In a previous blog entry, we provided comprehensive commentary on the then-recently tabled Liquefied Natural Gas Income Tax Act (the “Act”), the foundational piece of legislation in the B.C. Government’s proposed liquefied natural gas (“LNG”) taxation regime.
On November 27, 2014, the Act received royal assent and the Province has since been in the process of crafting associated regulations and amendments. The first of these, Bill 26 – Liquefied Natural Gas Income Tax Amendment Act, 2015 (the “Proposed Amendment”), was released on March 25, 2015, and proposes a number of amendments to the Act, including many relating to the Province’s prior commitment to set out enforcement and administration mechanisms for the Act by spring 2015, as well as a welcome change to the new Natural Gas Tax Credit. Continue Reading
Blueberry River First Nations (BRFN) has commenced a novel treaty rights infringement claim (Claim) against the Province of British Columbia (Province). The Claim, filed March 3, 2015, alleges that the Province has breached its Treaty 8 obligations due to the cumulative impacts of provincially authorized industrial development in BRFN’s traditional territory.
BRFN’s traditional territory is located in the Upper Peace River region of northeastern BC, around and mainly north of Dawson Creek, Fort St. John and Hudson’s Hope.
The Claim is significant because it is one of the first treaty rights infringement claims to be argued primarily on the basis of cumulative impacts on a First Nation’s entire traditional territory. The other significant case that stakeholders are watching closely is the ongoing claim commenced in 2008 by the Beaver Lake Cree Nation in Alberta alleging that cumulative effects of resource development violates its Treaty 6 rights, discussed in more detail below. Continue Reading
On March 4, 2015, Hydro-Québec Distribution (“HQD”) issued a new request for proposals for the purchase of up to 500 MW of firm capacity and the related energy during “peak periods”.
The energy offered by bidders will need to be available for at least 300 hours per year, mainly during the winter period, in accordance with a delivery schedule which may be communicated by HQD at any time on a four hour minimum prior notice. Continue Reading
On February 26, 2015, following its third reading in the Senate, without amendment, 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 (short title, Energy Safety and Security Act), was given Royal Assent and became an Act of Parliament. Bill C-22, as assented, is available here. Continue Reading
On February 25, 2015, the Québec Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and the Fight against Climate Change, Mr. David Heurtel, announced a significant reform in relation to the environmental authorization process set forth under the Québec Environment Quality Act (“EQA”). Continue Reading
The federal government announced on February 19, 2015 that accelerated capital cost allowance (CCA) treatment would apply to certain property used in liquefaction facilities for the domestic and export liquefied natural gas (LNG) markets and for LNG storage. The new measure signals the federal government’s support for Canada’s emerging LNG industry, and follows a concerted lobbying effort by LNG project proponents and industry associations. Continue Reading
On February 16, 2015, the British Columbia Government tabled Bill 12, the Federal Port Development Act (the “Act”). The Act builds on last year’s amendments to the Canada Marine Act, S.C. 1998, c. 10, which, in part, enabled the federal government to adopt provincial rules and regulations to apply to specific projects on port lands. Once enacted, the Act will authorize the Province to enter into agreements with the federal government and a federal port to administer and enforce provincial law on port lands. Specifically, the Act authorizes a provincial official or body to exercise a power or perform a duty under a federal regulation where:
- the federal regulation incorporates by reference an enactment of British Columbia; and
- the government has entered into an agreement, providing for administration and enforcement of the federal regulation by the provincial official or body.
On February 10, 2015, BC Hydro announced that it is making available yearly target energy volume information to help developers with project planning under its Standing Offer Program (SOP). As part of the “Clean Energy Strategy” included in BC Hydro’s 2013 Integrated Resource Plan, the SOP’s annual target energy volume was increased from 50 GWh/year to 150 GWh/year. Continue Reading
In response to the high volume of comments received during the Draft LRP I RFP and draft LRP I Contract feedback period, the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) has extended the posting date of the final LRP documents to March 3, 2015.
In the meantime, the IESO has released an update document on the IESO website (found here) (the “Update”) which provides Qualified Applicants and interested stakeholders with additional information on some of the proposed changes to the final LRP documents.
On February 4, 2015, the B.C. government released the final report of an independent review of the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC), the independent governmental regulatory agency that regulates British Columbia’s natural gas and electricity utilities, intra-provincial pipelines and universal compulsory automobile insurance. Continue Reading
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.
A copy of the B.C. government’s press release, which includes links to relevant background materials, is available here. Continue Reading
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