The first planned wind turbine in Eastern Ontario has been cancelled due to a lack of funding, but the region is still likely to see one in the near future, according to an organizer involved with the project.
Robert Farrell, the co-founder and president of the Galetta Renewable Energy and Environmental Network (GREEN), the co-operative behind the design, says about $300,000 was required for the initial construction costs, but under provincial law, co-operatives have only one year to raise enough money. From November 2005 to November 2006, the co-op had about $141,000 – less than half the required amount.
And Mr. Farrell won’t be able to create a new co-op, because new provincial legislation now stipulates that 50 per cent of a co-op’s output must be distributed to members.
“Well, that would be impossible for us. We would sell (the energy) to the power grid and have no control over who it went to,” which effectively ended the co-op, says Mr. Farrell.
Instead, a new corporation not bound by the same laws as co-ops may be created to raise the money, but the co-op would still exist as an advocacy organization promoting the use of wind power for energy.
“We’re hoping something will rise from the ashes of the co-op and become like a regular corporation,” Mr. Farrell says, adding the planning stages could begin anytime.
Wind turbines, which, depending on their size, can power between 250 and 600 homes, produce electricity when the blades of the device are propelled by wind power.
Henk Huizenga, a member of GREEN’s board of directors, says Canada lags far behind Europe in what he says is a promising source of energy.
“I’m from Holland, and every time I go back there and see the wind turbines, I think, “˜when are we going to have that in Canada?’ “
He said one wind turbine, at a total cost of about $3 million, would provide enough energy to power about 600 homes in the area, and that once the first is built in Eastern Ontario, more will come soon after.
“If one had gone up, we would build another one right next to it, as long as the financing was available,” he said
The area’s councillor, Eli El-Chantiry, says even though there was very little municipal involvement with the project, he hopes it can soon become a reality in his ward.
“It’s disappointing because we thought it was a good time and it was a good idea to put a wind turbine in our area.”
By Robert Walker, Ottawa Citizen
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