Energy Minister refuses to confirm wind farm cancellation

Independent MPP Amanda Simard: tough question for the Ford government, no answer. Photo by Wayne Cuddington/ Postmedia

March 19, 2019

Independent MPP for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell Amanda Simard rose in the Legislature at Queen’s Park yesterday to ask the Ontario energy minister whether he could confirm that the “Eastern Fields” wind power project in The Nation was actually cancelled.

The project was on a list of “cancelled” projects announced last July by the Minister, Simard said, but residents were shocked to learn the project has now been granted a 20-year licence to generate electricity by the Ontario Energy Board.

Is this project cancelled, “yes or no,” the MPP pressed the Minister, in two questions.

“This has been a difficult file,” Rickford answered, and then followed up with boilerplate comments on the Ford government being “committed” to reducing electricity rates for Ontario businesses and consumers.

So, in other words, no: he cannot confirm the project is cancelled.

Because it isn’t.

In an email received by Wind Concerns Ontario and community group Save The Nation, program evaluator Sarah Raetsen, with the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks, said:

The government has not cancelled these renewable energy projects or any renewable energy approvals (REAs) that they have obtained (with the exception of the White Pines Wind Project).  Winding down of the IESO contracts does not mean automatic cancellation of REA applications currently with the ministry – these are two separate matters.

and

At this time, the MECP is still undertaking the technical review of the REA application for Eastern Fields Wind Project.

 

See MPP Simard’s question here, at minute 27 onward.

The fact the people of The Nation believed the project was cancelled means they have lost seven months of valuable time in which they could have been gathering data on the environmental impact of the power project, and contacting subject matter experts to prepare for any legal action they might take.

The project has been proposed to provide a potential of 32 megawatts of intermittent power, at a cost of more than $130 million to the people of Ontario over 20 years.

In an article in local paper The Review, an RES Canada spokesperson said the Eastern Fields project was “on hold” and could not offer details as to the company’s plans, but suggested that RES had spent “millions” developing the project. That number is very high, considering the project is in development, and only at the application stage: no actual physical work toward construction has been done.

For more information on the community group Save The Nation/Sauvons La Nation, please go here.

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