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

Ontario’s Electricity Export “Profits”

MPP Bob ChiarelliTVO – the Agenda
At the beginning of December, Ontario’s Liberal government released its new Long Term Energy Plan. Bob Chiarelli, the minister of energy, sat down with Steve Paikin to discuss the government’s new direction. During that conversation, he stated that “since 2008, the province of Ontario – and you can verify it with the IESO – has made a $6 billion profit on the trading of electricity.” You can view it here, just after the 4:55 mark. (see video here)

Here’s what happened on Twitter in response. It started with a tweet from Tom Adams, an independent energy advisor, that was retweeted by Steve: (see here)

Since the minister himself said it could be verified directly with IESO, I contacted them to do just that. And as it turns out, they could not verify that figure. It was an error, one that their CEO has made, which was quoted in the Sun story mentioned in the Twitter conversation and also apparently to the minister himself. Read article

Opponents not buying into Liberal’s long-term energy plan

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASarnia Observer
The Ontario Liberal Party’s opponents in Sarnia-Lambton aren’t impressed with the recent update of the province’s long-term energy plan. It predicts the average monthly residential bill of $125 will rise to $178 within five years, a 42% hike, as Ontario stops burning coal, goes ahead with refurbishing the Bruce and Darlington nuclear stations and continues adding renewable energy, such as wind turbines and biomass.

“I think it’s unfortunate that ratepayers aren’t going to see any break,” said Brian White, president of the Sarnia-Lambton NDP riding association, and a former candidate. It is only getting worse, he said.

“The approach of putting private corporations first, who stand to profit from the Green Energy Act, and who stand to profit from delivering power to Ontarians, is continuing to be the Liberal priority.” Read article

Energy lessons from Liberals absolute insult

ChiarelliJim Merriam, Toronto Sun
I’d hate to have Bob Chiarelli’s nerve in a tooth. Chiarelli is Ontario’s energy minister. This week he pretty much told residents of the province to quit their whining and figure out ways to reduce their own electricity use and therefore their power bills. Now there’s absolutely nothing wrong with each of us trying to cut costs through energy conservation.

But it is totally unfair that we have to wear mitts and a toque to watch Duck Dynasty while at least two of Chiarelli’s compatriots enjoy all the spoils of being members of the legislature at our expense.

Remember, the Liberals bought wins in a handful of ridings in the last election with $1.1 billion of our money by moving power plants out of Oakville and Mississauga where the residents didn’t care for them.

The minister essentially thumbed his nose at any concerns we might have about that and at consumers in general when he announced a new program called “Empowering Consumers Through Energy Literacy.” The subhead: “Province launches new interactive resource.” Read article

Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli answers turbine questions

ChiarelliPetrolia Independant
Editor’s note: The Independent recently requested an interview with Ontario Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli about the concerns about industrial wind turbines. We submitted five questions and here are the unedited responses forwarded by the minister’s office.

When will the province outline how it will handle FIT program?
The Large Feed-in Tariff (FIT) program is being replaced with a new competitive procurement process for renewable energy projects.  We asked the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) to develop a new competitive procurement process for future renewable energy projects larger than 500 kW, which will take into account local needs and considerations before contracts are offered.

The OPA has engaged with the public, municipalities, Aboriginal communities and other stakeholders to help inform the identification of appropriate locations and siting requirements for future renewable energy projects.  The OPA has reported back to the government with interim recommendations and additional engagement activities will occur later this year.

We need to make sure our approach is balanced and considers the views of local communities while ensuring the long-term sustainability of Ontario’s electricity system. We expect to have more information on this once the province has updated its Long-Term Energy Plan later this year. Read article

Mothers Against Wind Turbines meet with Chiarelli

mothers agaisnt wind turbinesAfter reading a press release that Minister Chiarelli would be at the Babcock and Wilcox Nuclear facility on Monday Sept 16th, the Mothers Against Wind Turbines decided to drive up to Cambridge. Upon arriving at the event, Marianne Kidd explained to Minister Chiarelli’s aide that our group of Mothers had driven up from the Haldimand/West Lincoln area in order to get some of the Minister’s time to discuss our concerns. After some back and forth, including an attempted kick out by security, the Minister’s aide agreed to give us 5 mins if there was time after the tour.

While waiting in a room away from the “Media”, we questioned whether the meeting would actually happen…but true to their word, the Minister came in to meet with us for what turned out to be approx 15mins. Continue reading

Chiarelli avoids answering tough question (from a 7 year old)

letter

When Clara is asked to answer a question in school, she does.

When Clara asks the Energy Minister to answer a question (late last year)…. well, he doesn’t, and then he quits. Then the next Energy Minister doesn’t…and when it is sent to him via hand delivery from his Deputy Minister, he finally responds… but doesn’t answer the question.

As Clara’s older brother would say, Min. Chiarelli, this letter is an “epic FAIL“. Really, “Thank you for your interest in clean energy”?? Bob, thirty-seven wind turbines were just approved to surround this kid’s home and school. Whether you realize it or not, your letter just told her that you don’t like people, cows and birds… that’s why your government is pushing these machines on us and our environment. Otherwise you would have answered her question with a simple “yes”.

Clara-Chiarelli2013_08_31_16_57_32

Municipalities won’t get a veto on wind turbines: Ontario energy minister

imagesBy Laura Beaulne-Stuebing, iPolitics

A growing list of Ontario municipalities say they don’t want wind turbines in their communities, but the province’s energy minister isn’t about to give them a veto on new green energy projects.

Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli says it’s a very “active public policy issue” in Ontario, one that’s complicated and will take a longterm strategy to solve.

Speaking to the Association of Municipalities of Ontario(AMO) in Ottawa Tuesday, Chiarelli said, “We do not believe in an absolute veto for municipalities because there is a responsibility of the municipal sector, whether it’s landfill, whether it’s transmission lines, to participate in the obligation and responsibility to have an energy system that makes sense.”

The energy minister, along with twenty-one other provincial cabinet members, including the premier, took part in what was dubbed the ‘bear pit’ session of the three-day conference Tuesday afternoon. Read article

Reviewing Ontario’s Long-Term Energy “Plan”

A GOOD time to PROTEST Ministry of Energy!!! ( 7-9pm)
Ministry of Energy
Continue reading

Ministry of Energy Directive to OPA on FiT

Ministry of Energy

OSEA likes gag clauses and controlled input for Advisory Panel

gagged_free-speechUnlike the microFIT Program Advisory Panel, Terms of Reference, September 2010, the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association (OSEA) wants to include a vast number of members that still excludes the Ministry of Health, and any public anti-wind organization, in both the FIT Advisory Panel and the “Community Energy Advisory Panel” – the latter panel the ones to review a so called “Community Energy Plan” as announced by the Liberals. Note also that the developers, through this organization, would be at every panel level of the program.

Read the June 7th, 2013 letter here:
OSEA recommendations to Minister of Energy on Small FIT process
Interesting to note are the last paragraphs in the power authority memo and the OSEA recommendations for gagging everyone: “All members of the Advisory Panel and their designated alternates must keep the proceedings of the panel in strict confidence and will be required to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Any violation of the non-disclosure agreement would be treated as a serious matter and would, at a minimum, result in immediate dismissal from the Advisory Panel.”

Lisa Thompson Questions Minister of Energy on Energy Announcement

Green energy changes not retroactive: Minister

MPP Bob ChiarelliNiagara Falls Review
NIAGARA FALLS – Local governments will get a voice in major new wind and solar projects, says Ontario Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli — but the existing ones are set in stone. Chiarelli announced Thursday the province will replace the existing feed-in tariff procurement process with a new system giving municipalities a say on where turbines go and whether they want them.

But, speaking to reporters at the Canadian Solar Industries Association’s Solar Ontario conference in Niagara Falls, he said contracts already awarded for wind projects can’t be changed without risking pricy legal battles. “We cannot continue to do what was done in Oakville and Mississauga,” he said. The government racked up massive fees slashing two gas plants there.

But the announcement stung for Wainfleet Mayor April Jeffs, whose township has clashed against a planned wind development. She said she came in cautiously optimistic but left dismayed. “We knew it wasn’t going to be ideal, but I thought we were going to be able to take away something from this,” she said. “From what I’m hearing, we’ll get nothing.” Read article

Chiarelli’s lame-assed response to your letters and concerns on wind turbines

BentleyRemember the visit to Chris Bentley’s office, that finally gave us a ‘meeting’ with him, where we delivered 300 letters from across Ontario, and Chris promised he would respond to all the letters?

Well I didn’t get a response. I know Clara didn’t get one (and she’s right ticked off). MPP Monte McNaughton wrote the new Energy Minister MPP Bob ChiarelliChiarelli asking why this was so.

Bentley flew the coop, and Chiarelli doesn’t deal with something he views as important as chicken shit, so he wrote this:

letter from energy minister

Chiarelli: “FIT program is here to stay” (but the Liberals aren’t…so maybe not)

MPP Bob ChiarelliBy Geoff Zochodne, The Oshawa Express
Ontario’s minister of energy visited the campus of Durham College recently, promising students training for jobs in the renewable energy sector that creating those jobs continues to be a priority for the provincial government. Minister Bob Chiarelli toured the school’s campus with Ajax-Pickering MPP Joe Dickson to see what the school is doing in terms of renewable energy training. The minister praised the school for being at the “forefront” of the green energy industry. He also pledged the provincial government would continue to support the green sector the students are trying to enter.

There is a need to “fine-tune” some of the programs, admitted the minister, before stating firmly the government is committed to the FIT (Feed-In Tariff) program and the renewable energy sector in general. “I know that there’s a lot of debate and controversy, in the media, about wind and sometimes solar,” says Minister Chiarelli, “but I certainly want to reassure everybody in this room today that the FIT program is here to stay.” Read article

Long-term energy plan to get updates

MPP Bob ChiarelliPower Engineering
Three years after its unveiling, Ontario will take another look at its 20-year energy plan for the province. But Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli said not to expect “revolutionary” change in current policy. That includes significant investment in nuclear power, with provincially owned Ontario Power Generation poised to make multi-billion-dollar decisions about its nuclear plants. Nor will the province back away from its commitment to renewable power, Chiarelli said following a speech to the Ontario Power Conference.

The plan, presented in 2010, called for a significant boost in renewable power – with wind alone generating 10 per cent of the province’s electricity by 2030. It also said nuclear plants should continue to supply about half Ontario’s power. But with the Pickering nuclear station expected to close by about 2020 and the Darlington station in dire need a mid-life refit, maintaining that output will require massive investment.

Ontario Power Generation proposes to spend many billions of dollars – precise cost estimates haven’t been made – in overhauling Darlington. It also proposes to build two new nuclear units at the station. Chiarelli said those plans probably won’t be affected by the energy plan review. “It’s not likely that there will be major changes in the base nuclear policy,” he said. “There may be some adjustments to it in some ways, but not likely significant, revolutionary change in the plan going forward.”

He gave the same answer for renewable power such as wind and solar. “At this point in time the government is very committed continuing going forward with renewables,” he said. Read article

MPP McNaughton Pushes For Reply To Unanswered Wind Letters

EnergyMinLettersApril 15, 2013
PC MPP Delivered Hundreds of Unanswered Letters to Minister of Energy Today.
(Queen’s Park, ON) – 
Lambton-Kent-Middlesex PC MPP Monte McNaughton is pressing new Liberal Minister of Energy Bob Chiarelli to respond to hundreds of unanswered letters and emails from constituents and residents across Ontario. McNaughton delivered the file of unanswered letters to Chiarelli in the house this morning.

“Coming from a family business and one where customer service is paramount, I find this to be completely and totally unacceptable,” said MPP McNaughton. “Our constituents deserve answers, especially when they have taken the time to write and express their concerns or ask important questions. For a minister of the crown to simply choose to ignore these letters is not acceptable and is not right.”

The letters raise important questions and concerns about the Liberal efforts to encourage further development of industrial wind turbines. MPP McNaughton and the Ontario PCs continue to push for changes to the Liberals failed green energy act and costly FIT program. McNaughton will support MPP Lisa Thompson’s Bill 39 the ‘Ensuring Affordable Energy Act, 2013’ when it comes to a vote on April 18. Continue reading

Electricity prices for households and small business consumers go up, again

Time-of-use prices as of May 1, 2013:

Category Time(s) Price Change
Off-peak Weekdays 7pm-7am

All day weekends and holidays

6.7 ¢/kWh UP 0.4 cent
Mid-peak Weekdays 7-11am and 5-7pm 10.4 ¢/kWh UP 0.5 cent
Peak Weekdays 11am-5pm 12.4 ¢/kWh UP 0.6 cent

Hmm…OPA says they don’t have a map of the wind projects either… the search continues

question-markThe OPA does not currently have a map of all OPA contracted wind facilities.

There is a map of renewable generation on the Ministry of Energy’s website, however, it does not list all OPA contracted facilities, as well, it lists certain projects that are not contracted by the OPA. This is not an OPA map so we cannot verify it’s accuracy.

http://www.energy.gov.on.ca/en/ontarios-electricity-system/new-energy-projects/

Best regards,
The microFIT Team

PC’s introduce “Ensuring Affordable Energy Act”

Lisa ThomsonMPP Lisa Thompson
You have been clear—and Ontario PC Leader Tim Hudak and the PC Caucus has listened. We need to do something immediately about industrial wind turbines in our communities.

I was proud to introduce the Ensuring Affordable Energy Act today.

We know that energy issues; particularly wind turbine issues have been of great concern in many communities, including my own riding of Huron-Bruce. The Ensuring Affordable Energy Act addresses many of these issues.

The Ensuring Affordable Energy Act contains six key pillars:

  • Wind turbines will only be placed in willing host communities, and municipalities will be given full veto over wind turbine projects in their communities;
  • Wind power must be affordable—meaning the cost per kilowatt hour must line up with other sources of generation;
  • The costly feed-in tariff (FIT) program will be eliminated;
  • Municipalities will have the ability to decide whether or not they want to promote wind energy;
  • The Niagara Escarpment and the Oak Ridges Moraine will be protected from wind turbines; and
  • Municipalities will receive their planning powers for renewable energy back Continue reading

We don’t thank you, Mr. Bentley. We don’t thank you.

Anyone get a response from Chris Bentley to your questions and concerns on wind developments?
He retires today, conveniently.



Province knew about health effects from turbines

dv540014Niagara This Week
Documents released through a Freedom of Information request from an Orangeville resident reveal the government was aware of adverse health effects caused by industrial wind turbines as far back as 2006. While Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak says he is not shocked to learn the government kept this information from the public in relation to the 200-megaWatt Melancthon EcoPower Centre (located in Amaranth and Melancthon Township, near Shelburne, Ont.), he says he is disappointed.

“I wasn’t surprised. Concerns have been raised across Ontario and in other jurisdictions,” says Hudak, whose own riding of Niagara West-Glanbrook is poised for the installation of several industrial wind turbines. “What it is, is disappointing. It appears as through they were trying to cover something up.”

In the released document, ministry officials report “complaints of adverse health effects by area residents are for the most part justified. “MOE Provincial Officers have attended at several of the complainant’s [sic] residences and have confirmed that despite the noise emissions apparently complying with the applicable standard … that the noise emissions are in fact causing material discomfort to the residents in and around their homes,” reads the document, written by provincial officer Gary Tomlinson. Read article

Energy boss Bob Chiarelli may yet burn on hot seat

By Greg Van Moorsel, The London Free Press
MPP Bob ChiarelliFlorida used to have a notorious, malfunctioning electric chair. Affectionately known as ‘Old Sparky,’ it grabbed headlines for setting the odd condemned person on fire. Ontario also has such a device, the energy minister’s seat at the provincial cabinet table. Call it a political death chair. When rookie Premier Kathleen Wynne introduced her first cabinet Monday, Ottawa MPP Bob Chiarelli found himself in the energy hot seat. He may yet have to be strapped in.

Energy has been a red-hot file for the Liberals, and for every recent Ontario government, because politicians have insisted on playing politics with power — from freezing rates for political advantage, to coddling the old Ontario Hydro’s empire builders. For the Liberals, the difference now is no one can afford those costly indulgences — certainly not the province, with its $12 billion budget shortfall, nor taxpayers or electricity consumers. Not the Grits, either — not if Wynne hopes to do better than cling to power by her fingernails with her fragile minority government.

We saw the damaging effects of treating electricity like a political play toy during the gas-plants scandal last fall. As the heat grew on the government over the fiasco, Dalton McGuinty abruptly shut down the legislature and announced his departure from office after nine years. That led to Wynne being crowned the handoff premier last month. Read article

Bentley’s successor will face contempt charges

BentleyNorman DeBono, London Free Press
Contempt charges levelled by the Progressive Conservative party against Chris Bentley will not follow him into private life, the Tory energy critic said Friday after the London West MPP’s surprise resignation announcement. The Conservatives have charged Bentley with contempt, saying as Energy Minister he didn’t release all documents pertaining to cancellation of new energy plants in Liberal ridings in Oakville and Mississauga before the last election.

Bentley announced Friday he is resigning his seat effective Feb. 14. That means his successor will face the charges, not Bentley, said Victor Fedeli, Tory MPP for Nipissing. “We’re going ahead with the charges against the minister, not him personally,” he said. “It’s the position that is charged, not the individual.”

Bentley didn’t address the power plant issue specifically during his news conference Friday at the former Normal School, but he did talk about some of the challenges he faced in nearly a decade as an MPP and cabinet minister. “There have been many challenging issues I have confronted over the past 9½ years, some in the last year,” he said. “Not every day is as bright as you hope it will be . . . I have confronted challenges just as I confronted opportunities, with determination to find a resolution for those I serve.” Read article

Energy Minister Chris Bentley resigning Feb 14

chris-bentley-attorney-generalLondon Free Press
London West MPP and provincial Energy Minister Chris Bentley is quitting. Bentley announced Friday morning that he will resign his seat in the legislature on Feb. 14. Here is the statement Bentley released. February 8, 2013

Dear Constituents:It has been an honour to serve you as your MPP since October, 2003, and to have served in the Cabinet for the same period. Every day I have worked hard to live up to the trust you have placed in me. We have accomplished a great deal together. Although it is a hard decision, it is time. I will be resigning my seat on February 14. It is time to start writing the next chapter in my life, one with more room for my wife Wendy, and my daughters Julia and Jocelyn. Read article

Open Letter from Lisa Thompson, MPP to Dr. Arlene King

Dr. Arlene King continues to ignore the issue

Dr. Arlene King continues to ignore the issue

Dear Dr. King:
I am writing to you today to express my growing apprehension over the revelations arising from recent Freedom of Information requests that were released. In November 2012, emails from the Ministry of the Environment, released through the FOI process, reveal that provincial field officers had confirmed adverse health effects from wind turbine noise as far back as 2009, and were working on an abatement plan to assist affected residents. The released documents indicate that, in response to a redacted email from government staff, the MOE officers agreed to stand down.

I also have concerns with another FOI document I received, in which Q&A’s were prepared in response to your report, The Potential Health Effects of Wind Turbines. In one section of these Q&A’s, the track changes indicated that you should “add the word direct as studies would show a link through annoyance.” As the Chief Medical Officer of Health, I am sure you are aware that the World Health Organization has determined that annoyance is a health effect of wind turbines. Continue reading

Liberals’s green act showing its true colours

EAGLE NEST POSTER-F 8.5x11

 

Bureaucrats ignored advice from biologist to leave eagle’s nest and move wind turbine in Haldimand County

IMG_1330By Jonathan Sher, The London Free Press
He’s the leading expert on bald eagles in southern Ontario, someone Ontario bureaucrats call on for guidance — most recently, when a relatively rare eagle nest was found near the site of a planned wind turbine.

But when biologist Jody Allair told bureaucrats to protect the nest and move the turbine, they did the opposite, defending their stance on what Allmair says are shaky grounds.

“I was surprised and disappointed,” said Allair, who heads the Southern Ontario Bald Eagle Monitoring Program for Bird Studies Canada.

The nest in Fisherville, in Haldimand County, was suspected as far back as the summer but it was early November, after leaves fell, that residents began phoning and the Natural Resources Ministry asked Allair to confirm it was an active nest — and it was.

The nest, just 20 metres from the planned turbine, was likely hundreds of pounds — a bald eagle’s nest can be as big as 3 tonnes.

“Any time there’s a new nest, that’s a cause for celebration,” Allair said. “I recommended strongly that the nest needed be left alone, the turbine needed to be moved and a buffer had to be created.”

But while Allair thought the nest would be saved and the planned turbine moved from plans that placed it 20 m away, the ministry decided otherwise, issuing behind closed doors a permit Dec. 31 to allow NextEra Canada to remove it to build a 56-turbine wind farm that will produce enough electricity to power 32,000 homes.

Four days later — and just one day before the nest was removed — the ministry reported the permits and the reasons for issuing it on Ontario’s environmental registry.

The ministry wrote it was important to expand clean and renewable sources of energy — subsidized by taxpayers — and that the eagles could relocate in time to nest and law eggs — something Allair says is far from certain.

“It’s possible the nesting season is lost,” he said. Read article

CTV News: Municipal officials speak out about wind turbines

CTV NEWSCTV2

Eagles nest removal ignores Environment Commissioner

turbines-birdsFor immediate release: January 9, 2013
MPP Barrett questions decision making behind habitat destruction
Queens Park – Ontario residents concerned about the removal of an eagles nest to make way for wind towers weren’t the only ones shut out from the decision making that saw the host tree quickly removed over the weekend. Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett says recommendations of the government’s own Environmental Commissioner were overlooked in the rush to judgement to remove the home of nesting eagles east of Selkirk.

“It was just three months ago that Environmental Commissioner Gord Miller told us, ‘The Ontario government should put additional areas of the province off-limits to wind power projects to safeguard birds, bats and their habitats’,” Barrett reported. “Instead of moving additional areas off-limits to protect birds and their habitats, government has re-moved a key part of their habitat itself.”

In Part 2 of his 2011/2012 Annual Report, Losing Our Touch, Gord Miller goes on to note significant shortcomings in the guidelines that continue to put birds and bats at risk:

“•Development in Important Bird Areas not prohibited: Important Bird Areas are designated, using internationally accepted standards, as key areas supporting specific groups of birds. There are no special rules to prevent wind power development in Ontario’s 70 Important Bird Areas. Continue reading