It what looks to be a losing battle, SDSG MPP Jim McDonell has been fighting for North Stormont’s right to refuse to allow a wind turbine project in the municipality.
The Independent Electricity System Operator recently approved 16 new projects, including the Nation Rise Wind project in North Stormont. Nation Rise was the largest of the 16 contracts issued by the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), an approval to build 100,000 megawatts of generation.
McDonell questioned Minister of Energy Bob Chiarelli regarding the proposed project, which was approved even though North Stormont is an unwilling host community. McDonell has since summoned the government to answer with a Notice of Dissatisfaction.
“Members who are not satisfied with the answer given by a minister can request what is conventionally called a ‘late show,’ an opportunity to present the question and issue to a member of the government during a five-minute speech,” McDonell said in a press release. “North Stormont deserves to be heard. They voted on at least two occasions against the Nation Rise Wind Project, rejecting cash incentives in the process.
“There are other communities across Ontario willing to take renewable-energy developments. There is no excuse to impose the wind turbines on North Stormont’s residents.”
McDonell said his only answer from the government was from Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Energy Bob Delany, who said the ministry had talked to municipalities and even First Nations people but, “obviously they didn’t listen.”
“The government refuses to answer for their running roughshod over municipal jurisdiction and residents’ wishes,” said McDonell. “The people of North Stormont don’t need platitudes, they need a commitment from this Liberal government that an unwilling community won’t have industrial renewable projects shoved down its throat.
“Once again we see the Liberal government go back on a major commitment and it is just the same old, Liberal promise made, Liberal promise broken.”
In response to questions regarding the North Stormont wind turbine project, the minister’s office sent an emailed response. The text of that response indicated 75 per cent of the 16 contracts offered by the IESO had been supported by the host municipality.
It also indicated the competitive process behind awarding the contracts had finally brought the per-kilowatt cost of power from renewable-energy sources in line with “other forms of generation.”
“By putting emphasis on price and supportive host communities, today’s results put further downward pressure on the electricity price projections in Ontario’s Long-Term Energy Plan,” the emailed statement said, also repeating the government’s frequently mentioned fact that Ontario was the first jurisdiction in North America to wean itself off of coal-fired power.
The response did not mention or address whether non-willing host municipalities had any recourse to get the IESO or Ministry of Energy to review the contract.
Mayor of North Stormont Dennis Fife said he didn’t hold out any hope McDonell would be successful in stopping the wind turbine project in his municipality.
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