A dozen Lambton County wind farm proposals hoping to sell power to the electricity grid are on a priority ranking list released recently by the Ontario Power Authority.
The list ranks 60 potential wind, solar and other renewable energy projects in the transmission region west of London that didn’t get contracts in 2009’s first round of Ontario’s Feed In Tariff (FIT) program.
Kristin Jenkins, communications director at the Ontario Power Authority, said the ranking is based on how advanced the projects are and how quickly they could begin producing power.
Once the electricity transmission and distribution system has been upgraded to create more capacity for green energy projects, they’ll be able to obtain a contract from the authority and move ahead.
“Those contracts would be awarded in order of the priority ranking list,” Jenkins said.
The ranking gives energy developers information they need to make business decisions, Jenkins said.
“They can assess the likelihood of being awarded a contract, and then they can make decisions about how much money to continue to invest.”
Philippe Abergel, project manager for the 66,700-kw Sydenham Wind Energy Centre project that Mainstream Renewable Power wants to build in and around Dawn-Euphemia Township, said he’s not discouraged by its 48th out of 60 ranking.
Abergel said the ranking was based on developers’ original estimates of how quickly they could get approvals in place and shovels in the ground.
“All it tells us is who proposed the most aggressive commissioning schedule.”
Abergel said the Sydenham Wind Energy Centre set “a relatively conservative” schedule “because we wanted to make sure we had all of our ducks in a row.”
He added it’s his understanding contracts will be awarded in the future based on the cost of connecting projects to the system, not their ranking.
“I’ve poured over the documents and that’s the conclusion I’ve come to.”
Justine Rangooni, Ontario policy manager with the Canadian Wind Energy Association, said the ranking may help encourage expansion of the electricity distribution system in regions where large numbers of project are lined up.
“The government might see a need to construct more transmission and increase capacity in those areas.”
A long-term energy plan Ontario released in November calls for improvements to the grid west of London by 2014 so more renewable projects can come online.
Plympton-Wyoming is one of the communities in which new wind farms are planned, but Mayor Lonny Napper said its council still wants Ontario to place a moratorium on projects and carry out a comprehensive study of their impact on human health.
He said councillors plan to repeat that message to provincial officials at the upcoming Rural Ontario Municipal Association conference in Toronto.
Napper said they also want to meet with Tory leader Tim Hudak on the issue.
“He hasn’t been very clear on where he’s going on windmills either.”
Here’s how the Lambton projects are ranked:
• Jericho Wind Power Project, 150,000 kw, Thedford, fourth;
• Camlachie Wind Power Project, 20,000 kw, Camlachie, seventh;
• Cedar Point Wind Power Project Phase II, 100,000 kw, Forest, eighth;
• Proof Line II, 3,600 kw, Forest, 19th;
• Cedar Point Wind Power Project Phase 1, 50,000 kw, Forest, 25th;
• Forest Wind Farm, 10,000 kw, Forest, 32nd;
• Eirin Wind Farm, 10,000 kw, Forest, 39th;
• Sydenham Wind Energy Centre, 66,700 kw, Dawn-Euphemia Township, 48th;
• Petrolia Wind Farm, 18,400 kw, Petrolia, 55th;
• Wilkesport Wind Farm, 13,800 kw, Sombra, 56th;
• Shiloh Wind Farm, 46,000 kw, Alvinston, 59th;
• Wind Bkejer, 10,000 kw, Walpole Island First Nation, 60th.