North Stormont hopes Wynne government will ‘see the light’ on wind power contracts

More transparency, more respect for municipal governments and communities needed, says council in voting on a resolution for change to the province’s procurement process

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Cornwall Standard-Freeholder, June 22, 2016

By Lois Ann Baker

BERWICK – North Stormont council has taken a step towards asking the government for tougher requirements for future wind turbine projects.

At its June 7 council meeting, a resolution was brought forward by Amy Doyle, community planner and CAO Marc Chenier with suggestions for the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) to consider before awarding any contracts for the large wind turbine developments.

“The resolution that was presented by Margaret Benke on behalf of the Concerned Citizens of North Stormont was a resolution that was to be presented to the IESO as part of their public engagement,” said Doyle.

The resolution contains six suggestions for the IESO to consider when awarding its Large Renewable Procurement contracts. One such contract was awarded to EDP Renewables earlier this year for a 100,000-megawatt wind project in North Stormont.

“This is the feedback we want to give the IESO into their process,” said Doyle. “The major one that has been circulating was the mandatory requirement for support for a project. So basically the whole resolution is just a list of recommendations for the IESO and in no way does it have any bearing on the project that was approved out of the last process. This is strictly commenting on the IESO process.”

The municipality is also sharing the information with other municipalities. Chenier said between 70 and 75 other municipalities in Ontario have already passed similar resolutions calling on a mandatory requirement of municipal support – usually meaning a favourable vote by the local council.

Chenier said the resolution was specifically for the LRP II process, the next phase of renewable energy contracts. Even if a majority of municipalities request the same from the IESO, it doesn’t necessarily mean things will change.

“IESO is the governing body, but the provincial government kind of tied us up. We don’t have any say in anything in the LRP I process,” said Chenier. “We’re just asking them to reconsider their position in the LRP II process. LRP I, we don’t have any choice.

“They changed the legislation and municipalities have no say into it.”

Chenier said the municipality was trying to do as much as it can to provoke things in the LRP II process, hoping the government will “see the light” and allow municipalities to have a lot more power. Chenier said in the past, municipalities were not given much information regarding the awarding of the contracts.

“On the political side of things, it probably brought up a lot of opponents to these kinds of projects because there was no proper co-ordination of information,” he said. “Now there is more co-ordination of the information and people learn a lot more about it. That allows most municipalities to realize instead of fighting the government, they should pressure the government to make changes in the LRP II process.”

Along with the support of a community, North Stormont is also asking the rules to include an open council vote on whether it supports a project, held after the company wanting to build it holds its mandated community meeting. It would also like municipal engagement not to be associated with any municipal agreements and compensations. North Stormont is also requesting the full details of the projects be provided to the municipality and that the point scores and explanations be included in the announcement of which projects have been awarded contracts.

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