Ontarians Support Offshore Wind

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In a random sampling of public opinion taken by the Forum Poll among 1,184 Ontario voters, over one half, or 52%, favour offshore wind farms.

26% of the voters polled disapprove offshore wind farms and 22% do not have an opinion on the matter.

The poll has also shown that almost two thirds (65%) of voters in Ontario support investing public funds in developing alternative energy sources like wind, solar and geothermal.

Fewer than one quarter oppose this kind of public investment (22%) and about one tenth don’t have an opinion (13%).

44% of of voters believe alternative energy sources like wind, solar and geothermal will be sufficient to replace oil, gas and coal in the future, while just 3-in-10 don’t believe this to be the case (30%) and one quarter don’t know if it is or not (25%). Belief in the future of alternative fuels sources is strongest among the youngest, the least wealthy, in Northern Ontario and among Liberals.

“The majority favour wind farms, onshore or off, which is not what their opponents would have us believe. The public also believes in public investment in new fuel sources, which is also not the current received wisdom. It appears the provincial Liberal government’s Green Energy program has promise, although not in its current form,” said Forum Research President, Dr. Lorne Bozinoff.

The government of Ontario imposed a moratorium on offshore wind projects in 2011, which delayed several wind projects in the region, including the 300MW Wolfe Island Shoals wind farm off Lake Ontario proposed by the U.S. firm Windstream Energy LLC.

Back in October 2016, an arbitration tribunal appointed under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) ruled that Canada is to pay around CAD 28 million in damages and legal costs to Windstream for the losses due to the 2011 moratorium.

The tribunal found that the government of Ontario treated Windstream’s investments in Canada unfairly and inequitably under NAFTA after it placed a moratorium on offshore wind farms in 2011, the company said in a press statement.

The CAD 28 million award is the largest ever NAFTA damages and cost award against Canada, but it is just a fraction of CAD 475 million compensation Windstream had claimed for damages.

Another offshore wind developer, Trillium Power Wind Corporation, filed a CAD 500 million lawsuit against the government of Ontario for the cancellation of the company’s far-offshore wind projects just hours before the company was set to complete a CAD 26 million equity financing.

In June 2015, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice authorized Trillium Power to amend its Statement of Claim against the government of Ontario to include the claim of Spoliation, which refers to a willful destruction or suppression of evidence relevant to a legal proceeding.

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