Construction will resume on the Nation Rise wind farm project following a May 13 Ontario Superior Court ruling against Ontario Environment Minister Jeff Yurek’s decision to revoke the Renewable Energey Approval permit (REA) that allowed the project. EDP Renewables North America plans to restart work on the project as soon as possible.
“EDP Renewables stands behind the benefits of the project and its commitments to the local community,” stated Miguel Prado, EDP chief executive officer, in a statement following announcement of the court’s decision. “We look forward to the Nation Rise Wind Farm stimulating the local economy in the Township of North Stormont, the United Counties of SD&G, and the Ottawa region.”
The company received an REA in May 2018 from the previous Liberal provincial government for its 100-megawatt project, featuring 29 wind turbines at sites located throughout North Stormont. Several turbines are located near the border between North Stormont and The Nation Municipality and Russell Township.
A citizens group in North Stormont appealed the REA approval and the issue went before the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) for a hearing in January 2019. The ERT upheld the REA approval.
The June 2018 provincial election replaced Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals with Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives. The new Ford government then launched a plan to repeal the previous administration’s Green Energy Act and review all the alternate energy projects approved under the legislation. That resulted in cancellation of a large number of solar and wind farm projects that were approved but not yet under construction.
EDP’s Nation Rise project was under construction at the time and not subjected to cancellation of its approval permit. Then Yurek decided in December 2019 to revoke the company’s REA. Yurek cited concerns expressed to him about the project’s impact on the local bat population as the reason for his decision.
The company filed an appeal of Yurek’s decision and the court upheld the appeal. In its decision the court stated that the minister’s decision “was not reasonable” and that Yurek “failed to adequately explain his decision.”