The Ontario government says its new Green Energy Act, if passed, will help Ontario become “North America’s leader in renewable energy.”
But since most of this new renewable energy will be from wind, it may not be the smartest move for Ontario because its large hydro and nuclear capacity is not compatible with wind generation. Wind requires natural gas-fired generation for support and natural gas will be a most precarious fuel for Ontario.
The future of industrial wind power in Ontario is tied to natural gas-fired electricity generation and that, as will be seen, is unsustainable. The Ontario power grid needs flexible support to keep supply and demand in balance, and providing this support will be made more difficult when we add the vagaries of wind.
Although nuclear units can handle the daily and weekend changes in electricity demand, they have limited capability for the kind of frequent power-up and power-down requirements that would be needed for this support. Furthermore, hydroelectric plants may not always be available due to fluctuations in water supply and water management agreements.
Even without restrictions on nuclear and hydro, it makes little economic sense to run reliable suppliers of steady power, with high fixed costs and low operating costs, at reduced output to support the expensive, intermittent and varying output from wind farms.
So, with coal being phased out by 2014, natural gas-fired generation will have to be used to support wind. Due to the simultaneous demands of home heating and electricity generation in the winter, that may lead to gas shortages. So some of these plants may be dual fuelled with gas and oil, which is not a pleasant thought.
The Ontario government is putting too much faith in natural gas for electricity generation, as the United Kingdom did with its “dash for gas” from the North Sea in the 1990s when gas was cheap. Now the U.K. is in terrible shape with its gas running out and the threat of power shortages in the next decade.
There is no long-term future for gas-fired generation in Ontario because of greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution, rising costs, the demands on gas for other uses (in the tar sands, the chemical industry, home heating, exports to the United States), declining reserves, the questionable security of foreign supplies or, in short, the waste of a premium non-renewable resource just to generate electricity.
Since Ontario’s wind generators require natural-gas-fired generation for support, this creates an uncertain future for wind turbines and their transmission infrastructure that one day will not be compatible with a nuclear/hydro powered grid. Nor is there an environmental benefit to adding wind to a clean nuclear/hydro grid.
There is an alternative to building more natural gas-fired power plants in the Greater Toronto Area and other locations to replace the coal-fired stations. That is to increase the arbitrary limit on nuclear from the 14,000 megawatts imposed by the government. Bruce Power showed its willingness to build new nuclear power plants last October when it asked the nuclear safety regulator for a licence to prepare a site at Nanticoke, in addition to new units at the Bruce site.
The government’s power plan envisages nuclear supplying 40 per cent of electricity demand by 2027. This should be raised to more than 70 per cent, with hydro supplying most of the remainder. If there is no market for nuclear-generated electricity during off-peak and overnight hours (for power exports, recharging electric cars, producing hydrogen and/or compressed air for generating clean peaking power and other uses), the plants can reduce their output to meet the demand. This means that even if practical wind energy storage were available, wind still would not be needed on a future all nuclear/hydro grid.
The demand on the grid from recharging electric cars should not be underestimated. The president and CEO of French nuclear giant Areva said that it would take an additional 6,400 megawatts of electricity if just 10 per cent of France’s cars were electrically powered. That translates into about 1,700 megawatts (two Darlington-size units) for Ontario.
In France, the nuclear energy share of electricity production is about 78 per cent from its 58 reactors, with the balance divided nearly equally between hydro and fossil, and with the nuclear units able to meet daily changes in electricity demand. Sweden has a grid the same size as Ontario’s but with almost all nuclear/hydro generation.
Wind has no long-term future in Ontario and will be more of a hindrance than a help to the grid’s reliability. The Ontario Energy Board should take a good hard look at the government’s Integrated Power System Plan, eliminate wind and promote cleaned-up coal-fired stations operating past 2014 until sufficient nuclear is online to avoid the building of anymore unsustainable gas-fired plants.
The technical, economic and environmental issues associated with wind power have not been fully explored. Let’s hope the Ontario Energy Board will give them due consideration when it reconvenes so that money can be put where it will do Ontario the most long-term good.
Donald Jones is a professional engineer, now retired after 35 years of CANDU system design.
What can I say – Industry and govt. working together = citizens take a back seat.
Posted By JENNIFER PRITCHETT WHIG-STANDARD STAFF WRITER
The Calgary-based company building a $410-million wind plant on Wolfe Island has issued a cease-and-desist letter to a citizen it claims is spreading “false and defamatory statements.”
Canadian Hydro Developers Inc. sent the letter in connection with a statement made by Wolfe Island resident Chris Brown, an outspoken
critic of some aspects of the project.
Brown, a local musician, is one of a handful of citizens who sit on a community liaison committee Canadian Hydro set up last year to answer local concerns about the project.
Brown regards the letter as an attempt to gag critics of the project.
“It’s an intimidation tactic,” he said.
Brown said he isn’t against wind power or the Canadian Hydro project on Wolfe Island. He does want to see the 86 turbines that are being erected there placed in areas where they won’t impact wildlife or people.
The cease-and-desist letter goes back to an e-mail Brown sent to former St. Lawrence College president Volker Thomsen and others, following an international wind energy conference at the college in June.
Brown said he hoped “the examples brought to light by the conference can prevent Wolfe Island from becoming an autopsy of grid monopoly and community exclusion.”
Canadian Hydro took exception to his comments, saying they suggest the firm “has no respect for the environmental and regulatory process and fails to consult with the community.
“Canadian Hydro has conducted itself in a responsible manner throughout the approval process,” stated the cease-and-desist letter.
The letter, written by Canadian Hydro’s Toronto-based lawyer Paul B. Schabas, warns Brown of the possibility of future legal action.
“Should you persist in this course of conduct, please be advised that our client will proceed against you and pursue all legal and equitable remedies available to it without further notice being provided to you. Kindly govern yourself accordingly,” Schabas wrote.
When theWhig-Standardrequested an interview with Canadian Hydro about the letter, the firm issued a short statement from Geoff Carnegie, its development manager for the Wolfe Island project.
In it, Carnegie wrote that Brown’s “claim of community exclusion overlooks three and a half years of community consultation by Canadian Hydro, as documented in the Environmental Review Report.
“The purpose of our letter to Mr. Brown was to insist that he act responsibly and utilize the relevant facts in his arguments.” Brown said he refuses to be quieted. “I will continue to exercise my right
to free speech and advocate for a full and transparent public review of this project, just as I will continue to participate in the community liaison group to ensure proper communication between proponent and citizenry,” he wrote in a response to Canadian Hydro.
E.ON, based in Duesseldorf, Germany, is one of the world’s leading energy companies
They should know – they build wind farms. Germany is in the process of building over 20 new coal plants.
Wind energy is so unreliable that even if 13,000 turbines are built to meet EU renewable energy targets, they could be relied on to provide only seven percent of the country’s peak winter electricity demand, according to a leading power company E.On.
E.On has argued that so little wind blows during the coldest days of winter that 92 percent of installed wind capacity would have to be backed up by traditional power stations.
Full story at Source: Energy Digital
Ted Cowan, a researcher with the Ontario Federation of Agriculture Farm Policy Research Group.
Ted Cowan cautioned farmers and landowners on lease agreements, providing an updated list of 30 recommendations from the OFA.
“I’ve seen over 30 leases, and there are problems with every one,” said Cowan, who outlined key considerations necessary to protect the rights of the farmers contemplating a wind power lease agreement.
“Don’t sign a lease until you have considered the choices and determined what is best for your farm operation for the next 20 years,” he said.
Cowan said some wind power companies are not giving a fair share of their profits, typically around 2 per cent, noting that the OFA recommendations call for a rent of 3 per cent for the first eight years, then going up to 8 or 10 per cent. The OFA also suggests that farmers contact their power distribution company to acquire their own right to connect.
Farmers were also cautioned on assessment and tax implications.
“It’s your farm – it’s your taxes,” said Cowan, noting that the landowner was ultimately responsible for taxes on their property. In addition, Cowan said there was no guarantee that the provincially imposed caps on assessments and taxes would remain in the future.
“I don’t know, taxes could be 50 times of what they are right now,” he said.
Outside of lease and legal considerations, there was detailed mention of more serious problems encountered by farmers with nearby wind power installations at the first meeting.
Cowan said a farmer had lost some cattle due to problems from stray voltage encountered right after a wind power development was commissioned, an incident that came to the attention of the OFA at the end of last year. Cowan declined to state the location of the incident, except to say it was in Ontario.
“If you put your hand on his barn wall you will have 83 volts going through your body,” said Cowan, who noted that voltage has a greater effect on cattle because of their large body size, causing changes in the animals watering and feeding habits.
“Yes, it could be a problem here,” said Cowan, speaking of Essex County’s numerous municipal drains and notorious wet soils, which can act as conductors of stray voltage.
To make the matter worse, Cowan said the farmer had not been getting help from the power companies or his municipality.
“Typically, it was who can run away from the responsibility the fastest,” he said.
An estimated 1,200 bats, most of them probably just passing through Montana, were killed after striking wind turbines at the Judith Gap Wind Farm between July 2006 and May 2007, according to a post-construction bird and bat survey.
Wind farms and transformers erected too close to peoples homes cause noise problems. It’s that simple. Expect to see many more law suits in the future.
Both the Wind Industry and the MOE continue to ignore any noise or health study that would require wind farms to be erected at safer distances.
People continue to suffer noise and health issues and the MOE and the Wind Industry continues to ignore them.
When you see a turbine, understand what it is. It is not clean, green renewable energy. It is the continuation of the Enron Scam.
A commercial wind farm operator in Melancthon is asking the court to dismiss a $1.25 million lawsuit brought against it.
Canadian Hydro Developers says its transformer in Amaranth “has not produced excessive or disturbing noise at any time,” as claimed by a neighbour.
Paul Thompson filed the lawsuit in February seeking compensation for damage and special damage from Canadian Hydro Developers and property owner Hendrika Broeze. Canadian Hydro leases land from Broeze for its transformer.
Thompson claims noise from the device has caused “substantial and unreasonable interference” with his home and industrial equipment repair business since it began operating in early 2006.
His claims have not been proven in court.
The transformer handles electrical flow from the Melancthon I Wind Project, which includes 45 wind turbines.
Canadian Hydro recently received approval from the Ontario Municipal Board to move ahead with the second phase of the project — 88 more turbines and a second transformer to be located on the same property as the first.
During the OMB hearing, Canadian Hydro announced plans to swap out the existing transformer with a quieter model. The second transformer is also to be of the quieter variety.
“Since the transformer began commercial operations … Canadian Hydro has undertaken, and continues to undertake, significant efforts to further reduce potential sound emissions from the transformer,” offers the statement of defence.
Those efforts include noise monitoring and construction of a sound barrier around the transformer perimeter.
“Since that time, all noise level measurements taken near the transformer and on neighbouring properties have been compliant with noise guidelines issued by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment,” the defence continues.
In his statement of claim, Thompson acknowledges the acoustic barrier has lessened the transformer noise. However, he says it continues to interfere with his sleep and is the source of stress and tension in his life.
The Amaranth man further maintains transformer noise has rendered his property, which has been in his family since the 1800s, “undesirable, or significantly less desirable,” therefore decreasing its value.
The developer insists that if there are damages from the transformer, which it denies, those damages are the result of Thompson’s “abnormal sensitivity” and suggests he has failed to mitigate those damages.
“Canadian Hydro has undertaken … significant efforts to further reduce potential sound emissions….”
Canadian Hydro statement of defence
By Richard Vivian, Staff Writer
11 April 2008