As he knows a thing or two about the topic, Wilson Kerr wasn’t about to pass up a chance to see the latest trends in renewable energy.
The retired Chatham Township resident was one of dozens of people who attended a wind power open house held Thursday and hosted by Calgary-based Suncor Energy and Acciona Energy of Spain.
Kerr said he worked in the solar power field 25 years ago in Chatham, providing units to heat swimming pools and apartments.
He said he would like to see solar and wind eventually provide the majority of power used by residents.
“I’m totally in favour of any projects of this nature,” he said. “I’d love to see a system with both set up.”
Suncor Energy and Acciona Energy have partnered on a number of projects, including a 38-turbine wind farm now under construction near Ripley, Ont.
Jason Vaillant, Suncor’s manager of communications and stakeholder relations, said he was impressed with the turnout at the Merlin Community Centre.
“We’ve got a study area we’re exploring,” he said. “We’re already working in Ontario. We’d like to do more business here.”
The partnership is currently optioning land and conducting a wind resource analysis, as well as a migratory bird survey.
Vaillant said it is still early in the process and didn’t have an estimate on how many turbines could be installed.
“We’re working with landowners and starting some of the environmental processes,” he said.
Tilbury-area farmer Maurice Quenneville said he signed a wind power lease last year for his 30 acres of land.
He praised the session as informative, but said the overall impact of wind is yet to be determined.
“It sounds like a good idea,” he said. “I guess we’ll have to see the results.”
Suncor Energy and Acciona Energy join a growing list of organizations that have Chatham-Kent in mind.
Kruger Energy, Invenergy, GenGrowth and AIM (Air in Motion) PowerGen Corp. are also looking at projects within the municipality.
Gerry Murphy, senior municipal planner, told The Chatham Daily News this week there are a dozen wind energy companies expressing an interest.
However, he said he couldn’t divulge several of them at this time.
“Once they get to the point where they’re going to be going public with something, then we would pass the names out,” he said. “Some are very preliminary inquiries. They may never amount to anything.” Murphy said Chatham-Kent has strong potential for not just wind power, but other forms of renewable energy, including solar.
He said residents are usually supportive of alternative energy and have more questions than concerns.
Kerr believes the municipality must keep doing what it’s doing in promoting the cause.
“They should definitely support it as much as they can,” he said. “It’s an excellent ecological way to go.”
The Daily News
27 April 2007
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