A half-built $200 Million wind farm in Ontario cancelled by environmentalists

Written By Wyatt Claypool, Posted on December 11, 2019

Ontario’s Environment Minister, Jeff Yurek, sent out a letter on December 4th stating that he was rescinding the $200 million plans for the Nation Rise Wind Farm, despite several of the planned 29 wind turbines having already been constructed. 

Though the Environmental Review Tribunal approved the project, Minister Yurek reassured the public that he has the legal ability to “confirm, alter, or revoke” the tribunal’s January decision.

Construction was projected in the township of North Stormont, but residents organized against the project.


Margaret Benke, a local retiree, is the founder of the Concerned Citizens of North Stormont. She initially pursued the appeal of the project, which caused nine days in the fall of 2018.

The concerned citizens’ group over the four years of campaigning against the wind farm spent around $100,000 on awareness campaigns. 

The grassroots group aimed the wind turbines, fearing that the 200 metre-high blades would significantly harm the populations of various at-risk colonizes of bats, such as the Hoary bats and Big and Little Brown bats.

In Minister Yurek’s letter, the bat populations are referenced as a primary factor for why the project was cancelled mid-construction.

“In my view, the harm will be both serious and irreversible to animal life given the relatively small bat species populations in the local area,” Yurek said.

EDP Renewables said that it “strongly objects” to Yurek’s decision, although the company has halted its construction while they review possible legal recourse.

The EDP had also said that expert evidence on the environmental effects of the project would cause “no material adverse effects,” including on the bat populations.

The halt will cause a loss of 230 jobs involved in the wind farm’s construction, and $45 million was forgone in yearly municipal taxes, community contributions, and landowner fees.

The Progressive Conservative government has been critical of the feasibility of wind farms in the past. They previously revoked 758 renewable-energy projects shortly after coming into power in July of 2018.

The situation of conservationist citizens groups fighting a renewable energy company shows a priority gap between different environmental interests on local ecosystems. 

Though the town is deeply divided on the issue, North Stormont voted down being the host for the renewable energy project twice. 

In many ways, the campaign can be seen as positive, showing there is a more diverse range of viewpoints on the environmentalist camp, which helps provide checks and balances on the priorities of green projects.


The project may be restarted in the future, but for now there is no foreseeable return to the construction of the project.

Wyatt Claypool

Wyatt is a student at Mount Royal University, where he is the president of its Campus Conservative club. In his writing, he focuses on covering provincial and federal politics, firearms regulation, and the energy sector. Wyatt has also previously written for The Post Millennial.

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