The Reality of Wind Power Contracts


“Should the client sign the documents, in effect, he or she is affecting the use and viability of the property and any family plans for it for a minimum of 20 and perhaps as much as 40 years. From the Ontario experience, we know that neighbours are rarely appreciative and old friendships often suffer.”  

Law Times.  Speakers Corner: The Reality of Wind Power Contracts

Monday, 19 September 2016 09:00 | Written By Garth Manning

Rural landowners who are approached to permit a wind turbine or turbines or associated equipment on their acreage badly need sophisticated legal advice on these complex agreements.

What happens too often, however, is that landowners simply tick the box in the documents presented to them that says they waive independent legal advice.

As a public service, lawyers should change this practice, and soon.

Wind power projects are part of a policy for renewable sources of power within Canada. In Ontario, many projects are already operating in rural parts of the province with an additional 600 megawatts scheduled to be added in 2017. More are planned for several other provinces, including Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Lawyers advising rural landowner clients considering such agreements should be aware of the characteristics of these leases in order to advise clients appropriately. Often clients focus on the dollar amount offered by the developer without considering other important impacts of the agreement.

Typically, the wind power proponent incorporates a subsidiary for each individual project. Its agents obtain turbine sites from farmers who have limited understanding of what they’re being asked to do, which is to sign an Option to Lease many pages long; in this option may be a “further assurances” clause that obligates them, if the option is exercised, to sign a form of lease.

That document, many more pages long, is by far the most lessee-friendly imaginable to any real property lawyer, experienced or otherwise.

Those farmers badly need legal advice; local law associations should emphasize this to their members.


Turbulence in West Lincoln


Tempers flared in West Lincoln County chambers over a report on Industrial Wind Turbines.

A local resident spoke earlier to the members that her water well had stopped flowing after drilling occurred several hundred feet away for the installation of a Niagara Wind electrical pole (her deputation starts at around 6 minute mark of the video).

View Council meeting on video:

Niagara This Week  published the following article:

By: Amanda Moore

A newly formed public advisory committee knows it can’t go back in time and change decisions regarding industrial wind turbines. But the West Lincoln Industrial Wind Turbine Advisory Committee is hoping lessons learned can make an impact on future projects in Ontario.

However, councillors on the planning, building, environmental committee think the WTAC’s recommendations need to be cleared up before they can be endorsed.

There was much debate at this week’s planning, building, environmental committee over a set of recommendations from the advisory committee. The recommendations involve reaching out to other municipalities living with wind turbines, joining two organizations and re-emphasizing the township’s status as an unwilling host. Coun. Dave Bylsma, who chairs the committee, said the eight recommendations are the “absolute least” the township can do. He said not approving the committee’s recommendations sends the wrong message to residents.

“If we’re not willing and ready to do those eight, then I honestly don’t think this council cares anymore about the turbine issue,” said Bylsma, after members around the horseshoe debated the motion. “There is nothing offensive in here. It’s about getting information and networking. It commits us to continue working, to continue to network.”


Eight Requests of the Industrial Wind Turbine Public Advisory Committee that were debated:

(c) ITEM P86-16 Director of Planning & Building (Brian Treble) Re: Report No. PD-113-16 – Recommendation Report – Update and Recommended Actions of West Lincoln Industrial Wind Turbine Advisory Committee RECOMMENDATION:

  1. (1) That, Report PD-113-16, regarding “Update and Recommended Actions of West Lincoln Industrial Wind Turbine Advisory Committee”, dated March 14, 2016, be RECEIVED; and,

  2. (2) That, the Chair of the Wind Turbine Advisory Committee and Township staff arrange a meeting or teleconference with representatives of the Municipality of Grey Highlands to obtain information about the Terms of Reference for their Noise Study (Attachment No. 1 to this report) and an understanding of the benefits and future uses for such a study/report; and,

  3. (3) That, the Wind Turbine Advisory Committee be permitted to continue to fact find the best available methods by which to protect our citizens from the harmful effects of industrial wind turbines and to report back on findings, recommendations and possible costs. This is likely to include the preparation of a business case for a sound, infrasound and tonality study such as the one completed in Grey Highlands, at the appropriate time; and,

  4. (4) That, Township staff obtain the final noise assessment reports as submitted to the Ministry of the Environment-Renewable Energy Approvals Office for the approval of both the HAF and NRWC (now FWRN LP) projects; and,

  5. (5) That, the HAF noise assessment report that was to be completed after 18 months of operation of the HAF wind turbine project be obtained by Township staff; and,

  6. (6) That, Township Staff and Council reemphasize that West Lincoln is an unwilling host for industrial wind turbine projects and obtain Provincial recognition of our position; and,

  7. (7) That, West Lincoln hereby agrees to pay membership fees to become a member of the Multi-Municipal Working Group (approximately $700.00/year) and Wind Concerns Ontario (approximately $100.00/year); and,

  8. (8) That, the Advisory Committee continues to meet and discuss/explore recommended actions for the 24 items as identified in this report; and to continue to report to the Planning/Building/Environmental Committee on a quarterly basis, or more frequently, as required.

Samsung More Turbines

turbine-map-haldimand-proposed1Haldimand County Council  has betrayed residents impacted adversely by wind power complexes by welcoming additional proposals for increased development within its boundaries’.  Samsung Energy Inc. presented its pitch for municipality participation on August 4, 2016 for even more wind turbines along the shores of Lake Erie (see pages 13-19) with an anticipated notification date of selected proponents in 2018 in the LRP 2 (large renewable projects).  The massive Grand Renewable Wind and Solar complex was completed in 2015,

“Samsung More Turbines” resolution can be read here:


It was just a few short years ago- 2013 to be exact- that Haldimand declared itself an unwilling host due to pressure from its constituent. The resolution can be read here;


Mayor Hewitt’s motion endorsing the partnership with Samsung Renewable Energy Inc.  in some sort of equity form and to apply for a PPA (purchase power agreement) contract in anticipation of the next round of large renewable energy projects states:

WHEREAS the province has taken a clear direction to move ahead with more green renewable energy projects;

AND WHEREAS the transmission lines and area around them are fundamental for new applications;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT Haldimand County consider a request made by Samsung Renewable Energy Inc. to partner in some equity form and apply for P.P.A. contract in the next round of applications.

Lessons learned  as taken from the Samsung presentation:

  • Community Support is critical in winning the bid (Municipal Resolution, First Nation  Participation, Adjacent landowner consent)
  • Transmission Capacity Availability needs to be deeply considered

Mayor Hewitt has consistently supported Samsung and its partners such as starring in commercials still featured on their website:

Samsung feels it has experience with the local community and Haldimand is the right place for more wind projects.

Since the County is openly on board, Six Nations Band Council is already a part equity owner of Grand Renewable, and HDI accepted payments- it only leaves out those who are considered “non-participating” receptors.

Wind turbines make lousy neighbours but nobody wants to ask those who live in the flickering shadows of Haldimand’s horizons against consent.

Haldimand Press writes about the latest events in its September 15, 2016 edition (subscription):



Protect Our Children

School and Cement Plant are a bad mix

Amherst Public School

“The Green Energy Act allows the wind industry to trump every provincial regulation and municipal by-law designed to protect children. A cement plant near the Amherst Island Elementary School was approved by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change as ” equipment necessary for the Project”, the construction of 26 wind turbines on Amherst Island. No alternative location was required, no mitigation measure deemed necessary. In dismissing an appeal from the Association to Protect Amherst Island, the Environmental Review Tribunal concluded that the arguments “have not established that the operation of the concrete batch plant as part of the Project and in accordance with the Renewable Energy Approval (REA) will cause serious harm to the human health.”

Protect our children:


Please support the fight on Amherst Island and consider a monetary donation for the ongoing legal battle:



Tradegy & Farce of Ontario’s Energy

wind-refugeeKarl Marx said that history repeats: first as tragedy, then as farce. In Ontario, the history of failed energy policy repeats – first as farce, and then as more farce.

Premier Kathleen Wynne faces an election in a little over a year and a half, and one of the main issues dogging the Liberal government is the price of electricity. Thanks to policy choices that the government itself seems incapable of unwinding, electricity bills have been on an upward tear for a decade. Many voters are furious. And so the Wynne government devoted the heart of its Throne Speech this week to a plan to lower the price of electricity. Not the cost of electricity, however. Just the sticker price.

Taxpayers of Ontario, you will now be paying for more of your electricity through your taxes, or through future taxes funded by deficit financing, and less through your electricity bill. Yes, that’s the new plan. It looks a lot like the old plan.

Nearly six years ago, Ms. Wynne’s predecessor, Dalton McGuinty, was facing an election. He was, like the current premier, spooked by rapidly rising electricity prices. These spiking prices, note well, had been engineered by the Liberal government’s mishandled Green Energy policy. To win back voters, Mr. McGuinty decided to give consumers a break. The tool: the so-called Ontario Clean Energy Benefit, which ran from the start of 2011 to the end of 2015….

Editorial published in Globe & Mail on September 13, 2016


Public Health on Wind in Poland

Position of the National Institute of Public Health – National Institute of Hygiene on wind farms

Position of the National Institute of Public Health – National Institute of Hygiene on wind farms

The National Institute of Public Health – National Institute of Hygiene is of the opinion that wind farms situated too close to buildings intended for permanent human occupation may have a negative impact on the well-being and health of the people living in their proximity.

The human health risk factors that the Institute has taken into consideration in its position are as follows:

  • the emitted noise level and its dependence on the technical specifications of turbines, wind speed as well as the topography and land use around the wind farm,
  • aerodynamic noise level including infrasound emissions and low-frequency noise components,
  • the nature of the noise emitted, taking into account its modulation/impulsive/tonal characteristics and the possibility of interference of waves emitted from multiple turbines,
  • the risk of ice being flung from rotors,
  • the risk of turbine failure with a rotor blade or its part falling,
  • the shadow flicker effect,
  • the electromagnetic radiation level (in the immediate vicinity of turbines),
  • the probability of sleep disruptions and noise propagation at night,
  • the level of nuisance and probability of stress and depression symptoms occurring (in consequence of long exposure), related both to noise emissions and to non-acceptance of the noise source.

In the Institute’s opinion, the laws and regulations currently in force in Poland (regarding risk factors which, in practice, include only the noise level) are not only inadequate to facilities such noise source as wind turbines, but they also fail to guarantee a sufficient degree of public health protection. The methodology currently used for environmental impact assessment of wind farms (including human health) is not applicable to wind speeds exceeding 5 m/s. In addition, it does not take into account the full frequency range (in particular, low frequency) and the nuisance level.

In the Institute’s view, owing to the current lack of a comprehensive regulatory framework governing the assessment of health risks related to the operation of wind farms in Poland, an urgent need arises to develop and implement a comprehensive methodology according to which the sufficient distance of wind turbines from human habitation would be determined. The methodology should take into account all the above-mentioned potential risk factors, and its result should reflect the least favourable situation. In addition to landform (natural topography) and land use characteristics, the methodology should also take into consideration the category, type, height and number of turbines at a specific farm, and the location of other wind farms in the vicinity. Similar legislative arrangements aimed to provide for multi-criteria assessment, based on complex numerical algorithms, are currently used in the world.

The Institute is aware of the fact that owing to the diversity of factors and the complicated nature of such an algorithm, its development within a short time period may prove very difficult. Therefore, what seems to be an effective and simpler solution is the prescription of a minimum distance of wind turbines from buildings intended for permanent human occupation. The setback criteria are also a common standard-setting arrangement.

Having regard to the above, until a comprehensive methodology is developed for the assessment of the impact of industrial wind farms on human health, the Institute recommends 2 km as the minimum distance of wind farms from buildings. The recommended value results from a critical assessment of research results published in reviewed scientific periodicals with regard to all potential risk factors for average distance usually specified within the following limits:

  • 0.5-0.7 km, often obtained as a result of calculations, where the noise level (dBA) meets the currently acceptable values (without taking into account adjustments for the impulse/tonal/modulation features of the nose emitted),
  • 1.5-3.0 km, resulting from the noise level, taking into account modulation, low frequencies and infrasound levels,
  • 0.5-1.4 km, related to the risk of turbine failure with a broken rotor blade or its part falling (depending on the size of the piece and its flight profile, rotor speed and turbine type),
  • 0.5-0.8 km, where there is a risk of ice being flung from rotors (depending on the shape and mass of ice, rotor speed and turbine type),
  • 1.0-1.6 km, taking into account the noise nuisance level (between 4% and 35% of the population at 30-45 dBA) for people living in the vicinity of wind farms,
  • the distance of 1.4-2.5 km, related to the probability of sleep disruptions (on average, between 4% and 5% of the population at 30-45 dBA),
  • 2,0 km, related to the occurrence of potential psychological effects resulting from substantial landscape changes (based on the case where the wind turbine is a dominant landscape feature and the rotor movement is clearly visible and noticeable to people from any location),
  • 1.2-2.1 km, for the shadow flicker effect (for the average wind turbine height in Poland, including the rotor from 120 to 210 m).

In its opinions. the Institute has also considered the recommended distances of wind farms from buildings, as specified by experts, scientists, as well as central and local government bodies around the world (in most cases recommended from 1.0 to 5.0 km).


Scrap Green Energy Act

field-and-turbinesTORONTO – If the Ontario government wants to make a dent in soaring hydro rates it should scrap its controversial Green Energy Act.

That according to Christine Van Geyn, the Ontario director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. She says Premier Kathleen Wynne’s acknowledgement Wednesday that her government needs to move to address the high cost of electricity is coming far too late for many Ontarians.

“Call me a cynic, but if it takes losing a byelection of a Liberal stronghold for this to become an urgent issue maybe you don’t actually care about it,” she said of last week’s vote in Scarborough-Rouge River.

Progressive Conservative candidate Raymond Cho beat Liberal Piragal Thiru by 2,000 votes, snatching the long-held riding from the government.

“It’s been an issue for people in this province for years,” Van Geyn said of the soaring rates. “It takes losing for her to listen.”

Wynne said Wednesday that her newly minted energy minister, Glenn Thibeault, will look into the problem. But the message sent by Scarborough voters — and people around the province — hasn’t been lost on her.

“It’s not something that is isolated in one riding in Toronto,” Wynne said. “This is a concern across the province and I recognize that.”

Van Geyn said that if the government were to dismantle the Green Energy Act that would help rein in rates.

“It’s the whole reason we’re in this mess,” she said of the act. “The auditor general found that as a result of these Green Energy Act contracts for wind and solar power, where we pay between two and three and a half times above market rate, we overpaid for power by about $37 billion.”


Green Energy & Energy Poverty

heat or eat

“Going green is fine. But not at any price! And right now Ontario is in the midst of a growing electricity crisis. We have the power, that’s not the issue. The problem is the soaring cost of delivering electricity to customers, especially those who are unfortunate enough to live in lightly populated, rural areas.”

Soaring hydro costs driving families into poverty

Carleton Place Almonte Canadian Gazette

When people ask if you are “into green energy” it is nice to be able to hold up your hand.

I have no issues with working to eliminate coal-fired electrical generation or reducing our dependency on nuclear energy which, despite a record of success, still scares many of us.

Going green is fine. But not at any price! And right now Ontario is in the midst of a growing electricity crisis. We have the power, that’s not the issue. The problem is the soaring cost of delivering electricity to customers, especially those who are unfortunate enough to live in lightly populated, rural areas.

The Liberal government of Premier Kathleen Wynne refuses to term the current situation “a crisis.” But for thousands of rural Ontarians who are struggling to pay their electricity bills it is a catastrophe.

Some of the tales of woe we’re hearing on a daily basis are truly pitiable.

Three weeks ago I read about a man in Bruce County, near Lake Huron, who after suffering a serious heart attack told family and friends it would be better if he died instead of surviving.

His reasoning is that the medical equipment he is now required to use regularly runs on electricity. It is driving up his family’s already ridiculous hydro bill.



Random Niagara Wind- A Lousy Neighbour

What are they thinking?  Look at the following pictures of the guardrails being installed in West Lincoln for the Niagara Wind project to protect their hydro poles.  They are taken as if viewed while driving north from Smithville and show the random and lack of a consistent pattern in guardrail installation at various locations:



Some guardrails are many feet past the hydro poles and some are

even shorter…



Coming into the bend…


In the middle of the bend…3






In front of the neighbour’s house…4

Coming out of the turn! Come winter this could be a real danger! People coming out of the turn could slam right into this mess…5





This picture is heading south …6

Final photo of today’s drive- The section of guardrail doesn’t even cover the  hydro pole!

(but it sure does”enhance” the value of the neighbour’s frontage)


Wind projects make lousy neighbours.

Save Amherst Island



APAI President Michèle Le Lay has called on Dr. Tim O’Neill, Chair, and Members of the Board of the Independent Electricity Operator of Ontario to cancel a contract with Windlectric Inc.(Algonquin) due to the inability of the company to achieve its Commercial Operation Date (COD) and comply with its contractual obligations.

In its 2016 Q2 Quarterly Report Algonquin advises that construction is expected to take 12 to 18 months and that the Commercial Operation Date (COD) will be in 2018. This timeline is contrary to what was submitted to the Environmental Review Tribunal and to the Ontario Energy Board. A COD of 2018 is seven years from the date of award of the contract.

Cancellation of the contract at this time would enable the IESO to achieve cost avoidance exceeding $500 million over the next 20 years based on the high cost of power generation at 13.5 cents per kilowatt-hour set out in the contract with Windlectric and based on the IESO’s commitment to pay Windlectric to not produce power when capacity exceeds demand. Cancellation of the Windlectric contract could be achieved without penalty due to noncompliance and would address in part the IESO’s budget challenges and energy poverty in Ontario.

Rick Conroy, in the “The End of Reason” from the Wellington Times, explains the Kafkaesque and cruel nature of allowing the Amherst island project to continue especially in light of the unused power capacity of the nearby Lennox Generating Station and the Napanee Gas Plant under construction.

In summary:

• Windlectric cannot comply with the Commercial Operation Date in its Fit Contract.

• At a time of skyrocketing hydro rates and financial challenges the IESO could save $500 million over the next 20 years by cancelling the Windlectric Contract without penalty.

• Existing nearby generating capacity is almost never used and will increase when the Napanee Gas Plant comes online. Intermittent and expensive power from wind turbines on Amherst Island is not necessary

The End of Reason
Rick Conroy The Wellington Times

From Amherst Island, you can see the Lennox gas-fired generating station sitting idle most days. The plant sits just across the narrow channel. It burns both oil and gas to produce steam that, in turn, drives generators to create electricity. The plant has the capacity to generate 2,100 MW of electricity—enough to power more than a million homes. But that electricity is rarely ever used. Over the last decade, the Lennox station has operated at less than three per cent of its capacity. That means it is idle much more often than it runs. Yet it earns more than $7 million each month—whether it runs or doesn’t. Such is Ontario’s hyper-politicized energy regime.

Last Thursday was a warm day across Ontario— one of the warmest in a hot summer. With air conditioners humming, electricity demand across the province peaked at 22,312 MW. Meanwhile, Lennox sat idle all day. As it does most days.

So it seems odd that yet another gas-fired generating plant is emerging from the ground next to the mostly-idle Lennox station. It will add another 900 MW of generating capacity to a grid that clearly doesn’t need any more.

From Amherst Island, it must seem cruel. Within a couple of kilometres, there is enough unused power generating capacity to light millions of homes, yet island residents are being forced to give up their pastoral landscape— for the sake of an intermittent electricity source that nobody needs.

Last week, an Environmental Review Tribunal rejected an appeal by Amherst Island residents seeking to stop Windlectric, a wind energy developer, from covering their island home from end to end with industrial wind turbines, each one soaring 55 storeys into the sky.

Amherst Island is tiny. Just 20 kilometres long and 7 kilometres wide, there is no place, no horizon, no home that can avoid being transformed by this out-of-scale industrialization.

The treachery gets worse. Amherst Island is administered by a council that presides over the larger Loyalist Township from the mainland. Last year, council made a deal with the wind developer, agreeing to receive a $500,000 payment each year the wind turbines spin. It is a lot of money for a municipality that operates on a $12-million budget annually.

But perhaps the most disappointing bit of this story is the damage that has been done to friendships and families on Amherst Island. Just 450 people live here. It swells to about 600 in the summer. It was a close community in the way island life tends to be.

Industrial wind energy has, however, ripped this community in two. Property owners hoping to share in the windfall from the development are on one side and those who must endure the blight on the landscape for a generation or more on the other.

Lifelong friends no longer speak to each other. At St. Paul’s Presbyterian service on Sunday mornings, the wind energy benefactors sit on one side of the church, the opponents on the other. A hard, angry line silently divides this community.

The Environmental Review Tribunal concluded not enough evidence was presented in the hearings to say the project will cause serious and irreversible harm to endangered species including the bobolink, Blanding’s turtle and little brown bat.

The decision underlines the terrible and oppressive cruelty of the Green Energy Act—that the only appeal allowed for opponents is whether the project will cause serious harm to human health or serious and irreversible harm to plant life, animal life or the natural environment. It is a profoundly unjust restriction on the right of people to challenge the policies and decisions of their government as they directly impact their lives.

The folks on Amherst Island weren’t permitted, for example, to argue that the power is unneeded— that this project is a grotesquely wasteful use of provincial tax dollars. Their neighbourhood already boasts enough electricity capacity to power a small country, yet it sits idle—at a cost of millions of dollars each month. It might have been a useful addition to the debate—but this evidence wasn’t permitted.

Nor were island residents allowed to appeal the fundamental alteration of their landscape. Nor the loss of property value. They can’t undo the broken friendships and the hollow feeling that hangs over the church suppers or the lonely trips across the channel.

Wide swathes of reason and logic have been excluded in the consideration of renewable energy projects in Ontario.

To the extent that urban folks are even aware of what green energy policies are doing to places like Amherst Island, they console themselves by believing it is the cost of a clean energy future—that diminishing the lives of some rural communities is an acceptable trade-off for the warm feeling of doing better by the planet.

Yet these folks need to explain to Amherst Island residents how decimating their landscape, risking the survival of endangered species and filling the pockets of a developer with taxpayer dollars for an expensive power supply that nobody needs makes Ontario greener.

Visit Amherst Island. Soon.

Remember it as it is today. Mourn for its tomorrow.

Association to Protect Amherst Island: