International Power Canada’s planned Silcote Corners wind farm will be smaller than the proposal advertised at its public meeting Wednesday in Meaford.
The final project, if approved, will consist of 26 wind turbines with an output of 46.8 megawatts – not the 29 towers putting out 52.2 megawatts the company outlined in its notice of the meeting and on a storyboard there, Ansar Gafur, IPC’s vice president of external relations, said.
“It’s part of our planning process,” Gafur said. Planning for 29 turbines allows the company some flexibility in picking sites in the 2,000 hectare project area.
A company map indicates the turbines would be built in an area roughly south of Balaclava and east Leith and approximately four kilometres north of highway 26. Gafur said he has heard of other companies approaching landowners in the municipality of Meaford, but said IPC is restricted to the application it made under the Renewable Energy Act for a 26-tower wind farm.
“We can go down (in size), but we can’t go up and we can only go down by 25%” under provincial regulations, he said.
Gafur said the company is well aware there is “pretty fair” local opposition to the project “which is why we have meetings like this.”
“We try to work with the local council, the residents . . . We do take into account local planning,” but the company has never abandoned a project because of local opposition, he said.
Meaford council has asked the province for a moratorium on wind farm developments but, Garfur said, “I think that’s being challenged” at the provincial level.
Gafur couldn’t put any timeline on when the project might proceed.
“Dates are outside our control,” he said. It all depends on when the next feed-in tariff contracts, under which producers sell power, are announced and if the IPC proposal is successful in obtaining a contract.
However, most of Grey-Bruce is under an unofficial moratorium for commercial power developments because of lack of electricity transmission capacity.
Meanwhile the company is continuing with archeological and other studies required by the province.
The Silcote Corners project is expected to cost $130 million in total. Only a fraction of that, however, is a direct benefit to the local economy.
Gus DiMaria of IPC said “about 10%” of construction costs go to local firms for supplies and workers. The construction costs for the project will be about $30 million.
The municipality will also receive taxes that Gafur said have been in the neighbourhood of $40,000 to $60,000 per turbine at other projects in Ontario.
Landowners will also be paid a base rate plus a percentage of the profits from electricity sales for every turbine that goes up on their property. DiMaria said each of the 1.8-megawatt turbines that will be used under IPC’s proposal would make a landowner about $10,000 to $12,000 a year.
Under the Liberal provincial government’s green energy legislation, 30% of the project must be Ontario content until the end of 2011, when that figure increases to 50%.
“We will be 50-plus per cent,” Gafur said. “Working with our consultants we can reach 50%.”
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding