Trillium Wind Power Corp files $2.25 billion lawsuit against the province of Ontario

Trillium says the decision “constituted bad faith ministerial decisions for political expediency,” and was an attempt to mollify “potential voters in swing ridings.”
By John Spears, Toronto Star
A wind power company caught by the Ontario government’s moratorium on offshore wind projects is suing the province for $2.25 billion in damages.

And a coalition of environmental groups is going to court seeking to block further progress on proposed new nuclear reactors at the Darlington nuclear station.

Both legal actions come in the final stages of an election campaign in which electricity – how it should be generated, and how much it should cost – is a contentious issue.

Trillium Wind Power Corp. filed a statement of claim against the province Wednesday.

Trillium has been planning a wind farm of up to 6oo megawatts in the waters of Lake Ontario near Kingston, 17 to 28 kilometres from shore.

It was halted in its tracks in February when the province put a moratorium on all off-shore wind projects, saying it needs to do further studies about possible health effects.

In its statement of claim, Trillium says the decision “constituted bad faith ministerial decisions for political expediency,” and was an attempt to mollify “potential voters in swing ridings.”

Allegations in a statement of claim have not been tested in court; they may be challenged, and withdrawn or amended.

Opponents of wind power have been hounding Liberals, both prior to and during the election campaign, arguing that big wind turbines threaten water quality, wildlife and human health.

Boosting renewable energy, including wind power, is a key election plank for the Liberals.

Trillium’s lawsuit says the company made a formal application to the ministry of natural resources to use the site for its wind project in 2004.

In 2010, Trillium says it was told by the environment ministry that its project was a “high priority.”

By early 2011, the company says it was on the verge of signing a $26 million financing deal with Dundee Corp. that was set to close on Feb. 11. Trillium says it informed the premier’s office on Feb. 9 of the impending closing.

But on Feb. 11 the government announced the moratorium on off-shore wind projects, saying more study on their impact is needed.

“No prior notice was ever made to Trillium Power,” the statement says. The financing with Dundee promptly collapsed.

John Kourtoff, chief executive of Trillium, said in an interview that his company the project was “down to the five-yard line” when the moratorium halted it.

He said he’s since tried to talk to the government about a solution but was told early this month by a senior official that there is “no political appetite” to re-start off-shore wind projects.

That left him “mad as hell” and with no option other than legal action, he said.

A spokesman for the attorney-general said, “we will defend this action,” but added that further comment would be inappropriate.

Meanwhile, a coalition of environmental, aboriginal and other groups is trying to block the construction of new nuclear reactors at the Darlington power station.

They are expected to file a legal action Thursday.

A federal panel had cleared the way in August for the nuclear project to advance, if certain conditions are met.

The coalition says the panel’s work was flawed.

In an earlier letter to federal environment minister Peter Kent, the coalition said the panel had failed to consider crucial information. For example, they say the panel made its decision without knowing what type of reactors will be built.

58 thoughts on “Trillium Wind Power Corp files $2.25 billion lawsuit against the province of Ontario

  1. And the plot thickens.
    Do we not already have an excess of good, safe,
    efficient energy in Ontario? I may be old school,
    but why buy what you don’t need?
    As a voter, I want to stop the insanity.
    I have one vote on Oct.6th.
    I will make it count.

    • I am really disheartened by the lack of attention to the other item mentioned in the article. An increase in the # of reactors at Darlington? I believe that any well informed person would feel much more comfortable with the health implications of wind turbines at 500 m over a nuclear plant at 10 or 20 km. As far as being kind to our children, and the next 10 or 15 or 30 generations goes, nuclear is a doozer of a way to go. Also worth comparing the actual cost of nuclear generation vs wind/nat gas. Please – will someone tell me how much it will cost to keep the spent fuel created in Ontario today until it is safe to hold in my bare hand. Anyone know what the inflation rate will be 237 years from now to help in accurate bugeting for the calculation? It appears to be misplaced focus by many people.

      • Tom:

        Lots of people here that wish to get out of their noise riddled houses. If you are convinced it is better you can have a house — soon and cheap. Put your money where your mouth is and buy a house under a turbine.

        Cheers.

  2. Dalton is costing us untold millions and billions of dollars for his incompetence with the wind energy file.
    These corporations are taking him for a giant ride…..obviously he had no idea what he was getting into.
    Dumb a**….

  3. If there was any doubt in your mind that the goal of certain environmental groups is to collapse the economy of the province through the control of energy, it should be put to rest now.

    • Precisely energy01. That’s what this is all about. Look into the writings of Strong, his role in privatizing Ontario Hydro, his role in the Earth Summit and the goal of Agenda 21

      That should put to rest any doubts as to why they want to collapse our economy.

  4. Sinister, isn’t it? Who would have thought we
    would be in the midst of it, here in Ontario, in
    Canada. We have to stop this insanity so our
    children and grandchildren can live in peace
    and security. That is what my forefathers have
    fought for. I will not let them down.

  5. Some recent good news for Lake Ontario and Lake Erie on the US side, which ends up affecting all of the Great Lakes.

    New York Power Authority
    http://www.nypa.gov/Press/2011/110927b.html
    NY Power Authority Trustees Vote to End Proposed Great Lakes Offshore Wind Project

    Buffalo News, same story
    http://www.buffalonews.com/business/business-columns/david-robinson/article561197.ece

    With all that has happened I don’t think any investors will touch any future Great Lakes wind projects. A recent Lake Michigan project offered $245 /Mwh (24.5 cents / kilowatt hour) and they still can’t attract investors. The Cleveland – Lake Erie pilot project can find investors. Today’s US commodity electricity rates were averaging $30 – 40 /Mwh (3-4 cents /kilowatt hour)

  6. Thanks to Dalton’s magical thinking about green energy, we now have:

    -a $775 million NAFTA challenge to the Green Energy Act by T. Boone Pickens
    -a $2.25 billion lawsuit against the Province of Ontario by an off-shore wind developer
    -cancellation damages for the Mississauga gas plant
    -cancellation damages for the Oakville gas plant
    -WTO challenges against the Green Energy Act by Japan and the EU
    -lawsuits from residents claiming damages due to insufficient setbacks from wind turbines
    -families abandonning their homes

    How long can this insanity realistically continue?

  7. in HOLLAND, a country with thousands of turbines, they are very busy building 3 brand new coal fired power plants. Over there they now think it will give them votes!!!!! strange world he’.

  8. Well,well,well…I see that the Liberal provincial government will have to hurray up a 3rd party independent epidemiological study to use in defence of it’s off- shore wind projects, “when the province put a moratorium on all off-shore wind projects, saying it needs to do further studies about possible health effects”.
    (The same kind of studies the province used to counter-sue the tobacco companies for health costs.)
    I would love to be a “fly on the wall” as government lawyers knock on vicitm’s doors asking for their help. …..

  9. Political expediency…doesn’t that means that thousands of people wrote in uncertain terms of their opposition to offshore wind turbines, and this being a democracy, their government listened? Never mind all the environmental reasons (including the unknowns) for not building willy nilly in the largest freshwater ecosystem in the world, across continentally important flyways. Moreover, Mr. Kourtoff proposed to build next to the most pristine* island remaining in Lake Ontario!

    *per Nature Conservancy

    • Well Margaret, it sure would be nice if the Liberals put a moratorium on offshore wind turbines, to appease the “thousands of people who wrote in uncertain terms of their opposition to offshore wind turbines, & this being a democracy ,their government listened?” If that were true, then why no moratorium on much closer & much more harmfull land based IWTs, when 100s of 1000s of people wrote in NO uncertain terms, of their opposition. This being a democracy, they should listen, but they don`t/won`t!
      The Lying Liberals put a temporary moratorium on offshore IWTs, to save seats in the election. That is their one and only concern. They don`t give a danm about democracy, peoples health, the environment, animals, wildlife, none of that. Only money and keeping power, that`s it, period. They are the coldest, worst, most damaging prov. gov. in history.

    • IWT projects will go foreward with an NDP government. The USW and the CAW are backing wind and solar.

  10. Ironic on many levels. Off shore at great distances raises concerns worthy of stopping a project, yet 500 meters is deemed safe by the government and local control, and the actual impacts are denied?
    Fish & geese in/over the Lake count more than people in their homes?
    The study the government will need to undertake in it’s defense will likely need to rely on input from the very people they screwed?
    Oh yeah,…let’s not forget: Wind developers are good neighbors, right? (As long as they can get a couple billion in taxpayer funds, one way or the other, eh?)

    • Mike:

      Who owns the lake shore? Poor people? Rich or well/off people? Do people who own lakefront cottages want their vistas despoiled?

      Think about that and then reconsider what you are thinking?

      Maybe the decision was entirely consistent with Liberal values.

      • With all your research skills, would you help us figure out who owns the bottoms of the great lakes?

      • Property owners on the Great Lakes own their property up to the water’s edge. The land under the water is crown land/Ontario/land. Provided the property deed goes to the water’s edge.

    • I suspect that for fish and wildlie reasons, MNR may be less sympathetic to willy nilly wind development than other ministries. Because “offshore” is bigger than x development, and because offshore development is something citizens are really sure they don’t like, MNR got the support it needed to do what they believed was best in protecting the offshore, and the economy that depends on it. In the other largescale question–offshore exclusion zone, opinions were no doubt more divided–and Min of Env, being more focussed on pollution than F&W, was able to recommend its 5km “fig leaf”. Individual developments probably don’t attract so many citizen responses. My impression, anyway.

  11. We have a week prior to election.. Even then we are not out of the woods .
    These guys are going to come at Hudak with a pile of dough in a wheel barrel
    Then we have councils baited.or turned .or “enriched ”
    Then we have these EnviroScam lobby groups ..which are nothing more than ad agencies
    Then we have the UN that wants to rule the world ….and have us pay taxes to them
    Half of them want us blown up
    And you have the Environmental “science” group that will do every they can to protect their jobs and funding they get.
    Virtually every party has been…”turned” to some degree as it stands. Some like the NDP have disasterous policies waiting in the wings.
    So my question is …
    Any thoughts where we go from there?

    • Ernest
      For the next week, all I can focus on is Oct 6 and what I can do to get the PCs in. I agree Oct 6 is not the end of the battle but let’s take one step at a time. What specific things are you doing in the next seven days? Maybe your list would give us all some ideas of things we could do that we have not already thought of.

    • Let people know that this affects all Ontarians as they will have to pay for renewable energy projects not only through their Hydro bills but also from their insurance premiums and pension finds. Any jobs created will likely be in the ~$12/hr.range. Remind people that energy poverty looms here in Ontario. High energy prices will kill Ontario jobs and manufacturers will not locate here

    • So my question is …
      Any thoughts where we go from there?

      Mexico? Bermuda? Russia? Venezuela? But I’m just guessing… 😉

      You’re right you know — depressing isn’t it? 🙁

      At noon today, even Sun News Network was running a “Government Spin Article” on Climate. The spin was (I only saw a minute) that the arctic was melting, the polar bears were dying and that billion$ of dollar$ of damage were imminent. So we need to “Do Something — NOW! Awwwkkk”. Like erect more turbines perhaps?… Maybe we can mount McGuinty and Suzuki at the ends of the blades… Not much cure — but lots of satisfaction…

      We need a policy guy inside whatever party wins — and he better know something about power generation, power distribution and a lot of other systems. It does not have to be an engineer — but they better be science savvy! And… they had better be resistant to the “Climate Change Claptrap”.

      If we can’t accomplish that, we’re done like dinner!

      • The biggest challenge is to have people accept the fact that this is all a scam .
        I mean lets face it , the concept is pretty hard to swallow.
        A bunch of guys got together and planned a way to put a cost on air , make it tradble commodity and hand the clean up as well to the tax payer for the pollution globally. While industry walks away and makes money from it. I mean really Canada is at 34 Million….China at 1.3 Billion..and we are paying Enviro people to fix things without stemming overpopulation , deforestation and expanding consumerism. It is absolute nonsense.
        We have hit Peak Brain Power..not peak oil.
        Just like the war on electricity….come on , no other industry pollutes ? You could take Canada back to the horse and buggy and use candles and nothing would change because the concrete and steel are still being manufactured and the planes are still shipping and the ocean cargo vessels are still crossing the ocean and we still keep logging.
        Spin on TV works and they knew that and have done a great job on honest caring people.

  12. Hitting every newspaper we can.., you would be surprised how active lobby groups have been in the last month writting letters to the editor across this province…we just google them back and link them back to where they work. We try to tell the papers who they are and why they are doing it. We have people going door to door explaining what is going on with power and CAP and TRADE and how it affects them.
    McGuinty was given several opportunities to give us back our say in the planning process.
    He was told if he did not…he will not be elected again.
    Despite the polls, despite the teacher unions …people have had enough of the cost increases.
    And no one is taking his last ditch promises seriously.
    I can tell you one thing , when people are told how much of their dollars go the Envro-Ad agencies…while they are struggling , and why……….it really……………gets them angry. And no one has asked them to speak for them , so again why the face time ? i would say they are more corporate than people know.
    I don’t have an answer for who is the right person to elect , other than no political party should even be a party in Ontario that legislates peoples say away
    That is a slam dunk, done deal.
    There is Cap and Trade…, and then IWT developments , who will decide on the planning ..local councils on the county or municipal levels ?..I don’t think so. That will not work.
    These people can be bought very easily ..a vacation here or a renovation there , then what do you do.?
    Oct.7 , like or not , we should be looking at a continuation of the battle
    These people aren’t giving up with the opportunity Mcguinty handed them.
    Had McGuinty given communities back their rights to have a say and not force us to take it back in however that will be necessary to do ….then he would get another term.
    But he hasn’t , so I know for certain it is absolutely no for the Liberals and the NDP……..No matter who is elected , we have a continued battle.
    My battle prefferably would have been with the devil I know.
    But McGuinty made that call

  13. This lawsuit has no merit whatsoever. This is a desperate ploy, no doubt orchestrated by the wind lobbyists to scare Ontarians into voting for McGuinty so as to avoid the repercussions of cancelled contracts by Hudak. It is fear mongering plain and simple.

  14. Tell all your computer e-mail and social network contacts about how another Liberal government will pick their wallet so clean there won’t even be dust left in it! You have very little time. Write to them and request that they immediately pass the message on with the request that each generation of recipient does the same. We can reach everyone in the province before Monday night.

  15. When this project came close to reality, I took a look at Trillium Wind and from what I could find out including contacting their supplier Vesta and supposed partners ( check the website for “tai” wind). This company has no employees, no board of directors, no completed projects of any kind and their suppliers and partners don’t even mention them. It seems that John Kortoff is a one man band. I also happen to know from personal experience that he was once someone else. If anyone can shine any light on this “company” I would love to know how they nearly got billions of our dollars with no experience at all in wind power, much less offshore wind.

    • This sounds like the Mike Crawley story. No experience, no money no nothing — but a plum contract dropped in their lap. Good deal!

      Is he an Ex-Liberal-Official?

  16. From March 6, 2009

    http://poweringthefuturesummit.ca/Wind.html

    John Kourtoff
    President and CEO
    TRILLIUM WIND POWER CORPORATION

    John Kourtoff has over 21 years experience in the renewable energy industry. John is currently the Chairman of E3X Markets Corporation [emissions trading] among his activities with other private sector and charitable organizations. John’s background originates in the financial sector as an investor and VP of BPI Capital Management and McLeod Young Weir Ltd.

    John was previously Co-Chair of the Ontario Government’s Financial Advisory Committee and a member of the Ontario Government’s Energy Advisory Committee amongst other committees. John has had a strong focus on developing long-lasting solutions that integrate best practices and new thinking from the areas of finance, energy and the environment.

    There is your link…

  17. we all know if the Liberals or NDP are elected ..there is a good chance the 2 gas plants will be built and the offshore projects will move ahead , and thousands more IWYs will mar the province.
    Then combine that with Cap and Trade.and our social services and jobs are done

  18. And from Here:
    http://www.ghgx.org/html/media_centre/ghgx_in_the_news/ghgx_in_the_news_archive/FM_Kyoto_Conference.pdf
    Feb. 16, 2005

    Mr. Kourtoff is CEO and Director of GHGx. He has over 20 years experience in the renewable energy, investment and high technology markets. Mr. Kourtoff is a Director of Osiris Energy Corporation (renewable energy), Unified World (non-profit) and several other organizations. Mr. Kourtoff was President and CEO of World Connect Inc., Vice President BPI Capital Management [BPI Mutual Funds] and McLeod Young Weir Limited.

    Mr. Kourtoff has been a member of several Government of Ontario committees in the finance and energy sectors including the Minister of Finance’s Small Business Advisory Committee. Mr. Kourtoff’s commitment to fiscal, social and environmentally balanced policies was the foundation of GHGx – Greenhouse Gas Exchange.

    Interesting fellow.

    • I remember when the offshore moratorium was announced, Kourtoff told the press that he was shocked that he never got a phone call from the gov’t to inform him about it beforehand. That gives you some idea on how close these guys were to the decision makers.

      Do we get personal phone calls when decisions are made in our community? 🙂

  19. Just one more on this and maybe Barbara can add something…
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argead_dynasty

    Maybe they see a new Dynasty emerging…

    The Argead dynasty (Greek: Ἀργεάδαι) was an ancient Greek royal house. They were the ruling dynasty of Macedonia from about 700 to 310 BC. Their tradition, as described in ancient Greek historiography, traced their origins to Argos, in southern Greece (hence the name Argeads).[1][2] Initially, the rulers of the homonymous tribe,[3] by the time of Philip II they had expanded their reign further, to include under the rule of Macedonia all Upper Macedonian states. The family’s most celebrated members were Philip II of Macedonia and Alexander the Great, under whose leadership, the kingdom of Macedonia gradually gained predominance throughout Greece, defeated the Achaemenid Empire and expanded as far as Egypt and India.
    etc.

    Something to think about!

  20. If anyone can find a picture of John Kortoff please post the link here.

    There are no photos on any links I can find. Now I’m curious!

    • I think I saw John Kourtoff at

      SqueezePlay : February 22, 2011 : Ontario Wind Power Controversy [02-22-11 5:10 PM]

      How does Ontario’s cancellation of a proposed wind plant in Lake Ontario affect the province’s plans to bring more green energy on line? BNN finds out from Lawrence Solomon, from Energy Probe and John Kourtoff, CEO, Trillium Power.

      Ontario Wind Power Controversy: http://watch.bnn.ca/squeezeplay/february-2011/squeezeplay-february-22-2011/#clip421933

      (Computer’s slow today, so I can’t check link at moment.)

      • Okay–finally! Yup, Kourtoff is interviewed on that Business News Network segment.

      • Margaret:

        Just watched it too — thanks. This confirms that the Argead (India) link could be a valid connection.

        I hate to say it — but his suit could have some strength — at least from the political and engineering perspective. I may put together more on this later.

  21. Joyce Foundation ,,then follow Richard Sandor..Joyce foundation consists of the top 1% of the very powerful…, even Obama sat on it’s board , …more powerful than Tides.. But quieter , they helped start up the ChicagoCC and they fund the Sierra Club in the USA, you are starting to see the name in Canada as well.
    If these links are coming up..then Goldman Sachs , Fannie Mae are also in there and likely Gore.
    It seems we are seeing a shift of funding to invest in 3rd world countries with huge populations ..like power , infrastructure etc…..and of course clean up their mess and they want you to pay for it.
    Falls in line with what is happening with pension fund investment.
    Of course the only problem is if it is your pension………..getting paid by Africa for example or a global corporation is not a certainty…so it is high risk.
    I still think Mcguinty et al may have been groomed all along for this direction because the Federal Level certainly is.
    And yes this ties in to Wind……. emissions credits….and high subsidies.

  22. Trillium/Tai Wind supported by Buzz Hargrove-CAW, Jose Etcheverry-David Suzuki Foumdation Julia Langers-World Wildlife Foundation Canada & John Beland-Multibrid GMBH. Drummond Pike is now at Equilibrium Capital headquartered in Oregan and when checking that out I found Roby Roberts on the Advisory Board. Maybe you remember him from Horizon Energy which was the job “Big Thunder Wind Park” in Thunder Bay. Another interesting fact – Trillium is shown as a company under the umbrella of Social Ventures (John Mailman) This may be the deep pockets Kourtoff spoke of yesterday.

  23. Did you all watch Kourtoff on TV yesterday explaining his position on this lawsuit? If so did anyone pick up on anything that might have given us more info than we presently have on this guy?

  24. If you visit http://www.trilliumpower.com/ you can find, under investors/ partners an entity called TaiWind.
    “TaiWind: partnering for change.
    TaiWind is catalyzing a new era in green sustainable manufacturing in The Great Lakes.

    Founded by Trillium Power Wind Corporation, TaiWind is an organization working to leverage the common requirements of various offshore wind developers in order to build a full offshore wind ‘Innovation Chain’ in North America.

    Current members of TaiWind include:

    Trillium Power Wind Corporation
    Golder Associates
    Vestas Offshore
    Baird Engineering

    Current Trillium Power supporters include:

    World Wildlife Fund Canada
    Canadian Auto Workers (CAW)
    First Nations Technical Institute (FNTI)
    St. Lawrence College”

    It mentions partners and supporters, go visit the partners websites . It would appear that their “partners” know nothing about TaiWind. Searches at the partner sites get no results for TaiWind. Baird engineering mentions the offshore proposal but not Taiwind. The ” partner” websites are full of completed and proposed projects, Trillium power with “20+ years experience” mentions no completed work at all. I contacted Vestas and asked about Trillium, no response. If you check the “supporters” websites , WWF, CAW, First Nations Technical Institute and St Lawrence College you will find no mention of “TaiWind” or Trillium Power. Strange partnership indeed. Freshwater Offshore wind at this stage is strictly experimental, there are no commercial facilities anywhere. It is therefore impossible to find a company with freshwater offshore experience, but should such a large and expensive venture be given to a company that has no experience in any generation capacity whatsoever. It appears they have a spokesman/CEO/president and a website. I am just a guy with an Ipad and Google, maybe the government knows about Trilliums completed projects, I can’t find any evidence of anything. Most companies boast about things they have completed and are working on, not Trillium. It would appear their partners and supporters have never heard of them, they have a handful of employees ( perhaps just 1), no completed projects…. How would this company handle the inevitable extra costs and so on associated with a first time effort as large as they have proposed for our great lakes. What kind of due dilligence has the Ontario government done to investigate this company and their plans with our money?

    • For everyone: TAI WIND is a Consortium likley formed to purchase equipment and raise capital. What is important is whose names are on the $2.25 billion lawsuit filed against Ontario. Who stands to benefit from this lawsuit and get any money from a possible victory or settlement?

  25. Golder Associates is consulting firm retained by Trillium, I think.

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