Our Green Energy Projects
Green Energy Projects are highly controversial in rural Ontario pitting various factions against each other. Many rural residents are angry at rising electricity rates, the deteriorating electricity infrastructure and poor implementation. Rural Ontario has few apologists for the McGuinty-Wynne governments when it comes to The Green Energy Act and IWTs and solar farms often become the lighting rod for this anger.
IWTs and solar farms are attracted to this part of Eastern Ontario because of the proximity to high voltage transmission lines from Lennox Generating Station, the sparse population, the tracts of marginal land and the prevailing westerly winds off Lake Ontario.
Every year IESO announces what amounts it is seeking in green energy contracts and various wind/solar companies compete furiously for the lucrative contracts. Proposals are submitted by the proponents to IESO and ranked in accordance with many factors including price and the extent of the community and municipal support. The list of approved projects for 2016 was released in March.
Rural residents complain about the visibility of IWTs. Opponents of IWTs suddenly find themselves worrying about Blandings turtles, bats, migratory birds, low frequency noise. Although the anger is directed at the physical plant and wrapped in an aura of environmentalism, there is at least a suspicion that the opposition is fueled by rising electricity rates and the fact that the benefits are unevenly divided.
Farmers who are fortunate enough to be able to lease unproductive lands for solar and wind projects seem unbothered by the noise or visual impact.
The end result of all this is that neighbours in otherwise friendly communities suddenly find themselves bitter enemies.
Proponents of wind and solar farms seek a letter of approval from the municipal councils for their projects. It is not absolutely required but it helps in getting approval from IESO. And, the proponents are prepared to pay big dollars to get it. In Greater Napanee and elsewhere this has been characterized as bribery. But it’s hard cash which is badly needed and many municipalities, including Stone Mills, Loyalist and Kingston ignored the smell and just took the money.
Rightly or wrongly, Greater Napanee rejected it.
Stone Mills endorsed a proposal by BluEarth Renewables for a 54 MW Loyalist Solar Project near Roblin. IESO accepted the proposal and awarded them a contract. In a press release, Stone Mills announced that it would receive $145,800 of un-constrained revenues per year for the minimum 20 year duration of the project for a total of nearly $3-million. The site locations of this development are here. See also Whig Standard Mar 10, 2016.
Sun Edison operates a large solar farm just east of the Goodyear factory which was built before municipalities had any say in the matter.
Loyalist Township recently signed a community benefit agreement which will give it $500,000 per year for a period of 20 years, a total of $10-million if the Windlectric IWT project proceeds on Amherst Island.
City of Kingston:
Samsung paid the City of Kingston $368,000 up front and will be paying $290,000 per year for the next 20 years on its 73.6 MW solar project in the northwest rural area of the city, a total of over $6-million. See Whig Standard Mar 22, 2016.
Bluearth proposed an extension of the Stone Mills project in the Roblin area, but withdrew the proposal after a frosty reception from the mayor at the June 9, 2015 meeting.
EDF EN: On August 18, 2015 and again on August 25, EDF EN Canada proposed a 60 MW solar project on a strip of marginal land between River Road and Little Creek Street fairly well, but not completely, hidden from neighbours. EDF-EN Canada offered to pay the Greater Napanee a community benefit of $125,000 per year for the 20 year lifetime of the project, a total of $2.5-million. Council voted 5-2 not to approve the project despite the fact that it had 70% community support. EDF submitted the proposal to IESO without council support along with three in other communities that did have council support. The other 3 EDF-EN projects were approved by IESO. Greater Napanee’s was not.
OPG: On August 27, OPG/Lennox Solar LP proposed a 40 MW solar farm next to Lennox Generating Station with a community benefit of $100,000 for 20 years, a total of $2-million. Council approved the proposal but it was not accepted by IESO, possibly because of the visibility of the project and its proximity to the waterfront.
Sun Edison operates a 10MW solar farm on Bathurst St just north of Sandhurst Shores. This was approved by IESO in 2011, before municipal councils had any say on solar projects. However, council did pass by-law 2011-64 giving Sun Edsion an easement for a transmission line to the property and permission to cut trees and clear part of Bathurst St for that purpose. So far as is know, Greater Napanee received no money from Sun Edison in connection with this solar project.
Sentinel Solar: On April 9, 2015, Greater Napanee sold to Sentinel Solar 7 acres of serviced industrial land east of Belleville Road and north of NDSS. Sentinel Solar agreed to build a ground-mount solar farm on the land and bring the project into production within a year. The Town had the right to repurchase the property if it didn’t. The project stalled and Sentinel Solar came back to council on January 12, 2016 to ask for an extension of time. The extension was granted. The solar farm, now built, is highly visible. Some residents have questioned whether this is the best use of serviced, industrial land. The sale was handled in closed session and it is unknown what, if anything, Napanee received other than the sale proceeds.
In 2013 Gilead Power Corp proposed an IWT project at Dorland. As always happens, the NIMBYs came out in force and, on September 10, 2013, Councillor Schenk (Ward 1) made a notice of motion to declare Greater Napanee an unwilling host for IWTs. A special meeting was convened at South Fredericksburgh hall on October 1, 2013 and his motion passed unanimously on October 8, 2013. There have been no proposals for wind farms in Greater Napanee since.
In view of the strong feelings this subject engenders, we have tried to keep this page factual and impartial. If you feel we have misstated something, please send an e-mail to email@example.com and we’ll post your views here.
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Hubert Hogle 532-3672
Dennis Mills 354-6375
Arthur Ronald 354-4291
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