Category Archives: Green Energy

Green Energy’s Canadian Black Eye

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Ontario’s Liberals lost official party status in the recent June 2018 vote for the provincial elections, under former Premier Wynne’s leadership.   Energy policies and rising electricity rates were a hot button election issue.

Struck by a Hockey Puck: Renewable Energy’s Big Canadian Black Eye

Renewable Energy World|June 8, 2018|By Chris McDermott

Everybody loves renewable energy, right? That’s what surveys tell us with global support for renewable energy consistently polling above 80 percent.

But don’t tell that to the people of the Province of Ontario, Canada. On June 7, the electorate handed a stunning defeat to its Liberal Government after 15 years of reign. The election winner: Conservative Doug Ford, brother of Toronto’s infamous crack-cocaine smoking mayor, Rob Ford. The issue in the forefront of voters’ minds: sky high electricity prices.

Ever since the Ontario Government invoked its Green Energy Act in 2009 to transition away from coal power to wind and solar energy, electricity prices have risen a whopping 75 percent. In Ontario, electric bills have become as frequent a topic of water-cooler conversation as apartment rents are in Manhattan or San Francisco.

Without question, on every measure of ratepayer protection Ontario is an egregious case of how not to design a renewable energy program:

Most Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) rates set not by competitive bidding but instead by Government decree at levels as high as $C 80.2 cents ($US 62 cents) per kWh for 20 years
No mechanism to automatically adjust FIT rates downward as capacity deployment thresholds were reached
Domestic Content requirements that raised domestic equipment prices above global average selling prices
A rule that ratepayers still provide FIT payments for energy even when energy production is curtailed
An allowance of five years after FIT contract execution for facility construction, creating windfall gains for developers as equipment costs declined while preventing ratepayers from participating in any of those savings.
How did Ontario get their renewables policy so wrong?

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The Green Energy Act is Toast

“The Green Energy Act is toast,” he added. “But the act is a very large, far-reaching piece legislation. It’s not just about some wind and solar generation. It has huge impacts on the administration of the electricity system.”

Tom Adams-Energy Analyst & Researcher.

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Doug Ford is to be Ontario’s new Premier  

London Free Press|June 9, 2018|Randy Richmond

Post-election analysis: Five key local issues to watch

From deeply divisive wind energy projects, to school closings and transportation, five issues loomed large in the London region during the Ontario election.

GREEN ENERGY: ‘The pigs are not going to fly’

Randy Richmond

The London Free Press

Despite Doug Ford’s commitment to tear apart Ontario’s energy system, consumers shouldn’t expect to see much change in their electricity bills, says an energy analyst and researcher.

“Don’t expect your rates to go down. The overall cost of power is likely to rise over the next four years. The power system will look a lot like it does today,” Tom Adams said.

What will likely be gone: The Liberals’ $600-million conservation fund that paid homeowners for installing energy efficiency upgrades.

But even that won’t come without strong opposition, said Adams, author of several academic papers on energy and a consultant for consumer organizations.

Ford has promised to scrap the controversial Green Energy Act, the legislation that led to costly wind turbine projects across Southwestern Ontario – often over the objection of municipalities stripped of control over the location of energy projects.

The legislation became the flashpoint for anger over rising energy bills, which were caused only in part by sweetheart contracts with green energy suppliers.

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Dutch fishing armada sails into Amsterdam to protest wind turbines

dutch protest
Dutch fisherman take protest against offshore wind to Amsterdam

Fishermen take protest to Amsterdam

Published by FiskerForum, 03-06-2018 · info@fiskerforum.dk

Hundreds of fishermen from Holland and Belgium took their grievances against the discard ban and the loss of fishing grounds due to the expansion of wind farms to Amsterdam this weekend, making plain their dissatisfaction with the way their industry is heading.

Seventeen fishing vessels docked in the centre of Amsterdam, a city that built its wealth and prosperity on the herring fishery. Between 600 and 700 fishermen from Holland and Belgium arrived in the city for a peaceful but highly visible protest that was followed by dozens of journalists.

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Mothers March Against Industrial Wind

DSC04218The mothers and their children took a walk on May 27, 2013 protesting the Summerhaven Wind project that was under construction at the time.  We marched together providing a record and demonstration of our non consent to the wind project. It also spiked a lot of interest from the Ontario Provincial Police and wind project security.   The police decided they needed to be present with a marked police escort and their undercover members.

Mothers Against Wind Turbines remains firm in giving a thumbs down to industrial wind.  We have not remained silent.  We will not remain silent.  No still means no.

Ontario Wind Resistance posting May 2013: Mothers March to Say NO!

 

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United In the Fight

Retreat 2018

On Saturday May 12, 2018 the second annual retreat was held at Silverdale Hall in West Lincoln, Ontario.  Topic for the day long event was community action against the negative impacts of wind power.  This gathering has quickly become our place to network, share information, meet old friends and make new ones. Under skilled guidance of Georgina Richardson the day built on work accomplished and explored  paths going forward.   Attendees worked hard reviewing and goal setting while developing  and setting into motion action plans.

The battle remains about protecting our homes, families and communities from realized negative consequences due to wind powered generation facilities. The fight has brought together so many people who remain united and committed in seeking justice.

The fight is far from over.

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Understanding the Changes in Ontario’s Electricity Markets and Their Effects

money and turbines

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.

Authors:
Elmira Aliakbari;Kenneth P. Green;Ross McKitrick;Ashley Stedman

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Council needs to protect Residents

a - WindFarm_6Letter 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?

Robert Blum

Hopkinton, New York

More about: North Ridge Wind Farm

NextEra renewables sale to CPP speaks volumes

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.

Parker Gallant

*Statistics Canada’s Low-Income Measure is simply defined as half of the median adjusted economic family income.

**Cash Available for Distribution

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