SkyPower seeks CAN$100 million in damages from Ontario government

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The Ontario government has been served a legal notice by SkyPower that not only calls for a reversal of the changes to a specific key element of the Green Energy Act, but also seeks over CAN$100 million in damages. The National Post found that the company is arguing that revisions to the Green Energy Act have erased years of work and cost SkyPower millions of dollars.

The application was filed in Ontario’s Superior Court stating that the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) ““has a legal duty to process in good faith” the applications that were submitted to the FiT program before April 5 under the old rules. SkyPower asserts that the OPA acted “unfairly and unlawfully” by not processing the applications in a quick manner and that Energy Minister Chris Bentley “acted unreasonably” in ordering the OPA to retroactively change the FiT requirements.

The National Post notes that SkyPower has 118 applications before the OPA, and, according to the company, has invested millions in preparing them, including posting CAN$20 million in security. The company’s main argument is that under the changes, nearly all of the projects would become ineligible.

“Over the last three years, SkyPower has made a significant investment in solar energy in Ontario,” said Tim Gilbert of Gilbert’s LLP, representing SkyPower. “For approximately the last two years, SkyPower’s 118 completed applications have awaited system connectivity testing and the awarding of contracts by the OPA. The OPA, however, has failed to conduct the requisite testing and failed to award contracts in respect of these applications.

“In addition, the Minister of Energy has now directed the OPA to fundamentally and retrospectively change the eligibility rules, which renders meaningless the significant investments of SkyPower and others in the green energy industry.”

According to the legal application, SkyPower has advised the government that “the rules are unfair, would wipe out most of the projects in the application queue and would make it virtually impossible to build or finance any new ground mounted solar capacity in Ontario.”

The report noted that Kerry Adler, CEO of SkyPower, initially supported the changes that were imposed by the McGuinty government, stating, at the time, “We applaud Ontario for showing global leadership.” However, the court filing now comes from what is said to be the realization that the changes, which did not apply to already-approved projects, do apply to those waiting for approval.

A hearing is set for July 24, at which the government and the OPA can respond to the allegations.

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