Huron-Kinloss Twp. is concerned with the possibility of offshore wind turbine development in Lake Huron.
“This could become a reality in the near future, we just don’t know,” said Coun. Anne Eadie, at the township council meeting on Aug. 16.
Eadie said offshore wind turbines are regulated under the Green Energy Act. She said any offshore development could have a negative effect on tourism in the municipality and the county.
“The provincial government has control over issues along the shore, but the federal government has jurisdiction over of the lake,” said Eadie.
Administrator Mary Rose Walden told council that the Ministry of Environment: Renewable Energy website shows a map illustrating wind turbine applications proposed in Lake Huron, from Kincardine to Goderich. Walden said staff is trying to verify the application.
Council also received a letter from The Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation giving their position statement for Offshore Wind Projects on Lake Huron. The letter, signed by the Coastal Conservation Chair Matt Pearson, was developed to assist the township in the decision making process on offshore wind turbine projects if required. The position statement reads that:
• Prior notice and consultation should occur on a lake wide basis for all offshore proposals on Lake Huron. It is crucial that meaningful public participation be provided. In this regard, First Nation consultation is considered vital.
• The Province of Ontario and Government of Canada fund independent research in the areas of coastal processes, aquatic ecology, coastal engineering, beach and shore ecology to determine the potential impacts of offshore wind mills on the offshore, nearshore and onshore ecosystems, system communities and species, coastal geomorphology.
• Proposed offshore wind projects should be reviewed with comprehensive analysis. Engineering and ecological consultants need to undertake primary research (modeling, measuring and counting) to determine whether the proposed undertakings will result in negative impacts on water quality (including re-suspension of contaminated sediments) and the physical and biological features and processes associated with any offshore proposal. In addition, the promotion of invasive species colonization from lakebed alteration should be investigated.
• The lead federal agencies should initiate, as early in the planning process as possible for any proposed wind project on one of the lakes, intergovernmental consultation with all government agencies who might be directly and substantially affected by an offshore wind project – or involved in any capacity – to ensure that issues and concerns at all phases of the project, including decommissioning, are identified and adequately addressed.
• If deemed to be feasible that it is possible to construct these structures without significant impacts, it is also necessary to identify impacts and measures related to:
– Ongoing operation, including, but not limited to: Concern over possible leaks of lubricant fluid; methods of winter repairs under ice conditions; aesthetic issues related to light and fog horns which have the potential to cause visual, noise and light pollution; concern over vibrations and electromagnetic fields emitted from cables transferring power from off-shore sites, and their effect on aquatic communities and any people who live nearby.
– Potential damage from wind, waves, ice and lightning.
– Eventual dismantling and end of life removal. Decommissioning and removal of turbine components, including blades, nacelle, tower and containerized transformer, is anticipated to be largely a reversal of the installation process and should be subject to the same constraints. Operational wastes associated with routine maintenance, repair, upgrades and/or decommissioning must be properly handled, stored, transported and disposed of at a licensed facility that complies with applicable regulations.
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