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

Wynne’s green energy putting Ontario in red

wynneLondon Free Press, Jim Merriam
It’s to be hoped the Fraser Institute didn’t spend much money on its recent study of the fiscal performance of Canada’s premiers. Every resident of Ontario able to sit up and take nourishment — probably including Wiarton Willie last week — has known the study’s conclusion for a long time: Premier Kathleen Wynne is doing a lousy job of managing Ontario’s economy.

Wynne, with the help of her predecessor Dalton McGuinty, has reduced Ontario from a powerhouse to an empty house. On almost every file Wynne’s government is found wanting if not severely under water, to borrow a phrase from the mortgage industry.

The worst is energy. The cost of power in the province has forced industries to close and some families to choose between heat and groceries. A columnist in a Toronto newspaper recently suggested the heat-vs.-food statement is an exaggeration. He should spend a few minutes listening to clients at food banks in rural areas. But I digress. Much of the high cost of power is associated with renewable energy production.

A new study from the University of Ottawa confirms what we’ve been saying all along: Ontario brought in wind energy with a “top-down” style that brushed off the worries of communities where the massive turbines now stand. Stewart Fast, who headed the study, said, “It was a gold rush, basically.” Since those involved kept details secret to avoid giving their competitors an edge, residents didn’t know what their neighbours were planning. “That is really the worst way to go about something that you know is going to have a big impact on landscape and people,” he said. Read article

WIN! Vt. AG will not press charges against environmental activist Annette Smith for wind developer

10231137afreedom-of-speech-postersWCAX
MONTPELIER, Vt. – 
Vermont’s Attorney General Bill Sorrell will not press charges against one of Vermont’s most outspoken critics of industrial wind and solar projects. But that critic says the fight isn’t over.

Known for her persistence, Annette Smith threatened a civil rights lawsuit against the attorney general’s office if they did not drop the investigation. She claims she’s a lawful advocate for Vermonters and simply exercising free speech.

Smith believes she’s a voice for the powerless, she helps Vermonters without lawyers protect their legal interests before the Public Service Board. “We can work together to site renewable energy. We don’t have to fight over this. We don’t need lawyers to fight over how we build our energy future together,” said Smith. Smith runs the nonprofit Vermonters for a Clean Environment and she works with homeowners who are unhappy with the siting process for solar or wind projects.

But allegations that she was practicing law without a license triggered an investigation by Vermont’s attorney general: An energy developer sent a letter to the AG alleging Smith, “provided legal advice” and helped “draft pleadings” for those parties.  Read article

Dear Mike Crawley (Liberal Wind Pusher for AIM PowerGen, IPC, GDF Suez, and now Northland Power)…

crawley

https://i1.wp.com/www.northlandpower.ca/Assets/Images/EmailLogo/NPi2010_Logo_1inch.jpg?resize=96%2C55From: Mike Crawley
Sent: Tuesday, February 02, 2016 10:18 AM
Subject: Mike Crawley – Contact information

As some of you may know, I joined Northland Power this past July.   Belatedly, attached and below please find my new contact information.  For those in the power sector, Northland Power (www.northlandpower.ca) is pursuing  wind, solar, pumped storage and thermal generation opportunities in Canada, Europe and Mexico.  We are also open to considering good opportunities in other jurisdictions that meet our investment criteria.

mike1Best regards,
Mike

Mike Crawley | Executive Vice President
Northland Power Inc.
d: 647 288 1066 | m: 416 554 8513


From: Ginny Stewart
Sent: Tuesday, February 02, 2016 3:05 PM
To: Mike Crawley
Subject: Re: Mike Crawley – Contact information

Hello Mike,

You cannot imagine how surprised I was to hear from you especially in light of the fact that you have not responded to any of my emails or complaints since the Plateau Wind Project went online in early 2012.

I would like to take this fortunate opportunity to bring you up to date on my current situation. I am very much aware that you will say there is little you can do from your new position at Northland Power, but I would like to bring to your attention how your investment opportunities are destroying the lives of people in all the jurisdictions which you target.

You might be interested to know that from April 17, 2012 through April 7, 2015 I filed nearly 70 complaints with the MOECC, copying Plateau Wind Inc. on many of them. I have incident numbers for each and every complaint. It is also my understanding that the obligation of the MOECC and the Owner/Operator of a Wind Generating facility are to report the complaints to each other. In order to keep a record of my complaints and their acknowledgement and because a record of my complaints was not available to me without a freedom of information request but ironically available to Plateau Wind Inc.,  I began to send my complaints electronically; the only acknowledgement of such to me by your company was one email in 2013 that my emails would be responded to through the Ministry of the Environment.

It is very time consuming, frustrating and degrading to continue to call the MOECC on a routine schedule and not receive any acknowledgement or mitigation for the insufferable agony that I, my family and my neighbours are subjected to regularly. I have however kept an ongoing journal with entries beginning February 24, 2012 through to today. At an ERT hearing in June of 2015 my witness statement boasted a 128 page summary of typed health related entries. That journal continues to date with barley a day going by without the affects of my nightly experiences, especially in the winter.

In September 2012 a presentation was made to The Grey/Bruce Medical Officer of Health and the Board of Directors. Fourteen Casualties submitted their experience by supplying a statement of their experiences. We were all looking for relief for symptoms that presented themselves after the commencement of the turbines in our area.

DestroyedHomeI remember how you came to my home on two occasions and tried to reassure me that there would not be a negative impact to my health, my property values, and that I would barely be able to see the turbines from my home. In fact you brought me an industry study on property values near IWTs that claimed that property values would in fact rise. You sent a photographer to photograph the view from our home and then superimpose the turbines so that I would be assured that they would not be invasive. How brilliantly you deceived me. The reality of massive 120 meter machines placed 1,400 meters to 3 kilometers from a home is drastically different from  photographs of benign looking “windmills” peeping over the tops of trees. Since the installation of your project, 7 families have moved away siting the IWTs as the reason. Some just walked away, others suffered a huge financial loss on the sale of their property.

So while you, Mike continue to meet your investment criteria, I hope that you will remember that it is because of the suffering of so many individuals; babies, children, young adults, middle aged people and the elderly that you reap your benefits. Eventually it will no longer benefit the “common good” because the critical mass will become too great.

Thank you for taking the time to become informed. I’m guessing that the last 4 years have just flown by for you while we suffer a slow agonizing existence.

Sincerely,

Virginia Stewart Love

Chatham-Kent Wind company pleads guilty to two offences. Fined $11,000

fine penaltyDaily Commercial News
CHATHAM-KENT, ONT.—A company that develops renewable energy projects has been fined $11,000 for two environmental offences, including failing to comply with the Renewable Energy Approval (REA) by installing a transformer substation.

Gesner Wind Energy Project operator, Saturn Power Inc., pleaded guilty to the two offences, which also included failing to submit an annual bird and bat monitoring report on time, contrary to the Environmental Protection Act (EPA), explains a December 2015 release from Ontario’s ministry of the environment.

Operating from New Hamburg, Ont. the company works on renewable energy projects and also operates a wind energy project, the Gesner wind farm, in Muirkirk, Ont.

According to the ministry, the REA was issued for the Gesner wind farm, where, during construction, it was discovered that the project needed construction of a transformer substation, which the REA did not include approval for.

“Approval of a transformer substation is significant because of the potential for transformer substations to produce noise,” explains a release. “The company constructed the substation without seeking an amendment to the REA.” Read article

Ontario’s Liberals have completely broken the electricity system

The Hamilton Spectator - Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay

The Hamilton Spectator – Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay

Finally – the Globe and Mail gets it!

The Globe and Mail, Editorial
In politics, as we wrote Wednesday, people get upset about the little things. Remember Bev Oda’s $16 glass of orange juice? In the context of a 12-figure federal budget, or ministerial trips justifiably running into the tens of thousands of dollars, some overpriced OJ hardly mattered. And yet it galled. Small misdeeds are relatable. A big, complicated and massively costly government screw-up, in contrast, sometimes leaves people cold.

Let’s see if this warms you up. On Wednesday, Ontario’s Auditor-General announced that, between 2006 and 2014, thanks to incompetence and mismanagement on the part of the province’s Liberal government, Ontarians overpaid for electricity to the tune of $37-billion. And over the next 18 years, consumers will be overpaying to the tune of another $133-billion.

Let’s try to put those numbers in context. Electricity overpriced by $170-billion is equivalent to $12,326 in excess costs for every man, woman and child in Ontario. Over 27 years, that averages out to $457 per person, per year. According to Statistics Canada, the average Ontario household has 2.6 people, so for the typical family, we’re talking about a power utility bill roughly $1,188 higher than it should be – every year. Read article

Public inquiry needed on Green Energy Act

wind scam inquiryToronto Sun, Bob Runciman
Ask any provincial politician and he’ll tell you one of the biggest complaints he gets is the increasingly unaffordable cost of electricity in Ontario. It’s killing the province’s economy and will only get worse.

Factoring in the 3.4% hike imposed Nov. 1, the cost of on-peak electricity has skyrocketed 77% since smart meters were imposed in 2010. So don’t be surprised if those Christmas light displays are a little less bright this year. Another 10% increase kicks in Jan. 1, with massive increases to follow for the foreseeable future.

It’s been clear for some time — the past two provincial auditors have confirmed it — that government policy is responsible, with much of the blame going to the disastrous Green Energy Act. Yet the madness initiated under Dalton McGuinty is being continued under Kathleen Wynne. If anything, she’s doubling down, continuing to award new long-term contracts at outrageous prices to produce power that we don’t need. And it will only get worse when her cap-and-trade scheme finally takes shape.

Losers under this green energy folly are easy to identify — businesses large and small, seniors on fixed incomes, low-income Ontarians and on and on. There is no shortage of losers. Read article

How NextEra lobbied for change to rules to benefit its “six-pack” wind projects

sixpack nexteraFor those who remember the chaotic days of 2010 and 2011 (or those who are living in its aftermath), when wind contracts were given in lumps to NextEra, Samsung and IPC – These documents will be of much interest to you. My advice – just read through them all, when you have the stomach to do so.

London Free Press, John Miner
[excerpt]:
“It was a cesspool. It was shameful. I feel very badly after seeing what went on here for my fellow Ontarians and the ratepayers of Ontario. They are having to bear the burden of the shameful behaviour,” Appleton said in a transcript from the hearing. Read article

See All Legal documents from Mesa’s lawsuit

Transcripts:

Here’s a taste from the Investors Post Hearing Submission

  1. In December 2010, the OPA released the FIT rankings for projects which had not received a contract. As noted previously, Mesa’s projects were ranked 8th and 9th in the region and, even taking into account the 500 MW set aside for the Korean Consortium, Mesa’s projects were within the 750 MW that would be allocated in the Bruce region. NextEra’s projects on the other hand were located in the West of London region, and due to the limited capacity which would be activated in this region (300 MW), most of NextEra’s projects would not receive a contract.
  2. Sue Lo stated that Ontario consulted widely with developers and stakeholders. However, no documents were provided to the Investor about Ontario’s consultation with other proponents, which the Investor requested and was granted by the Tribunal in Procedural Order No. 4, save for documents relating to Ontario’s consultation with NextEra.
  3. Realizing that it would not receive contracts in the West of London region due to the lack of available capacity, NextEra began lobbying the Ontario government for a change to the rules to allow changes in connection points amongst regions.
  4. Mr. MacDougall confirmed this, as he testified that, after he left the OPA, he heard that the reason the rules were changed to allow connection point changes between regions was because NextEra had lobbied for this result. Mr. McDougall explained that NextEra bundled its projects a the NextEra “six-pack” approach to “share a common connection, whose connection would be relatively expensive, but shared across six projects would make a connection economically viable.”
  5. This is confirmed by contemporaneous documents. Within days of NextEra executives meeting with the  XXX,  the Ministry] made the decision to allow a connection point window for projects in the West of London and Bruce.
  6. Prior to these meetings, Ontario had decided that it would not conduct a province-wide ECT and that an alternative allocation process would have to be utilized to award that capacity made available by the Bruce to Milton transmission line. The OPA recommended a modified TAT/DAT for the Bruce region, which would not allow a connection point window.
  7. To understand the results of the proposed TAT/DAT, the Ministry of Energy requested a “dry run” of the results. This dry run showed that XXXXX. Although Mr. Cronkwright had “concerns” about showing the results to the Ministry of Energy, and the document itself says that it should not be shared with the Minister’s Office, Mr. Cronkwright confirmed that the OPA showed the results to the Ministry of Energy.
  8. 156. Weeks later, Ontario government officials began meeting privately with NextEra. On XX NextEra’s Vice President, Al Wiley, personally met with XX. The next day, on May 11, Mr. Wiley met with Andrew Mitchell, Senior Policy Advisor in the Minister of Energy’s Office, and apparently a member of the secret “Breakfast club”, to discuss whether a connection point change window would be opened prior to the next round of FIT contract awards, which was a “a very significant issue for NextEra.” Then on May 12, the Premier met with the Ministry of Energy, and the decision was made to allow a connection point window change. On May 13, the morning after the decision was made, Ms. Lo met with NextEra, and in response to this call, Mr. Wiley sent Ms. Lo the names of the six NextEra projects “remaining in the FIT queue.”
  9. Days later, on May 31, Nicole Geneau of NextEra knew that a connection point change window was opening although no public announcement had been made.
  10. Ms. Lo contended that all FIT applicants were treated the same, but the documents in the record show that more favourable treatment was given to Pattern, International Power Canada and NextEra. IPC’s projects were protected from being shut out by a Korean Consortium set aside, something that was not offered to any other FIT proponent, while NextEra was given insider access to the outcome of the Bruce allocation process. And Pattern was allowed to benefit from the favourable treatment afforded to the Korean Consortium, a benefit which was not given to other FIT proponents like Mesa.
  11. Canada attempts to down play this preferential treatment by contending that the OPA had been advising FIT proponents since 2010 that a change window would be allowed prior to the first ECT.238 However, this contradicted the FIT Rules, which only allowed connection point changes prior to the first ECT for projects connecting to the distribution system. The FIT rules did not allow for such changes prior to the first ECT for projects connecting to the transmission system, like those of NextEra and Mesa.239 Therefore a FIT proponent like Mesa, that was relying on the FIT Rules for its understanding of the process, would have reasonably expected that projects like NextEra’s would not be able to change connection points prior to the first ECT, or prior to the awarding of contracts in the Bruce region.
  12. Furthermore, at no point, in any of these communications,did the OPA advise proponents that projects would be allowed to change their connection points to a different transmission area or that this would be done outside of a province‐wide ECT.
  13. To get around this, Canada contends that if the FIT Rules did not prohibit something, then it was allowed. This argument is unavailing. The OPA could have held stakeholder consultations to decide what course of action would best represent the understanding of the majority of the affected stakeholders. Had it done so, Ontario would have discovered that more affected stakeholders located in the Bruce region would oppose the change than affected stakeholders in the West of London as the proposed change window benefitted mainly two companies in the West of London, NextEra and Suncor, at the expense of 12 projects already ranked in the Bruce region that were in line for contracts (two of which belonged to Mesa).
  14. If a change amongst regions was what was originally intended under the FIT rules,and every proponent knew or should have known this, why did NextEra have to lobby for it? The reason is simple: this was not the understanding of FIT proponents at the time. Colin Edwards of Pattern Energy confirmed this during his deposition:

Continue reading

Pickens: NextEra’s unfairly influenced Liberals with private meetings & $18,600

Nextera sucksNew York Times, Alexandra Stevenson
Some excerpts, but do read it all:
“Like other investors who have challenged governments, Mr. Pickens has taken his dispute to an international court. He is seeking $700 million in damages for future losses related to bids that his wind power company, Mesa Power, lost in wind power auctions in Ontario.

Mr. Pickens and Mesa Power contend that the Florida company, NextEra, was granted exclusive access through private meetings with important government officials that ultimately tilted the bidding in its favor.

The province of Ontario granted NextEra $3.8 billion in energy contracts. Mesa Power contends that $18,600 in donations that NextEra made to the ruling Liberal Party in Ontario before elections in 2011 had undue influence on the auction.

NextEra did not respond to a request for comment.”

IMG_0467—————

“A review of documents and emails between NextEra executives, lobbyists and government officials show that NextEra met and held calls with high-level officials at the Ontario Ministry of Energy, the premier’s office and the power authority, even as Mesa Power executives were told they could not speak to officials until contracts were awarded. When NextEra lobbyists requested more information, officials sometimes responded within hours.

Mr. Pickens’s lawyers argue that NextEra was able to wield influence because of its chief lobbyist, Bob Lopinski at Counsel Public Affairs. A former adviser to the Ontario premier, Dalton McGuinty, Mr. Lopinski was hired in 2010. He contacted former colleagues in the premier’s office to set up meetings for senior NextEra executives including Mitch Davidson, the chief executive. He also arranged for meetings at the Ministry of Energy and the power authority.” Read article

Watch: The Unscripted Kathleen Wynne

CTV is airing the movie Wynne quit on. This is how the Premier reacts to the opposition, press and protesters. You can imagine what she muttered to herself when we protested her in the midst of her scripted speeches.

CTV W5CP1lPcKUcAEJa4b

The secret life of wind-farm turtles

WoodTurtlePublicDomainSootoday, David Helwig
Wood turtles are known for their sculpted shells, colourful legs and equally colourful personalities. They are highly valued as pets. Formally known as Glyptemys insculpta, the wood turtle is classified as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species. 

It’s similarly listed as endangered under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act. Ontario’s wood turtles are at risk from international pet poachers, habitat loss and degradation, skunks, foxes and household pets, to say nothing of the threat of being rendered into road kill by motor vehicles. Add to this the wood turtle’s late maturity, slow growth and its poor reproductive success, and you have a serious situation.

There are, apparently, wood turtles in the vicinity of the Bow Lake Wind Farm. So far as your provincial government is concerned, these are secret turtles. So much so, that SooToday is designating them as Bow Lake Windfarm Ninja Turtles (BLWNTs). The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry doesn’t want you to see them, know how many there are, where they are, where they aren’t, what they eat for breakfast or even anything about the methods used to look for them. When someone tried recently to learn more about the BLWNTs, ministry officials fought beak and claw to prevent release of the information. Read article

The Day Ontario Died

So true. Every word. Enough to break some of us down.
Full set of Lyrics here on Quixotes Last Stand.

New Environmental Commissioner: Wind Turbine Lover Dianne Saxe

saxeToronto Star: “MPPs did agree on Dianne Saxe, a veteran environmental lawyer, as Ontario’s new environment commissioner, replacing Gord Miller, who retired last spring after three terms.


I suppose this is just one more pig for Orwell’s barnyard. Most of you are too familiar with Dianne – she loves turbines and trashes anyone who dares to object to them on her blog. So much for an unbiased Commissioner.

I was listening to the legislature today (okay, don’t fault me for that, I won’t make a habit of it) and when they announced her for Commissioner I choked, then they asked if there were any objections. Oh you better believe I was yelling at the computer, “YES!!! Dammit, I OBJECT!!”. To no avail because apparently we don’t get to vote these people in, or shoe them out.

Oh yeah, and have a look at what she presents to the American Bar Association: A Short History of Wind Litigation in Ontario. Amazing, she’s an expert on this litigation and I highly doubt she ever attended a single ERT hearing.

I went to one of her pro wind meetings in Clinton (I think) a few years back. My dad and I sat down with our notepads near the front. Soon our friends the police found us and said “Hi”, probably a tad embarrassed that they had been asked to attend when it was only us. Turns out the group was worried they (or she) would be mobbed by us bad anti wind people. I guess she was ramping security in practice for her future fame…

Accidental whistleblower

Whistleblower-e1441814182602Rick Conroy, Wellington Times
Ministry expert warned that Ostrander Point wind project posed a high risk to Blanding’s turtles before it issued permit to developer to “harm, harass and kill” the endangered species

It was three days into eye-wateringly dull expert testimony, technical language and lawyer-speak. Three days in a hot, humid room with three ineffectual fans lazily turning above a wilting crowd, with barristers in their shirtsleeves as jackets hung over chairs. Then, without warning, the room was seized by high drama. Suddenly, the very credibility of Ontario’s Renewable Energy Approvals process was thrust into the spotlight.

Last Wednesday morning, as far as the eye could see, Demorestville was lined with parked cars. The town hall of the tiny hamlet was hosting the second Environmental Review Tribunal for the proposed wind turbine project at Ostrander Point.

Although the original Tribunal ruled against the turbines, Gilead Power Corporation and the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) had appealed the ruling, arguing that the Tribunal did not have the chance to see their updated plan, one that would mitigate damage to the endangered Blanding’s turtle, which makes its home at the point.

More than 100 people crammed into the hall to hear the Tribunal, scheduled over three days and set to end on Friday. Each day brought new expert testimony. On day one, Dr. Fred Beaudry, an expert on Blanding’s turtles, testified that he did not believe Gilead’s mitigation plan of building artificial turtle habitat would be effective. On day two, researcher Kari Gunson, an expert on road migration, cast a doubt on the company’s plan to prevent damage to turtles by gating the project site.

On day three, the MOECC introduced their witness, but the heat, the flies, tedious expert testimony and other commitments caused folks to slowly drift away, leaving a half-empty gallery, some jotting notes, others knitting or shuffling papers to pass the time. Read article

Simon Chapman apologizes for defaming Dr. Sarah Laurie

Sarah-Laurie321x375Dr. Sarah Laurie has been a champion and fighter with a big heart for the length of the wind battle in Australia and around the world. It’s taken over a year, but Chapman finally retracted his defamatory comments.

Blue Sky wind project not welcome in Essex

GDF-Suez-Essex-Presentation-1-620x400Blackburn News
Essex council is making it clear it doesn’t want to see any more wind turbines in the town, rejecting a community benefit agreement for the Blue Sky Wind Project.

“We are not interested in any more windmills in our municipality,” says Ward 3 Councillor Bill Caixeiro to loud and long applause in council chambers Monday night.

Councillors even charged the company behind the project, GDF Suez, had paid for letters of support to be sent to council.

“There was no payment made for any letters of support,” says Bonnie Hiltz, government relations for GDF Suez. “They, I believe, were referring to letters of support for landowners who have voluntarily come forward to participate in the project.” Read article

AUGUST 12, 2015
Tecumseh Public Meeting
Tecumseh Arena, 12021 McNorton Street, Tecumseh
5:00-8:00pm

AUGUST 13, 2015
Essex Public Meeting
McGregor Community Centre, 9571 Walker Road, Essex
5:00-8:00pm

Warwick mayor calls wind money ‘extortion’

extortion

Petrolia Independant, Heather Wright
Warwick Mayor Todd Case says the latest process to bid for wind energy projects amounts to extortion and his municipality won’t be part of it. Four wind energy companies are in the process of bidding for industrial projects in Warwick, Brooke-Alvinston and Enniskillen. As part of the process, the companies are approaching municipalities to talk about what is going on and hoping to gain some form of support to improve their chances of approval.

Under the new process approved in June, companies receive bonus points for some forms of municipal approval. There is a form to say they have met with the municipal government which bears no points. If a company signs an Community Commitment Agreement with a municipality, it receives points which make the project more likely to be approved. Municipalities can also endorse projects; those projects are mostly likely to be approved.

Suncor Energy and NextEra, which are both preparing bids for projects in Warwick, are pressing the community to sign Community Commitment Agreements which include compensation for having the turbines in the community.

But Mayor Case says Warwick is not about to sign anything and shouldn’t be penalized financially because of it. “The process, in my opinion, stinks,” he tells The Independent. “The province says it now gives municipalities a chance to weigh in but there are points for the companies if you sign (for compensation). That’s extortion in my point of view.” Read article

Wainfleet trail use approved by Conservation Authority for wind company

NPCA LogoBy Maryanne Firth, The Tribune
Despite concerns from Wainfleet leaders, Niagara Region Wind Corp. has been given the green light to use the Gord Harry Trail. The Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority board approved an agreement with the company Wednesday night, that will allow 635 metres of the 13-kilometre trail to be used to bury wind turbine conduits.

In return, the NPCA Foundation will receive $100,000, which staff has recommended be earmarked toward capital projects in Wainfleet, as well as $20,000 annually for the next 20 years that will support trail development, maintenance and signage throughout the watershed. The agreement will also provide the wind energy company vehicle access to the trail, west of Burkett Rd., for subsequent turbine maintenance.

Given the NPCA’s conservation mandate, Wainfleet Mayor April Jeffs said she feels the decision is steeped in hypocrisy. “People look at us to be stewards of land in general, especially our own land,” said Jeffs, who represents the township on the conservation authority’s board. “We tell people they can’t do things on their property, but then with ours say, ‘Sure, come on in — and bring your trucks.’ ” Read article

NextEra Won’t Drop Its Lawsuit against Esther Wrightman

You’d think NextEra, which operates more than 100 wind projects in 19 states and Canada, could afford to tolerate a critic
or two.

esther nexterrorNational Review, Robert Bryce
Two years ago, I wrote a piece for NRO about a SLAPP suit (strategic lawsuit against public participation) that NextEra Energy, America’s biggest wind-energy producer, had filed against Esther Wrightman, an anti-wind-project activist from the tiny village (pop.: 120) of Kerwood, Ontario. It’s now time for an update. NextEra overcame Wrightman’s opposition to the Adelaide Wind Energy Centre, a 60-megawatt project that began producing electricity last year. The 38-turbine wind project was erected right next to Wrightman’s home. In June 2014, she left not only Kerwood but Ontario and, along with her two children, her husband (who is disabled), and her parents, moved to the larger village (pop.: 1,889) of St. Andrews, New Brunswick. The Wrightmans also relocated their family business, Wrightman Alpines, a nursery that specializes in alpine plants.

Esther Wrightman couldn’t stop the wind project that turned her into an activist. But here’s the reason for this update: NextEra is still SLAPPing her. For reasons the company won’t explain, it hasn’t dropped its litigation. This is more than a story about Goliath beating up on David (or Esther). It’s also fundamentally about freedom of speech and the ability of citizens to speak out against (or, in Wrightman’s case, to make fun of) big corporations. Read article

It would be funny…

sign-blanding-turtleWellington Times, Rick Conroy
With school children arrayed at his feet, Ontario’s environment minister, Glenn Murray, announced last week his government was giving $1 million to an organization dedicated to educating children aged five to 11, about how to help protect animals and their habitats. His advice to the children assembled at the ROM for the press event was predictable, if somewhat ham-handed: Go home and tell your parents and grandparents to use less carbon.

Murray isn’t the first to employ children to market his wares. Cereal makers, burger sellers and dictators have all used children to influence decision-makers. The Ontario government isn’t above using an effective marketing technique to sell its message, even when the moral and ethical turf is a bit squishy. Earth Rangers formed in 2001. The funding from the province will help the organization expand its school assembly program and develop a new Grade 6 class visit program.

For Murray, this is an investment in the minds of young and impressionable children— a recruiting drive for foot soldiers in his campaign to restore his government’s credibility on environmental matters. “The most thoughtful discussions that move people to change are discussions between children and their parents, and children and each other,” noted Murray to the children before him.

Eventually, however, Murray will be challenged to square his government’s words with its actions. Rather than educate children about nature, he risks teaching them about the nature of government. Read article

Alberta raptor expert warns wind turbine developments may hurt birds of prey

Mia Sosiak, Global News

eagle nestCALGARY – John Campbell has worked with falcons, eagles and hawks in the wild for decades, all over Western Canada. He has monitored nests near Pincher Creek since the 1970s, and banded thousands of baby raptors, long before the area became the birthplace of wind power in Canada.

Campbell has been finding more and more empty nests in the area. “Currently there are 10 sites that could be occupied; only five are producing young right now,” Campbell said. In Alberta, several species of raptors are considered sensitive, or at risk.

The birds aren’t dying from turbine strikes, Campbell said. They are abandoning high-quality nests because of the pressure of turbine development. Wind turbines mess up the birds’ lives, much in the same way drivers would be stressed if a busy freeway suddenly closed. The raptors move to lower quality sites, where fewer chicks survive. Read article

Ontario Teachers’ Pension Expands Ownership Of BluEarth Renewables

North American Wind Power
Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan has acquired all of the outstanding shares of BluEarth Renewables. The pension plan, through its Teachers’ Private Capital group, has been a lead investor in BluEarth since the developer was established in 2010. Terms of the transaction are not being disclosed. Closing is expected by the end of July.

Calgary-based BluEarth is a private independent renewable power producer focused on the acquisition, development, construction and operation of wind, hydro and solar projects. BluEarth’s portfolio currently includes interests in 18 projects across Canada totaling 174 MW, with a pipeline of earlier-stage development projects. BluEarth will continue to focus on growth through the acquisition and development of renewable energy projects in Canada and other markets globally.

The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan – with $154.5 billion in net assets – is the largest single-profession pension plan in Canada. It has earned a 10.2% annualized rate of return since its founding in 1990. Read article

NexTerror strikes again – wind company threatens elderly leaseholders

NextTerror lawyerFebruary 13, 2014 we received registered mail from McCarthy Tetrault LLP stating… “our client [NextEra Energy] demands that you promptly execute and return two fully executed copies of such lease by no later than February 21, 2014.

If you fail to deliver such copies of the signed lease, you should be aware that Goshen has requested us to take immediate legal action on its behalf to enforce its rights and remedies for your breach of the Option Agreement, which action may result in you becoming liable for, amongst other things, Court costs, damages (which can extend to substantial amounts on account of delayed construction of the overall project and lost revenues arising from such delays), and interest on such damages at the rates prescribed under the Courts of Justice Act of Ontario. As well, you should be aware that such litigation against you may result in adverse implications for your credit ratings.”

Mayor Hessel, Council members and CAO:
I am attaching a self-explanatory letter from Bev Teeter, a Bluewater resident and turbine lease holder in Nextera’s Goshen Project.  In addition the addressee within the attached, she has also sent it to the London Free Press as an open Letter to the Editor however it is unlikely they will print it.

This brave woman has been a thorn in Nextera’s side for a long time now.  They eventually removed Turbine #13 from being built on her property however the transmission/collection lines do go through their property.

Bev has been a staunch supporter of the anti-wind movement after she realized she was duped by the wind companies.  She is in her 80’s, has a hearing impairment and cares deeply about doing what she can to right a wrong which is what she felt she did by signing the lease.  She was bullied into doing so without a care towards her or her husband of over 50 years.  I cannot express how disgusted I am with Nextera for treating vulnerable people such as Bev and her husband, Irv, so callously.

My hope is that Council is able to see this as just one example of how useless it is to enter into any sort of agreement such as a Vibrancy Fund that would ‘recognize’ wind companies as anything other than the wind weasels they are.  Should you disregard the manner in which they have treated this senior citizen and taxpayer of this county, you do so knowing full well that you are putting all the the citizens of Bluewater at risk.

Please do the right thing and stop the ongoing data collection with the wind companies.  Your actions in continuing to engage with these companies will do nothing other than sell us all down the river.

I would request this letter along with Bev’s be attached to the agenda of a Municipal Council meeting and that they be read aloud in their entirety. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. Thank you.
(pk)

The following is a prime example of how people are actually treated by wind developers after they get their signatures….


Open Letter
Dashwood, ON N0M1N0
June 3, 2015
Goshen Wind, LP
700 Universe Blvd.
Juno Beach, FL 33408
Att. Carlos Megias, Senior Counsel
Re: Lease with Goshen Wind Inc. with Effective Date of  December 15, 2013

Dear Sir,
Your letter dated May 28 arrived here June 1.   You object to our informing the Sumitoma Mitsui Banking Corporation of Canada that “the lease on our land assumed by Goshen Wind was obtained illegally, as our signatures were attached without our knowledge or consent”.   This in our opinion is absolutely true.

As stated in my reply to NextEra’s Goshen employee in June 2014:
“Nicole, before responding to your June 19th letter, I would like to set down my view of the overall situation and the Green Energy Act . For every monster turbine set in motion, the people of Ontario lose.  Every wind project increases our future energy payments.  People complain about their “hydro” bills but may be unaware that wind power has been given special status…  guaranteed high rates and first usage before cheaper sources already available.  They may be unaware that excess  power is dumped across the border for far less than what we have paid for it.  Along with the enormous costs of building these projects which we do not need, they destroy  habitat for birds and people alike,  cause many to suffer Wind Turbine Syndrome documented where ever such mammoth turbines spin  and ultimately facilitate a process which turns our prime agricultural land over to Corporate owners at drastically diminished values.  And as turbines go up, possibilities for truly green alternatives diminish. There is nothing beneficial to Ontario in this.  Wind Turbines do not serve to reduce CO2,  they are not pristine and green. Continue reading

Wind developer hosts English-only meeting in francophone village

WespeakfrenchsignCarolyn Thompson Goddard, AgriNews
CRYSLER — A day after Finch & District Lions Club hosted a Wind Power Information Night in Finch, EDP Renewables Canada provided North Stormont residents with a community information evening in the Crysler Community Centre on May 7.  But the English-only documentation and presentations by the American developer in francophone Crysler came off as a cultural faux pas by some observers at the event.

Director of Development for EDP Canada Tom LoTurco explained that the evening was planned “to get the information on the project we are proposing out to the general public” and Ken Little, EDP Renewables Project Manager, commented that it was a coincidence that the Crysler meeting was held the day after the Finch event as the Crysler Community Centre had been reserved in early to mid-April for this meeting by his company.

Around 70 local residents listened as representatives of EDP Renewables explained the process whereby their company will submit a proposal to the Independent Electrical System Operator in Ontario regarding the planned construction of 20-40 turbine wind farm in this predominately agricultural township. Read article

Ontario Liberals pull veil of secrecy over Hydro One sell-off

WYNNE NEGLECTGlobe and Mail, Adrian Morrow
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has pulled an iron curtain over Hydro One, ensuring one of the largest privatizations in the province’s history will unfold in secret.

The Liberals’ omnibus budget bill passed a final vote in the legislature Wednesday. The legislation, which will allow the government to start selling off the Crown corporation on the stock market later this year, contains a raft of clauses that remove public oversight of the company.

The bill strips the provincial auditor-general, financial accountability officer, ombudsman and several other independent watchdogs of their right to investigate Hydro One and resolve customer complaints. It also bars freedom-of-information requests and shields Hydro One employees’ salaries from the Sunshine List of provincial workers earning more than $100,000.

These provisions all take effect as soon as the bill is signed into law – even though none of the shares may be sold for months and the government could remain the company’s majority shareholder for years as it slowly sells down its stock. Read article

Trillium accuses Liberals of destroying wind project lawsuit documents

977054_10151435763616463_1203818282_oGlobe and Mail, Richard Blackwell
An offshore wind farm developer that is in the midst of a lawsuit against the province of Ontario is now accusing the Liberal government of destroying documents related to its case.

In a notice of motion filed with the Ontario Superior Court, Trillium Power Wind Corp. says: “It has become apparent … that documents have been destroyed and records of communications have been wiped clean or deleted from computers, or assigned a code name to render their retrieval impossible.”

Trillium spent years and millions of dollars developing plans for an offshore wind farm in Lake Ontario near Kingston, but it had the rug pulled out from under it in February, 2011, when the province said it would not consider any offshore development until more scientific studies were done. The decision came the same day Trillium was to sign a large financing deal.

Trillium sued the government – initially for $2.25-billion in damages – but most of the grounds for the suit were thrown out of court.

However, in 2013 the Ontario Court of Appeal said the company could go ahead with one specific allegation, that the government’s decision amounted to “malfeasance in public office.” Read article

Statement on Divisional Court ruling on Ontario’s Endangered Species Act

eagle nestOntario Nature
TORONTO — Ontario’s Divisional Court has upheld a provincial regulation that exempts major industries from the Endangered Species Act and allows them to kill species at risk and destroy their habitat.

“This is a disappointing decision for Ontario’s endangered and threatened wildlife,” said Ecojustice lawyer Lara Tessaro. “The Endangered Species Act is intended to put species first — not to let their survival be balanced against competing industrial interests. That would tip the scale towards extinction.”

When it was introduced in 2007, the Endangered Species Act was considered the gold standard law for species protection in North America. Unfortunately, recent years have seen Ontario shirk its duties to protect at-risk wildlife.

In 2013, the province introduced a regulation that exempts major industries from strict protection standards under the Endangered Species Act — in many cases giving them a free pass to kill endangered or threatened species and destroy their habitat, as long as this harm is “minimized.” To challenge this regulation, Ontario Nature and Wildlands League, represented by Ecojustice lawyers, brought a lawsuit that culminated in a hearing earlier this year.

“There are too many plants and animals that are teetering on the edge in this province,” said Anna Baggio of Wildlands League. “We will continue to speak up for them until their habitat is protected and until they are no longer at risk of extinction.” Read article

House Bulldozed for Wind Project, Family Says

DSCF4783Courthouse News Service, Rebekah Kearn
LOS ANGELES (CN) – Wind energy companies bulldozed a black family’s house because they were the sole holdouts who refused to sell out to a huge wind farm, the family claims in court. Darlene Dotson and her sons David and Daniel sued EDP Renewables North America, Horizon Wind Energy Co., Rising Tree Wind Farm, CVE Contracting Group, and Renewable Land LLC, on May 7 in Superior Court.

The family wastes no time in getting down to specifics. “Plaintiffs in this action are the victims of a multinational energy developer who refused to accept ‘No’ for an answer,” the 32-page complaint begins. “The heart of the issue is that the Dotsons own property in Mojave that is sought after by EDP Renewables for windmills, and they refuse to sell,” the family’s attorney Morgan Stewart told Courthouse News.

Mojave, pop. 4,300, is 50 miles east of Bakersfield, below the Tehachapi Mountains, on the edge of the immense Mojave Desert. “The home on the property was a family home they used for family vacations and gatherings. EDP pressured them to sell, but they still refused,” Stewart said. “The house was damaged several times when they were away. And then one time when they went back to the house they found that it had been demolished, scraped to the foundations, along with all of their belongings. The companies did it. “We see it as intentional because EDP needed the property for the wind farm, but the Dotsons wouldn’t sell,” Stewart said. Read article

NextEra still doing the “eat, drink & sign wind lease” meetings

Eat, drink and sign your property away! NextEra serves a buffet to people with land in Hardy Creek Wind Project area (Middlesex/Lambton).

Notice that a public meeting hasn’t happened yet for this project. NextEra needs to get all the land signed up first, then they’ll tell the rest of you about it (maybe). This invite was sent to some landowners, but not all. Those with a few acres are still left out of the loop on what is happening in this project.

Can you see how this way of ‘doing business’ DESTROYS communities?

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