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Public interest extends wind power deadline  

Credit:  By Troy Patterson, The Goderich Signal-Star, www.goderichsignalstar.com 25 August 2010 ~~

The deadline has been extended to September 7 for the public to comment on a government document that could begin to lay the framework to introduce off-shore wind power development off of Point Clark, Kincardine, Port Elgin and up the west coast of the Bruce Peninsula and east coast of Georgian Bay.

The Policy Proposal Notice, entitled ‘Renewable Energy Approval Requirements for Off-shore Wind Facilities – An Overview of the Proposed Approach’ began its ‘public review’ process June 25, with comments from the public to be submitted by Aug. 24.

Due to increased public interest, the Ministry of the Environment will be extending the public review period for its Offshore Windpower Environmental Registry Posting to September 7, 2010.

The purpose of the policy is to further develop wind resources in Ontario by providing clarity to developers on off-shore wind turbine requirements. The information is to be included as part of the Renewable Energy Act (REA) and the policy will also be “supplemented” by research conducted by the Ministry of Environment (MOE), Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) and the Ministry of Tourism and Culture.

“In addition to this approach to off-shore wind projects, the MNR is undertaking a phased review of Ontario’s current process for making Crown land available for renewable energy projects,” the Environmental Registry website reads. “The second phase of this review will include consideration of where, when and how the Government makes Crown land available for off-shore wind projects.”

QMI Agency was made aware of the documents by Mike Sapiro, a member of the newly formed Huron-Kinloss Against Wind Turbines (HALT). The group is in the midst of fighting a 55-turbine project set next to Point Clark by International Power Inc.

Sapiro is circulating the info in an effort to save the lake “from being damaged by these Industrial Wind Turbines.”

“Once again, the government is trying to slip this legislation in without proper public input and proper notice to everyone, by putting this notice on a web site that most people are not aware of,” he said via e-mail.

Another Ministry of Environment: Renewable Energy web site shows a map illustrating ‘Wind turbine applications proposed in Lake Huron’.

The coloured areas illustrate proposed turbine locations in the water off of the shoreline north of Goderich to Amberley, in a line directly off of Point Clark and along the shore to Kincardine. The application areas continue off the shores of Bruce Power, north of Inverhuron to the shores off of MacGregor Point Provincial Park, just south of Port Elgin.

Sapiro said the source document for these maps originates from a 2008 report prepared for the Ontario Power Authority by Montreal-based wind power consultant Helimax Energy Inc. entitled ‘Analysis of Future Off-Shore Wind Development in Ontario.’ It is currently posted on the OPA web site.

The document lists the sites ‘More Favourable” for off-shore wind development already mentioned along the Bruce coast, as well as areas off of Stokes Bay, the coast north of Bruce Peninsula Provincial Park and between the peninsula and Manitoulin Island.

It also lists ‘More Favourable’ to ‘Least Favourable’ locations on the east coast of Georgian Bay near Parry Sound, along the northern edge of Lake Erie and the north eastern part of Lake Ontario.

Sapiro said the report identifies the technical assessment and ranking of 64 sites in the Great Lakes region, considered ‘Most Favourable’ for development. The sites are in water depths between five metres and 30 metres, have an average wind speed of at least eight metres per second and have enough area to accommodate at least 100 megawatts of wind power.

A representative at Huron-Bruce MPP Carol Mitchell’s office said they knew about the policy that’s up for review, but was unaware of the applications within the riding.

In a press release, Mitchell said she is encouraging her constituents to participate in these public consultations. All comments will be considered as part of the decision-making process by MOE and MNR if submitted in writing or electronically, with the EBR Registry numbers provided.

Huron Bruce MP Ben Lobb said he’d been informed of the off-shore projects by his constituents, but nothing officially.

“It’s the best kept secret I’ve heard in a while,” said Lobb.

Although it’s a provincial issue that’s out of his jurisdiction, Lobb said there is a “great energy mix” already and believes the focus should be on promoting nuclear power at the Bruce site and elsewhere in the province, rather than on wind along the lake shore. He also had questions that need answering about ice issues, depth and proximity of turbines to the shoreline, as well as the impact on tourism and private property.

Lobb said he would be following the issue with interest as more information surfaces.

Municipality of Kincardine chief administrative officer John deRosenroll said “this is the first time that I have seen a document for public comment.”

Speaking from the AMO confrence, Municipality of Kincardine mayor Larry Kraemer said he’d only heard of the possibility of turbines and nothing about applications for actual projects.

“Nobody has brought it to my attention, but I’m very interested in it,” said Kraemer, who plans to look into the issue while at AMO. “I’ve heard a couple of rumours, but I’ll be making an inquiry (with MPP Mitchell) myself.”

Bruce Power spokesperson John Peevers said via e-mail that he would have to check to see if the company had been notified, which may take some time, but was unsure if they would have a comment on it.

“As a company, it’s been our policy not to comment on projects or proposals such as these,” Peevers said.

To view and comment on the policy document go to The Environmental Registry website at www.ebr.gov.on.ca and enter 011-0089 in the registry number field.

To view the off-shore wind turbine application areas, visit the MNR website at www.lio.ontario.ca/imf-ows/imf.jsp?site=renew_en

To navigate link:

• Zoom into Point Clark/Kincardine, or Douglas Point/MacGregor Point. • Open Wind resources layers folder on side bar. • Uncheck wind speed box. • Check Wind power applications, if the box is gray, zoom in until it is white, then check box. • Scroll down on side bar and click refresh map. • Click on legend on side bar.

Follow the story as it develops throughout the week at www.kincardinenews.com

Source:  By Troy Patterson, The Goderich Signal-Star, www.goderichsignalstar.com 25 August 2010

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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