Category Archives: Ontario Wind

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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Could Ontario cancel the wind contracts?

 

Cancelling Contracts: The Power of Governments to Unilaterally Alter Agreements

By: Bruce Pardy| Fraser Institute| Published on October 22, 2014

Government contracts are indeed contracts. In the normal course of events, their terms may be enforced and the Crown held liable for a breach. However, government contracts are not the ironclad agreements they appear to be because governments may change or cancel them by enacting legislation. This paper discusses the means by which governments can make unilateral changes to contracts by statutory enactment.

Legislative supremacy is a central feature of the Canadian system of government. The federal Parliament and provincial legislatures may pass laws of any kind, including laws that change or cancel legally binding agreements, and even if the enactment has the effect of expropriating property or causing hardship to innocent parties who negotiated with government in good faith in entering into the contract in the first place. The powers of legislatures are limited only by the bounds of their constitutional jurisdiction and the existence of constitutional rights. In Canada, there is no constitutional right to compensation for expropriated property.

Just because legislatures can enact an end to a contract does not mean that they should. Using that power erodes confidence in doing business with government, and thus impairs the credit of the Crown and economic conditions in the jurisdiction. On the other hand, if democratically elected governments are to establish their own policies, they require the ability to make unilateral changes to agreements made by previous governments. If they cannot legitimately do so, then their predecessors can control policy decisions beyond the terms of their democratic mandates….

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Cancelling Contracts: The Power of Governments to Unilaterally Alter Agreements:
(full report)

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Ministry using old science for a new problem

letters to editor

Letter to Editor| Published in Chatham Daily News| Feb. 8, 2018

I read in Monday’s Chatham Daily News online that the provincial environment ministry states that the turbine construction has not had a negative affect on water wells. This is despite the fact that residents were encouraged to have baseline water tests to compare with post-construction water quality. There are many wells that have had a long history of good water quality that were negatively affected at the time of or shortly after construction of the turbines as shown by water analysis post construction. This has become too common to be a coincidence.

It seems that the ministry is relying on the “science” that existed prior to this project to make their conclusion that there could be no effect on water wells. Perhaps they should look at the reality that exists today and do the work to figure out why there is a clear effect on many wells. They have that responsibility ­– it is clearly stated in the terms of reference of this project that any negative affect on water wells must be dealt with.

It is time for the ministry to fulfill their responsibility and hold the wind company to those terms.

Until that time they investigate fully why there is damage to residents’ water source and work towards a solution that serves local residents, the information they are spreading reminds me of the droppings of male cattle.

Bill Weaver

RR5, Dresden, Ontario

White Pines ERT & The People vs IESO & WPD

A call to action!

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 on January 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.

ERT Main Hearing
February 12, 2018 at 10:30 a.m. at the Sophiasburgh Town Hall.

The most effective way of showing the Superior Court and the Tribunal of the level of community concern with the White Pines wind project is with your presence.

Source: Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County

*To confirm dates and venue locations for any changes please contact the Environmental Review Tribunal *

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Turbine collapse in Chatham Kent

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A collapsed wind turbine in Chatham-Kent is renewing calls for wind projects to be stopped. (Monte McNaughton/Twitter)

Turbine snaps in half in Chatham-Kent, MPP calls for halt of wind projects

‘The blade is wrapped around the bottom of it and the engine is on the ground’

By Dan Taekema, CBC News Posted: Jan 19, 2018

A wind turbine in Chatham-Kent, Ont. has snapped in half, leading to calls from one area MPP to halt area wind projects.

The turbine in Raleigh Township, near the corner of Drake Road and the 16th Line, collapsed on itself Friday.

“As we were getting closer you could see in the distance that it was snapped in half .. it’s actually one of those ‘Oh my goodness [moments],” said Chatham-Kent Ward 2 councillor Karen Herman. “I was so surprised to see something like this. The blade is wrapped around the bottom of it and the engine is on the ground.”

No injuries reported

The Turbine is owned by TerraForm Power. The company confirmed one of its turbines collapsed Friday and that crews are investigating the cause.

“The issue did not cause any injuries or impact to the broader community,” wrote spokesperson Chad Reed in a statement emailed to CBC News.

Chatham-Kent’s Fire and Paramedic Chief Bob Crawford said the turbine has been disconnected from the grid.

“With safety being a priority, workers are currently putting up safety fencing around the broken turbine and Chatham-Kent Police are also present,” he added.

Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MPP Monte McNaughton shared a photo of the mangled turbine on Twitter and used it as an opportunity to renew calls to stop two upcoming wind projects in the area.

“The Liberal government should put a halt to the Otter Creek and North Kent projects immediately, put a moratorium on them so we can look into the safety issues of turbines,” he explained.

 

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New Year & No Relief for families impacted by North Kent Wind

The Chatham Voice|January 10, 2018

Water tanks freeze up

The new year isn’t bringing any hope for a better situation for 12 families issued water tanks in the North Kent 1 Wind Farm project (NKW1) area north of Chatham.

The recent unseasonably cold weather resulted in water in the tanks and lines being frozen solid, according to Water Wells First (WWF) spokesperson Kevin Jakubec.

At a press conference last week at the home of Jessica and Paul Brooks on Brook Line, the family shared their continued frustration with the lack of action by the wind farm company and the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change to fix their well, which was contaminated with black sediment back in the summer.

“This morning (Jan. 5) the Brooks family at 9597 Brook Line woke once again without water,” Jakubec said. “It was July 29 when they filed their complaint with the MOECC and the report showed their well had 30 times the turbidity of their baseline testing results before NKW1 started pile driving. They met the burden of proof of contamination.”

“Earlier in the week, the water was frozen solid inside the water tank supplied by Samsung & Pattern. The water tank was part of a requirement on the developers in the North Kent Wind REA Permit issued by the MOECC requiring that water tanks be installed when any impacts occurred to a water well.”

Jakubec said his group, Water Wells First, advocated for months and incurred substantial legal costs to see that measure was put in place to protect families in case their wells experienced the same sediment and flow reduction that happened in the former Dover township.

While the bitter cold hasn’t helped, Jakubec asked why Samsung and Pattern Energy aren’t providing a practical water source for the affected families in this extreme cold, and why are 12 families still on water tanks six months later?

Also, a big question Jakubec said is what has the MOECC been doing to find practical solutions to the loss of so many wells in such a short amount of time in Chatham township and where are the reports they have been promising for months that look at conflicting results from well testing AECOM has done on the affected wells and MOECC testing on the same well?

Spokespersons for the MOECC have said previously they are still working on the report but give no firm timeline and when it will be released.

The lack of action by the province to find out how and why the groundwater is contaminated is also a source of frustration for WWF members.

“This is highly unusual. Brownfields and industrial sites that have contaminated the groundwater beneath them have to go through extensive clean up measures or face severe court fines by the MOECC,” Jakubec noted. “Why does the MOECC not impose those requirements on Samsung and Pattern, the developers of the North Kent Wind farm?”….

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Frozen Water Tanks & North Kent Wind

Chatham Daily News| January 2, 2018|By: Trevor Terfloth

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Jessica Brooks, who has had issues with her water well, is shown with her frozen tank on Tuesday. (Trevor Terfloth/The Daily News)

Residents dealing with frozen tanks

Due to the bitter cold temperatures, residents near the North Kent Wind project found themselves without their temporary water source over the holidays.

Several water wells in the project area, currently under construction by Samsung Renewable Energy and Pattern Energy, have been clogged with sediments shortly after pile-driving took place for constructing the turbines.

Jessica Brooks, who lives on Brook Line with her husband Paul, had been dealing with a frozen exterior tank, which had been installed as an interim solution in the summer.

“New Year’s Eve, we had friends who were watching the house call us and say the water stopped running,” she said while her metal tank was being serviced on Tuesday.

Brooks said she was under the impression the tank wasn’t going to be needed for so long. She said there were problems with freezing at the outtake in the beginning of December.

“When I contacted both the Ministry of the Environment and Pattern Energy, nobody got back to me. We got it moving ourselves,” she said.

She had a bucket of well water with sediment in it that the family uses to flush the toilet.

“It’s just been frustrating,” she said. “We’ve been saying this (freezing) was going to happen.”

Kevin Jakubec, spokesman for the grassroots organization Water Wells First, said he’s aware of five households dealing with frozen tanks.

He said the problem could have been far worse if there was more snow.

“Imagine if we had a foot of snow,” he said. “If we have a blizzard, you are not going to get these trucks down these roads.”

In an e-mail to The Daily News, Pattern Energy stated it “received one report of a frozen tank this morning and the issue has been resolved.”

The company has maintained that the evidence doesn’t support the idea that pile-driving vibration has an impact on well water.

The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change stated that North Kent 1 proactively supplied an alternative water supply to any complainant that had requested one, including bottled water for consumption and a water tank for all other domestic use.

“The company is responsible for addressing any concerns with the water supplies that have been provided, including addressing any issues related to freezing or access during snow events,” the ministry said.

“The ministry is continuing its review of well water assessment reports submitted by the company related to complaints over impacts during wind turbine construction. The ministry anticipates communicating the results of the ministry’s review directly with the well owners over the next few weeks.”…..

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Cherish Your Suffering

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.

National Post| January 6th, 2018|Rex Murphy

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Premier Kathleen Wynne

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……

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