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Turbine project terminated in Prince Edward County

Residents may see be seeing turbine sections leaving the County aftetr Bill 2, Urgent Priorities Act received Royal Assent in the Ontario Legislature Wednesday. –  Irv Collier photo

With Royal Assent received Wednesday for Bill 2, Urgent Priorities Act 2018, wpd’s nine industrial wind turbine project in Prince Edward County is terminated.

“If members opposite wonder why I don’t fear contractual chill, it’s because the proponent in this case has never honoured its agreements with the government of Ontario,” said Todd Smith, Bay of Quinte MPP and Minister of Government Affairs, in the legislature. “This project deserves to die. It deserves to die exactly as it should die today – publicly and in front of the whole province.”

Smith told thte legislature the company has been building non-stop since the middle of June, even after the government announced its intentions to legislatively terminate the project on July 10.

“They’ve had construction crews working over the weekend and trucks heading into the county at all hours to try and complete construction before this Legislature can conclude its work on Bill 2…. And they are nine white elephants. They will do nothing to help this province fight climate change—absolutely nothing. Their total capacity now, after previously being 60 megawatts, is down to about 18 megawatts of power.”

He also noted recent ministry charges over violations. “Finally, it was just a couple of weeks ago that the major multinational corporation developing the project was charged not once, not twice, but three times by the province’s Ministry of Environment for multiple violations. That’s because, under the renewable energy approval, to protect endangered species in the area, they’re not supposed to be constructing after May 1.”

The act, retroactive to July 10, terminates permits and revokes approvals, including the Feed-in-Tarriff contract and Renewable Energy Approval issued in July 2015. It requires decommissioning and to “maintain the lands in a clean and safe condition”.

Smith said it’s been seven long years, but he’s glad to be able to have accomplished this feat.

“It certainly seemed like the deck was stacked against us at times,” he said. “Apparently, construction has now stopped. The legislation requires the company to dismantle and return the property to its original state.”

Prince Edward County Mayor Robert Quaiff, who has led the charge against this and all other turbine projects proposed for the County, is also thrilled with the news.

Quaiff introduced the “Not a Willing Host Community” moratorium in the County, joining more than 90 municipalities in Ontario, and was instrumental in the formation of the Wainfleet Wind Action Group travelling to communities along Highway 401, meeting with provincial cabinet ministers and challenging then Premier Kathleen Wynne at a number of opportunities.

“I’m excited, truly excited and elated and at the end of the day, everything I tried to do, council and the community tried to do, became a reality today,” he said. “We have never wanted this project here in Prince Edward County and I will stand behind by that and say I am in full support of this government cancelling it.”

He is certain there will be work yet to be done, “but there’s going to be big cause for celebration. It may come back that this is going to be like the gas plant debacle – I don’t really care if it is, all I care is this project got cancelled and that’s what I’ve been fighting for – for years.”

Quaiff said municipal staff and the County’s solicitor will be reviewing the legislation to understand the County’s options.

“Road damage is going to be looked after,” he said “We have $2.7 million worth of securities and it’s iron clad. We can’t lose that,” he said, repeating praise he extended Tuesday night at council to Robert McAuley, Commissioner of Engineering, Development and Works.

“I gave him the highest of praises I could give at council. He has been so professional. He has been what this municipality has needed and he has worked tirelessly every day contributing his time on this file,” said Quaiff. “We are so grateful we have him. He is such a strong, knowlegeable force and Prince Edward County is blessed to have him at the table, as well as our lawyer Wayne Fairbrother, who has also always been front and centre this whole time.”

All eyes are now on the turbine sites in South Marysburgh – four of which are completed.

Members and supporters of the community advocacy group Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County (APPEC) have been embroiled in legal action against wpd and the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO).

“We hope wpd obeys the law and starts dismantling per Bill 2,” said Gord Gibbins, APPEC chair. “We will have to rely on the provincial and municipal governments to endorse terms and restore the environmental degradation to its original state. Naturally we will be on guard.”

The act states wpd is entitled to compensation as a result of the termination of the project – payable out of money appropriated for the purpose by the legislature.

“The compensation payable is subject to various limitations and contingencies set out in that section and that may be further set out by regulations made under the Act.”

wpd board member Dr. Hartmut Brösamle said earlier this month the total investment volume is in the vicinity of CAD 100 million.

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  1. Chris Keen says:

    Once again this petition incorrectly claims to cost to taxpayers will be $100 million. This is wpd’s figure. The actual coast is more likely to be $30-$40 million PLUS millions saved producing power that would end up being sold at a fraction of its cost to the Americans.

    As has been pointed out elsewhere on this site, wind energy is intermittent at best so to say the project would supply enough energy to power 3000 households is disingenuous. We would end up selling the equivalent power from nuclear and hydro electric sources at a HUGE loss to accept the minuscule contribution to the grid this project might make to Ontario’s energy mix.

  2. Whatever says:

    If you agree that taking down this project down is a colossal waste of time and money please sign the petition below…

  3. robert sandfield says:

    It might be, but probably not since the same wildlife issues exist, it is no where near where Ontario actually consumes power, and oh, WE DON’T NEED MORE GENERATION! Exactly the same reasons why the WPD was incredibly stupid from the start. Although at least a nuclear power plant produces stable power 24/7. We take your point that investigating alternative energy is a noble pursuit, but it will not be wind other than for optics reasons. Yesterday all of the installed turbines in Ontario would not have even enough power for Prince Edward County alone. Think of all the cost, disruption, chaos and destruction caused by those installs and less than 10mw produced! But it really didn’t matter since the IESO does not in the least rely on wind, they take it because of government mandates only. They don’t want it and don’t need it. Research other sources, great. But don’t install useless dinosaurs that steal money from real research.

  4. ron slatter says:

    Robert maybe it would be a good idea to have a nuclear plant at Point Petre

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