Category Archives: Municipal control
Impact of the Green Energy Act on municipal control over land use
The Annual General Meeting of CCSAGE Naturally Green was held on Sunday, March 13th, 2016, at the Waring House, Picton. That same morning, Wind Concerns Ontario held its own AGM in Wellington and its members later joined us. Our meeting was deliberately open to the public, and altogether some 110 people were present, including our own members, the County Mayor and several Councillors and the editors of the two most important local papers. Each featured lengthy and accurate reports in their next editions which may be accessed at http://wellingtontimes.ca/gathering-forces/ and https://issuu.com/pictongazette/docs/pictongazettemar17 respectively.
Following introductions by our two directors, our accountant, Mustafa Alidina, who donates his services, presented our financial statements for 2015, disclosing an excess of revenue over expenses of $8,572.00.
Two resolutions were then approved unanimously by members present. The first that the financial statement presented and explained by our accountant be received, and the second that all actions of the directors during 2015 be approved. (While those decisions were mostly day-to-day and of a routine nature, two specifically mentioned were the placing of insurance to cover directors and others for any errors in the carrying out of their obligations and the decision to apply to the Courts for a Judicial Review of all circumstances leading to the issue of a Renewable Energy Approval for 27 turbines in South Marysburgh and Athol, including the retainer of Alan Whiteley as counsel). Read the rest of this entry
[Press Release — Township of North Frontenac — March 24, 2016 ]
The Council of the Township of North Frontenac passed a resolution on March 18 2016 that will request that the Independent Electricity Systems Operators (IESO) rate an unwilling municipality for renewable energy to be a mandatory requirement versus a rated criteria in future requests for proposals (RFP) for the Large Renewable Procurement (LRP) program.
Currently RFP has the Proponents bid submission as a points system rated criteria for municipality support. North Frontenac is proposing that this RFP requirement needs to be a mandatory requirement. Four of the six contracts announced on March 10, 2016 did not have municipal support for the renewable energy project. Although the Minister of Energy indicated on March 7 that it would be ‘almost impossible’ for a contract to be granted under the current process without municipal agreement it has happened.
Mayor Ron Higgins stated that he wants all Ontario Municipalities, who object to Industrial Wind Turbines and/or Solar Farms, to support this resolution and to provide additional input to the IESO on their thoughts for improving the LRP RFP procurement process for future projects.
Mayor Higgins knows this is but one step but this one needs to be done before the end of April as per IESO deadlines. He states that his focus on now on the government policies and directives related to renewable energy in rural municipalities.
To view the resolution please go to the following link: http://www.northfrontenac.com/news/IESOletter.pdf
For more information please do not hesitate to contact:
Cheryl Robson, AMCT, Chief Administrative Officer (CAO)
6648 Road 506, Plevna, ON K0H 2M0
(613) 479-2231 or 1 (800) 234-3953 Ext 221 [email protected]
CCSAGE NATURALLY GREEN (“CCSAGE”) is a not-for-profit corporation, under Federal legislation, continuing an informal group founded in 2009.
It supports and believes in green energy which is both safe and appropriate, and encourages small scale solutions and conservation measures.
In so doing, its actions are planned to be constructive in achieving those goals, and it has the following beliefs which support this mandate:
- CCSAGE welcomes the findings of two Ontario Auditors-General as expressed in their separate Reports up to including that of 2015. Translated into everyday language they find the Green Energy Act to be an economic disaster, enacted without benefit of technical advice and with no consideration of a business rationale or of its overall impact.
- CCSAGE agrees with the published opinions of several well-known economists and energy expert to the same effect, including Michael Trebilcock, Keith Stelling, Dr. Glenn Fox, Ross McKintrick and Tom Adams.
- CCSAGE agrees with the published opinion of the Energy Task Force of the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (April 2015), which shows that increased use of wind and solar energy on the Ontario grid is causing a dramatic increase in both carbon emissions and electricity prices.
CCSAGE suggests to the Premier and Government of Ontario as follows:
- Put on hold immediately all proposed major wind and solar projects not currently operating, until considerations of appropriate placement and of Municipal jurisdiction be determined, and economic and scientific justification be established, including science-based justification of set-backs from property lines of houses, schools and other inhabited structures;
- Re-write the Green Energy Act based on results of economic, scientific and health analyses that are produced by acknowledged and independent experts (excluding those of the wind and solar industries and of their allies and supporters);
- The Act, as amended or replaced, would require the location of major safe and appropriate green energy installations to be considered in areas of this vast Province which are determined by the relevant and expert authority to be:
- Consistent with the Environment Canada recommendations noted in Environment Canada document, Wind Turbines and Birds, A Guidance Document, including consideration of cumulative effects, requirement for baseline surveys, and consistent with the 11 listed criteria where they not be sited, such as Important Bird Areas and migration corridors.
- Never where adverse health effects to humans are possible.
- Never where local economies could be adversely affected.
- Never where the natural environment could be unreasonably disturbed.
- Should any Municipality indicate that it is an unwilling host to such an installation, the wishes of that Municipality would prevail over the current provisions of the Green Energy Act.
- Energy projects would not be excluded from the Environmental Protection Act. Any appeal of permission granted for an installation would be to the Courts utilizing evidence presently permitted by the Courts. The Environmental Review Tribunal would be abolished, as its terms are inconsistent with protection of the environment as well as the Statement of Values of MOECC and MNRF.
- Any such permission must restrict payment to the proponent to a maximum of the then weighted average price of electricity produced in Ontario by nuclear, hydro-electric and natural gas sources.
CCSAGE has filed an Application to the Supreme Court of Ontario for Judicial Review of the circumstances and background leading to the issue of a Renewal Energy Approval for 27 turbines in the south part of the County of Prince Edward. This does not detract from, but underlines, CCSAGE’s wish to be constructive rather than negative, as it concentrates on the deficiencies of the Green Energy Act, on its bias against rural communities and on the infringement of citizens’ rights and of statutes and international treaties.
On Thursday, July 16th, 2015, a Renewable Energy Approval (REA) was issued by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) to White Pines Wind Incorporated (alias wpd Canada) for 27 of the 29 industrial wind turbines originally proposed, to be located in South Marysburgh and Athol. The two deleted were as a direct result of major efforts (and expense) by individuals concerned about the impact of these and other turbines on “cultural resources and protected properties”. The REA includes two large transformer substations. The 29 kilometre line connecting everything to the Hydro One system north of Picton was approved by the Ontario Energy Board in 2014. (Question: why would the transmission line be approved, apparently in a vacuum well in advance of the REA, unless the Ontario Energy Board was certain that the REA would be issued? Yet another indication that the entire procedure is a mockery of democratic norms).
The following article was published as a letter to the editor in the Wellington Times
Blanding’s Turtle re-dux.
It was timely for the Times to comment on the mindless funding by one provincial Ministry of an organization which had initiated a project to save the Blanding’s Turtle while another issued a permit to kill the same endangered species, as there were several contemporaneous developments in the same Alice in Wonderland nightmare which is the Green Energy Act.
Earlier this month, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce issued a devastating report. The Chamber represents 60,000 businesses in the province employing over two million people. The report emphasized that soaring electricity rates are threatening industries and businesses across the province with many commenting they expected to shut down in the next five years because of them. The Report specifically notes the huge surplus of electricity generated and its constant export at a loss borne by all Ontarians.
A separate source found that on July 4th, U.S Independence Day, Ontario’s gift to its neighbours was in the region of $5.5 million being the loss represented by the price at which it was sold compared with the cost of its production, that loss debited to all in the province who pay taxes and hydro bills. And this is a continuing daily occurrence, which according to the Auditor-General’s 2014 report cost $2.6 billion up to 2013.
Ontario has one of the largest sub/sovereign debts on the entire planet, and just a few days ago its credit rating was once again downgraded. And yet Queen’s Park insists on the continuing destruction of rural Ontario by calling for more bids for major wind and solar factories whose output is not needed and would be paid for by all Ontarians who pay taxes and hydro bills at rates above those for conventional water, nuclear and natural gas sources. And those factories will never, ever, be located in Ontario cities and towns, discrimination of almost unbelievable dimension.
Under the Green Energy Act, solar projects are now covered by three separate programs:
* microFIT: up to 10 KW, including both rooftop and small ground-based installations;
* FIT: 10 to 500 KW; ground-based installations up to 5 acres;
* Large Renewable Program (LRP): greater than 500 KW; ground-based installations averaging 10 MW and 90 acres, ranging from 5 MW to 25 MW.
The microFIT and FIT programs have predetermined prices, while the new LRP program (for wind as well as large solar) involves competitive price bids by proponents.
There is limited allotment available in 2015 under both FIT and LRP programs, so developers must find ways to maximize their appeal. One way is to obtain formal support from the municipality.
Currently there are five large solar projects located in the County, most of which are 10 MW requiring about 90 acres of land, plus a number of smaller FIT projects requiring up to 5 acres of land.
Skypower, which already owns one large solar project on Chuckery Hill Road, is proposing six more large projects for approval in 2015, ranging in size from 5 MW to 25 MW (45 to 225 acres). In all likelihood, they will ask for municipal support for their bids.
At the Committee of the Whole meeting on June 25, 2015, Council received two deputations recommending against any municipal support for additional solar projects.
Across Prince Edward County there are now five large scale solar projects. Three of these, Belleville North on Burr Rd., Belleville South on Hwy 62 and Belleville TS Demorestville on Black Rd., are within a 5 km radius skirting Highway 62 east and west.
Skypower is now seeking contracts from the IESO (Independent Electrical Systems Operator) for six additional large scale solar projects. Two of these six projects are slated for Sophiasburg within the already saturated 5 km radius.
The map below shows the three established sites (the three orange areas) as well as the two Skypower proposed sites (outlined in black).
Kevin Gale, a PEC Councillor, noted the following in an article looking at the density of solar projects across the county:
“It is clear that density is becoming an issue in the north end of Prince Edward County. I don’t know what the criteria is or what it should be but I know that if you went up in a hot air balloon or an airplane right now… you’d find the majority of the solar projects are in one targeted area in Sophiasburgh and Ameliasburgh.” (Ibbotson, C, “Council looks to staff to report on density of solar projects across county”, Picton Gazette, March 13, 2013)
OVER 4,00 MASSIVE OVERSIZE TRUCK LOADS…AND COUNTING
That’s what will hit the County – particularly Cherry Valley, Milford and much of Athol and South Marysburgh – if both Gilead Power and wpd Canada are allowed to proceed with their wind turbine factories. And they all have to come from Highway 401.
Gilead Power’s own consultants believe that some County roads will have to be strengthened and corners widened. They looked at three entry points and settled on Highway 33 and Highway 49 although nothing has yet been carved in stone.
Highway 33 would be followed over the Murray Canal bridge (59 tonnes maximum) to Consecon, then along County Road 1 for its entire length – including the roundabout- to the junction with County Road 10.
The Highway 49 option would skirt Picton to the west to reach the same junction of County Roads 1 and 10.
From that point County Road 10 would be followed through Cherry Valley and Milford to County Road 13, thence via Babylon and Helmer Roads to the Ostrander Point site. The Highway 33 route is 71 kilometres long, the Highway 49 option 56 kilometres. It is assumed that wpd Canada would use the same route(s), at least as far as Milford; from there its proposed turbine locations are scattered.
The following statistics cover both projects. Each turbine will require 40 truckloads of concrete for its base (1,520 ready mix concrete trucks).Each turbine needs 10 truck loads of turbine blades, tower parts and other components (390 special, oversized vehicles). Such vehicles need escort cars or trucks (760 in all). Separate trucks/trailers will be required for the delivery of other material (1,710 of them). So far that’s 4,380 individual vehicles, most of them large and heavy and many oversized and articulated. The turbines will be erected by giant cranes. Special vehicles (number unknown) will be needed to transport them in parts.
wpd Canada’s transmission line will span 28 kilometres from Royal Road to the Hydro One connection north of Picton. Add all required vehicles and equipment required for that work, number unknown.
County roads and normal traffic will take a beating. No information appears to be currently available as to the state of negotiations (if any) between Gilead Power, wpd Canada and Shire Hall as to final routing, road widenings and strengthenings, indemnity for damage to all roads , cost and responsibility and security for payment. Is the Murray Canal bridge adequate? Will the roundabout be taken out temporarily? How much OPP escorting will be required and who pays?
Is anybody concerned about the dust, noise, vibration and incredible inconvenience to be suffered by County residents and businesses along the routes, particularly those in Cherry Valley and Milford and along the transmission line?
And all of this spectacularly objectionable activity to enable the south end of the County to be desecrated, an Important Bird Area ravaged, the County bisected by the transmission line, and two corporations enriched at the expense of all Ontarians so that the power they may produce about 27% of the time can be exported abroad for considerably less than its inflated cost, the difference being absorbed by those same Ontarians in their taxes and hydro bills.
Insult added to injury, indeed, following the flight of democracy and common sense so fundamentally reflected in the Green Energy Act.
There is but one ray of light. The Court of Appeal has still to rule on the Gilead Power project while wpd Canada has not yet received its required approval.
CCSAGE NATURALLY GREEN.