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

First Nations bands 1000km away have more say on Dutton-Dunwich wind project then local residents do

wind scam inquiryJohn Miner, London Free Press
First, they found out they’re getting giant wind turbines even though they didn’t want them. Now, residents of a Southwestern Ontario township are learning the support of six Ontario First Nations communities — more than 1,000 kilometres away, some not even in the same time zone — helped give a Chicago-based energy giant an edge in its winning bid to build the unwanted wind farm.

One of the native communities is along Hudson Bay, the others in the province’s northwest near the Manitoba border.

It’s another sign that for all the changes Ontario has made to ensure the controversial projects aren’t imposed on areas that don’t want them, as they have been in parts of Southwestern Ontario, problems — and surprises — persist. “It’s ludicrous for them to do something like that,” said Jamie Littlejohn, a spokesperson for Dutton/Dunwich Opponents of Wind Turbines. Littlejohn heads a citizens’ group opposed to the project in Dutton-Dunwich Township, southwest of London.

Progressive Conservative MPP Jeff Yurek said he was “shocked” that communities so far away could influence an energy project in his riding, and he wants the ruling Liberals to shelve the wind farm. “I don’t think it’s fair to residents of the municipality — it’s a huge loophole the government needs to close,” said the Elgin-Middlesex-London MPP. Residents in Dutton-Dunwich, in rural Elgin County, are vehemently opposed to Invenergy LLC’s project.

Under Ontario’s new bidding system for wind-energy contracts, participation by a First Nation gives companies an extra edge. Invenergy, which won one of the coveted contracts for its proposed Strong Breeze Wind Farm in Dutton-Dunwich, found its First Nation support — and investment — in Ontario’s northernmost community and remote reserves near the Manitoba boundary. One of the First Nations communities participating in the project, McDowell Lake, has only 59 members. Read article

There’s always a catch

When that deal was criticized as ‘blood money’ and after the Tribunal gave it the go-ahead to construct the project, the developer withdrew its offer. It has left the door open for some money to go to the County—but it will set the terms and the amount.

It is that kind of agreement.

The Wellington Times
“Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can’t stop them from doing,” wailed the old woman.

“What the hell are you talking about?” Yossarian shouted in bewilderment.

catch22Joseph Heller set Catch-22 on a dusty Mediterranean island during World War II, presenting both a tragic and funny window into the bureaucratic absurdity of war. It describes equally well, I think, the madness of the Green Energy Act (GEAin Ontario in 2016.

Consider this. A developer wants to build a large industrial installation in a pastoral rural area. It knows before it is built how much profit it will generate. It has a contract from the province of Ontario to sell every kilowatt of power it generates—whether it is needed or not. (It’s not.) Whether or not the province will have to dispose of these excess kilowatts at its cost. (It will.)

The developer is set. It has no competitors. No market risk. All it needs to do is get its turbines up, plug them in and generate money. Lots of it. With the single-minded determination of a lamprey, it seeks only to latch onto the province and gorge itself for the next 20 years.

But it has to get those turbines up. Read article

No ‘veto’ for areas opposed to wind energy projects

Kathleen Wynne: “I would say to them [municipalities] that they have a whole lot more say than they did five years ago. We never said there was going to be a veto for municipalities, but we put in place much more rigorous consideration of municipalities’ concerns.”
Elliot Ferguson, Kingston Whig-Standard


a) She admits we had zero say five years ago, and she doesn’t apologize for her support of such an undemocratic process. Actually she seems quite comfortable with the fact that they rammed it down our throats.

b) If a community still can’t say “no”, then they can only say “yes” or be silent. That is not a SAY in the process. When it comes to “consent”, when a person says “no” to an “advance”, that “no” is respected, or they have been violated, end of story.WynneKiss

Rising policing costs for wind turbines hike property taxes in smaller communities

IMG_0777[1]Colin Perkel, The Globe and Mail
Smaller communities across the country have been grappling with what they view as an ever-increasing tax bite for policing they can barely afford. Some say they have had to raise property taxes by as much as 20 to 30 per cent to pay for increases in police costs.

Christian Leuprecht, a professor at the Royal Military College of Canada, said rising security costs are hurting communities across Canada. “The real problem is in the rural areas – it’s in the contract-policing areas,” Prof. Leuprecht said. “It is completely unsustainable. Their tax base is stagnant. They’re cannibalizing all other aspects of their budget to pay for policing.”

Some communities, with their limited tax bases, are seeing upward of 25 or 30 per cent of their total budgets go toward policing. One hard-hit area is in rural eastern Ontario, where communities were surprised to discover they’re paying tens of thousands of dollars for police service to wind turbines and cellphone towers. The issue is especially galling, said one mayor, given his municipality’s embrace of green energy in part as a supposed revenue stream.

“We’ve got 86 of them here so it’s big numbers,” said Denis Doyle, mayor of Frontenac Islands, population 2,000. “We went out of our way to support the windmill rollout and now we feel like we’ve been kicked in the teeth when you find out they charge us back any money we might get from taxes just to pay (police).” Read article

Tribunal rules against Texas oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens in lawsuit over Ontario wind projects

t-boone-pickensJohn Miner, London Free Press
A lawsuit by a Texas oil tycoon that alleged political interference at the highest levels in the awarding of Ontario wind farm contracts has been rejected by an international tribunal.

In what sources say was a split decision, the tribunal confirmed Canada complied with its obligations under the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The decision left a spokesperson for Ontario Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli boasting that Ontario is a global leader in clean energy development. He said Ontario will continue to work with the federal government as it considers the tribunal’s decision and next steps.

T. Boone Pickens had sued under Chapter 11 of NAFTA, claiming damages of $653 million plus interest after his company, Mesa Power Group LLC, lost out in its bid to build four massive wind farms north of London.

Mesa said it would have spent $1.2 billion in Ontario.

The tribunal, in the decision released Friday, decided Pickens’ company should pay for all of the arbitration costs. It also awarded the Canadian government $2.9 million for legal costs. Read article

NextEra: “and about that Community Vibrancy Fund … we’re taking it back”

fire-turbine-smAh yes, NextEra giveth and taketh away. They have always loved playing God in our townships. But maybe more like a diety that does a WAY too much taketh-ing.

It’s really quite simple: The bylaw and Warwick Fire Chief Brad Goodhill state that the NextEra Jericho turbines need to be equipped with fire suppression for the nacelles of the turbines. This was supposed to be in place by October 25th, 2015.

NextEra hasn’t complied. NextError is Out of Compliance. The Township is now looking at penalties.

See NextEra wants to install the system at the turbine base, if they absolutely have to. But if the Fire Chief says it has to be in the nacelle, well, they aren’t gonna pay or it! The community can, from the lovely “Community Vibrancy Fund” NextEra so kindly “gave” them (with lots and lots of stings attached).

fire

Oh don’t be surprised by this! Didn’t you know that part of having a vibrant community is making sure it doesn’t catch on fire? NextEra can reason (with force) anything away…


 

  • Update on Installation of Fire Suppression System on Wind Turbines
    Nextera has informed the Township that all costs associated with installation of wind suppression in the nacelle would be borne by the municipality under the Community Vibrancy Agreement under clause 9 – ‘additional development charges’. According to Nextera, relevant charges for the system are $416,275 and require Warwick to forgo all revenue expected to be collected by the annual amenity fee until March 31, 2021. The section of the agreement reads as follows:

    • 9. The Wind Project shall be exempt from payment of any other development changes under any by-law enacted by Council. In the event Jericho is not exempt from the payment of development charges in respect of the Wind Project, or is required to pay any increased amount of property or other taxes with respect of the Jericho Wind Project, any such payments or increased amounts shall be set off against and deducted from the other payments or contributions required under this Agreement.

Wind Company Deal is ‘Bribery with blood money’: Mayor

free-money-imageQuinte News
The mayor of Prince Edward County is pleading with members of council to vote against an upcoming motion that would initiate a road users’ agreement between WPD White Pines and the municipality.

Mayor Quaiff’s email to council
My Fellow Colleagues, I send you this message as my feelings and opinion on the agenda item we will deal with this Thursday about wpd, the following excerpt are my thoughts.

The motions we are asked to consider on Thursday represent by far the worst situation that we have had to confront for the good of our constituents for as far back as I can remember.

What we decide will be analyzed and picked over by the local and national media and indeed by all Ontarian’s suffering under industrial wind turbines like the ones proposed to be inflicted on us for greed, not to “save the planet,” that old cliche,’ and by other people literally across the Country.

I urge you to agree with me that we don’t have a choice but to turn this motion down. I have fought for years to keep turbines out of the County, recognizing early on how badly they would affect everything we hold dear, not to mention our economy, our tourist industry and our property and business values. The contrary spin of the wind industry is professionally and effectively done but – please don’t for a moment believe their avaricious approach and intentions. We are now the “go to” destination in Ontario by those in the know. To approve these motions will eventually drive these well motivated and well – paying visitors away; it would also reduce property assessments and thus tax revenue. It would turn our paradise into a grubby factory, the end of a heartless string of turbines stretching from Wolfe Island through Ernestown and Amherst Island to our south shore. An indiscriminately as it spins and devastating to some of the most beautiful vistas and country side in Canada.
Continue reading

You are a Willing Host unless you slam the door in wind companies face

GO AWAY1You’d think it would come with the warning statement: “Anything you say could be used against you”.

Municipalities who didn’t slam the door in the wind company’s face should count themselves lucky if they didn’t find their township facing another wind project after the last round of contracts were awarded.

From what Liberal Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli is saying in legislature, any engagement at all ( I suppose even making eye contact), would give the wind company its municipality ‘points’ that furthered their chances of winning the bid.

What is particularly galling is that Dutton-Dunwhich did more than any other township in Ontario – they actually held a referendum – and the population gave an overwhelming NO to any wind developments.

But in the world of Alice in Ontario-land I suppose that even handing these results with a big N O to the wind company would have been the same as saying YES, because they would have had to have some sort of contact with the company. Ethically this is incredibly nasty – the government used words to trick municipalities into ‘engaging’ in the process, even when the engagement was negative!

Enniskillen Mayor Kevin Marriott sensed this was the case a couple years ago, and warned everyone to not speak with the wind companies. From a Sarnia Observer article in May 2014:

“It will be very, very difficult for a developer to be approved without municipal engagement, in some significant way,” Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli said last June.

But Marriott said until the province clarifies what it means by municipal engagement, “We’re being vigilant.”

He advised the anti-wind turbine group, Conservation of Rural Enniskillen (CORE), against meeting with the company.

“I said, ‘Whatever you do, don’t consult with them because they may be able to use that as a checkmark,'” Marriott said.

“Who knows what could be construed as public consultation.”

Councillor votes against neighbour’s plea for relief – from her wind turbine’s noise

IMG_6344In little Adelaide-Metcalfe it is Diane McGuire’s letter to the Township that opened the door wind companies were trying to hold shut. Her family cannot get away from the noise caused by the Suncor and NextEra wind turbines, which started spinning over a year ago.

Suncor told her that she was the only one having problems.McGuire_2

But the next meeting yielded another letter, this time from resident James Dymond. Sure enough Suncor’s lie is outed – Diane was clearly not the only one who had filed grievances with them.
Dymond

Note that each letter distinctly requested that Councillor Mary Ann Hendrikx not be involved in discussions, as she has a wind turbine in the very project that is causing problems. Cut and dry – she would be violating the Conflict of Interest Act if she were to do so.DymondCof AMcGuire copy

Adelaide-Metcalfe has had a tumultuous time dealing with the wind issue in the past. Conflict of Interest came up multiple times with both the former Mayor Bolton and former Deputy Mayor DeBruyn having a parent and child respectively with wind leases. They continued to vote on wind turbine issues as the only way the public could impel them to refrain, was to take them court.

To carry on the tradition, Mary Ann also continues to discuss and vote on wind turbine related issues – even when they are directly about about her very own wind turbine, and she has been asked to declare a conflict of interest by those affected! You can watch the council videos here:

March 7, James Dymond letter (video 1 starts 17:50 min. in) & (cont. video 2)
February 16, Diane McGuire letter (video, starts 2:50 min in)

Her comments include bits like this:

Councillor Hendrikx – “I just wanted to give information that they’re working with the Ministry of the Environment – because they called me back when I had sent this (email). The concern I have is that we would be asking to set up noise receptors at every turbine – every turbine isn’t generating complaints, and they are an inconvenience to the farmers to have those turbines sitting out in the middle of the field. So I’m not sure exactly why we need to have receptors at every turbine. I think there’s more value in finding out why some appear to be noisier than others, whether there are a lot of steel rooves in the area reflecting the noise or something like that. I’d like to see something along that line addressed with the different companies.”

Unfortunately Mary Ann seems to think a ‘receptor’ is a microphone…

Councillor Hendrikx –  “Just for some information, he’s [James Dymond] actually located pretty equally distant between two [turbines]… one on the southeast and one on the southwest. So, he may be getting some sort of echo effect or wave convergence type issue – I  don’t know, but I’m actually just as close to the one as he is. The one – the one he’s referring to – he’s not actually referring to, there’s actually noise testing going on the one for, I think about 8 months. But they put the radar locator like the noise tester on the wrong side of the turbine. I don’t think they knew who was complaining about the noise. So, they put it on the wrong side.”

She ends up voting against supporting Diane’s letter. Then oddly at the next meeting she barely raises her hand to support James’ letter.

But should she be removing yourself from discussion on the above letters? If you were in her shoes would you even think of voting on whether a letter should be sent to the Premier about the noise YOUR turbine was causing?

It’s not that she doesn’t understand the Conflict of Interest Act. Mary Ann ‘excused’ herself from a discussion about the local park in the same meeting, right after the wind turbine vote – apparently she saw a Conflict of Interest was to be had there, but not about her wind turbine.

This sort of contempt has been brewing for years, and yes this is how community division starts. The video below is a ‘blast from the past’. Mary Ann is speaking at a Wind Turbine Meeting hosted by MPP Monte McNaughton back in March 2012.

Just before Mary Ann came up to the microphone, the Michaud family from Thamesville spoke of what it was like living with turbines and how their health was affected. Their testimony was eerily similar to the letters from Diane and James. Mary Ann takes the stage and quickly discounts their real health issues with statements like, “Why should farmers be responsible for everybody else’s anger and resentment?”,  and a disparging reference to “no-cheque-itis“.  So her neighbours have anger and resentment. And so do their kids, and so do their livestock…?

Being a farmer does not exempt a leaseholder from having responsibilities when they screw up big time. When a person signs a lease they take on responsibility for how they change the living environment around them. Their machine happens to make a lot of noise making it so people can’t sleep at night, they have migraines, excruciating tinnitus, debilitating vertigo. It’s a package deal: you get a turbine and a lot of nasty side effects. First step is to apologize to the neighbours that are suffering. Don’t pass blame to the ‘metal rooves’, and the ‘receptors’.

Nor does the Green Energy Act null and void the Conflict of Interest Act.  Incredulously Mary Ann took the giant risk of voting with a Conflict of Interest, to defend her wind turbine, not her neighbours.

How Big Corporations Buy Power: For $6,000, donors get face time with Kathleen Wynne & Bob Chiarelli

Mr. Benedetti [the organizer of the ‘event] did not respond to a request for comment. Toronto-based Sussex has 190 active entries in Ontario’s lobbyist registry, representing clients in industries ranging from tobacco to asset management. Mr. Benedetti himself lobbies primarily for the electricity industry, including TransAlta Corp., Capital Power Corp., the Canadian Wind Energy Association and the Association of Major Power Consumers in Ontario.

6883422-corruption-in-the-government-in-a-corrupt-systemAdrian Morrow, The Globe and Mail
The Ontario Liberal Party is teaming up with a high-powered lobbying firm to sell “one-on-one” access to Premier Kathleen Wynne and Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli in a fundraising event this week.

For $6,000 apiece, donors can attend an intimate cocktail reception and three-course dinner with Ms. Wynne and Mr. Chiarelli on Thursday at the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto’s posh Yorkville neighbourhood, The Globe and Mail has learned. Proceeds go to Liberal Party coffers.

The evening is being promoted by Sussex Strategy Group, one of the country’s top lobbying firms. In an e-mail encouraging energy industry insiders to attend, Sussex principal Chris Benedetti wrote that the soirée will be a “small event with a limited number of tickets,” giving all attendees face time with Ms. Wynne and Mr. Chiarelli.

“The evening will start with a cocktail reception allowing for one-on-one conversations between the Premier, Minister Chiarelli, senior staff and guests,” Mr. Benedetti wrote in the e-mail obtained by The Globe. “We will then move to dinner, where guests will be seated at three tables of a maximum of 10 people each. Over three courses our special guests will circulate amongst the tables to allow for good conversation with all in attendance.”

“This is a wonderful opportunity to speak with both Premier Wynne, Minister Chiarelli and staff, as well as business leaders from across the energy sector,” he added. Read article

NextEra wind turbine blade snaps in Nova Scotia

article_largeYarmouth County Vanguard, Tina Comeau
PUBNICO, YARMOUTH COUNTY – Maurice D’Eon describes what he heard from his home on Saturday as “thunder out of the clear blue sky.” Not only was he surprised to hear what sounded like thunder. But afterwards he was even more surprised by what he saw.

When D’Eon, who lives near the Pubnico Point Wind Farm, came outside to investigate what he heard, he saw that one of the blades on a turbine was “in distress.” The blade was bending, says D’Eon, who says he heard the thunder-like sound at around 5 p.m. on March 19. “It was like thunder out of the clear blue sky,” he says.

D’Eon said he contacted someone from the company to report the incident and what he was witnessing with the blade. On Sunday morning that turbine sat idle, while the other nearby ones continued to rotate.

The wind farm is owned and operated by NextEra Energy Resources. The company’s director of communications, Steve Stengel, says the company is looking into what happened. Read article

Critics blast new process to select sites for renewable energy projects

custom_1223959610581_truth_and_lies_t1John Miner, Debora Van Brenk, London Free Press
A new process to select sites for renewable energy projects was “open, fair and transparent,” says an evaluator hired to ensure selectors followed all the rules. But critics are furious the same rules let wind firms with low bids trump municipal objections and the “transparent” process doesn’t yet let them know why. “We were involved in the process of the initial guidelines . . . and we said there had to be co-­operation and support from the community (for a successful bid),” said Cameron McWilliam, mayor of Dutton-Dunwich. “And we didn’t get it. We got ‘community engagement,’ which is what we’d have with any development . . . That’s not what we were led to believe were the terms.”

A week after Invenergy got the go-ahead to negotiate a contract with the province for 20 to 25 turbines in Dutton-Dunwich, the municipality is still awaiting word on why it’s getting a project opposed by 84 per cent of the residents who voted in a referendum. “We don’t have any information as to what the criteria were and what criteria they met,” McWilliam said.

The green energy contract selection process was designed and run by the Independent Electricity Systems Operator (IESO), a not-for-profit corporation overseeing Ontario’s power system. Previous rounds of wind energy contracts drew allegations of political interference, including a NAFTA lawsuit by U.S. energy tycoon T. Boone Pickens against Canada. Pickens’ suit, claiming $650 million in damages after his company was denied a contract for a wind farm near Goderich, awaits a NAFTA tribunal ruling. Read article

Tearing us apart: Wounds not healing after wind turbines turned friends into bitter enemies

war battleFarmers Forum, By Tom Collins
LISTOWEL — Wind turbines tear apart communities and relationships, causing animosity that lingers for years, warn farmers who have lived through the ugly battles. Don Winslow signed up in 2013 when a wind turbine company planned to build five turbines near Peterborough. Three months later, after immense public pressure and hostility, he couldn’t do it anymore.

“It relieved our stress tremendously (to cancel the contract),” the then-70-year-old Winslow told Farmers Forum. “We don’t have to sneak around the neighbours, hoping to not run into them. There is always an element of society that is going to go overboard but people I respected were just as upset as the real radicals.”

There are more than 2,100 turbines in the province with another 1,500 on the way. The province is expected to announce new projects this month that could include another 100 wind turbines in turbine-rich Western Ontario where the stories are shocking.

“There are people here that have absolute hatred for others. I have never seen anything so divisive in our community ever, in my entire life,” said Alma-area dairy farmer Tim Martin. “You try to say forgive and forget, but a lot of people say ‘we forgive them but we remember.’ They put their pocketbook ahead of our health and above the community’s well-being, and people don’t forget that.” Read article

Niagara Region Wind won’t say how many trees they are cutting down

Niagara Region Wind Farm project co-ordinator Shiloh Berriman wouldn’t say how many trees would be cut on along the 45 km route laid out for the transmission lines.

“That’s not public information that we’re willing to give out. We haven’t finished out tree clearing yet, so I don’t actually have a number. And it’s not something public that we would like to give out,” she said.

1297813168809_ORIGINALBy Allan Benner, The Tribune
Andy Koopal frowned as he looked down at the freshly cut metre-wide tree trunk, recalling the majestic oak that it once supported. “That tree was over 150 years old,” he said. “It was a perfect healthy tree. There was no need for it.”

He said the tree – likely a sapling when Canada became a country – was one of eight old growth oaks that border his 10 hectares of farmland on Concession 6 in Wellandport, near Side Road 42. When the Fort Erie resident drove into Wainfleet recently, he said he was shocked to see that all of the trees were cut down and removed. “I came by here Saturday. Then I saw the damage they did,” he said.

Along with Koopal’s trees, likely hundreds more were cut throughout rural west Niagara to make room for transmission lines feeding into new industrial wind turbines being built near by Niagara Region Wind Farm, said Wainfleet’s engineering manager Richard Nan. The company is building a 230 Megawatt industrial wind farm, with wind turbines located in Wainfleet, West Lincoln and Lincoln. Read article

We try to make it as simple as possible for them…

Unwilling Hosts

unwilling host2016
…but they still do this.  All of these project were given IESO contracts yesterday:

Invenergy LLC
Strong Breeze Wind Power Partnership
Strong Breeze Wind Project
Wind (on-shore)
57.5MW
Municipality of Dutton Dunwich UNWILLING HOST

EDF EN Canada Development Inc.
Romney Energy Centre Limited Partnership
Romney Wind Energy Centre
Wind (on-shore)
60MW
Municipality of Chatham-Kent and Town of Lakeshore UNWILLING HOST

EDP Renewables Canada Ltd.
Nation Rise Wind Farm Limited Partnership
Nation Rise Wind Farm
Wind (on-shore)
100MW
Municipality of North Stormont UNWILLING HOST

Renewable Energy Systems Canada Inc.
Parc eolien Gauthier LP
Parc éolien Gauthier
Wind (on-shore)
32MW
Municipality of The Nation and Township of Champlain UNWILLING HOST

Renewable Energy Systems Canada Inc.
Otter Creek Wind Farm Limited Partnership
Otter Creek Wind Farm Project
Wind (on-shore)
50MW
Municipality of Chatham-Kent (and then there is Randy Hopeless, who never fails to sell out this municipality. Have a referendum Randy, then you can actually see how the people you are supposed to represent actually feel.)

Cozy dinners with donors just ‘part of the democratic process,’ Wynne says

government secrecyAndrew Coyne, National Post
The premier of Ontario has taken an important stand on the issue of unnamed donors paying thousands of dollars for private meetings with her and her staff. She’s in favour of it.

Another leader caught selling preferential access to the highest bidder might have folded under pressure and abandoned the practice. But there’s a principle at stake here, and Kathleen Wynne is drawing a line in the sand. The principle? A little thing called democracy.

“It’s part of the democratic process,” she said, of the $6,000-a-head cocktail reception and three-course dinner at Toronto’s Four Seasons Hotel scheduled for this Thursday. Organized by a major lobbying firm, it is advertised as a “small event with a limited number of tickets,” allowing for intimate “one-on-one conversations” with the premier, Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli and senior staff. A similar event last month charged $5,000 to speak to Chiarelli and the premier’s chief of staff, Andrew Bevan.

Well, what could be more democratic than that? Are we to confine our notion of democracy to the collective choices of millions of citizens, each having the same vote and the same say in how we are governed? That might meet some formalistic definition of democratic equality. But what about people with greater, shall we say, needs?

Whether the government subsidizes wind power may not matter much to you, but it matters a great deal to someone in, say, the wind power industry. Adjusting for the difference in stakes, the $6,000 an executive splashes out to bend the premier’s ear at a private reception and dinner is worth about the same as a single vote to the average person. (Math available on request.) Read article

Dutton-Dunwich referendum says “NO” to wind turbines. Provincial government says, “tough luck”, awards contract to wind developer

Proponents are required to show community engagement that includes local meetings. Municipalities may have interpreted the mandatory community “engagement” to require community “support” but that’s not the case; the applicant does have to show it notified people and met with some of them.

WYNNE NEGLECTBy Debora Van Brenk, John Miner, The London Free Press
Dutton-Dunwich was the one Ontario municipality that held a referendum on wind farms. Even though 84 per cent of residents opposed wind turbines, the Elgin County municipality that hugs Lake Erie learned Thursday it will end up with them anyway under a process the government promised would give local sentiments a priority. “We were totally ignored,” Dutton-Dunwich Mayor Cameron McWilliam said. “We live in the province of Toronto, not the province of Ontario.”

A new round of wind farm development announced Thursday awards a contract to Chicago-based Invenergy to build dozens of industrial turbines in Dutton-Dunwich. The municipality was the first in Ontario to hold a vote for residents on the issue and subsequently passed a resolution declaring itself an unwilling host for wind farm development. Another 89 Ontario municipalities also have passed the “not a willing host” resolution.

McWilliam said he was stunned Thursday when Dutton-Dunwich was on the list of new green energy projects. The Ontario government had repeatedly assured McWilliam and other rural leaders that the wishes of local residents would be respected in a new era of public consultation.

In testimony before a legislature committee in November 2013, Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli said municipalities wouldn’t be given a veto over projects but it would be “very rare indeed” for any to be approved without municipal backing. “It will be almost impossible for somebody to win one of those bidding processes without an engagement with the municipality,” Chiarelli said. Read article

Huron County Board of Health to start Investigation on Wind Turbine Effects

SANY0199Lakeshore Advance, By Valerie Gillies
Area-wide Concerned Residents of Huron County were granted time to make a presentation to the Huron County Board of Health at their March 3 meeting in Clinton. There had been enough chairs set up to accommodate an audience of 45, but it was soon evident that this was insufficient as many more chairs were added and yet there was standing room only by the beginning of the meeting. The Concerned Residents estimated there were over 80 people in attendance. This is significant as the public does not often attend Board meetings. The Board voted to allow the group an extended time to present, granting them 20 minutes instead of the usual 10 minutes allotted to delegations.

Jeanne Melady and Gerry Ryan gave the presentation. The Concerned Residents group cited that they were speaking on behalf of those affected by wind turbine developments in St. Columban, Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh and Grand Bend. Melady stressed that they were not speaking out as victims, but rather to protect the health of those who are affected by these developments. The goal is to share the experiences of those living here in the form of impact statements. She indicated that, “The residents who have been affected are no longer holding back from expressing the pain that they feel. They live with it daily.”

Melady informed the Board that Huron County has the third highest number of wind turbines in Ontario, following Bruce County which has the most and Chatham/Kent is second. These turbines are at a higher wattage than previous developments have been which is believed to be the issue which causes the health effects that are present. They faster spinning turbines cause a higher noise level, both in audible noise and in infrasound. Read article