A world of opportunity countries are hungry for the kind of renewable energy solutions and knowledge that Canadian companies can bring – especially developing countries that want to develop electrification, create more resilient power grids and achieve their climate goals through the Paris Agreement. Many people today have a low national electricity generation capacity and rely heavily on imported diesel, which is expensive, unreliable and environmentally unsustainable. Another thing is that power purchase contracts in Ontario generally contain a provision that specifically reflects on what happens when the government takes steps to terminate the contract. This is the “discriminatory action” clause. It stipulates that, in the case of such governance, the generator must be preserved as a whole. According to a possible calculation, the termination of the contract would thus lead to a payment of the net value of electricity generation up to twenty years (deducted from lower expenses) to the producer. According to the Auditor General, the decision to stop construction of only two gas plants in Mississauga and Oakville cost hundreds of millions. The cost of “dismantling” Ontario`s renewable energy contracts would be shocking. Lawrence Solomon, executive director of Energy Probe, recently argued in the National Post that the Ontario government should address the high cost of hydroelectric power by “hanging up” renewable energy contracts (“Yes, the Ontario Liberals can terminate their terrible renewable energy contracts – and they should do so now” on September 15).
This would involve the adoption of legislation to nullify these treaties. The idea that “a contract is a contract” was reinforced by a recent decision of the Quebec Court of Appeal, which is the final round of an ongoing dispute between the province of Newfoundland and Labrador and Hydro-Québec. In the 1970s and 1980s, Newfoundland twice unsuccessfully presented Hydro-Québec`s rights to a 65-year-old man (!) The power purchase agreement in question, signed in 1969, under which Hydro-Québec purchased electricity at Churchill Falls ,Labrador) Corporation Limited (owned by Newfoundland) at a bargain price. In both cases, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled against Newfoundland and upheld the validity of the treaty. Bruce probably didn`t think about power purchase contracts when he wrote his hit ballad. But the issues of decisions and consequences are relevant to recent events in the electricity sector in Canada. The new government has taken a number of important steps in the area of renewable energy. To date, it has cancelled the White Pines Wind Project ( project); the cancellation of 758 aerating contracts for renewable energy projects at an early stage of development; and proposed Bill 34 that would repeal the Green Energy Act and reintroduce municipal planning requirements for renewable energy projects. While many details of Bill 34 were still left to the remaining orders, the provisions of the bill create additional uncertainty for contract projects. While the Ontario government has provided some compensation to proponents of cancelled projects, the measures outlined in this article will make it difficult to develop major renewable energy projects in Ontario over the next four years. One of the first steps taken by the new provincial government was the passage of the White Pines Cancellation Act, the cancellation of the White Pines` FIT Contract and regulatory approvals and the requirement for White Pines to decommission the project.