Ontario to compensate White Pines wind turbine developers for cancelled contract

One of nine wind turbines at White Pines Wind Project in Prince Edward County. Mike Postovit / Global News

Correction: This article originally stated the White Pines Wind Project Termination Act was passed this year, but it was in fact passed in July 2018. 

The Ontario government has introduced a regulation laying out the plan for decommissioning the White Pines Wind Project in Prince Edward County, which promises the company contracted by the previous Liberal government to build the wind farm compensation.

Last year, Ian MacRae, president of wpd Canada, the developer behind the project, told The Canadian Press that reneging on the contract would cost the government more than $100 million.

Wpd Canada had worked out a deal with the Liberal government in 2009, but in early July 2018, within a month of being elected, the Progressive Conservative government announced it would be backing out of the contract.

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Although the White Pines Wind Project Termination Act came into effect in July 2018, on July 3, 2019, the provincial government passed a regulation that entitles wpd to receive compensation for “eligible costs.”

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WATCH: Work continues at White Pines Wind Project in Prince Edward County

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Work contines at White Pines Wind Project in Prince Edward County

Sydney Stonier, press secretary for Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, would not confirm the amount the government would pay wpd.

“Total compensation for wpd is still to be determined as there are a number of activities, such as decommissioning, that need to take place,” Stonier wrote in an emailed statement.

Several groups opposed the wind turbines, including Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County, which on their website said, “any installation of industrial-scale wind-turbine complexes in Prince Edward County will be detrimental to its unique historical, agricultural, cultural and rural character.”

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Stonier pointed out the government had promised to end the contract, which was finalized in May, 2018 by Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator, during the election campaign, and last week’s legislation was simply answering that promise.

“The community was clear that they did not want the White Pines wind project to proceed; we have listened and we have acted,” Stonier said.

According to the legislation, nine wind turbines have been partially or fully built in Prince Edward County. Stonier says their dismantling will begin in the coming months.

Global News was not able to reach MacRae, despite several phone calls and emails requesting comment.

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