In the wake of municipal council’s recent approval of a wind energy application, another project took a necessary step Wednesday.
An open house was held at the Blenheim Legion for the Kent Centre Wind Farm.
Calgary-based BowArk Energy Ltd. and Windsor-based Wind Prospect Inc. are proposing the project, which would consist of approximately 50 turbines with a 150-megawatt output.
It would be located on approximately 10,000 acres spanning the townships of Raleigh, Harwich and Howard.
Keith Knudsen, BowArk’s manager of development engineering, said approximately 80 landowners are already on board.
He said the open house was to provide information, but that many people have already done their homework.
“We’re showing an overview of what our environmental study area is,” The Kent Centre Wind Farm would power 30,000 homes. This is the first Ontario project for BowArk, which wanted to expand into the province.
Blenheim’s Edsel Dick said energy demand is only going to increase as the population grows and believes wind power would help.
“I see it as very effective,” he said. “I think it’s a very good thing.”
Pat Forget, a Charing Cross resident, said he wants to see proper setbacks for any wind farm, due to possible noise, shadow flicker and stray voltage.
“I’m not against the towers,” he said. “But they have to be far enough away from people’s homes.”
Forget said solar power would also help reduce dependency on the electricity grid.
If all goes according to plan, the Kent Centre Wind Farm could be operational in 2011.
However, the province still has to release the request for proposals, said Knudsen. Municipal approvals are also required.
Monica Elmes, of the Chatham-Kent Wind Action Group, distributed literature outside the Legion.
She said the number of wind companies showing an interest in the area concerns her.
“It’s still the cumulative effects,” she said. “I’ve been at a lot of open houses.”
On Monday, Chatham-Kent council gave the OK for Gengrowth to move ahead with four wind energy projects. The Toronto-based company is planning a total of 20 turbines for Dover, Harwich, Howard and Tilbury East. Each of these five-turbine projects is rated at 10 megawatts of electricity.
Council also directed administration to examine the potential proliferation of turbines and measures to deal with this, as Montreal-based Kruger Energy is putting up 44 turbines near Port Alma.
However, Knudsen welcomed these projects, saying they could ease public curiosity or apprehension.
“It will be good for the community to see them up,” he said. “It will be less mysterious.”
By Trevor Terfloth
17 April 2008
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