Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne attributes byelection loss to rising Hydro rates

wynneCity Centre Mirror, By David Nickle
The Ontario Liberals’ loss in Scarborough-Rouge River last week was largely a symptom of rising electricity rates, said Premier Kathleen Wynne at a media availability Wednesday, Sept. 7. Toronto Councillor Raymond Cho won the Sept. 1 byelection for the Progressive Conservatives—taking the riding most recently held by former Liberal MPP Bas Balkisoon from the Liberals for the first time since the 1990s.

Wynne expressed her disappointment with the loss on election night—and at Queen’s Park following a meeting with Toronto Mayor John Tory, reiterated her views that frustration with rising electricity rates helped power Cho’s surge in the polls.

“We heard concerns at the door in Scarborough-Rouge River and frankly those concerns we have to take to heart and we have to use them to inform our actions going forward,” said Wynne. “And one of the things we heard most consistently was Hydro rates.”

Wynne said that she had heard the same thing from northern Ontario residents during a summer trip through James Bay.

“I heard the same thing about electricity rates in the north,” she said. “It’s not something isolated. I recognize that the investments that we made in the electricity sector by building out the infrastructure, bringing the system up to standards, have caused this.” Read article

The Right to Know: Releasing Wind Turbine Bird & Bat Death Data

red-tailed-hawk1Yesterday I expected to hear of an “Appeal” (we all detest that word now, don’t we) of the Freedom of Information (FOI) request I filed for the Bird and Bat Mortality Reports for three of NextEra Energy’s wind projects several months ago. NextEra had asked the FOI office for extra time to file this appeal, and it had been granted, the deadline being yesterday. But instead, and to my great surprise, a letter came from the FOI office and I could distinctly feel a CD case in it – Oh ya! If it was a “mid-summer-everyones-on-vacation” mistake to send these to me, I don’t want to know about it.

Google Drive Bird Bat Mortality ReportsHere they are: Bird Bat Mortality Reports for NextEra’s Bornish, Adelaide and Summerhaven (more on what they contain in upcoming posts).

I’ve uploaded these documents (and 45 more!) to a public Google Drive folder that anyone can access, view and download. This was the whole point – to make these documents public because our government and the wind companies won’t! Bring some transparency to the bird and bat deaths in Canada! Hold these bloody wind companies accountable for the wildlife slaughter they getting away with! [Keep in mind that this is only partial transparency because the collections and reports are NOT conducted by a third party and are designed to miss a very large portion of the actual deaths. It’s a start, but it’s not the full story by a long shot]

Bird Bat Mortality Monitoring

Google Drive Bird Bat Mortality Reports icons

Recently we filed FOI’s for the rest of the wind turbine Bird/Bat Mortality Reports in Ontario, and Nova Scotia. Some companies in Nova Scotia actually post their reports on their company websites, but those tend to be the smaller co-ops, never the Big Wind companies. New Brunswick, by the way, just sent them to us without us needing to do an FOI. I like that process much better.

Get your reading glasses out and start ripping through these reports. If you are a lawyer, or a reporter, or a biologist, or a birder – we all need your insight and expertise. And if anyone comes across more reports, send them along and I’ll post them.

The other day a helpful contact wrote this to me:

“These are public trust resources being killed. And the public has a right to know.”

I’ll add that it is also our duty to protect them from our own destructive kind in whatever way we can.

~Esther Wrightman

Ministry only obliged to collect carcasses for three years, says group opposing wind developments

birdbatmortalitychartLondon Free Press, John Miner
A last-ditch attempt to stop an Oxford County wind farm, based on damage it will do to an endangered species, has run into a wall. The East Oxford Alliance citizen’s group filed an urgent request last week with Environment Minister Glen Murray to stop the Gunn’s Hill Wind Farm because the project will kill little brown bats, a species whose numbers are plunging across North America and is now on Ontario’s and Canada’s endangered lists.

red-tailed-hawk1In a written reply on the minister’s behalf, the director of the ministry’s environmental approvals branch said it is the ministry’s priority to ensure renewable energy projects are developed in a way that will protect human health and the environment. In the case of wind power, clear rules have been established to protect birds, bats and their habitats, Kathleen Hedley wrote.

The Gunn’s Hill Wind Farm, a 10-turbine project in Norwich Township, is required to conduct mortality surveys for at least three years after it starts up. “If thresholds of bird and/or bat mortality are reached, contingency plans can be put in place to reduce impacts and additional monitoring is conducted to ensure the contingency plans are effective,” Hedley wrote.

Disappointed alliance member John Eacott said the bottom line is the wind power company is just required to collect bat and bird carcasses for three years before taking action: “This is the clear rules that Ontario has established — nothing has to be done.” Read article

Ontario wind turbine developers killing endangered birds and bats, with impunity

dead-bird-1024x560Bird Studies Canada quietly released a summary of bird and bat kills a few days ago. It doesn’t include last year’s toll on the avian population, but it gives you a good idea of where it’s headed – for a cliff. As you have probably noticed, this item hasn’t made the mainstream news in any way, shape, or form.

Even though the “Top 15 Hit List” consists of threatened swallows, tiny kinglets, scarce hawks and purple martins… not the common and introduced birds wind companies put on their open-house posters (i.e. house sparrows).
top15ONbirdkillBSC

Even though Ontario avian mortality rates have skyrocketed for both bats and birds in recent years. 40,833 bat deaths. 14,144 bird deaths. 462 raptor deaths.

birdbatmortalitychart

 

Even though bat kill averages grossly exceed the MNRF allowable limit. On average they are killing almost double the bats in Ontario than supposedly permitted (although, who’s watching?).

  • Average # of bats killed by just one Ontario wind turbine: 18.52.batmortality
  • Amount supposedly allowed by MNRF per wind turbine: 10.  Bat mortality threshold

Think about that.

Even though the Barn Swallow (a threatened species) is one of the top 15 birds found killed by wind turbines.barn swallow

Even though the Red-tailed Hawk is the sixth most likely bird to be killed in Ontario by a wind turbine.

red-tailed-hawk1

Even though three of the bat species killed by wind turbines are listed as endangered. Does it count as a violation to kill an endangered species if you are a … wind developer? Apparently not. Continue reading

Hydro horror stories: tales from rural Ontario

turbine-and-truthGlobal News, Brian Hill
Residents of rural Ontario are outraged by ever-increasing hydro bills and the constant threat of disconnection. Facing an unresponsive utility provider, Hydro One customers from across the province are speaking out.

In the past three days alone, Global News has received more than 400 emails and messages from concerned Ontarians frustrated by the lack of government transparency and the apparent disregard with which industry regulators treat their concerns.

In their own words, read how the hopes and dreams of some rural Ontarians have become complete hydro nightmares.

Lindsay Ambeault, Sault Saint-Marie, Ont.

My husband and I have four children. One with autism. We have had to learn to eat only using $200 a month. Two of our children are in diapers – imagine the cost. We get the disconnection notice EVERY month and are behind approximately $1,000. I feel as though we work just to pay PUC. It is ridiculous!

Matt Grassie, Peterborough, Ont.

I live just outside the city of Peterborough Ont., and I am impacted greatly by the cost of hydro.

My bills are OVER $600 a month, but I have seen bills in recent years over $1,000 a month. I have suffered disconnections in the past, the worst one being on Remembrance Day while I was at the Remembrance Day Service paying my respects (I am a Canadian Forces Veteran). Even with the banks closed, I managed to get them their money. They took two days to reconnect me. We are on electric heat, and our water pipes nearly froze because of sub-zero temperatures. Read more

NextEra’s wind turbines kill at least 16 raptors per year in SW Ontario

trade secretsHas anyone mentioned recently how many birds or bats are found dead around the bases of operating wind turbines in Ontario? Like say… the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, or how about Bird Studies Canada? Or maybe even one of the many wind companies in this province that have to collect the bodies? Surely with these hundreds of turbines in operation there would be a news article, or a report released with all the data…?

Of course not, because to talk about the bloody details of bird and bat deaths from wind turbines would just lead to a sorry black eye on such a glowingly green and pristine industry.

Bats killed HaldimandA week ago I was supposed to find out whether NextEra filed an appeal to my Freedom of Information request for three of their wind project’s Bird and Bat Mortality Reports. Nobody called, and nothing arrived in the mail, so I called in this morning. Turns out that even though NextEra had 30 days to file an appeal, they asked for a little more time. And in order to get what they wanted they pointed out a ‘clerical error’ that the FOI office made and this bought them that 30 additional days to file an appeal.

The important message out of this is that NextEra is appealing the FOI office’s decision to release these reports. They don’t want the public to see just how many Purple Martins they killed in Haldimand Cty, or what kind of raptors (Bald Eagles?) they killed in each of their projects. They must think the public can’t responsibly handle that kind of information. Or perhaps they are claiming it’s a ‘trade secret’ like Iberdrola did in Ohio. We won’t know what their official excuse is for another month. Continue reading

Turtles topple turbines as ERT revokes project approval

sign blanding turtleCounty Live
The County’s Blandings turtles, and nature in general, are victorious in the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists’ more than six-year battle to protect the south shore of Prince Edward County.

The Environmental Review Tribunal in the Ostrander Point industrial wind turbine hearing has decided “remedies proposed by Gilead Power Corporation and the Director (MOEE) are not appropriate” and has revoked the Renewable Energy Approval for the nine turbine project.

“The tribunal decision says that no matter how important renewable energy is to our future it does not automatically override the public interest in protecting against other environmental harm such as the habitat of species at risk,” says Myrna Wood, president of the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists. “This was the basis of PECFN’s appeal. This decision not only protects the Blanding’s turtle but also the staging area for millions of migrating birds and bats and the Monarch butterflies.”

In their decision, ERT vice-chairs Heather Gibbs and Robert Wright state “The Tribunal finds that to proceed with the project, when it will cause serious and irreversible harm to animal life, a species at risk and its habitat, is not consistent with the general and renewable energy approval purposes of the Environmental Protection Act, protection and conservation of the natural environment and protection and conservation of the environment, nor does it serve the public interest.

“In this particular case, preventing such harm outweighs the policy of promoting renewable energy through this nine wind turbine project in this location.” Read article

The Liberal Party has Received over $1.3 million from 30 Renewable Energy Companies

Wind company, Ontario government had cozy relationship until deal fell apart

Art by Paul Bloomer, The Money Counters

Art by Paul Bloomer, The Money Counters

David Reevely, Ottawa Citizen
The Ontario government’s decision to ditch its plan for wind farms in the Great Lakes seems to have been made all the more awkward by the lobbyist-lubricated relationship the province had developed with the company that wanted to build one of the biggest.

The company was Windstream Energy, which is seeking as much as $568 million in damages on the grounds that the government mistreated it because it’s backed by American money, which would be a violation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

But back when it seemed to be well on its way to building a wind farm in the water off Kingston, Windstream had a lobbyist named Chris Benedetti helping it along. Benedetti is a specialist in energy policy for Sussex Strategy Group (he’s had dozens upon dozens of industry clients, according to the Ontario lobbying registry), and a former federal Liberal staffer.

If his name sounds familiar, it’s because he promoted the $6,000-a-plate fundraiser that offered intimate conversations with Premier Kathleen Wynne and Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli as its big draw earlier this year. That’s the one that shamed the Liberals into finally pursuing reforms to political fundraising because, though completely legal, it looked so gross when people found out.

We know what politicians get out of such events: A whole lot of money. But now, thanks to the company’s own claims in its case against the government, which rely heavily on evidence from Benedetti himself, we know what Windstream’s lobbyists got before everything fell apart. Read article

Police investigating Ontario Liberals over alleged wind power document deletion

470_OPP_3_430241CTV News
TORONTO — Ontario’s Liberal government is facing another criminal investigation after a wind power company complained to police about the alleged destruction of documents in a lawsuit it filed against the province.

Trillium Power Wind Corp. has alleged in a lawsuit that government officials destroyed documents after the company sued in a case that stemmed from the government’s cancellation of a Lake Ontario wind project.

OPP Det.-Supt. Dave Truax said police began an investigation in the last couple of weeks after Trillium made a complaint. Truax would not say that the allegations are about destruction of documents, but that the probe is looking into elected officials and/or civil servants, and that there is a “co-mingling” of issues with Trillium’s civil suit.

Trillium lawyer Morris Cooper alleges the documents were destroyed around the same time as emails are alleged to have been deleted in relation to the Liberals’ cancellation of two gas plants. In that case, former premier Dalton McGuinty’s chief of staff and deputy chief of staff have been charged with breach of trust and mischief.

Premier Kathleen Wynne said the government was not aware of any Trillium-related investigation until Wednesday, but that it will co-operate fully. A spokesman for Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli said the government takes its record-keeping obligations very seriously.        [can’t make this stuff up!] Read article

“The government twice suspended [offshore] wind-farm work, both during election years.”

offshore_windDavid Reevely, Ottawa Citizen
In the five years since Ontario scrapped all its plans for wind farms on the Great Lakes because we needed more scientific research on them, the government went four years without commissioning any.

Once upon a time, way back in 2009, the province’s Green Energy Act seemed to make it a priority to get windmills built in Ontario waters, as part of a big brave plan to make Ontario a world leader in renewable electricity. We’d kickstart a domestic green-power industry by using ourselves as guinea pigs.

In 2011, the provincial government gave up. It cancelled all the offshore wind projects then in development and put a moratorium on new ones. The lack of documentation around that major government decision is now under investigation by the Ontario Provincial Police, and is the subject of a $500-million lawsuit by Trillium Power Wind Corp., which saw its plan for a wind farm in Lake Ontario off Kingston vaporized by a press release one February morning. Read article

Wind Turbine Highlights Unifor’s Hypocrisy On Noise Hazards

o-WIND-TURBINE-570Karen Hunter, Huffington Post
The National Day of Mourning sends “a strong message to all governments of their obligation and responsibility to strongly enforce health and safety laws and regulations,” says Unifor, Canada’s largest private-sector union, formerly the CAW.

There’s a “serious lack of commitment,” Unifor says of the provincial government, “to enforce the health and safety protections that we have fought for,” so “unfortunately, the suffering continues.” One of the hazardous dangers flagged by the union on its website notice is noise.

Meanwhile, a new online petition targets Unifor for its failure to comply with provincial health and safety protections, specifically noise regulations.

Unifor owns and operates the controversial CAW Wind Turbine, located on its property in Port Elgin, Ontario on the shore of Lake Huron. The turbine began operation in 2013 to generate money for the union. At the time, the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) approved the turbine on the condition that the Union would conduct noise audits within the first two years of operation and provide MOE with the results.

Now, as the turbine begins its fourth year of operation, the tests and results are, at a minimum, two years late.

MOE knew — as did everyone else — how important noise monitoring would be. Unifor’s turbine is located just 210 metres from the nearest home, less than half of the 550-metre distance required by provincial noise regulations. MOE approved Unifor’s turbine after the union had the community’s zoning changed from a rural tourist/recreational classification to city semi-urban to allow for increased noise.

To further address noise levels, the union stated that its powerful 800kw turbine would operate at just 500kw (despite reduced revenue generation) and that it would self-monitor its operation. Since its startup, Unifor and MOE have received hundreds of noise complaints, day and night, from the nearly 200 families who live within the turbine’s 550-metre radius. Still, the noise testing has not been done.

Back in 2013, during the turbine’s first six months of operation, 140 noise complaints prompted town council to pass a motion asking the CAW to honour President Ken Lewenza’s commitment to shut down the turbine if it harmed residents. The union dismissed the request. Read article

Government “Coffee Requests” that can’t be refused

by Dan Wrightman
In 1999 a friend of mine was planning to drive his truck to Costa Rica and asked if I could travel with him. Being young and knowing I might never get another opportunity to travel this way, I immediately said yes and we left for Central America in early December.

I had previously travelled by truck in northern Mexico, so I had an inkling of what to expect, but both of us were taken aback by the corruption we encountered on the Mexican roadways. It became obvious that as soon as we encountered any government authority through a traffic stop or a police checkpoint that we would be getting pulled aside and some of the first words out of the officer’s mouth would invariably be “Cafe/Soda?”

Slide1The game was this: the authorities would declare that they would have to search our vehicle for contraband, but that they would let us pass if we gave them ten pesos (enough at that time to buy a coffee or a pop).

The first time this happened, we refused, and the subsequent search of our truck stuffed full of tools and appliances took up an hour of valuable travelling time. Afterwards we just paid.  On average we were pulled over three to four times a day in Mexico.  We were frustrated and upset, not only by the cost, but by the abuse of power by government authorities. We felt sorry for what the people living there had to deal with on a daily basis.

Seventeen years have passed and I am astonished to recognize that we now have a government in Ontario that treats it’s own citizens in the same way. Multiple times a year the Ontario Energy Board announces a rate increase to our hydro bills, and each time it is minimized by declaring it as only a cup of coffee a month.

The billion dollar gas plant scandal is rationalized by our government as only costing a coffee a year for 20 years but that strains credulity, considering that the Green Energy Act was supposed to only cost us a cup of coffee and a muffin a month for 20 years.

The Ontario Retirement Pension Plan is being sold as only costing us a coffee a day. Continue reading

Wind developers don’t have to make their Bird & Bat kills public – Let’s change that.

turbines-birdsIt’s springtime – birds singing…

Or at least we hope so. Is anybody checking? I mean is the wind company busy collecting carcasses, or listening to bird song? Is the government monitoring the cumulative impacts from the massive wind developments that have been deployed all over Ontario in the last few years?

In short, no. But here’s a test you can all try (and I hope you do): try looking for a Bird/Bat
Mortality Report of any wind project of your choosing in Ontario. It’s like an easter egg hunt, or an eagle egg hunt. Not a very fruitful one though – I’ve only found two – both from before 2012. One is the infamous Wolfe Island bird carnage (all reports are fully listed on the company’s site), and the other is for the Harrow project, but it’s posted here on OWR… so that doesn’t really count as a brownie point for the wind company.

That’s all I can find but if anyone else can point out some more – please share. You’d think the wind developers would have these reports on their websites, especially after all those reassurances at the meetings that the kills would be ‘monitored’ and ‘mitigated’ and of course the people would be kept in the loop.

Copy of IMG_0380In my old backyard of Middlesex County there was an active eagle nest smack in the NextEra Bornish Wind Project – 400m from the massive substation, and surrounded by hundreds of wind turbines now. It’s hard not to think about those eagles and wonder how they are doing, how their offspring fared. Same with the eagles in Haldimand that were evicted from their nest – what happened to them? And the swallows too, flocks of them at this time of year skimming the pond.

In reading the Adelaide Community Liaison Report NextEra said they would  submit these mortality reports at the beginning of March this year. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Yeah, well – too good to be true. March comes and I’m checking all over their website – no documents.

I start looking for other Bird and Bat Mortality Reports for other recent projects and find myself coming up empty handed. What the hell?? By now there should be tonnes of them considering all the projects in operation!

So I contact the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, where the reports were submitted to. They tell me to go ask NexTerror first. (Kidding, they said NextEra, but they were probably thinking it!).

I breathe in, and write them. (By now I’m losing my cool with this company for multiple reasons, this is as nice as I could be.)

NextEra,

I’m looking for the Bird and Bat Monitoring Report for the Adelaide and Bornish Wind Projects.

From the Community Liaison Committee meeting notes, they should be available by March 1, 2016. “Annual report provided to MNRF by March 1 following each year of monitoring“.

This was my home for 33 years and I still give a damn about the eagle nest, and the multitude of barn swallows and bat colonies. It appears if nobody asks for this report, then nobody knows.

Please direct me to where the public can access these reports, or alternatively send me them both on to me.

Thank you,

Esther Wrightman

The reply comes a couple days later, from someone named “Steve”.

Nextera Bird Bat kill report Steve

 

A quick letter back to Steve (that didn’t get any answers):

Dear Steve (last name?),

A ‘summary’, in ’90 days’, ‘maybe’?

Could you not just send me the same full bird/bat death report you sent the MNRF right now, since you already have it?

Or does it have to be manipulated first, for public consumption.

Esther

 

can5The MNR reassures me that they have these documents but haven’t reviewed them and then I’m told the only other way to retrieve them is to file a Freedom of Information request to see them. I throw my $5 into an envelope and send  it in to the Information and Privacy Commissioner, and wait. Continue reading

Wind developer ‘donates’ cash to Liberals each time project processing stalls

moneybagsWPD donates thousands of dollars to the Liberal party to keep their project moving through the system. And the thing is – it works! Each time they donate, the project moves ahead to the next stage. Put the dirty quarter in the candy machine, twist the crank, and out pops a gumball.

Which begs the question we’ve been asking ourselves for years: How many other wind developers have paid their way through the ‘system’?

(Doesn’t Glenn Murray act odd in this clip? Is he nervous about something?)

WPD Canada spokesperson Kevin Surette acknowledged company representatives have attended “some fundraising events in the past few years.”

Simcoe.com, Ian Adams
Simcoe-Grey’s Member of Provincial Parliament says a wind energy company’s donations to the provincial Liberal Party appeared to influence the approval of the company’s project in Clearview Township.

During Wednesday’s question period, Jim Wilson laid out the timeline between WPD Canada’s court application last July to force the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change to make a decision on the company’s Fairview Wind project renewable energy application, and a $6,000 donation made to the Liberal Party during the Simcoe North by-election period in September.

“Every time it looked like the project was in jeopardy, a donation was made to the Liberal Party of Ontario,” Wilson claimed in the Ontario Legislature. “These facts … only reinforce the need for a public inquiry.

“Does the minister seriously expect the people in my riding to believe that these donations had nothing to do with his approval (of the project).” Read article

There’s always a catch

When that deal was criticized as ‘blood money’ and after the Tribunal gave it the go-ahead to construct the project, the developer withdrew its offer. It has left the door open for some money to go to the County—but it will set the terms and the amount.

It is that kind of agreement.

The Wellington Times
“Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can’t stop them from doing,” wailed the old woman.

“What the hell are you talking about?” Yossarian shouted in bewilderment.

catch22Joseph Heller set Catch-22 on a dusty Mediterranean island during World War II, presenting both a tragic and funny window into the bureaucratic absurdity of war. It describes equally well, I think, the madness of the Green Energy Act (GEAin Ontario in 2016.

Consider this. A developer wants to build a large industrial installation in a pastoral rural area. It knows before it is built how much profit it will generate. It has a contract from the province of Ontario to sell every kilowatt of power it generates—whether it is needed or not. (It’s not.) Whether or not the province will have to dispose of these excess kilowatts at its cost. (It will.)

The developer is set. It has no competitors. No market risk. All it needs to do is get its turbines up, plug them in and generate money. Lots of it. With the single-minded determination of a lamprey, it seeks only to latch onto the province and gorge itself for the next 20 years.

But it has to get those turbines up. Read article

No ‘veto’ for areas opposed to wind energy projects

Kathleen Wynne: “I would say to them [municipalities] that they have a whole lot more say than they did five years ago. We never said there was going to be a veto for municipalities, but we put in place much more rigorous consideration of municipalities’ concerns.”
Elliot Ferguson, Kingston Whig-Standard


a) She admits we had zero say five years ago, and she doesn’t apologize for her support of such an undemocratic process. Actually she seems quite comfortable with the fact that they rammed it down our throats.

b) If a community still can’t say “no”, then they can only say “yes” or be silent. That is not a SAY in the process. When it comes to “consent”, when a person says “no” to an “advance”, that “no” is respected, or they have been violated, end of story.WynneKiss

Rising policing costs for wind turbines hike property taxes in smaller communities

IMG_0777[1]Colin Perkel, The Globe and Mail
Smaller communities across the country have been grappling with what they view as an ever-increasing tax bite for policing they can barely afford. Some say they have had to raise property taxes by as much as 20 to 30 per cent to pay for increases in police costs.

Christian Leuprecht, a professor at the Royal Military College of Canada, said rising security costs are hurting communities across Canada. “The real problem is in the rural areas – it’s in the contract-policing areas,” Prof. Leuprecht said. “It is completely unsustainable. Their tax base is stagnant. They’re cannibalizing all other aspects of their budget to pay for policing.”

Some communities, with their limited tax bases, are seeing upward of 25 or 30 per cent of their total budgets go toward policing. One hard-hit area is in rural eastern Ontario, where communities were surprised to discover they’re paying tens of thousands of dollars for police service to wind turbines and cellphone towers. The issue is especially galling, said one mayor, given his municipality’s embrace of green energy in part as a supposed revenue stream.

“We’ve got 86 of them here so it’s big numbers,” said Denis Doyle, mayor of Frontenac Islands, population 2,000. “We went out of our way to support the windmill rollout and now we feel like we’ve been kicked in the teeth when you find out they charge us back any money we might get from taxes just to pay (police).” Read article

Tribunal rules against Texas oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens in lawsuit over Ontario wind projects

t-boone-pickensJohn Miner, London Free Press
A lawsuit by a Texas oil tycoon that alleged political interference at the highest levels in the awarding of Ontario wind farm contracts has been rejected by an international tribunal.

In what sources say was a split decision, the tribunal confirmed Canada complied with its obligations under the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The decision left a spokesperson for Ontario Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli boasting that Ontario is a global leader in clean energy development. He said Ontario will continue to work with the federal government as it considers the tribunal’s decision and next steps.

T. Boone Pickens had sued under Chapter 11 of NAFTA, claiming damages of $653 million plus interest after his company, Mesa Power Group LLC, lost out in its bid to build four massive wind farms north of London.

Mesa said it would have spent $1.2 billion in Ontario.

The tribunal, in the decision released Friday, decided Pickens’ company should pay for all of the arbitration costs. It also awarded the Canadian government $2.9 million for legal costs. Read article

You are a Willing Host unless you slam the door in wind companies face

GO AWAY1You’d think it would come with the warning statement: “Anything you say could be used against you”.

Municipalities who didn’t slam the door in the wind company’s face should count themselves lucky if they didn’t find their township facing another wind project after the last round of contracts were awarded.

From what Liberal Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli is saying in legislature, any engagement at all ( I suppose even making eye contact), would give the wind company its municipality ‘points’ that furthered their chances of winning the bid.

What is particularly galling is that Dutton-Dunwhich did more than any other township in Ontario – they actually held a referendum – and the population gave an overwhelming NO to any wind developments.

But in the world of Alice in Ontario-land I suppose that even handing these results with a big N O to the wind company would have been the same as saying YES, because they would have had to have some sort of contact with the company. Ethically this is incredibly nasty – the government used words to trick municipalities into ‘engaging’ in the process, even when the engagement was negative!

Enniskillen Mayor Kevin Marriott sensed this was the case a couple years ago, and warned everyone to not speak with the wind companies. From a Sarnia Observer article in May 2014:

“It will be very, very difficult for a developer to be approved without municipal engagement, in some significant way,” Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli said last June.

But Marriott said until the province clarifies what it means by municipal engagement, “We’re being vigilant.”

He advised the anti-wind turbine group, Conservation of Rural Enniskillen (CORE), against meeting with the company.

“I said, ‘Whatever you do, don’t consult with them because they may be able to use that as a checkmark,'” Marriott said.

“Who knows what could be construed as public consultation.”

How Big Corporations Buy Power: For $6,000, donors get face time with Kathleen Wynne & Bob Chiarelli

Mr. Benedetti [the organizer of the ‘event] did not respond to a request for comment. Toronto-based Sussex has 190 active entries in Ontario’s lobbyist registry, representing clients in industries ranging from tobacco to asset management. Mr. Benedetti himself lobbies primarily for the electricity industry, including TransAlta Corp., Capital Power Corp., the Canadian Wind Energy Association and the Association of Major Power Consumers in Ontario.

6883422-corruption-in-the-government-in-a-corrupt-systemAdrian Morrow, The Globe and Mail
The Ontario Liberal Party is teaming up with a high-powered lobbying firm to sell “one-on-one” access to Premier Kathleen Wynne and Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli in a fundraising event this week.

For $6,000 apiece, donors can attend an intimate cocktail reception and three-course dinner with Ms. Wynne and Mr. Chiarelli on Thursday at the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto’s posh Yorkville neighbourhood, The Globe and Mail has learned. Proceeds go to Liberal Party coffers.

The evening is being promoted by Sussex Strategy Group, one of the country’s top lobbying firms. In an e-mail encouraging energy industry insiders to attend, Sussex principal Chris Benedetti wrote that the soirée will be a “small event with a limited number of tickets,” giving all attendees face time with Ms. Wynne and Mr. Chiarelli.

“The evening will start with a cocktail reception allowing for one-on-one conversations between the Premier, Minister Chiarelli, senior staff and guests,” Mr. Benedetti wrote in the e-mail obtained by The Globe. “We will then move to dinner, where guests will be seated at three tables of a maximum of 10 people each. Over three courses our special guests will circulate amongst the tables to allow for good conversation with all in attendance.”

“This is a wonderful opportunity to speak with both Premier Wynne, Minister Chiarelli and staff, as well as business leaders from across the energy sector,” he added. Read article

We try to make it as simple as possible for them…

Unwilling Hosts

unwilling host2016
…but they still do this.  All of these project were given IESO contracts yesterday:

Invenergy LLC
Strong Breeze Wind Power Partnership
Strong Breeze Wind Project
Wind (on-shore)
57.5MW
Municipality of Dutton Dunwich UNWILLING HOST

EDF EN Canada Development Inc.
Romney Energy Centre Limited Partnership
Romney Wind Energy Centre
Wind (on-shore)
60MW
Municipality of Chatham-Kent and Town of Lakeshore UNWILLING HOST

EDP Renewables Canada Ltd.
Nation Rise Wind Farm Limited Partnership
Nation Rise Wind Farm
Wind (on-shore)
100MW
Municipality of North Stormont UNWILLING HOST

Renewable Energy Systems Canada Inc.
Parc eolien Gauthier LP
Parc éolien Gauthier
Wind (on-shore)
32MW
Municipality of The Nation and Township of Champlain UNWILLING HOST

Renewable Energy Systems Canada Inc.
Otter Creek Wind Farm Limited Partnership
Otter Creek Wind Farm Project
Wind (on-shore)
50MW
Municipality of Chatham-Kent (and then there is Randy Hopeless, who never fails to sell out this municipality. Have a referendum Randy, then you can actually see how the people you are supposed to represent actually feel.)

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

Despite protest Clearview wind project gets the green light

The Enterprise Bulletin, Gisele Winton Sarvis
CLEARVIEW TWP. – The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) has given the green light to allow the construction of eight 137 metres (450 ft) wind turbines east of Stayner one day before proponent wpd Canada was to take the government to court. MOECC awarded the Renewable Energy Approval (REA) application Thursday. The court case, which has now been cancelled, was to begin Friday.

The Township of Clearview had fought for intervenor status at court in order to oppose the project, on the north and south side of Country Rd. 91. “I am extremely disappointed that the Ministry of Environment has gone ahead in light of all the work we’ve done to show the side effects and how it will impact economic development in Clearview and the County of Simcoe,” said Clearview Mayor Chris Vanderkruys. “It’s a project that the township was clearly against. The provincial government doesn’t listen at all. They do what they want. The fact that we had to fight for intervenor status is crazy,” Vandkerkruys added. “However this happened between wpd and the government, they didn’t include us at all,” he added.

Two of the turbines to be located on the north side of the County Rd. 91 will be less than 2,000 metres from the runway at the Collingwood Regional Airport. 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

Today, remember NextEra, and their Nest Terror

There is this thing that Facebook does: reposts a picture or comment from any number of years ago that was on your timeline, sporadically, and calls it a Memory. I believe you are supposed to cherish these posts and sigh with, “Time flies!” or “Isn’t that cute?!”

FBEagleNestThis morning the picture of the severed eagle nest was there and Facebook said: “Esther, we care about you and the memories you share here. We thought you’d like to look back on this post from 3 years ago.” Ahem. Well now. Some people have sweeter memories than others apparently. I should like all the cute little pictures scattered around the gruesome one of the crane and nest – kittens, flowers, children – awww! But I hate to tell ya FB, that so called ‘memory’ still feels like yesterday, and not in a good way.

The night before the eagle nest was cut, my dad was dutifully browsing the “Friday evening approvals” by the Ontario government (you know, when the reporters have all gone home for the weekend and no news story can be made until Monday, when the lead has lost most of its heat), and he saw this permit issued to NextEra Energy to destroy an active bald eagle nest. Really. He called me up. We didn’t believe it. Read and reread it. No… they wouldn’t do that. I mean, even when the government would unthinkably hand you a permit to commit an act like this, you wouldn’t go and cut a rare (only forty-eight nests in SW Ontario), massive nest, that was currently home to two eagles, down… would you?

Oh but then we had to think, “What Would NextEra Do?” Well yes, they would cold bloodedly do this, they had an access road that had be plowed through to three of their proposed wind turbines (yet to be built) – and this road demanded that these trees (including one with the nest) be cut in order for the project to proceed. They like words like ‘proceed’, as in “Proceed as Planned”. They wouldn’t want to disrupt a Plan for a silly little (or big) nest. Continue reading

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

Wynne energy: excuses excuses excuses

By Graeme MacKay, Editorial Cartoonist

By Graeme MacKay, Editorial Cartoonist

I’m reminded of this sign I lost at the last protest we did on Wynne in London. Used it for her in Sarnia too (yeah, when I was wearing a jail bird dress… didn’t think that one through (-;). Fact is McKay’s cartoon proves she hasn’t changed a bit in the past 2+ years.
esther3

Give us a voice and choice!! Bill 150, Energy Referendum Act

remedies_download-0Download Petition to support Bill 150, Energy Referendum Act

If the result on a referendum described in subsection (2) is that the local municipality is not willing to permit large-scale renewable energy projects to be located in the local municipality, then any such project that is subsequently proposed shall not be accepted by the local municipality and the local municipality shall not permit any work or development on any such project to take place in the local municipality.


Ontario Legislative Assembly
Bill 150, 2015: An Act to amend the Electricity Act, 1998
Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario, enacts as follows:
1.  The Electricity Act, 1998 is amended by adding the following section:
Referendum for large-scale renewable energy projects

402 protestDefinitions
25.35.1  (1)  In this section,
“large-scale renewable energy project” means a renewable energy project permitted under the feed-in tariff program developed by the IESO under section 25.35, other than a project permitted under the microFIT Program; (“projet d’énergie renouvelable à grande échelle”)

“local municipality” has the same meaning as in the Municipal Act, 2001. (“municipalité locale”)

Referendum
(2)  The council of a local municipality may hold a referendum at any time on the question of whether the local municipality is willing to permit large-scale renewable energy projects to be located in the local municipality.

Same
(3)  If a person or entity proposes that a large-scale renewable energy project be located in a local municipality and a referendum described in subsection (2) has not been held in that local municipality, the council of the local municipality shall hold such a referendum before considering whether to accept the project and before permitting any work or development on it to begin in the local municipality.

Municipality willing to host
(4)  If the result on a referendum described in subsection (2) is that the local municipality is willing to permit large-scale renewable energy projects to be located in the local municipality, then any such project that is subsequently proposed may proceed in the usual course.

Municipality not willing to host
(5)  If the result on a referendum described in subsection (2) is that the local municipality is not willing to permit large-scale renewable energy projects to be located in the local municipality, then any such project that is subsequently proposed shall not be accepted by the local municipality and the local municipality shall not permit any work or development on any such project to take place in the local municipality. Continue reading