A cheese co-operative wants to build a windmill in the fields east of Ottawa, saying it could put up to $300,000 into each member’s pockets.
The man behind the project is Rejean Ouimet, the general manager of the St-Albert Cheese Co-operative Inc. in St-Albert, about 40 kilometres east of Ottawa. The co-operative has about 40 producers.
The St-Albert Cheese Co-operative Inc. in St-Albert, about 40 kilometres east of Ottawa, says a wind turbine like this one could generate up to one megawatt of power, supplying electricity to about 300 homes.
He wants farmers to get together and start a windmill co-operative, a project that he says could generate up to one megawatt of power, supply electricity to about 300 homes, and bring in a lot of money for its members.
The idea came to Ouimet when a major power company started knocking on doors in the Limoges area, about 30 kilometres east of Ottawa, asking farmers for permission to build a windmill on their land.
But farmers balked when they found they would have to lease their land to the windmill company for 50 years.
They objected to giving up their land, but they saw no reason why they couldn’t build the windmill themselves, with the help of local townspeople and their credit union.
“Each individual could be part of the co-op,” Ouimet said. “You have to have people from town, not only the farmers.”
He took the idea to StÃ©phane Audet, the head of the Conseil de la co-opÃ©ration de l’Ontario, the trade organization representing francophone credit unions and co-operatives in the province.
Audet liked the idea so much that he decided to sit down and help Ouimet draft a prospectus, which he could take to the provincial government for help with the funding.
The project could well receive Ontario government subsidies under a recently announced renewable energy funding project.
“Citizens will be engaged from the very onset,” Ouimet said. “They will have an opportunity to participate in the development of the project.”
But Audet warned that windmills can’t be built overnight. The project could cost up to $3 million and take five years to finish, he said.
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