their homes.”
“Valid complaints continue to be received by (the Environment Ministry) . . . officers have verified that the complaints of adverse effect by area residents are for the most part justified,” he wrote in an August 2009 memo. Read article
Ontario Energy Minister Chris Bentley agreed to meeting AND a conversation with only a limited number of residents from rural Ontario (fourexactly, but we took five, 2 of home are already victims of wind turbines). It became apparent very early on in the “meeting” that there would be no “conversation”, as Mr. Bentley stonewalled question after question. The time to pretend to “gather information” was over 4 years ago, Bentely — you have the information, but you choose to ignore it, and ignore us. Good luck ever winning rural Ontario vote back again, if the Liberals view this as the way a democracy works.
Paul Morden, Sarnia Observer
Plans for up to a dozen wind turbines in Warwick Township have Mayor Todd Case feeling frustrated. Nextera Energy is holding the first of three public meetings about its 150-MW Jericho Wind project at Centennial Hall in Watford Feb. 6, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The community hall sits a few kilometres south from where the mostly Lambton Shores-based Jericho project spills over the border into Warwick.
Case said there has been a serious lack of communication from both Nextera Energy, and from the Ontario government. Warwick’s council voted earlier in November to call on the province to deal with a list of the township’s concerns and objections about its Green Energy initiative.
“The common sense in this whole equation seems to have gone out the window, quite some time ago,” Case said. “It seems here in Ontario we’re just going to keep marching forward and we’re not going to consider all the facts.”
Nextera released a map earlier this month showing 97 proposed sites for up to 92 Jericho Wind project turbines it wants to begin operating in 2014. Warwick has joined other Ontario municipalities calling for a moratorium on wind farms until a federal health study can be completed. 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).
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.
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
by Greg Van Moorsel, London Free Press
It was one year ago that Chris Bentley won the cabinet booby prize after helping the McGuinty Liberals eke out a minority government.
Make peace with rural Ontario.
The London MPP was one of only four Grits left standing between Windsor and the Toronto area after last fall’s election cut the Liberals’ 70-seat majority to 53 seats.
Bentley went from attorney general to energy minister. From the government’s chief legal counsel, a dream job for any lawyer, he got stuck on point for the issue that cost the Liberals the farm — their slavish drive to force industrial wind turbines onto countrysides that don’t want them.
It didn’t help that the Liberals held no serious debate before embarking on their strategy, nor that they seized local control over where the often-unwanted turbines can be built.
With Premier Dalton McGuinty now on his long goodbye and the legislature shut down until Liberals choose a replacement in three months, it’s fair to say the government still hasn’t bridged that post-election, rural-urban divide aggravated by its green energy policies. It will have to do better if it wants to cling to power after McGuinty leaves. Read the rest of this entry
Kelly Pedro, Sun Media
LONDON, ON — With the Ontario legislature prorogued and Energy Minister Bentley mulling a run for the Liberal leadership, rural communities worried about wind farms are left in limbo.
Bentley was supposed to mend fences between the provincial Liberals and rural Ontario amid opposition to the growing number of wind farms.
If someone takes over Bentley’s portfolio, it will take time for that person to get up to speed, said Jane Wilson, president of Wind Concerns Ontario.
“It’s just adding to the uncertainty,” she said.
With 6,000 wind turbines planned or proposed for Ontario, opposition politicians have long called for a moratorium on wind farms. Health Canada is completing a study in 2014 of the effects of industrial wind turbines on human health.
The issue cost the Liberals a majority in the last election as rural residents voiced their growing anger over a lack of local control over where the turbines go and how many are allowed in their communities. Read the rest of this entry
Jonathan Sher, London Free Press
Ontario MPPs voted 53-50 Tuesday to send Energy Minister Chris Bentley of London to answer a charge of contempt of parliament — a charge that hasn’t stuck in more than a century. At issue is how the Liberal government secretly agreed to pay $230 million to kill deals to build power plants in two Toronto area ridings on the eve of the last election. It means an all-party committee of MPPs — with the power of a court — will decide the issue later this fall.
The Free Press quizzed Bentley on the fallout.
Q: Have Liberal colleagues left you to take a bullet for Dalton McGuinty over a decision that wasn’t yours?
The premier and my colleagues have been enormously supportive . . . We took the decision not to proceed with these two power plants, a decision supported by both of the other parties and that decision meant there was going to be a cost.
Q: They’re not under a contempt investigation. You are . . . Do you feel you’ve been left to face an ordeal that wasn’t of your own making?
As I said, the premier and my colleagues have been very supportive. Today is a difficult day. We have the committee coming up and I’ll be able to hear some of the facts.
Q: Do you feel you’ve been left to face an ordeal that wasn’t of your own making?
Today is a difficult day. We have the committee coming up and I’ll be able to hear some of the facts. Read the rest of this entry
London Free Press
On Sept. 24 Minister of Energy, Chris Bentley rose in the legislature to defend the cancellation of the Oakville power plant and to defend allegations regarding contempt of parliament, proudly announcing, “The decision was made after hearing overwhelming concerns from local residents and local elected officials. We heard concerns from families and we responded.”
Given the thousands of requests from rural Ontario to stop wind turbines from being rammed into our communities and his refusal to listen to us, Bentley’s statement shows contempt for rural Ontario and an absolute lack of respect for our citizens.
More than 90 municipalities have asked his government for a moratorium on industrial wind turbines, as have the Ontario Federation of Agricultural and the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario. On any given day in the legislature petitions are brought before parliament asking for the same. Yet he refuses to listen.
Instead he has the audacity to claim he is listening, when it is apparent this listening skill pertains only to urban residents when Liberal seats are in jeopardy.
Bentley’s callous disregard for the citizens of rural Ontario is shameful and a sad indicator of the differential treatment afforded to those in urban ridings. When will he stop treating Ontario’s rural residents like second class citizens?
London Free Press
The article Backlash stalls hundreds of jobs (Sept. 8) fails to explain how we rural Ontarians apparently have stopped Samsung from building a wind turbine manufacturing plant in London.
If by following the public process that the Ontario government has set up for us to use, we happen to be causing a slowdown in approvals, that shouldn’t be a problem for the Minister of Energy, should it?
The public is always chastised for not participating, but it doesn’t seem to be appreciated when we do attend meetings, fill in forms, ask questions, demand answers and, yes, appeal government decisions. If this causes Energy Minister Chris Bentley anxiety, he only has himself and his Liberal government to blame.
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:
- 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.
- 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
Ed. Note: So are we still NIMBYs if we have BOTH Gas plants and Wind developments? Perhaps Mississauga and Etobicoke would like to take the turbines then…? There are 150 proposed for Lambton Shores- yours for the taking!
The controversial Greenfield South Power gas plant, originally planned for Mississauga, is being relocated to the Sarnia area.
Ontario’s Minister of Energy Chris Bentley said an agreement was reached, Tuesday, to relocate the 300 megawatt plant to the Ontario Power Generation’s Lambton generating station site.
“We have fulfilled the commitment we made to the residents of Mississauga and Etobicoke,” Bentley told reporters. “We have found a resolution – a good site in a good location – so that the people of Ontario can benefit from the power this facility will provide.”
“It became very clear in the months leading up to September that a gas plant in Mississauga was not the appropriate location. The residents were expressing themselves in a very strong way,” he added. Read the rest of this entry
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
Letters London Free Press Nov 22nd, 2011
In the article McGuinty’s rural point man (Nov. 21) Minister of Energy Chris Bentley is paraphrased as saying, “both the provincial and national chief medical officers of health agree there are no health concerns attributable to turbines.”
What he has missed is that the Environmental Review Tribunal’s Thamesville decision from July 18 states: “This case has successfully shown that the debate should not be simplified to one about whether wind turbines can cause harm to humans. The evidence presented to the tribunal demonstrated that they can, if facilities are placed too close to residents. The debate has now evolved to one of degree.”
Bentley needs to get up to date and start the conversation where the decision by his government’s tribunal left off — human health is affected by wind turbines, period.
Esther Wrightman, Kerwood
ENERGY MINISTER CHRIS BENTLEY: Wound up over wind turbines, rural Ontario spurned the Liberals. It’s Chris Bentley’s job to make peace
By CHIP MARTIN The London Free Press November 21, 2011
Chris Bentley promises to listen to suggestions about how to make wind turbines more acceptable in rural areas.
But Ontario’s new energy minister, who doubles as the Liberal government’s point man to make peace with rural Ontario, says science shows turbines pose no health risk and he has no plans to let their location be returned to local control.
“The science is on the side of wind turbines,” the London West MPP told The Free Press as Ontario’s new minority government — its first in a generation — opens Monday at Queen’s Park after the October election cost Dalton McGuinty many rural seats. Among other rural irritants, the government took over control from municipalities about where green-energy installations, like industrial wind turbines can go.
“In terms of how we site them . . . I am happy to listen,” Bentley said. “We have a province-wide approach (to locating turbines). If I can strengthen it, I’d like to,” adding he has no interest in a “patchwork” system.
Rural foes hoping Bentley might bring a new approach to the Green Energy Act, under which 900-plus turbines have sprouted, were disappointed there’s no change in the wind with Bentley’s arrival.
Another 2,000 turbines have been approved.
“I’m not looking forward to this,” Esther Wrightman, a director of the Middlesex-Lambton Wind Action Group, said of Bentley’s take. Read the rest of this entry