August 28th, 2017
Hon. Glen Thibeault
Minister of Energy
Hearst Block 4th Flr,
900 Bay St,
Toronto, ON M7A 2E1
I am writing to you with regard to recent correspondence from WPD regarding the nature of its planned energy construction project in Prince Edward County. I cannot recall a previous incident which so clearly demonstrated bad faith on the part of an energy company in recent memory. The threat that the company has not-so-subtly attempted to communicate to the municipality is one of legal action that it will proceed if County representatives continue to try and obtain information that is relevant to the project.
As you’re no doubt aware, this project has been controversial. Its size has been reduced from 29 turbines down to nine by the Environmental Review Tribunal. The project has also missed its Milestone Commercial Operation Date by more than two years, according to data provided by the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO). In order to comply with the name plate capacity requirements outlined in the FIT contract provided for the project, the turbines would have to be larger than any turbine currently operating on land in Ontario.
If the company does not intend to meet its nameplate capacity requirements to the IESO, then the County has raised questions that have to be answered about the status of the project and any possible transmission changes that may need to be made. The community deserves to know of any changes to the size and scale of this project before it is sprung on them at the last minute in a manner which has so often occurred in the process.
Given the number of issues which this project, and the proponent, has had in living up to the original terms and the egregious business behaviour which it has engaged in when dealing with the municipality, the province should examine all grounds and rights it enjoys with regard to any ability to WPD to proceed. You have previously stated that the current surplus situation means that projects such as this one are no longer necessary.
We have seen instances in the past, such as with the Samsung agreement where the government enjoyed extensive legal rights to ensure cost savings for ratepayers and it did not pursue the kind of aggressive action to which it was entitled based on the non-compliance by the developer.
Prince Edward County Council deserves the information which it has requested from WPD. The inability or unwillingness of the developer to comply with requests by public servants to make decisions based on the best information is inexcusable and cannot become common practice in Ontario. Your government’s prior decisions in pursuing legal action alongside the developer in the case of this project is cause for some concern but it is my hope that the government cannot support this kind of bullying behaviour from an energy company.
I look forward to hearing from you on this matter.
Todd Smith, MPP