Warwick officials to discuss grid problems with energy minister

by Paul Morden, The Sarnia Observer

The mayor of Warwick Township has some pointed questions for Ontario Energy Minister Brad Duguid.

Todd Case wants to know how much capacity the electricity distribution grid has in Warwick, and how residents are being impacted by Ontario’s $7-billion green energy deal with Korean tech giant Samsung.

Township officials are meeting Duguid in Toronto on Wednesday.

Case said the questions arise from Warwick residents, including farmers and other landowners who invested in solar panels to sell back power, only to be told by Hydro One there’s no room for them on the grid.

The Ontario Power Authority’s MicroFit program received more than 24,000 applications for small-scale green energy projects but only about 3,700 have been connected so far.

“They’re sitting there with a nice $85,000 to $100,000 lawn ornament,” Case said about residents who bought solar panels, received a contract with the authority, then discovered they couldn’t connect.

Case said some landowners reported being approached by wind farm developers seeking to lease land who claimed they have access to the grid because of their relationship with Samsung.

“There’s a huge red flag that goes up on that one right off the bat,” Case said.

“Fair is fair in this province, so we want to ask for clarification from the minister.”

Case said the township also wants to ensure the grid will have the capacity to carry electricity generated by an energy-from-methane gas project expected to be developed in four or five years at the Twin Creeks landfill site near Watford.

“The one positive thing that will come from that landfill, down the road, is the fact there will be an opportunity to turn that waste into energy.”

Warwick officials are also concerned grid limitations will hurt efforts to promote its industrial park.

“If we’re fortunate enough to have an industry or business come down the road and want to set up here,” Case said, “the last thing we want to find out is that there’s no grid capacity available for them, and we lose out on an opportunity.”

Case said he approached opposition politicians at Queen’s Park with his concerns and received a copy of the Samsung contract from New Democrat Leader Andrea Horwath.

“The information’s not there,” Case said. “It’s blacked out. So, another red flag goes up.”

Warwick asked for the meeting with Duguid seeking clarity, Case said.

“If the grid is so underserviced, as everybody says, we want to make sure they take proactive steps to ensure there’s capacity” when it’s needed, he said.

Earlier this year, Duguid told Hydro One “to move forward immediately” on building a new transmission line and upgrading the existing one west of London.

Ontario’s Long-Term Energy Plan calls for $2 billion to be spent on transmission grid upgrades, including three southwestern Ontario projects the plan says should be in place by 2017 to make room for new green energy projects.

9 thoughts on “Warwick officials to discuss grid problems with energy minister

  1. I wish you the best Todd but I don’t think you’ll come back with any straight answers for the people of Warwick. The Duguid and our MPP VanBommel put the Liberal parties dealings with Samsung first while their constituents concerns come up dead last. Thanks for nothing Liberal party! Your plans are transforming our area from an engine of prosperity into a ghetto despair.

  2. Oh great. A few things bother me about this article:

    a) Case seems to be pushing for more grid capacity- Well, Mc Guinty is all for that, he has to hook these 500+ wind turbines west of London up some how, and YES! now he has a reason for making new transmission: those wee solar panels need the capacity….sometimes I think these solar contracts were freely given out just to create the illusion that new transmission was needed out here for something other than wind turbines. Another conquer and divide technique as well.

    b) The horrid dump. Believe it or not, I voted for Dalton the first time he ran because (I know, I was young and naive..) he said he wouldn’t let this monster dump expand in Warwick. Well, he lied. The dump is growing into a monster dump. So we should get more transmission out here to make electricity from IWT’s, Monster dumps, and solar lawn ornaments…who the hell will want to live around here eventually?

    c) Samsung sneaking in the back door with other wind developers fronting for them. Oh really? Not surprised.

    SO, Maria Van Bommel, are you ready for the 550m March to your office this Saturday??? WE ARE!!!!!

  3. You are going to pay for this Minister Duguid. October 6 can’t come soon enough. I’ll keep reminding people of what you had to say about the price of power.

    “Not only are you going to like the next round of hikes, you are even “willing to fight,” for the right to pay higher rates. (Power hikes will zap jobs, Windsor Star,
    November 25, 2010)

  4. Good grief Essex Windsor land fill has in infrastructure all ready to go and 3 high profile liberal MPP’s and can’t get a connection to the grid, lots of luck Todd. Life in Ontario is no longer fair thanks to the liberals

  5. Windaction has it right. The lack of capacity was a government created issue. Those planning to get a payback in 8 years contribute to higher power prices. Not being connected is saving us money. Putting in additional transmission capacity means higher costs and more expansion of wind and other useless sources of expensive, low quality intermittent power. No one should support the development of additonal capacity to link up unreliable power sources paid above market value.

  6. Can’t imagine an audience with our
    illustrious Duguid (on any topic) being
    particularly enlightening. Bullshit
    baffles brains. GEA, ill-conceived
    mammoth undertaking being carried
    out by a totally incompetent bureaucracy.

    “Warwick asked for the meeting with
    Duguid seeking clarity.”
    Good luck with that.

  7. “Case said some landowners reported being approached by wind farm developers seeking to lease land who claimed they have access to the grid because of their relationship with Samsung.”

    Wow, that smells to high heaven!

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