Wind turbine approval process unfair to public

OPINION COLUMNISTS

GUEST COLUMN

JIM MCPHERSON, SPECIAL TO THE TORONTO SUN

FIRST POSTED:

Wind turbine
A wind turbine. (Postmedia Network file photo)

Ontario’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) has approved numerous wind energy projects across the province.

But what if many of these approvals were improperly done, as determined by a court?

Rural residents have appealed several wind projects to provincial tribunals, but most are denied because Ontario’s Green Energy Act permits these appeals only on very narrow grounds of irreparable harm to the environment or human health.

For that reason, a citizen’s group in Prince Edward County recently filed for a judicial review of Ontario’s wind turbine approval process, in Superior Court in Ottawa.

The appellant is a not-for-profit corporation composed of hundreds of Prince Edward County residents, who claim their Charter rights have been violated by Ontario’s Green Energy Act (GEA).

They contend their rights have been violated by the “institutional bias” of the MOECC, and by its failure to properly consider matters of direct relevance to the wind energy project approval process.

The filing also alleges “an egregious instance of regulatory capture”, of MOECC and its affiliated provincial agencies.

None of the allegations have been tested in court.

In the view of the appellants, rural Ontario citizens receive only minimal procedural fairness under the GEA.

During the project approval processes, they are not entitled to present direct evidence but are restricted to submitting comments to a website.

In many cases, the information on which they are asked to comment is incomplete, as yet undisclosed, or subject to later amendment.

Appeals to Ontario’s Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) are possible, but again, only on very narrow grounds of proven, irreparable harm to the environment or human health.

Property owners living close to wind turbines have complained about the pollution of wells, restriction of land use, fires, flying debris, health impacts, killing of wild life, property value diminution and inhabitability of homes.

During and after construction, many municipalities are concerned about potential road damage, water pollution and financial damage to local economies.

Many residents complain that once wind projects are completed, the province fails to meaningfully enforce regulations connected with their operation.

Provincially regulated setbacks of turbines, while inadequate in the view of many rural citizens, nonetheless effectively mandate that wind energy projects are built only in rural neighbourhoods, as opposed to cities like Toronto.

Unlike cities, vote-poor rural communities are unable to successfully pressure the government to relocate wind projects they say are inappropriate.

By contrast, in vote-rich Oakville and Mississauga, urban residents convinced the Liberal government, leading up to the 2011 provincial election, to relocate two proposed natural gas-fired electricity plants at an eventual public cost exceeding $1 billion.

The Liberal government also suspended a proposed offshore wind project impacting urban ridings in Scarborough after protests by local residents.

Under the GEA, municipalities can no longer use official plans or land use bylaws to protect citizens from inappropriate land use.

Many believe this is a reprehensible failure by Ontario’s government, but it cannot be attributed solely to the provincial regulating agencies.

In many cases, skilled, professional staff working for these agencies have basically been rendered inoperative by provincial legislation that makes them ineffective.

Comparing rural citizens fighting industrial wind turbines to the Liberal government pulling the strings, one is reminded of what was said about Allied troops in the First World War: “We have lions led by donkeys”.

Perhaps the judicial review requested by Prince Edward County residents will help restore fairness to the battlefield.

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Wynne government still approving wind projects

OPINION COLUMNISTS

GUEST COLUMN

 JIM MCPHERSON, SPECIAL TO THE TORONTO SUN

FIRST POSTED: | UPDATED:

wynne
Premier Kathleen Wynne speaks during a news conference on Wednesday, July 19, 2017. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/PHOTO)

The war of residents against industrial wind turbines is being fought by rural communities in many countries.

Their common enemy is the financially-powerful wind industry, which is failing miserably in its efforts to deliver affordable and reliable electricity. It survives because its revenues are government-contracted.

In Ontario, Premier Kathleen Wynne’s government won’t let local residents win this war.

While I’m not comparing the two in scale, Ontario’s wind war does have some things in common with World War II. Both were (and are) multinational with long-lasting effects.

Both have been waged over basic human rights and freedoms, with easily-identifiable villains and heroes.

Both have been costly.

Precious heritage assets, and wildlife, have been lost forever in turbine-ravaged communities.

Industrial wind turbines are driving up electricity prices, while driving down real estate values. Out of phase with demand, wind energy is inherently unreliable and inefficient. Much of it is exported at a loss.

Many rural residents oppose industrial wind turbines because they destroy neighbourhoods, kill birds and bats and bulldoze wildlife and habitats.

Many people say their low-frequency sound radiation makes them sick.

The Wynne government has already admitted it doesn’t need any more big, industrial wind projects because Ontario has an energy surplus.

Nevertheless, “Big Wind” fights on and continues to devastate rural Ontario landscapes.

In Prince Edward County, a wind farm development was originally proposed in 2008 as a 75-turbine project that would supposedly help Ontario’s “green energy” program.

After being acquired by another company, it was downsized to 27 turbines.

Earlier this year, following very costly appeals by local citizens, 18 of these turbine sites were disallowed by an Environmental Review Tribunal, leaving nine to be built.

Then, without public consultation, the Wynne government reduced the proponent’s contracted deliverable energy contract, so the deal could go forward.

It could have and should have been terminated it, in the view of many local residents.

Which raises the question of why does the Wynne government keep stubbornly supporting Big Wind?

The wind developer has announced it intends to begin construction of its severely-downsized, nine-turbine project surrounding the community of Milford.

Milford adjoins an internationally-designated “Important Bird Area” (IBA) on a multi-species migration flyway.

Colonies of vulnerable Little Brown Bats help Milford farmers protect their crops from insects. Turbines are dangerous to bats.

The wind developer, based in Germany, is a respected world leader in energy technology.

At a recent packed town hall meeting, Milford residents explored ways to save their community from more wind turbine industrialization.

One resident suggested the government of Germany might not want to inflict environmental harm in Canada more severe than that allowed in Germany.

Like Prince Edward County, Bavaria is a bucolic, tourism destination.

In Ontario, industrial wind turbines can be located 550 meters from residences, even though Health Canada reports this can cause sleep disturbance and severe annoyance.

In Bavaria, the legal setback for giant wind turbines is a much safer two km.

To protect wildlife, most European governments keep turbines away from IBAs.

In 2011, the Canadian Senate unanimously backed a motion calling on the province to institute a moratorium on wind-farm development along eastern Lake Ontario.

Six years later, the Wynne government continues to allow the wind industry to further its desecration of rural Ontario, despite the fact we have an energy surplus. Why?

IMPORTANT EVENT !! WPD Project Town Hall Meeting ~ Please Plan to attend at Milford Town Hall ~ Sept 5, 7-9 pm

Tuesday September 5, 7-9 PM, Milford Town Hall***

***note change of location

South Marysburg Councillor Steve Ferguson has organized a town hall meeting to provide residents with the latest information about WPD’s announced plans to start construction of the 9 wind turbines left in their project.

The Mayor, several Members of Council , Chief Administrative Officer James Hepburn and a member of the engineering staff will be there to explain what actions the County is taking with respect to WPD’s plans for road modifications, demands for permits, etc.

Speakers from APPEC and CCSAGE will provide background on how we have reached this point, the scope of the proposed project, new information on transmission lines and what is happening with WPD’s FIT contract.

The goal of this meeting is to provide greater public awareness and send a message to Queen’s Park about how residents of the County feel about the project and WPD’s tactics.

Further details will be in this week’s Gazette.

All are encouraged to attend.

 

Comments appreciated to gmanning@xplornet.com

DRAFT
SAFE AND APPROPRIATE GREEN ENERGY.
OBJECTS OF CCSAGE NATURALLY GREEN.

Background.

CCSAGE NATURALLY GREEN (CCSAGENG) is an incorporated not-for-profit which, prior to incorporation on March 19th, 2015, was known for several years as CCSAGE, an acronym for “County Coalition for Safe and Appropriate Green Energy”.

The objects of the corporation, as described in its Letters Patent, are “to promote the design, development, construction and utilization of sources of energy that are safe and appropriate to local conditions and to oppose those that are not, in both instances by written and oral means, widely interpreted”.

CCSAGENG has implemented the second part of those objects by instituting an Application for Judicial Review on November 30th, 2015, before the Divisional Court of the Supreme Court of Ontario at Ottawa. It alleges that the Green Energy Act and other Ontario laws infringe the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, that they contravene international conventions and treaties, that principles of natural justice are violated and that there is discrimination against rural Ontarians.

Thus the first part of those objects still remains to be better defined and implemented, which is the purpose of this document.

In 2005, Ian Hanna, Kent Hawkins and Henri Garand, County residents all, authored “Green Alternative Plan”, or GAP. A copy has been amongst the documents stored on the CCSAGEG website since its inception. CCSAGENG acknowledges with thanks those three individuals whose ideas made so much sense at the time and have been totally ignored by the authors of the Green Energy Act and by their political opponents. Much water has passed beneath the bridge in the intervening 12 years; CCSAGENG has thus availed itself of the opportunity to build on the foundation so well laid, to bring it up to date without necessarily slavishly reproducing some of the original concepts, to advance its own thoughts and to fulfil its second object – that of promoting etc. sources of energy that are safe and appropriate.

SAFE AND APPROPRIATE GREEN ENERGY or
“SAGE”.

Preamble.

SAGE is an initiative to provide a working alternative to the disaster which is the Green Energy Act. It will enlist home and building owners throughout Ontario to install solar, wind and geothermal equipment, solely or in combination, on their own properties. Take-up will be at the grass roots level, encourage the generation and use of green energy, create local jobs, provide a boost to the economy and contribute to energy security and the battle against climate change.

SAGE will empower Ontarians to apply new solutions to energy needs and forever displace the need for future industrial wind factories in rural Ontario where they have previously been imposed in totally inappropriate locations in communities which did not want them (giving rise to economic loss and the slaughter of birds and endangered species), those communities being forbidden by the undemocratic Green Energy Act to have any say in such vital local decisions. And then to see the demand for electricity in Ontario diminishing and much of the extravagantly expensive industrial wind and solar power being exported at a cumulative and continuing loss in the billions of dollars – to Ontario tax and hydro bill payers, naturally. As examples, in a Special Report in 2015, the Auditor-General of Ontario found the cost to such Ontarians of the cancellation of the Oakville and Mississauga gas plants and their re-location elsewhere was at a minimum $950 million, while in her 2015 regular Report she found that the price Ontario pays for electricity, including wind and solar, far exceeded its recovery from the export of the surplus supply. From 2009 to 2014 the loss was $3.1 billion, expected to continue on a comparable basis until at least 2031.

SAGE requires no change in legislation and home and business installations can be installed expeditiously. Small scale wind, solar and geothermal are the greenest of green; by way of example, geothermal provides both heatingSAGE requires no change in legislation and home and business installations can be installed expeditiously. Small scale wind, solar and geothermal are the greenest of green; by way of example, geothermal provides both heating and air conditioning from the land and thus reduces electric heating and the use of natural gas and oil and CO2 emissions.

SAGE, when adopted and successful, will require many well-trained manufacturers and installation and maintenance people, infinitely more than any comparable need for industrial wind and solar.

How SAGE will work.

SAGE will require a loan programme, certain green technologies and a net metering connection to the existing electrical grid.

     Loan Programme.

Participating home and business owners will qualify for a combination grant/loan from the Ontario government for a total amount of up to $75,000 per project. Of this, one-third will be a non-repayable grant and the balance secured by an interest-free mortgage on the property in favour of the Province of Ontario. The mortgage will be repayable in equal monthly instalments over 20 years or upon a registered or unregistered change in the beneficial ownership of the property, e.g. by sale. Using the proceeds of such a grant/loan, the property owner purchases and installs any of small scale wind, solar or geothermal as appropriate to the property. The installations become owned immediately on installation and pass with the property on ownership change as aforesaid. In time, the market will become accustomed to some value of the installations being incorporated into the listing price on a contemplated sale. Funding from the Ontario government will be more than adequately provided by the savings from no longer wasting incredible amounts of taxpayer money on new industrial wind and solar factories and from the end of the export of surplus power to competitors New York and Michigan. Parker Gallant, an expert in the field, publishes regular bulletins in this area. By way of example, he found that in May, 2017, wind generation and curtailment costs had risen by over $45 million dollars from the comparable period in 2016 and that at 10.00 am on May 27th, almost 200 industrial wind turbines imposed on rural Ontario produced between them about one megawatt of power, there being virtually no wind.

     Green technologies.

Home and business owners will choose one or more of the technologies currently available, recognizing that the future may hold new and even more efficient ones. Small wind turbines can complement solar panels and provide excess capacity for a battery storage system and for off-loading onto the grid. Solar panels can heat water, run pumps and light buildings. Geothermal replaces oil, gas or electrical furnaces and also functions as an air conditioner.

Net metering.

Homes and businesses using green technologies will not necessarily move off the conventional existing electrical grid. Many properties may be able to produce more electrical power than they can utilize, while some will not and will require some energy from the existing grid. In either case, connection to the grid is essential through net meters which will track and account for energy moving in both directions. Participating home and business owners must be given right of access to the grid and utilities must be obliged to connect SAGE projects.

Further comments.

SAGE would provide an impact much more beneficial than the Green Energy Act, starting in Prince Edward County (the home of CCSAGENG) and thereafter spreading throughout Ontario. It would spur economic growth in those industries manufacturing and maintaining the required equipment. In addition to individual homes and businesses, the municipal government of Prince Edward County should ensure that all its buildings are appropriately equipped and could set up larger projects of its own on available municipally owned acreage. The end results would be that Prince Edward County would approach electrical energy self-sufficiency, an example to be copied by other Ontario municipalities.

 

Proposed Federal Improvements for Environmental Protection

The Federal government has been undergoing a review of federal environmental assessment processes. After receiving input from committees and others, a document has been produced: Environmental and Regulatory Reviews Discussion Paper, Gov. of Canada of June 2017
https://www.canada.ca/content/dam/themes/environment/conservation/environmental-reviews/share-your-views/proposed-approach/discussion-paper-june-2017-eng.pdf

Comments on the document by Anne Dumbrille July 27, 2017 follow:

Goal: This discussion paper outlines the changes the Federal Government is considering for Canada’s environmental assessment and regulatory processes aimed at regaining public trust, protecting the environment, advancing reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and ensuring good projects go ahead and resources get to market.
In fact, the proposed changes will replace legislation that the Harper government removed (see comments on the Act of 2012, below), and may help with pipeline approval. Aboriginal involvement is stressed.

Included projects: The Federal Environmental Protection Act and revisions appear to be specific to that which is presently federal responsibility – nuclear as well as off-shore gas/oil/renewable energy/transmission lines. There is a list of applicable projects which will be updated.
Neither the present Act nor the proposed changes directly apply to land-based turbines or other projects presently under provincial jurisdiction, or those that might be transferred to provincial assessment.
They do apply to off-shore wind turbines, and to potential adverse environmental effects that cross international and provincial boundaries. So if a project affects birds in the USA and Quebec, i.e. migrating birds, the Act may apply.

Process: The Federal proposal will add the inclusion of consideration of safety, economic, environment, social and/or health impacts. “Canada’s new environmental assessment system must consider impacts on more than just the environment. The economic, social and health effects associated with a project must be considered.” “…to support more holistic and integrated decision making in areas of federal jurisdiction”. Previously, the health and socio-economic conditions, and physical and cultural heritage of aboriginal peoples only were considered. This broadening of scope is a welcome addition.
In Ontario, the Green Energy Act (GEA) does not allow the ERT review process or the O.Reg 359/09 to consider social and economic impacts to a community. Regarding human health, an ERT can only be based on proven serious harm to health. This is inconsistent with the province’s Environmental Protection Act (EPA), which defines “adverse effect” to include injury or damage to property, harm or material discomfort to any person, loss of enjoyment of normal use of property, and interference with the normal conduct of business. (Environmental Protection Act, RSO 1990, c E.19. https://www.canlii.org/en/on/laws/stat/rso-1990-c-e19/latest/rso-1990-c-e19.html) The EPA, but not the GEA, is consistent with legislation federally and provincially across Canada, and internationally which recognizes human participation in and connection to the “environment” by defining the environment and related terms to include human uses and property. Yet there is no evidence of economic, social or health impacts in the approval process of wind turbines in Ontario.

The Federal proposal stresses that decisions be made based on best available science and Indigenous knowledge, and include the cumulative effects of development.
In Ontario, the GEA does not require solid science. For example, the implementation process only requires that proponents complete surveys regardless of the quality of the surveys. The MOECC staff not enforcing data quality standards for REA submissions violates both the science based approach, the adaptive management approach, and the requirements of monitoring and assessment.
The GEA does not allow consideration of cumulative effects; it abandons the precautionary principle, instead putting a reverse onus on decisions about projects that must demonstrate serious and irreversible harm to a significant value. Clearly, the Federal proposals represent a superior approach.

A guiding principle of the Federal document is transparency and inclusive and meaningful public engagement — consultation and participation from the public, and more particularly from aboriginal communities. Regarding the courts striking down an oil and gas project this week, the Courts said: “The duty to consult requires a meaningful opportunity for dialogue with indigenous groups whose rights may be impacted.” It is not clear to what extent the general public would share such rights.
Regarding consultation, it is important that “consideration” of all input not be just lip-service, as many in The County and elsewhere in Ontario feel has happened at the provincial level. As written in a Globe and Mail editorial July 27, “For a consultation to pass constitutional muster, it must be real and substantial. It can’t be just about collecting complaints and suggestions, and then ignoring them.”
In Ontario, regarding approval of wind turbine projects, the review and decision-making process is far from transparent – it is a black box. Even recent ATIP requests requesting information regarding the reviews are blocked.

The revision proposes increasing and improving the role of the aboriginal people in the assessments and processes, including allowing for the sharing of administrative authority and management responsibility.
It has been presented in the courts that the widespread exclusion of aboriginal decision making from federal and provincial decisions that profoundly affect the environments in which aboriginal peoples live amounts to a fundamental omission of a constitutional right of participation. (Aboriginal rights: Molested And Disturbed: Environmental Protection by Aboriginal Peoples through Section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 p.7. Theresa McClenaghan, Canadian Environmental Law Association, 1999. http://www.cela.ca/sites/cela.ca/files/uploads/376aboriginal.pdf) Provincial infringement is described pp. 49 of that article. Section 35 rights, and the Crown’s obligations under it are not clearly defined (see Taking Section 35 Rights Seriously: Non-derogation Clauses relating to Aboriginal and treaty rights Final Report of the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, 2007 https://sencanada.ca/content/sen/committee/392/lega/rep/rep05dec07-e.pdf). I do not have the knowledge to expand on it further.

Changes to the National Energy Board Act would include adding provisions to provide authority to regulate renewable energy projects and associated power lines in offshore areas that are under federal jurisdiction. More detail is required regarding this role of the NEB before the benefit can be determined.

Canadian Environmental Assessment Act 2012: https://www.canada.ca/en/environmental-assessment-agency/corporate/acts-regulations/legislation-regulations/canadian-environmental-assessment-act-2012.html
This was enacted as part on an omnibus budget Bill C-38 (replaced the Act of 1992).
Complaints have been that it restricts the quality and quantity of information necessary for making sound decisions, reviews too few activities and shuts citizens out of decision-making, forcing them to take to the courts and the streets for a fair consideration of their concerns. The new act limited assessment just to the type of projects listed in this regulation. It decreased initial input from biologists, overall public input, and accelerates movement of the project to the legal hearing stage.  With it, the National Energy Board for example, may issue licenses and permits without an environmental assessment, may conduct their own assessment, and may cancel existing assessments currently in process. Information on environmental effects is limited to effects on fish, aquatic species, and migratory birds. Previously, information on terrain, air, vegetation, all wildlife, and all habitats was also required. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_Environmental_Assessment_Act
Under CEAA 2012, an environmental assessment focuses on potential adverse environmental effects that are within federal jurisdiction. This includes federal lands, effects that cross provincial or international boundaries, and changes to the environment that are directly linked to or necessarily incidental to any federal decisions about a project. It includes effects that impact on Aboriginal peoples, including any change that may be caused to the environment on health and socio-economic conditions, physical and cultural heritage, the current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes, or any structure, site or thing that is of historical, archaeological, paleontological or architectural significance.
An environmental assessment will consider a comprehensive set of factors that include cumulative effects, mitigation measures and comments received from the public.

The new Federal proposals represent a more comprehensive, inclusive, science-based and potentially transparent approach to environmental assessment – a welcome change from the CEAA 2012.P

CELEBRATE THE COUNTY with CCSAGE ~ A fundraising dinner & Arts Auction, September 15, 6pm, Waring Hall, Picton

Dear Supporter,

Thank you for being a supporter of County Coalition for Safe and Appropriate Green Energy Naturally Green (CCSAGE NG). Today we want to invite you to “Celebrating the County,” an arts auction and dinner fundraiser to support our Judicial Review.

Two years ago, we initiated a Judicial Review to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice attacking the bias and denial of natural justice inherent in the 2009 Green Energy Act (GEA). As expected, the government and others in the renewable industry are strongly opposing this action.

We are grateful to our lawyer, Alan Whiteley, for offering his services pro bono. However, we are anticipating printing and court costs, as well as out-of-pocket expenses, in the coming year. Our members are continuing to help our friends in the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists (PECFN) and the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County (APPEC) with their legal expenses incurred during their respective ERTs. Now we must do some fundraising of our own.

Please join us on Friday September 15th, at 6pm for “Celebrating the County” a dinner and arts auction (both silent and live) at Waring Hall. Tickets are $75 each, and there will be complimentary bottles of wine at each table. You will be entertained by Blu Zone who will perform during the reception before dinner.

Tickets are $75 each or $600 for a table of 8. For tickets, please contact either:

Anne Dumbrille at 613-476-5363 or annedumbrille@fastrackconsulting.com
Alison Walker at 613-962-6902 or alwalker@kos.net

Please indicate any dietary restrictions when ordering tickets.

Thank you for your enduring support. We look forward to seeing you at the Waring Hall on September 15 for this memorable evening of fun entertainment!

Kind Regards,

Cynthia Taylor-Huff
Bruce Nicholson
Event Co-chairsCelebrate.jpg

Report calls for end to wind power expansion

Repost from Wind Concerns Ontario

Tuesday Jul 4, 2017

By John Miner

The writer farms in Huron County

Ontario’s plan to double its wind energy capacity will make a bad situation worse, according to a report published by the Council for Clean and Reliable Energy.

There is already so much intermittent wind [power] generation in the Great Lakes Region that demand is over-supplied, prices are collapsing and generation must be curtailed, said the report released in June by the council, a non-profit organization formed by volunteers from universities, public sector business leaders, and labour.

The report’s author Marc Brouillette, a principal consultant at Strategic Policy Economics, calls on the province to reconsider its commitment to ongoing deployment of wind resources.

“Analysis shows that wind intermittency makes it an unproductive and expensive choice that doesn’t meet customers’ needs and also undermines the price of electricity exports,” says the report titled Ontario’s High-Cost Millstone.

The opportunity to pull back from the plan to expend wind energy comes this summer when Ontario updates its long-term energy plan.

A key part of the problem with wind energy, according to the report, is that it is misaligned with demand because of its intermittent nature.

Ontario’s energy use is highest in the winter and summer and lowest in spring and late fall.

“This is almost a mirror image of wind production patterns: wind is highest in the spring and fall, when electricity needs are lowest, and lowest in summer when electricity demand peaks,” the report notes.

The result is that two-thirds of wind [power] generation is surplus to demand and must be wasted or dissipated either through forced curtailment of hydro and nuclear generation, or by increased exports to Quebec and the United States, generally at low prices.

… Jane Wilson, president of Wind Concerns Ontario, a coalition of citizens’ groups critical of Ontario’s wind energy program, said the report underscores what two Auditors General told the McGuinty and Wynne governments — they should not have launched the program without any cost-benefit analysis.

“Now, Ontarians are paying four times as much for wind power which is very invasive and has had a huge impact on rural communities for very little benefit. The need for more fossil fuel natural gas to back it up means it is not even achieving the simple environmental goals.

“For people living with the noise and vibration of the huge turbines interfering with their lives, this is outrageous,” Wilson said.

No new wind power approvals should be granted, and development of projects not yet in operation should be halted, she said.

Brandy Gianetta, Ontario regional director for the Canadian Wind Energy Association, said the report fails to fully recognize that wind energy is making a significant contribution to Ontario’s electricity supply needs today and this contribution will only grow in future years.

CanWEA contends that Ontario should be securing the lowest [cost] non-greenhouse gas emitting electricity to fill the gap and ensure it can meet its climate goals.

“Wind energy, which is now the least-cost option for new electricity generation available in Ontario, is the best available resource to meet both of those needs, Gianetta said in an email.

 


FACT CHECK: wind power contributes about 6% of Ontario’s electricity supply, at four times the cost of other power sources; wind power is not the “lowest-cost” option—the turbines are cheap to build but there are many other costs associated with wind power and its intermittency; wind power cannot replace hydro and nuclear—the fact is, coal was replaced by nuclear and natural gas, a fossil-fuel-based power source. Ms Gianetta did not trot out the usual wind industry myth of massive job creation in Ontario because that has proven not to be true, here as in other jurisdictions. Jobs are short-term and related to construction activity, in the main. Other costs associated with wind power such as property value loss, effects on tourism, and human costs in terms of effects on health, have never been calculated.

CCSAGE Lawyer Alan Whiteley addresses the Standing Committee on Justice Policy regarding Bill 132

The following is the text of the address made by Alan Whiteley before the Standing Committee on Justice Policy regarding Bill 132, today, Tuesday, May 23, 2017

RESIDENTS OF ONTARIO CANNOT AFFORD ELECTRICITY AT CURRENT RATES. SOME FAMILIES HAVE TO CHOOSE BETWEEN ELECTRICITY AND FOOD.

INDUSTRIES FACED WITH EXORBITANT CHARGES ARE RELOCATING TO U.S. JURISDICTIONS THAT OFFER MUCH LOWER RATES, TAKING JOBS WITH THEM.

AN URGENT REMEDY IS REQUIRED.
BILL 132 IS NO REMEDY; IT IS A PONZI SCHEME.

SOME CONSUMERS WILL HAVE A PORTION OF THEIR ELECTRICITY RATES DEFERRED FOR A PERIOD OF TIME;

THE DEFERRED RATES WILL BE ACCUMULATED AS AN “INVESTMENT ASSET” WHICH WILL BE SOLD TO OUTSIDE INVESTORS;

OUTSIDE INVESTORS WILL HAVE THE RIGHT TO COLLECT THE DEFERRED RATES PROTECTED FOR INFLATION, PLUS ACCRUED INTEREST, FROM RATES TO BE CHARGED TO FUTURE CONSUMERS.

BILL 132 DOES NOT ADDRESS THE ROOT CAUSE OF UNAFFORDABLE ELECTRICITY RATES.

ONTARIO CONSUMERS CAN AFFORD TO PAY THE SPOT PRICE FOR ELECTRICITY THEY CONSUME. THEY CAN EVEN AFFORD TO PAY DELIVERY CHARGES, IF LEVIED ON AN EQUITABLE BASIS.

 

WHAT THEY CANNOT AFFORD IS THE GLOBAL ADJUSTMENT CHARGE.

THIS IS DEFINED AS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE PRICE THE GOVERNMENT PROMISED TO ANY PARTICULAR ELECTRICITY GENERATING COMPANY AND THE “MARKET PRICE” OF ELECTRICITY.

SIMPLY PUT, THE GOVERNMENT BUYS ELECTRICITY FROM SOME SUPPLIERS AT MULTIPLES OF THE MARKET PRICE AND THEN ADDS THAT EXCESS TO CONSUMER PRICES.

THE SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM IS PATENTLY OBVIOUS: BUY ELECTRICITY ONLY AT MARKET PRICES.

THE GRID IS AWASH WITH ELECTRICITY AT MARKET PRICES. EVERY DAY HYDRO GENERATING STATIONS SPILL WATER AND NUCLEAR POWER GENERATING STATIONS STEAM OFF HEAT BECAUSE THEIR CARBON-FREE ELECTRICITY IS NOT REQUIRED. IN ADDITION, QUEBEC EXPORTS HUGE AMOUNTS OF POWER FROM ITS NORTHERN HYDRO DAMS, ALL AT MARKET RATES.

BUT ONTARIO IS CONTRACTED TO BUY HIGH-COST ELECTRICITY FROM OPERATORS OF RENEWABLE ENERGY PROJECTS AUTHORIZED UNDER THE GREEN ENERGY ACT.

SO INSTEAD OF RECOGNIZING THAT THE CURRENT CRISIS IN ELECTRICITY IS THE DIRECT RESULT OF THE DISASTROUS GREEN ENERGY ACT, THIS GOVERNMENT SEEKS TO DEFER THE PROBLEM BY INFLICTING IT ON FUTURE GENERATIONS.

 

CITIZENS OF ONTARIO EXPECT BETTER THAN SUCH UNETHICAL, UNFAIR AND UNDERHANDED MACHINATIONS FROM THEIR LEGISLATURE.

BILL 132 IS A CLEAR INDICATION THAT ONTARIO’S ELECTRICITY SUPPLY SYSTEM IS BANKRUPT.

IF AN INDIVIDUAL OR A CORPORATION WERE TO PURSUE SUCH A SCHEME, IT WOULD BE AN ACT OF INSOLVENCY, AND THE ONLY ETHICAL COURSE OF ACTION WOULD BE TO DECLARE BANKRUPTCY, COMPROMISE WITH CREDITORS, AND RESTRUCTURE ON PRINCIPLES OF RECTITUDE AND PROBITY.

IT IS POSSIBLE FOR A STATE TO ENACT LEGISLATION CANCELLING CONTRACTS WITHOUT DAMAGES.

IT WOULD BE ARGUED THAT SUCH A DRASTIC COURSE WOULD DAMAGE THE REPUTATION, CREDIBILITY AND CREDIT-WORTHINESS OF THE PROVINCE, BUT THE GREEN ENERGY ACT HAS ALREADY DONE THAT, AND AN HONEST DECLARATION OF FAULT AND FORMULATION OF A WORKABLE REMEDY MIGHT IN FACT REASSURE MARKETS.

THE ONLY OTHER ALTERNATIVE IS TO REDUCE THE AMOUNT OF MONEY PAYABLE TO THE PRODUCERS OF HIGH-COST ELECTRICITY. THIS CAN BE DONE IN SEVERAL WAYS:

1. THE ASSESSMENT ACT PROVIDES THAT AN INDUSTRIAL WIND TURBINE VALUED IN EXCESS OF $2,000,000 CAN ONLY BE ASSESSED AT $40,000 FOR MUNICIPAL TAX PURPOSES. REPEAL OF THIS PREFERENTIAL

 

TREATMENT WOULD IMMEDIATELY TRANSFER LARGE AMOUNTS FROM OPERATORS TO THE HOST MUNICIPALITIES, WHO SO BADLY NEED ADDITIONAL FUNDING;

  1. THE RENEWABLE ENERGY APPROVALS THAT AUTHORIZE THE OPERATION OF INDUSTRIAL WIND TURBINES CONTAIN NOISE LIMITS, SETBACK LIMITS, BIRD KILL LIMITS AND OTHER OPERATING CONDITIONS THE VIOLATION OF WHICH CAN LEAD TO SHUTTING DOWN THE IWTS. THERE HAVE BEEN HUNDREDS OF COMPLAINTS REGISTERED WITH THE MINISTRY OF THE ENVIRONMENT ABOUT SUCH INFRACTIONS, BUT NONE HAS BEEN INVESTIGATED. DILIGENCE IN ENFORCING REA CONDITIONS COULD REDUCE SUPPLY OF HIGH-COST ELECTRICITY CONSIDERABLY;
  2. IN BONN LAST WEEK A UNITED NATIONS CONFERENCE ISSUED GUIDELINES FOR COMPULSORY SHUTDOWN OF IWTS DURING BIRD MIGRATION, ADVOCATING A SYSTEM TRIGGERED AUTOMATICALLY BY THE BIRDS THEMSELVES ENTERING RADAR RANGE.

BILL 132 STATES THAT THE “FAIR ALLOCATION AMOUNT” IS A METHOD OF MEASURING AND ALLOCATING ESTIMATED CLEAN ENERGY COSTS AND ESTIMATED CLEAN ENERGY BENEFITS FAIRLY AMONG CONSUMERS.

BUT IT DOESN’T ADDRESS THE “CLEAN ENERGY COSTS” IMPOSED UNILATERALLY AND DISCRIMINATORILY ON RESIDENTS OF RURAL ONTARIO BY THE GREEN ENERGY ACT.

BECAUSE OF SETBACKS, NOISE LEVELS, ETC. IWTS CAN ONLY BE ERECTED IN RURAL AREAS.

 

THEY ARE ERECTED IN CONTRAVENTION OF MUNICIPAL BY-LAWS, OFFICIAL PLANS AND ASSESSMENT RIGHTS AGAINST LOCAL OBJECTIONS AND ARE DAMAGING COMMUNITIES, ECONOMIES, HUMAN HEALTH, LAND VALUES AND ENVIRONMENTS ACROSS RURAL ONTARIO.

ON BEHALF OF THE COUNTY COALITION FOR SAFE AND GREEN ENERGY, I AM PROSECUTING A PROCEEDING IN THE SUPERIOR COURT IN OTTAWA SEEKING JUDICIAL REVIEW OF THE GREEN ENERGY ACT AND A DECLARATION THAT BY IMPOSING ALL OF THE NON-MONETARY COSTS OF IWTS ON RURAL ONTARIO THE ACT VIOLATES S. 15 OF THE CHARTER OF RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS IN THAT IT STERILIZES THE RIGHTS OF RESIDENTS OF RURAL ONTARIO TO ADVOCATE FOR, ENACT, RELY ON AND CLAIM THE BENEFIT OF SOUND LAND USE PLANNING PRINCIPLES AND AMOUNTS TO DISCRIMINATION THAT HAS THE EFFECT OF DEMEANING THE HUMAN DIGNITY OF RESIDENTS OF RURAL ONTARIO.

I FULLY EXPECT TO WIN THIS CASE, IN WHICH EVENT EVERY IWT ERECTED IN ONTARIO WILL BE ILLEGAL.

THE $28,000,000 THAT THE WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION RECENTLY ORDERED ONTARIO TO PAY TO WINDSTREAM FOR IMPOSING A MORATORIUM ON OFF-SHORE IWTS WILL FADE INTO INSIGNIFICANCE COMPARED TO AMOUNTS DEMANDED BY IWT OPERATORS TO COMPENSATE FOR ILLEGAL OPERATING PERMITS.

BILL 132 WON’T SOLVE THAT PROBLEM.