By Kate Porter, CBC News Posted: Sep 28, 2016
Municipalities across Ontario are cheering the government’s decision to suspend its competition for 1,000 megawatts’ worth of big, new renewable energy projects.
But one industry association representing companies that were preparing to try to snag a contract is shocked at the sudden shift in the winds at Queen’s Park.
Ontario’s energy minister said Tuesday there simply isn’t the demand for power to go ahead with its second round of procurement.
Instead, it can save $3.8 billion in costs related to the electricity system and save residents $2.45 a month on their electricity bills, Thibeault said.
In the rural township of North Frontenac, Mayor Ron Higgins’s phone was ringing off the hook after the surprise announcement.
His township’s council was the first to pass a motion earlier this year demanding that any new project receive municipal approval in order to get the province’s green light.
A one-time wind farm proposed for an area along the highway to Bon Echo Provincial Park had caused his residents much angst in recent years, said Higgins.
After North Frontenac passed its resolution motion in March, more than 100 other municipalities followed with resolutions of their own, and pressure mounted this summer at a meeting of Ontario municipalities.
Still, Higgins only expected to have more input in the next request for proposals.
“But it caught me off guard. I wasn’t expecting them to cancel it outright at this point,” said Higgins.
Wind association ‘shocked’ by decision
But not everyone was thrilled.
“We were extremely disappointed and shocked by the decision,” said Robert Hornung, president of the Canadian Wind Energy Association, which represents project developers, wind turbine owners, manufacturers and others in the industry.