Texas wind-power group launches trade challenge to Ontario’s green energy laws

Globe and Mail

Texas-based Mesa Power Group says it has filed a legal challenge to Ontario’s green energy regulations governing wind projects, claiming they violate Canada’s trade agreement with the United States and Mexico.

The company announced Thursday that it has initiated the first step in a claim for alleged violations of the North American Free Trade Agreement that have affected Mesa Power wind projects in western Ontario. Read article

25 thoughts on “Texas wind-power group launches trade challenge to Ontario’s green energy laws

  1. According to Reuters, Boone Pickens’ MESA contention is:
    “Mesa Power said its 115 megawatt Arran and 150 MW Twenty Two Degree wind projects were high up on a December 2010 list of projects that were expected to receive contracts from the Ontario Power Authority in the Bruce transmission region.
    However, on June 3, the power authority changed its rules to allow projects in a neighboring transmission region to connect to the Bruce area. Nearly 40 percent of the megawatts awarded on July 4 went to projects in the new area. Mesa’s projects, which the company said could have been in operation by the end of 2012, did not get contracts.”

    So, the challenge relates to the projects announced re: the Bruce to Milton transmission line.

    Picken’s projects were ranked 8 and 9 on the Bruce line (17 wind projects were announced).

    The biggest two projects, from the west, that suddenly qualified, and received contracts, due apparently to the last minute change, belong to the International Power Canada Inc. – run by recent Liberal party president Mike Crawley.

    • IPC hooks into the West of London Line.
      NextEra dominated the Bruce to Milton Line.
      One of the wind projects approved in Adelaide/Napier was ranked 187, and a solar 272. Ranking was out the window on this. In this area, even the smallest project was approved, and we are WAY down here near Strathroy. Some projects went North to the Bruce Milton Line, and others went South to the West of London Line. These projects are right beside eachother…I don’t think the OPA looked at a map, or didn’t care. Seems like a huge waste of transmission line to come all the way down here…

    • So are our tax dollars going to pay the legal costs of defending against this trade dispute?

    • The wind turbine projects west of London were supposed to tie into the Sarnia to Bucannan(London) transmission line. However Hydro One has consistently declared there is no capacity for any new generation on that line. In Duguids Long Term Energy Plan there is a directive to build a new transmission line between London and Sarnia immediately. The reason Pickens is pissed is that now all these wind projects by Strathroy and Forest that were supposed to wait for the new London -Sarnia transmission line are now filling up capacity on the Bruce-Milton transmission line where Pickens projects are to connect. The projects wes tof London are connecting to the Bruce-Milton line via the Bruce to Longwoods(Strathroy) line. So power would be sent hundreds of kms north to Kincardine and than hundreds of kms back south down to Toronto. I don.t know if anyone can make sense of what the OPA has approved? Obviously Pickens has decided to throw in the towel and sue. He needs to pay GE for all those turbines he ordered somehow.

  2. I have to say that the faces of the people on every page breaks my heart and makes me angry at the same time.
    The look on peoples faces.
    All it takes is one landowner….why is it okay to do this to people?
    What moral , ethical right does one have to do this to people?
    I have long felt that crimes like Bernie Madoff\s should be charged with murder, because stress kills people..you didn’t take a gun and shoot someone…but you killed them just the same.
    When I see their faces on this site it just breaks my heart.
    It’s just not right…

  3. Rural Ontario has now officially been thrown to the wolves and they are fighting over the carcass.

  4. We will see about that Lynne…the election will determine the next step for some.
    Governments come and go..The ragebuilding may likely lead to what is happening in Europe , like Greece for eaxmple.
    Many have had enough and are saying no more.
    They have the right to protect their families and homes.

  5. Hydro One only needs to build lines from Toronto to Northern Ontario to move the surplus hydroelectric power southward.

    • Norilsk:

      Can you explain this “need”? We already ship lots of power south — typically we ship it south for less than we paid for the power.

  6. I think they just want to get their subsidy entitlement before the Tories move in…
    http://news.nationalpost.com/2011/07/15/tories-seen-as-threat-to-green-energy-firms/

    Richard Monk has learned a lot about Ontario politics since he joined a Spanish solar panel manufacturer lured by the Liberal government’s lucrative green energy program to open a factory in Windsor.

    Having just opened in May, Siliken Group announced last week it was planning to lay off most of its 120 workers, citing a sales slump the company blamed on a Tory promise to kill the province’s subsidized green energy program if the party takes power Oct. 6, as polls suggest it is poised to do.

    “They have affected sales, they have frightened new customers as well as existing customers, they have confused the public and they seem to be anti-environmental,” said Mr. Monk, Siliken’s production manager in Windsor.

    Maybe not so much anti-environmental as “anti-stupid”…

  7. McGuinty’s green energy irresponsibility is not just a problem for rural Ontario communities and Ontario electricity ratepayers. The ugly anti-trade elements of McGuinty’s green schemes are nationally corrosive. The federal government is doing nothing to stop the elements of McGuinty’s green schemes that are so harmful to our national interests.

    McGuinty is not the only bad actor on the provincial electricity front. Last August, federal taxpayers got stuck paying off Abitibi-Bowater to the tune of $130 million over the Danny Williams power confiscation scheme in Newfoundland. Instead of defending federal taxpayers from this shafting, Harper has promised loan guarantees for transmission elements of a Labrador power project with very dubious economics, rewarding Newfoundland’s government.

  8. So to me it sounds like when all is said and done that we are going to have a high qualtiy updated grid when this is all over. What’s so bad about that?
    Also we are paying for it today with our higher electrical bills vs putting it off until 10 -20 years from now in the form of a debt.

    • Jef:

      It’s nice that you think that — McGuinty will be pleased. Perhaps you are just uneducated. Let’s suppose that wind turbines and Solar panels really are useless — then the “upgraded grid” is likely worth nothing. The transmission grid required to serve high capacity coal or nuclear plants would be quite different. So that means that we will have to remove the old grid in a few years and replace it with a transmission grid that will service the useful power stations.

      Now let’s answer the question of utility: Have a look at the output of Wolfe Island.
      http://ontariowindperformance.wordpress.com/2010/09/26/chapter-4-4-7-wolf-island/

      Do you understand those graphs? Is it clear that most of the time the turbines produce Zero or near-zero power output?

      Do you really believe we should depend on Wind Turbines? Is it really worth building the transmission capacity to service something so variable and unreliable? If you do believe that I hope you never achieve a position of power — that would make you dangerous as well as uninformed.

      You do realize that Ontario instantaneous power draw is typically between 19,000 and 24,000 Mega Watts do you not? FYI — Maximum Instantaneous draw (average over One Hour) was about 27,000 MW (In AUgust — what year?)– that was discussed here some months ago.

      Feel free to answer those questions — then we can judge your level of knowledge.

      • If Wolfe Island is always producing next to zero then what is killing all the birds? Your logic seems…illogical.

        Maybe it is your David who could use some education.
        Wind is not unreliable, but more a means to reduce our dependency on natural gas plants (which are on standby for most of the day/night when demand is lower)
        The combination of natural gas with wind and solar has allowed Ontario to shut down its coal plants without spending more on nuclear (which takes too long and is too expensive) We can’t forget the contribution that hydro power has made as well from Niagra and Quebec.

        So tell me David, why shouldn’t we add wind power to the mix again? I’m not against an energy source that is emits zero pollution.

      • Jef, if Wolfe Island produces zero in the peak demand period that is mid-July, what is killing all the birds is its totally unnecessary production during the low demand, active migration, seasons.
        It isn’t illogical.
        It is unethical.

      • Jef:

        Imagine if Wolf Island did produce on a regular basis. I guess the bird kills would be a lot higher — wouldn’t they? …or perhaps you deny that the turbines are killing the birds. If that is the case what is killing them? Feel free to educate us. But I guess it’s easier to change the subject when you have lost the debate. Right?

        So if that level of production is not “unreliable” then I guess your claim is that it is “reliable”??? Those are simply the IESO numbers — if you have a problem with them — take it up with IESO. We just graph them and calculate the various averages. 😉 Please do not foist the problem of unreliability upon me — I am just the messenger.

        You seem to be pretty darn confused at this point. Take a few deep breaths and try again. At this point you are thrashing about with your statements — so until you get it together we can forget about any further discussion with you.

        Quick question Jef — what percentage of the atmosphere is CO2? Any idea? I mean — you do seem to be concerned about coal plants and global warming and all that.

        Best wishes — and may all your futures involve coal plants.

  9. No Jef what the Liberals are proposing is to build twice as much transmission infrastructure as is needed on the poor ratepayers dime. For instance there is no demand side need for the proposed new 500KV transmission line from Sarnia to London, this twining of the existing line is being built purposely for wind energy projects west of London. The cost to build this line is estimated by Hydro One to cost around $750 Million dollars. Now the interesting thing is the way the windies like you spin such a cost. Instead of including this in the added cost of wind energy to ratepayers in the coming years, windies like to crow that the costs are increasing anyways because of the cost of replacing “aging infrastructure”. I call BS

  10. Ontario has been out of coal generated power since 2009. And it had nothing to do with wind or natural gas. A combination of the economic downturn, de-industrialization, (loss of jobs), a start-up at Bruce (nuclear) and a couple of cool summers has resulted in a significant reduction of power demand in Ontario over the last three year. Coal plants (Naticoke and Leamington) have been running at idle loads, not a particularly efficient or green process. For the most part, wind power when available is dumped to Michigan and New York to keep production in line with demand. Solar power is so insignificant to overall demand it simply disappears in grid voltage variation. Gas is starting to come on line, but for the most part the only other option for wind variability is achieved by dumping water over Niagara Falls. So you end up paying $135/mw and wasting green power at $32/mw.

    As additional wind power comes on line in the next few years, we will either continue to dump the power to the US, the Falls, or we will start paying wind providers for power not produced. You will not find any grid in the world that does not employ identical methods to maintain grid stability. Denmark, Germany, England, it is all the same story.

    But you will never hear this story from the industry or government.

    Don’t hold your breathe for a “smart” grid solution. Nobody has one. Nobody is about to invent one. The only smart component is your home meter, and all it will do right now is baffle your hydro bill with complex math. And if you think it will be just dandy for faceless bureaucrats just to turn off air conditioners, heaters and the rest of your home just to suit their mystic agenda, then lets all move to North Korea, because the end result is rationing and lifestyle control.

  11. Re: Jeff’s comment: “The combination of natural gas with wind and solar has allowed Ontario to shut down its coal plants without spending more on nuclear (which takes too long and is too expensive) ” For his information: Nuclear is part of the government’s Green Energy plan. A groundbreaking ceremony was recently held for the 250,000 square foot energy complex to be built at Darlington with an eye of expansion of facilities into the Clarington area.

  12. IWT developments and all the associated infrastructure only serve to increase our electricity bills with no benefits to consumers. Wind cannot be depended on to blow at any specific speed in the future and that creates the unreliable sporadic production of power from IWT developments. The grid requires a controlled supply to match electricity used. The continually changing amount of electricity produced by IWT development costs more to deal with than if they were never hooked up in the first place. If extra electricity is sold it is not just IWT production as it is not stable enough to sell by itself. More power from a reliable source must be produced to stabilize the grid. The cost are far greater than just the expense of building transmission lines and paying extra for unreliable IWTelectricity.

    • and that’s why we need to push something like the GAP plan

  13. I found these FAQ kind of funny about the Bruce to Milton line on Hydro Ones website:
    http://www.hydroone.com/Projects/BrucetoMilton/Pages/FAQ.aspx#1

    Q: Why is the new line required?

    A: The Ontario Power Authority (OPA) determined the new line is needed to deliver additional power generation from the Bruce area to southern Ontario. The Bruce nuclear generating station began a project in 2004 to refurbish units Bruce A and unit 1 and 2, which are currently not operating. In addition, agreements are in place to bring a number of planned wind power projects online over the next few years in the Bruce area, which have a combined capacity of more than 700 megawatts The OPA has also determined that there is potential for a further 1,000 megawatts of wind power that could be developed in this area.

    WHAT? I certainly don’t see “Lambton”, or “Middlesex” anywhere in that answer – that’s where more than HALF this new wind power approved by the OPA is to come from.

    Check out where Adelaide is on the map. Talk about building a 180km transmission line in the WRONG direction. Kincardine is 145km North of Adelaide!

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