A wind turbine project presented to Amaranth council proposes to build turbines in the southern part of the municipality to provide discounted energy first to Orangeville – and then Amaranth.
Robert Younker, head of the Orangeville and Dufferin Wind Cooperative (Orange Wind), says he’s hoping Amaranth landowners are willing to consider the project – and the monetary incentives it would bring.
The plan calls for 12 18-mW turbines on land in southeast Amaranth, where landowners receive a four per cent royalty – roughly $15,000 to $20,000 a year. Younker also suggests that though the Orange Wind initiative, royalties will rise as the Ontario electricity prices go up.
Younker reports a positive response from Amaranth council.
“A number of councillors were reluctant to have wind turbines in the area, but they like my proposal better than ones they had been hearing,” he says.
However, Amaranth mayor Bob Currie says “the guy was not given any positive response,” and that council did not put forth a motion to support the project.
“He just came to talk, there was no official proposal made,” says Currie.
While Currie doesn’t dismiss Younker’s idea, he says there have been at least six other wind turbine proposals to come to council in recent months.
“They all want the same thing,” says Currie, “they want to put up turbines.”
Currie recognizes what Younker describes as unique to the Orange Wind project – that not only will landowners receive royalties but landowners of nearby severed lots will receive a free, small turbine of about three kW capacity, which would provide roughly $100 of electricity at current rates.
However, Currie says all developers are offering some sort of incentive.
Currie says he’s not personally opposed to having wind energy in Amaranth – to a certain extent – but suggests it’s a complicated issue affecting many different residents.
“It makes sense they want to build these things here, on the highest point … but it is not an easy thing to stickhandle through,” says Currie. “But I don’t think anyone wants to see turbines all over the place.”
Farmers, he says, are warming up to the idea because of the monetary incentives, while other residents are concerned turbines in Amaranth will decrease neighbouring property values and become an eyesore.
“Some people don’t want what [wind turbine developers] are selling,” says Currie. “It’s a complex issue. I have no problem listening to people on both sides of the fence.”
Additionally, residents might not warm to the idea of having turbines in Amaranth that supply Orangeville with energy.
Orange Wind needs to secure funding for the project to move forward – an estimated $36 million, which Younker says “I’ve been assured I can get.”
Once the funding rolls in, Orange Wind will need to develop a formal relationship with Orangeville Hydro; get land options to allow the construction of the turbines; and see a successful wind study completed.
Younker says another unique aspect of his proposal is that it is a cooperative, which he says will bring more benefits to the consumer.
“It will be a more sophisticated environment and there will be more money in the community because of it,” says Younker, adding those getting paybacks from the project will likely spend that money locally.
His vision, he said, is to develop a wind turbine farm in Amaranth and later smaller farms around Dufferin.
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