A new wind farm project awaiting final approval in Manitoba would be among the richest in Canada, with landowners paid $10,500 per year for every turbine on their land.
Manitoba Hydro announced this week it had chosen BowArk’s proposal for turbines in St. Joseph from more than 80 wind-farm proposals in Manitoba.
The two sides will now sit down for final negotiations.
The Crown-owned utility must choose between a 100-megawatt project, a 200-megawatt project or a 300-megawatt project for the land south of Winnipeg.
If Manitoba Hydro chooses the largest one, BowArk Energy will pay an additional one-time bonus of $195 per acre to landowners.
The company says some payments will also go to about 300 neighbouring landowners.
“Most wind development companies don’t do it like this,” said Brad Sparkes, president and CEO of BowArk Energy in Calgary.
“We’re trying to make our landowners feel like owners in this.”
The project is considerably richer than one in St. Leon, Man., in which BowArk was a partner, where landowners are paid $6,500 per turbine annually.
The 300 megawatt proposal is for 120 turbines at a cost of $750 million over an area of about 110 square kilometres.
Wind-farm opponents were surprised at the scale of wind farms being pondered. Their concerns include noise from wind turbines, night lights installed so airplanes can see turbines, and the general esthetic of the landscape.
“(BowArk) said there would be only 63 turbines, at an open house, and now it’s a few more,” said Todd Braun, who leads a group of about two dozen residents who have concerns about wind-farm development. “I think that’s going to shock a few people.”
Roger Vermette, reeve for the Rural Municipality of Montcalm, said the 300-megawatt proposal would add an estimated $750,000 per year in tax revenue to the RM’s coffers, plus $750,000 in provincial education taxes.
“It’s the best economic activity you could have in this area. We have no manufacturing jobs. We just have agriculture,” Vermette said.
Posted By Bill Redekop
7 April 2008
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