Monday, September 27, 2010

Red Lily Wind Farm could seek $450,000.00 from landowner for bringing unnecessary injunction

On August 25, 2010 the Court of Queen's Bench in Saskatoon granted an interim injunction restricting further construction on the Red Lily Wind Farm near Moosomin, Saskatchewan. David McKinnon, a landowner within proximity of the Red Lily Wind Farm, applied for the ex parte injunction and one week later, on September 1, 2010 the Court of Queen's Bench overturned the injunction after hearing from all parties.

In order to obtain the injunction, Mr. McKinnon had to undertake to pay damages if the injunction was found to be unnecessary and damages were caused. Red Lily Wind Farm ascertains that the cost of the construction delay was $74,000.00 per day for 6 days, totalling nearly $450,000.00.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Paul Gipe in Edmonton promoting feed-in-tariff in Alberta

Renowned wind power expert, Paul Gipe was in Edmonton today advocating hard for a feed-in-tariff (FIT) in Alberta.

As readers of this blog now, I am also a strong advocate for FITs and have been actively promoting and encouraging a FIT in my home province of Saskatchewan.

While Alberta adopted a free market for energy several years ago, with generators bidding their production into the provincial grid several times each hour, Ontario is doing the opposite by offering long-term contracts to renewable producers, Paul Gipe stated. Saskatchewan continues to have the crown utility, SaskPower mandate all programs but SaskPower currently has a competitive standing offer program and is procuring an additional 175 MW of generation to be built and operated by the private sector.

Using the example of a northern German state, Gipe said farmers and community groups there have installed 560 megawatts of wind power, about the same amount as produced by one of the coal-fired power plants near Wabamun Lake owned by TransAlta Utilities or Capital Power.

"They view the wind as their resource, and these are farmers in one country who have decided to make money from it."

Globally, about 75 per cent of all solar for electricity, 50 per cent of all wind and most biogas developments depend on feed-in-tariffs, which guarantee producers set rates upwards of 13.5 cents per kilowatt hour, much higher than current Alberta power rates but also not subject to the whims of rising fossil fuel prices.

"You could view this as an insurance policy, because the price consumers pay won't change for 20 years, but oil and natural gas will likely be higher than today," said Gipe, who has written extensively about wind power.

As I have mentioned in this blog, Nova Scotia is introducing their feed-in-tariff but only community-owned projects will qualify for the special rates.

Ontario's program has attracted utilities from around the world to build renewable projects. From Alberta, TransAlta and Capital Power are both big players, benefiting from a tariff system not available to them in their home province.

Alberta has 656 kW of installed wind energy out of Canada's 3,499 total, with some of the projects supported by earlier incentive programs. But even without the feed-in-tariffs offered in Ontario and green energy contracts being put out by B.C. Hydro, new projects are proceeding in the province.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Finland approves alternative energy subsidy

The Finnish government has endorsed a bill that guarantees a minimum price for producers of electricity using alternative sources. Under the system, producers of electricity using wind, biogas and wood fuel get a state subsidy that makes up the difference between the guaranteed price and the lower market price.

The law which is to take effect next year, will be in force for 12 years. The plan is expected to cost 55.35 million euros next year. The bill is set to go before Parliament and the state subsidies also require approval of the European Commission. Both parliamentary and EU approval is expected shortly.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Japan files WTO complaint regarding Ontario FIT

Japan has filed a complaint to the World Trade Organisation that the Ontario feed-in-tariff (FIT) violates WTO rules and is protectionist.

As many foreign renewable energy developers are aware, the Ontario FIT requires the use of Ontario-made products in manufacturing power-generating facilities.

"Japan considers that this requirement for the use of locally made products violates" the WTO's rules that ban discrimination against products made overseas, Japan's foreign ministry said.

The FIT requires that in order to receive payments under the FIT, companies must have a minimum percentage of their project costs come from Ontario goods and labour. The requirement currently starts at 25%, and increases to 50% by 2012 for wind projects. For larger solar PV projects, the minimum is 50%, which increases to 60% next year.

Japan has asked Canada to reconsider its decision. It will now undergo formal consultations under the WTO with the Canadian government.

Ottawa will defend Ontario and its green energy policy against a complaint from Japan that it violates Canada's trade obligations, International Trade Minister Peter Van Loan said Tuesday.

If the next round of negotiations fail, Japan will likely ask the WTO to set up a panel for dispute settlement, the Japanese foreign ministry said.

Japan has many companies in the solar energy space, including Sharp, Kyocera, Sanyo and Mitsubishi Electric, as well as major suppliers of components and wind systems.

Under the FIT, Ontario announced a $7-billion deal with Korean giant Samsung to build wind and solar farms, along with four plants to manufacture components for green energy projects.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Vancouver-based Magma Energy acquires 98.53% of Iceland’s HS Orka

Magma Energy Corp. (Vancouver, B.C.) announced that its wholly owned subsidiary Magma Energy Sweden A.B. has completed its acquisition of a 98.53% interest in Iceland geothermal energy developer HS Orka hf. The completion of the deal was executed through the acquisition of 14.32% of HS Orka’s outstanding shares from Geysir Green Energy ehf, a global geothermal company based in Iceland.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Enerkem breaks ground in Edmonton on waste-to-biofuels plant

Montreal-based Enerkem has broken ground on a $75 million USD waste-to-biofuels plant in Edmonton, Alberta, a facility that’s being described by industry analysts as the first industrial-scale biofuels project to use municipal solid waste (MSW) as a feedstock. Enerkem has signed a contract with the city of Edmonton to convert 100,000 tons of MSW into biofuels annually. According to Enerkem CEO Vincent Chornet, there are in excess of 500 municipalities that have sufficient MSW to make an Enerkem plant feasible, and the company has received “dozens of calls” from municipalities looking to investigate construction of an Enerkem facility, Biofuels Digest reported.

Ontario surpasses Florida in solar PV development with more projects in the pipeline

The state of California still ranks at the top of the North American solar PV market, with total installed capacity of 768 megawatts (MW), but Ontario is jockeying for the leading position as the top PV growth market, according to recent data compiled by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) and the Canadian Solar Industry Association (CanSIA). In 2009, Ontario surpassed Florida in terms of installed PV base—48 MW versus 46 MW—and trails only California, New Jersey (128 MW), and Colorado (59 MW) in North America. CanSIA estimates that as much as 200 MW of PV capacity could be installed in Ontario this year; nearly 100 MW of projects have already been completed, and several large projects are underway.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Sask. wind farm faces class action

This was just posted this morning on the Financial Post FPLegalPost website.

Sask. residents push courts for changes to $60 M wind farm.

Landowners in southeastern Saskatchewan have turned to the courts to press for significant changes to a $60-million wind farm project.

“We think we’re going to be successful in preventing them from building this close to people’s houses,” said Brad Jamieson, the Saskatoon lawyer representing some area residents who recently filed a class-action lawsuit.

His clients are concerned by the proximity of the turbines to be erected under the Red Lily Wind Farm Project, a 25-megawatt wind farm that will be located about five kilometres west of Moosomin, Sask.

Jamieson said his clients want the turbines located 2,000 metres from any home, up from the currently planned 550-metre distance.

An interim court order was made last week bringing “all construction-related activity” to a halt pending the outcome of an injunction application.

The wind farm was expected to be operational by late this year or early next year.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Privacy by Design: Achieving the Gold Standard in Data Protection for the Smart Grid

Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner, Ann Cavoukian, has completed a useful report which considers how to manage privacy protection in the context of electrical utilities and the new challenges posed by smart grid systems. The new publication, Privacy by Design: Achieving the Gold Standard in Data Protection for the Smart Grid, is available at

In Saskatchewan, SaskPower announced on August 20, 2010 a $190 million CAD plan to replace existing SaskPower meters with new electronic meters in 500,000 homes and businesses across Saskatchewan.

The "Advanced Metering Infrastructure" system will electronically send information about electrical utilization to SaskPower. Several other provinces, including Ontario, are at varying stages in their smart metering development projects.