Category Archives: Ontario Wind

Cancel the Green Energy Act

mean energyDear Mr. Ford,

I am writing to you and your esteemed colleagues requesting that the new PC majority government repeal the Green Energy Act with the swiftest possible speed.  I know you have railed against this misguided piece of legislation.  Indeed, your estimate of its low caliber is echoed by Pierre-Olivier Pineau, Associate Professor and Electricity Market Expert, University of Montreal HEC Business School, who opined that “Ontario is probably the worst electricity market in the world.” (https://www.forbes.com/sites/judeclemente/2016/03/30/ontarios-high-electricity-prices-crush-business/#2a8c5ab44587)

As you know, this Act has been a disaster on many fronts – its inability to effect the desired reduced CO2 emissions, its harmful effect on the environment, its negative impact on the economy and our electricity rates, its stripping of municipal planning and zoning rights, and importantly, its deleterious impacts on rural residents who only want a safe and quiet place to enjoy their homes and properties.

1. Tweaking the GEA is folly, as the very Act is based upon faulty foundations – that the wind is free, clean, and always blowing somewhere.  This myth fails to take into account that wind is unpredictable, non-dispatchable, unreliable and inherently intermittent.  When added to a power grid designed entirely around dispatchable sources, it leads to grave system instability.  As renewable energy sources are added into the mix, their impact is exacerbated by an inability to match loads (demand) with supply, as supply would be increasingly and inconveniently dictated by phenomena like the weather (and sunset).  The green mantra also fails to acknowledge the requisite concomitant use of fossilk fuels (particularly, gas) run in an open cycle, stop and go, inefficient mode like the Don Valley at rush hour. And it fails to deal with the vast stretches of weather system patterns and the transmission requirements necessary to connect with Dorothy in wind-blown Kansas.

https://www.masterresource.org/droz-john-awed/21-bad-things-wind-power-3-reasons-why/

2. Furthermore, mere enforcement of GEA regulations is an insipid approach.  The regulations fail to include infrasound, low frequencies, high frequencies, amplitude modulation, stray voltage, vibration, the trespass of shadow flicker, the destruction of prime agriculture lands, disturbances to water wells, impact on livestock and wildlife harm/harassment/ kill/displacement, among other winning features of IWTs.  Nor does it address the legality of gagging lease holders from discussing health impacts, thereby precluding public safeguards.  Moreover, the existing regulations regarding acoustic testing and monitoring, when implemented at all, are cumbersome by design, rarely feasible, and statistically dishonest.

3. The only honourable approach to addressing the Green Energy Act is to cancel it.  In a Financial Post article entitled “Yes, Ontario’s Liberals can cancel their terrible renewable power contracts—and they should do it now”, (Lawrence Solomon, September 2016) argues for “cancelling Ontario’s odious renewables contracts”.  He writes:

http://business.financialpost.com/opinion/lawrence-solomon-yes-ontarios-liberals-can-cancel-their-terrible-renewable-power-contracts-and-they-should-do-it-now#comments-area

Mr. Solomon’s argument is further substantiated by the case of Trillium Power Wind Corporation v. Ontario (2012):

https://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.tlaonline.ca/resource/resmgr/toronto_law_journal_2012/toronto_law_journal_-_novemb.pdf

Furthermore, in the Supreme Court case, Wells vs Newfoundland, 1999, the Judges’ decision states (Paragraph 48):

https://scc-csc.lexum.com/scc-csc/scc-csc/en/item/1730/index.do?site_preference=normal

Mr. Ford, many rural residents have been holding on for a June 7th PC win as their last hope in dealing with the adverse living circumstances imposed upon us by the McGuinty-Wynne dynasties.  I encourage you to repeal this disastrous Green Energy Act and return our homes and our pastoral farmlands to their idyllic pre-GEA state.

Sincerely,

A Concerned Citizen.

Green Energy’s Canadian Black Eye

wynne-hockey
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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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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Ontario Blind, Deaf & Dumb to Turbine Effects & Violations

 

house surrounded by wind turbinesThe following is from a presentation by Anne Dumbrille, Chair of CCSAGE at the Annual General Meeting held at Bloomfield Town Hall, Saturday, May 5, 2018

SOURCE: CCSAGE

Welcome everyone, special welcome to our MPP Todd Smith, Acting Mayor Dianne O’Brien and Councillor Steve Ferguson.
I am giving an update on what is happened in Ontario regarding turbines in the last year.   The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – not always in that order.
Good
Slide 3

  • In 2017, the media has been more outspoken about adverse impacts of turbines e.g.,
  • Two major networks, Global News and Radio-Canada, carried multi-part investigative reports this past year. The three-part Global News feature spurred questions in the Legislature and forced the then-minister to act on noise complaints for several Huron County families.
  • Fraser Inst. Publication Mid- April. They published Understanding the Changes in Ontario’s Electricity Markets and Their Effects criticized the GEA, speaking to it causing high energy costs, losing manufacturing jobs, and not improving the environment.
  • Auditor General criticized Liberal accounting practices re energy costs, fair energy plan; it was well covered in major newspapers

Slide 4
Noise from turbines consists of audible and low frequency noise/ infrsound –these affect brain waves but may be inaudible.

  • A team at University of Waterloo has created a special chamber in which infrasound can be produced, in the hopes that health researchers can determine unequivocally effects of infrasound at levels produced by turbines on people.
  • Australian Court (similar to our ERT) linked wind turbine generated LFN and infrasound noise with possible diseases including hypertension and cardiovascular disease, possibly mediated in part by disturbed sleep and/or psychological stress/distress – it found an established association between annoyance (used as a medical term) and some diseases that result from prolonged stress. They say effects of LFN include motion-sickness-like symptoms, vertigo, and tinnitus -like symptoms.

It was also established that the current method adopted by windfarms to measure noise (including in Canada) — the dB(A) scale, is not suitable for the task, as it does not measure the lower frequency range. The dB(A) scale averages out the sound levels, masking the highest levels and rate of change of noise that could be causing harmful health side-effects.
This is consistent with what the UK noise association said in 2006. 12 years ago.
MOECC still will not address infrasound.
Slide 5
The Environmental Commissioner’s office wrote a report criticizing the government for approving 100% of turbine company permits to kill harm and harass endangered species.
Slide 6
But – BAD they followed that up with one that makes superficial and false statements on the health impacts of wind turbines. She says there is no link between wind turbine noise and health effects — based on ERT conclusions. She does not say that it is next to impossible to win an ERT appeal on health. She said that noise impacts are controlled through setbacks and noise limits in the REAs.
What of the over 4500 records of health/noise complaints filed by people living near turbines in Ontario with the government since 2006? And the out-of-compliance turbines. This is important as if the local turbines are built, they may not be noise compliant.
Slide 7
Bad-Turbines have been out of noise compliance with poor-to-totally lacking government response:
Port Elgin has one (Unifor) turbine – and have been complaining for years about the noise. Finally MOECC said that noise testing did show that it was out of compliance. A noise abatement protocol has to be put in place. The engineering report was filed with the MOECC in January, and then to the wrong Municipality in March – and finally to those affected. There is to be repeat testing in June–if it is out of compliance again -then what? Unknown.

Complaints regarding the Huron-Bruce Turbines in K2 Wind power project led to noise testing a year ago. Turbines were found to be out of compliance with Ontario regulations (April 2017). Since then, MOECC has done nothing.

Kincardine area has made multiple noise complaints over years, have been told testing is ongoing, but somehow, the tests are never completed, and the problem continues. In December they were told by MOECC that nothing was being done. And MOECC will not respond to complaints during an audit. The audit process started in December 2011 and is still not complete.

Slide 8

  • Last summer, a Brinston area resident wrote to Minister Murray about the complete lack of response to her reports of excessive noise (she has had to sleep in her basement on occasion because of the noise and vibration). An officer telephoned her and said:
    • Ministry staff were completely unprepared for wind turbine noise complaints.
    • They still don’t really know what to do.
    • They “lost” her records — even though she had so many reports that the MOECC actually installed equipment and did noise measurement for several days.
    • Last, it was too bad they lost everything pertaining to her situation and reports but it didn’t really matter, she was told because “You’re the only one complaining.”
    • With thousands of noise complaints recorded with the government unresolved, MOECC still refuse to acknowledge the problem, and refuses to look for causes.

Slide 10

  • Good: The MOECC finally admitted previous guidelines resulted in underestimating the noise at nearby homes – the modelling used to predict these impacts was wrong.
  • Last April 21, MOECC released a new protocol intended for “assessing noise from wind turbines that have already been built. It is used by industry and ministry staff to monitor compliance.” And compliance documents are to be publically available.
  • The result of non-compliance is: 1 – Remodel turbines; 2 – conduct a receptor audit at worst affected receptor from that turbine –or mitigation is required

Slide 9 Bad: However:

  • Still no recognition of low frequency noise. And, it hasn’t resulted in any effective changes.
  •  Still – when WCO complained about the lack of response regarding noise and lack of a posted compliance report, they were told that the report cannot be posted as the turbine company’s documents are incomplete. (The turbines had been running for 3 years)

Slide 11

  • Although the government knows the modeling done by wind companies is wrong, they are allowing 5 new large-scale wind projects to follow the old guidelines. If they followed the new guidelines, about 3/4 of these turbines would have to be relocated or removed as they are predicted to be out of compliance with the new noise guidelines. At one project 11 of 12 would be out of compliance.
  • So in January, 5 affected communities filed a JR application against MOECC as surely, Ontario regulations and directives that limit the amount of noise any residence in the province should have to be followed. The claim is – transition provisions were put in place by the ministry to allow those wind turbine companies to use the old regulations without having to provide evidence that they were unable to comply with the new noise modelling guidelines (Dutton Dunwich, North Stormont, La Nation, and Wallaceburg)

Slide 12
Brilliant:

  • Wind Concerns Ontario taking Minister Murray to court May 18 for violating the Environmental Protection Act for permitting noise that causes adverse health events. According to WCO Access to information requests, of 4500 complaints noise/sleeplessness and other health-related effects received, few were followed up – only ~7% in 2015-16.

Slide 13
Ugly

  • In SW Ontario, in an area with sedimentary rock similar to that here, during and after IWT construction, well contamination has been reported – such that some wells are completely clogged, some failed simultaneously from pile-driving during construction. Some have not used their well for 4 years.
  • Before and after tests sent to Laboratories in Michigan show an exponential increase [in] turbidity among the affected wells, including [a] large proportion that can be attributed to black shale particles that are known to contain heavy metals, including uranium, arsenic and lead.
  • An ERT had warned that water wells in that area could be damaged.
  • A professional geologist said: the relationship between the installation of wind turbines and the contamination of wells is obvious. When you have a [pure] water source for years and [transforms] a few days after the construction of an industrial facility. You do not have to be a genius to see that there is a link of cause and effect.
  • He had agreement from geoscientist and geological engineer.
    The project’s owner claims it has nothing to do with the problem.

MOECC’s response — While there’s been an admission that wells have indeed been contaminated, contamination can only be attributed to “unidentified factors.” They maintain that pile-driving activities associated with wind turbine development are not to blame. This conclusion was based on evaluations prepared by the power developer’s consultant.

MOECC say that you should only test your water for bacteria.

Quinte Region Proposed Source Protection Plan Version 8.1 Aug 2012: Section 2.4: “Due to the shallow soil conditions, the entire Quinte area was identified and mapped as a highly vulnerable aquifer. This designation was a direct result of the ease with which a contaminant can move into the underlying fractured bedrock aquifer.” 

Slide 14

  • In 2017 alone, reported in the media:
  • 181 accidents.* Note that there is massive underreporting. RenewableUK confirmed that of 1500 wind turbine accidents and incidents in the UK alone between 2006 and 2011, only 9% are on the global report. So there may have been more like 1800 accidents.

*  http://www.caithnesswindfarms.co.uk/fullaccidents.pdf 

But it gives information on a cross-section of accidents: –

  • Of the 181, there were 17 fatal accidents, 13 injury accidents, 16 blade failure (blade or partial blade throws, travelling up to 1 mile), 24 fires, 14 structural failures (storm damage, tower collapse), 19 transport – related (biggest cause of public injury/fatalities, e.g. ram through a house, turbine parts falling off).

Slide 15

  • Turbine collapse in Chatham-Kent January
  • And in Germany, bits of blade travelled over 500 m –yes, the distance to neighbouring houses by Ontario regulations.

Slide 16
CONCLUSION

  • MOECC, MNRF – Apparently – still blind, deaf and dumb regarding turbine effects and violations
  • All rules and regulations can be broken for the precious GEA
  • Compliance is only met only if citizens fight (and pay) for it
  • Feds (Health Canada, Environment Canada) – no better

Where is MOECC? Blanding’s Turtles face imminent harm

Windlectric Defies Its Own Turtle Protocol – Blanding’s Turtles Endangered

Posted May 6, 2018  on FaceBook by: Association to Protect Amherst Island 

“Windlectric (AQN-T) was advised of the presence of a nesting Blanding’s Turtle on Front Road on Amherst Island in immediate proximity of collector installation. Instead of stopping work in accordance with its own protocol, the company continued to install collector lines, transport cement and use heavy equipment.

Honourable Chris Ballard, Minister MOECC, has been requested to require compliance and protect endangered species.

Blanding’s Turtles nest at maturity and live to be 70 to 100 years. The loss of one turtle or one nest devastates the species.

The ERT decision says:

The ERT in its decision understood the grave harm to the population of Blanding’s Turtles and said without equivocation:

[325] Additionally, the Tribunal finds that the mitigation measures incorporated as conditions of the REA have all but eliminated the potential for turtle mortality and have minimized the potential for indirect impacts to habitat during the construction phase. The construction window of November 1 to March 31 for those portions of the Project closest to the coastal wetlands, and the window of September 1 to March 31 for the remainder of the Project, will ensure that construction takes place outside the period during which turtles are active outside of their resident wetlands. Additionally, in the rare event that a turtle remains active during construction, the Tribunal is satisfied that the exclusionary fencing to be used, mostly on private agricultural land, will ensure that turtles are not able to access construction areas.

[337] Despite having made this finding, due to the uncertainty around the location of temporary areas of flooding and water bodies, and recognizing that there is a chance that a turtle may nest on an access road while Project staff are not present and nests may remain hidden from view, the Tribunal makes two recommendations as follows:

a. that no access roads be used during any flooding events during the active season for Blanding’s Turtle in order to ensure that should any turtles be present that they are given time to vacate the access road before Project staff use it; and

b. that no road grading take place during the nesting season for Blanding’s Turtles in order to ensure that any road-side nests are unharmed as a result of grading activities on access roads.

[338] The Tribunal is of the view that these two additional measures will add an additional layer of protection in the unlikely event that a turtle finds itself, or nests, on an access road.

Windlectric Inc. has violated the timing restrictions every business day since April 1 and most recently has worked on Sunday.

What say you Robert Wright and Justin Duncan?”

To contact Minister Chris Ballard ,MOECC (Minister of Environment & Climate Change):
Email: minister.moecc@ontario.ca
Phone:   416-314-6790
Mail: Ferguson Block 11th Flr, 77 Wellesley St W, Toronto, ON M7A 2T5

Wind Warning & Broken Blade in Ontario

High winds raced bucking and veering across Ontario and lead to high wind warnings.   A wind turbine blade failure was reported in Huron County.  The trailing edge of the turbine blade was  seen detaching itself when the alert was raised.  The wind project was built in 2002 consisting of 5 Vestas V80.

The failure happened during high winds experienced on May 4, 2018.  Local wind speed monitor at the location (about 10 km west of the failure site) showed a maximum of 27 m/sec at 7 metres elevation.

Wiarton weather station showed 10 metre wind speed max as SW 53 km/hr, gusting to 82 km/hr (23 metres per second)

Goderich weather station showed 10 metre wind speed max as 51 km/hr, gusting to 78 km / hr (22 metres per second)

Adjacent roadway to the turbine was reported as closed. It was not clear if any pieces of the blade were on ground at the time the photos below were taken.

Wind turbine damaged near Bruce Power Visitors Centre|By Troy Patterson, Kincardine News and Lucknow Sentinel|Friday, May 4, 2018

Note the failure of the turbine blade as the edge becomes detached in the following photos. 

 

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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pggy bank

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….

Read more

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

cancelled

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