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Posts Tagged ‘North Gower wind farm’

Financial Post editor Terence Corcoran writes about what the Ontario government is doing with taxpayers’ money in the interest of being “green” and creating a “clean” power source (except, we already had one, nuclear at about 50%, and hydro) that will also somehow miraculously create 50,000 jobs.

Note: a caller to CFRA yesterday asked, why isn’t the money going to help people do small-scale energy-saving or energy-producing projects at home? Point taken: small-scale solar and wind, also geo-thermal, could help conserve power but it is too expensive for most people…why not help with that?

Terence Corcoran: Ontario burns up more green cash

National Post

National Post

A massive solar energy project in Sarnia, Ont.

  February 24, 2011 – 7:46 pm

Ontario’s green jobs come at a cost of up to $207,000 each

North America’s only feed-in-tariff smokestack, a renewable energy program that burns money to generate electricity, announced fresh incinerations Thursday. The Ontario Power Authority (OPA), a euphemism for the Liberal Cabinet of Premier Dalton McGuinty, said it has signed contracts worth $3-billion with suppliers of wind and solar power.

Ontario Energy Minister Brad Duguid, who issues all the Cabinet directives telling the power authority what do to, said new contracts with a handful of subsidy-seeking corporations are inspired by a higher authority. “There’s no doubt Ontario has stepped up to Obama’s challenge, and together we’ve become a global clean-energy powerhouse,” Mr. Duguid said.

Exactly what U.S. President Barack Obama has to do with squandering billions of Ontario taxpayers’ dollars wasn’t clear. The intent, likely, is to take the spotlight off the McGuinty government. This is Ontario’s second major allocation of wind and solar power contracts under its feed-in-tariff scheme. As a growing number of Ontario voters have come to appreciate, wind and solar power don’t come cheap.

For $3-billion, the OPA said Ontario electricity consumers will get four wind farms with a capacity of 615 megawatts (MW) and 40 solar power projects with a capacity of 257 MW. Total official capacity: 872 MW, assuming the winds blow and the sun shines. They don’t, most of the time, which reduces the actual output from those cash-burning operations to about 200 MW.

The economics of wind and solar are so bad that the power authority’s news releases tend to avoid getting too deep into the numbers. Assuming the new facilities do consistently produce 200 MW, that would be enough electricity to power 200,000 homes in the province. At $3-billion, that works out to a capital investment of $15,000 per home — a lot of sunk capital per home for electricity.

For about a third of the cost, say $1-billion, local energy companies could build a gas-fired generating station that would actually produce 872 MW of electricity. Gas plants require inputs — gas and labour — when operating. But even after factoring in operating costs, the price of electricity from gas is currently around 7.5¢ a kilowatt hour, a bargain compared with the prices Dalton McGuinty’s Cabinet has guaranteed to pay wind and solar operators: 13.5¢ a kWh to wind farms and 44.5¢ to solar plants.

To draw attention away from these numbers and their billion-dollar subsidy implications, the OPA and the government — and the giant corporations who aim to make a killing off these deals — prefer to talk up job numbers. “These projects,” said the OPA news release, “represent an estimated 7,000 direct and indirect jobs.”

What do 7,000 direct and indirect jobs mean? More important, what are Ontario ratepayers/taxpayers getting for the massive cash infusion into renewable power? Bruce Sharp, a consultant at Aegent Energy Advisors, did some rough estimates. “If you take the 7,000 direct and indirect jobs at face value and assume they are manufacturing and construction jobs with a duration of two years, then we have 14,000 man-years of such jobs,” Mr. Sharp said.

Another assumption is that the wind and solar operations require some ongoing manpower over the next 20 years. “I made some wild guesses and came up with an estimate of 650 ongoing operating and maintenance jobs, for a 20-year total of 13,000 man-years.” The total number of jobs, therefore, is about 27,000 man-years over 20 years.

Over that 20-year period, Mr. Sharp estimates, electricity ratepayers will be paying higher costs — or subsidies — worth somewhere between $4.1-billion and $5.6-billion. Average subsidy for each of the 27,000 man-years of work: between $152,000 and $207,000.

No account is taken of the jobs lost in the vast transfer of money from the pockets of ratepayers to the solar and wind industries. Overall, there are no employment gains in any of these artificial industries.

Also lost in the verbal dance of government officials are the national and international corporate interests who are cashing in on the green-energy bubble and the climate-change crusade. Companies like SkyPower Ltd., self-described as Canada’s leading solar-energy company. It landed 13 of the newly awarded Ontario solar projects, totalling 148 MW or about half the 257 MW of new capacity. At $6-million per MW, SkyPower is looking at investing about $800-million in the project.

SkyPower has a history that includes being a unit of the now defunct Lehman Brothers, the New York financial crisis leader that had a disproportionate interest in riding the climate-change bandwagon. After surviving that debacle, SkyPower emerged to find new backers, including Deutsche Bank, the German financial powerhouse that recently released a distorted report that misrepresented climate science, as a vehicle to promote its green lending apparatus.

Renewable energy may seem like an energy play to some, but it often looks more like a real estate game. One of the other contract winners was Penn Energy Renewables Ltd., subsidiary of a real estate company based in Pennsylvania. Deals are constantly being announced among companies, with large firms buying small solar operators. One reason may be the rapid write-offs allowed under tax laws for large companies that have the ability to write off against other income. Such write-offs can apparently raise the annual return on investment to as much as 22%.

Whatever the numbers, Ontario’s renewable energy tariffs are creating a business sector built on subsidies and on the backs of taxpayers and ratepayers. No real net jobs are being created, the costs are high and the impact on climate is too small to measure — so small that the government has never produced a carbon accounting.

…..

No account is made of the lost productivity when people become ill from the turbines, and no account is made of the lost property values.

northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

Please view other Eastern Ontario community group websites:

http://southbranchwindoppositiongroup.wordpress.com

http://sites.google.com/site/beckwithresponsiblewindaction/

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We are still reeling from the hypocrisy of Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan’s statements yesterday about Ontario’s power situation, rising electricity bills, and the Ontario government’s plans. The script seems to be following closely the recommendations of the Sussex Strategy Group which advised its “loose coalition” of corporate wind developers to focus on jobs.  People are willing to pay more for electricity the group said in a leaked communications strategy document, if they think it will result in more jobs and investment.

So what did Mr Duncan say? We refer to his appearance on TVOntario’s “The Agenda” the evening after his economic update. His mantra over and over was “cleaner air” and “more jobs”. He pointed to wind energy in particular and talked about “windmills”. The great thing about wind is, he said, after an initial investment once a windmill is “up and built you don’t have to pay for the wind.”

Absolute nonsense: the FIT rate for wind developers now is $0.13 per kilowatt hour, while consumers are being charged up to 9.9 cents per kilowatt hour. And solar is worse, with producers being paid 80 cents a kilowatt hour. Clearly, somebody is paying for something.

He spoke of a power utopia in which all energy is clean but it’s going to cost us a bit to get there. His 10% discount on electricity bills is to help “families be able to afford this transition.”

Ottawa’s Bob Chiarelli followed the playbook in more detail in an appearance on CBC radio’s Ottawa Morning. He said the McGuinty government plans to close ALL coal-fired power generation which is the “equivalent of getting 7 million cars off the road.” He mentioned jobs but kept coming back to health issues, and said Ontario needs cleaner air so people won’t be getting sick and kids won’t be having asthma attacks. “We’re asking the people to be partners in our investment.”

With multiple billions of dollars going to mostly foreign-owned corporate wind and solar developers, that is a significant investment. And one that’s not needed according to people like Tom Adams (former Energy Probe executive director) or Parker Gallant (a former banker) and a host of other experts. And the spectre of people getting sick and dying from “dirty coal”? Not true: Health Canada cannot find any connection between air pollution and hospitalizations for respiratory illness. Professor Ross McKitrick says that the true determinants of respiratory illness are income levels, and smoking.

Ontario’s own figures show that air pollution is on the decline in Ontario. Sources are pollution from the United States’ industry and coal-fired plants, and from Ontario’s own cars and trucks. So, the “equivalent of 7 million cars” being shut down isn’t actually going to take 7 million cars off the road…

The Ontario Power Authority was set to announce a new round of Feed-in Tariff contracts this week and is now saying “late November”. Now that the stage has been set with the ideas of clean air and lots of jobs (also not true), the announcement will like go ahead.

In the meantime, this from a letter from the Township of East Garafraxa in Ontario to Premier McGuinty, referring to the placement of turbines and the effect on that community: “Perhaps he [Energy Minister Brad Duguid] should talk to some of the residents who continue to report health implications and loss of property values and who live daily with the issues of the turbines and related transformers. Some of these people have lived their entire lives on these properties and now face moving to survive. The Province should listen to their concerns of sleep disturbance, dizziness, headaches, and a host of other symptoms, and study the health implications and financial implications to the residents and municipalities.” (Signed by Mayor Allen Taylor.)

We leave it to the pundits to analyze this further but we refer you to Wind Concerns Ontario http://windconcernsontario.wordpress.com

for further comments and stories.

To contact the North Gower Wind Action Group, email northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

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One of the pieces of wisdom shared with us by the corporate wind industry is that if people are really committed to “clean “green” energy, they’ll love being near wind turbines. Have picnics beside them, Prowind’s Bart Geleynse even said once, famously.

Turns out that fairy tale isn’t true.

Here is the account of a U.S. village that is now coping with the effect of the eight turbines installed there. Net result: life is “unbearable.” An acoustics expert says industrial wind turbines shouldn’t be put so close to people.

Thats what we in North Gower have been saying all along. This proposal is way to close to people, never mind what the Green Energy Act says.

Here is the story, from the New York Times.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/06/business/energy-environment/06noise.html?_r=1&emc=eta1

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The people of Kincardine learned this week the hard lesson that the Ontario government’s Green Energy Act trumps everything, even heritage in this province.

The municipality wanted to designate an area as “heritage” in the hopes that move would keep industrial turbines out of it… no soap. The Green Energy Act supercedes both the Heritage Act and the Planning Act in Ontario.

See the full story here: http://www.bayshorebroadcasting.ca/news_item.php?NewsID=27861

In fact the GEA supercedes 21 acts democratically passed in Ontario. 

Bill 150 affected the following 21 Acts

 


•         Planning Act

•         Environmental Protection Act

•         Environmental Bill of Rights, 1993

•         Places to Grow Act, 2005

•         Greenbelt Act, 2005

•         Co-operative Corporations Act

•         Niagara Escarpment Planning and                                      Development Act

•         Public Lands Act

•         Electricity Act, 1998

•         Energy Efficiency Act

•         Ontario Energy Board Act, 1998

•         Building Code Act 1992

•         Ontario Water Resources Act

•         Conservation Land Act

•         Energy Conservation Leadership Act,     2006

•         Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act, 2006

•         Cabinet Ministers’ and Opposition  Leaders’ Expenses review and Accountability Act, 2002

•         Conservation Authorities Act

•         Ministry of Energy Act

•         Ministry of Natural Resources Act

•         Clean Water Act, 2006

Note especially the acts pertaining to greenbelts and the Niagara Escarpment. Land that has been protected for generations may now be used for “renewable energy” development including industrial-scale wind turbines.

When Ottawa mayor candidate Jim Watson appeared in North Gower for one of his rural community chats, he was asked about whether noise bylaws in Ottawa would protect residents if the proposed industrial wind turbines should be installed and he mused that the Green Energy Act might supercede those, too. (Then, sensing the surprised response, he said, if elected, he would consult with the City solicitor.)

Municipalities have had one of their core functions —planning — completely removed by this legislation and as a result, rural residents have no voice, no rights and no recourse when faced with these huge industrial installations. As for public consultation, we’re seeing around the province that there is none of that either: the mandatory public meetings the corporate wind developers hold are nothing more than poster sessions. The public can make comments but they go nowhere.

One act the GEA did not supercede is the Municipal Act. Under that, municipalities should at least try to exercise what powers they have left, in the process of issuing building permits. Ottawa should join the 60+ communities across this province demanding that their rights–and those of the citizens–be returned.

The North Gower Wind Action Group may be reached at northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

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MEETING TODAY!!!! The information meeting for North Gower and Richmond, and anyone in Beckwith Twp and the Brinston/Shanly/Winchester area.

Please be sure to sign our contact list so you can get updates on future activities, and the petition!!!

Meeting Details:

Industrial Wind Turbines and their Effects

Tuesday, April 13, 6:30 p.m., Alfred Taylor Centre, 2300 Community Way, North Gower

Speakers:

Our speakers are graciously donating their time to come to Ottawa and share their experiences with industrial wind turbines, and/or their experiences working with people who are living with the turbines. Their presentations will be based on real experience, not merely reviews of literature, or industry-sponsored statements.

Dr Robert McMurtry, professor emeritus, medicine, University of Western Ontario, on health effects

Dr John Harrison, retired professor in physics, Queen’s University, on the nature of the noise and vibration produced by industrial wind turbines

Stephana Johnston, retired educator and rural property owner now living surrounded by 18 industrial wind turbines

Eric Gillespie, lawyer and lead in the quest for a judicial review of the Green Energy Act, which has removed the ability of Ontario communities to plan for themselves and protect their citizens

Chris Luxemburger, Realtor and author of Living with Wind Turbines, the result of a study of hundreds of properties in the Shelburne, Ontario area

Carmen Krogh, former health executive and health professional, now involved in research on the effects of wind turbines.

For more information, please email us at northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

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Our neighbours to the west near Carleton Place, Ashton and Appleton are invited to the public meeting on health, noise and property value issues, April 13th at the Alfred Taylor Centre in North Gower, 6:30 p.m. This will be a great opportunity to learn about the potential health effects resulting from the noise and vibration produced by these giant structures, and to ask questions of the experts.

Prowind has a 10 MW development planned there (North Gower’s development is for 20 MW) with several 400-foot industrial wind turbines.

Beckwith has a fantastic picture on their website (http://sites.google.com/site/beckwithresponsiblewindaction/Homecomparing )turbine size to ordinary farm structures, which we copy here.

To get in touch with us email northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

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In just three short weeks, is our important public information session, to be held at the Alfred Taylor Centre in North Gower at 6:30 p.m., April 13th. We are very fortunate to have such stellar speakers, who are volunteering their valuable time to share the message with the people of North Gower and south Richmond.

This will also be an opportunity to ask questions, view maps and pick up more information. AND to sign the petition asking for health studies before industrial wind turbines are installed so close to homes, farms and the local school.

To receive updates, email us at northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

and we’ll add your name to our growing list!

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