Ontario axes Big Thunder PPA

The Ontario Power Authority has terminated its feed-in tariff contract with Horizon Wind Inc.’s Big Thunder wind project in the Canadian province, after the project became mired in delays.

Big Thunder, located near Thunder Bay, along the northern coast of Lake Superior, is the only significant wind project to have seen its FIT contract cancelled outright by the Ontario Power Authority, since the province implemented its Green Energy Act of 2009.

The cancellation was revealed by the OPA on its website.

Horizon Wind had intended to use Enercon E-82 turbines, rated at 2MW each, at the project.

Horizon Wind, a relatively small developer owned by Toronto-based infrastructure firm Horizon Legacy, says it has provided a “Notice of Dispute” to the OPA over the decision, opening the door to an appeal.

The developer won a power purchase agreement with the OPA in 2010 for a 16.5MW first phase at the 32MW project, located on land owned by the city of Thunder Bay.

Horizon Wind entered a land-lease agreement with Thunder Bay in 2007 for the project site, but the project has faced significant local opposition, including from a nearby First Nations community.

In 2010, Horizon Wind filed a lawsuit against Thunder Bay after the city council refused some of its turbine sites, but a compromise was reached the following year.

Horizon still needed a FIT contract for the second 15.5MW phase of the project.

Since 2010, the OPA has terminated its FIT contracts with 10 solar projects, but Big Thunder is the first wind project to get the axe. Either a developer or the OPA has the authority to terminate projects which are delayed more than two years due to force majeure events.