Category Archives: Sarnia Observer

Dairy farmer hopes there’s still time to pull the plug

Darryl DegrootPaul Morden, Sarnia Observer
Darryl De Groot says it’s gotten to the point that farmers have stopped waving to each other on Northville Road. And that’s just one impact the dairy farmer sees that Ontario’s Green Energy Act, and Nextera’s proposed Jericho wind energy project, is having on rural Lambton Shores. “Country life out here, it’s not like it once was,” De Groot said.

Florida-based Nextera is planning to build a 92-turbine wind farm in Lambton Shores and neighbouring Warwick Township, and the community has divided between farmers who signed leases, allowing the wind companies to build turbines on their land, and those who didn’t, De Groot said. When the land agents came around in 2008, he and his father took a look at what they were offering, and turned them down. “Dad said, ‘You know what, anything to do with the government that is 50 pages long, don’t sign it.'”

But other farmers did, including some of De Groot’s neighbours. Nextera received a contract to sell power to Ontario, and is in the final stages of securing provincial environmental approval to move ahead with its project. “Farmers aren’t waving at each other on the roads any more,” De Groot said. “It’s sad . . . it should have been done a different way. It shouldn’t have been pushed on us.”

De Groot grew up on the farm near the small community of Arkona, went to agricultural college, married and has a one-year-old child he still hopes will be the fourth generation of the family to farm on Northville Road. Read article

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Mom asking wind companies to move wind turbine sites away from autistic son

sarah hornblowerPaul Morden, Sarnia Observer
Sarah Hornblower says intensive behavioural intervention therapy has made a world of difference for Josh, her five-year-old autistic son. But, she worries wind farms coming to Lambton Shores will blow the progress away.

Hornblower and her husband, Chris, felt lucky when Josh qualified for the OHIP-covered in-home therapy after only a year or so on the waiting list. They saw families in other areas waiting much longer. “He wasn’t talking,” she said. “He wasn’t toilet trained. He wasn’t interacting at all. He wouldn’t look at you.” That changed after the therapy. “Through the work of these people, he’s fully toilet trained. He can speak, He’s learning to read. He can ride a bike . . . things we never thought were possible.”

The couple has seven children and three have been diagnosed with autism. Josh is the most severely impacted. Hornblower said they began hearing rumours about wind projects about a year after moving in 2007 to Ridge Road. There are already 10 turbines near Ravenswood and she initially thought a few more wouldn’t be a problem. Read article

Demonstrators heckle premier as she begins her address in Sarnia

1297423491607_ORIGINALSarnia Observer
About 50 protesters greeted Premier Kathleen Wynne when she arrived at the opening of the Goodwill One Tomato garden in Sarnia around 10 a.m. A combination of Save the Jail and STOP wind turbine demonstrators waving placards attempted to talk to the premier as she walked by. Wynne took the stage and began her opening remarks while protesters continued to yell “Hey, hey Liberals, you’re fired, you’re fired” and “Hey Wynne, you’re not listening.”

Mayor Mike Bradley stood at the podium and attempted to quiet the demonstrators during the opening ceremonies. “We appreciate dissent but we also appreciate respect,” he said. Wynne told the crowd that she had earlier told about 20 Queen Elizabeth II students who were serving fresh vegetables to the crowd of 200 that she appreciates freedom of expression. “I am working to address your concerns that have been raised,” she told the crowd. Read article

NextEra seeks damages from Kerwood area resident

DSCN2402Paul Morden, Sarnia Observer
NextEra Energy Canada is suing Middlesex County wind activist Esther Wrightman over altered company logos that appeared online and in videos posted to YouTube. The Canadian subsidiary of Florida-based NextEra Energy Resources filed a statement of claim in the Ontario Superior Court in Toronto against Wrightman who has been actively opposing wind turbine projects in Middlesex and Lambton counties.

They include NextEra’s Adelaide wind farm near Wrightman’s home, as well as the company’s nearby Bornish and Jericho projects. “Our policy is not to comment on pending legal action,” NextEra spokesperson Josie Hernandez said when contacted Monday. “We look forward to sharing our view on the matter with the court.” The statement of claim says any damages NextEra recovers from the court action will be donated to United Way Canada.

According to NextEra’s statement of claim, a company logo was altered to say “Nexterror,” and appeared on a province anti-wind website, as well as videos posted online. The allegations have not been proven in court. Read article

Timely advice for turbine hosts

dwarfing the electricity polesPeter 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

Lawyer urging caution with wind leases

no to wind leasesPaul 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

Enniskillen Township citizens’ group spreading its message

enniskillenPaul Morden, Sarnia Observer
Chad Burke says he believes it’s possible to keep wind farms out of Enniskillen Township. Burke chairs the citizens’ group Conservation of Rural Enniskillen (CORE) that formed earlier this year after several wind companies became active seeking land to lease for turbine sites in the township. Some residents of other communities where turbines have already been built have said “they wish they would have gotten a head start, like we have,” Burke said.

“We’re feeling pretty good there’s a chance industrial wind turbines will not be in Enniskillen.” Core members will be handing out pamphlets and information at Saturday’s town-wide yard sale in Petrolia, and will have an information table May 1 at the Heidi’s Independent grocery store there. That will be followed by a community awareness meeting CORE has organized for May 2, 7 p.m., at Lambton Centennial School.

Lawyer Wallace Lang is scheduled to speak that evening about land leases and Greg Cameron will speak about insurance issues. Tammy Van Troost, president of the Lambton local of the National Farmers Union, is also expected to speak. Read article

Wind foes welcome ruling

CHATHAM KENT ONTARIO ENBRIDGE WIND FROM HWY3 TALBOT TRAIL11Paul Morden, Sarnia Observer
Wind turbine opponents in Lambton County are celebrating a silver lining they see in a court ruling that dismissed a claim against a wind project near Collingwood. The Ontario Superior Court of Justice this week dismissed a claim made by neighbouring property owners against the eight-turbine Fairview wind project WPD Canada is seeking provincial approval to build near the Clearview Township community of Stayner. The decision was based on the fact approval hasn’t been given yet.

But Eric Gillespie, a lawyer representing neighbours who brought the court action, says the ruling recognizes that claims against wind projects are possible as soon as projects receive approval. “There are many people who have been waiting to see how the courts would respond to these types of claims,” Gillespie said. “It now seems clear that as soon as a project is approved residents can start a claim.” Gillespie said that appears to be a major step forward for people concerned about industrial wind projects. “We can definitely expect more claims now that this door has been opened.”

Gillespie is currently also defending Plympton-Wyoming’s wind turbine bylaws against a legal challenge by the Suncor Energy, the company seeking provincial approval to build up to 62-turbines as part of its Cedar Point wind project in Lambton County. Wind opponents are also celebrating that the court accepted evidence indicating turbines could devalue neighbouring properties by 22% to 50% or more, and also impact the health of neighbours. Read article

Plympton-Wyoming looks for guidance from Wainfleet decision

Wainfleet Rally 2 (1)By Paul Morden, Sarnia Observer
A court ruling that went against another municipality’s wind turbine setback bylaw could end up helping Plympton-Wyoming, says its lawyer. Suncor Energy has taken Plympton-Wyoming to court over wind turbine provisions in its bylaws, including a two-kilometre setback like the one in the Niagara-area municipality of Wainfleet Township an Ontario court recently said was invalid.

“The decision gives some guidance that wasn’t available previously,” said lawyer Eric Gillespie. He was hired by Plympton-Wyoming to help it defend its bylaws against Suncor’s challenge. Gillespie said the judge in the Wainfleet case said municipalities have the ability to pass bylaws concerning industrial wind projects, so long as they don’t conflict with the province’s legislation.

“The decision also provides direction regarding the way that some of the provisions of a bylaw should be put together,” Gillespie said. “Both of those elements will likely assist Plympton-Wyoming as we move forward for with its bylaw.” Read article

Township council motion calls Enniskillen an unwilling host

CHTHAM KENT ONTARIO  BORALEX FRONT LINE WIND FROM HWY3 TABLOT TRAILBy Paul Morden, Sarnia Observer
Enniskillen Township has joined a growing number of Ontario municipalities declaring that industrial wind farms aren’t welcome within their boundaries. Mayor Kevin Marriott said his council passed a motion this week calling itself an unwilling host, and he was at Queen’s Park in Toronto Thursday when Liberal and New Democrat MPPs defeated a Tory bill — 40 votes to 33 — that would have, among other measures, returned some local municipal control over wind projects.

Several wind companies have been active in Enniskillen Township, looking for land to lease for turbine projects, and a citizens’ group has formed there to oppose them. At a press conference in Toronto before Thursday’s vote Marriott spoke about the division that wind turbines create in rural municipalities like his. “The Green Energy Act has been nothing short of a nightmare for our community,” he said of the provincial legislation that took away local municipal planning control over renewable energy projects.

“We feel like our democracy has been stripped away.” Read article

Mayor still confident in wind turbine stance

plympton wyomingPaul  Morden, Sarnia Observer
Plympton-Wyoming officials plan to consult with their lawyer over a recent court ruling that went against another Ontario municipality’s two-kilometre setback for wind turbines. Plympton-Wyoming is being sued by Suncor Energy over wind turbine provisions in its bylaws, including one that also calls for a two-kilometre setback.

The province only requires wind turbines be built at least 550-metres away from neighbouring properties and its Green Energy Act took planning approval powers for renewable energy projects away from municipalities. A Superior Court of Ontario judge ruled Friday the setback bylaw in the Niagara-area municipality of Wainfleet Township is invalid.

“We’ll be meeting, sooner than later, with our legal team and get some advice as to where we should go from here,” said Plympton-Wyoming Mayor Lonny Napper. “I don’t think it would change our stance any.

“I think we felt very confident with the way we presented our bylaws.” Suncor plans to build as many as 62 wind turbines in Plympton-Wyoming, Lambton Shores and Warwick Township as part of its Cedar Point Wind Power project. Read article

Activist says she won’t cease and desist

we will not be silentBy Paul Morden, London Free Press
Middlesex County anti-wind turbine activist Esther Wrightman says she’s not giving in to a cease and desist warning from lawyers working for NextEra Energy Canada. A letter, dated March 20, was sent to Wrightman calling on her to remove YouTube videos and wind resistance website postings because of company logos altered to read “NEXTerror” and “Nextterror Bullies Canada Inc.”

“Our request is simply to not use the corporation’s registered, trademarked logo in a manner that is defamatory,” NextEra spokesperson Josie Hernandez said in an email. Hernandez said company officials attempted to contact Wrightman personally to resolve the issue before the letter from the lawyers was sent. Wrightman said phone calls where made to her home but she never spoke directly to those company representatives. “We aren’t trying to limit debate, which is clear from our letter, but we have rights in our logo that are entitled to protection under the law,” Hernandez said.

The letter from the lawyers to Wrightman mention in particular use of “NEXTerror” in a video shot in January as crews destroyed a bald eagle nest on the site of NextEra’s Summerhaven wind project in Haldimand. The tree holding the nest came down with the permission of Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources. The letter from the lawyers asks Wrightman to remove that video – as well as a second one interviewing company officials about the nest – from YouTube by March 22. Read article

Suncor moving ahead with wind power project

PW NancyBy Paul Morden, Sarnia Observer
A Plympton-Wyoming residents’ group fighting Suncor’s Cedar Point Wind Power project says it has more than 700 signed objection letters, and it isn’t finished collecting them yet. We’re Against Industrial Turbines Plympton-Wyoming (WAIT-PW) collected the letters at three open houses Suncor held last week into its plans to build a 100-megawatt wind farm in Plympton-Wyoming, Lambton Shores and Warwick Township.

WAIT-PW’s Ingrid Willemsen and Keith Watson delivered the letters to Suncor officials at the final open house in Watford, and asked the company to cancel the project. While the Suncor official they spoke with didn’t give any indication that would happen, “she definitely looks like she feels the pressure from the community,” Willemsen said. “I don’t know how they could turn a blind eye to so much protest.”

Members of WAIT-PW, as well as the Middlesex Lambton Wind Action Group and Conservation of Rural Enniskillen, a newly formed anti-wind turbine group in Enniskillen Township, were at the open houses also held in Camlachie and Thedford to rally against the company’s plans. Read article

Former mayor joins anti-wind turbine group

O'NeilBy Paul Morden, Sarnia Observer
It was the Ontario government’s decision to close the Lambton Generating Station that convinced Larry O’Neill to tear up his Liberal Party membership card. The veteran municipal politician in Enniskillen Township, past county warden, former provincial Liberal candidate and long-time party worker calls himself an independent these days.

The Liberal government’s decision to shut down the coal-fired plant didn’t make sense to O’Neill, just like its Green Energy Act and its rush to build wind farms in rural communities doesn’t make sense to the retired farmer and Chemical Valley worker who spent 16 years in municipal politics.

“I’m just boggled by it,” O’Neill said. “This has got very little to do with a clean environment for Ontario, and it’s got all to do with big money.” He’s worried about the impact wind turbines have on the health of people living next to them. “The question I have for the people who say there’s no health issue with them, is, ‘Would they want a house within 500 metres of one of them?’” O’Neill said he’s also concerned about the impact on residential property values, and the quality of life in rural communities. “I totally oppose the things.” Read article

Battle over turbines heating up this week

Keith ElizabethPaul Morden, Sarnia Observer
Keith Douglas and Elizabeth Bellavance call themselves “very private people” who didn’t expect to become anti-industrial wind turbine activists. They both grew up in rural Lambton, became veterinarians and eventually moved in 1997 to a farm on Plympton-Wyoming’s Aberarder Line. They were attracted by a view that rolls down to a creek and up a tree-covered hill. The farm’s workable acres are share-cropped but Douglas has also planted thousands of trees. Not far behind the house, the fence of a horse pasture stretches out from the barn and down the hill.

Mixed in with papers on a coffee table inside is an architect’s rendition of a new home the couple planned to build to take advantage of the view. “We let go of that plan last summer,” Bellavance said. About seven years before, a fellow came up their lane way looking for farmland to lease for a wind farm project.

Suncor Energy Projects has a Feed-In Tariff contract to sell energy from its up to 46-turbine Cedar Point Wind Power project. The company is now in the late stages of working through provincial approval to build the wind farm that will stretch across Plympton-Wyoming, Lambton Shores and into Warwick Township. “We didn’t just brush him off,” Bellavance said about the man who came offering a wind lease. “We had a look.” Read article

Wind development planned near Grand Bend

Grand BendBy 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

Support sought for wind turbine moratorium

kids signsBy 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

Plympton Wyoming Residents air concerns on wind turbines

Sarnia ObserverPWWAIT1

Citizens group forms in Enniskillen Township : C.O.R.E.

enniskillen COREBy 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

Activists say turbines could impact swan migration

lambton shores5Tundra Swan vs Wind Turbines Info Rally
Date:
Sun. March 24
Time: 11:00am – 2:00pm
Place: Greenway Rd, (Thedford Bog) Grand Bend MAP  &  map of viewing area

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

Wind turbine petition heading to Queen’s Park from Plympton-Wyoming

plympton wyomingPaul 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

Mainstream planning projects in Lambton

enniskillen-windBy 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

Plympton-Wyoming hires environmental lawyer

161_gillespieePaul 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

Oil Springs Information meeting draws a crowd

1297386228060_ORIGINALPaul Morden, Sarnia Observer
Landowners need to get advice before signing on with wind energy companies, says lawyer Wallace Lang. He was speaking to about 250 people gathered Thursday evening at a wind turbine public awareness meeting held at the community centre in Oil Springs.

It was organized by Enniskillen Township resident Chad Burke and his family after representatives of wind companies began approaching landowners in the rural Lambton County community. Mayor Kevin Marriott has said three companies are behind several proposals for wind farms in the township.

Lang was one of several speakers at the meeting Burke organized with help from local anti-wind groups. “Take care,” Lang told the crowd about documents used by wind companies. “Because it’s a binding agreement once you sign it. Lang said the companies have developed documents they have found to be saleable to landowners. “You’re not dealing with a bunch of amateurs here.”

Burke said he discovered the wind companies have become active in Enniskillen when they approached his in-laws. As well as organizing Thursday’s meeting, Burke said he expects to see an Enniskillen citizens’ group form and join forces with other anti-turbine efforts in Lambton. “The whole idea is to spread awareness and not let these into our community,” he said. Read article

Tory MPP says high electricity costs kill job creation

Bob-BaileyPaul Morden, Sarnia Observer
A wind energy association is disputing Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey’s claim wind energy isn’t affordable. Bailey and Ontario’s PCs have said they will cancel the Feed in Tariff program the Liberal government has used to attract wind and other renewable energy projects to the province. “We want to return electricity generation and power generation in Ontario to be a job producer, and not a social policy to try and get people to support wind turbine-generated electricity,” Bailey said.

The Tories point to the Feed in Tariff program, and the province’s Global Adjustment charge, as causing rising electricity prices the party says harm Ontario’s manufacturing sector. “We see industry, already, taking another look at where they’re going to locate,” Bailey said. “We’ve lost a lot of industry to Quebec and our neighbours.”

Robert Hornung, president of the Canadian Wind Energy Association, said comments by Bailey and the PC’s “perpetuate the myth that wind and renewable energy is the driving force behind electricity prices increases in the province.” Read article

Wind companies active in Enniskillen Township

enniskillenBy Paul Morden, Sarnia Observer
The “divisive” wind energy debate is heating up in Enniskillen Township, says Mayor Kevin Marriott. Representatives of several wind companies have been approaching Enniskillen landowners, Marriott said. “I would say there are three (companies) involved” with projects proposed for sites across the rural central Lambton County township that surrounds Petrolia, he said.

Wind farms were proposed for Enniskillen several years ago but the issue had gone quiet until recently, he said. “A year ago we thought we were lucky, and now we’re kind of right into the frying pan here.” Marriott said township council hasn’t taken a position yet on wind turbines, or been formally approached by any wind companies. “I’ve been told they are in the neighbourhood talking to landowners, trying to get a feel for what the consensus would be before they do actually approach council.”

Marriott is attending the Rural Ontario Municipal Association conference in Toronto this week where he said township officials are attempting to learn more about the issue. The recent Ontario throne speech, following the swearing-in of new Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne, promised communities would have a say in the location of new energy projects. “We don’t want to rush into a decision until we find out what the premier has up her sleeve,” Marriott said. Read article

Suncor going to court over wind farm setbacks

suncorPaul Morden, Sarnia Observer
Suncor is taking Plympton-Wyoming to court over the town’s wind turbine bylaws, including a requirement they be at least 2 km from neighbouring homes. Suncor Energy Products has a contract to sell the province energy from the up to 46-turbine Cedar Point Wind Power project it plans to build in Plympton-Wyoming, Lambton Shores and Warwick Township. The company launched its legal challenge of Plympton-Wyoming’s bylaws in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Sarnia at the same time it’s working through Ontario’s environmental approval process for the wind farm that would stretch from Camlachie north to Ravenswood Line.

“We expected this,” said Plympton-Wyoming Mayor Lonny Napper. “We’re ready to defend our bylaws.” Ontario’s Green Energy Act took planning approvals for wind farms out of the hands of municipal councils but Plympton-Wyoming pressed ahead by passing a series of bylaws to control wind projects, including setting its own 2-km setback. Ontario only requires that wind turbines be at least 550 metres from neighbouring homes.

Suncor spokesperson Jason Vaillant said the company has been working with the municipality on the issue since 2006. “We have talked to them recently about their bylaws and we feel that they are in conflict with the process that has been laid out for us by the province,” he said. Read article

MPAC waiting on turbine study

mpacSarnia Observer
[excerpt] Property owners living with wind turbines on or near their land are watching for new study results expected by the end of February. MPAC (Municipal Property Assessment Corporation), the agency that sets property values for tax purposes, has taken a second look at whether wind turbines impact assessment. A similar study carried out in 2008 concluded there was no impact.

However, the results could be different this time around because there have been more sales, more turbines and a larger area has been studied, said Tim Brown, MPAC’s manager of property values for special and institutional properties. He was a guest speaker at county council Wednesday and said assessed values are directly related to recent sale prices.

If the study concludes property values are impacted by wind turbines, MPAC will need to adjust assessments accordingly, Brown said. There are currently 36 wind farms in Ontario that range in size from one to 110 turbines. Read article

Action group targets Watford open house

watford protestBy Paul Morden, Sarnia Observer
Opponents of a 92-turbine wind farm Nextera Energy is proposing for north Lambton say they want the company to know they’re not going away.

Members of the Middlesex-Lambton Wind Action Group and its supporters protested Wednesday evening at a public meeting Nextera held at Watford’s Centennial Hall.

It was the first of three the company is holding this week.

“We continue to protest, mostly just to show Nextera they aren’t welcome here,” said Esther Wrightman, with the wind action group, joined by about 25 other protesters.

She said there’s “extreme opposition” in the community to the company’s plans.

“If we don’t protest, it’s as if we say, ‘We give up, come on in,’” Wrightman said.

“And that’s not how anybody feels.” Read the rest of this entry

Plan calls for up to 46 turbines

2013 MLWAG mapPaul Morden, London Free Press
Plympton-Wyoming will defend its turbine bylaw if it isn’t honoured by Suncor in its plans for the Cedar Point wind farm, says Mayor Lonny Napper.

While the province only requires wind turbines to be at least 550 metres away from neighbouring homes, Plympton-Wyoming council passed a bylaw calling for them to be no closer than 2 km.

Suncor is holding three public meetings in early April for its Cedar Point Wind Power project, proposed for Plympton-Wyoming, Lambton Shores and Warwick Township.

The company already has a contract to sell Ontario electricity from the project that calls for as many as 46 turbines to be built in rural areas, from Camlachie north to Ravenswood Line.

Some of its turbines would intermingle with Nextera Energy’s 92-turbine Jericho wind farm planned for Lambton Shores and Warwick. Read the rest of this entry