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Nation Rise Wind Farm Goes Online Outside Ottawa

The 100-megawatt Nation Rise Wind Farm has begun commercial operations southeast of Ottawa, after the original developer sold majority ownership to an Indigenous partnership.

Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) declared the project operational in mid-June, and the story showed up in The Review, Vankleek Hill’s weekly newspaper, earlier this month.

EDP Renewables developed and built Nation Rise, and remains responsible for operations and maintenance, The Review reports. EDP recently sold a 50.01% ownership stake in the project to Chi-Nódin Limited Partnership, owned by the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation (AOPFN) in Golden Lake.

“The opportunity for AOPFN to participate in the local economy and to be partners in renewable energy projects and local businesses definitely positions our community for success, and we look forward to this venture as well as many others that we expect to come in the future,” said Amanda Two-Axe Kohoko, Chi-Nódin Limited Partnership Board of Directors.

The Doug Ford government had abruptly cancelled the project in early December, when it was already under construction, despite looming concerns about the reliability of the province’s electricity supply and the need for new sources of clean power. At the time, the IESO was projecting a supply crunch as soon as next summer.

“Thanks, in part, to the province’s diverse supply mix, Ontario is in a strong position with sufficient resources to meet its needs under most circumstances, provided the majority of existing resources remain available over the 42-month horizon,” the grid operator wrote at the time. But “uncertainties in electricity forecasting are compounded by time,” and “periods of increased reliability risk could emerge in the summers of 2022, 2023 and 2024, with the greatest risk in the summer of 2023.”

Three judges with the Ontario Superior Court rejected the cancellation last May. Then-environment minister Jeff Yurek had claimed he was halting construction out of a newfound concern for endangered populations of big brown bats, hoary bats, and little brown bats, even though a 2018 environmental review tribunal ruled the risks to those species negligible. But the three-judge panel “did not buy the explanation,” the Ottawa Citizen reported last year, “saying the evidence does not support the minister’s conclusion of ‘serious and irreversible’ harm to the three species of bats.”

Despite local opposition to the project, The Review says the wind farm created 230 jobs in the Crysler, Berwick, and Finch area during construction, and “will inject more than C$45 million over 30 years into the local community through municipal taxes, a community benefit fund, charitable contributions, and landowner payments, and 10 permanent jobs.”