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Turbine project terminated in Prince Edward County

Residents may see be seeing turbine sections leaving the County aftetr Bill 2, Urgent Priorities Act received Royal Assent in the Ontario Legislature Wednesday. –  Irv Collier photo

With Royal Assent received Wednesday for Bill 2, Urgent Priorities Act 2018, wpd’s nine industrial wind turbine project in Prince Edward County is terminated.

“If members opposite wonder why I don’t fear contractual chill, it’s because the proponent in this case has never honoured its agreements with the government of Ontario,” said Todd Smith, Bay of Quinte MPP and Minister of Government Affairs, in the legislature. “This project deserves to die. It deserves to die exactly as it should die today – publicly and in front of the whole province.”

Smith told thte legislature the company has been building non-stop since the middle of June, even after the government announced its intentions to legislatively terminate the project on July 10.

“They’ve had construction crews working over the weekend and trucks heading into the county at all hours to try and complete construction before this Legislature can conclude its work on Bill 2…. And they are nine white elephants. They will do nothing to help this province fight climate change—absolutely nothing. Their total capacity now, after previously being 60 megawatts, is down to about 18 megawatts of power.”

He also noted recent ministry charges over violations. “Finally, it was just a couple of weeks ago that the major multinational corporation developing the project was charged not once, not twice, but three times by the province’s Ministry of Environment for multiple violations. That’s because, under the renewable energy approval, to protect endangered species in the area, they’re not supposed to be constructing after May 1.”

The act, retroactive to July 10, terminates permits and revokes approvals, including the Feed-in-Tarriff contract and Renewable Energy Approval issued in July 2015. It requires decommissioning and to “maintain the lands in a clean and safe condition”.

Smith said it’s been seven long years, but he’s glad to be able to have accomplished this feat.

“It certainly seemed like the deck was stacked against us at times,” he said. “Apparently, construction has now stopped. The legislation requires the company to dismantle and return the property to its original state.”

Prince Edward County Mayor Robert Quaiff, who has led the charge against this and all other turbine projects proposed for the County, is also thrilled with the news.

Quaiff introduced the “Not a Willing Host Community” moratorium in the County, joining more than 90 municipalities in Ontario, and was instrumental in the formation of the Wainfleet Wind Action Group travelling to communities along Highway 401, meeting with provincial cabinet ministers and challenging then Premier Kathleen Wynne at a number of opportunities.

“I’m excited, truly excited and elated and at the end of the day, everything I tried to do, council and the community tried to do, became a reality today,” he said. “We have never wanted this project here in Prince Edward County and I will stand behind by that and say I am in full support of this government cancelling it.”

He is certain there will be work yet to be done, “but there’s going to be big cause for celebration. It may come back that this is going to be like the gas plant debacle – I don’t really care if it is, all I care is this project got cancelled and that’s what I’ve been fighting for – for years.”

Quaiff said municipal staff and the County’s solicitor will be reviewing the legislation to understand the County’s options.

“Road damage is going to be looked after,” he said “We have $2.7 million worth of securities and it’s iron clad. We can’t lose that,” he said, repeating praise he extended Tuesday night at council to Robert McAuley, Commissioner of Engineering, Development and Works.

“I gave him the highest of praises I could give at council. He has been so professional. He has been what this municipality has needed and he has worked tirelessly every day contributing his time on this file,” said Quaiff. “We are so grateful we have him. He is such a strong, knowlegeable force and Prince Edward County is blessed to have him at the table, as well as our lawyer Wayne Fairbrother, who has also always been front and centre this whole time.”

All eyes are now on the turbine sites in South Marysburgh – four of which are completed.

Members and supporters of the community advocacy group Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County (APPEC) have been embroiled in legal action against wpd and the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO).

“We hope wpd obeys the law and starts dismantling per Bill 2,” said Gord Gibbins, APPEC chair. “We will have to rely on the provincial and municipal governments to endorse terms and restore the environmental degradation to its original state. Naturally we will be on guard.”

The act states wpd is entitled to compensation as a result of the termination of the project – payable out of money appropriated for the purpose by the legislature.

“The compensation payable is subject to various limitations and contingencies set out in that section and that may be further set out by regulations made under the Act.”

wpd board member Dr. Hartmut Brösamle said earlier this month the total investment volume is in the vicinity of CAD 100 million.

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  1. robert sandfield says:

    As of this writing, on a sunny day but with no wind, solar in Ontario is 1.0% of output, wind is a whopping 0.1% of Ontario demand. If solar and wind are the future, we will have to return to demand levels of about 1920 or so. Watch the Tedtalk linked below. Sign up for the Gridwatch app for a smart phone or your home computer, and track supply and demand. Ron, fossil fuels is at present a relatively small component of Ontario power supply. We are predominantly a nuclear and hydro province.

    http://www.ted.com/talks/david_mackay_a_reality_check_on_renewables/transcript?language=en

    http://live.gridwatch.ca/home-page.html

  2. Emily says:

    Could not believe the sight of these intrusive monster turbines from East Lake today. Can’t wait until they are gone from our landscape.

  3. painterman says:

    You swim with sharks and your going to get bit.

  4. ron slatter says:

    Gary it is no different in the county contractors do work for people here and then have to wait for their money

  5. Mark says:

    A lot of these companies the Liberals got in bed with are suspect. It’s a race to get the money and environment, roads and workers are just non important. There really should be an inquiry as to how this all came about.

  6. Gary says:

    How would sub contractors allow themselves to get in so deep with no cash flowing?

  7. Sue3 says:

    Not related to wpd, but an interesting article on the Amherst Island project…..

    http://www.thewhig.com/2018/07/28/contractors-for-amherst-island-wind-turbine-project-owed-millions

    “Several sub-contractors who built the Amherst Island wind turbine project have filed liens in a Napanee court looking to be paid millions of dollars owed for unpaid work.”

    “landowners who have lease agreements with Windlectric have liens against their property as well”

  8. Chris Keen says:

    Tinpot dictatorships do not pay compensation!

  9. ron slatter says:

    we can argue back and forth all we want but the fact that we will run out of fossil fuel in the future will happen we should be preparing for this for the future of our grandchildren and great grandchildren wind and solar energy will very likely be the way of the future whether we like it or not

  10. Chuck says:

    I agree Ron. Those that were supporting this nonsensical project never thought of or realized the impact on so many.

  11. Emily says:

    This is great for County workers if there are any, as it doubles their employment, put em up, take em down. Can’t wait to see them heading north!

  12. Mark says:

    When do you get it? Not a willing host!

  13. Dave Thomas says:

    The legislation that was passed puts Ontario in the same leagues as some of the worst developing countries run by tinpot dictators. The way this was handled by the Ford government will have massive negative implications for investment in Ontario and the folks opposed to the project who are dancing with glee at its demise come across as myopic and provincial. Take the blinders off and consider the bigger picture because it ain’t pretty.

  14. Kit says:

    I did speak to four workers Whatever and none were from the County. True, it’s not a scientific survey but you don’t say how you know what you state. Of the properties that adjoined mine in the original proposal two owned by Toronto folks who never visited or farmed and another from central Ontario. It’s not a lie but simple fact. From the land registry I could also see that two of the properties were purchased around th time wpd first made their move. Just more greed pulling money out of the County to Germany or wherever. Nothing to see here.

  15. Chris Keen says:

    Also part of the legislation is that neither the government nor the IESO can be sued. There will NOT be any court “battles”.

    WPD will be compensated for any costs incurred up to July 10th – not for their irresponsible actions after they knew the project would be cancelled. I am sure their shareholders and the city of Munich will be thrilled at the hundreds of thousands of dollars wpd wasted after this date that cannot be recovered.

  16. Renee says:

    Decommissioning is part of the legislation. They have 1 year to get it done.

  17. ron slatter says:

    Paul that is a good point

  18. Paul says:

    Wouldn’t any agreement to decommission have been cancelled along with the contracts ?

  19. ron slatter says:

    settlement could take months or years

  20. hockeynan says:

    If I were the landowners I wouldn’t let them on my property until someone paid me my full portion of the contract.

  21. ron slatter says:

    tear down will not happen for a while i would bet on that not til after a court battle

  22. Renee says:

    If the project was almost complete then work at the site for those working there would have almost been done too. The workers should be happy because now wpd will need to decommission them and remove the turbines so the workers will be getting extra work.

    Don’t put away your hardhats.

  23. Susan says:

    Those workers are not out of work. They have a whole lot of tear down to get busy at.

  24. Whatever says:

    9 of the 9 turbines are on land owned by county folks who live, farm and/or work in the community. I don’t know where you get your stats. By the way, the work force used were Ontario workers mostly from in and around The County and now they are out of work. To take a perfectly legal project that was 90% done and rip it down is about the dumbest thing let alone the fact that foreign investors will most definitely think twice about spending their money in this two-faced province for fear of having the rug pulled out from under them. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.

  25. Robert Legate says:

    SCROLL wind technology is a much better choice. It can be installex in any angle to the wind and on high building roof tops out of sight and sound. I just don’t get these massive turbines. Ugly at best and harmful to wildlife and people.

  26. Gary Mooney says:

    Dr. Brosamle, CEO of Wpd AG (Germany) has said that White Pines was cancelled due to “no fault of its own”.

    I dispute that in an op-ed published in the Times this week, citing ten failing / faults of Wpd. You can read it at http://wellingtontimes.ca/op-ed-who-deserves-fairness-and-equity/

  27. Gary Mooney says:

    Robert, I agree with your comments. I should have been more specific about costs — 14 cents per KWh is the current direct cost of wind power, but there are numerious indirect costs.

  28. M says:

    Too bad. Unemployment rate is very low. Move on to the next construction job as they are hiring. It’s over.

  29. ron slatter says:

    Kit there actually some working there that are county people check it out

  30. Kit says:

    Actually local employment would have been a strong selling point for the communtye but wpd hires very few from PEC. When I visited a turbine recently I asked and all the guys were commuting from either Oshawa or Kingston. Both fine places, but benefit to PEC = zero. Do you know how much employment was actually created locally? I think it is just another lesson wpd needs to learn

  31. ron slatter says:

    i guess by the sounds of it the locals that were working on the turbines don’t mean much to those opposed or the places that the out of town workers stayed

  32. Chuck says:

    That’s green bs Ian. Don’t take County folk for fools. It would be better to work on China and India with the multitudes of carbon spewing, compared to tiny little Ontario. Not drinking your koolaid!

  33. Kit says:

    I fought wpd since 2011 and say this is a sweet victory for anyone who values democracy in PEC. This company ignored all advice it received from this community. It never tried to gain our respect or ensure that any benefit was realized in S Marysburg, save the few private, mostly absentee land owners with contracts. Unfortunately the bad taste left by wpd is being confused with green energy in general. I try to imagine a green energy project that was actually supported by the County and didn’t make winners, losers and enemies of us. Like Ian says below ‘nothing to see here’

  34. Ian says:

    So a few Torontonians get to flip their PEC properties at a profit now.

    The planet gets a little warmer.

    Nothing to see here. Moving on.

  35. SegueC says:

    “I watch this stuff for a living, have no skin in the game other than managing my companies energy costs. WIND MAKES ZERO SENSE, EVER! ” robert sandfield says:
    Thursday, July 26th, 2018 at 11:28 am

    If only the ideologues had done proper Cost/Benefit analysis pre
    “Green”EnergyAct because the sWINDle was already failing in Germany(the model Ontario followed doen the slippery slope) but then that’s what Left-wing extremists always do…damn the facts and full speed progressivism.

  36. Dennis Fox says:

    Thanks Chris,I will certainly read through it.

  37. Jeff says:

    The Frankenstein monster is dead ,so in the future what’s the alternative when fossil fuels run out ?

  38. Chris Keen says:

    Dennis the Urgent Priorities Act allows for compensation to wpd for government audited and approved expenses. They have one year to file a claim. The act says that “… no compensation is payable under this section for any opportunity costs or for any loss of goodwill or possible profits.”

    Section 5 for the Act “prevents future proceedings, against the Crown, the IESO and other specified related persons in relation to the terminated contracts and agreements, the revoked permits and approvals, and the Act itself and actions taken or not taken in accordance with it.” So there will be no court cases with wpd.

    Details here if you’re interested:https://www.ola.org/en/legislative-business/bills/parliament-42/session-1/bill-2#BK5

    As for the other 700+ projects they were all cancelled because they failed to meet contractual milestone dates. Presumably that is a provision in each contract. Failure to meet the terms of a contract generally doesn’t involve compensation, But I guess we’ll see. Of course wpd’s contract should have been cancelled years ago for failing to meet its deadlines and we could have avoided all this!

  39. Dennis Fox says:

    I really can’t imagine any company that gained approval from a previous government, just walking away because a new government decided differently. I don’t support wpd, but both they and a multitude of other companies will end up in court demanding money for lost contracts and revenues. No government can pass legislation suddenly placing them above the law. This will get very interesting before it is over.

  40. robert sandfield says:

    Gary, in our dreams the true cost of wind is 14 cents. The contracted price, plus the cost of spinning a very necessary backup gas plant(s) for extremely fast load pickup, plus the cost to stabilize the grid (might involve short term purchased in power from Quebec, NY, Manitoba or Minnesota, or other measures that are super expensive) all have to be factored in to determine price per kWH. Part of the illusion is neglecting these costs. 30% is the average and is likely charitable over a year in terms of output for most if not all areas. Regardless, the range of 0 to 90% is the problem. The grid lives on consistency of supply. In regard to overall cost of power, get familiar with HOEP prices published by IESO, google it along with Global Adjustment costs for Class A consumers. That is the most accurate indication of the financial end of things at any one moment. The true picture is we have morphed the network to accommodate wind and solar. Someday it might be necessary, not today. As a province we are in no position to fool around experimenting on this scale.

  41. Gary Mooney says:

    Robert S, the average output annually from wind turbines in Ontario is 30% of capacity, but it varies from near 0% to over 90% during any given hour. In summer, when electtricity demand is high due to air conditioning, average wind output is not much more than 10%.

    Nuclear costs about 7 cents per KWh, hydro about 6 cents and wind about 14 cents, so wind costs a bit more than double the cost for nuclear and hydro, which together cover almost all of Ontario’s demand.

  42. ADJ says:

    The Fat lady is warming up in the wings.

  43. robert sandfield says:

    There is currently 4313MW of wind power connected to the Ontario grid. (sign up for the Gridwatch app and educate yourself on what is ACTUALLY happening…) As of this writing, wind is producing a whopping 836MW. Charitably it is running at 20% efficiency, at probably 20x the cost of the rest of the grid. Start exploring the IESO website, go to “power data” and “peak tracker” to learn more about the sheer ridiculousness of connecting more wind power to the grid. I watch this stuff for a living, have no skin in the game other than managing my companies energy costs. WIND MAKES ZERO SENSE, EVER! Ontario has 36,943MW of connected capacity, our absolute peak in recent years is 22,500MW only about five days per year. 13,009MW nuclear, 10,277MW gas, 8,472MW hydro, 4313MW wind, 495MW biofuel, and 380MW biofuel. The gas portion largely exists in the event of calm days, cloudy days or in the event of a breakdown. The “fossil fuel” myth is just that. Even if we covered the province with industrial turbines, the gas would still exist since wind is only good for 30% capacity as an absolute peak case. Stop the insanity of thinking wind and solar are the answer. GEA was a vote grabbing optics measure. Yes it had some research and trialing “value”, but not even close to the billions it cost. There is way more connection than required for that purpose, so take a breath for ten years at least try for better technology before dipping in a toe again. In the meantime, learn some facts about energy in Ontario.

  44. Fred says:

    It’s over! The Termination Act trumps any perceived legal action. That is why they included articles to protect the government from liabilities beyond true costs to July 10.

  45. Dennis Fox says:

    My point is – government has been known to be wrong in the past. It ain’t over until it is over, despite the hype.

  46. ADJ says:

    If this project was approved by the previous government then why are they not paying for the cancellation costs?
    Congrats to Todd and his majority government they delivered as promised. Of course any Liberal supporter is going to whine about the results but hey ..accept it. It’s over. Break out the bubbly.

  47. Dennis Fox says:

    The cancellation of the wpd development was the right thing to do for PEC and no doubt the GEA was very poorly implemented – how any government expected the public and local councils to buy into their plan, when not allowed to have input never made sense and it was destined for failure – which it deservedly did.

    However, I don’t support all that goes along with Bill 2 and the “Anti-alternative” energy mentality that the Ford government represents, plus their support for fossil fuel consumption is concerning. The opening comments by Todd Smith in this article also concern me – this company “in his opinion” acted illegally because they continued to build despite the new government’s intentions. Since when was any government’s intentions the law? What needs to be appreciated here is the fact that the company had the approval of the previous government. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if the Ford government finds itself in court and the people of Ontario are on the hook for billions – wpd is just one company, out of hundreds that have been cancelled.

  48. Rahno H BOUTILIER says:

    Congratulations to the many groups and individuals who fought long and hard to keep this project from making a home in South Marysburg…three terms I will long remember…Not a willing host…for the people…and Promise Made…Promise Kept

  49. wevil says:

    a sad day for the county it shows the govt. has the power to also scrap the plans for our new hospital as doug ford said in his campaign that he wanted to close a number of hospitals

  50. Chris Keen says:

    Our community owes a huge debt of gratitude to PECFN, APPEC, CCSAGE and every other group, and every one of their supporters, who opposed this project from the outset. It is clear when our environment is threatened, the County rises to the challenge. Somewhere Bill Wightman is smiling.

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