Transmission line for renewable energy park approved

December 12, 2011

Grand Renewable Wind LP (GRW) has received approval from the Ontario Energy Board to construct a new transmission line and associated facilities for the Grand Renewable Energy Park (GREP) located in Haldimand County.  The Board’s approval is subject to GRW obtaining all other necessary approvals, including its Renewable Energy Approval for the GREP, and complying with certain mitigation measures.

GRW’s application was one of first leave to construct applications since the enactment of the Green Energy and Green Economy Act, 2009 and it raised novel issues that the Board has not considered before. Of particular interest in this case was a request from Haldimand County Hydro Incorporated (HCHI) for access to GRW’s transmission facilities so that HCHI could connect a new transformer station for its distribution system. GRW denied that it had an obligation to provide HCHI with access to its transmission facility.

The dispute centred on whether GRW, a partnership of Samsung and Pattern, should be treated like a typical transmitter, which would carry with it a requirement to be licenced and an obligation to provide access.  Generally, transmission lines operated by generators are exempt from these obligations provided the line carries the generator’s energy.  The unique twist in this case is that the transmission line will not just carry energy from GRW’s wind farm, but also from a solar facility that will operated by a different entity as part of GREP.

GRW argued that it was exempt from the requirement to hold a transmitter’s licence because it would be generator and would transmit power from the solar project at cost. Board staff and other intervenors disagreed with this argument. In its decision, the Board acknowledged the issue was important, but determined that it was not necessary to decide the issue as part of a leave to construct application.

It is not clear from the decision how the Board intends to resolve this issue.  If HCHI intends to pursue the issue, it could make a specific application for access to GRW’s transmission facilities. Alternatively, the Board could convene a generic proceeding under its Transmission System Code to deal with the matter more generally. 

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