Yesterday we found a news story dated 2010 in which Ian Hanna, past Chair of Wind Concerns Ontario, was quoted as saying: “I have travelled all over the Province of Ontario, and I cannot think of a single area, a single community, that I would like to see changed forever by a wind power project.”
We know today that wind power generation has NOT lived up to any of the promises made for it; we know that wind power generation is a high-impact/low-benefit source of power, that is harming the natural environment, causing health problems for many people exposed to the noise and vibration, reducing property values significantly, and not contributing to Ontario’s power supply. At the same time, the subsidy payments going to the huge corporate developers are causing dramatic increases to Ontario’s electricity bills, affecting business and Ontario citizens. Many people are saying Ontario is on the road to financial ruin because of the green energy policy that supports a rush to building wind power projects.
We’ve all been active in our communities, doing what we can. And right now, we all have a chance to make a difference by supporting the Environmental Review Tribunal hearing the appeal of the wind power development at Ostrander Point in Prince Edward County. Even pro-wind commentators say this is the wrong place to put a wind power project.
See this letter from a member of the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County (APPEC), a group member of Wind Concerns Ontario, on why we need your financial help now on this legal action. Many believe it is our “last stand”—if we cannot get the government to see the error of approving a wind power project in a “globally significant” bird area and a unique alvar environment, what hope is there for any community?
Please read this letter, and then contribute as you can.
Jane Wilson, President
Parker Gallant, Vice-President
Wind Concerns Ontario
Dear friends and fellow Ontarians:
The Environmental Review Tribunal is underway to challenge the Ontario government on the basis of serious and irreversible harm to the natural environment and serious harm to human health. The first, if won, will protect only Ostrander Point.
The second, if won, will protect all of the County, and all of Ontario.
Legal appeals are costly but the board of APPEC has undertaken, on behalf of all us of here in the County, and on behalf of everyone in Ontario, to win this appeal. And, it is winnable. Previous appeals have not gone so far as hearing the testimony of the victims. This appeal will be the first time witness statements are heard at a Tribunal.
But what if there is not enough money to cover the cost of having the case heard in its entirety? What if this is our last chance?
If you believe, as I do, that turbines do not make sense anywhere in Ontario, and least of all in a tourism area like the County, then here is your chance to help protect the County and all it has to offer. Please consider carefully what living here is worth to you. Please include the likely devaluation of your home or business in that number. How much would you invest if you knew you had an excellent chance of being successful at protecting those things you value — both the tangible and the intangible?
I really, really need you to take action. We are at the 11th hour! It is not fair for the APPEC board to shoulder the cost of the legal appeal that will benefit all of us.
So, get out your cheque book or go online and use a credit card and help APPEC win this appeal! If you have already given, thank you, but please do the exercise of determining what you would invest and then see if you can’t dig a little deeper.
www.appec.wordpress.com or by mail APPEC Legal Fund, Box 173, Milford, ON K0K 2P0
Thank you, as always, for listening and thank you for giving as generously as you can.
|Image from source article|
Federal wildlife officials took the unprecedented step Friday of telling private companies that they will not be prosecuted for inadvertently harassing or even killing endangered California condors.
In a decision swiftly condemned by conservationists and wildlife advocates, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said operators of Terra-Gen Power’s wind farm in the Tehachapi Mountains will not be prosecuted if their turbines accidentally kill a condor during the expected 30-year life span of the project.
California condors were brought back from the brink of extinction a quarter-century ago and still cling precariously to survival. Federal law prohibits the harassment or killing of endangered species for any reason.…
“This is a sad day for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,” said Adam Keats, a senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity. “We’re talking about perhaps one of the most endangered species on the planet, let alone in this country. So, the Obama administration said loud and clear today” that it doesn’t care about the environment.
Daniel Burnett, treasurer of Kerncrest Audubon, agreed. “I can’t believe the federal government is putting so much money into a historic and costly effort to establish a stable population of condors, and at the same time is issuing permits to kill them. Ludicrous.”
Reading the phrase, “if their turbines accidentally kill”, reminded me of the misuse of the work in describing car crashes …
The above quote, absent the “Ontario Liberals” is attributed to Disraeli, British PM and was later popularized by Mark Twain. That expression seems to reflect itself strongly in the ongoing enquiry into the Ontario gas plant moves with all of the Liberals appearing before the Justice Committee echoing common themes; “we were told the cost of the Oakville gas plant move was $40 million”, “the NDP & the PC parties wanted to move it too,” and the best one out of the mouth of the former Premier; McGuinty said his office couldn’t have been expected to have “the capacity” to do that kind of figuring, he said, and didn’t.
McGuinty was of course referring to the ability of calculating the additional costs (over and above the “sunk” costs) of the Oakville move. It is important to remember that the Oakville plant was cancelled in 2010 and negotiations with TransCanada were an ongoing thorn that resulted in McGuinty ordering David Livingston, CEO of Infrastructure Ontario to take over those negotiations. Later McGuinty appointed Livingston as his “Chief of Staff”. So was McGuinty saying he had no confidence in his Chief of Staff? As the CEO of Infrastructure Ontario, Livingston was responsible for the spending of billions of our tax dollars on hospitals, court houses, etc. so perhaps the Justice Committee should also examine the books of Infrastructure Ontario when they finish this enquiry.
The new Minister of Energy, Bob Chiarelli, blasted his opposition critics in the Legislature May 1, 2013 for not knowing the costs stating;
“I have in my hand a memorandum of understanding dated September 24, 2012. The same day that this memorandum was dated, it was posted on the website of the Ontario Power Authority. I find it absolutely appalling that that critic did not read this document. Not only that; he did not read the 261-page contract that sets out the arrangement between TransCanada and the province on this particular issue. It’s very, very clear from this document that there are sunk costs. That number is identified. There’s a range of other items, savings as well as additional costs, that are included in this document. So the whole world knew, including him, if he had read this document, that there were other costs and savings that had to be calculated in the Oakville plant. Disgraceful.”
Interesting that the Minister would make that point mere days before Dalton McGuinty would testify, under oath, to the Justice Committee that his staff were not capable of doing the same calculations. Does the Minister’s “disgraceful” remark also apply to the former Premier and his staff?
Minister Chiarelli on the same day also said;
“He continues to say that Colin Andersen said that everybody knew. I agree with Colin Andersen. Everybody knew. The only reason he doesn’t know is that he did not read the document that says there will be additional costs, additional savings, that need to be calculated.”
Another recent event that Mr. Chiarelli had to respond to was the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) decision on Canada’s appeal on the ruling falling out of the Green Energy Act’s feed-in tariff (FIT) program and the local content requirement. The appeal by Canada was lost with the WTO ruling in favour of the EU and Japan meaning that the FIT rules will need to be changed. Chiarelli’s comments to the CBC said he was; “reviewing the ruling in consultation with the federal government. I’ll let that process continue before we determine our next steps.” and went on to say the province is not about to abandon its green energy initiative. “Our renewable energy sector has already created over 31,000 jobs and leveraged billions of dollars in investment,” he said.” The Council of Canadians and the Sierra Club were quite upset with the ruling and both suggested that Ontario should ignore the ruling. Two of Canada’s largest unions; the CAW and CEP were also upset and denounced the rulings.
It would appear that the effort to convince the Council of Canadians, the Sierra Club and the two unions about those jobs Minister Chiarelli says the GEA has created has been successful. Those parties, however might change their mind if they simply read some of the documents that have been disclosed to Tom Adams under the Freedom of Information Act. One of the documents disclosed the following facts related to the actual jobs created:
“Most of the jobs in renewable manufacturing are concentrated in the solar sector. The recent survey of manufacturers indicated that with respect to solar manufacturing there are 46 companies involved in the manufacturing of modules inverters and mounting systems for 2,023 direct manufacturing jobs and 1,780 indirect jobs.”
The 3803 jobs referred to in the report, (dated October 12, 2012) is a far cry from the 31,000 jobs that Minister Chiarelli continues to cite ad nauseam. He has probably forgotten that when the GEA was first passed in the Legislature in 2009 we were promised 50,000 jobs by December 2012. It would appear despite the billions of dollars that Ontario’s ratepayers are committed to paying in pursuit of renewable energy the total number of jobs created are far less then the jobs lost as a result of high electricity prices. It is time for Minister Chiarelli to fess up and tell the truth about this waste.
Back in March of this year an article in the Toronto Star about offshore wind developments included a quote from Robert Hornung, President of CanWEA on how the province would be reviewing its long term energy plan so I fired off an e-mail to the Energy Ministry’s office to see if Hornung had the inside track. What I got back was the following response;
“Thank you for your email concerning a possible review of the province’s Long-Term Energy Plan. I am happy to respond.
You noted in your email that Mr. Hornung of CanWEA indicated in a newspaper article that “the province is reviewing its long term energy plan this year”. At this point the Ministry of Energy has not indicated to the public any intent to undertake a review of the Long Term Energy Plan.”
A couple of weeks later another e-mail arrived from that same spokesperson
I had the chance to hear you speak at the Ontario Power Conference this week and appreciated the opportunity. I returned to the office after the conference to find an email from you (dated Apr 11) back to our write2us address regarding the Long Term Energy Plan update and wanted to provide a response.
I understand your frustration and trust you can understand my original response as indicating that, at the time of your inquiry, there had been no public announcement with regards to an update of the Long Term Energy Plan. I wish that I’d had the chance to discuss this with you in person at the conference but hope this is helpful.”
By that time Minister Chiarelli had said there would be a review of the Long-Term Energy Plan on a radio interview and in his “keynote” address to the Ontario Power Conference which I participated in.
It is obvious from the foregoing exchange that Robert Hornung has the inside track when it comes to getting information from the Liberal Minister of Energy, Bob Chiarelli, along with the fat subsidies that Ontario ratepayers cough up for CanWEA’s members. The rest of us are lied to! At this point the Ministry has still not issued a press release relating to the planned review of the Long-Term Energy Plan but perhaps it is because the gas plant scandals are taking up too much of Minister Chiarelli’s time.
Minister Chiarelli, has also recently announced that he has directed the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) and the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) via a the press release “New Ontario Government Strengthens Energy Planning”. Did we all miss the election that put this “New” government in power and do we have faith in its ability to “plan” are the questions that come to mind?
In this press release the “new” government promises;
“To ensure that Ontario builds energy infrastructure in a process that respects communities, the government has asked two key agencies to develop a new regional energy planning process based on formal input from municipalities, communities and the energy sector.”
The inference that one must draw from this press release is that the “old” Liberal government got it wrong. While the press release doesn’t mention wind turbines, perhaps on the off chance that the media and the public will connect it only with the gas plant moves; Minister Chiarelli did state the following in the May 9, 2013 Legislature in response to an opposition question;
“I thank the member for the question. The member will know that the Ontario Power Authority has had standing-offer procurements for renewable energy. Through that process, over the last several years, we’ve created over 31,000 jobs. We have stated quite clearly in our speech from the throne, and the Premier has repeated, that we are looking and working together in a number of ministries to improve how we deal with the siting of renewable energy projects. I am pleased to announce that in the very near future we’ll have some new rules on the siting of renewable energy.
By including “renewable energy projects” remarks in the Legislature, Minister Chiarelli would seem to indicate the “old” Liberal government also got the siting of industrial wind turbines and perhaps solar panels wrong, along with those gas plant sites.
It appears that the “new” Minister of Energy, Bob Chiarelli, is attempting to distance himself and the “new” Premier from the lies of the “old” Liberal government who failed miserably to either engage the “local municipalities” or to “plan” properly.
Hmm, in this writer’s opinion the lies of the “new” Liberal government seem very much like the lies of the “old” Liberal government. The “new” government does seem to have the same problems with those “statistics” that have plagued the former Premier and those “old” energy ministers; Smitherman, Duncan, Duguid and Bentley.
Perhaps its time for the voters of Ontario to express their views; “Out with the old, in with the New” certainly comes to mind!
May 10, 2013
After many, many hours of expert testimony from dozens of witnesses, the Environmental Review Tribunal examining the decision to approve an industrial wind turbine project at Ostrander Point is shifting gears this week, turning from plants and animals to humans.
For the better part of the last two months ERT panel members Robert Wright and Heather Gibbs have heard how nine 500-foot high turbines, the 40 truckloads of concrete needed to form the base to support each structure, the football field spinning wingspan of each turbine, as well as the road system needed to string these behemoths together will impact birds, bats, butterflies, turtles and indeed the very special alvar habitat that exists on this South Marysburgh shoreline. The have heard experts hired by the wind developer counter that while animals and birds will indeed be harmed by industrializing this bit of Crown land—the damage to the species involved will not be so great as to be irreversible.
That is the test…
Today the hearing turns toward the risk the proposed industrial wind turbines pose to human health. This appeal has been taken up by APPEC (Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County).
The test is bit lower for APPEC in that it must prove serious harm to human health, but not necessarily irreversible harm.
“APPEC will present the latest acoustical, epidemiological and medical research, as well as the testimonies of Ontario wind victims,” writes Henri Garand, APPEC chair. “While previous ERT appeals featured a battle among experts, this time Ontario residents will recount the adverse health effects they personally experience when living next to wind turbines despite supposedly protective setbacks.”
The hearings continue this week at Sophiasburgh Town Hall in Demorestville. They are set to begin at 9:30 today, Thursday and Friday.
|Picture from U.K. “Commons speaker in turbine protest”|
Westminster officials returned to the Commons on Friday rattled by the strong showing by Ukip in Thursday’s local election and debating whether, in the words of one adviser, “this is the birth of four-party politics”.
If Ukip does want to be a permanent fixture on the British political landscape, however, it might find its biggest hurdle is Nigel Farage, the party’s leader.
Mr Farage on Friday said Ukip’s gains would “fundamentally change British politics”. But intriguingly, he went on to compare his party to the shortlived Social Democratic Party, whose popularity in the 1980s forced Labour to move to the right.
In the week since the local elections, the Tory party has appeared anything but calm in its response to the UKIP surge. MPs have demanded an early EU referendum to give David Cameron a “mandate” to renegotiate Britain’s membership (a referendum on a referendum, in other words), Jacob Rees-Mogg has called for a full-blown coalition, with Nigel Farage as Deputy Prime Minister …
Unfortunately for the Tories, then, today’s YouGov poll will do little to calm their nerves. It puts them on a record low of 27 per cent (their worst rating not just since the election, but ever) and UKIP on a record high…
For Cameron, the risk between now and the election is that such polls will prompt Tory MPs to begin forming their own pacts with UKIP.
MP’s certainly seem to now be comfortable protesting big wind despite Cameron’s stand on it – with even the Speaker of the House taking part in a local protest
It was people power versus wind power on Saturday as villagers marched in protest over plans to build four giant wind turbines on their doorsteps.
Residents from Newton Longville, Mursley and Drayton Parslow were joined by House of Commons Speaker John Bercow, who is president of the Stop Salden Turbines group.
The group is objecting to plans from North Bucks Wind energy to erect an anemometer between the three villages on land at Salden.
This is the first step in the project to build four 413ft tall industrial wind turbines.
Mr Bercow, who is MP for Buckingham, addressed the protesters. He repeated his opposition to onshore wind farms in general and specifically at Salden.
In his role as energy minister Mr Hayes described wind energy as “a bourgeois Left article of faith” and promised to make sure no more turbines are put up against the will of the local community.
His remarks did not go down with the Lib Dem Secretary of State Ed Davey and he was shunted into Number 10 as a minister of state in the Cabinet Office.
But this has not stopped his fight against wind farms and he is objecting to a development of nine 400ft turbines by Wind Ventures in his own constituency of South Holland.
The European Platform Against Windfarms (EPAW) regroup 596 associations of actual and potential victims of windfarms from 24 countries. They have just initiated proceedings at the General Court in Luxemburg, which is the part of the EU Court of Justice from whence people can seek redress against EU institutions under certain conditions. In this occurrence, EPAW represents to the Court that the extension of the renewable energy programme of the European Commission (“Commission”) violates the Aarhus Convention on a number of counts, and should be annulled.
The Aarhus Convention (“Convention”) has been approved by the Council Decision 2005/370/EC of 17 February 2005: it is therefore enforceable in the EU. It guarantees access to information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters (1). Given the considerable effect on the environment of the construction of thousands of windfarms across Europe, the Convention applies to any plan or programme or extension thereof that paves the way for such construction. Read more…
EPAW’s news release lists, as a technical and legal advisor, “Pat Swords, BE CEng FIChemE CEnv MIEMA” Swords has previous success challenging the validity of programs that violate the Aarhus convention.
Anti-turbine protesters from Scotland last night joined a European-wide action challenging the development of wind farms across 24 countries.
In a case brought at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, EPAW (the European Platform Against Windfarms) argues that the extension of the EC’s renewable energy programme violates the Aarhus Convention. The international association, representing 596 groups across the continent, insist that the convention, adopted by the European Union in 2005, has been ignored.
Whenever a wind farm is proposed, public participation must take place at the preparatory stage at a local and national level, and this had not happened, said Mark Duchamp, EPAW’s executive director. “By and large, planning authorities across the EU do not perform rigorous assessments of the impacts of wind farms,” he said.
“They do little more than rubberstamp the promoters’ environmental impact statements. In legal terms, they are failing to conduct planning in a transparent and fair framework. This disrespect for the law will have dire, irreversible consequences for the EU’s environment, people’s health and the economy.”
The article can be read Wind Energy News or The Time Scotland (subscription)
More background at Aarhus Convention & Ireland: United Nations Economic Commission for Europe
After talking to the W.A.I.T. folks outside – mostly local residents who would be living up close and personal with the turbines, I went inside. There were lots of Suncor people there; most of them young, very friendly and eager to put our minds at ease with answers and brochures supplied by their company and its P.R. people
When I asked how much money they were spending on the project they told me, “Three hundred million dollars,” and gave me some data on the number of hours of employment that would bring to Lambton County. We all know that work is badly needed in our community. This would be good work too since it would mean union wages and that’s good money plus they would buy a lot of cement. You would be amazed at the amount of cement used to anchor one of those things to the planet.
When I asked their people how much money they were going to be paid for the energy they would create I was told eleven and a half cents per Kilowatt hour… a number which all the protestors I talked to thought was low but which the Suncor people stood by.