Pending approval of an environmental screening report, Windrush Energies hopes to start construction of two wind turbine projects in East Luther Grand Valley next year. The report will likely be submitted to the Ministry of the Environment for review in the new year, says company chair John Pennie.
“We’re still going through the development phase. We’re not ready to announce the program as final,” he told The Banner. “We’ve been working on it several years. There’s a lot of investment required up front.”
The company is proposing to erect a total of 12 wind turbines at the Ashton Ridge Golf Course on County Road 25, split into two projects of six turbines each. Windrush Energies has signed on to lease about 800 acres for the combined projects.
“The expectation is that we’ll get part of that completed in the summer of 2007, and the balance by the winter,” Pennie said of constructing the turbines.
“Once we have a certificate [of approval from the MOE], we would expect to proceed when the turbines are available,” he continued. “There’s a world shortage of turbines. We’ve had them on order for some time, but the deliveries are slipping, so it’s rather imprecise when they’re going to be available.”
Windrush Energies first approached East Luther Grand Valley council with the projects in the summer of 2005. Several public meetings have since been held, most recently on Nov. 27 to receive public input on the environmental screening report.
“A year and a half ago [council] approved a temporary use bylaw because our zoning bylaw and official plan is in the process of being updated,” explained CAO/clerk Jane Wilson.
Before the project can move forward, council approval of a site plan is required.
For the last 18 months or so, the company has been monitoring wind strength in the area with two test towers.
“The wind is better there than a project that I was considering in Adjala a couple of years ago – it’s about 50 per cent stronger,” Pennie said, explaining Windrush withdrew from the Adjala project because the wind wasn’t strong enough.
The MOE will be reviewing the company report to ensure the proposals meet all existing regulations and that any concerns are mitigated. Public comments will be included in the ministry review.
By Richard Vivian
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