Trillium Wind Power Corporation has won its appeal of the Rule 21 Motion decision, which will allow it its day in court to seek damages of $2.25 billion arising from what the firm claims was a “misfeasance in public office” by the ministries named in the action.
The Trillium Power Notice of Appeal cites both errors in points of law and evidence in the decision rendered in October.
The Ontario government lawyers filed a Rule 21 Motion in response to Trillium Power’s suit against the Crown after the province’s cancellation of all near-shore, offshore and far-offshore wind projects in February 2011.
At the time, Trillium Power was well advanced in developing several far-offshore wind projects located between 10 and 120 kilometers from the mainland in the Great Lakes — especially its TPW1 location in the centre of Lake Ontario, beside the international border with the United States.
On Feb. 11, 2011, the provincial government announced it would not proceed with proposed offshore wind projects while “further scientific research is conducted.”
Trillium Power claims that it had been specifically targeted by that press release which was issued the same afternoon as Trillium Power was receiving part of its financing deal.
“I can assure you that if we go to trial we will demonstrate that core policy changes were never made. The government has the right to change them, the appeals court said, but only if it can demonstrate that these were core changes to its policy...but if they never made a change other than a press release, then that protection doesn’t exist,” explained Trillium Power president and chief executive officer John Kourtoff.
Going forward, Kourtoff hopes that there will be an other option besides a legal path, which is the only way right now, he said.
“I think the ultimate benefit would be to say a mistake was done, let’s do something positive here which is to do the commercial scale pilot project for Ontario that their own documents called for,” he said.
“What we’re saying to the government is work with us so we can come out to a negotiated settlement for the best interest of Ontarians.”
He said the goal is for Ontario to regain its North American leadership position in advancing far-offshore wind generation projects.
Kourtoff says the development of offshore wind in Ontario over a 30-year period would result in $250 billion injection of funds into Ontario’s economy.
“The win of offshore wind is four to five times what the Ring of Fire would be and yet nobody is talking about it,” he said.
Kourtoff pointed to a Conference Board of Canada’s 2010 report, financially sponsored by Vestas Offshore, that was entitled Economic and Employment Impacts of Ontario’s Future Offshore Wind Power Industry, which stated that the development of less than six per cent of Ontario’s shallow water offshore wind potential in the Great Lakes would generate at least $1.03 billion in personal and indirect taxes not including corporate taxes, between 55,000 and 62,000 person-years of construction employment and generate 6,700 direct permanent supply chain jobs.
Realistically, it would take two years to put together a team to move forward with the its TPW1 site and to get to the point of construction. He then anticipates two years of construction and then two years of studies by Trillium and the government of the site.
“Therefore, we’ve done it the intelligent way, which is what we’ve asked for: “let’s do it slowly, let’s do intelligently, let’s do it in two piece so it’s built over two years and then let’s study it....then figure out a model on how we go and build and industry,’” he said.
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