Ontario Power Authority has announced contracts for three small wind farms north of Grand Valley under its Standard Offer Program (SOP) for production of electricity from renewable resources.
The contracts are for about 30 megawatts (MW) of nameplate capacity in three phases at or near Ashton Ridge Golf Course. They are among 14 across the province, from Lions Head to Amherstburg, with a total capacity of about 130 MW under the SOP.
Additionally, the OPA announced SOP contracts for three solar, three bioenergy, and two water projects. The SOP is for facilities of less than 10 MW capacity.
Electricity is fed to the local distribution system, rather than to the main Hydro One grid.
The contracts announced at Guelph on Tuesday are for 20 years, and provide for payment of 11 cents per kilowatt hour (kwh) of energy actually delivered to the local distribution system. They were the first contracts to be awarded under the SOP.
The OPA cautions that proponents must be prepared to finance construction, maintenance, metering and all other costs related to the installations.
As well, they must ensure that the grid has the needed capacity, must meet local zoning and provincial environmental constraints, among other things.
Unlike the townships of Amaranth, East Garafraxa and Mulmur, East Luther Grand Valley has included electrical generation in its Official Plan.
At Grand Valley, proponent Windrush Energy has held at least one public meeting, has reviewed its proposal with township council, and has interviewed all or most of the neighbours surrounded the proposed site.
At Windrush, chairman and CEO John Pennie said he and five partners founded the company in 2002 because they all held “a belief in the urgent need to meet the challenge of global warming.”
Since then, he said, they have been “dedicating resources to create distributed power generation by developing renewable inland projects, serving local communities where the power is used.”
At Ashton Ridge, where the first 12 x 1.5-MW turbines will be built along County Road 25, “100 per cent of the adjoining neighbours of the project gave their support, enabling bylaws for the projects to be approved by township council in 2005.
“It is expected that upon receipt of an environmental certificate and site plan approval that these phases will be completed no later than spring 2008,” he said.
Although not included in Tuesday’s awards, at least two other small wind projects are in the planning stages for Dufferin.
A Halifax-based company, Wind Prospects, has announced a public information session to be held at Amaranth township hall March 6, from 5 to 10 p.m., to review proposals for two 10 MW installations, at Bowling Green and Laurel.
In the mean time, Ontario Municipal Board hearings have commenced for the proposed Canadian Hydro Developers Inc. 132 MW Melancthon II wind project in Melancthon and Amaranth.
The pre-hearing sessions are continuing, and as much as 10 weeks has been set aside for the actual hearings in July to September 2007.
The OPA describes the SOP as intended “to make it easier for the operators of small renewable energy generating facilities to contribute to Ontario’s electricity supply by providing power to their local distribution company and receiving payment for the power they provide.
The program has been designed to promote renewable electricity generation projects that deliver value to the Ontario ratepayer.”
An eligible renewable energy project must be located in Ontario, must have a Gross Nameplate Capacity of no more than 10,000 kw (10 MW), must be connected (directly or indirectly) to an Ontario Energy Board licensed Distribution System, must have a connection voltage of no more than 50 kilovolts and must be metered at the generator’s expense in accordance with Distribution System Code requirements.
By Wes Keller
1 March 2007
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