A group of North Stormont residents still opposed to EDP Renewable’s Nation Rise Wind Farm project have sent a letter to various provincial officials – including Premier Doug Ford – asking the province kill the project that’s still under construction.
There has long been opposition to the project, which is slated to erect a total of 29 wind turbines throughout North Stormont.
Back in December, the project came to a grinding halt, after the decision by Ontario Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks Jeff Yurek to revoke the project’s Renewable Energy Approval (REA). The minister’s claim was that going forward with the wind turbines would endanger local bat colonies. Yet earlier this year, in May, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice quashed the minister’s decision, following a hearing in April. In doing so, it reinstated the project’s REA and with it, signalled the resumption of work.
Despite the main opponents of the project – Concerned Citizens of North Stormont (CCNS) throwing in the towel earlier this year, there still exists a group of residents who say they don’t want the project in their backyard.
In the letter dated Aug. 31 the two authors – Finch resident Ruby Mekker and Berwick resident Rainer Pethke – claimed the provincial government could still cancel the project outright, thanks to what they believe is a breach of contract by EDP Renewables.
“Clearly EDPR is in breach of contract,” said Mekker. “The commercial operation date is past and currently there are only six turbines erected of the contracted 29.”
The letter claimed that since EDP Renewables did not complete the project within the four years allocated through the commercial operation date, it should be cancelled.
“We are no longer in a termination for convenience scenario but in a situation where EDPR has breached their contract with the IESO (Independent Electricity System Operator),” added Mekker. “There is no apparent excuse for this government not to take prompt action on this unique opportunity to cancel with minimal cost if any, to the taxpayer. We understand that since it was EDPR who breached the contract, there should be no cost to the government.”
The IESO is a not-for-profit corporate entity established in 1998 by the Electricity Act of Ontario that oversees the province’s power system. Although an EDP Renewables representative could not provide a comment by press time, the IESO told the Standard-Freeholder that the Nation Rise Wind Farm Limited Partnership had requested force majeure relief.
Force majeure events are situations beyond a proponent’s reasonable control that prevent performance of contract obligations such as a project being completed by a milestone date.
“While each project does have a date by which it must be in operation, if a valid force majeure event occurs it can lead to an extension of date,” said an IESO representative. “The request is currently under review, and an extension to the required operation date, if applicable, has not been determined.”
Until the IESO issues a response, the question of whether EDPR has or hasn’t breached its contract is set aside.