Builders believed construction of one of Ontario’s largest planned wind farms would breeze along, but a gust of opposition has caused serious setbacks for not only the company, but the province as well.
Enbridge Ontario Wind Power LP was set to build 110 wind turbines north of Kincardine, along the shore of Lake Huron, with the project expected to produce 189 megawatts of power.
“Initially, we ran into concerns about setbacks. We worked though them and got them resolved,” said Scott Dodd of Enbridge. “And we got all the approvals in place from the Kincardine council and we expected to go about building.”
But opponents are now appealing the project to the Ontario Municipal Board, an independent tribunal that hears appeals on land use disputes, for further environmental assessments.
The project is already months behind schedule, but could be delayed by up to two years if the appeal is successful.
Group worried about health, environment
In the lakeside community of Kincardine, about 200 kilometres northwest of Toronto, a group has taken issue with the distance between wind turbines and residential properties over health and safety concerns.
Enbridge says it already increased the distance in response to public concern to 121 metres from neighbours’ property lines and 450 metres from any residence.
But Bill Palmer of the Wind Action Group wants more distance between homes and turbines.
“From a lot, it should be about two times the total height of a turbine, and from a noise point of view, at least 1,000 metres to a neighbour’s house,” said Palmer.
Concerns have been voiced about inaudible sound, noise not heard but felt, the visual impact of blinking lights on top of wind towers and the effect on birds.
However, incoming mayor of Kincardine, Larry Kraemer, downplayed wind-farm opposition, saying those upset about the project are in the minority.
Setbacks for province’s energy security plans
Energy Minister Dwight Duncan has boasted that the province is on its way to becoming the country’s top wind energy producer by 2008.
But growing opposition from residents across the province has led to delays or cancellations of wind farm projects across the province.
Enbridge already cancelled another project in the neighbouring community of Saugeen Shores that was to install 11 turbines along Lake Huron’s coast.
The problems have put Ontario behind on its goal of doubling the amount of electricity drawn from renewable resources by 2025. Wind generation accounts for a significant portion of that energy security plan.
Setbacks mean the government is unlikely to meet its upcoming target of having 1,400 megawatts – or five per cent of the province’s renewable energy – of wind power up and running by 2007.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding