Who ponies up for wind turbine teardown?

abandoned_wind_farm_hawaiiFarmers Forum, Brandy Harrison
TORONTO — With more wind turbines coming to Ontario, there has been a lot of talk about what happens when it comes time to take down the towers. While the provincial government may put the onus on wind project developers to pay for teardown, it’s far from certain they’ll be able to collect if a company goes bankrupt — which could mean taxpayers are on the hook, says a Toronto-based environmental and municipal lawyer.

“Many of these companies are relatively small or based outside of Canada and that creates what appears to be a real risk as there will be no pocket you can go to 20 years from now when a cleanup is actually required,” says Eric Gillespie, who has represented landowners and municipalities with wind turbine concerns.

It’s anybody’s guess who would end up paying for decommissioning — the landowner, the municipality, or provincial taxpayers, he says. Farmers shouldn’t underestimate what it takes to remove a single turbine, Gillespie warns. The nacelle — the central hub containing the generator — is 80 to 100 metres in the air and weighs as much as 70 tonnes.

“It’s not something where you just call your neighbour and ask him to bring his tractor over.” While Ontario costs are yet unknown, world-wide decommissioning has ranged from $30,000 to $80,000 per turbine. Read article

33 thoughts on “Who ponies up for wind turbine teardown?

  1. Unlike buying a car from the manufacture that they build and sell to you, I think that there is no question who owns them are responsible for them period! Seems Government are so much sucking up to the wind developers to build that no clause has been written into the decommissioning. Perhaps if we should back and insisted on prepaid demolishing then maybe the developers would be a little bit responsible and fair. This cost could be held back into the payments. They build them, install them and we pay to use them but they are not ours. Now they are broken, worn out and no longer needed and we get stuck with them? NO and another can of worms if we even tried to take them down ourselves. I am sure the MOE and the MNR would be there big time!

  2. We better start figuring this out in rural Ontario because once we get these turbines shut off, we’ll be working on getting them dismantled and then recycled into garbage cans.

    • This is an Ontario real estate law issue. So why is it so difficult to get a straight answer?

      Abandoned property issues are not new issues. Someone abandons a machine on your property. Hasn’t happened before? The tenant walked off and left the machine behind.

      Appears that rural Ontarians are getting the run-around here because they can’t afford lawyers.

  3. Why is this news?
    With wind energy companies flipping projects on a regular basis there is no way whichever shell company ends up owning one, at the end of its useless life, will either accept responsibility for decommissioning or have the finances to do it.
    Similarly with the host landowners. Even if any one of them was held liable does anyone believe they would have the money to actuality do it?
    The financial aspect behind the green energy scam has never altered.
    It has always been based on screwing the taxpayer for the entire cost, including their generous tax funded profits, and decommissioning will be no different.
    Particularly here in Ontario, after this Wynne government has finished with us there will be nothing left in the provincial ‘bank’ to pay for it.
    And the wind energy companies, who will make the vast majority of green energy profits, are all foreign owned, not Canadian.
    Good luck with believing we can appropriate any of their profit once they have moved it off shore……

  4. Good that someone is looking at this issue, it may mean the end cycle of wind plants is closer to the end than mormally thought. I believe that the shell companies will simply walk once the subsidized revenue stream ends or slows down, Hiding in foreign countries they will not be held liable for dismantling costs.
    Landowners should be held accountable, given the revenue they collected, but few, if any, have the resources to do the job.
    The job will fall to the beleaguered Ont taxpayer, although the bill really should be sent to the LPO. I predict the bill for dismantling will exceed cost of construction, and will likely exceed any real value of electricity generated over the working lifetime.

    • IWTs are just giant machines and there are probably numerous times when tenants have left machines, large or small, on an Ontario landlord’s property.

      The neighbours are not responsible for removing these abandoned machines.

      Towns do have lawyers on retainer so if these lawyers don’t know this then the towns should find lawyers who do know this and are willing to explain this to the local citizens.

  5. Unfortunately Barbara, it’s like the fox in the henhouse or in this case, ‘lawyers in the Ontario green energy henhouse’!
    They are the ones who represent the provincial government and the wind energy companies and ensure the wind turbines and solar arrays are built.
    The township lawyers and those representing wind action groups are exactly the same lawyers, only in this case on the losing side!
    Both sides know it is a farce and yet they will all continue to receive their very generous retainers and fees whichever side they are on.
    In Ontario there is absolutely no justice left in the judicial system as far as the imposition of the Green Energy Act is concerned.
    There is no lawyer ‘knight in shining armour’ coming to the rescue of the growing numbers of disenfranchised Ontario citizens negatively impacted by wind turbines. There are only lawyers profiting from those Ontario citizens just like the wind energy companies.

    • So true! The wind companies are looking for a free ride off of Ontarians. So they muddy the waters to do this about who is responsible for removing the IWTs.

      My real estate law professor was a judge and these people should have to try running this stuff by a judge like this fellow was.

  6. The real Elephant which no one is addressing is the pads, 100s of tons of concrete and rebar, While the towers can be torn down relatively easily, though expensive to accomplish. I cannot see anyone chipping out these pads. More likely they will be covered over with a few feet of top soil, which will quickly erode. No, the pads are permanent and a permanent monument to the utter folly of Ont Liberals. This cropland will be lost forever, I’m afraid. To think that wind outfits would remove them is nonsense, it would take most of the profits they have gouged out of the province.

    • Your exactly right, but its even worse than that.
      The information we received when we first started researching this suggested that the wind energy companies would not be required to remove all the pads, but just the top couple or three feet, so not only does rural Ontario ‘benefit’ from the contaminants from the concrete leaching into prime agricultural land for the 15 to 20 year lifespan of each wind turbine, but we get to keep that contamination going for ever!
      And whose kidding who? Does anyone really believe that the real profiteers, the foreign owned wind energy companies, will still be around to pay any of the decommissioning costs? And even if the same host landowners, who have raped their neighbours out of tax dollars, are still on the land, they will not have enough to clean up after the damage they freely chose to inflict on their own land.

      • These wind and ground mounted projects are on their land so it’s their problem and not the neighbours.

        Many of the developers are not long term investors in these projects. The projects are sold along with the renewable energy problems that go with them.

        Just walk away from the whole situation.

  7. From the decommission plan submitted by Samsung-Capital to ACW for the K2 wind plant in Huron Co.
    “The turbine foundations would be partially removed to a depth of approximately 1 m below grade, in accordance with the land agreements. This depth enables normal agricultural
    practices to be conducted over the foundation areas”

    Really? What is “normal” about a huge mass of solid concrete a mere 3 ft under ground, Just how long with regular disking over the pads before the fill is eroded away and the concrete exposed? What does the concrete do to normal aeration and soil drainage?
    Even if the developers fulfilled the terms of the agreement, which I doubt they ever will, this cropland is compromised for agriculture forever. Too bad the Ministry of Agriculture wasn’t on top of this, but they were,_solidly on the side of the wind developer. And the Agr. Minister at the time was_ K. Wynne.

  8. When the whole picture is viewed, the Michigan Thumb area and across into to Ontario is known as a “wind area”.

    The southern part of Mexico is another of the world’s “wind areas”. Poor people live in this Mexican area so they have not been able to afford much opposition to IWT projects. So IWT projects are there and more on the way.

    Affluence is required to oppose IWT projects. This is how the poor or not so affluent get treated by big money interests who oppose IWT projects.

      • The wind farm news item page has a link to the toppled HV news story.

      • http://stopthesethings.com/2016/02/02/mexican-wind-farm-madness-wind-industry-crime-corruption-crush-an-ancient-culture/

        “The dark side of clean energy in Mexico”
        Santiago Navarro F. and Renata Bessi
        29 January 2016

        ‘[excerpt] Along with this farm, 20 others have been set up, forming what has come to be known as the wind corridor of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, located in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca. The corridor occupies a surface area of 17,867.8 hectares, across which 1,608 wind turbines have been installed. The secretary of tourism and economic development of Oaxaca claims that they will collectively generate 2,267.43 megawatts of energy.
        The Tehuantepec Isthmus stretches just 200 kilometers from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean, making it the third narrowest strip of land connecting the Americas, after isthmuses in Nicaragua and Panama. In this area, mountains converge to create a geological tunnel, which funnels extremely high-speed winds between the two oceans. Energy investors have focused on the region after the government of Oaxaca claimed that it’s capable of producing 10,000 megawatts of wind energy in an area of 100,000 hectares.
        “Before, I could hear all the animals living in the areas. Through their songs and sounds, I knew when it was going to rain or when it was the best time to plant,” Teran said with sadness and rage in his voice. “Now though, it seems the animals have left due to the wind turbines.”
        What Teran does not know is whether the turbines, built in accordance with the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), as defined in the Kyoto Protocol, are generating alternative energy that will actually help to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of large corporations and industrialized countries. The main objective of these polluters is to prevent global temperatures from rising 2 degrees Celsius before 2100, according to the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), better known as the COP21, which concluded in December 2015. “I don’t know what climate change is and neither do I know about the COP. I only know that our ancestral lands are being covered by these turbines,” Teran said.’

      • ‘[excerpt] Teran continues sowing his corn while we ask him about the benefits he’s gained from the wind corridor and, a bit irritated, he responds: “They have not provided me or anyone in my family a job, and I don’t want anything to do with these companies or the government; I just want them to leave me in peace on my land. To let me live as I did beforehand.”
        The US Department of Energy and the US Agency for International Development (USAID), with the justification to help accelerate the use of wind energy technologies in the state of Oaxaca, developed an atlas published in 2003, which mapped the wind potential in the state of Oaxaca. The mapping confirms that the isthmus is the region with the largest wind potential.
        “This wind resource atlas is an important element of the Mexican strategy to ensure availability of the necessary information and to define specific renewable energy projects as well as tools access to financing and development support,” according to the atlas document.
        The paper organizers say they will not share specific maps related to the respective areas of wind potential due to the confidentiality required in possible contracts signed between companies and the government of Mexico. Although more than a decade later, with the arrival of more parks in this territory, it has become clear which of these sites are mainly located on the shores of Laguna Superior.
        For all the good intentions the United States had to cooperate with Mexico to invest in renewable energy, USAID made another document in 2009, called “Study of Export Potential Wind Energy of Mexico to the United States,” which confirms that the greatest potential of this energy is concentrated in the states of Oaxaca (2,600 megawatts) and Baja California (1,400 megawatts). In August 2015, the government of Mexico officially announced that the wind farm “Energía Sierra Juárez” in Baja California, the first wind project between Mexico and the United States, will export energy to California. And they are waiting for an interconnection to export the energy produced in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec.
        “This mapping is only one part of a series of mega-projects that are designed for this area,” said biologist and coastal ecology and fishery sciences professor and researcher Patricia Mora, of the Interdisciplinary Research Center for Integral Regional Development of Oaxaca (CIIDIR Oaxaca) based at the Instituto Politécnico Nacional.”Not only is it wind energy, but also oil and gas, and also mining, an infrastructure for the movement of goods. Therefore, this wind mapping is only a pretext to map the full potential of this whole geostrategic area, which functions as a type of catalog to offer it to businesses.”’

  9. In a fair world, which of course is a joke with Liberals in charge, those responsible for this IWT disaster, McGuilty/Wynne/Crawley & the king of all jackasses Treasonous Trudeau, should be charged, convicted, imprisoned & sentenced to hard labor, that being chipping out & removing by hand, all the concrete IWT bases until every last one is totally gone & the land returned to clean, productive agricultural use as it was before the scam began. Period. Let me run this place awhile & I’ll put that in gear pronto. To H with all lefties & Lying Liberals.
    We need to come up with an easy way to drop these turbines with explosive charges around the tower bases, then let the recyclers in to take away the steel. Dynamite is reasonably cheap.
    Any $$ needed can be recouped from the property owners or take away the property & sell it off. To H with the greedy #%{}£|*%#s
    Have you heard about Obamas (the worst US pres. in history) orders to the military, that they must first consider the affects n FAUX climate change before any military action against our enemies ie: Muslim migrant rapists/murderers etc? Sad & pathetic.

    • The MSM should be included in those responsible for electing corrupt Liberals & therefore the IWT & climate change scams & also sentenced along with the corrupt Liberal pols to remove their useless machines.
      They’re the ones most responsible for the election of Wynne & Trudeau, the destroyers of Canada.
      Good book: The Destroyers by Sheila Gunn Reid s a must read for all Canadians, not just Albertans. Get it at Amazon for $9.95. It’s the best seller at Amazon right now.
      Rebel Media Rocks.

      • The above posting of the K2 partners decommission plan, mentions burying the pads with about 3 ‘ of soil, not necessarily top soil either, I am wondering if the design of the pads enables blasting off the top 2 or 3 ‘ so as to make that task somewhat easier. Anyone looked at a completed pad to see if they are dished, ie below grade? Again this would make burying them a bit easier.
        But I don’t really believe decommissioning was a huge priority when the towers were constructed; someone else’s problem.

  10. To Martin, Decommissioning was mentioned as a part of the FIT contractual agreement, but as soon as one read that the projects were not required to remove the entire concrete pads it became apparent it would inevitably become ‘someone else’s problem’! And that was always going to end up being the taxpayer’s problem.
    What were hardly mentioned were the transmission lines both above and below ground. I think experience now shows that the sheer environmental destruction created by these transmission lines across the Ontario rural landscape rivals that created by the wind turbines themselves.
    Those supporting this green energy scam who still claim to be environmentalists have an awful lot to answer for.

  11. It’s the responsibility of the host land owners to get a bond, insurance policy, escrow account, etc. for the removal of turbines on their land

    The neighbours are not responsible for removing IWTs. Cheapest way is to implode them. If their land value is diminished by broken down IWTs and cement pads, that’s their problem.

    These are commercial leases and if land owners failed to get legal advice then they can live with the consequences.

    But they, IWT hosts, want to whine and get others to pay for their mistakes.

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