Mesa Power Group LLC, a Texas-based renewable energy development company, has initiated the first step in a legal claim against the Canadian government for violations of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) while the company was pursuing 565 MW worth of wind energy projects in western Ontario.
In its filing, Mesa Power says that Canada failed to meet its international law obligations contained in NAFTA with respect to Ontario's Green Energy Act and subsequent feed-in-tariff (FIT) program.
‘Mesa Power was surprised by unanticipated and last-minute rule changes to the Ontario Power Authority process that allowed wind projects to move from one region to another and interconnect with long, high-voltage transmission lines,’ says Cole Robertson, a company executive. ‘This clear favoritism disadvantaged Mesa, as well as other wind developers, and clearly violates the spirit, goals and objectives of the North American Free Trade Agreement.’
In its filing, Mesa Power cites a handful of other NAFTA violations by Ontario in the regulation of renewable energy. It also notes violations with the province's ‘buy local’ contract requirements within the FIT program and challenges alleged preferential treatment given to certain participants in the program, including Korea-based Samsung C&T.
Mesa Power expects to file a formal NAFTA notice of arbitration after Oct. 3. The filing of this second notice formally begins an international arbitration that will review the fairness and propriety of the government actions in Canada.