What is the Global Adjustment fee? The mysterious cost Ontario hydro customers must pay

 

McGuinty Visits Erie Shores Windfarm

Global News, Brian Hill
A product of Ontario’s 2009 Green Energy Act, the Global Adjustment fee is a charge billed to all hydro customers in the province.

For major manufacturers and large businesses, the fee appears separately on electricity bills. But for residential customers and small businesses, the fee is hidden – appearing on your electricity bill as a part of the per kilowatt hour charge.

According to data obtained by Global News from the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), the organization responsible for managing Ontario’s energy system, residential customers and small businesses in Ontario paid an average of 7.9 cents per kilowatt hour in Global Adjustment fees last year.

So for every $100 in usage that appears on your electricity bill, $77 of that is the Global Adjustment fee. Meaning the cost of electricity use is only $23. Read Article

Eagles’ nest in EDF wind project disappears, questions abound

Where have we seen this before? Several years ago NextEra went in and chopped down an eagle nest in Haldimand Cty that was “in the way,” and ta-da – 3 wind turbines worth millions of dollars could be constructed. In this news story similarities abound as EDF Renewables is chewing over how to proceed with an Illinois wind project that has an eagles’ nest “in the way” of 8-10 wind turbines (worth more millions of dollars) and ta-da, presto-chango nest is gone and all wind turbines can go ahead. How can we not be hugely suspicious!


EaglesConcord Record, Rob Maharry
Last month, a bald eagles’ nest on the property of Mary Katzer in rural western Grundy County vanished after almost four years, and because of the effect that it would have had on the yet to be constructed Ivester Wind Farm, the recent news has received attention from residents and conservation authorities alike. As those involved seek to gather more information and wait for the facts to come out, speculation has been aplenty in this curious case.

“I’m trying to stay calm and not jump to any conclusions,” said Mary Katzer, who owns the land in question. “More information needs to be collected.”

The nest, which was located between Conrad, Wellsburg and Eldora on 280thStreet, would have taken between eight and 10 turbines out of the plans for the proposed 90 megawatt Ivester Wind Farm, according to information that EDF Renewable Energy Development Director PJ Saliterman provided at the June 27 meeting of the Grundy County Board of Supervisors. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recommends a voluntary 1.6-mile buffer zone from wind turbines for the nests. Read article

Wind turbines killing tens of thousands of bats, including many on the endangered species list

Canadian Wind Energy Association says that they are now, “concerned about reports that are based on limited data that have the effect of boosting estimates [of bird and bat kills].”

This is almost funny. It’s not like we aren’t trying to get all the data, but this is all CanWea will release! When I ASK for ALL the data in letters and FOI requests, the wind companies refuse with a curt “Don’t give her anything.”  The MNRF and the FOI office thought Canadians should see this data. But the wind companies are adamant we never have access to the full reports.

So what does CanWea plan to do? They are going to make up another “system” to um… make it a all a little clearer, like mud. Dear CanWea, why not let Canadians see ALL the data? Don’t make up another fancy system to hide it, just show us the bodies. Or are there too many? Either way, be prepared for a new scheme by this industry to hide them this fall.


bat-killed-by-wind-turbine-bladesLondon Free Press, John Miner
Wind turbines are killing bats, including ones on the endangered species list, at nearly double the rate set as acceptable by the Ontario government, the latest monitoring report indicates. Bats are being killed in Ontario at the rate of 18.5 per turbine, resulting in an estimated 42,656 bat fatalities in Ontario between May 1 and October 31, 2015, according to the report released by Bird Studies Canada, a bird conservation organization.

Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources has set 10 bat deaths per turbine as the threshold at which the mortalities are considered significant and warrant action. The bats being killed by turbines in Ontario include the little brown bat, tri-coloured bat, eastern small footed bat, and northern long-eared bat, all on the endangered species list.

The Birds Studies Canada report draws its information from a database that is a joint initiative of the Canadian Wind Energy Association, Canadian Wildlife Service, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Bird Studies Canada.

Brock Fenton, an expert in the behaviour and ecology of bats and professor in Western University’s department of biology, said the bat deaths are a concern. Bat populations across North America have been plunging with the emergence of a fungal disease called white nose syndrome. Read article

Ontario wind turbine developers killing endangered birds and bats, with impunity

dead-bird-1024x560Bird Studies Canada quietly released a summary of bird and bat kills a few days ago. It doesn’t include last year’s toll on the avian population, but it gives you a good idea of where it’s headed – for a cliff. As you have probably noticed, this item hasn’t made the mainstream news in any way, shape, or form.

Even though the “Top 15 Hit List” consists of threatened swallows, tiny kinglets, scarce hawks and purple martins… not the common and introduced birds wind companies put on their open-house posters (i.e. house sparrows).
top15ONbirdkillBSC

Even though Ontario avian mortality rates have skyrocketed for both bats and birds in recent years. 40,833 bat deaths. 14,144 bird deaths. 462 raptor deaths.

birdbatmortalitychart

 

Even though bat kill averages grossly exceed the MNRF allowable limit. On average they are killing almost double the bats in Ontario than supposedly permitted (although, who’s watching?).

  • Average # of bats killed by just one Ontario wind turbine: 18.52.batmortality
  • Amount supposedly allowed by MNRF per wind turbine: 10.  Bat mortality threshold

Think about that.

Even though the Barn Swallow (a threatened species) is one of the top 15 birds found killed by wind turbines.barn swallow

Even though the Red-tailed Hawk is the sixth most likely bird to be killed in Ontario by a wind turbine.

red-tailed-hawk1

Even though three of the bat species killed by wind turbines are listed as endangered. Does it count as a violation to kill an endangered species if you are a … wind developer? Apparently not. Continue reading

Wind power debates continue

Laura Barton, Welland Tribune
A recent survey says Ontarians are pretty evenly split when it comes to wind turbines. The poll done by Mainstreet Research and Postmedia was published June 7. It had 2,537 people respond to questions about turbines. The survey determined that 43 per cent of people do not like turbines, 43 per cent do and the remaining 14 per cent don’t know.

Wainfleet Mayor April Jeffs said she hears more negative comments and concerns than positive remarks. When the township was against the first wave of five turbines, residents fought for them and thought it was a great idea.

“I just don’t hear that anymore,” said Jeffs. Because of the larger expansion of the industrial wind farm, Fleeters are having second thoughts. It’s partially a case of not realizing the consequences of the infrastructure necessary for turbines, said Jeffs. “I don’t think any of us quite realized the amount of transmission lines and such,” she said. Read article

The dangers of fire in the dead of summer

This image of a wheat field fire makes any rural resident cringe.

Wind turbine fires are always shrugged off by the developers. They bank on them just not happening – especially in the dead of summer, when the wheat is dry… and the wind is blowing. And if they do happen, they figure they can just stand back and watch it burn. That’s the only plan they have.

This fire is on the edge of Middlesex County turbine country.

wheat fire

A second fire in Middlesex (Adelaide-Metcalfe twp) happened yesterday too:
105.7FM13654196_1228941567130477_1953791430843769770_n

Absurdities abound with rural water plan

1297854991096_ORIGINALPeter Epp, London Free Press
It’s difficult to rule in isolation. That can be the only conclusion from the latest incident between rural Ontario and those in charge of Ontario’s Green Energy Plan.

How else to explain the almost embarrassing lack of understanding that the Green Energy people have about the potential impact of their decisions in parts of Ontario where wind turbines are to be developed?

The latest wrinkle comes from Chatham-Kent, which happens to lead the province in the number of wind turbines located in a single jurisdiction, and whose residents are bracing to receive even more.

A citizens’ group is now concerned about the potential impact that turbine vibrations will have on rural water wells, in an area where 40 to 50 turbines are to be constructed. They say studies show turbine activity can disrupt groundwater activity, a red flag for those who depend upon water wells for their households and agricultural activities.

Turns out that the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change is prepared for such an eventuality — or they thought they were. The ministry’s approval for the turbine company reads that “an adequate amount of bottled water” must be provided to “the impacted party” should there be a disruption with water well activity. That’s a lot of bottled water. As one Chatham-Kent farmer told reporters, an average horse can consume two to five cases of water a day. Read article

Hydro horror stories: tales from rural Ontario

turbine-and-truthGlobal News, Brian Hill
Residents of rural Ontario are outraged by ever-increasing hydro bills and the constant threat of disconnection. Facing an unresponsive utility provider, Hydro One customers from across the province are speaking out.

In the past three days alone, Global News has received more than 400 emails and messages from concerned Ontarians frustrated by the lack of government transparency and the apparent disregard with which industry regulators treat their concerns.

In their own words, read how the hopes and dreams of some rural Ontarians have become complete hydro nightmares.

Lindsay Ambeault, Sault Saint-Marie, Ont.

My husband and I have four children. One with autism. We have had to learn to eat only using $200 a month. Two of our children are in diapers – imagine the cost. We get the disconnection notice EVERY month and are behind approximately $1,000. I feel as though we work just to pay PUC. It is ridiculous!

Matt Grassie, Peterborough, Ont.

I live just outside the city of Peterborough Ont., and I am impacted greatly by the cost of hydro.

My bills are OVER $600 a month, but I have seen bills in recent years over $1,000 a month. I have suffered disconnections in the past, the worst one being on Remembrance Day while I was at the Remembrance Day Service paying my respects (I am a Canadian Forces Veteran). Even with the banks closed, I managed to get them their money. They took two days to reconnect me. We are on electric heat, and our water pipes nearly froze because of sub-zero temperatures. Read more

NextEra’s wind turbines kill at least 16 raptors per year in SW Ontario

trade secretsHas anyone mentioned recently how many birds or bats are found dead around the bases of operating wind turbines in Ontario? Like say… the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, or how about Bird Studies Canada? Or maybe even one of the many wind companies in this province that have to collect the bodies? Surely with these hundreds of turbines in operation there would be a news article, or a report released with all the data…?

Of course not, because to talk about the bloody details of bird and bat deaths from wind turbines would just lead to a sorry black eye on such a glowingly green and pristine industry.

Bats killed HaldimandA week ago I was supposed to find out whether NextEra filed an appeal to my Freedom of Information request for three of their wind project’s Bird and Bat Mortality Reports. Nobody called, and nothing arrived in the mail, so I called in this morning. Turns out that even though NextEra had 30 days to file an appeal, they asked for a little more time. And in order to get what they wanted they pointed out a ‘clerical error’ that the FOI office made and this bought them that 30 additional days to file an appeal.

The important message out of this is that NextEra is appealing the FOI office’s decision to release these reports. They don’t want the public to see just how many Purple Martins they killed in Haldimand Cty, or what kind of raptors (Bald Eagles?) they killed in each of their projects. They must think the public can’t responsibly handle that kind of information. Or perhaps they are claiming it’s a ‘trade secret’ like Iberdrola did in Ohio. We won’t know what their official excuse is for another month. Continue reading

Watch “Follow the Money” on CBC: The inside of the dirty wind industry

If you’ve fought the wind industry long and hard enough you’ll be able to practically identify characters in this drama (that plays more like a documentary). For once the inside of the wind industry is shown, and it’s not an exaggeration. Terror, gag clauses, dirty money, carbon schemes, threats, legal weasels, lies upon lies – sound familiar? Sounds like the wind industry in Ontario. Those who haven’t lived it might find it entertaining, but those who have been through the wind wringer will see it as brutally and gut wrenchingly real.

Watch online: CBC – “Follow the Moneyfollow the money

 

Efficiency better option than Hydro One rate hike

electricity costJim Merriam, London Free Press
The word efficiency doesn’t appear to be in the vocabulary of the suits — empty and otherwise — that run Hydro One. The utility’s “province-wide consultation process” includes an online survey for those inclined to help with a poorly veiled attempt to get support for rate increases.

In the preamble to the survey Hydro One admits as much: “All feedback . . . will in turn influence plans that the company will submit to the Ontario Energy Board.” The board will determine new rates. The survey asks a number of questions about Hydro One services and customer priorities.

Here’s an example: Survey respondents are asked if they prefer longer power outages in order to keep costs low, or if they prefer to maintain the current length of outages with a “relatively modest increase” in rates. A third option would see the length of outages reduced at yet higher costs.

In all such questions the option of Hydro One improving efficiency in order to offer better service never appears. That would lead to the assumption that Hydro One sees itself working as cost effectively as possible. Read article

‘Water Wells First!’ Public Protest Wind Turbine Adverse Effects

Ontario Ground Water Association
Strathroy, Ontario – June 27, 2016 – “On Wednesday, June 29, 2016, residents of the municipality of Chatham-Kent, Ontario, embark on their Water Wells First! campaign to protest and advocate for protection of their water wells, says the Ontario Ground Water Association.” These residents understand that renewable energy is important to the future of Ontario and in the battle that is climate change but the safety and security of their water is their priority. The Ontario Ground Water Association (OGWA) became aware of increased water quality issues in the region when inquiries intensified from Chatham-Kent and Lambton County residents for well water testing through the OGWA’s ‘Well Wise’ water testing program. The OGWA is fully supportive of the Chatham-Kent residents in this endeavour.

Existing Wind Farm developments in this area are disregarding known science on vibration and seismic coupling, causing adverse effects on local ground water and drinking water wells.

The pile driving of foundations began the onset of water quality deterioration during the construction phase. After the wind mills are in service, the vibrations transfer into the concrete foundations and continue to vibrate the rock and soil formations of the surrounding areas. This activity directly affects the sources of the residents’ water wells. The result is dirty, turbid water. These residents are also rightly concerned about what effects this vibration has in an area known to have elevated levels of Radon gas. Continue reading

Iberdrola Renewables sues to block bird death data release

trade secretsSandusky Register, Tom Jackson
OAK HARBOR — An Ohio wind farm has filed a lawsuit against two state agencies, hoping to conceal the number of bird deaths that are being caused by its operation.

The legal dispute was generated by an Ottawa County birding organization, the Black Swamp Bird Observatory in Oak Harbor, which contends that bird death data held by both federal and state agencies is public information. Blue Creek Wind Farm LLC, which operates a wind farm in Van Wert and Paulding counties in Ohio and Allen County, Indiana, says releasing its bird and bat kill reports would provide “trade secrets” to its competitors.

Blue Creek filed the lawsuit in May in Franklin County Common Pleas Court against the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Ohio Power Siting Board. The lawsuit seeks a court order to block the two state agencies from releasing the company’s reports on bird and bat kills.

Blue Creek met with Black Swamp officials last year and released some of its data in an unsuccessful attempt to placate the birding group.

The release of public information sought by Black Swamp would allow everyone to know the trade-off between developing renewable energy and killing birds and bats, said Kim Kaufman, executive director of Black Swamp Bird Observatory.

“In a way, the public information acts keep everybody honest,” she said. Read article

Subsidy Sam – A Tale About Money, Greed… And Wind Turbines

SubsidySambook_sm-211x300Lyndsey Ward and Josh

“Subsidy Sam was written in response to the wind industry’s own book for children, Tommy the Turbine. Following requests from people fighting wind turbines around the world a children’s story, Timmy the Tiny Turbine, has now been written and will be published online in August 2016 with illustrations by Josh.”

Subsidy Sam – A Tale About Money, Greed… and Wind Turbines

Lyndsey Ward and Josh
“Subsidy Sam was written in response to the wind industry’s own book for children, Tommy the Turbine. Following requests from people fighting wind turbines around the world a children’s story, Timmy the Tiny Turbine, has now been written and will be published online in August 2016 with illustrations by Josh.”

Survey suggests an even split in public opinion about Ontario’s embrace of wind energy

2014_06010079John Miner, London Free Press
Seven years after Ontario’s multi-billion-dollar, headlong plunge into wind energy, residents of the province are deeply divided on the project, a new Mainstreet/Postmedia poll has found. The survey of 2,537 Ontarians, released Wednesday, found an even split on wind power, with 43 per cent of respondents having a positive opinion about it and 43 per cent a negative view.

But there was a big difference in the two opinion camps. “The people who don’t like wind power right now really, really don’t like wind power, and the people who do like wind power are only somewhat okay with it,” said David Valentin, executive vice president of Mainstreet Research.

Out of those with a negative view, 28 per cent had a “very negative” opinion and another 15 per cent had a “somewhat negative opinion.” For those with a favourable opinion, 18 per cent were “very positive” and 25 per cent “somewhat positive.”

Valentin said rising electricity bills are part of the reason for the weak support, but mishandling of contracts and reports of disputes involving wind energy developers and the Liberal government are also having an impact. More than 60 per cent of respondents believed wind power has contributed to higher power bills and 59 per cent expect the charges will keep increasing over the next 12 months. Read article

Turtles topple turbines as ERT revokes project approval

sign blanding turtleCounty Live
The County’s Blandings turtles, and nature in general, are victorious in the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists’ more than six-year battle to protect the south shore of Prince Edward County.

The Environmental Review Tribunal in the Ostrander Point industrial wind turbine hearing has decided “remedies proposed by Gilead Power Corporation and the Director (MOEE) are not appropriate” and has revoked the Renewable Energy Approval for the nine turbine project.

“The tribunal decision says that no matter how important renewable energy is to our future it does not automatically override the public interest in protecting against other environmental harm such as the habitat of species at risk,” says Myrna Wood, president of the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists. “This was the basis of PECFN’s appeal. This decision not only protects the Blanding’s turtle but also the staging area for millions of migrating birds and bats and the Monarch butterflies.”

In their decision, ERT vice-chairs Heather Gibbs and Robert Wright state “The Tribunal finds that to proceed with the project, when it will cause serious and irreversible harm to animal life, a species at risk and its habitat, is not consistent with the general and renewable energy approval purposes of the Environmental Protection Act, protection and conservation of the natural environment and protection and conservation of the environment, nor does it serve the public interest.

“In this particular case, preventing such harm outweighs the policy of promoting renewable energy through this nine wind turbine project in this location.” Read article

Ross McKitrick: Climate crazy Ontari-ari-ario’s no place to grow, but to get the hell out of

CHATHAM-KENT, ONTARIO, INTERNAIONAL POWER GDF SUEZ from Stefina LineRoss Mckitrick, Financial Post
The latest news out of Queen’s Park is that Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals plan to deindustrialize Ontario. Of course they don’t call it that; they prefer the term “decarbonize.” But for an industrial economy, the government’s new climate action plan, leaked to reporters this week, amounts to the same thing.

The proposed scheme beggars belief. Having phased out coal-fired power, the province now plans to phase out natural gas, the only reliable alternative for non-baseload generation. Despite electric cars being extremely costly and unpopular, more than one in 10 new car sales will need to be electric, and every two-car household will have to own at least one electric car. All homes listed for sale will require a costly energy audit. Home renovations will have to be geared around energy efficiency as the government defines it, not what the homeowner wants.

Around the time that today’s high-school students are readying to buy their first home, it will be illegal for builders to install heating systems that use fossil fuels, in particular natural gas. Having already tripled the price of power, Queen’s Park will make it all but mandatory to rely on electricity for heating.

There will be new mandates and subsidies for biofuels, electric buses for schools, extensive new bike lanes to accommodate all those bicycles Ontario commuters will be riding all winter, mandatory electric recharging stations on all new buildings, and many other Soviet-style command-and-control directives. Read article

What the hell is happening in Huron County?

Patti Kellar
Many people are wondering what is going on and what comes next.

Below is a photograph taken at the March 3rd Board of Health Meeting in Huron County. Over 80 people at a meeting that typically no one attends.dsc06480Please try not to be too discouraged by the recent decision made by the Board of Health to pause the health investigation begun by Dr. Owen in Huron County.

For those not yet aware, the Board of Health in Huron County, Ontario Canada (comprised of current or past municipal councillors) voted unanimously (other than one abstention /conflict of interest) at a closed meeting, to oust Dr. Owen (Acting Medical Officer of Health).  We were assured afterwards by Mayor Tyler Hessel / Chair of the Board of Health that the investigation was to continue and we felt badly for Dr. Owen but we were also relieved to know her work was still going to matter.  After all, when an agency is mandated to investigate health complaints, it would seem reasonable to assume that they would do so once started, even in the absence of the person in charge who initiated it.  If this investigation involved water or food and the public expressed concerns, they would have to follow through with it, would they not?  Mayor Hessel had assured us that the Health Unit’s epidemiologist, Dr. Erica Clark was  the lead in the investigation and things were proceeding ‘at this point’.

It turns out, those last three words were pretty significant.

Just a few weeks later, Mayor Hessel and the Board of Health voted unanimously  to put the investigation on hold. Read article

Wind company, Ontario government had cozy relationship until deal fell apart

Art by Paul Bloomer, The Money Counters

Art by Paul Bloomer, The Money Counters

David Reevely, Ottawa Citizen
The Ontario government’s decision to ditch its plan for wind farms in the Great Lakes seems to have been made all the more awkward by the lobbyist-lubricated relationship the province had developed with the company that wanted to build one of the biggest.

The company was Windstream Energy, which is seeking as much as $568 million in damages on the grounds that the government mistreated it because it’s backed by American money, which would be a violation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

But back when it seemed to be well on its way to building a wind farm in the water off Kingston, Windstream had a lobbyist named Chris Benedetti helping it along. Benedetti is a specialist in energy policy for Sussex Strategy Group (he’s had dozens upon dozens of industry clients, according to the Ontario lobbying registry), and a former federal Liberal staffer.

If his name sounds familiar, it’s because he promoted the $6,000-a-plate fundraiser that offered intimate conversations with Premier Kathleen Wynne and Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli as its big draw earlier this year. That’s the one that shamed the Liberals into finally pursuing reforms to political fundraising because, though completely legal, it looked so gross when people found out.

We know what politicians get out of such events: A whole lot of money. But now, thanks to the company’s own claims in its case against the government, which rely heavily on evidence from Benedetti himself, we know what Windstream’s lobbyists got before everything fell apart. Read article

Wind developments are Resonating Across the Grid

Andrew Dodson was interviewed by Scott Medwid and Rick Maltese on the subject of grid stability, and the impact of “green energy”.

Police investigating Ontario Liberals over alleged wind power document deletion

470_OPP_3_430241CTV News
TORONTO — Ontario’s Liberal government is facing another criminal investigation after a wind power company complained to police about the alleged destruction of documents in a lawsuit it filed against the province.

Trillium Power Wind Corp. has alleged in a lawsuit that government officials destroyed documents after the company sued in a case that stemmed from the government’s cancellation of a Lake Ontario wind project.

OPP Det.-Supt. Dave Truax said police began an investigation in the last couple of weeks after Trillium made a complaint. Truax would not say that the allegations are about destruction of documents, but that the probe is looking into elected officials and/or civil servants, and that there is a “co-mingling” of issues with Trillium’s civil suit.

Trillium lawyer Morris Cooper alleges the documents were destroyed around the same time as emails are alleged to have been deleted in relation to the Liberals’ cancellation of two gas plants. In that case, former premier Dalton McGuinty’s chief of staff and deputy chief of staff have been charged with breach of trust and mischief.

Premier Kathleen Wynne said the government was not aware of any Trillium-related investigation until Wednesday, but that it will co-operate fully. A spokesman for Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli said the government takes its record-keeping obligations very seriously.        [can’t make this stuff up!] Read article

“The government twice suspended [offshore] wind-farm work, both during election years.”

offshore_windDavid Reevely, Ottawa Citizen
In the five years since Ontario scrapped all its plans for wind farms on the Great Lakes because we needed more scientific research on them, the government went four years without commissioning any.

Once upon a time, way back in 2009, the province’s Green Energy Act seemed to make it a priority to get windmills built in Ontario waters, as part of a big brave plan to make Ontario a world leader in renewable electricity. We’d kickstart a domestic green-power industry by using ourselves as guinea pigs.

In 2011, the provincial government gave up. It cancelled all the offshore wind projects then in development and put a moratorium on new ones. The lack of documentation around that major government decision is now under investigation by the Ontario Provincial Police, and is the subject of a $500-million lawsuit by Trillium Power Wind Corp., which saw its plan for a wind farm in Lake Ontario off Kingston vaporized by a press release one February morning. Read article

Wind Turbine Highlights Unifor’s Hypocrisy On Noise Hazards

o-WIND-TURBINE-570Karen Hunter, Huffington Post
The National Day of Mourning sends “a strong message to all governments of their obligation and responsibility to strongly enforce health and safety laws and regulations,” says Unifor, Canada’s largest private-sector union, formerly the CAW.

There’s a “serious lack of commitment,” Unifor says of the provincial government, “to enforce the health and safety protections that we have fought for,” so “unfortunately, the suffering continues.” One of the hazardous dangers flagged by the union on its website notice is noise.

Meanwhile, a new online petition targets Unifor for its failure to comply with provincial health and safety protections, specifically noise regulations.

Unifor owns and operates the controversial CAW Wind Turbine, located on its property in Port Elgin, Ontario on the shore of Lake Huron. The turbine began operation in 2013 to generate money for the union. At the time, the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) approved the turbine on the condition that the Union would conduct noise audits within the first two years of operation and provide MOE with the results.

Now, as the turbine begins its fourth year of operation, the tests and results are, at a minimum, two years late.

MOE knew — as did everyone else — how important noise monitoring would be. Unifor’s turbine is located just 210 metres from the nearest home, less than half of the 550-metre distance required by provincial noise regulations. MOE approved Unifor’s turbine after the union had the community’s zoning changed from a rural tourist/recreational classification to city semi-urban to allow for increased noise.

To further address noise levels, the union stated that its powerful 800kw turbine would operate at just 500kw (despite reduced revenue generation) and that it would self-monitor its operation. Since its startup, Unifor and MOE have received hundreds of noise complaints, day and night, from the nearly 200 families who live within the turbine’s 550-metre radius. Still, the noise testing has not been done.

Back in 2013, during the turbine’s first six months of operation, 140 noise complaints prompted town council to pass a motion asking the CAW to honour President Ken Lewenza’s commitment to shut down the turbine if it harmed residents. The union dismissed the request. Read article

Government “Coffee Requests” that can’t be refused

by Dan Wrightman
In 1999 a friend of mine was planning to drive his truck to Costa Rica and asked if I could travel with him. Being young and knowing I might never get another opportunity to travel this way, I immediately said yes and we left for Central America in early December.

I had previously travelled by truck in northern Mexico, so I had an inkling of what to expect, but both of us were taken aback by the corruption we encountered on the Mexican roadways. It became obvious that as soon as we encountered any government authority through a traffic stop or a police checkpoint that we would be getting pulled aside and some of the first words out of the officer’s mouth would invariably be “Cafe/Soda?”

Slide1The game was this: the authorities would declare that they would have to search our vehicle for contraband, but that they would let us pass if we gave them ten pesos (enough at that time to buy a coffee or a pop).

The first time this happened, we refused, and the subsequent search of our truck stuffed full of tools and appliances took up an hour of valuable travelling time. Afterwards we just paid.  On average we were pulled over three to four times a day in Mexico.  We were frustrated and upset, not only by the cost, but by the abuse of power by government authorities. We felt sorry for what the people living there had to deal with on a daily basis.

Seventeen years have passed and I am astonished to recognize that we now have a government in Ontario that treats it’s own citizens in the same way. Multiple times a year the Ontario Energy Board announces a rate increase to our hydro bills, and each time it is minimized by declaring it as only a cup of coffee a month.

The billion dollar gas plant scandal is rationalized by our government as only costing a coffee a year for 20 years but that strains credulity, considering that the Green Energy Act was supposed to only cost us a cup of coffee and a muffin a month for 20 years.

The Ontario Retirement Pension Plan is being sold as only costing us a coffee a day. Continue reading

Wind developers don’t have to make their Bird & Bat kills public – Let’s change that.

turbines-birdsIt’s springtime – birds singing…

Or at least we hope so. Is anybody checking? I mean is the wind company busy collecting carcasses, or listening to bird song? Is the government monitoring the cumulative impacts from the massive wind developments that have been deployed all over Ontario in the last few years?

In short, no. But here’s a test you can all try (and I hope you do): try looking for a Bird/Bat
Mortality Report of any wind project of your choosing in Ontario. It’s like an easter egg hunt, or an eagle egg hunt. Not a very fruitful one though – I’ve only found two – both from before 2012. One is the infamous Wolfe Island bird carnage (all reports are fully listed on the company’s site), and the other is for the Harrow project, but it’s posted here on OWR… so that doesn’t really count as a brownie point for the wind company.

That’s all I can find but if anyone else can point out some more – please share. You’d think the wind developers would have these reports on their websites, especially after all those reassurances at the meetings that the kills would be ‘monitored’ and ‘mitigated’ and of course the people would be kept in the loop.

Copy of IMG_0380In my old backyard of Middlesex County there was an active eagle nest smack in the NextEra Bornish Wind Project – 400m from the massive substation, and surrounded by hundreds of wind turbines now. It’s hard not to think about those eagles and wonder how they are doing, how their offspring fared. Same with the eagles in Haldimand that were evicted from their nest – what happened to them? And the swallows too, flocks of them at this time of year skimming the pond.

In reading the Adelaide Community Liaison Report NextEra said they would  submit these mortality reports at the beginning of March this year. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Yeah, well – too good to be true. March comes and I’m checking all over their website – no documents.

I start looking for other Bird and Bat Mortality Reports for other recent projects and find myself coming up empty handed. What the hell?? By now there should be tonnes of them considering all the projects in operation!

So I contact the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, where the reports were submitted to. They tell me to go ask NexTerror first. (Kidding, they said NextEra, but they were probably thinking it!).

I breathe in, and write them. (By now I’m losing my cool with this company for multiple reasons, this is as nice as I could be.)

NextEra,

I’m looking for the Bird and Bat Monitoring Report for the Adelaide and Bornish Wind Projects.

From the Community Liaison Committee meeting notes, they should be available by March 1, 2016. “Annual report provided to MNRF by March 1 following each year of monitoring“.

This was my home for 33 years and I still give a damn about the eagle nest, and the multitude of barn swallows and bat colonies. It appears if nobody asks for this report, then nobody knows.

Please direct me to where the public can access these reports, or alternatively send me them both on to me.

Thank you,

Esther Wrightman

The reply comes a couple days later, from someone named “Steve”.

Nextera Bird Bat kill report Steve

 

A quick letter back to Steve (that didn’t get any answers):

Dear Steve (last name?),

A ‘summary’, in ’90 days’, ‘maybe’?

Could you not just send me the same full bird/bat death report you sent the MNRF right now, since you already have it?

Or does it have to be manipulated first, for public consumption.

Esther

 

can5The MNR reassures me that they have these documents but haven’t reviewed them and then I’m told the only other way to retrieve them is to file a Freedom of Information request to see them. I throw my $5 into an envelope and send  it in to the Information and Privacy Commissioner, and wait. Continue reading

Wind developer ‘donates’ cash to Liberals each time project processing stalls

moneybagsWPD donates thousands of dollars to the Liberal party to keep their project moving through the system. And the thing is – it works! Each time they donate, the project moves ahead to the next stage. Put the dirty quarter in the candy machine, twist the crank, and out pops a gumball.

Which begs the question we’ve been asking ourselves for years: How many other wind developers have paid their way through the ‘system’?

(Doesn’t Glenn Murray act odd in this clip? Is he nervous about something?)

WPD Canada spokesperson Kevin Surette acknowledged company representatives have attended “some fundraising events in the past few years.”

Simcoe.com, Ian Adams
Simcoe-Grey’s Member of Provincial Parliament says a wind energy company’s donations to the provincial Liberal Party appeared to influence the approval of the company’s project in Clearview Township.

During Wednesday’s question period, Jim Wilson laid out the timeline between WPD Canada’s court application last July to force the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change to make a decision on the company’s Fairview Wind project renewable energy application, and a $6,000 donation made to the Liberal Party during the Simcoe North by-election period in September.

“Every time it looked like the project was in jeopardy, a donation was made to the Liberal Party of Ontario,” Wilson claimed in the Ontario Legislature. “These facts … only reinforce the need for a public inquiry.

“Does the minister seriously expect the people in my riding to believe that these donations had nothing to do with his approval (of the project).” Read article

Wind turbine at Ferndale leaning – but don’t worry, they’ve ‘tethered’ it…

1297824222971_ORIGINALBy Rob Gowan, Sun Times, Owen Sound
One of three wind turbines at Ferndale is listing, and officials are trying to determine what to do about it. But the owners of the facility say that the site is secure and there is no risk to public safety.

“The landowners are safe, the neighbours are safe, properties and structures are safe,” said Aaron Boles, senior vice-president of investor relations and communication with Capstone Infrastructure, which owns the three-turbine wind farm. “The closest structure to that turbine is 400 metres away and the closest road is 900 metres away, and that whole turbine to tip height is 115 metres.”

Twenty-four hour security has also been placed at the site and the turbine has been tethered, Boles said. Capstone first became aware of a problem with the turbine last week when electronic communications with it were interrupted, he said.

“We sent a maintenance crew up there and, doing their routine regular maintenance to get the turbine back online, they noticed that one of the turbines appeared to be listing slightly,” said Boles. “We immediately sent our engineers up there to the site and they confirmed the turbine was in the leaning position.” Read article