“Starting in 2010, Nova Scotia taxpayers pumped $56 million into the operation via provincial loans and grants before the government called a $32-million loan in February 2016, pushing the manufacturing plant into receivership.”
Time and money running out on sale of idle wind turbine plant
DSME Trenton plant placed into receivership in 2016 after the province called a $32M loan
After two years and no takers, Nova Scotia is poised to end its efforts to sell an idle wind turbine manufacturing plant in Pictou County, bringing to a close another failed government-backed industrial enterprise.
“At $150,000 per month to keep the operation at status quo, we want this to happen, we want to find a viable operator. But the clock is ticking,” Business Minister Geoff MacLellan said Thursday, after touring the mothballed DSME Trenton plant.
That money goes toward keeping the facility in a sellable state.
Sir: Our illustrious mayor spoke on a local radio station recently responding to the opinion poll, in which the number one local concern was wind turbines and water wells concerns. His conclusion, in essence, was that they were not involved except for taking $1,575,000 in taxes from the 450 turbines with an average tax rate of about $3500 each per year.
I wonder how much taxes would be for an industrial plant that would have been built and cost approximately $2 million to build. Did the mayor, council and administration ever think that there might be a cost to this extra income? Did they ever consider using this money to do a thorough investigation of the effect on the aquifer? Did they ever go to see the difficulties experienced by those families living off water tanks, especially in the recent freezing weather?
Apparently, mayor, council and administration for Chatham-Kent are willing to trade rural water wells for that price. The people losing their wells must prove that there is a problem and then the municipality may look at a solution.
The mayor says that they take concerns seriously. That is the exact same B.S. statement made by Premier Wynne when she was in Chatham a couple of months ago and the mayor was looking over her shoulder. No one in government, provincially or municipally, has done anything constructive for years; when the first complaints were lodged in Dover Township in about 2009 and again in 2012.
What is wrong with this story?
If a bank is robbed, does the bank have to find the criminal and prove his guilt? Isn’t that what police do? If you are in a car accident caused by another person, do you have to pursue and prove the guilt of the offender? Isn’t that what police do? For every injustice, there is a third party whose duty it is to find the perpetrator and proof for the case against them. Since these third parties are no longer doing their jobs, are we reverting to the law of the old west?
In the case of the harm done to water wells and the standard of living for those with now contaminated wells, these agencies are not acting in the offended parties’ interests. There are many directions that fingers can point.
The provincial government, with its Green Energy Act, which is being used as an excuse by everyone as a document that overrules every other law in the land. This is not true as the health and safety of the citizens of this province still rule supreme, if our Ministry of Health, and local public health unit would get off their backsides and study health effects of the Kettle Point Black Shale that infiltrated our water wells.
I believe that somewhere in their health education process they were made aware that lead, mercury, arsenic and uranium are not to be used as vitamins. Why have they never run any comprehensive tests to find out what is in the water now and what are the health effects of those contaminants?
The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change is certainly the ministry that is supposed to protect the citizens of this province from anything that environmentally has a negative effect on the enjoyment and use of property, be that by health effects or any other source of irritation. The trouble with the MOECC is that it is the same ministry that issued the permits to build wind farms and are certainly not going to admit that they did not do “due diligence” before issuing these permits. Were there any studies done on possible problems with the style of foundations used in an aquifer sensitive area?
Then we get to our local mayor, council and administration. What have they done other than become shareholders in wind farms? Do they value the rural wells of Chatham-Kent at $1.5 million per year? Are they going to use this money to replace the water supply that has been lost by several known residents in the former Dover and Chatham Townships?
Are there other townships that lost their wells as well, even before the wind companies went to the pile driving method from spread foot of securing foundations? Was our local government blinded by the visions of a cash windfall without any expense?
I still have three questions that I would like to have answered:
~How much money was paid by the wind industry to individuals, political parties and the Ontario government for the privilege of building turbines in Ontario without interference? ~How much money was paid by the wind industry to individuals, and the municipality to become friendly hosts for turbine construction? ~How much money would it take to stop construction and operation of turbines until their negative impact on environment issues, especially water, are properly assessed by an independent party, since our politicians, local and provincial, obviously have not done “due diligence” prior to signing agreements?
Where can these questions be answered? Are elected representatives not supposed to answer to their constituents?
Your presence is requested in the seats at the upcoming Environmental Review Tribunal hearing against White Pines Wind and circumstances surrounding the IESO contract for the renewable energy approval.
Upcoming Court and ERT dates/times/locations:
APPEC legal action against the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) and WPD White Pines Wind Inc. will be heard onJanuary 29, 2018 at the Belleville Court House starting at 2:00 pm.
Additionally, the hearing dates for the APPEC appeal to the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) have been confirmed as follows:
Pre-hearing Conference January 24, 2018 at 10:30 a.m. at the Sophiasburgh Town Hall, 2771 County Road 5, Demorestville.
The purpose of the Pre-hearing Conference is for interested persons who would like speak at the hearing to apply for status either as a Party, a Participant or a Presenter. Please click here if you are interested in finding out more about seeking status at the hearing and click here to view the ERT Notice of Pre-Hearing Conference.
Reading an article recently about Greenpeace trying (apparently unsuccessfully) to create a solar-powered town in India several years ago reminded me of a project in the GTA proposing to use “zoo poo” to create a 500-kW biogas plant.
The project is a co-op known as Zoo Share Biogas Co-operative and plans to use methane from animal waste to produce electricity in a biogas plant. The chatter about this project goes back to June 3, 2011 and those behind the project applied for a contract with the OPA (since merged with IESO).
So where is it now? A visit to the website shows the OPA advised them early July 2013 they were granted the contract. A PDF file titled “Construction Plan Report” on the site reveals “Construction of the facility is scheduled for summer 2014 with completion and grid connection expected in the fall of 2014.”
Needless to say, the plant is still not functioning but nevertheless has taxpayer support and some $4 million raised from individuals and others who purchased bonds that carry a 7% coupon on a project estimated originally to cost $4.8 million.
Curiosity further led me to look at the members of the Co-op’s Board of Directors and I noted Chris Benedetti was a Board member. Benedetti is a principal with the Sussex Strategy Group and the head of its Energy and Environment Practice. Some will recall Mr. Benedetti was involved in a major fundraising event for the Ontario Liberal Party as reported in an article in the Globe and Mail in March 2016 headlined: “For $6,000, donors get face time with Kathleen Wynne and Bob Chiarelli”.
That article contained the following attributed to Mr Benedetti: “The evening is being promoted by Sussex Strategy Group, one of the country’s top lobbying firms. In an e-mail encouraging energy industry insiders to attend, Sussex principal Chris Benedetti wrote that the soirée will be a ‘small event with a limited number of tickets,’ giving all attendees face time with Ms. Wynne and Mr. Chiarelli.”
Previously, the Sussex Strategy Group’s name was connected with what the Toronto Star noted in a November 2010 headline as: “Group plans to ‘dupe’ public about green energy costs: Tories”. The article also noted: “The Oct. 18 document, drafted by consulting firm Sussex Strategy Group, lays out a plan — complete with a $300,000 initial budget — to change the channel on the current green energy debate, which is largely focused on cost.”
The Benedetti/Sussex connection led me to visit the Sussex website; the page titled “Our People” shows Kim Warren’s name and picture of Kim Warren under Sussex’s “Affiliates.”. Mr. Warren was, until January 1, 2017, the COO of IESO; if you check the “Sunshine List” for the 2015 year you will note he was paid $577,000.04 — not too shabby for a public servant! When he was employed at IESO he spoke about integrating renewable energy. Due to his positive tone the short video of his speech was posted on the CanWEA website; he was clearly supportive and claimed wind energy “was a big part” of shutting down coal. (Many grid operators around the world would dispute his claim.)
Searching on Google again using Mr. Warren’s name and his IESO affiliation turns up other relationships. One that pops up is NRStor: a press release dated June 20, 2017 announces he is the newest addition to NRStor’s Board as a Director and states: “The insights and experience Kim Warren brings to our board as previous COO of the IESO is significant,” said Annette Verschuren, NRStor’s Chair and CEO. “He is a world expert on power systems and his extensive understanding of the electricity market will help NRStor grow and develop our energy storage business.”
Coincidentially, NRStor has been awarded contracts by IESO with the first one on July 22, 2014 announced by then Energy Minister, Bob Chiarelli: “Today, the Minister of Energy, the Honourable Bob Chiarelli, announced the commencement of commercial operations for NRStor Incorporated’s (NRStor) 2 megawatt (MW) Temporal Power Limited (Temporal Power) flywheel energy storage facility in Harriston, Ontario.” Now assuming the 2MW of storage was called on to replace Ontario’s generated power it would be capable of supplying demand for half a second, or less.
The second contract awarded to NRStor by IESO noted: “NRStor will build a fuel-free compressed air energy storage facility that will provide 7 MWh of storage capacity to the IESO.”
For those who wonder who is NRStor, the following comes from their website: “NRStor is a market leader in understanding energy storage technologies, their costs, and the benefits they can provide customers across the energy supply chain. As a project developer, we develop, own and operate industry-leading energy storage projects in partnership with progressive stakeholders and leading technology providers.”
NRStor was founded by Ms. Annette Verschuren, former CEO of Home Depot. Ms. Verschuren spoke to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs May 19, 2015 in respect to Bill 91, Building Ontario Up Act. One of the notable comments she made was,“We are a developer of energy storage technology, so we build projects. We are working on about 20 projects at the moment and we see the introduction of energy storage really making a big difference in terms of how we get electricity to market in a cheaper way. NRStor recently announced a partnership with the Tesla Powerwall, which is very exciting, to be introduced. We want to start in Ontario. We see that movement towards, again, using excess energy to improve costs and make it easier for customers.”
Ms. Verschuren also offered her “Congratulations to the Ontario government for its announcement on cap-and-trade policy.” and: “The privatization of Hydro One is also something that I’m very supportive of.”
While Ms. Verchuren is very accomplished and informed, from my perspective, she has missed the effects on hundreds of thousands of Ontario ratepayers/taxpayers from the Green Energy Act, and the “cap and trade” tax. Ontario’s “excess energy,” as she puts it, represent a huge cost to ratepayers, which seems to have escaped her thinking.
The conflict in Ms Verchuren’s testimony is exacerbated by adding Kim Warren as a Director of NRStor. The fact that NRStor has benefited from IESO’s contract awards should have triggered the question of how the media and public would view his appointment. As a director he would be required to be a shareholder in NRStor which seems to fly in the face of IESO’s “Post-Service Restrictions” contained in their Code of Conductwhich states: “It is expected that the restriction against purchasing or holding any Prohibited Financial Interests continues until 6 months following the end of your employment or association with the IESO.”
Worth noting is Ms. Verchuren is registered as a lobbyist with the Office of the Integrity Commissioner as is Chris Benedetti (lobbyist for NRStor and 55 other companies), but Kim Warren is not.
The Ontario Ministry of Energy seems to have created a tangled web that benefits select companies and individuals.
Rex Murphy: Cherish your suffering, Ontario; Premier Wynne’s green gods know of your sacrifice
Those outside the faith, and mere loitering agnostics, see nothing here but a catalogue of burdens. Shackles of an alien god. But to those within the covenant, they are the way stations on the hard and stony path to delicious rewards reserved for the elect.
It cannot have escaped the attention of many that Ontario is most unsettled these days. That its industries are anxious, its debt colossal, its citizens not in a pleasant mood. Ontario is in a lot of pain. But let me assure readers outside Ontario that it has not all been for nothing. There are rewards. They are subtle, intangible, but they are real. Let me explain.
Those who share the faith and endorse the morality of global warming derive very much the same satisfactions that attended fidelity to the less demanding dogmas of earlier and less ambitious creeds. The carbon regime, tax hikes on gasoline, failed or failing long-term contracts, fear and trembling in the manufacturing sector, the gnashing of teeth in poorer (and now colder) households, Ontario Hydro’s ever-swelling levies, the despoliation of rural vistas by towers of whirling, bird-bashing windmills: These, each in itself, and all in combination are the acknowledged costs of the Great Greening.
Those outside the faith, and mere loitering agnostics, see nothing here but a catalogue of burdens. Shackles of an alien god. But to those within the covenant, they are the way stations on the hard and stony path to delicious rewards reserved for the elect. This is the true chemistry of belief. What appear as obstacles to heretics, appear to believers as smooth escalators to a higher state. Accepting, embracing what must be done supplies them with a sense of inner sanction, endows them with that peace of mind which a lesser scripture records, rather churlishly, as passing all understanding……
Issues with wind turbine projects continue to impact municipalities and residents in unexpected ways. In the early summer I attended a drainage meeting in Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh council chambers. This meeting concerned a drain extension for the Glenn municipal drain. The drain crosses road allowances that have underground electrical lines for the K2 Wind project. At this meeting the drainage engineer stated that a larger culvert would be required because the presence of these underground lines meant that work could not be done as deeply.
As a landowner affected by the proposed work, I asked the engineer how many crossings were involved and how much more this larger sized culvert would cost. No answer was provided. I then questioned why anyone else other than K2 Wind should be paying for this extra cost. Again, no answer was received.
At a second meeting on this project in December 2017, the engineer reviewed the final plans and stated that for the crossing of power lines on Tower Line, a larger culvert would be installed due to the depth problem. In the question period, I again asked how much extra cost this would add to the project. The engineer explained that the crossing was on road allowance so the township would be picking up the cost, not the individual landowners. But who does he think the landowners are, if not taxpayers who will all have to pick up the extra cost? So, yes, I am paying for this extra cost and so is every landowner in the township.
Our council brags about how they got community benefit money from the K2 Wind project. Yet, when they accept extra cost on projects like this, the township is essentially subsidizing the wind company from the general coffers. This undermines the benefit of any money received. Once again, the taxpayer gets shafted.
When a municipal council allows extra costs for such things as drainage works to be loaded onto the ratepayers, you have to wonder who they are really working for. So ratepayers in municipalities with wind turbines need to be on the alert for the hidden costs with these projects. Taxpayers already subsidize the wind turbines through inflated hydro rates. They shouldn’t be shafted twice with more hidden subsidies.
To date, my questions about additional costs and who is footing the bill for the extra work on this drainage project remain unanswered.
First off, thanks for taking the time to read my last letter to you and getting back to me.
That said, I still have not heard back from Mr. Ballard nor Mr. Thibeault, nor did you answer my two questions.
I acknowledge that my last letter was a tad long and that you may not have had the time to read the whole thing, and as such I am re-asking my two questions and await your response.
1. Given that the timing of the Notice of Posting to the Environmental Registry is completely inappropriate, will you repost the 45-day period to start January 1, 2018?
2. Who is ultimately accountable to the citizens of North Stormont when problems arise during the construction and 20-40 year operational period of the Nation Rise Wind Farm Project? Do we send our bills to the Premier of Ontario, the project developer/owner or to the participating land owners who invited the foreign owned wind developer into the township in the first place?
While waiting for you to answer my two questions, I spent numerous hours between field and office work reading the thousands of pages of EDPR prepared documentation in the off chance that you will not move the end of Christmas Day deadline to submit comments into the MOECC Registry.
What are my conclusions to date, you may ask?
Well, the EDPR-prepared documents are generously sprinkled with hundreds if not thousands of promises to the people, birds and bats and the environment of North Stormont.
For example, EDPR is promising that each turbine will not kill more than 10 bats and 14 birds per year, they will keep turbine noise within the old (not new) MOECC noise guidelines (we’ll hardly hear them like a soft whisper at most) and they will “lightly grade“ the areas where the access roads and lay down areas will go in.
There are two problems with this.
1. EDPR seems to have problems “keeping promises” at least to my wife and me. Perhaps others on my distribution list have had better experiences. EDPR made one promise to me and another to my wife during the so called “consultation meetings” with citizens of North Stormont, and sadly they are zero for two in keeping their promises with us;
2. Your Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) does not appear to have the tools, resources, and/or interest to strictly enforce wind turbine companies’ promises. The most recent example of this came to light this past week in the Kincardine area where citizens have lodged numerous complaints about noise emanating from the Enbridge Underwood Wind Project. The turbines have been in place since 2007 and given the number of complaints received since the project start up the MOECC and Enbridge decided to perform a noise audit in 2011. Here comes the head scratcher, we are on the verge of the end of 2017 and the noise audit is still not completed.The MOECC confirmed that the MOECC and the wind project developer have been going back and forth with each other for over six years and they still can’t figure out whether there is a problem or not with noise levels emanating from the turbines. In the meantime citizens within the project area continue to have their lives disrupted because of the turbines.
This is unconscionable in 2018 Ontario.
Ontario is blessed to have an Auditor General that is absolutely committed to rooting out waste and mismanagement in Ontario. An example of this happened again this past week where Ms. Lysyk dropped another bombshell on the Energy File where she reported out that private electricity generators fleeced the rate and taxpayers of Ontario to the tune of some $260 million over the past few years.
The Energy File seems to be in complete and utter disarray.
Again Ms. Wynne I urge you to cancel the Nation Rise Wind Project to avoid further embarrassment to your government and if that is not possible just yet, please allow us to enjoy our Christmas season without the need to continue reading the worthless pile of turbine documents.
I look forward to hearing your answers to my two questions soonest.