Citing savings to ratepayers, Ontario has announced the cancellation of 758 renewable energy contracts, including several wind energy projects.
Greg Rickford, minister of energy, northern development and mines, announced on Friday that Ontario ratepayers will benefit from C$790 million in savings. All of the cancelled projects have not reached project development milestones; terminating the projects at this early stage will maximize benefits for ratepayers, the government claims.
“We clearly promised we would cancel these unnecessary and wasteful energy projects as part of our plan to cut hydro rates by 12 percent for families, farmers and small businesses,” says Rickford. “In the past few weeks, we have taken significant steps toward keeping that promise.”
Onshore wind energy projects under development that have been identified for wind-down include as follows:
- The Strong Breeze Wind Project in Dutton;
- The Eastern Fields Wind Farm in Champlain; and
- The Otter Creek Wind Farm in Wallaceburg.
In addition, along with a number of solar photovoltaic, waterpower, biomass and biogas projects, several feed-in tariff (FIT) onshore wind projects that have not received a notice to proceed have been identified for wind-down:
- North Shore Power Group’s Blind River Marina in Blind River; and
- Matthew Rhody and Joyce Rhody’s Rhody in Union.
“For 15 years, Ontario families and businesses have been forced to pay inflated hydro prices so the government could spend on unnecessary and expensive energy schemes,” adds Rickford. “Those days are over.”
Boralex, one of the developers of the Otter Creek Wind Farm, says it is disappointed in the government’s decision to abandon renewable energy projects.
“At Boralex, we’re committed to providing safe and reliable renewable energy. We are disappointed by the government’s decision to wind down the LRP1 contract of this project, which is meant to create made-in-Ontario electricity and made-in-Ontario jobs,” comments Patrick Lemaire, Boralex’s president and CEO, in a statement. “At this point, Boralex will evaluate its options in regard to this project.”
The project, developed by Otter Creek Wind Farm Ltd. Partnership, is a collaboration between RES Canada, Walpole Island First Nation and Boralex. Expected to be built and commissioned by the end of 2019, the project had been selected by the Independent Electricity System Operator as part of the government of Ontario’s plan to integrate more renewable energy into the province’s power grid, explains Boralex.
“Boralex believes that wind power generation has provided safe and renewable energy to Canadians for over a decade in Ontario,” the company adds in a statement. “We will continue to work constructively with our neighbors, communities and the government to power Ontario’s future together.”
On the other hand, Wind Concerns Ontario is applauding the announcement:
“This was the right decision,” says Jane Wilson, president of the organization, in a statement. “There were significant environmental and health concerns inherent in each of these projects, the communities did not want them but were being forced to have these industrial power projects, and the costs would be yet more burden on Ontario citizens.”
Separately, the Ontario government also recently announced its intention to cancel wpd Canada’s White Plains Wind Project, which received a notice to proceed during Ontario’s election period, before the government had a chance to make any decision on the project for the benefit of the people of Prince Edward County, the government claims. A bill has now been introduced to terminate wpd’s permits.
Robert Hornung, president of the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA), has issued the following statement in regard to the project cancellations:
“Maintaining investor confidence in the Ontario marketplace is important for Ontario’s short- and long-term economic prosperity. The Canadian Wind Energy Association shares the Ontario government’s commitment to an affordable and reliable electricity system that benefits Ontarians. CanWEA notes that wind energy projects in Ontario are an important source of sustained revenue for municipal and Indigenous partners. Ontario’s wind energy projects are providing long-term, stable pricing for Ontario ratepayers. Wind energy is now the lowest-cost option for new electricity supply in Ontario, across Canada and throughout much of the world.”