Experts say be careful on wind deals

January 15, 2011

Farmers at a wind energy information session in Elmwood this week went home with a clear message: Make sure you know what you are signing if asked to lease land for wind turbines.

Both Ted Cowan, an Ontario Federation of Agriculture energy and taxation specialist and Paisley lawyer Patrick Kelly told about 120 farmers at Tuesday’s meeting “there are too many unknowns” surrounding lease agreements for wind energy projects.

Elmwood-area farmer Byron Monk, and others in the Elmwood area, have been approached in recent weeks by wind energy companies to sign leases.

Monk, who told those at the meeting he’s not against wind energy projects, said he’s interested in the compensation such projects offer farmers but “needs to know a whole lot more information” before proceeding.

“That’s why I thought we’d get some farmers and landowners together here today that could be affected by this and try to learn something,” Monk said. He added he’s been told that one company has plans to erect 100 to 125 turbines in the area.

Before addressing the crowd, Cowan handed out a two-page list of more than 30 items he said they “must consider” before signing anything.

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…he’s [Byron Monk] been told that one company has plans to erect 100 to 125 turbines in the area.


The Climate Crisis Hoax

By Larry Bell
January 5, 2011

On this subject, there’s very little to debate.

I’ve encountered some folks who appear offended by the title of my new book Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind the Global Warming Hoax. Why do you call it a “hoax”? they ask. Why not refer to the matter as a debate? The reason is quite simple: A debate describes a discussion in which participants competitively argue opposing points of view that are assumed to be based upon honest positions.

A hoax is a deceptive act intended to hoodwink people through deliberate misinformation, including factual omissions. My book is about the latter. (And by the way, it can be ordered through primary vendors, and is currently being featured on “new releases” tables at 200 major Barnes and Noble stores.)

The central lie is that we are experiencing a known human-caused climate crisis, a claim based on speculative theories, contrived data and totally unproven modeling predictions. And the evidence? Much is revealed by politically corrupted processes and agenda-driven report conclusions rendered by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which are trumpeted in the media as authoritative gospel.

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And what redemptive solutions are urgently implored? We must implement carbon cap-and-trade legislation; give lots of money to the U.N. to redistribute, and empower them to preside over world governments;

By James Murray

October 22, 2010

THUNDER BAY – Under the Ontario Municipal Act there are specific areas where a municipal government should go “in camera” or behind closed doors for discussions.

One is when discussing legal issues, such as Thunder Bay City Council has done over the Big Thunder Wind Farm over recent meetings.

On Monday night, a motion was put forward to indemnify Loch Lomond Ski Resort over possible legal implications from wind turbines. Legal advice was needed, and that led to over four hours of “in camera” time while the Mayor and Councillors discussed the issue.

The speed on Tuesday which Horizon Legacy Energy Corporation, Horizon Wind Inc., Horizon Wind Limited Partnership, Big Thunder Wind Park Inc. and Big Thunder Wind Park Limited Partnership launched legal action demonstrated the importance of Council having those guidelines from the Municipal Act.

It is likely that City Councillors now have the full measure, and more about the complaints that opponents of the Big Thunder Wind Farm proposal have tried to share with them.

Horizon Wind Energy LLC, a Houston Texas based wind energy company, which some have mistaken as a part of the Thunder Bay project were very quick earlier this week to get the information out that they are not associated in any way, shape or form with Horizon Legacy Energy Corporation, Horizon Wind Inc., Horizon Wind Limited Partnership, Big Thunder Wind Park Inc. or Big Thunder Wind Park Limited Partnership.

For clarification Horizon Wind Energy LLC, based in Texas, is not affiliated with the company Horizon Wind, Inc. EDP Renewables Canada is Horizon Wind Energy LLC’s affiliate company in Canada.

In launching their $126 million law suit, it is now likely that the Big Thunder Wind Farm in Thunder Bay is now finished. Councillors, who in 2006 were enthusiastic, are now far more aware of facts on the project. Candidates for office in Monday’s election have seen how the project has been one that has divided this community.

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It will be difficult at best and impossible at most, for any agreement after a law suit to be reached by the City of Thunder Bay and the company. For the most part, the law suit had done one thing already; it has united many people in our community against the current proposal and its proponents.

By Peter Foster

October 21, 2010

Spain’s move to subsidize solar proved utterly unsustainable

Some foreign — and even domestic — solar equipment manufacturers are complaining that Ontario’s buy-local policies will cost investment and jobs. It takes some gall to criticize dumb and damaging initiatives when your existence depends on them.

A group of photovoltaic producers — led by Japan’s Mitsubishi Electric Corp. — is complaining that to receive Ontario’s super-premium rates for solar energy, projects must have a 60% local content. This, bleat the solar robber barons, is bad for the economy!

Worldwide, solar companies have been boosted by the policy pandemic of feed-in tariffs, whereby the high costs of uneconomic renewable power are averaged down with much cheaper conventional electricity sources. This is leading to sharp cost increases for consumers.

Takashi Sato, president of Mitsubishi Electric Sales Canada, was reported as saying this week that “We are very encouraged by the FIT [feed-in-tariff] as far as a tariff program is concerned.”

You bet they are! Who wouldn’t want their industry subsidized by having consumers forced to pay multiples of the market price for a portion of their purchases?

“However,” continued Mr. Sato, “the program contains some poison because of the domestic content requirement.”

We beg to differ. The program is pure hemlock all the way through.

Japan has challenged Ontario’s Green Energy Act at the WTO, with the EU and United States cheering it on, but this is sheer hypocrisy, even if the Ontario government’s actions are indefensible (It remains to be seen whether Dalton McGuinty plans to go the Danny Williams route of flouting trade agreements in the knowledge that Ottawa has to pick up the bill).

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Anybody with half an economic brain could have seen that the universal policy urge to subsidize green energy was going to lead to both massive oversupply and unsustainable drainage of the public purse. Meanwhile we should remember that the whole green energy thrust is likely based on scientific sand.

By Parker Gallant

October 21, 2010

One of a series: Ontario claims to have a long-term energy plan. So far, there’s no sign of it

In a surprise announcement earlier this month, the Ontario government pulled the plug on a new 900-megawatt gas generation plant in the Toronto suburb of Oakville. Since the contract to build the $1.3-billion plant had already been signed with TransCanada Corp., the provincial government is on the hook for undisclosed but likely substantial penalties. But there’s an even bigger surprise in the gas plant backdown. In announcing the reversal, Energy Minister Brad Duguid said the province was killing the plant because it no longer needed the power. “As we’re putting together an update to our Long-Term Energy Plan,” he said, “it has become clear we no longer need this plant in Oakville.”

The real surprise here is the reference to a “Long-Term Energy Plan.” No long-term plan exists, at least in any public sense. What does exist is a seven-year planning saga that has left a Keystone Kops trail of procedural mash-ups and a power policy shambles.

Few believe that the gas plant decision was anything more than a move to save the Liberals a couple of seats in the Oakville area, where a local protest movement brought in celebrity U.S. environmental icon Erin Brockovich to oppose the $1.3-billion project.

Mr. Duguid, pretending otherwise, makes it sound as if some orderly and rational process had determined precisely how much electricity Ontario will need in the future. But the history of long-term electricity planning under Dalton McGuinty’s Liberal government and various energy ministers, including George Smitherman, now a candidate for mayor of Toronto, suggests anything but order and rationality.

The 900-megawatt plant Ontario now says it no longer requires was ordered only 12 months earlier based on a “directive” issued by Mr. Smitherman. In August 2008, Mr. Smitherman used his ministerial power to instruct the Ontario Power Authority to “move expeditiously” on the new Oakville power plant. “It would be prudent to finish this procurement process by the end of June 2009.” The OPA, which executes government policy in electricity, moved quickly and signed a deal with TransCanada in September 2009.

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The cost of the Samsung deal, estimated at $7-billion to $10-billion depending on the method of assessment, will be passed on to electricity consumers, as will the massive costs of accommodating wind and solar power.

By John Droz
Sep 23, 2010

Washington — Trying to pin down the arguments of wind promoters is a bit like trying to grab a greased balloon. Just when you think you’ve got a handle on it, it squirts away. Let’s take a quick highlight review of how things have evolved.

1 – Wind energy was abandoned well over a hundred years ago, as it was totally inconsistent with our burgeoning more modern needs of power, even in the late 1800s. When we throw the switch, we expect that the lights will go on — 100% of the time. It’s not possible for wind energy, by itself, to ever do this, which is one of the main reasons it was relegated to the dust bin of antiquated technologies (along with such other inadequate sources like horse power).

2 – Fast forward to several years ago. With politicians being convinced by lobbyists that Anthropological Global Warming (AGW) was an imminent threat, a campaign was begun to favor all things that would purportedly reduce CO2. Wind energy was thus resurrected, as its marketers pushed the fact that wind turbines did not produce CO2 in their generation of electricity.

3 – Of course, just that by itself is not significant, so the original wind development lobbyists then made the case for a quantum leap: that by adding wind turbines to the grid we could significantly reduce CO2 from fossil fuel electrical sources (especially coal). This argument became the basis for many states’ implementing a Renewable Energy Standard (RES) — which mandated that their utilities use an increased amount of wind energy.

4 – Why was a mandate necessary? Simply because the real world reality of integrating wind energy made it a very expensive option. As such, no utility company would likely do this on their own. They had to be forced to.

5 – Interestingly, though the stated main goal of these RES’s was to reduce CO2, not a single state’s RES required verification of CO2 reduction either beforehand or after the fact from any wind project. The politicians simply took the lobbyists’ word that consequential CO2 savings would be realized.

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Ontario power lesson

Lawrence Solomon
October 12, 2010

Notes for a speech that Ontario’s Opposition leader could give, but won’t, on the state of the province’s electricity sector

Ontario Conservative Leader Tim Hudak is a keynote speaker tomorrow at the Ontario Energy Association. Here is the speech he should, but won’t, give.

Let me start by apologizing for my party’s role in putting this province on the path to ruin. We are now seeing massive energy price hikes in communities throughout the province. These hikes are just the beginning. Power rates in Ontario will be doubling or tripling in the years ahead. It would be tempting, but dishonest, to blame this all on the Liberals and on the NDP. We Conservatives have been every bit as much to blame. In some ways, perhaps, we are the most of all to blame, because we were the ones who pulled the plug on the privatization of the old Ontario Hydro system, a privatization we ourselves had begun.

I am referring, of course, to that day in 2002 when Ernie Eves, the last Conservative premier of this province, panicked and stopped the privatization that Mike Harris began. Had he showed some spine and the courage of his convictions, Ontario would now have a secure power system delivering some of the lowest power prices on the continent, just as occurred elsewhere after deregulation. Instead, the provincial economy struggles under the bureaucratic weight of an alphabet soup of government electricity monopolies with names like OPG, OPA and IESO.

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Europe has other lessons for us, too. The more that countries went green, the harder they fell. In Spain, the biggest green subsidizer of all, every green job that the government created cost more than two jobs elsewhere in the economy. Spain’s unemployment rate is now 20%, the highest in the developed world.