Ontario plans offshore study despite moratorium

CANADA: The province of Ontario has put out a request for bids to carry out an offshore wind impact study, despite the fact that a moratorium on offshore development is still in place.

A number of developments were planned in Lake Ontario
A number of developments were planned in Lake Ontario

The provincial government has posted a request for proposals to carry out a noise impact study relating to offshore wind development in the freshwater lakes in the Canadian province.

The move will be seen by the industry as a positive step following the government's sudden cancellation of offshore plans in 2011 and the imposition of a moratorium on offshore development that still stands today.

Many saw the ban as politically motivated, with an election due later that year and campaigners making noise about purported health effects from the proposed developments. But the government has previously done little to indicate that it will look at overturning the moratorium.

However, it has now called for companies to put forward proposals to carry out "a technical evaluation of sound propagation modelling methodologies to predict offshore wind farm noise impacts in Ontario and create a report about the study to the satisfaction of and for approval by the [environment] ministry."

Interested parties would be required to conduct a literature review and consult technical and government specialists, as well as carry out field measurements.

A number of companies that had invested funds in plans to develop offshore wind projects in the province have since sued the government.

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