Ontario’s environment minister, Jeff Yurek, announced December 9 that he is revoking the Renewable Energy Approval (REA) for the Nation Rise wind power project under construction in North Stormont. The project, one of several for EDP Renewables Canada Ltd. (EDPR), is a 100-megawatt wind farm, with 29 turbines, approved by the previous Liberal government under its alternative energy program.
The company issued a statement Monday afternoon, declaring disappointment and confusion over the minister’s decision to revoke its REA “and is now assessing all potential legal action.”
Yurek sent a letter December 4 to Margaret Benke, representative for the Concerned Citizens of North Stormont (CCNS), a local citizens group, confirming his decision to revoke the REA for the Nation Rise project and his reasons for doing so.
“In my view, the harm will be both serious and irreversible to animal life given the relatively small bat species population in the local area,” Yurek stated, adding that he has the authority “to confirm, alter or revoke” a January 2019 decision by the Environmental Review Tribunal allowing the project to go ahead, “as I consider in the public interest” and indicated the 100mW project represents a “minimal contribution” to Ontario’s electricity supply.
“Now the environment, wildlife and human health will be protected from the harmful effects of wind turbines,” stated Benke, in a media release. “This power project has been very divisive for our community. Now, North Stormont can again be a good place to grow.”
EDP officials criticized the minister’s decision, alleging he is acting without considering actual expert testimony by cancelling a $200 million project which “represents a very significant investment for the local and provincial economy.” The company claims the project, which is almost complete, would mean more than $45 million over a 30-year operating life going into the local economy through municipal taxes, a community benefit fund, charitable contributions, and landowner payments.
“While EDPR is wholly perplexed by this unfounded decision on the part of the minister,” the company stated, “it is prepared to pursue all legal courses of action in response and fully trusts the Canadian justice system as a means of positioning EDPR to resume the construction activities at Nation Rise wind farm.”