May 1, 2018 @ 10 am
Meet at Royal Road & Lighthall Road, South Marysburgh.
Spring has returned and with it turkey vultures
( Scientific name: Cathartes aurahave). These raptors soar long distances riding high on thermals of air with long outstretched wings. They hunt not by sight, but by an acute sense of smell searching for carrion to feast upon. Social, gregarious and highly intelligent they are often seen flying, feeding and roosting in communal groups.
One of their unique forms of protection against threats is the ability to projectile vomit acidic stomach contents at will. Difficult birds to launch from the ground they take running leaps to lift off and can jettison stomach contents to lighten their weight to aide becoming airborne. They are meticulous about their personal hygiene and serve an essential function as clean- up crews for the environment.
A kettle of turkey vultures seen thermalling in the blade sweep of an Enercon wind turbine part of Niagara wind project. (Video filmed April 2018)
Notice the wind turbine blade sweep movement results in driving a bird downwards out of a soaring climb.
Turbine blade sweep is part of increasing environmental habitat fragmentation and disruption created by wind facilities construction and operations. Mortality strikes (kills) occur in airspace directly disrupted by turbine blade sweeps. As increasing numbers of wind turbines are erected increased adverse environmental impacts are occurring for avian species. Habitat disrupted or avoidance= habitat loss.
Impacts are not only local but include those on a global scale. Flying the global flyways has become an even more dangerous journey with annual migrations spiked with increasing 1000s of wind turbines. Wind power is disrupting avian movements and prefered habitat use on a local and world-wide basis which begs the question: How sustaining and green is that?
Source: Fraser Institute|Published: April 12, 2018
Energy consumption is a driver of economic growth. Policymakers in Ontario have made poor policy decisions, resulting in rising electricity costs, lower employment, and lower competitiveness, while achieving minimal environmental benefits. This publication presents a series of collected essays that critique the reasoning behind Ontario’s electricity policy changes and spell out the long term consequences.
Ontario’s main policy shift began around 2005 when the government made a decision to begin phasing out coal. The next major step occurred in 2009 when the government launched its Green Energy Act (GEA). The centerpiece of the GEA was a Feed-In-Tariff program, which provides long-term guaranteed contracts to generators with renewable sources (wind, solar, etc.) at a fixed price above market rates. In order to fund these commitments, as well as the cost of conservation programs, Ontario levied a non-market surcharge on electricity called the Global Adjustment (GA). Between 2008 and 2016, the GA grew more than 70 percent, causing a drastic increase in electricity prices. The high cost associated with aggressively promoting renewable sources is particularly troubling given the relatively small amount of electricity generated by these sources. In 2016, renewable sources generated less than 7 percent of electricity in Ontario while accounting for almost 30 percent of the GA.
Ontario’s decision to phase out coal contributed to rising electricity costs in the province, a decision justified at the time with claims that it would yield large environmental and health benefits. The subsequent research showed that shuttering these power plants had very little effect on air pollution. Had the province simply continued with retrofits to the coal plants then underway, the environmental benefits of the shift to renewables could have been achieved at one-tenth the cost.
The issue of rising electricity costs in Ontario can be partly attributed to the imbalances between supply and demand of electricity. Between 2005 and 2015, the province decided to increase its renewable capacity to facilitate the coal phase-out. However, since renewable sources are not as reliable as traditional sources, the government contracted for more natural gas capacity as a back-up. Meanwhile, the demand for electricity declined, partly due to rising electricity costs. The increase in the total installed capacity, coupled with lower electricity demand, has resulted in excess production being exported to other jurisdiction at a significant loss.
As a result of these structural shifts and poor governance, electricity costs have risen substantially in Ontario. Ontario now has the fastest growing electricity costs in the country and among the highest in North America. Between 2008 and 2016, Ontario’s residential electricity costs increased by 71 percent, far outpacing the 34 percent average growth in electricity prices across Canada. In 2016, Toronto residents paid $60 more per month than the average Canadian for electricity.
Ontario’s skyrocketing electricity rates also apply to the province’s industrial sector. Between 2010 and 2016, large industrial users in Toronto and Ottawa experienced cost spikes of 53 percent and 46 percent, respectively, while the average increase in electric costs for the rest of Canada was only 14 percent. In 2016, large industrial users paid almost three times more than consumers in Montreal and Calgary and almost twice the prices paid by large consumers in Vancouver. Some select large industrial consumers were granted rate reductions but still paid higher rates compared to large electricity users in Quebec, Alberta, and British Columbia.
Soaring electricity costs in Ontario have placed a significant financial burden on the manufacturing sector and hampered its competitiveness. Compared to multiple comparable American and Canadian jurisdictions, Ontario has exhibited the most substantial decline in its manufacturing sector over the past decade. Overall, Ontario’s high electricity prices are responsible for approximately 75,000 job losses in the manufacturing sector from 2008 to 2015.
Given the critically important role that affordable energy plays in economic growth and prosperity, the authors urge the Ontario government to pursue meaningful policy reforms aimed at lowering electricity costs for all Ontarians.
Elmira Aliakbari;Kenneth P. Green;Ross McKitrick;Ashley Stedman
Green Energy, Black Water
Living in the footprint of industrial wind turbines.
In the article “Renewable Energy’s Dilemma” (CC Jan. 22), Candice Goodchild introduced the perspective of a grassroots group in Chatham-Kent, Ontario called Water Wells First. This group was formed to protect the sensitive aquifer in the area from vibration damage caused by the construction and operation of industrial wind turbines (IWT). I am a member of that group, and I would like to share my story with you.
My family and I live inside the footprint of the North Kent Wind 1 (NKW1) project, built in the northeast part of Chatham-Kent, Ontario. The wind farm is built and managed by Pattern Energy (out of Texas) and Samsung (out of Korea). We live on an acre of land, surrounded by farmland. We have enjoyed quiet country living that included an unlimited supply of good, clean water from our well. However, last summer, during the construction of the NKW1 project, our property was surrounded by three pile drivers. The particular style of construction for industrial wind turbines requires the use of piles to support the foundations. In this case, 18 to 24 piles are used for each of the 34 wind turbines in this project. Three turbines were erected within one kilometre of our house.
Pile driving began on July 27, 2017. The next day, while my husband was in the shower, the water stopped running. Upon investigation we found that the sediment traps we had installed on our water line were choked with thick, black sediment – something we had never seen before.
Chatham-Kent sits on a unique geological bedrock formation called Kettle Point Black Shale. The aquifer that feeds hundreds of wells in Chatham-Kent is shallow and quite fragile. It rests on that black shale, trapped in layers of glacial sediment. Black shale is known to naturally contain lead, mercury, arsenic and uranium.
In 2012, the East St. Clair wind project was constructed in northwest Chatham-Kent, which has the same black shale formation as other areas of the county. Many well owners in the area experienced the same black water we found in our well.
Investigation by private citizens and scientists hypothesized that the vibration from pile driving and the operation of wind turbines had disturbed the aquifer under the East St. Clair project, causing the release of sediments into the aquifer. As a result, the water turned black from the shale particles. When the NKW1 project was to begin, farmers and residents from the area mobilized to inform government officials about the potential danger to the aquifer from pile driving. This became the group Water Wells First. Our warnings and pleas were ignored, and construction began.
Today more than 20 wells within the footprint of the NKW1 project are experiencing black water. Many of these families had received water tanks from the wind company, which was required by the Renewable Energy Act permit – an alternative water supply in the case of any well issues during construction. Our family has had a tank on our property since the first weekend of August. It froze during the coldest winter days, and ran dry when there were delays in delivery, or when the hose leaked. At the time of writing, we have been informed that the tank will removed from our property by the end of March…
Today I attended the @WaterWellsFirst press conference. The egg shown in the picture was prepared with the contaminated well water that the Province says is safe to drink. Would you eat this egg @Kathleen_Wynne ? #healthhazzardstudynow pic.twitter.com/4TJXeSKcoq
— Mayor Todd Case (@ToddCaseLKM) April 11, 2018
Never assume|The Chatham Voice|April 11, 2018
The people of Chatham-Kent aren’t stupid and it makes us a little angry when the powers that be assume we are.
The news this week about the EBS Geostructural Consultant blog that had a key phrase removed regarding the company’s advice to Hydro One about using micro-piling methods instead of deep piling to avoid “potential for driven pile installation to cause issues with nearby active water wells” is disturbing on so many levels.
First, the advice to Hydro One is proof at least one government agency used alternative methods of pile-driving to avoid disturbing area water wells, with the blessing of the Ministry of the Environment, as the blog states.
Second, it refutes the claims by the North Kent One wind farm that there couldn’t possibly be any connection between deep pile driving methods used to construct the turbine foundations and the complaints of sediment contamination in several water wells in the project area.
And finally, removing the line referring to water wells doesn’t make us “unsee” the information. We now know at least one government agency – Hydro One – sought advice on how to construct towers with the least impact to area wells and went with that advice, keeping in line with the company commitment to “identify and evaluate environmental risks to ensure that hazards are eliminated or controlled” as it states on its website.
So asking us to disregard what we read because it wasn’t being “used properly” and expecting us to believe this advice is not in any report to Hydro One is utterly ridiculous and, frankly, insulting.
If Samsung and Pattern are going to stick to their assertion their construction methods couldn’t possibly be the problem for well owners, and if the environment ministry and municipal officials are going to buy into that when other sources say otherwise, it is time for us all to demand better from our deciison makers.
The well owners have been dealing with dirty water for long enough. We need to start questioning why the environment ministry and the municipality are letting the turbine companies dictate what we consider unsafe for our rural residents, and why these well owners have to fund their own investigation into the potential carcinogenic sediment in the water the government insists is safe to drink.
And because our chief medical officer of health says so isn’t a good enough reason. Until the governments – local and provincial – step up and demand answers from an unbiased third party, we will continue to be treated as naïve sheep who need to be neither seen nor heard.
Yeah, we don’t think so.
Letter to Editor published April 6, 2018| Opinion: North Country Now
To the Editor:
My wife and I live south of 72, in Hopkinton. We are totally against the North Ridge Wind Project and the expansion south of 72.
Do I feel the wind law is strict enough? No, but there has already been enough compromises on our part.
Time after time the majority of residents have voiced they are against this project.
And, yes, we all know what we signed and do know what a PILOT is, so please stop insulting our intelligence and insinuating that these signatures are not legal residents.
I commend the three women on Hopkinton town board for wisely listening to the majority of your constituents and the Wind Advisory Boards recommendations.
Unfortunately, I question if the two men on the board have drank the Kool-Aid.
One’s dad is a lease holder so ethically must recuse himself and the other being Hopkinton’s fire chief and Avangrid publically stating thousands of dollars ear marked for the fire district, appears he may have some ethically questionable motives and perhaps he should also recuse himself.
A no brainer: Guaranteed 100 percent assessment. If you own a shack or a mansion — we each pay the same assessment. This company has a lot more money than any of us and if this is such a good financial deal for our town, lets guarantee that by making them be fair to each of us.
Pay your full 100% assessment like we all do!
When all is said and done and Avangrid has packed their bags and “gone with the wind,” we will still be here. We have thrived for over 200 years and will continue to thrive.
As our elected town representatives: Will you be able to hold your head high knowing you took your position to represent and protect the majority of the towns people in the highest regards?
Hopkinton, New York
More about: North Ridge Wind Farm
Parker Gallant Energy Perspectives
April 5, 2018
Canada Pension Plan’s investment in part of a wind-solar power portfolio seems to ignore a lot of negatives, including the energy poverty rising in Ontario due to electricity bills
Canada Pension Plan contribution rates are rising again, as reported by the Financial Post December 14, 2017: “the contribution rate (i.e., the CPP tax) has increased from 3.6 per cent when the CPP was launched in 1966 to its current rate of 9.9 per cent. It will increase further to 11.9 per cent beginning in 2019.”
The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) is an active investor, looking for good rates of return without taking “excessive risk.” So they either searched for assets that pay guaranteed above market rates, or were approached by U.S. Power giant NextEra who sold them their Ontario portfolio of 396 MW of wind and solar contracts. CPPIB paid $1.871 million per MW for a total of $741 million CAD and also assumed the debt (US$689 million) attached to the NextEra portfolio. The press release associated with the acquisition had this quote from Bruce Hogg, Managing Director, Head of Power and Renewables: “As power demand grows worldwide and with a focus on accelerating the energy transition, we will continue to seek opportunities to expand our power and renewables portfolio globally.”
Perhaps Mr. Hogg was unaware “power demand” in Ontario has actually fallen from 153.4 TWh in 2004 to 132.1 TWh in 2017 despite an increase in our population of approximately 450,000. He may also be unaware industrial wind turbines create health problems, cause property values to drop and kill birds and bats including those on the endangered species list.
What the CPP acquisition means is Ontario ratepayers will be indirectly contributing additional funds to the CPP without the benefit of reducing either their annual tax burden or increasing their future pension benefits. A “win, win” for CPP and a “lose, lose” for Ontario’s taxpayers. The sole redeeming feature is that the money will stay in Canada instead of flowing elsewhere.
Ironically, the CPP by acquiring and holding those assets will also be showing their support for energy poverty. The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) in their December 2014 report noted: “Using LIM* as a measuring tool, and relying on Statistics Canada household data, Ontario has 713,300 low-income households.” At that point in time the 713,300 households represented almost 16% of residential ratepayers in the province and one should suspect that number has increased over the past three years.
So, one should also wonder why NextEra, headquartered in Florida, sold those assets and their above market returns? The press related to their announcement of the sale speaks volumes: “As discussed during our earnings call in January, we expect the sale of the Canadian portfolio to enable us to recycle capital back into U.S. assets, which benefit from a longer federal income tax shield and a lower effective corporate tax rate, allowing NextEra Energy Partners to retain more CAFD** in the future for every $1 invested.”
No doubt the NextEra sale may be a sign of the future as the Canadian economy has shown serious signs of slowing as taxes rise and foreign investment falls. The bulk of the investment in the renewable energy sector in Ontario came from offshore companies who rushed to take advantage of the above market rates and guaranteed prices offered under the Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) program available under the Green Energy Act.
Those investors will look to cash in on the sale of those assets, so we should expect to see more public and private Canadian pension funds stepping up to purchase them.
*Statistics Canada’s Low-Income Measure is simply defined as half of the median adjusted economic family income.
**Cash Available for Distribution
An eleven-year-old boy spoke to the Chautauqua County Legislature:
“I’ve spent my 11 years on Earth in this town. My parents have worked so hard for the place we have. They’ve made the land that I live on home. And these wind turbines, they’re destroying it. My grandmother was born and lived briefly not even a half mile from where I live right now. I just can’t stand the thought of being forced from my home. And my town – by these windmills. I went out not two mornings ago, and I can’t even find peace and quiet outside without the sound of back-up alarms, bulldozers and cranes. Up on Straight Road there’s a giant crane already and they’re setting one up on Center Road. I don’t want to be forced from my home and I’m sure none of you would want to be forced from yours. Thank you for your time.”