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

Public inquiry needed on Green Energy Act

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

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

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

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

Tribunal agrees approved Pontypool wind project would destroy plant and animal life

pontypoolKawartha Lakes This Week, Mary Riley
MANVERS TWP – Ward 16 Councillor Heather Stauble was literally doing a happy dance at the Fenelon Falls Community Centre after learning opponents of an industrial wind turbine project near Pontypool scored a huge victory on Thursday (Nov. 19). Coun. Stauble was at a special council meeting when she got the news that the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) had announced its decision on the appeal of the Settlers Landing Nominee Ltd. wind project.

Announcing the decision to council, she was visibly overjoyed as councillors hugged and congratulated her. “This a huge, huge step forward for the community,” she told This Week.  She noted this is only the second ERT decision in Ontario that has overturned a wind energy company approval in favour of a community.

The Director, Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change issued a Renewable Energy Approval (REA) to Settlers Landing Nominee Ltd., granting approval for the construction, installation, operation, use and retiring of a Class 4 wind facility with a total name plate capacity of 10 megawatts in Pontypool. Settlers Landing wind park would have put five industrial wind turbines near the village. SLWP Opposition Corp. appealed the REA to the Tribunal in May on the grounds that the project will cause serious harm to human health and serious and irreversible harm to plant life, animal life or the natural environment. Read article

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

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

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

See All Legal documents from Mesa’s lawsuit

Transcripts:

Here’s a taste from the Investors Post Hearing Submission

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

Continue reading

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

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

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

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

NextEra did not respond to a request for comment.”

IMG_0467—————

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

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

Watch: The Unscripted Kathleen Wynne

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

CTV W5CP1lPcKUcAEJa4b

The secret life of wind-farm turtles

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

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

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

The Day Ontario Died

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

Harm, harrass or kill

Ostrander-PointWellington Times, Rick Conroy
Bill Mauro stood before a hastily assembled group of reporters and nature groups in May 2009. The MPP representing Thunder Bay–Atikokan was back home with money from Queen’s Park— $107,000 for the protection of species at risk in the area.

“People in our communities are concerned about the protection of species at risk and the development of best practices to ensure that we experience the economic benefits acquired through our natural resources while minimizing harm to natural habitats,” the MPP said.

The local press scribbled notes and filed stories about the caring and environmentally sensitive provincial government.

But Mauro had other worries that day. An industrial wind energy developer was planning to erect as many as 16 wind turbines on the escarpment forming the edge of his home town of Thunder Bay. Mauro strongly opposed the project, but the ambitious Liberal MPP was a member of Dalton McGuinty’s government, which at that moment was putting the finishing touches to the Green Energy Act (GEA)—the sweeping bit of egregious legislation that would obliterate many of the provincial safeguards standing in the way of the rapid escalation of industrial wind power in the province.

Mauro’s own government was pushing ahead with the industrialization of the rugged hillside near Thunder Bay that many in his community opposed because of environmental concerns. Now, the GEA had made that much easier. Read article

New Environmental Commissioner: Wind Turbine Lover Dianne Saxe

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


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

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

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

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

Accidental whistleblower

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ministry expert admits he advised not to allow initial ‘kill, harm and harass’ permit for Ostrander Point Wind Project

sign blanding turtleCounty Live
Admission by an MNR senior manager that his initial advice was not to allow a permit to “kill, harm and harass” the Whip-poor-will and Blanding’s turtle at Ostrander Point halted the third day of Environmental Review Tribunal proceedings Friday in Demorestville.

Witness Joe Crowley, a species at risk expert herpetologist with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, was on the stand Friday to provide a statement and answer questions about the effectiveness of various mitigation measures proposed by industrial wind turbine developer Gilead Power to protect the endangered species Blanding’s turtle.

Cheryl Anderson, of the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists, said this unexpected turn came at the end of the day when Crowley was asked about his role in the granting of the Endangered Species Act permit for the project on the south shore of Prince Edward County.

“Mr. Crowley stated his advice at the time was not to allow the permit because the project roads would prove a risk to the site’s indigenous Blanding’s Turtles,” said Anderson. Read article

And read more: Save Ostrander Point

NextEra wind turbine power lines creating problematic ‘induced voltage’ for Union Gas

by Harvey Wrightman
Try as we might to get proper recognition and proper assessment of the dangers of  “stray voltage”, both the MOECC and the wind companies vigorously opposed any degree of scrutiny whether at the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) hearings or the project appeals at the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT).  The stock response from wind company flunkies was that “stray voltage” was a problem for Hydro One and was not caused by wind turbines or associated equipment.

It all began in early March 2015, from local reports in the NextEra Adelaide wind project:

March 5 – resident calls in power outage. Hydro One rep is not aware of any scheduled outage, but several Hydro trucks are seen in the wind project area and the turbines are off. Hydro rep says, “to ask the guys driving around…” ???

March 18 – resident reports, “So, we had another hydro outage today…Bell phone and internet is out. A Bell recorded message says, it is out in the area til 10:30 PM on Friday !!!!!” –  3 days away. By coincidence (surely), turbines are not operating.

April 21 – Union Gas Rep talks:

Resident:  What about stray voltage?

Union Gas Rep: How’d you know about that?

Resident: I guess that Gas and Bell trucks don’t normally work weekends, do they?

Union Gas Rep: (head hanging down) No, they sure don’t…. It’s been a nightmare with Hydro having stray voltage like crazy.

Apparently Union Gas is confident enough to offer some detail in this application for a work permit submitted  to Adelaide-Metcalfe Township on August 10, 2015.

“To install on existing pipe, Cathodic protection to mitigate induced voltage from Nextera Power Lines. (Kerwood Rd, Cuddy Drive, Langan Dr). Mitigation wires to be installed using directional drilling at 1.5m or as close to fence line (P/L) as possible and 1m below any drains that are to be crossed.”
union gas stray current

 

 
One would think that Union Gas would have run this past their legal staff before pointing the finger at NextEra. Continue reading

Ontario wants wind turbines closer than 550m from homes: “new models are taller and quieter” ?!

2014_05140205Just when you didn’t think it could get worse, the Ontario government shows they are more vicious than imaginable. They want to put LARGER turbines CLOSER to homes, farms and schools! They are looking to do away with the meagre 550m setback to accomplish this.


Comment Period: 45 days: submissions may be made between August 04, 2015 and September 18, 2015

Environmental Registry

Updates and clarifications to the “Noise Guidelines for Wind Farms”

Description of Regulation:
O. Reg. 359/09 Renewable Energy Approvals under Part V.0.1 of the Act (REA regulation) is intended to support the Ontario Government’s Green Energy initiative to expand renewable energy generation, encourage energy conservation and promote the creation of clean energy jobs, while upholding our commitment to protecting the environment. The renewable energy approval (REA) process is based on clearly communicated complete submission requirements, whereby proponents of renewable energy projects know in advance what studies and reports are expected of them in preparing a complete application for a REA.

The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) is proposing amendments to the REA regulation to reflect the most recent Canadian Standards Association (CSA) 2013 Noise Standard, “Wind Turbine Generator Systems: Acoustic Noise Measurement Techniques”. The CSA Standard is used by proponents for the purposes of determining the sound power level of wind turbines under the REA regulation. The amendments also address advancements in wind turbine technology, issues related to operational flexibility and continued protection of noise receptors. An amendment is also being proposed that relates to the natural feature protection and assessment sections of the REA regulation to reflect current practices in the province. Additional minor amendments are also being proposed to clarify other aspects of the REA regulation.

The ministry is also proposing updates to the Noise Guidelines for Wind Farms. For more details on the proposed changes to the Noise Guidelines for Wind Farms, a link has been provided to the associated Environmental Registry posting.

Descriptions of the key proposed regulatory amendments can be found below.

Adoption of 2013 CSA standard (CAN/CSA-IEC 61400-11, Wind turbines — Part 11: Acoustic noise measurement techniques) 

MOECC’s REA Regulation currently references the CSA 2007 Noise Standard, “Wind Turbine Generator Systems: Acoustic Noise Measurement Techniques”.

An amendment is being proposed to adopt the most recent 2013 CSA standard (CAN/CSA-IEC 61400-11, Wind turbines — Part 11: Acoustic noise measurement techniques) to replace the existing CSA 2007 Noise Standard.

The CSA standard is referenced in the definition of “sound power level” in the REA Regulation and is used by proponents to determine wind facility classification. It is also referenced in the specifications report, which all proponents of Class 3, 4 and 5 wind facilities are required to submit as part of a complete REA application.
Proposed Modifications to the Definition of “sound power level”

To reflect the ministry’s conservative approach to dealing with noise emissions from wind turbines and to support the adoption of the 2013 CSA standard, three amendments are being proposed to the definition of “sound power level” in the REA Regulation to provide clarity:

Clarify that the definition of “sound power level” refers to the rating expressed as an “apparent” value.

This amendment would re-affirm MOECC’s current requirement of the use of the “apparent” sound power level when conducting a noise assessment, and is reflective of the value used by other jurisdictions.
Modify definition to require the inclusion of the positive uncertainty value.

The ministry does not currently require the inclusion of manufacturers’ uncertainty values in its definition of “sound power level”. The “uncertainty value” is a +/- value assigned under the CSA standard to account for potential range of uncertainty in the sound power level rating of a wind turbine.

The ministry is taking the conservative approach in requiring proponents to include the positive uncertainty value, given by a manufacturer of the wind turbines under the CSA Standard, as a conservative value to be accounted for in noise assessments for their project.
Clarify that proponents are not required to use a rounded value when conducting a noise assessment in accordance with the ministry’s Noise Guidelines for Wind Farms.

Proposed Changes to the Classification of Wind Facilities and the Application of the 550 Setback 

Due to technological advancements of wind turbines, such that new models are taller and quieter, amendments are being proposed to the wind facility classification table and to the 550 metre setback. The purpose of the proposed changes is to ensure that all wind turbines used on a commercial scale continue to meet all of the comprehensive standards in the REA regulation that were designed to be protective of human health and the environment.

The proposed regulatory amendment is to include a wind turbine hub height of 70 metres as additional criteria to the existing wind facility classification requirements of greatest sound power level (expressed in dBA). Complementary amendments would also be made throughout the regulation including the provisions governing the noise setbacks.  Continue reading

It would be funny…

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

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

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

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

Big wind 2.0

2014_05140222London Free Press, John Miner
Ontario has rewritten the rules for its next round of wind farms, but will that end the high-voltage backlash the projects have sparked in rural Southwestern Ontario and elsewhere? John Miner reports.
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Chalk one up for small-town Ontario. Dismissed, ignored, stripped of control, defeated before tribunals, blocked in the courts — when it comes to giant wind farms built to generate power, rural Ontario has been on a long losing streak. Until now. Powerless for years to stop the wind farms, as the Liberal government plunged headlong into green energy with 2009 legislation that seized control from municipalities over where the highrise-sized turbine towers could be built, many of those same areas are finding the rules of the game have changed.

For starters, wind energy companies will have to buy peace to win new contracts, getting local communities — many of them deeply polarized by past projects — on board. Gone, too, are the sweetheart deals that paid companies far more to generate power than consumers paid, piling up more red ink in a province that hasn’t balanced its books in years. Instead, wind companies will have to bid on price.

And with Ontario’s next round of energy contracts this fall amounting to only 300 megawatts, enough to power about 90,000 homes, competition will be fierce and fought over a much smaller share of the spoils. Wind power generates only a fraction of Ontario’s juice, but its political voltage has loomed large for years, especially in wind-swept Southwestern Ontario’s farm belt where many wind farms have sprouted. Read full article

NEW PROPOSALS

Among those vying for the next round of contracts:

NextEra Energy

  • Hardy Creek Wind Energy Centre: (Middlesex and Lambton counties); up to 50 turbines, 100 megawatts (MW)
  • Northpoint 1 Wind Energy Centre: (Eastern Ontario): Township of North Frontenac, 35 to 50 turbines, 150 MW
  • Northpoint 2 Wind Energy Centre: (Eastern Ontario) Townships of Addington Highlands and North Frontenac, 35 to 100 turbines, 200 MW

Kruger Energy 

  • 30- to 40-MW project, 10 to 15 wind turbines, on existing Port Alma and Chatham wind farms.

Invenergy

  • Strong Breeze Wind Project, in Dutton-Dunwich Township in Elgin Country, 60 MW
  • Nine Mile Wind Farm, in Eastern Ontario South Dundas, 50 to 90 MW

Suncor

  • Nauvoo Wind Power Project, 75 megawatts, Townships of Warwick and Brooke-Alvinston, Lambton County

EDF-EN Canada

  • Churchill wind project, 100 to 150 MW, in Enniskillen and Plympton-Wyoming, Lambton

Capstone Infrastructure Corp.

  • Erie Shores Wind Farm 2, up to 70 MW, within Township of Malahide and Bayham, Elgin

Enerfin Canada

  • Sydenham Wind Power Project, Brooke-Alvinston and Enniskillen Townships, Lambton, up to 100 MW

WPD Canada

  • Silver Centre Wind Project, West Timiskaming District, up to 120 MW

SWEP Development LP

  • Meadowvale Wind Farm, south of Wallaceburg, Chatham-Kent, 18 to 19 MW
  • Clachan Wind Farm, north of Duart, Chatham-Kent, 9 to 15 MW
  • Duart Wind Farm, west of Duart, 8-9 MW
  • Townsend Wind Farm, north of Jarvis, Haldimand County, 6-7 MW

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

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

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

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

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

Wynne’s green scheme could deal massive blow to Ontario and Canada

web-rob-wynne-0503Gwen Morgan, The Globe and Mail
Last month’s announcement by Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne that her province would link up with the existing Quebec and California carbon dioxide cap-and-trade systems prompted an editorial in this newspaper headlined, “Is this Green Energy Act Round Two?”

Ontario’s Green Energy Act offered so-called “feed-in rates” almost four times existing electricity rates for wind and more than 10 times for solar power. Like bees to honey, wind and solar companies rushed in. By the time the government realized that these subsidies were driving Ontario from one of the lowest to one of the highest power cost jurisdictions in North America, the province had signed myriad 20-year-locked-in-rate-guaranteed contracts that will drive power rates up a further 40 per cent to 50 per cent in coming years. Adding salt to this self-inflicted wound is the reality that much of the green power comes on stream when it isn’t needed. This unneeded electricity is dumped into the United States at bargain-basement prices that Ontario’s Auditor-General found has already cost Ontario power consumers billions of dollars, with much bigger losses yet to come before those 20-year contracts expire. Read article

Ontario’s greenhouse gas plan: Is this Green Energy Act, Round II?

Ontario’s cap-and-trade system, in contrast, comes with risks. Ontario has all but promised that the money raised by emissions caps will not be used to cut other taxes. Instead, the hundreds of millions or billions raised each year will be “reinvested” in “projects that reduce greenhouse gases and help businesses remain competitive.” In other words, targeted subsidies – the lobbyists’ delight.

mcwynnetyThe Globe and Mail
Monday’s announcement that Ontario is about to take steps to reduce greenhouse gases contained one bit of good news, one serving of bad news – and one giant question mark.

The good news? Ontario plans to put a price on carbon, with the goal of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.

The question mark? Ontario’s plan for a cap-and-trade system – which would cap carbon emissions from each sector of the economy, and allow trading of pollution permits – contains few details, including no costs or pricing.

And the bad news? Ontario will not be following in the footsteps of British Columbia – whose carbon tax is Canada’s simplest, cheapest, best carbon-reduction strategy. Cap-and-trade, in contrast, is not transparent, has a distinctly mixed track record and runs the risk of being captured and gamed by powerful interests. Lobbyists, start your engines.

For all of that, Ontario, which is linking up with existing cap-and-trade systems in Quebec and California, could end up building an excellent program. Then again, it could also end up delivering Green Energy Act, Round II. The first incarnation was an industrial strategy camouflaged as a pollution-reduction solution. It doled out hefty subsidies to favoured businesses, paid for by electricity consumers. It was arguably the Liberal government’s biggest mistake. Have they learned from it? Read article

Not just 300MW of wind power this year, it’s another 300MW and …

Ontario Project Map1It’s concerning when action groups just hope their area won’t be named in the upcoming “300MW” of wind projects the Liberals have planned this year. Because that’s not it, of course not. As this article shows, another 300MW will be next year, and guess what will be the next year, and the next…? Yeah. This isn’t a one year battle for anyone.

ReNews

“The Florida-based proponent plans to submit the project in the province’s upcoming large renewable procurement program, which includes 300MW of wind power. NextEra has been named a qualified bidder.

Competitive bids are due 1 September and the Independent Electricity System Operator is expected to award contracts by year-end, said Dudek. A second 300MW tranche is to be procured in 2016.

How ’bout wind turbines around… Algonquin Park? okay then, Temagami??

Well your government knows best and this is what they have lined up for your (once) beautiful province:

 

list

See full map of here

Can wind companies fake community engagement?

imagesby Harvey Wrightman
The buzz-words nowadays are “Community Engagement” or “Social license”  – when you hear those words from the policy mandarins of the provincial government, the people who know what is best for us, be ready for something that is quite the opposite.  Unhappy with the widespread opposition to wind projects, our mandarins have been scheming to show there is no opposition. To get the sentiment of a community to a project, ordinary people like myself would simply canvass/petition/survey the affected  area.  Not so with the mandarins, who seeing the problems of direct democracy, prefer to add layers of insensitivity to the process – ask those who will not be affected – and offer them some money.  That will get desired results. It’s called, diluting the pool.

The IESO (Independent Electricity system Operator) has released the new Large Renewable Procurement (LRP) (click on LRP I RFP and go to  Sec. 3.3, pg. 47), which means more large wind projects.  For this round of contracts, companies need only conduct ONE public meeting (see, we did have an effect at those open houses); but, the companies must obtain a measure of local support.

So looking at the chart: “Community Engagement”  rates 80 points,  and “Aboriginal Participation”  rates 20 points.  The aim for the wind company is to get as much consent to their project as possible. Not so easy these days as people have become aware of the adverse impacts of wind turbines. The higher the point score, the higher the project is in the queue, supposedly. Let’s see how they might do it. Continue reading

Ontario MPP e-mail addresses

ontarioBelow are the Ontario MPP e-mail addresses as of February 22, 2015.
(feel free to copy and paste and write them a note)

lalbanese.mpp@liberal.ola.org
ganderson.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org
tarmstrong-qp@ndp.on.ca
ted.arnott@pc.ola.org
bob.baileyco@pc.ola.org
ybaker.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org
bbalkissoon.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org
cballard.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org
toby.barrettco@pc.ola.org Continue reading

ERT dismisses Manvers wind turbine project appeal

buddhist-1My Kawartha
MANVERS TWP – Opponents of a controversial wind energy project have lost their bid to keep five mega-turbines out of the Pontypool area.  The Environmental Review Tribunal released its decision in a 200-plus page report on Thursday (Feb. 19), ruling in favour of wpd Canada’s Sumac Ridge project.

The Sumac Ridge Renewable Energy Approval was submitted to the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change in June of 2012.  In December, 2013, the Province approved the project and the decision was immediately appealed to the Tribunal. The appellants were the Buddhist Cham Shan Temple, Manvers Wind Concerns and Cransley Home Farm Limited. In presenting their case, they called 17 witnesses (pre-qualified by the tribunal).

The Cham Shan Temple planned to build four temples in the Bethany area on land they’ve owned for 20 years; mirroring the four Temples in China for a spiritual pilgrimage. They maintained the wind turbines would interfere with their freedom of religion, preventing the peace and quiet necessary for such a pilgrimage, which would draw Buddhists from around the world to the City of Kawartha Lakes. They planned to invest about $100 million and maintained that if Sumac Ridge went ahead they would abandon the Temple project. Read article

Ending Ontario’s wind power “ripoff”

monteWindsor Star, Monte McNaughton
How do we ensure that when one government abuses its power, we don’t have to live with the consequences for a generation? Through the supremacy of our democratically elected legislative assembly in Ontario.

In 2009, the Ontario Liberals misused their majority when they stripped municipalities of their long-standing land planning rights in order to impose the wind turbine experiment.
They then used executive orders to hand out sole-sourced deals to line the pockets of their wind developer friends.

These 20-year deals provide guaranteed pricing to developers for wind power that is above market rates — because wind power cannot be produced in Ontario at reasonable market rates. The deals also guarantee revenue even when turbines are asked not to produce wind power. Read article

5 wind turbines approved for Grey Highlands

ist2_137405-rubber-stamp-approvedEnvironmental Registry
A Renewable Energy Approval (REA) has been issued to Grey Highlands Nominee (No. 1) Ltd. to engage in a renewable energy project in respect of a Class 4 wind facility consisting of the construction, installation, operation, use and retiring of five wind turbines rated at 2.0 MW each generating output capacity, with a total name plate capacity of 10 MW. The facility will be connected to Hydro One’s distribution system.

This Class 4 wind facility, known as the Grey Highlands Zero Emission People Wind Farm, is located near the community of McIntyre within the Municipality of Grey Highlands, Grey County, Ontario. The noise sources to be approved at the project location consist of five (5) wind turbine generators and one (1) 44 kV 10 MVA transformer substation. Emissions discharged to the atmosphere include noise. Read more

9 Wind Turbines approved for Clarington

Approved-Rubber-Stamp-724817Environmental Registry
A Renewable Energy Approval (REA) has been issued to Ganaraska Nominee Ltd. (Capstone Power Development) to engage in a renewable energy project in respect of a Class 4 wind facility consisting of the construction, installation, operation, use and retiring of 9 wind turbines, with a total name plate capacity of 17.6 MW. The wind facility will be connected to Hydro One Networks Inc.’s distribution system.

This Class 4 wind facility, known as ZEP Wind Farm Ganaraska, consists generally of 9 wind turbine generators, access roads, an internal underground collector system, and a transformer substation. The wind facility is located in the Municipality of Clarington, Regional Municipality of Durham, Ontario.

Note that since the REA application was deemed complete on January 7, 2014, Ganaraska Nominee Ltd. made minor changes to the project, which include the following:

  • Removal of Turbine 2 and Turbine 7 from the project layout, resulting in a reduction in the number of wind turbine generators to be constructed, from 10 to 9; and
  • Decrease in the total name plate capacity of the project, from 20 MW to 17.6 MW. Read more