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Public comment sought on landfill wind farm project  

Nobody wants to live beside a landfill. How about a landfill buffered by 120-meter-high wind turbines?

The Essex-Windsor Solid Waste Authority may get an answer to that question, after giving approval in principal Tuesday to hosting part of an $80-million wind farm project.

Comments from the public will be sought and various municipal, Essex County and senior government approvals are still needed.

“We’ll want to hear from the residents who live around the whole landfill site,” said authority manager Todd Pepper. “There’s a lot of hurdles for us and them to get through.”

The landfill’s liaison committee, which includes residents who live within a mile of the regional landfill, will be asked to comment. Roland Garant, a farmer who lives northeast of the landfill and chairs the committee, said he hasn’t heard any negative comments about the wind project.

Garant said he’s visited other wind turbine farms and is generally in favour of “green energy” proposals.

However, Garant said he’s never really thought about what it would be like to live within constant view of giant turbines. He said it would be helpful if one full-sized turbine was constructed so residents could get a better appreciation of the size and impact.

Pepper estimated five or six turbines could be sited on roughly 900 acres of buffer land around the landfill on County Road 18. Most of that land is now leased out by the authority for farming. The authority would get about $10,000 in annual revenue for each turbine on its property.

None of the turbines would be on the 300-acre site of the landfill itself. As a result, Pepper didn’t think the waste authority needed any amendments to its certificate of approval from the environment ministry to permit the wind turbines.

Tim Sullivan, a project site consultant for AIM PowerGen Corporation, said 18 wind turbines generating about 30 megawatts of power are proposed for an area that would straddle parts of Kingsville and Essex.

“It’s still in the early stages of development,” said Sullivan. AIM just recently got approval to erect a test tower to measure winds, and its environmental screening report wouldn’t start until next spring, he said.

The authority’s own green energy project – generating electricity from the collection of methane gas given off by rotting garbage – is still bogged down, in part because of the numbers of wind farms seeking approvals.

Pepper said the authority has all the approvals it needs to build the methane gas generating facility, except for Ontario Energy Board permission to connect to the hydro grid.

Pepper said he doesn’t understand how AIM was able to get OEB approval to connect to the hydro grid at the Kingsville substation for their project, which is in its very early stages.

Pepper is worried that the numerous wind energy projects are going to use up all the local capacity for grid connection before the authority’s project.

By Gary Rennie

The Windsor Star

5 February 2008

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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