[This is the same company that silently bought out six homes in Melancthon and had the owners sign gag orders]
PAUL FOY The Associated Press
SALT LAKE CITY – Neither of the companies that announced the transfer of development rights for a massive wind farm on Lake Erie owns those rights, Ontario authorities told The Associated Press on Thursday.
The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources disputed accounts offered the day before by a U.S. company, which said it had acquired and was selling the rights to operate giant wind turbines on the Canadian half of Lake Erie, and a Canadian company that said it was buying those rights.
Utah-based Wasatch Wind Inc. said it was transferring rights to a 4,400-megawatt “offshore wind prospect” to Canadian Hydro Developers Inc. of Calgary, Alberta.
Canadian Hydro, a publicly traded company, affirmed in a separate statement that it was acquiring those rights. The pact received widespread news coverage in Canada.
But the announcement came as a surprise to Ontario’s minister of natural resources, Donna Cansfield, her spokeswoman told the AP on Thursday.
“We haven’t even given Wasatch Wind any water rights,” Stephanie Millon said. “It is still under review. They don’t have any rights as this point.”
Millon said Wasatch Wind did apply to develop a wind farm on Ontario’s half of Lake Erie.
But the U.S. company was told to take the application first to the Ontario Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure.
Both ministries are now looking into the pact made by both companies.
“We don’t know what the relationship is between the companies,” Millon said. “When we saw those news articles, we didn’t know what to make of it.”
Both companies said the wind farm would be the world’s largest, enough to power two million homes. So far, no offshore wind projects have been built in North America.
Wasatch Wind’s chief executive, Tracy Livingston, said he couldn’t discuss specifics of what the company transferred because of a confidentiality clause. He said his company’s development rights were “in the process” of being granted by the Ontario government, but said he didn’t know the exact status of the application.
Darryl Warren, a spokesman for Canadian Hydro, didn’t immediately respond to question from the AP. The company’s chief executive, Kent Brown, was preoccupied by a hostile takeover bid from another company and was unavailable to comment, his executive assistant said by telephone. Brown was quoted widely in Canadian newspapers promoting the Lake Erie project.