Ontario Pays OW Moratorium Damages to Windstream

The Ontario government has paid more than CAD 28.1 million in damages to Windstream Energy for the company’s stalled 300MW project in Lake Ontario following Ontario’s moratorium on offshore wind farms in 2011, according to The Canadian Press.

In 2016, an arbitral 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, which alleged that the government of Ontario acted in an expropriatory, arbitrary and discriminatory manner when it deferred offshore wind development, resulting in the loss of its investment.

As of 22 December 2016, the Ontario government has accepted the ruling of the arbitral tribunal under NAFTA.

In February 2017, Windstream Energy filed an enforcement application with the Ontario Superior Court after the Government of Canada failed to comply with the terms of payment following the 2016 ruling, which required Canada to pay out Windstream within 30 days of the award.

In November 2009, Windstream submitted eleven feed-in tarrif (FIT) applications for wind power projects, including an application for the 130-turbine offshore wind project in the Wolfe Island Shoals off Lake Ontario, near Kingston.

Having met the basic conditions of a FIT application, the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) offered Windstream a FIT Contract on May 4, 2010. Windstream did not sign back the contract immediately, but requested a series of extensions throughout the summer while the Government of Ontario undertook a policy review on offshore wind development.

On August 20, 2010, prior to the finalization of the policy review on offshore wind, Windstream and the OPA signed the FIT Contract, which provided for fixed pricing for power generated over a 20-year period on the condition that Windstream brought its project into commercial operation by May 4, 2015. This included acquiring all of the necessary permits and approvals to develop the project.

The Ministry of the Environment’s Offshore Wind Policy Review closed on February 11, 2011, when the government of Ontario decided to defer offshore wind development until the necessary scientific research is completed and an adequately informed policy framework can be developed.