EDP Renewables Canada Ltd. (EDPR) says it is considering taking legal action upon the Ontario Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks’ recent decision to revoke the developer’s Nation Rise Wind Farm’s renewable energy approval (REA).
EDP says the minister’s own staff issued that REA, which was defended by ministry legal counsel and subsequently ratified by the Environmental Review Tribunal.
Now, EDPR has been forced to halt all construction activities.
The minister’s decision effectively overturns previous findings of both experts and the Tribunal, which had both concluded – based on significant investigation, expert evidence and due diligence – that the project has no material adverse effects on the natural environment. EDPR says there was no expert testimony or evidence presented at the Tribunal or to the minister that would provide a reasonable rationale for the minister’s recent decision.
Instead, the minister based his decision upon an issue the appellant did not raise during its appeal submission. The decision also contradicts scientific and expert findings and appears to exceed the minister’s legal jurisdiction under the Environmental Protection Act, according to EDPR.
Coverage in the Ottawa Citizen notes that resistance came from project critics, who contend that the turbines would have an adverse effect on colonies of Hoary bats and Big and Little Brown bats.
The Nation Rise Wind Farm is a 29-wind turbine, 100 MW wind energy project in the Municipality of North Stormont within the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry in eastern Ontario, Canada. Nation Rise began construction in May 2019, and construction is significantly advanced, with numerous wind turbines already fully erected. The project was competitively procured under the IESO Large Renewable Procurement.
Nation Rise also represents a very significant investment for the local and provincial economy. It has created over 230 local construction jobs to date and will create around 10 permanent direct local jobs and numerous indirect jobs during operation. Further, the project will inject more than $45 million over 30 years into the local community through municipal taxes, a community benefit fund, charitable contributions and landowner payments.
EDPR says it is prepared to pursue all legal courses of action in response to the minister’s decision and “fully trusts the Canadian justice system as a means of positioning EDPR to resume the construction activities at Nation Rise Wind Farm.”