Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Wind Energy In Ontario: The State Of Play

The controversy around Ontario's Green Energy Act has faded since the OLP won their majority.  Konrad Yakabuski can whine as much (and as inaccurately) as he wants, but Ontario anti-wind activists are basically left to pound sand for the next couple of years, losing in court and before the Ontario ERT and handing lawyer Eric Gillespie their hard-earned money for leading them into folly over and over again.  Furthermore, given that repealing the act was placed front and center of the Hudak Tories' disastrous election platform, I wouldn't be surprised if the next leader of that party doesn't just quietly file the whole issue away as "not helpful".

But there are still a few new twists to be added to the saga.  For example,  I've written about the various Ostrander Point decisions on numerous occasions. Originally, the wind farm there was shot down because its attendant road network might threaten the local population of Blanding's turtle.  This decision was later overturned, and that decision was in turn appealed.

While the appeal has not yet been heard, nevertheless  the bill for legal actions to date has come due for the appellants.  The Prince Edward County Field Naturalists and the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County, who have led the charge against the project, have been ordered to pay the wind development company $50,000 all told.  Some of the factors considered in this decision:

1 Nature of the unsuccessful litigant – The PECFN and APPEC are not public advocacy groups pursuing a broad public policy mandate. As residents of Prince Edward County, they have a "direct and personal interest" in the outcome of the litigation.


5 Final consequences to the parties – While Ostrander is better suited to absorb costs associated with the litigation, that alone is not a reason to deny costs. One function of awarding costs is to ensure that all parties "consider the wisdom of pursuing litigation and understand that there are consequences for doing so".

It will be interesting to see what next steps are taken by the province's various anti-wind groups. Given that the court/ERT decisions have been going against them for years, and that political salvation in the form of a PCPO government ready to repeal the GEA is years away, if ever,  I wouldn't be surprised to see some fall-off in activity.


Paul Kuster said...

Could you please outline the inaccuracies you found in the article?

bigcitylib said...

The big one is that solar/wind have played a major role in driving up hydro rates in Ont.

Paul Kuster said...

No- What the article says is that it will be an ever increasing reason in rates rising over the next decade. Even the link doesn't single out wind/solar as a major reason.....yet.
But everything else accurate?

Unknown said...

There is a certain PC leadership hopeful that owes his seat to the anti-wind movement. If he wins (big if), look for repeal of the GEA to be a major ONPC platform plank.

Municipal politicians in rural Ontario are afraid of the ant-wind lobby. For them it is more politically palatable to throw good money away on legal fees opposing wind turbines than to face the wrath of ant-turbine groups.

Numerous municipalities have declared themselves "unwilling hosts", a designation that means nothing. Lambton County continues to file appeals against the advice of their solicitor.

bigcitylib said...

Nor is that increase going to be driven primarily by wind and or solar. Mostly its issues re refurbishment of nuclear plants.

bigcitylib said...
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Paul Kuster said...

Bruce A supplies at 5.8 cents and Bruce B supplies at 6.2 cents. Refurb didn't cost you or I anything. It was a PPP arrangement. Darlington should be the same.
By the way, Bruce power throws one hell of an annual party in Port Elgin. Everyone is invited.
By the way Rodney, that "Not a Willing Host" does matter. It's essentially scuttled Samsungs plans in Southgate despite trying to bribe the folks there with your money.

bigcitylib said...

Bruce was billions over budget and years behind in their refurb. Why we took a couple extra years to get off coal.

Paul Kuster said...

Nope-The cost over runs were'nt anything you or I paid for. Anyway, wasn't it supposed to be wind that got us off coal? Actually it was gas plants that got us off coal. Check the time lines.

bigcitylib said...

Actually it was all of them, though Bruce Power bragged like crazy when unit 2 came back up on that basis. And, if you check the time-lines, they've got a good argument: refurb was done and last coal plants shut down.

And no, nobody said wind got us off coal; the overall provincial strategy was to get us off coal. Wind played its small part.

Paul Kuster said...

Wind limped along and played as much a part as coal that was still online. Both hovered around 3% of generation for the past 3 yrs. The coal plants may have been retired after Bruce, but there was plenty of other reliable generation (gas and hydro upgrades) to take up the slack. The coal plant shutdown after Bruce coming online was more political (OPG) than practical. Wind played then as it does now, no useful role at all.