Here is an update on where we are with our fight against the Turbines, along with some questions you may have.
LRP II Suspended
The Large Renewable Procurement II process has been suspended, ending the potential for NextEra or RES Canada to gain approval to develop their proposed industrial wind turbine developments in North Frontenac and Addington Highlands. In fact, this effectively shuts down the potential for new turbine projects in all of Ontario for many years to come. Note, however, that the LRP is merely suspended and not cancelled.
Have We Won?
Yes and No. The government was clear they were 'suspending' the LRP II process, and have not used the word 'cancelled'. One would hope that with the state of Ontario’s electricity system that the Government would not reactivate the LRP process (without radical changes to the way it’s done), but it still remains a possibility. Further RES Canada has confirmed they are hanging onto their leases and mothballing their projects instead of cancelling them because they are still hopeful the Long-Term Energy Plan will create new opportunities to move these projects forward. Presently there is no mechanism to approve projects like those we have fought here.
What Threats Remain?
Until RES Canada and NextEra cancel their lease agreements and formally commit to backing away from the table, we face a continued risk that the Government of Ontario will create an approval process that will allow these companies or others to bid on projects like those we've fought off.
What will BEARAT Do Now?
BEARAT will continue to monitor the Ontario Long-Term Energy Plan updates and will work with Mayor Higgins to support his work with municipal leaders to influence that process. We are in the process of winding down our larger scale campaign against these projects and shifting to a role of vigilance for the time being. If no threats materialize that require our immediate ramp up, we will revisit our position and role in Spring 2017.
What Will BEARAT Do With Donations?
BEARAT is in the process of winding down active engagements and contractual obligations. We are in the process of preparing a financial overview which will be shared with donors and members of BEARAT. Once we have a better sense of where things stand in Spring 2017 following the Province’s Long Term Energy Plan process, any decision on what to do with any potential surplus will be made then.
What Can People Do To Be Proactive?
If there is a lesson to be found in the success we've seen here, it is this: community engagement changes everything. We are strongly encouraging members of BEARAT and supporters to find other opportunities to get involved in our community. We've seen particularly in Addington Highlands the damage that comes from a municipal council that is not prepared to fight for the best interests of residents. We strongly encourage civic-minded residents to get involved and stay involved with our community, other organizations and municipal government.