On July 3, 2019, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks ("MECP") posted its notice of decision with respect to regulations to govern the closure of the White Pines Wind Project.
The White Pines Wind Project was a Class 4 Energy Project (with a nameplate capacity of 18.45 megawatts) made up of 9 wind turbines in Prince Edward County, Ontario. The Wind Project first obtained a Feed-In Tariff (“FIT”) contract in 2010, but was cancelled by the White Pines Wind Project Termination Act, 2018, as part of the Ontario government's wind down of FIT and Large Renewable Procurement (“LRP”) projects. The wind down plan involved cancelling contracts where the Independent Electricity System Operator ("IESO") had not issued a Notice to Proceed or, in respect of the LRP program, where all Key Development Milestones had not been met. The White Pines Wind Project was one such project.
The closure of the White Pines Wind Project would originally have been governed by its Renewable Energy Approval ("REA") issued by MECP. REAs for wind projects included binding requirements for constructing, operating and decommissioning the facility at the end of the project's life. However, since the REA has been revoked, Regulations under the Environmental Protection Act and an associated Technical Closure Document have been produced to ensure that the facility is closed and dismantled in a manner that protects human health and the environment.
As explained in the ERO Notice, the Regulation and Technical Closure Document govern all aspects of the dismantling of the partially constructed project, including, consultation requirements; equipment dismantling and removal; precautions to avoid impacts on the Blanding's Turtle; site restoration; and ongoing monitoring.
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