The first community co-op wind farm development in North America is in the works for the Bervie area.
The Lakewind Community Power Co-op Project has many hurdles to overcome before the five-turbine, 10-megawatt project gets off the ground, including approval for connection from the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) and the generation of $10-million in shareholder investments.
Bird migratory studies have been completed and two years of wind data has been collected at the properties, owned by two farmers along Highway 9 between Bervie and Kinloss, west of the municipal boundary.
Doug Fyfe, general manager for Countryside Energy Co-op which is overseeing the project’s development, said an Environmental Assessment (EA) still needs to be completed. Fyfe said public meetings will also be upcoming to hear public concerns and advertise the project as an option for prospective investors.
He believes the project will be well-received, as they’re taking a community-minded approach based on common public concerns.
“We’re keeping well away from residential areas and we’re not getting the huge number of turbines we’re seeing with commercial (wind) projects,” said Fyfe. “We want to want to be a co-operative in spirit, as well as name.”
The project, formed in August 2005, is organized around the basic corporate principles, where dividends would be distributed to shareholders based on electricity production over a 20-year period.
The $20-million project cost will be split, $10-million raised by both Countryside Co-op and its partner, Windshare, a Toronto-based group responsible for the Exhibition Place wind turbine development.
Half of the commitment will be raised through financing, while the other half will be collected from the sale of company shares.
The Ontario government is also supporting the initiative, he said, with a $370,000 grant approved Jan. 15 to be used towards the cost of project management, co-op and project development, EA, site management and wind study expenses.
“It’s marvellous news,” he said. “It shows we have the support the province has for these types of projects.”
The problem is the lack of electricity capacity in the area which places the project in the “˜Orange Zone’, an area from Tobermory, south to Lake Erie, east to Orangeville and along the Lake Huron shoreline. As of November 2006, the designation prevents any grid connections over 10 kilowatts, Fyfe said.
He said Hydro One has confirmed its ability to connect, the province supports the co-op, but the OPA refuses to accept their connection application until the hold is lifted.
“It’s absolutely ludicris,” he said. “Hydro One agreed over a year ago they had the capacity. Now it’s up to the government to help get through these bureaucratic roadblocks.”
Fyfe said it’s the first project of its kind in Canada and North America and is based around a European community wind farm model that’s been increasing in popularity.
Both interested parties approached Fyfe with their proposal, who already had the wind test tower erected at that time. He said the proponents had learned of the Windshare program, a Toronto-based group responsible for the Exhibition Place wind turbine development, which got them interested.
“They heard about it and got in touch with us,” he said.
The group has plans for another development in Perth County and plan to hold public meetings to attract investors from Grey, Bruce, Huron and Perth counties after the OPA hold is lifted.
He said they’re also looking at establishing a project between Bervie and Kincardine further down the road.
The project will feature five two-megawatt Enercon E82 wind turbines.
Currently there are 94 members in the co-op.
Fyfe said interested parties are always welcome to contact him if they have any questions.
For more information visit www.countrysideenergyco-op.ca or call 1-888-595-3999.
By Troy Patterson
Kincardine News Staff
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding