Enbridge talks out of both sides of their mouth when trying to “sell their energy policies”

Posted: December 1, 2012 in Uncategorized

The Western Indigenous people’s used to call the white negotiators who promised one thing and delivered another as having “forked tongues” like a snake!

Now WE know exactly what they meant when we hear energy policies being discussed by politicians and Energy Companies who seem to take whatever position they think they can use to get their plans “sold” publicly!

There is no rhyme or reason about what Enbridge states publicly is their “Social Responsibility”  in their negotiations when they ram wind turbines across Ontario with the present government’s blessings!

UNLESS, the bottom line is MONEY and “Social Responsibility” gets in the way!

Of course, then that’s all right then………………………………

Enbridge’s Social Responsibility-Not so Sociable!

 The Northern Gateway Pipeline Project from Edmonton, Alberta to Kitimat, B.C. that Enbridge is seeking approval for entails lots of negotiations with numerous parties from First Nations communities, environmental non-government organizations (ENGOs), farmers, retirees and all of the various Federal, Provincial and Municipal government agencies. As a result Enbridge has done their best to jump through every hoop imaginable to satisfy all the parties who might object. They have their work cut out for them as they try to convince various parties. Their history rivals point to highlights the numerous spills and leaks Enbridge have experienced over the past decade as reasons for stopping this project.
Despite the foregoing Enbridge seem determined to do a better job in the future and have published a 160 page “2012 Corporate Social Responsibility Report” that goes into minute detail meant to dissuade nonbelievers! Enbridge are aggressively trying to convince all parties of their commitment to social responsibility and point to numerous awards they have received and the steps they take to ensure they fulfill their “social responsibility”. The 160 page report is sprinkled with words seeking to affirm the external persona they need to ensure they get the government approvals and subdue the anti-pipeline crowd. In the report you find soothing words meant to convince the non-believers;
‘While Enbridge has not formally adopted the precautionary approach [United Nations Principle 15, the “Precautionary Approach.”] , the company has informally done so by developing renewable and alternative energy solutions—in the form of wind, solar and geothermal power, etc.” and

Enbridge adopted the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, which deals with responsible corporate action in conflict zones. We have incorporated these principles into our Statement on Business Conduct.” and
Enbridge engages key stakeholders who live along our existing rights-of-way or close to an Enbridge renewable energy facility in both Canada and the U.S. through our Public Awareness Program.” and
Enbridge believes that we must consistently and rigorously uphold the highest standards of human rights in all of our work.” and
To that end, we thoroughly assess potential social, economic and environmental impacts of all of our projects through socio-economic and environmental studies during which we consider:
Potential human health impacts, including changes in the natural environment that could affect the physical health of people”
So how did those words work out for the residences of Kincardine in Bruce County, Ontario where the same report indicates the ”fourth largest wind farm in Canada” a “190-megawatt Ontario Wind Power Project” [“Underwood”] was installed by Enbridge? Well, as the old expression; “actions speak louder than words” goes, not so well!  The “Underwood” project contains 110 turbines (115 including Cruickshank). If it has been producing at the Ontario average rate of 28% of capacity since 2009 it would have produced approximately 1.7 million megawatt hours (MWh) and a cash flow in excess of $200 million, although the OPA website indicates it produces 622,000 MWh annually (according to an OPA spokesperson the latter figure was supplied by Enbridge) which would have generated $270 million in revenue. As an aside the Enbridge report indicates that they receive Federal subsidies from the Ministry of Natural Resources (Federal) of $10 per MWh in addition to payments from Ontario’s ratepayers; the feed-in tariff rate for existing contracts is $135 per MWh (the Enbridge report makes much of the involvement of First Nations which may result in them receiving an additional $15 per MWh).
Now if one looks at the “levelized unit energy costs” or LUEC as defined by the U.S. Energy Information Office (EIA) the all-in costs of those 190 MWs of industrial wind turbines should have been approximately $190 million or about $1 million per MW. On the Enbridge “social responsibility” report however, they show the value of this particular project at $500 million. One must therefore question the value placed on this investment as its defined in the “report”. No matter which cash flow number in the preceding paragraph is correct Enbridge should be very close to having recovered their full capital costs (including operational costs over the past three years-they employ 6 people according to their “report”).
Those “Underwood” (Vestas V 82) 110/115 turbines are located in an area that contains approximately 391 households including small hamlets and people living on operating farms. On November 7, 2012 Health Affected Residents Meetings (H.A.R.M.), a sub group of Central Grey Bruce Wind Concerns made an extensive presentation to the Kincardine council that among other recommendations asked for council to “Order Enbridge to cease turbine operations” and to “Declare a public emergency in Kincardine”. Strong words but backed up in their presentation by the history of how 20 affected families have had their lives disrupted by the presence of those Enbridge turbines. A litany of health problems were documented as well as the effects on children, dairy production, family pets, people forced to leave their homes, properties offered for sale without any interest from purchasers, noise levels that exceeded the allowable limits, electricity contamination, etc. etc.
The local medical authority, Dr. Hazel Lynn, the Grey-Bruce Medical Officer of Health, has publicly confirmed that the health concerns raised by the H.A.R.M. Residents are “absolutely legitimate”. The report to council of November 7, 2012 also documents how past meetings with Enbridge, MOE and Hydro One officials have produced no positive results either from direct meetings with those affected, nor from joint meetings involving all parties. The complaints were often passed from one of the three parties (Enbridge, MOE or Hydro One) to the other without resolution of the problem(s). Often the party investigating the problem(s) would indicate they were unable to measure sound emissions or determine if there was any stray voltage.
It is surprising that Enbridge who are currently trying to reach consensus with so many parties in respect to the Northern Gateway Pipeline Project appear disinterested in resolving this dispute. Their efforts in Michigan to appease affected residents was much more aggressive with an offer to purchase any residences within 200 feet of the streams and rivers affected. In that case they reportedly purchased 130 homes but perhaps it was the U.S. Federal Regulators that induced them to do so. In Ontario however, Enbridge are simply doing what the McGuinty Liberals fully endorse, nay encourage, as a result of passing the Green Energy & Economy Act.
Hand out incredible subsidies to companies without a moral compass (except when it suits their purpose) that negatively affects peoples lives and then support those companies when any disputes arise appears to be the premise of the ruling Liberal Party in Ontario! In this particular situation you can also count on those ENGOs to be on the side of Enbridge which is truly ironic considering their vociferous objections to the Northern Gateway Pipeline.
In Egypt the people riot! In Ontario the people simply suffer!
Parker Gallant,
November 30, 2012
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