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Offshore wind farm firm in Ontario to sue government

KINGSTON – A company planning to build an offshore wind turbine development near Kingston plans to sue the federal government for nearly half a billion dollars over a provincial moratorium on such projects.

In court documents filed in mid-October, Windstream Energy indicated it intends to sue the Canadian government for what the company says are violations of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

The company is seeking damages of at least $475 million for lost profits, legal fees and other costs.
Burlington-based Windstream had proposed to build a 100-turbine, 300-megawatt wind project on Wolfe Island Shoals, approximately 5km west of Wolfe Island.

In 2010, the company was awarded a feed-in tariff (FIT) contract to provide electricity to Ontario.

Early in 2011, the provincial government imposed a moratorium on off-shore wind developments.

Windstream’s court filing stated Canada, through the province of Ontario, unlawfully expropriated the company’s investments by awarding it a FIT contract and then placing a moratorium on such projects.

The company stated it no longer had control over the investment it made in the project and the revenue that it would have generated.

The moratorium also violated the company’s right to fair and equitable treatment, the documents state.

The court document stated the establishment of the moratorium was “arbitrary, irrational and discriminatory” and cost the company money.

The documents also stated the moratorium violated Windstream’s right not to be subject to discrimination.

The filing stated the Ontario government “has granted special, more favourable treatment to investments made by Samsung C&T Corp., a South Korean company, than investments made by Windstream.”

The company also cites an Ontario government decision to compensate investors for a decision to relocate two gas generation facilities.

Last month, a $2.25-billion lawsuit filed by Trillium Wind Power Corp. against the provincial government’s moratorium was dismissed.

Trillium has proposed to build a 120-turbine, 600-megawatt wind project 28km south of Prince Edward County, just south of the Duck Islands.

Trillium is appealing the motion.

Earlier this year, during a press conference in Kingston, Windstream president Ian Baines announced three Kingston companies – Anchor Concrete Products, George A. Wright & Son and M. Sullivan & Son – would be hired to provide on-site maintenance, supply concrete, and build the dock and shore facilities for the project.

Turbine blades are to be manufactured by Siemens Canada in Tillsonburg.

– with files from Peter Hendra, QMI Agency