Yesterday, the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) held an ‘industry dialogue’ meeting in Toronto, during which it discussed the feedback and comments it received on the draft contract and request for proposals (RFP) for the Large Renewable Procurement I (LRP). The IESO shared some of the ‘key issues/common themes’ that it received during the comment period and also revealed that, due to the large number of comments received and to administrative issues related to the recent IESO/OPA merger (see our prior post), the timeline for releasing the final documentation for the LRP would be postponed for at least one month until February.
Yesterday, the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) held an ‘industry dialogue’ meeting in Toronto, during which it discussed and sought feedback on the upcoming enhancements to the Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) program that were proposed in the discussion paper posted in early December.
The approval of industrial wind turbine projects is often met with resistance from the communities in which the projects are to be built. Residents (or businesses) located in close proximity to project sites often challenge the location of a project on the basis that the turbines cause harm to human health or the environment.
Dixon v. Director, Ministry of the Environment is an important case, particularly for those tracking renewable energy or large-scale rural land development projects in Ontario. Dixon is an appeal of three decisions of the Environmental Review Tribunal to approve three wind turbine projects in Bruce and Huron Counties in Ontario. Darryl Cruz, Chris Wayland and Eric Pellegrino of McCarthy Tétrault successfully represented the developer of one of the projects, St. Columban Energy Inc. Continue Reading
On January 5, 2015, the Province of British Columbia issued a direction (the “Direction”) to the British Columbia Oil and Gas Commission (“OGC”) prohibiting the OGC from issuing permits to convert LNG facility pipelines, which are built to support liquefied natural gas (“LNG”) facilities, into pipelines for transporting oil or diluted bitumen. The Direction prohibits the OGC from permitting project proponents to convert natural gas pipelines supplying LNG facilities to pipelines carrying oil. Continue Reading
On January 7, 2015, the Régie de l’énergie du Québec (Québec Energy Board) released its opinion on the production and transportation supply of natural gas required in order to meet the medium and long term needs of Québec consumers. This opinion was prepared at the request of the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources and the Minister responsible for the Plan Nord. The opinion followed a public consultation process during which stakeholders and expert representatives made written and oral submissions to the Québec Energy Board.
In its opinion, the Board forecasts the residential, commercial, industrial and transportation demand for natural gas in Québec from 2015 to 2030 as well as transportation capacity and peak demand in Québec for natural gas during such period. The Board also examines natural gas production supply options from both within and outside Québec as well as natural gas transportation supply options both involving and without the TransCanada Pipelines Limited Energy East Pipeline project. Continue Reading
While most of us were dreaming of winter vacations, the OPA announced changes to the Aboriginal Renewable Energy Fund (“AREF”) on December 19, 2014 to make interim funding available to First Nations and Métis communities for due diligence work required to assess and develop opportunities for participation in the Large Renewable Procurement (“LRP”) program.
The latest program rules, guidelines and other materials have been posted and can be found here.
Bill C-22, An Act respecting Canada’s offshore oil and gas operations, enacting the Nuclear Liability and Compensation Act, repealing the Nuclear Liability Act and making consequential amendments to other Acts (the “Bill”) was first introduced in the House of Commons on January 30 2014 and was referred to the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources for study on December 4, 2014.
On January 1, 2015, the Ontario Power Authority and the Independent Electricity System Operator completed their amalgamation and began operating as a single entity to operate Ontario’s electricity system. The official announcement from the IESO can be found here, and more information about the IESO can be found on its website here.
On December 4, 2014, the British Columbia Environmental Appeal Board (the “Board”) issued reasons in a preliminary hearing relating to an appeal against Rio Tinto Alcan Inc.’s (“Rio Tinto”) amended multi-media permit (the “Permit”) for its Kitimat Modernization Project. Continue Reading
On December 4, 2014, the British Columbia Environmental Appeal Board (the “Board”) issued reasons in a preliminary hearing relating to an appeal against Rio Tinto Alcan Inc.’s (“Rio Tinto”) amended multi-media permit (the “Permit”) for its Kitimat Modernization Project.
The Permit authorizes Rio Tinto to discharge effluent, emissions, and waste from its aluminum smelter located in Kitimat, British Columbia. In April 2012, the Director, under authority of the Environmental Management Act (the “Act”), approved certain amendments to the Permit, which were sought by Rio Tinto in support of a project designed to modernize and increase the production at the Kitimat smelter. The amendment authorized an increase in the sulphur dioxide emission limit and added several conditions to the Permit, including a requirement to develop and implement an environmental effects monitoring plan (the “Plan”) which is approved by the Ministry of Environment. The amendment also required Rio Tinto to submit to the Director a review of Plan results. If the said results were determined to be unacceptable, the maximum sulphur dioxide discharge limit would revert back to the original amount, unless the Director otherwise amended the discharge limit.
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