WIND FARM PROJECT IN PRESCOTT-RUSSELL NOT DEAD YET
A wind farm project in Prescott-Russell may not be dead yet.
“We’re not abandoning it,” said Andrea Cosman, project leader for the Eastern Fields wind farm project, the Montréal-based company which proposed to set up nine wind turbines throughout The Nation Municipality and Champlain Township hasn’t given up hope for its project.
Renewable Energy Systems Canada (RES) of Montréal acquired the Eastern Fields project in 2015 from Leader Resources Inc., which made the original proposal under the then-Liberal provincial government’s green energy program. RES received a contract the following year from the Independent Electrical System Operator (IESO), the government’s independent power project contractor, and on refining details of the project, including holding public information and consultation sessions, as part of the Renewable Energy Approvals process (REA).
The company had lease arrangements with landowners in both municipalities for sites for the nine wind turbines and the transmission connection site to the provincial power grid, and was close to starting construction on the 32-megawatt project later this year or early next year. The Progressive Conservatives took office in June and the following month, more than 700 green energy contracts were cancelled, including the one for Eastern Fields.
“There was surprise,” said Cosman, adding RES officials knew the PCs were leading in the polls and that part of Premier Doug Ford’s campaign platform was a promise to reduce energy costs for the province, including cancelling the previous Liberal government’s green energy program.
“But cancelling our contracts didn’t actually reduce energy costs,” said Cosman, adding that the IESO is also predicting “an energy shortage by the mid-2020s.”
Wind farm future
The IESO prediction gives RES hope that its Eastern Fields wind farm may still become a reality. The company still has its leasing arrangements with local landowners and, Cosman noted, has made no decision at present on cancelling those. RES also does not have an “off-table option” yet for the project.
“This is an advanced project,” she said. “We are almost ready for construction. Wind power is actually the cheapest source of new (energy) generation, potentially, in Canada.”
RES may decide to wait and see if the new Progressive Conservative government changes its mind on green energy projects or if there is a change of government during the next election four years from now.
“But cancelling our contracts didn’t actually reduce energy costs,” said Cosman.
Le gouvernement progressiste-conservateur a mis fin au contrat pour le projet de parc éolien Eastern Fields, ainsi que des centaines d’autres projets « d’énergie verte », dans le cadre de ses plans de réduction des coûts pour l’Ontario. Mais l’entreprise montréalaise qui prévoyait installer neuf éoliennes dans la municipalité de La Nation et dans le canton de Champlain n’a pas encore perdu espoir pour le projet.