Ontario Wind Turbine Contracts

Assessing the legal and financial risks of contracts under Ontario's Green Energy Act

Introduction

This website contains information that it is hoped will assist rural landowners in gaining a better understanding of some of the legal and financial risks involved in signing an agreement for the construction and operation on their property of one or more large wind turbines.

These agreements usually contain an option in favour of the wind energy developer for several years providing for a relatively small payment and if the developer exercises the option, a 20 year lease or easement with a right of renewal for a further period of up to 20 years or more. These turbines can be over 400 feet tall including the tower and rotor blades and have a maximum generating capacity of up to 2.5 megawatts or more.

Most of the publicly available information about wind turbine contracts reflects the government and wind industry viewpoint. This website is written from the perspective of the landowner. It is hoped that the information here will help to redress this imbalance somewhat and will be of some value to landowners on all sides of the wind energy debate.

It is written primarily for the rural landowner who has not signed a contract and may still be undecided.

It may also be of interest to individuals who have signed an agreement with a wind energy developer and wish to know more about their legal position or who may be reconsidering their decision, others who have signed contracts and are satisfied with their decision and individuals who have not signed a contract but have made their mind up to do so, as well as their neighbours and fellow landowners who for whatever reason do not have or do not wish to have a wind turbine on their property.

Entering into a wind turbine contract will likely be the single biggest financial decision that rural landowners make in their lifetimes and this will be especially true if they are farming their land. It will affect what they can do with their land, including what they can build on it and their ability to sell it, for the next 25 to 50 years.

The
Commentary section contains comments on a list of issues that will need to be considered in connection with most wind turbine contracts and is arranged by topic in alphabetical order.

The
Legal advice and resources section has information about obtaining advice from lawyers and independent legal advice as well as how to access legislation and court decisions and the Ministry of the Environment (draft) Technical Bulletins.

The
Further reading section has a note about the Ontario Federation of Agriculture as well as a list of industry and government participants in the electricity system. Be sure to read the OFA publication 3 Dozen Plus Suggestions on Wind Power Leases for Farmers (2011)

To read our disclaimer and how to contact us, please visit the
About/contact page.

The terms "(wind turbine) contract" or "(wind turbine) agreement" are used here to refer to all of the documents that are required by the wind energy developer to be signed by the landowner. These will usually include an option agreement and a lease or sometimes an easement, as well as schedules. The description of these documents may vary as there are many wind energy developers operating in Ontario and most have their own form of agreement.