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New ministry document governs closure of industrial wind turbines in the County

The closing of the White Pines Wind Project is another step closer – just short of a year to the date the provincial government terminated the project under The White Pines Wind Project Termination Act.

The Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks posted its decision July 3 on the closing of the White Pines Wind Project, following a 45-day comment period from October to December 2018.

The ministry states 524 comments were received through the registry; 31 by email and 45 by regular mail – from interested stakeholders, representatives of the proponent, municipal officials and advocacy groups.

The ministry states it has “decided to make a new regulation to require that the closure of the White Pines Wind facility is carried out in a way that is protective of human health and the environment.”

wpd Canada had indicated last year it would seek to recoup $100 million it has put into the project, but it is still not clear how much the provincial government has, or will agree to pay. The legislation requires wpd to cover the cost of decomissioning and restoring the land. The law also bars the company from suing the government.

There are four turbines erected of the nine that had been approved for the White Pines development in South Marysburgh before the provincial government terminated the project July 25 under The White Pines Wind Project Termination Act.

The Act revoked the Feed-in-Tariff contract awarded by the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO); the renewable energy approval issued for the project by the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) and the permit issued for the project under the Endangered Species Act, 2007, by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.

The German wind company’s initial plan was for 29 turbines but following years of legal battles, led by the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists, over protection of species at risk and heritage preservation, the project was reduced to nine. Only four of the 100-metre tall turbines were erected, but were not put into service before the legislation.

The renewable energy approval issued by MECP included requirements for constructing, operating and decommissioning the facility at the end of its useful life, including restoring lands affected by the project. Because the renewable energy approval has been revoked, the MECP has made a new regulation under the Environmental Protection Act and an associated technical closure document, to govern the closure of the facility.

The facility consists of the nine turbine areas and one transformer substation, associated ancillary equipment, systems and technologies including on-site access roads, underground cabling, distribution or transmission lines and storage areas.

The documents includes the following general themes:

Pre-dismantling activities;
Equipment dismantling and removal;
Site restoration;
Stormwater management;
In-water works;
Water takings;
Necessary precautions to avoid impacts on the Blanding’s Turtle;
Restoration of natural and cultural heritage features;
Archaeological resources;
Emergency response and communications plan;
Consultation/Notification;
Record keeping; and
Handling of complaints.

The company is expected to maintain its website and update on or before the 15th of each month, about the facility and include documents for the public.

Four tower sections with the nacelle on top before  the hub and the turbine blades were added. 

It must also submit a monitoring plan to the ministry and to the municipality describing actions and processes and monitor the project location after removing components as it carries out site restoration.

The turbine towers, nacelle and blades are to be disassembled. They may be temporarily stored in staging areas until they are removed.

Waste elements are to transported to an authorized disposal facility. All salvageable components are to be removed unless the company and the landowner have a written agreement that provides for another arrangement.

For the turbine and transfomer foundations, unless there is an agreement in place with the landowner, they will be removed, or just partially, to a depth consistent with the surrounding bedrock and excavated areas are to be brought to grade with clean fill and topsoil.

For electrical collector and distribution lines, unless the company and the landowner have a written agreement
that provides for another arrangement, underground electrical collector lines on private land may remain in place provided that both ends that come to the surface be excavated to approximately 1.2 m
below grade and capped. Input from the County will be obtain to deal with collector and distribution lines on municipal property.

Substations are also to be dismantled and transformers, switchgear, grounding grid and electrical system components removed.

All access roads installed by, or on behalf of the company are to be removed, including culverts, the geotextile material beneath the roads and granular material. It the access road existed prior, it shall be returned to a similar condition that existed prior to construction.

The technical document also states that unless unavoidable, the company shall not remove or damage any trees in all areas where closure activities take place – including roads and transportation routes. If unavoidable, the company must contact the ministry and must replant trees removed and take steps to repair any damaged.

Where possible, closure for components within Blanding’s Turtle habitat will occur between Oct. 15 and April 30. If unavoidable, the company must contact the ministry a minimum of five business days prior.

Click here for the detailed technical report.
Click here to download the comments made during the consultation period, or read those selected to be posted on the ministry site. 

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  1. Michelle says:

    Chatham Kent _ Stoufville, home owners wells are ruined by sediment surrounding a wind farm. Feel sad for their situation.

  2. Gary says:

    Wind energy serves no one or the future well. The impact of these structures on environnent, human and animal health, leaves little doubt. Time they came down.

  3. Mark says:

    Just killing the pretending Green Energy Act saved Ontarions over 1 Billion dollars. Good job.

  4. Paul Cole says:

    Yes Mr. Mooney the PC’s are doing a wonderful job on the electricity front getting rid of the Chair of Hydro One (The Six Million Dollar Man) which cost $10.7 million in severance and stock options. And then the kill fee for the cancelled Avista takeover which cost Ontarians $139 million. Oh ya ford’s PC’s promised a 12% reduction in electricity costs that hasn’t happened yet.

  5. Gary Mooney says:

    Right now, at 11:25 on July 8, wind is generating only 7/10 of 1% of Ontario’s demand. Nuclear is producing 99 times what wind is generating.

    The market price of power is 1.3 cents per kWh, one-tenth of what Ontario is paying for wind.

    Thanks to local groups APPEC, CCSAGE and PECFN, thousands of donors, Todd Smith and the PC government, the County is not contributing to this next-to-useless source of power.

    Wind: Power when you don’t need it; none when you do.

  6. Don and Heather Ross says:

    The dirty deed is done. It’s no longer a proposal and has become a decision. Shame on MPP Smith and this provincial government. Shame on Prince Edward County councils. Shame on the anti-wind lobbyists here and across Ontario. Shame on our generation for this failure to do the right thing for future generations.

    Everyone who fought this wind farm and supported this regressive Ford regime should be ashamed of their actions and will be held accountable for being the first jurisdiction in the world, to our knowledge, to destroy a wind farm.

  7. Emily says:

    Perhaps because it is super expensive, unreliable and unneeded energy to start prior to speaking about the health and environmental effects. They are condemd,time to move on.

  8. Anon says:

    Wineries & Vineyards: Yes. Wind turbines: No.

  9. Chuck says:

    I would strongly suspect around 90% of County residents oppose turbines.

  10. BARNEY RUBBLE says:

    WHY NOT LEAVE THEM STANDING. WE MAY NEED THE POWER WHEN HYDRO ONE IMPLODES. DONT SEE MANY TURTLES ON THE ROAD, GIVE US A RATE BREAK AND SAVE THE LAWYER FEES TO THAT MONEY GUY. JUST SAYIN

  11. Gary Mooney says:

    Janice, a few facts:
    * County government has formally stated its opposition to wind turbines on several occasions, including passage of a resolution as an “unwilling host” and approving a grant of $20,000 to PEC Field Natualists to help protect the natural environment of the South Shore from wind turbines.
    * There was a formal plebiscite, for South Marysburgh residents only, run by Steve Ferguson, publisher of the S.M. Mirror and our current mayor, with a turnout percentage close to that of municipal elections. Ninety percent of voters stated opposition to wind turbines in S.M.
    * Informal polls of all County residents also came out at about 90% opposed.
    * Three County groups — APPEC, CCSAGE and PECFN — raised a total of $1.5 million to fund legal challenges against three wind projects — Byran, Gilead and wpd — with thousands of donations from local residents ranging from $20 to $1000, and occasionally larger. That’s considerably more than a vocal few.

    Organized opposition to wind projects in the County began even before the Green Energy Act was passed in 2009 by residents who understood the damage that would be caused to human health, the natural environment and our local economy. Over more than a decade, there was very little support shown for wind turbines here.

    I’m sure that the provincial government would be delighted if wpd were to walk away and leave the four turbines standing, because they would forfeit reimbursement, likely in the range of $50-60 million, equal to the value of the (unneeded) power that would be produced over the life of the contract.

  12. Janice says:

    Only the vocal few have spoken against turbines! The “County” has not spoken against them. We need a plebiscite County wide to prove the overwhelming support for the windmills! Jim, I totally agree with you. If I were WPines, I would walk away too and stick it to the County and provincial idiots! Imagine how many turtles and wildlife will be killed removing the turbines! What a ridiculous mess! I hope WhitePines gets a huge settlement! They deserve every cent they get!

  13. Michelle says:

    Well stated Gary. WPD never was inclusive with this community. Money to be made and full bore ahead.

  14. Gary Mooney says:

    Jim, see my earlier post. Wpd says that it spent $100 million on the project, and wants that amount back. The White Pines Termination Act offers to reimburse wpd for costs incurred, but no more than the current net value of the power to be generated during the contract period (net of operating and maintenance expenses). I have built a financial model of the project, and I estimate the value of the power to be $50 to $60 million, much less than what wpd spent.

    Wpd overspent because it originally did all of the planning for a much larger project and the was embroiled in expensive legal challenges almost from day 1. The Ontario government is being generous in its offer, but it won’t make wpd whole. Wpd failed to take proper account of the resolve of County residents to prevent them from despoiling the South Shore. Sucks to be them.

  15. Jim says:

    If spending over 100 million dollars to tear down turbines is more important than our school system on health system we elected the wrong government

  16. Jim says:

    The compensation money is to tear them down.No money in WPD pockets.Maybe Todd Smith and Doug Ford can tear them down.They seem to be doing a good job at tearing everything else apart

  17. Brody says:

    Jim: This was a provincial project, nothing to do with the County. So the province would have to take them down if WPD disappears.But WPD won’t get any of their compensation payments if they don’t follow the regulation just issued.

  18. Fred says:

    WPD were negligent in racing to erect the three after being aware the project was dead.

  19. Jim says:

    If I was was WPD I would walk away and leave them and the county could take them down

  20. Gary Mooney says:

    Marc, the White Pines Termination Act will reimburse wpd for some of the expenses incurred up to July 10. At that date, there was only one turbine installed. For reasons known only to themselves, wpd continued work after that date, laying cable and installing three more turbines. So they won’t be reimbursed for either the installation or decommissioning of these three turbines.

  21. Michelle says:

    Time for them to come down, The County has spoken loud an clear. Time to let it go.

  22. Marc says:

    It’s insane to think that WPD should have to disassemble these for free. Once again, Doug Ford spends $100 to save $10.

  23. Paul Hicks says:

    JUSTICE. FINALLY. wpd did the project wrong, without permission and illegally. I’m not against wind power. I am against wpd and its filthy rich executives becoming richer at PEC’s expense, and by unethical and illegal means. This couldn’t happen to a more deserving corporation and its executive. We need to keep a VERY close watch on the way these clowns dismantle, remove, and restore the environment that they have destroyed.

  24. Susan says:

    Pleased to see closure to this matter is in the offing.

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