Wind farm opponents are telling companies jockeying for new Ontario green energy contracts to enjoy the moment — it’ll likely be their last chance.
After a decade-long losing streak before environmental review tribunals and courts, activists trying to halt industrial wind farms say they sense the political ground is finally shifting in their favour now that power rates have become a hot urban issue and the Liberal government is taking notice.
“It looks like this will be the last. I don’t know how the government could possibly justify more (such contracts),” said Jane Wilson, president of Wind Concerns Ontario, a coalition of groups opposed to industrial wind farm development in the province.
Last week, in a move many critics linked to a stunning byelection loss in the Toronto area, Premier Kathleen Wynne’s government said it will scrap the Ontario portion of the HST on electricity bills, giving customers an eight-per-cent rebate and rural areas an even larger break.
The move comes less than a year after the government yanked a 10-per-cent subsidy it had paid on power bills to offset the costs of green energy.
Wilson said more people are now connecting their rising power bills with the province’s multi-billion-dollar spending on green energy projects at a time when Ontario is paying to export surplus electricity to the United States. She called on the Liberals to cancel the next round of wind farm development and walk away from any contracts where the developers have failed to meet deadlines.
Soaring power rates have come under a harsh spotlight in Ontario, with the province’s auditor-general this year reporting Ontarians paid $37 billion above market price for electricity over the last eight years because of government decisions to ignore its own planning process for new projects.
Bonnie Lysyk found the electricity component of power bills rose by 70 per cent from 2006 to 2014, with the province going against the advice of its own power planning authority, and warned power rates will keep climbing, costing consumers another $133 billion extra over the next 17 years.
WINDY LIES INVADES DOWNTOWN TORONTO SEPTEMBER 13, 8 p.m. @ University of Toronto, Baththurst and Bloor, at the Green Beanery Cafe. Free entrance, and free coffee.
This is a huge opportunity afforded to us by Energy Probe, which owns the Cafe.
HOSTED BY MAX ALLEN, CBC IDEAS. Inspired by NA-PAW, North American Platform Against Wind Power.
Happy Hour begins at 5 p.m.
POSTED: AUGUST 12, 2016 AT 9:09 AM / BY TIMES
From Amherst Island, you can see the Lennox gas-fired generating station sitting idle most days. The plant sits just across the narrow channel. It burns both oil and gas to produce steam that, in turn, drives generators to create electricity. The plant has the capacity to generate 2,100 MW of electricity—enough to power more than a million homes. But that electricity is rarely ever used. Over the last decade, the Lennox station has operated at less than three per cent of its capacity. That means it is idle much more often than it runs. Yet it earns more than $7 million each month—whether it runs or doesn’t. Such is Ontario’s hyperpoliticized energy regime.
Last Thursday was a warm day across Ontario— one of the warmest in a hot summer. With air conditioners humming, electricity demand across the province peaked at 22,312 MW. Meanwhile, Lennox sat idle all day. As it does most days.
So it seems odd that yet another gas-fired generating plant is emerging from the ground next to the mostly-idle Lennox station. It will add another 900 MW of generating capacity to a grid that clearly doesn’t need any more.
From Amherst Island, it must seem cruel. Within a couple of kilometres, there is enough unused power generating capacity to light millions of homes, yet island residents are being forced to give up their pastoral landscape— for the sake of an intermittent electricity source that nobody needs.
Last week, an Environmental Review Tribunal rejected an appeal by Amherst Island residents seeking to stop Windlectric, a wind energy developer, from covering their island home from end to end with industrial wind turbines, each one soaring 55 storeys into the sky.
Amherst Island is tiny. Just 20 kilometres long and 7 kilometres wide, there is no place, no horizon, no home that can avoid being transformed by this out-ofscale industrialization.
The treachery gets worse. Amherst Island is administered by a council that presides over the larger Loyalist Township from the mainland. Last year, council made a deal with the wind developer, agreeing to recieve a $500,000 payment each year the wind turbines spin. It is a lot of money for a municipality that operates on a $12-million budget annually.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
‘Water Wells First!’ Public Protest Coming to Chatham-Kent, Ontario
Strathroy, Ontario - June 27, 2016 – “On Wednesday, June 29, 2016, residents of the municipality of Chatham-Kent, Ontario, embark on their Water Wells First! campaign to protest and advocate for protection of their water wells, says the Ontario Ground Water Association.” These residents understand that renewable energy is important to the future of Ontario and in the battle that is climate change but the safety and security of their water is their priority. The Ontario Ground Water Association (OGWA) became aware of increased water quality issues in the region when inquiries intensified from Chatham-Kent and Lambton County residents for well water testing through the OGWA’s ‘Well Wise’ water testing program. The OGWA is fully supportive of the Chatham-Kent residents in this endeavour.
Existing Wind Farm developments in this area are disregarding known science on vibration and seismic coupling, causing adverse effects on local ground water and drinking water wells. The pile driving of foundations began the onset of water quality deterioration during the construction phase. After the wind mills are in service, the vibrations transfer into the concrete foundations and continue to vibrate the rock and soil formations of the surrounding areas. This activity directly affects the sources of the residents’ water wells. The result is dirty, turbid water. These residents are also rightly concerned about what effects this vibration has in an area known to have elevated levels of Radon gas.
Water Wells First! is a call to action from the affected residents of Chatham Kent to have the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC), the Provincial Government, and the wind industry recognize these adverse effects. This appeal is for the prohibition of pile driven foundations in this area, to demand vibration suppression, and to require assessment of seismic coupling on any wind developments. The OGWA shares the concerns and goals of these citizens in their efforts to ensure the sustainability of their water wells and ground water in Chatham-Kent.
The Ontario Ground Water Association is a not for profit organization representing ground water professionals in the Province of Ontario. Established in 1952, the OGWA is “Dedicated to protecting and promoting Ontario’s most precious resource - ground water”.
K.C. Craig Stainton
Ontario Ground Water Association
Phone: 519-282-0063 (Cell)
Water Wells First!