Against the wind
BY RICHARD MAHONEY
Staff The Ontario government has shelved new large- scale wind power projects. But citizens in North Stormont and The Nation continue their campaigns against installations that have already been approved for their municipalities.
Opponents have an ally in Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry Conservative MPP Jim McDonell who has been submitting to the province thousands of letters from citizens trying to have the wind farm plans scrubbed.
The Nation Rise wind project in North Stormont “was approved by the Independent Electricity System Operator despite meeting none of the rated criteria,” Mr. McDonell contends,
“The community, including abutting landowners, opposed the project from the get-go, and the township declared itself an unwilling host. Despite these clear messages, the IESO allowed the project whose power is completely unnecessary to meet declining power demand in Ontario. Recently, the government suspended its second stage of wind and solar procurement because it realized the over-paid power would not be needed in our grid and would have to be off- loaded to our neighbours, again, at a cost. Nation Rise should face the same fate – the community doesn’t want it and the province doesn’t need it.”
The 100-megawatt Nation Rise Wind Farm would be built on about 22,000 acres owned by 40 landowners who have signed agreements with EDP Renewables.
A total of approximately 45 to 50 wind turbines will be erected; the number will be determined by the turbine model and its generation capacity.
Declarations that The Nation and North Stormont were “unwilling hosts” did not prevent the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) from approving the Parc éolien Gauthier near St-Bernardin and the Nation Rise Wind Farm near Crysler.
In September, Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault suspended the second round of its Large Renewable Procurement (LRP2) process, halting the procurement of solar, wind, hydroelectric, bioenergy and energy from waste projects over 1,000 megawatts in size.
The reason for the decision is that the province does not need that additional power.
EDP Renewables is seeking approval to begin construction of the Nation Rise Wind Farm in 2019.
If it goes through, almost 1,200 rural residences could be affected, cautions the Concerned Citizens of North Stormont, a group that is worried about the health implications posed by noise and vibrations created by the turbines.
“Wind energy projects have the potential to generate environ- mental noise which under certain circumstances may represent an annoyance to some surrounding residents,” EFP notes on its web page. “As with any wind energy project undertaken in Ontario, a noise study will be conducted to minimize these effects.”
Despite moratorium on new large-scale wind power projects, two area proposals have not been shelved Proponent insists that it wants to foster a working relationship with North Stormont
Turbines will be placed at least 550 metres away from any neighbours. “Noise modelling will be used to predict sound levels and assist in determining turbine layout to minimize the potential for noise annoyance,” the company says.
“EDPR Canada places great importance on community engagement as it is an integral part of the entire lifecycle of any successful wind energy project.”
The firm first presented its proposal to North Stormont council in 2012.
In 2015, council voted against all wind project proposals within the municipality. “Fostering a working relationship with North Stormont is a key to the success of the Nation Rise Wind Farm in order to best develop the Project and to ensure the municipality and community are engaged in the development and delivery of the project,” EDP says. “We are committed to continue providing regular updates to council and staff throughout the life of the project and to have open dialogue regarding the progression and development of the project.”