Horizon files suit

By Leith Dunick, tbnewswatch.com

The City of Thunder Bay is facing a $126-million lawsuit in the aftermath of its decision to approve only 14 of 18 of Horizon Wind’s preferred wind turbine locations on the Nor’Wester Mountain range.

Horizon Wind Inc. confirmed the lawsuit was being filed at 4 p.m. Tuesday, but could not say what the specific damages they were seeking.

A source close to the situation said the southern Ontario company has filed for damages; misrepresentation; breach of contract; breach of duty of good faith, wrongful interference with economic interests, damages for breach of a non-disclosure agreement.

City officials, in a release issued late Tuesday, expressed disappointment at Horizon’s direction, though admitted they haven’t yet seen a statement of claim.  

“We are disappointed Horizon has taken this position and, once we have received a statement of claim, we will be responding,” said city manager Tim Commisso.

“We believe any lawsuit is unfounded,” he added. “City council approved 14 of 18 sites and by executing the lease the City is fulfilling its obligations to move forward on this project having completed its due diligence.”

Council’s decision, reached Monday night after a lengthy in camera session, came a week after it voted 7-5 in favour of approving all 18 turbine locations, as well as the finalized lease agreement.

Horizon Wind originally agreed in 2006 to a land-lease deal with the city allowing them to put turbines on 17,000 acres of city-owned land in Neebing Township. However the province scuttled the company’s original choice on the south side of the Big Thunder Sports Park.

Horizon and the city then agreed to the current Nor’Wester Mountain range location, a decision that was vehemently opposed by nearby residents and business owners.

In her report recommending the city approve the lease and location, city solicitor Rosalie Evans said she made the decision despite the threat of lawsuits from several parties.

The company was planning to spend $75 million to build the wind farm.   If Horizon Wind wins its suit, money will be taken from the city treasury.   An interview request with Evans was not immediately responded to by the city solicitor’s office.

19 thoughts on “Horizon files suit

  1. How can Horizon Wind have a non-disclosure agreement with the City of Thunder Bay? The City of Thunder Bay is not a private entity. No secrets allowed between public entity and private entity?Public has a right to know.

    Portuguese utility EDP owner of Horizon Wind,Inc. in the U.S. and Horizon Wind,Canada.Is this the multinational doing business in Thunder Bay?

    Wind Action Org. at http://www.windaction.org has an article on them under “Wind’s future share in doubt” for Oct.15,2010.

  2. This is a heads-on-posts, let this be a lesson to you move by a foreign, corporate wind developer who believes it has the Green Energy Act on its side, and can do what it wants.

  3. Kinda shows the type of Companies that engage in this Wind Scam doesn’t it?

    Play the role of being a “Partner” and a “Good Neighbour” but when $$ are involved the gloves come off and their true colours come right at ya!

    Horizon should actually be sued by all Ontario Citizens for damages to their liveliehoods and domiciles along with every other “Wind Scammer.”

    Throw THESE bums out!

  4. OMG. This is just the tip of the iceberg with potential upcoming lawsuits against the Liberal/Green Energy Act-(rammed down our throats) and the windturbine industry scammers.
    I think it’s really going to hit the “FAN” no pun intended.
    Remember: Wind Turbine Symposium, Picton Ont.29-31 Oct.

  5. Thunder Bay Turbines…

    Here is how it breaks down.

    The agreement was for 18 turbines at an approximate development cost of $75M or (75/18) $4.17M per turbine. The development was to produce 27MW of power – which is (27MW/18 Turbines) 1.5MW per turbine.

    Over its lifetime the turbine would generate power at best at a 30% capacity factor. Realistically this would be more like a range of 18% to 26% capacity factor based on experience at other wind power development sites.

    Assuming a 30% capacity factor (CF) the generated power per turbine is something like:

    .3(CF) X 1.5 MW X 24 Hrs X 365.25 Days/year = 3944.7MWH of energy delivered per year. It is 78,894 MWH over 20 years.

    The current FIT rate of $135/MWH values this output at 78,894 MWH X $135 per MWH = $10,650,690.

    Now four (4) turbines were not approved – so the loss in revenue could be argued to be $42,602,760.

    Note as well though that there was no expenditure to build the turbines at a cost of $4.17M dollars each. So that means that an expenditure of 4 X $4.17 = $16.68M need not be made – but that must be subtracted from the expected revenue to give a net value – so the provable loss at this point is $25,922,760.

    We have not considered maintenance and running costs – which I will estimate at $1,000 per month per turbine. Initially maintenance should be quite low and costs should increase towards the end of the lifetime which could be 20 years. SO assuming the foregoing.. $1000 X 12 months/year X 20 years X 4 Turbines we get a value of $960,000 – or approximately $1M.

    At this point we can show a possible loss of approximately $25M (rounded to the nearest million). I have not subtracted off the cost of capital (interest) since I could only hazard a guess as to the desired payback period, but bear in mind that there is substantial savings on the $16.68M that need not be financed.

    Now the lawsuit mentions a figure of $142 million dollars. Presumably the other $117M ($142M – $25M) is for pain and suffering.

  6. Hey David – you forgot “defamation of character”

    (I couldn’t resist)….

  7. Isn’t the Horizon proposal really for 100 turbines, not just 18? So what does the refusal of 4 out of the first 18 really mean? Is that why they’re suing?

  8. NGWT:

    Are you suggesting that a court might consider a damages for a proposal that might be refused though it has not been filed or conceived? I have seen stranger requests though…

    Until you see the suit documents you have no idea what the issues are. At this moment I view it as a threat — not a reality.

    Note that regardless of the above, I see no way that any lawsuit can be viewed as a “liquid claim” (like an unpaid invoice)– it is a damages claim. A damages claim must be shown to have a basis in reality and that harm flows fro the actions (or inactions) of the other party. Since they were required to follow a approval process to lease land from the city it makes it an interesting challenge.

    They may have been given a guarantee (originally) of 18 sites. The new GEA likely threw a monkey wrench in the process. The new re-approval would involve the GEA and the province — so if a lawsuit is filed, and it looks like the lawsuit flows from changes in legislation, then the city should sue the province for recovery. That’s how it works in industry anyway — you (Party A) sue party B — who then sues party C on your behalf – since you have no direct reach…

    You really need the court documents to analyze it though — this is pure speculation till we see them.

    I simply did the numbers based on the current project. The number proposed for the lawsuit appears to base on the total revenue of all the turbines plus some “damages” of a currently unspecified nature.

    It makes the damages claim difficult to analyze — other than the direct apparent loss of revenue.

  9. Could this be a sign?……I wouldn’t want to speak on behalf of an Industry as socially and morally disconnected as the Wind Industry but could this be a sign that the “hand writing is on the wall” that subsidies for Wind are not in the cards next year and all signs for the Wind Industry point to a massive failure of the Government to force people to accept the destruction of their lands?

    Carry this scenario a step further. Horizon is as “hooked up” as any other Wind “grifter” with CANWEA and Liberal Leaders and wouldn’t jeopardize a lucrative money pit like our “Public $$ trough” by turning on the very people who will be paying them their “blood money”, US!

    UNLESS, Horizon is just the first to “guarantee” they will make a huge amount of money off this Green Energy Scam by lodging the first lawsuit for damages and will be able to promise their “investors” that they will receive profits even though nothing will be built!

    Now I wouldn’t even suggest that this is what is happening but I can’t imagine that the Green Gang would sanction one of their little “players” upsetting the whole “apple cart” by “pissing” off the very people they intend to squeeze the last dollar out of!

  10. Let this be a lesson for all those dealing with the Wind Companies:

    When you sleep with thieves, sometimes when you wake up your wallet is missing.

  11. Is this simply a heavy-handed way to force Thunder Bay into giving Horizon everything they want, as well as a warning to all others that Big Wind will have its way no matter what?

    I am no lawyer, but I agree with David that this is meant to be a threat heard around the world.

  12. claire,

    You are so right and so is David.

    Yes ,this should serve as a good lesson for any cities,towns and individuals considering signing contracts/leases with any wind operators.

    They can wind up in big time legal trouble which can cost them big bucks.

  13. Barbara, what you have said suggests that towns could be empowered NOT to deal with them. This would work against the developer, would it not? I am puzzled as to why Horizon is not being more conciliatory with Thunder bay.

  14. Horizon Wind Inc. became a Co. 1 month before signing a lease with Thunder Bay. They are NOT the REAL HORIZON WIND out of the US. They are a real estate company owned by Anthony Zwig from Toronto, ON who is the same person threatening Bala Falls, ON with lawsuits after they were “fooled” into signing a bad deal for their community long ago (same story as Thunder Bay). This is all being ALLOWED BY OUR PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT. Shame Shame

  15. claire,

    Think they just plain made a mistake.

    No city,no town has to give leases of public property to wind develpers.

    No private property owners have to give leases to wind developers.

    Do hope that people will not be forced to lease land to wind developers.

  16. Now that Horizon has shown their true colours, maybe Thunder Bay can escape the lease altogether.

    Surely the fact that the developer lied to them about possible health implications (I would certainly be sending a few representatives to the Symposium in Picton at the end of the month for more information) would be sufficient grounds to nullify any lease arrangements.

    This is not new information, by the way, it has been widely known and communicated for over 2 years. The Wind Industry has intentionally covered it up and this could certainly be considered bad faith in negotiating leases.

    Perhaps Thunder Bay should respond to Horizon’s outlandish behaviour by cancelling the whole damn project and taking a long and serious look at the harm it is doing.

    A municipality can do no better than taking bold steps to protect it’s citizens against harm.

  17. ibby,

    Thanks for the information. So the names of the partners shoud be on the partnership papers filed with the Ontario government to become a legal entity.

    Freedom of information may be needed to reveal the names of the partners in Horizon wind if Horizon wind won’t reveal the names of the partners just by asking.

    The Statement of Claim should also be made available to the public as there is a lot of public money involved here.

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