Cit­i­zens fume af­ter wind farm li­cence is­sued

The Glengarry News - - The Opinion Page - News

BY RICHARD MA­HONEY

Staff A group of cit­i­zens is an­gry af­ter learn­ing a per­mit has been is­sued for the con­struc­tion of a St-Bernardin wind farm that had sup­pos­edly been scut­tled.

Save The Na­tion is seek­ing an­swers from the On­tario Min­is­ter of En­ergy, Greg Rick­ford, about an elec­tric­ity gen­er­a­tion li­cence awarded to the “can­celled” Eastern Fields in­dus­trial wind tur­bine project.

The On­tario En­ergy Board is­sued the per­mit in De­cem­ber, even though the prov­ince had an­nounced the “can­cel­la­tion” of the Eastern Fields project on July 13, 2018.

“We were shocked to find out about this li­cence. We do not un­der­stand why or how a can­celled project can be is­sued a li­cence to pro­duce elec­tric­ity for a pe­riod of 20 years -- un­til 2038. We’re also ex­tremely dis­ap­pointed that the Ford gov­ern­ment does not seem to fol­low through with its an­nounce­ment,” says Julie Ler­oux, spokesper­son for Save The Na­tion.

Eastern Fields was one of 758 projects iden­ti­fied by Min­is­ter Rick­ford for wind-down on July 13, 2018, fol­low­ing a prom­ise to can­cel un­nec­es­sary and waste­ful en­ergy projects in or­der to cut hy­dro rates.

“We’re ask­ing Min­is­ter Rick­ford to con­firm that this prom­ise has been kept and that Eastern Fields Wind Farm LP is a dead project with no chance of ever mov­ing for­ward,” says Ms. Ler­oux.

The group is ask­ing the prov­ince re­voke the “use­less” li­cence is­sued for the wind farm that is slated to be con­structed in The Na­tion Mu­nic­i­pal­ity and Cham­plain Town­ships.

The gen­er­a­tion li­cence was is­sued De­cem­ber 6, the same day the On­tario gov­ern­ment adopted the Green En­ergy Re­peal Act.

In July, the gov­ern­ment de­clared that On­tario ratepay­ers will ben­e­fit from $790 mil­lion in sav­ings thanks to its de­ci­sion “to can­cel and wind down” 758 re­new­able en­ergy con­tracts.

“We clearly promised we would can­cel these un­nec­es­sary and waste­ful en­ergy projects as part of our plan to cut hy­dro rates by 12 per cent for fam­i­lies, farm­ers and small busi­nesses,” said Mr. Rick­ford. “In the past few weeks, we have taken sig­nif­i­cant steps to­ward keep­ing that prom­ise.”

The gov­ern­ment said that all of the can­celled projects have not reached project de­vel­op­ment milestones and that ter­mi­nat­ing the projects at this early stage will max­i­mize ben­e­fits for ratepay­ers.

Save The Na­tion is a grass-root move­ment that has been op­pos­ing the Eastern Fields project since it was pub­licly an­nounced in June 2015. “Save The Na­tion is not against green ini­tia­tives, but is fiercely op­posed to the process that was used for the ap­proval of re­new­able en­ergy projects in On­tario un­der the Green En­ergy Act,” the group says.

Sec­ond set­back

This is the sec­ond set­back for an area cit­i­zens group try­ing to block wind power fa­cil­i­ties.

A cit­i­zens group in North Stor­mont re­cently lost its ap­peal in front of the En­vi­ron­men­tal Re­view Tri­bunal against the Na­tion Rise Wind Farm that EDP Re­new­ables plans to open later this year.

Fol­low­ing a hear­ing in Finch, the tri­bunal con­cluded that the Con­cerned Cit­i­zens of North Stor­mont failed to prove that wind tur­bines would ad­versely af­fect hu­mans, an­i­mals, plants and the en­vi­ron­ment.

“Un­will­ing host”

Wind farm op­po­nents warn the fa­cil­ity would ex­pose cit­i­zens near Finch, Crysler and Ber­wick to from huge, 3.2-megawatt wind tur­bines that would be lo­cated on a “highly vul­ner­a­ble aquifer.”

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.

A dec­la­ra­tion that North Stor­mont was an “un­will­ing host” did not pre­vent the In­de­pen­dent Elec­tric­ity Sys­tem Op­er­a­tor (IESO) from ap­prov­ing the plan. The project re­ceived provin­cial ap­proval just days be­fore the writ for On­tario’s June elec­tion was dropped.

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