While much of Ontario's wind power was initially developed by Canadian energy companies, and there are Ontario operations such as Toronto-based Northland Power that is building the Grand Bend Wind Farm, there has been a definite shift to giant multinational corporations - American, German, Spanish, French, British, South Korean and Chinese. That's a problem, says Jane Wilson, president of Wind Concerns Ontario, the citizens' group fighting wind development in the province.
The names have a comforting, familiar ring – Adelaide, Bluewater, Goshen, Bornish. Jericho.
But if you’re looking for who controls the massive wind farms under development in this part of Ontario, you won’t find their head office anywhere close to their local namesakes.
While incorporated as separate companies with local-$sounding names, the real control of these wind farms resides in Juno Beach, Fla., home to NextEra Energy, the third largest nuclear power company in the U.S. and the largest industrial wind company in North America.
NextEra Energy owns Florida Power and Light and NextEra Energy Resources, which owns NextEra Energy Canada. It, in turn, owns the planned Adelaide Wind Farm, as well as neighbouring Bornish, Goshen and Jericho.
It’s a similar story for much of the fresh wave of wind farms that have won contracts with the Ontario government.
Dufferin Wind Farm, a 100-megawatt (MW) project that will span more than 6,000 acres near Shelburne, was originally championed by 401 Energy Ltd., a company that prided itself on participation by local farmers and land owners.
Majority ownership changed a year ago when it was bought out by Longyuan Canada Renewables Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of China Longyuan Electric Power Group Corp., China’s largest wind power developer.
Then there is Samsung, the South Korean multinational that has teamed up with Edmonton-based Capital Power to build the K2 Wind farm north of Goderich, a $900-million, 270-MW project that will eclipse Canada’s largest wind farm, a 216-MW operation that just opened in Essex.
The pair are also behind the South Kent Wind farm, another massive 270-MW project to be located in Chatham-Kent.
While much of Ontario’s wind power was initially developed by Canadian energy companies, and there are Ontario operations such as Toronto-based Northland Power that is building the Grand Bend Wind Farm, there has been a definite shift to giant multinational corporations – American, German, Spanish, French, British, South Korean and Chinese.
That’s a problem, says Jane Wilson, president of Wind Concerns Ontario, the citizens’ group fighting wind development in the province.
“The huge profits that come from these things are in many cases leaving the country,” said Wilson, an Ottawa-area nurse. “It is really not a long-term plan for prosperity.”
Wilson said the multinationals have adopted local names for their wind farms because they want to put a local face on them when they’re nothing of the kind.
By setting each wind farm up as a separate company, they limit their liability if something goes wrong, she said.
“If there is some kind of a problem, it is limited to just that particular project and not the whole company.”
Jutta Splettstoesser, a Bruce County farmer and president of Friends of Wind Ontario, agrees it would be nice to see more community projects involved in Ontario’s wind turbine expansion.
But the big multinationals bring advantages to Ontario, she said.
“You know for sure there is backing, they know what they are doing and they have experience,” she said. “It takes a while to develop an industry that would be 100% Ontario-owned.”
Ontario Energy Minister Chris Bentley, also London West MPP, said his government has built in safeguards to ensure Ontario receives the economic benefits of its green energy program.
Solar farms are required to have 60% Ontario content, while wind farms must have 50%. That has led to factories being set up in Tillsonburg and London, he said.
“Over the next two years I expect we will see more renewable energy projects built in Ontario by Ontario workers than cumulatively ever in our entire history. That is a very strong statement about jobs in our province,” Bentley said.
Headquartered: Juno Beach, Fla.
Background: Principal subsidiaries are Florida Power and Light and NextEra Energy Resources.
NextEra has nuclear power plants in Florida, New Hampshire and Wisconsin. Operates a massive solar energy plant in California’s Mojave desert, the size of 1,650 football fields. Largest generator of power from wind and sun in the U.S.
Ontario projects: Developing eight wind farms – Adelaide, Bluewater, Bornish, Conestogo, East Durham, Goshen, Jericho, Summerhaven.
China Longyuan Power Group
Background: Third largest owner/operator of wind farms in the world, with more than 100 wind farms.
Ontario projects: Developing Dufferin Wind Power with Farm Owned Power Ltd., a 100-MW, 49-turbine project near Shelburne.
Headquartered: Calgary, Alta.
Background: Focus of business is its oilsands operation in Alberta; operates oil refineries in Edmonton, Montreal, Sarnia and Commerce City, Colo.
Ontario projects: Operates wind farms at Ripley, Ont., (76 MW, 38 turbines) and Kent Breeze (20 MW, eight turbines), developing the Adelaide Wind Power Project north of Strathroy. (40 MW, 28 turbines).
Headquartered: Seoul, South Korea
Background: Electronics and engineering giant, it has renewable energy projects in United States, Canada, Costa Rica, Korea, France, Italy, Greece and Turkey.
Ontario projects: Teamed up with Pattern Energy, headquartered in San Francisco, to build the South Kent Wind Farm, a 270-MW project in Chatham-Kent. Also constructing the K2 Wind Farm north of Goderich in partnership with Pattern Energy and Capital Power of Edmonton, also a 270-MW project. Other projects include Armow wind power project near Kincardine.
Headquartered: San Francisco
Background: Builds and operates renewable energy projects in United States, Canada and Latin America.
Ontario projects: Partnered with Samsung to build South Kent Wind farm in Chatham-Kent and K2 Wind Farm north of Goderich, 180-MW Armow wind power project near Kincardine, and the 150-MW Grand Renewable Energy Park in Haldimand. The Armow project was purchased in 2011 from Spain-based, construction giant Acciona.
Background: Formerly EPCOR, Capital Power has 16 generating facilities in North America, including hydroelectric, coal, natural gas and wind.
Ontario projects: Developed Kingsbridge I Partner in the K2 Wind Project with Samsung and Pattern. Developing the 105-MW Port Dover and Nanticoke Wind Project.
Background: Operates the world’s longest crude oil pipeline system. Gas distribution network serves 1.9 million customers in Ontario and New York State.
Ontario projects: Owns and operates 190-MW Ontario Wind Energy Project in Bruce County.
Background: Operates power plants in Canada, United States and Australia, including hydro, coal, natural gas and wind. Operates Highvale coal mine in Alberta.
Ontario projects: Purchased Canadian Hydro Developers in 2009, including the 197-MW, 86-turbine Wolfe Island Wind project and the 67.5-MW, 45-$turbine Melancthon I Wind Plant near Shelburne.
Headquartered: Hertfordshire, Britain
Background: Has renewable energy operations across Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific.
Ontario projects: Developing the Greenwich Wind Farm near Thunder Bay, a 99-MW wind farm, and the Talbot Windfarm, a 99-MW project in Chatham-Kent.
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