Ontario farmers fear being shortchanged when it comes to profits

GREEN ENERGY: National Farmers Union’s Ontario wing argues projects should be controlled by farmers, rural communities and the broader public

By BRIAN SHYPULA QMI Agency  London Free Press

STRATFORD – The National Farmers Union in Ontario fears that as in the case of food, most of the money made from green energy projects won’t end up in the hands of farmers.

The farm membership and lobby group has drafted a series of recommendations on renewable energy and the Ontario Green Energy Act. The NFU says the production of renewable energy must be under the control and ownership of farmers, rural communities and the broader public.

“A lot of the money that is going to be made off of these projects is going to end up in some big energy companies’ hands,” said Ann Slater, an organic farmer near Lakeside and a board member of the NFU’s Ontario arm.

Slater said the NFU also wants community consultation on large-scale or industrial energy projects, such as a proposal for a large wind farm in Oxford County south of St. Marys.

“Zoning, siting, all of that power has been taken away from municipalities, it’s all in the hands of the province,” Slater said.

“How do communities have any say if their municipalities don’t have any say?”

The NFU called for the return of planning, zoning and approvals of large-scale renewable energy projects to municipalities.

The NFU said it supports production of energy from renewable, sustainable sources including solar, wind and low-impact hydro. However, a culture of conservation must come first to decrease demand for energy, which would reduce the need to produce more energy.

Increased public transit, greater use of rail for moving cargo, more widespread adoption of organic and low-input farming practices and the development of “true” local food systems are among the ideas for creating a culture of conservation.

The provincial government must make conservation the first priority of the Green Energy Act and within the government as a whole, the group said.

The NFU all said it supports Ontario’s feed-in tariffs, as long as they are used to maximize benefits to farmers and rural communities.

The group called on the Ontario Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure to compile information to help farmers and others make informed decisions about reliable photovoltaic units, look at licensing or registering the companies selling them and make funding available for small-scale, community-based projects.

The NFU said there should be a 75% Canadian content requirement for renewable energy projects.

Stratford Beacon Herald

15 thoughts on “Ontario farmers fear being shortchanged when it comes to profits

  1. Day late and a dollar short. Where were all these organizations 2-3 years ago?

  2. Kinda ridiculous that farmers are complaining that they didn’t get their share of a false economy that was created by the Ontario Liberal Government….Why not just ask for a straight up hand-out ? The Wind Energy companies are getting free monies…based on monies given to the Ontario Liberals…Guess the National Farmers Union should have stuffed more pockets at Queens Park….

  3. Has anyone ever worked out a ballpark percentage of profits that a typical landowner gets from one of these turbines.

    I heard it is pitifully low, especially compared to Europe, but I don’t have the actual figures.

  4. MA..this is an excerpt (below) from an OSEA guide…Ontario Landowner’s Guide to Wind Energy….

    It’s difficult to find any actual financials to determine actual profits per turbine…

    It depends on the negotiated rent payments and the nature of the royalty payments. The royalty payments are quite often the result of a pooled effort for the Wind Farm…..which makes royalties of any magnitude very suspect….

    For this reason I wouldn’t count on much of a royalty payment unless my wind farm was in Pincher Creek, Alberta…one of the better locales in Canada for a Wind Farm…

    The wind farm lobby isn’t likely to publish many of the “real” case scenarios..

    I think that it’s safe to say that very little of the profit from Industrial Wind Farms stay with the community and that is why the National Farmers Union is making this policy appeal…


    Landowners are likely to be presented with the following choices:
    • One Time Lump Sum Payment
    • Rent Payment per Year per Turbine or per MW
    • Royalty Percentage of Gross Revenues with Minimum Payment
    Typically, wind developers in Ontario offer minimum rent payments from $1,250 to $5,000 per turbine and royalties from 1.75% to 3% of gross revenues from the turbine or turbines on the landowner’s property. The amount that a developer offers to compensate the landowner will be dependent upon a number of factors, including:
    • Annual Energy Output
    • Power Purchase Agreement
    • Value of property to project7
    These key factors will determine the amount of annual payment to the landowner. Regardless of other provisions in the land lease, landowners would be wise to keep these three factors in mind when negotiating compensation for leasing their land to a wind project developer.

  5. Thanks Randy.

    Just for discussion sake, how much money would you estimate one 2MW turbine would generate over one year?

    Average output x 13 cent/kwh.

  6. Sorry – but in my opinion – even Farmers should not prosper by screwing their neighbours.

    The idea that F.I.T. is ok as long as it is given to the farmers is just plain wrong. Greed is greed and it is unbecoming even for farmers.

    I like the novel idea that a person who grows a crop receives a fair and profitable return for their work.

  7. One 2000KW turbine at 26% produces 520KW on average. Times 8760 hours gives 4,555,200kw-hr per year. At 0.13 the total electricity generation revenue would be $592,176. This doesn’t include any renewable energy credits or other tax benefits, but I doubt the leaseholders see any of that money. At 2% of gross, the money to the leaseholder would be $11,843.52 per year.

    Everyone feel free to chime in if I’ve made a mistrake or missed something.

  8. We can only ballpark anyway. The landowners around here are getting $6,000/year/turbine or about 1% of the profit.

  9. Even though OPA reduced its incentive for ground-mounted solar power to 58 cents per kwh, you’d think that any farmer with a little ambition would opt for solar instead of wind…which is still an outrageous rate…considering it is sold back at about 8 cents…

    It would make sense to amalgamate a complete municipality and sell power back to OPA at 58.8 cents per kwh and buy it back for about 8 kwh cents per kwh (before debt retirement, delivery, etc) if possible…

    What doesn’t the NFU try this approach….

    (Likely because the Ont Gov’t would change the rules again….to kill the Golden Goose….)

    Our government is managing the FAKE Green Energy portfolio in the same way that they manage the public pension system in Ontario which is massively underfunded…

  10. This is such stupid blather from the NFU’s Ann Slater – it’s still all about money, and a loud beller for, “Where’s mine!” Not a word a word about the pressing need for a moratorium and an independent, epidemiological study to properly determine safe setbacks, which are definitely not 550m. Oh no, that would stop the gravy train, though the cash numbers bandied about aren’t exactly overwhelming and wouldn’t save anyone’s hide.

    The NFU, CFFO or the OFA have yet to get any of this right , though, to its credit, the NFU has quit the Green Energy Act Alliance. The OFA and CFFO continue to consort with their fellow members of the GEAA, David Suzuki Foundation and the Pembina Institute crowd. The property of rural residents is seen only a short term resource to quickly extract money from – by governments, NGO’s and business alike.

    So, handing control back to the municipal councils and their intellectually challenged planners will make it right? Really, what a quaint notion! The whole wind farm program was secretively administered by municipalities before. They aren’t any more honest, or smarter now. All 3 general farm organizations, the OFA, NFU and CFFO joined the Green Energy Act Alliance (GEAA). They eagerly sought to facillitate the “green energy” revolution. Like government, both local and provincial, they saw rural residents more as a “nuisance” issue, perhaps best dealt with by relocating them to a ghetto somewhere else.

    We will not go quietly and will long remember this treachery – especially at “check-off” time in January.

  11. In early summer of 2005 I was approached by Suncor salesmen, yes I had him pegged as a snake oil or vacumm cleaner salesmen as soon as he got out of his car and smirked that I was in our cold tub (hot tub turned off).. He told me I could make about $30,000.00 per year for 20 years for about 3 IWT’s but not to get excited!!! As he had to get about 6 more farms! (Guess he did). While he was talking I flipped through the brochure and saw BIG BIG machines. ..I explained to him that we had spent retirement savings to restore this old house and I didn’t think I wanted BIG BIG machines on our property. He told me to do some due diligence and read up. I never gave it another thought. We prefer to live in the quiet country side. Our Principle residence is on smaller land in the country as well. We are trying to sell it to move here. Two years later I threw out the brochure. It was last year 2009 that I heard the rumor that 7 families had signed up. Then we called WPD. Inc and confirmed that they had in fact purchased the Suncor Contracts registered on title that I had printed out. Boy did that make me do the research! So I am guessing that the 8 coming beside our farm on 2100 acres at $8,000.00 to $10,000.00 per turbine for 20 years. The other farms are smaller, 100 acres each. This let’s the wealthy farmer beside me retire or pass on his farm. Say $64,000.00 a year X 20 = $1,280,000.00 I doubt very much that all contracts are the same. The more savvy businessmen would add clauses and remove clauses etc. To be clear, I do not regret my decision. I will never think it is right to Industrialize Rural Agricultural land. I know farmers call IWT’s their second cash crop. Perhaps to keep food growing in Ontario to supply the cities , farmers should get some kind of subsidy but not be allowed to exploit or hurt their neighbours with industrial wind turbine machines. This IS expropriation. I believe this steals the hard earned equity from neighbours. I believe that a proper independent epidemiological study must be done. It was Calvin Luther Martin’s “How to fight Big Wind” that I had printed and together with our group handed out door to door in our area.

  12. Well, and then there is my mennonite cousin (who’s father signed 5 years ago and regrets it) who told me “if a farm can’t stand on it’s own without wind turbines, then it isn’t worth operating at all. It’s not worth ruining a community over”.

  13. These are some numbers I got from talking to farmers that I know in Ontario who were directly involved with the developers….

    Port Burwell- $6000/turbine/year
    Port Alma -$8000/turbine/year
    Bowark (still signing up landowners in Chatham Kent area but no project yet) $20000/turbine/year

    It looks like the early adopters got screwed but the farmers are getting smarter. This will also strengthen their resolve when it comes to supporting wind farms.

  14. Great….so what’s the point of even trying to inform farmers if developers are willing to pay whatever it takes to get them on board?

    So, can they set any price they wish to get that last stubborn farmer on board?

  15. It’s revealing that the Liberal caucus becomes concerned only when green partners squawk that the subsidies aren’t as high as promised. According to wind victims, Liberal MPPs have shown absolutely no concern for their plight, even to the point of hiding from the legislature at the Apr. demonstration.
    Come the next election, I would be surprised in the Liberals could hang on to many of their rural seats. There are a lot more rural voters opposed to the turbines, then there are benefiting financially.

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