On December 5, 2014, the Québec National Assembly assented An Act respecting the Société du Plan Nord. The long-awaited Bill provides for the creation, organization and governance of the Société du Plan Nord whose mission will be to contribute, together with representatives of the region, local and Native communities as well as the private sector, to the integrated and coherent development of the area covered by the Northern Plan (known as well as Plan Nord), in keeping with the principle of sustainable development and in accordance with Québec’s policies relating to Plan Nord. Continue Reading
On December 16, 2014, Hydro-Québec Distribution announced that it accepted three bids totalling 446.4 MW following the conclusion of its latest request for proposals for the purchase of 450 MW of wind power.
The average electricity price of the bids accepted is 7.6 ¢/kWh, including 1.3 ¢/kWh for transmission costs, and the projects are set to commence operation on December 1, 2016 and December 1, 2017. The electricity supply contracts which will be entered into with the winning bidders will be submitted to the Régie de l’énergie for approval.
A list of the bids accepted is available here.
On December 16, 2014, the B.C. government approved BC Hydro’s Site C Clean Energy Project (Site C), concluding that the 1,100-megawatt hydroelectric project represents the province’s most affordable and reliable long-term source of clean power, saving ratepayers an average of $650 to $900 million each year over the first 50 years of its project life compared to a portfolio of independent power projects backed up by natural gas-fired generation.
Following our recent blog posting on the release of the Ontario Power Authority (“OPA”) Draft LRP I RFP, LRP I Contract and draft Prescribed Forms released on November 17, 2014 here, we continue the tradition of year-end lists to bring our top ten issues under the draft LRP I Contract (the “Contract”). Continue Reading
On December 8, 2014, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, announced the introduction of Bill C-46 (Bill), designated as the Pipeline Safety Act, amending the National Energy Board Act and the Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act. The Bill’s aim is to enhance Canada’s pipeline safety system by increasing the liability of pipeline operators and the control of the National Energy Board (NEB). In particular, the Bill’s amendments:
- reinforce the “polluter pays” principle;
- confirm that liability of pipeline companies is unlimited if an unintended or uncontrolled release of oil, gas or any other commodity is a result of fault or negligence;
- establish the limit of liability, without proof of fault or negligence, at no less than $1 billion for companies that operate pipelines with capacity to transport at least 250,000 barrels of oil per day and at an amount prescribed by regulation for companies that operate any other pipelines; Continue Reading
The following post by Jordanna Cytrynbaum, Miriam Isman and Patrick Beechinor on our Real Property blog (The Lay of the Land) explaining amendments to the Federal Navigation Protection Act may be of interest to readers of this blog: A Bridge Over Deregulated Waters: The New Navigation Protection Act
On April 1, 2014, the Federal Navigation Protection Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. N-22 (the “New Act”) came into force, replacing the Navigable Waters Protection Act (the “Old Act”) and making notable changes to Canada’s regulation of waterways. The legislative objective is to enable municipal authorities to manage local projects, like bridge construction, without the costs and delays often incurred in the course of the Federal approval process. These amendments are likely to have implications across various industries, including construction, oil and gas, transportation, and telecommunication. Read more
On June 26, 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada handed down a major ruling on aboriginal title in its Nation Tsilhqot’in v. British Columbia decision.
The Court recognized that the nomadic and semi-nomadic people of the Tsilhqot’in Nation in British Columbia hold the exclusive occupancy rights to a territory of more than 1,500 sq. km. in the province.
The Tsilhqot’in decision marks a turning point from 1990s jurisprudence on ancestral rights and aboriginal title. In the Van der Peet  case (1996), the Court established the requisite conditions for proving ancestral rights. This decision was followed in 1997 by the Delgamuukw  case, which established the analytical framework for proving aboriginal title without concluding, however, that such a right existed in the case under review. The Tsilhqot’in decision is thus the Supreme Court’s first decision confirming the existence of such a title based on the evidence presented. Continue Reading
On November 26, 2014, BC Hydro announced that it has amended its Standing Offer Program (SOP) rules to make existing generation no longer eligible for participation in the SOP. BC Hydro states that the amendment is in line with BC Hydro’s 2013 Clean Energy Strategy contained in its Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), which is focused on providing opportunities to the clean energy sector for new project development. It also specifically noted that the changes are in consideration of the fact that the SOP’s pricing is intended to reflect the costs associated with new, rather than existing, clean energy projects. Continue Reading
Today, the Ontario Power Authority posted draft versions of the LRP I RFP, LRP I Contract, and Prescribed Forms for review and comment for the Large Renewable Procurement (“LRP I”). Feedback is encouraged and all comments must be submitted by December 19, 2014. More information is available here.
On November 6, 2014, Hydro-Québec Distribution (“HQD”) publicly opened the sealed bids received in response to its request for proposals launched on December 18, 2013, for the purchase of 450MW of wind power produced in Québec. The submission of bids, initially due for September 3, 2014, had been rescheduled to November 5, 2014 following certain delays in obtaining the approval of the Régie de l’énergie (Québec’s energy board) for the evaluation criteria of the RFP.
HQD announced having received 54 bids totaling 6 627,5MW. We note, however, that a certain portion of the submitted bids appears to be the same projects submitted more than once with different turbine suppliers.
We remind you that each submission is subject to a $0.09/kWh cap, which does not take into account transmission costs. Bidders have the discretion to choose between a 20 or 25 year term for each PPA. Of the 450MW, 100MW will have to be delivered by December 1, 2016 and the remaining 350MW by December 1, 2017.
HQD will review all submissions and announce successful bids as soon as possible.
The list of bids received can be found here.
On November 7, 2014, the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources and the Minister Responsible for the Northern Plan, Mr. Pierre Arcand, announced the beginning of a consultation process on Québec’s new energy policy set to be released in Fall 2015.
Over the next few weeks, the Government will publish four documents intended to initiate and encourage discussions on the new energy policy. The first document, entitled “Contexte, défis et vision” (“Context, Challenges and Vision”) will set out the framework for the consultation process. The other documents will tackle the issues of (i) renewable energy, (ii) efficiency and energy innovation and (iii) fossil fuels. Also, in connection with these topics, three roundtable meetings will be held in January, March and May 2015.
Given the energy sector’s constant evolution, in North America and around the world, the Government is seeking to preserve Québec’s leadership position but not without assessing the most recent information and developments before committing to a long term policy. As such, the Government will draw upon several studies and reports already completed, members of the public, First Nations, a number of interested stakeholders and renowned experts to support the development of the new energy policy.
In keeping with the previously announced schedule, on November 4, 2014 the Ontario Power Authority announced list of Qualified Applicants under the first phase of the Large Renewable Procurement (“LRP I”). We will be closely watching for the draft versions of the LRP I RFP and LRP I Contract which are anticipated to be posted later in November. More information and the LRP I RFQ Qualified Applicant List are available here.
On October 21, 2014, British Columbia Finance Minister Michael de Jong announced Bill 6 – 2014, the Liquefied Natural Gas Income Tax Act (the “Act”), which proposes an income tax, effective for taxation years beginning on or after January 1, 2017, payable on net income from liquefaction activities at or in respect of a liquefied natural gas (“LNG”) facility in B.C.
Shortly following the announcement of the Act, McCarthy Tétrault’s LNG Team provided preliminary comments on its key highlights – see British Columbia Government Tables LNG Tax Legislation. In this article, we provide a more detailed review and commentary of the Act. Our LNG Team would be happy to discuss the Act with you and how it may impact you in making LNG business and investment decisions in B.C. Continue Reading
On October 9, 2014, Trans Mountain Pipeline ULC’s (“Trans Mountain”) motion was heard by the National Energy Board (“NEB”) after a series of incidents between Trans Mountain and the City of Burnaby (“Burnaby”). Burnaby officials ticketed Trans Mountain contractors for contravening the Burnaby Street and Traffic Bylaw and the Burnaby Parks Regulation Bylaw (the “Bylaws”) while carrying out land surveys in and around the Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area (the “Subject Lands”).
The attempted surveys were in response to a ruling by the NEB that in order to assess Trans Mountain’s application for a certificate of public convenience and necessity, Trans Mountain was permitted to enter any Crown or private lands which lie in the intended pipeline route. After being unable to come to an agreement with Burnaby to enter the Subject Lands and conduct surveys, Trans Mountain filed a motion with the NEB seeking an order for access to the Subject Lands, as well as a Notice of Constitutional Question, submitting the NEB has authority to determine Burnaby’s bylaws are inoperative for the purposes of the rights granted to Trans Mountain under s. 73(a) of the National Energy Board Act (the “Act”). Continue Reading
On October 20, 2014, BC Environment Minister Mary Polak introduced legislation for the management of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the province’s burgeoning liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry. With the objective of ensuring that BC has the cleanest LNG facilities in the world, Bill 2 (also known as the Greenhouse Gas Industrial Reporting and Control Act) seeks to establish a GHG emissions intensity benchmark of 0.16 carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) tonnes per tonne of LNG produced. A number of details of the new GHG regime for the LNG industry have yet to be determined in regulations, but the legislation marks an important first step in keeping BC’s GHG emissions in check as the province strives to achieve its legislated GHG emission reduction target of 33% below 2007 levels by 2020. The BC government estimates that five LNG plants in BC will generate 13 million tonnes of GHG emissions, on top of the province’s current annual GHG emissions of 62 million tonnes. Continue Reading
Hydro-Québec Distribution issued today the third addendum to the call for tenders document in respect of its 450 MW wind call for tenders. Bidders will now be required to submit their bids by November 5, 2014. Bids will be opened on November 6, 2014, but the date for the announcement of successful bids remains to be determined.
The issuance of this addendum follows the much anticipated Régie de l’énergie approval on which we reported here.
On October 21, 2014, the British Columbia Government tabled Bill 6, the Liquefied Natural Gas Income Tax Act. The Bill will be considered at the Legislature’s next sitting. Continue Reading
On August 22, we reported here that Hydro-Québec Distribution was postponing to an undetermined date the deadline for submission of bids in its latest call for tenders for the purchase of a block of wind power produced by facilities with an installed capacity of 450 MW (A/O 2013-01), pending the approval by the Régie de l’énergie, Québec’s energy board, of the weighting table for the applicable evaluation criteria.
In a decision issued on October 20 and available here (in French only), the Régie de l’énergie finally approved the weighting table. Of interest, the Régie de l’énergie modified the weighting table by reducing the number of points allocated to the “cost of electricity”, “project feasibility”, “relevant experience” and “financial capability” criteria and reallocating those points to the “Québec content in excess of the 60% minimum requirement” and “manufacturing of strategic components in Québec” criteria. Continue Reading
British Columbia’s Minister of Energy and Mines Bill Bennett addressed the province’s independent power producers at the opening of Clean Energy BC’s annual conference in Vancouver on October 16, 2014. Speaking in the wake of the announcement earlier in the week that the Site C clean energy project (Site C) has received environmental approvals from the B.C. and federal governments, Minister Bennett confirmed that the B.C. government has not yet made a final investment decision with respect to Site C and is in the final stages of a “due diligence” process that includes comparisons to other potential alternatives, including a portfolio of renewable resources.
Noting that “all signs” point toward greater economic growth and electricity demand in B.C., Minister Bennett reviewed the four key components for meeting forecast load growth in the province, as described in BC Hydro’s current Integrated Resource Plan (IRP): (1) conservation and other demand side management (DSM) initiatives, currently targeted to satisfy 78% of future load growth; (2) refurbishment of and upgrades to existing heritage hydro assets; (3) acquisitions from independent power producers; and (4) Site C. Continue Reading
On October 10, 2014, the British Columbia Supreme Court (“Court”) issued reasons in Western Canada Wilderness Committee v. British Columbia (Oil and Gas Commission), 2014 BCSC 1919. In this case, the petitioners, Western Canada Wilderness and Sierra Club of British Columbia Foundation (together, the “Petitioners”), brought a judicial review application against the British Columbia Oil and Gas Commission (“OGC”).
At issue was the proper interpretation of the Water Act as it relates to the granting by the OGC to the oil and gas industry of short-term water use approvals under s. 8 (“Approvals”). The issue focused on whether recurrent Approvals may be granted, and whether such Approvals may extend beyond the 24-month maximum term specified in the Water Act. According to the Petitioners, the OGC consistently acted in contravention of the Water Act by granting repeated Approvals which, in effect, authorized companies to use and divert water for more than one term and for more than 24 months. The Petitioners’ main concerns were the negative effects of water use for hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”) purposes. Continue Reading
On October 14, 2014, the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources and the Minister Responsible for the Northern Plan, Mr. Pierre Arcand, and the Minister of the Economy, Innovation and Exports, Mr. Jacques Daoust, introduced Québec’s strategy to use its electricity surpluses: a 20% discount on the current industrial electricity rates to encourage investments and new projects in the province. Continue Reading
The B.C. and federal governments have granted environmental approvals to BC Hydro for its Site C Clean Energy Project (Site C). B.C. Environment Minister Mary Polak announced on October 14, 2014 the issuance of an environmental assessment certificate (EA Certificate) for Site C, concluding that the project is in the public interest and that its benefits outweigh the risks of significant adverse environmental, social and heritage effects. In addition, federal Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq issued a decision statement (Decision Statement) approving Site C, declaring that the significant adverse environmental effects that Site C is likely to cause are justified in the circumstances.
With these approvals in place, the B.C. government must now decide whether to proceed with Site C based on an investment decision. Continue Reading
On October 9, 2014, the National Energy Board (the “NEB”) heard oral argument for a motion by Trans Mountain Pipeline ULC (“Trans Mountain”) seeking an order pursuant to sections 12, 13, and 73(a) of the National Energy Board Act (the “Act”). Submissions were made by Trans Mountain and the City of Burnaby (“Burnaby”). At the end of the hearing, the NEB advised a decision will be made soon, but did not provide a specific time frame.
On August 19, 2014, the NEB issued Ruling No. 28 (the “Ruling”). The Ruling concluded that under s. 73(a) of the Act, Trans Mountain is permitted to enter any Crown (federal or provincial) or private lands which lie in the intended route of its pipeline to carry out surveys and examinations. This included a small portion of the Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area (the “Subject Lands”). Continue Reading
On September 30, 2014, Québec Premier Philippe Couillard, jointly with the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources and the Minister Responsible for the Northern Plan, Mr. Pierre Arcand, the Minister for Transport and the Implementation of the Maritime Strategy, Mr. Jean d’Amour, and Mrs. Sophie Brochu, President and CEO of Gaz Métro, the principal distributor of natural gas in Québec, announced an investment by Investissment Québec of $50M in the share capital of the Gaz Métro subsidiary responsible for marketing liquefied natural gas (“LNG”), Gaz Métro LNG. According to the media, this investment represents a 42% stake in Gaz Métro LNG.
These funds will enable Gaz Métro LNG to increase its LNG offer through the addition of an LNG train to its eastern Montreal plant. Continue Reading