An international renewable energy producer is proposing 12 wind generators in two six-turbine plants west of the 6th Line of Amaranth, between 5 and 10 Sideroad (County 10).
The turbines would be sited about midway between the 6th and 7th and the 7th and 8th Lines, such as to be generally close to the rear of all properties, said Wind Prospect general manager Helen Plowman.
Ms. Plowman, who’s stationed at the company’s Canadian head office in Halifax, was interviewed at a public information meeting in the Amaranth township hall Tuesday evening.
She said the meeting was intended to identify any concerns, and to make whatever reasonable adjustments were needed.
It would be a few months before the results of the meeting would be analyzed, at which time they would be discussed with township council.
The two wind plants would each have a nameplate capacity of less than 10 megawatts, qualifying them for the provincial Standard Offer Program (SOP). Under the SOP, the electricity generated would be fed to the local distribution network rather than to Hydro One’s high-voltage grid.
The installations would generally have a minimum setback of 500 metres from existing residences, and would not be close to any existing roadways as they are in the centre of two concessions.
Ms. Plowman said cables would be underground to their connection points to the local grid. She might have been surprised to learn at the meeting that the township would not expect to be involved in any fashion in provision of roadways to the turbines.
Councillor Jane Aultman said outside the meeting that she felt reaction at the meeting to the proposal was mainly negative. However, she said in effect that this would not necessarily be an over-all public view, as opponents are more likely to be vocal than those in favour.
Although Tuesday night’s meeting was the first held by the company locally, Ms. Plowman said Wind Prospects had already met with the Six Nations council and others to review environmental issues.
Those meetings are continuing.
She was aware of the status of other applications for wind-farm zoning in the township, and said the township council is in the delicate position of having to do something of a balancing act in the best interests of all affected parties.
It is especially difficult, she said, as the wind industry is “cutting its teeth” in the Canadian market, and people generally have not been given a lot of information about it.
“You can get a lot of information on the Internet, but not all of it is accurate,” said Ms. Plowman, who holds a Masters degree in science with an emphasis on wind generation.
(The industry, Natural Resources Canada, and the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) are currently involved in surveys. CanWEA has indicated it would like to have data published by Statistics Canada.)
Wind Prospects home office is in Bristol, England. Its website indicates interests in the United Kingdom, Ireland, China and Australia, among other countries.
Asked about such a company’s interest in two minor wind farms, Ms. Plowman said, in effect, that it fits its installations into the terrain and the nature of development in the area.
For example, she said, the company has a 50-turbine offshore farm in England, and other major installations in the wideopen spaces of Australia.
She viewed Amaranth as a mixture of farms and residential properties.
The 12 turbines in Amaranth would be remotely monitored, but Ms. Plowman said the company would have one local person on call at all times. “We would be offering local employment,” she said.
By Wes Keller
8 March 2007
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