Toronto Sun, Jennifer Bieman and Megan Stacey
The loss of 340 jobs at a factory that makes blades for wind turbines could be harbinger of troubles ahead in Ontario’s green-energy industry, a leading analyst says.
Siemens Canada announced Tuesday it’s closing its Tillsonburg plant, one of four Ontario green-energy factories set up under a controversial, multi-billion-dollar deal with Korean industrial giant Samsung.
The closing of one of the town’s largest employers came after weeks of nervous speculation.
But energy analyst Tom Adams said Ontario’s green-energy industry could be in for a rough ride if it doesn’t lay its hands on orders from outside Ontario, arguing the provincial market is saturated with wind and solar electricity brought online since the Liberal government plunged headlong into green energy in 2009.
“I think it was always pretty obvious that whatever jobs were going to arise from the Green Energy Act were all temporary or almost all temporary,” Adams said, referencing the provincial law that paved the way for big wind farms in Ontario under contracts paying energy giants more than consumers pay for power.
“Samsung had no history in renewable energy before they came to Ontario. They came only for the subsidies, and when the subsidies dry up, they’ll disappear as quick as they landed,” said Adams, an independent energy and environmental advisor and researcher. Read article
CHATHAM-KENT, ONTARIO, INTERNAIONAL POWER GDF SUEZ from Blenheim 1
CHATHAM-KENT, ONTARIO, INTERNAIONAL POWER GDF SUEZ from Blenheim 2
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
Orangeville Banner, By Chris Halliday
The county is in danger of losing a large segment of its industrial and business base if energy prices continue to skyrocket. With dramatic electricity and natural gas hikes on the horizon in Ontario, whispers that several of the county’s larger businesses are mulling whether to move elsewhere are spreading through Dufferin.
“When you start hearing them talk about a year or two max and then moving on, that is a concern to anybody listening,” said Pete Renshaw, president of the Greater Dufferin Chamber of Commerce (GDACC). “Even if they’re just rumours of large businesses leaving.”
This isn’t a problem immune to Dufferin. Electricity rates across the province are expected to rise more than 30 per cent over the next three years. Coupled with natural gas hikes, those spiking energy costs are pitting industry in a position where some of the county’s heavy-hitters may debate an Ontario exodus. “I hear it from a CAO here, a CAO there,” Renshaw said. “We’re one of the highest, if not the highest (energy) priced province in the country,” Renshaw added. Read article
Recently we heard of an interesting example of “consumer advocacy” which turned the tables on a wind company targeting their most sensitive and vulnerable parts – access to capital markets and investors. Read on:
I met with my financial adviser and he met with the financial manager of a stock portfolio, who phoned the senior manager of an equity portfolio who set up a phone meeting with me and my financial adviser. We had an hour long conversation with the senior manager who also brought in the investment specialist who oversees the wind company file. Later that day the senior manager was meeting with company reps from the wind company as one of their normal meetings. We got on the agenda: “an investor in Ontario is concerned that a wind company is pursuing a legal suit against an individual, in what appears to be an attempt to chill public discussion . . .” The wind company was caught off-guard and could offer only a weak excuse for its behaviour. We got a report on this meeting during a follow-up phone call the next week. It was an interesting exercise in consumer advocacy. I gather that even a single complaint causes a ripple effect. The stock market watches to see if one person gets nervous in a crowd, because soon the whole room can be stampeding for the exits.
This tale is true and illustrates how a simple but dedicated exercise can stir the waters. There are lots of examples of mistreatment and abuse of people in wind projects. Find out if any of your investments (pensions too) are placed in wind projects, and if so, which ones. Explain the problems that are occurring in the wind project and insist that they help you in making the case to senior managers with the aim of putting the issue on their meeting agenda.
Pension funds invest in wind projects because of the relative safety of the investment. Make it less “safe” for them.
The Daily Caller
Businessman T. Boone Pickens was dropped from the Forbes 400 list of richest Americans after losing much of his fortune in the wind farming industry. According to Forbes, Pickens’ fortune dropped below the $ 1 billion mark for the first time since 2005. His net worth once amounted to an estimated $2 billion, but now it sits at around $950 million.
He told the hosts of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that he had “lost [his] ass in the [wind] business.” He added, “the jobs are in oil and gas. In 2008, Pickens debuted his “Pickens Plan,” which aimed to increase the nation’s use of wind energy and decrease America’s dependence on OPEC oil. With the help of investors he spent 80 million dollars on TV ads to promote his plan and $2 billion on General Electric wind turbines. Pickens hoped that once the wind farm was constructed, it would be the largest in the world.
The plan collapsed after natural gas prices fell and selling wind power was no longer economically feasible. He lost $150 million of his personal fortune on the failed wind plan. Read article
Kenneth P. Green and Ross McKitrick, Fraser Institute
In 2009, under the Premiership of Dalton Mc Guinty, the Ontario legislature passed the Ontario Green Energy Act (GEA), an act that aimed to increase Ontario’s use of renewable energy such as wind power, solar power, biofuels, and small-scale hydropower. The centerpiece of the act is a schedule of subsidized electricity purchase contracts—called Feed-in-Tariffs—that provide long-term guarantees of above-market rates for power generated by those renewables.
The GEA may have been well-intended, but a recent analysis published by the Fraser Institute, Environmental and Economic Consequences of Ontario’s Green Energy Act, demonstrates that the GEA has had disastrous impacts on Ontario’s energy rates and is going to seriously threaten economic competitiveness for the manufacturing and mining sectors. What little environmental benefit it is expected to generate could have been had at a fraction of the cost. Further, unless the province changes course, the GEA will saddle Ontarians with needlessly high energy costs for decades to come.
As our study demonstrates, the GEA will soon put the province at or near the top of North American electricity costs, with serious consequences for the province’s economic growth and competitiveness. Already the GEA has caused major price increases for large energy consumers and we’re anticipating additional hikes of 40% to 50% over the next few years. Because of these price hikes, we estimate that the manufacturing and mining sectors will be hard hit, with returns to investment in manufacturing likely to decline by 29% and mining by 13%. Read article
TORONTO — Canada has lost an appeal at the World Trade Organization over Ontario’s green energy laws. Japan and the European Union brought the case three years ago, arguing that a part of the province’s green energy program requiring made-in-Ontario parts for wind and solar farms breaches international trade law.
They argued the incentives were illegal because they discriminated against foreign firms, a complaint that was upheld by a WTO adjudication panel in December 2012. The federal and Ontario governments say they’re reviewing the decision to see what it means.
Ontario Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli says there are no plans to change the provincial legislation yet. He says it’s created tens of thousands of jobs in Ontario. “Our green energy initiatives are going to continue and they will continue to be job creators,” he said Monday. “But we are awaiting to determine the specific outcomes of that particular hearing and we will work with the federal government in our response.”
The feed-in-tariff system — established in 2009 — requires participating electricity generators in Ontario to source up to 60 per cent of their equipment in the province if they want to be eligible for subsidies. Read article
Richard Blackwell, The Globe and Mail
The vast majority of Canadian wind power production is now controlled by a handful of large companies, many of them foreign owned, replacing community groups that were initially seen as the backbone of alternative energy production. The takeover of the business by large companies is one reason behind the backlash against the rapid installation of huge, looming turbines, particularly if they are near recreational property or agricultural communities. An analysis by The Globe and Mail shows that more than 90 per cent of the current 6,500 megawatts of wind power capacity in Canada is in the hands of large companies, and about 25 per cent is held by foreign interests.
The biggest Canadian players are large firms and utilities that also operate in other energy businesses – power utility TransAlta Corp., pipeline operators Enbridge Inc. and TransCanada Corp., oil sands developer Suncor Energy Inc. and energy conglomerate Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners LP, for example.
Indeed, Enbridge and EDF EN Canada Inc., a subsidiary of French power giant Électricité de France – already partners on big wind farms in Quebec – on Monday announced that together they have paid $600-million to purchase a huge 300 MW wind project north of Lethbridge, Alta. The Blackspring Ridge wind farm, taken through the development phase by Calgary based Greengate Power Corp., will see construction begin later this year. Read article
MEDIA RELEASE FIT Protest
Please join us as we gather from all over Ontario for the 2nd annual FIT FORUM PROTEST
Date: Wednesday, April 3rd
12:30: Protest March
Place: Simcoe Park on Front Street, beside CBC building and opposite Metro Toronto Convention Centre MAP
Bus info here
- Fed up with skyrocketing hydro bills?
- Sick of Ontario government scandals wasting our money?
- We’ve had enough of the wind turbine scam! Join us!
Why we’re marching on April 3
We’ll be in Toronto protest the Feed In Tariff (FIT) Forum going at the Toronto Conference Centre. It’s a convention that includes many wind turbine companies designed to lobby the government to build more wind turbines, pay higher rates for the electricity they produce and influence government energy policy for the benefit of foreign multinationals who now own Ontario’s wind turbines. Continue reading
Appraisals expert Ben Lansink of London has told the Huron East Administrative Committee that rural residential property values fall when either turbines are erected, or transmission lines are cut through the landscape. He was addressing the committee, which determines the agendas for regular meetings of Huron East Council on Tuesday.
Lansink has done two studies in Ontario townships where wind farms have located. He says adjacent residential property values fall between 25 and almost 60 per cent. The appraisals expert say the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) is technically correct in saying property values haven’t been affected by nearby turbines– its data is four years old.
Lansink says this is an issue that will get bigger when MPAC’s 2012 statistics comes on-line. He says in the case of Melancton Township anyone who bought one of the adjacent homes had to sign a waiver. The appraiser warned that one residence along the Bluewater Highway was rendered uninhabitable by dirty electricity leaking from the adjacent power-lines. Read article and listen
By Antonella Artuso , Toronto Sun
TORONTO – Ontario’s controversial wind and solar feed-in tariff program may be getting blown off by the World Trade Organization but Premier Dalton McGuinty’s still a fan. The FIT program has generated billions of dollars in investment and created thousands of jobs in Ontario, McGuinty said Tuesday. “So we will continue to do what it takes to stand up for economic growth and jobs here,” he said.
Ontario’s Tories, who are promising to end the FIT program, say there’s little to show for the unreliability, community discord and inflated prices that come with ramming renewable electricity projects into rural areas. “It’s been a disaster,” Tory MPP Steve Clark said.
The WTO is expected to rule shortly on a complaint by Japan that domestic content requirements in the FIT program run afoul of free trade rules, favouring Ontario-produced over imported goods. “That complaint has been made for a while and we hear that there’s a ruling that is imminent, and I’m not going to comment on a ruling that hasn’t been made,” McGuinty said.
Chris Doucette | QMI AGENCY
TORONTO – A Toronto man is accused of bilking investors out of $1 million with a green energy scam. Durham Regional Police said the accused set up a company called Saunders Power Inc in Bowmanville, Ont., about 75 km east of Toronto, which he allegedly used to defraud 10 individuals and businesses between December 2009 and March 2012.
“The company was geared at manufacturing cork-screw style wind turbines capable of producing energy that could be sold back to the Ontario Power Authority for a lucrative profit,” police said Friday. “The accused allegedly produced forged documents and a fake licence to make the business appear legitimate.”
One of the investors became suspicious and contacted police in January, which prompted an investigation. Gregory Saunders was arrested at his home on Tuesday. The 56-year-old is charged with fraud over $5,000 and forgery.
Anyone with new information regarding this investigation should contact the Fraud Unit at 1-888-579-1520, ext. 5353, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS(8477).
September 10, 2012 MPP Lisa Thompson
(Queen’s Park)—Today, on the first day of the Fall Legislative Session, Lisa Thompson, MPP (Huron-Bruce) tabled four separate motions calling for a moratorium on further wind development in Ontario.
Thompson’s motions individually call upon the government to suspend all industrial wind turbine development in the province of Ontario until the federal health study is complete and the results are published, an economic viability study, an environmental impact study, and social health study has been completed.
“When the federal health study was announced, I promised that on the first day of the Fall Session I would stand up and table a motion for a moratorium,” said Thompson. “Instead, I tabled four strong motions calling upon the Liberal government to suspend wind development. It is about time they stood up for the people of rural Ontario who are concerned with the health, economic and environmental impacts of industrial wind turbines.” Continue reading
Oneworld Energy was the company behind the Zephyr Wind project in Brooke-Alvinston, Ontario.
“We regret to inform you that Oneworld Energy Inc. filed an assignment of bankruptcy on June 5, 2012 with the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy Estate 32-163280. All the remaining subsidiaries of Oneworld are dormant with no assets and/or also bankrupt.
As per Canadian bankruptcy law, creditors have been notified of the bankruptcy process. No funds are expected to be available for secured creditors, unsecured creditors or the shareholders of Oneworld. Shareholders are advised to contact their financial advisor regarding the tax treatment of their investments. Should you have any other queries, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
CTV News: “Four new factories, thousands of spinoff jobs and 900 new manufacturing jobs – that’s what the $7-billion Samsung agreement was supposed to deliver. But as CTV London’s Cristina Howorun has uncovered in this exclusive story, very few of those promises are being kept.
What do you get when you combine the Honeymoon Capital of the World, the Rose City and the Garden City together? The Green Energy Capital of Canada, of course.
On Thursday, in a 20-7 vote, regional council approved the Niagara region to be known as the Green Energy Capital of Canada, an idea proposed by Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati. The new title will come with signs being erected at key entry ways to Niagara in a new way to market the area, said Diodati.
“It’s not the only way, but one more way to market ourselves,” he said. “There’s a lot of green energy things happening here that just aren’t on the surface.” Diodati said while the hydroelectric history of Niagara Falls is the driving factor, solar power, wind power and energy efficient companies help with the self-proclaimed title.
He referenced Cytec as an example. The company, the largest producer of phosphine products in the world, is undergoing a $150 million expansion. “They make what is used in LED lights. That’s extremely green,” said Diodati.
The name isn’t because Niagara is affected by the greenbelt legislation, Diodati said, and was chosen after months of research. Places like James Bay and Vancouver were looked at for what green initiatives they were partaking in. “We have the Great Lakes, and there are great wind opportunities because of that. We are right beside Leamington — the most southern point in Canada — and there are great sunshine opportunities because of that,” he said. “We have the waterfalls and green-energy companies want to come here.” He noted Shanghai Taisheng Wind Power Equipment Co. Ltd. announced in June plans to produce wind-turbine parts in Thorold. Read article
Chuck Howitt, Guelph Mercury
WATERLOO REGION — Bill Mechar first noticed something was amiss when he received his electricity bill for December. The co-owner of Integrated Packaging Films near Ayr was looking forward to a lower charge than the previous month after the plant was shut down for a 10-day Christmas holiday. But when the bill arrived in January, Mechar couldn’t believe his eyes. “Our kilowatt hours were down considerably, but our bill went up from the previous month, which makes no sense.”
When he began digging into the issue further, he was alarmed to discover his hydro costs had been rising sharply since 2009. Integrated makes plastic sheeting out of used water bottles, pop bottles and other products made of PET plastic. Suppliers grind down the bottles into plastic flakes or pellets, and ship them to Integrated where they are melted in two giant extruders and shaped into large rolls of plastic film. The film is sold to customers in Canada and the U.S. who reshape it into plastic trays and containers for food products and plants.
Large and noisy, the 300 horsepower extruders are the main hydro users in the plant. In a recycling industry where margins are thin, they must run 24 hours a day seven days a week for the company to make a profit, says Mechar. Shutting them down for part of the day to save hydro costs is not an option, he says. Efforts to cut his bill through other means such as installing energy-efficient lighting resulted in minimal savings of about 10 per cent.
Mechar estimates his hydro costs have risen by 50 per cent since 2009. Last month, his electricity bill came to $53,000 and if rates don’t go down soon, his annual bill will top $600,000. read article
By JOHN MINER, The London Free Press 18 May 2012 ~~
Rose Vlemmic has one word to describe the giant wind turbines about to be built behind her Grand Bend home: Ugly. “It’s just ridiculous. We had our house up for sale, but who’s going to buy it with all these turbines?” she says.
Four years after building their dream home outside the resort village, Rose and her husband Ray have been jolted by news that four industrial wind turbines — 100 metres high — will go up on the farmland between their house and the village.
They’re not alone in their shock. As prolific as the often-unwanted wind farms already are in rural Ontario, the province hasn’t seen anything yet. While Ontario has 1,200 industrial wind turbines operating now, it has signed deals that’ll more than double that number in the next couple of years. read article
CBC News, 14 May 2012 ~~
The green energy sector has not delivered to Windsor the number of jobs several firms collectively promised during the last three years.
Through media releases, public announcements and media coverage of grand openings, CBC News has learned that eight companies promised they would fill up to 1,480 jobs in the alternative energy sector by the end of 2012. To date, three of those companies are operating in Windsor and employ approximately 262 people.
According to company spokesperson Patrick Persichilli, CS Wind currently employs 225 people. Schletter Canada, which manufactures solar panel mounting systems, employed 12 people in November of last year. It previously promised to hire 125.
Unconquered Sun confirmed Monday it has 25 employees but said in August 2011 it would double that number by the end of this year.
In an email to CBC News, Unconquered Sun CEO Sean Moore said he is in the process of hiring an additional 10 employees. “We have another planned expansion in July and will be hiring more at that time,” he wrote.
Moore’s company has diversified into manufacturing solar powered golf carts and pool pumps. “We’re not stacking panels in the corner and waiting for the phone to ring,” Moore said.
WindTronics, Siliken and Unisolar of LaSalle have closed up shop and left, leaving 480 promised jobs unfilled. Solar Source Corporation and Algatec were to collectively bring 400 jobs to the region but never came. read article
By Richard Blackwell, Globe and Mail
In late 2007 and early 2008, the global renewable energy sector seemed on the cusp of a golden age, as investors pushed the price of big, multinational players in the green-tech space to record highs. Four years later most of those large companies – mainly solar cell makers and wind turbine manufacturers – are trading at a fraction of their peak levels. A perfect storm of bad news has sent even the most solid stocks into the doldrums, and there seems to be little prospect they’ll soon recover their earlier heights. Read article
“The theory is that if new industries that are not competitive are subsidized they will eventually mature and be able to function on their own. The problem with that theory is that kids never grow up and leave home.” ~Dr. Glenn Fox
By John Phair, Today’s Farmer
GUELPH – An economist at the University of Guelph says if Ontario’s experiment with green energy is similar to what’s happened in the European Union (EU), the province can look forward to higher taxes, a net loss of jobs, and little difference in terms of green house gas emissions.
Speaking at the Canadian Association of Farm Advisors’ annual conference on June 2, Dr. Glenn Fox said the economic model for Ontario’s Green Energy Act is not sustainable and has many implications for rural Ontario. Read the entire article here
“Japan has given up direct attempts to resolve a spat over an Ontario scheme that guarantees prices for renewable energy as long as it is generated with Canadian-made equipment, Japan’s ambassador to the WTO said in a letter to the chairman of the WTO’s disputes division.”
“Japan says that an environmental scheme operated by the Ontario provincial government violates Canada’s obligations as a WTO member.” Read the entire article here
Svea Herbstbayliss & Matthew Goldstein, Financial Post
NEW YORK . Famed shortseller Jim Chanos on Wednesday threw cold water on alternative energy companies, saying that shares in wind turbine maker Vestas Wind Systems AS and solar-panel maker First Solar Inc. likely will fall.
Mr. Chanos said solar and wind energy are not the panacea that many predict. He doubts the technologies will be that successful or create all the jobs that politicians have predicted. Continue reading
McGuinty Liberals put all our eggs in a fake industry
Bloomberg news reports that investments in wind farms, solar parks and other “clean energy” projects have plummeted since European governments announced they would reduce the inflated, guaranteed prices they pay for power from alternative sources.
New investment in renewable energy dropped to the lowest in two years in the first quarter, weighed down by low natural gas prices in the U.S. and subsidy cuts in Europe, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said. Continue reading
By Richard Blackwell, Globe and Mail
Ontario’s decision to put the brakes on all offshore wind power is drawing criticism from businesses behind several major wind projects in the province.
Executives in the renewable sector say the province’s dramatic reversal, which effectively killed offshore plans, is highly damaging to Ontario’s reputation as a leader in renewable energy. It also risks denting investment in an industry that was on the upswing as a result of the province’s green-energy policies. Read the article here
In a case eerily similar to the Onco Petroleum collapse, investors have lost more than $20 million they poured into Echo Energy Inc., a London-based oil and gas exploration firm that drilled near Port Burwell.
Chuck Edey, who followed Conn as president at Echo and backs Fuda, had a simple answer when asked why Echo failed: “There wasn’t the gas there that people thought there was.” Edey said he’s relying on the courts to sort out the Echo collapse.
“I’d like to believe that after the receiver’s done, the Fuda faction and the Conn faction will sit in court and determine who is accountable for what happened,” he said. In the meantime, Edey, who is also president of Leader Resources, a wind power company, is managing Echo for court-appointed receiver KPMG.
Read entire article here: London Free Press
Governments, investors and even the World Bank are rushing for the exits in the Great Escape from the green energy bubble.
Solar energy appears to be the worst affected sector so far. Dow Jones reports on a startling U-turn by Britain’s ultra-green government has caught investors off guard and shock waves across the markets will likely precipitate the further rush from green energy projects to shale gas. Continue reading
Lee Greenberg, Postmedia News, Financial Post
TORONTO — Ontario’s plan to incite a homegrown green energy industry has stalled, industry experts say, as the plan is plagued by political doubt ahead of this fall’s provincial election.
Several factors are stirring marketplace jitters, including unhappy noises from the opposition Conservative party, international opposition to buy-local provisions in the plan and increasing hostility to wind turbines in rural Ontario. Continue reading
So what is Mr. Pickens planning to do with all the wind turbines he ordered? He’s hoping to foist them on ratepayers in [Ontario] Canada, because that country has mandates that require consumers to buy more expensive renewable electricity.
By Robert Bryce, Wall Street Journal
After 30 months, countless TV appearances, and $80 million spent on an extravagant PR campaign, T. Boone Pickens has finally admitted the obvious: The wind energy business isn’t a very good one.
The Dallas-based entrepreneur, who has relentlessly promoted his “Pickens Plan” since July 4, 2008, announced earlier this month that he’s abandoning the wind business to focus on natural gas. Continue reading