Leader Resources Services Corp. will usher in the construction of a single wind turbine for the 1.5MW Quixote One Wind Energy Project later this year, southeast of the lakeside hamlet of Inverhuron.
“It’s privately owned by a number of Ontario residents on the Rogers Farm behind Jackson Construction,” said Leader Resources president Chuck Edey, adding the project received priority ranking Dec. 20, 2010 under the Ontario Power Authority’s Feed-In Tariff (FIT) program and it was exempt from an Environmental Assessment (EA), with a contract expected this spring. “We’re hoping construction will start in the fourth quarter of 2011.”
On Friday, Edey told The Kincardine News the turbine 1.5MW General Electric (GE) turbine is located 2km from the lake-shore, 700m from Bruce Road 23 and 900m from Bruce Rd 15. He said it’s still in the approvals stage and they have yet to decide if it will be a 50m or 80m-high tower, adding it will not be viewable from Inverhuron Beach.
“We’ve met with all the landowners along the way,” he said.
Edey a told Municipality of Kincardine council Jan. 26 they’re working towards a first-quarter 2013 construction date for the $50 million 80-turbine, 200MW North Bruce project between Bruce Township and Saugeen Shores.
He was joined by many staff in the council chambers, and provided information on the local and regional projects the company is working on, an outline on the project owners and details on the Canadian Wind Energy Association’s advertising campaign and community consultation guidelines to “correct misinformation” they feel is circulating in the region about wind power.
“We’re not the owners, we do the managing for individuals,” said Edey.
The North Bruce Project is currently in the development stages with bird and bat studies underway and meteorological towers are gathering wind data. Edey said the impact on Kincardine will provide $63,000 in building permits, $52,000 in annual taxes, along with $360,000 in annual payouts to the 18 Kincardine landowners at $20,000 a piece.
“The payouts have gone up significantly with the increase in the FIT contracts,” he said, referring to previous local wind contracts on record that offered $5,000- $15,000 per turbine.
He also touched on setback issues raised by councillors, adding the provincial government has increased minimum setbacks to 550m from receptors.
“We know the projects in Ripley and Enbridge’s don’t meet the guidelines today,” said Edey. “The noise and setback rules today are much more stringent.”
Later in the week, representatives from both Enbridge and the Ripley Wind projects confirmed that a number of their turbines are under the 550m setback, but the majority are above.
“Not every turbine meets the new 550- metre setback because the rules were different,” said Enbridge general manager Bob Simpson. “It was designed based on noise model that met MOE guidelines of the time.”
Edey said the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CANWEA) recently released a “Best practices for Consultation” guide for its members on how to consult local councils on upcoming wind projects. He said the province is planning a similar document and so far no lakeshore community has approached the ‘Renewable Facilitation’ offices set up by the province to provide guidance to municipalities on the GEA.
He also touched on CANWEA’s recent advertising campaign featuring full-page colour spots as a program to “correct misinformation” Edey said was circulating in local newspapers. A new ‘Harvesting Wind Support’ group has been formed up of 400 local people from Paisley to Grand Bend who plan to “dispel myths” about wind power.
“We believe there is broad band support for wind power across the lakeshore,” Edey said, adding “transmission will determine the amount of wind turbines,” that are constructed in the area.
The campaign will include the posting of hundreds of wind support signs in the local area, he said, which will compete with the growing number of anti-wind signs seen across the region in recent months.
The North Bruce and Arran Wind projects are owned by American oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens under a partnership with Mesa Power Group and the American Wind Alliance. The companies are also working on the Twenty Two Degree (150WM) and Summerhill Wind (110MW) projects in Central Huron.
Edey said the Lake Huron shoreline is “one of the most significant energy sectors,” giving examples of existing and upcoming neighbouring wind projects, the 500MW set aside for the Korean consortium Samsung Renewable Energy Inc., which is signing up land owners from Saugeen Shores to Zurich in the south.
“If the Green Energy Act moves forward, the lakeshore will see increased amounts of wind development,” said Edey.
Deputy Mayor Anne Eadie said it’s council’s obligation to protect the interests of the municipality, adding her concerns with restricting municipal growth for 20-50 years in wind project areas, as well as the impact of stray voltage from electrical pollution.
“With the Green Energy Act there hasn’t been an opportunity to consult early in the process,” said Eadie.
Leader has an “obligation to be in front of council,” Edey said, so they are up front with decommissioning, operating and development plans before the province approves their projects.
Counc. Ron Coristine said his concerns were around decommissioning and the state of the land when turbines are torn down.
Edey said many wind projects will have a 50-year right to easement, which would likely see turbines refurbished and continuing to operate past their 20-year life cycle.
Counc. Maureen Couture touched on setback issues and the impact turbines could have on people.
Edey referred to the provincial Medical Officer of Health’s assessment of wind health issues, where some people will bound to be “annoyed” from the sounds of turbines, but they’re also considering the issues as well.
“We’ve moved turbine locations because of concerns and walked away from sites that bothered individuals,” he said.
Counc. Randy Roppel asked if Edey owned property in the development, which he answered “Yes” and to whether Leader owned property, Edey answered “No.”
Roppel asked how he planned to deal with any perceived “health issues” like noise or stray voltage if they arise.
Edey said individuals are already having issues and stress at the thought of wind projects coming to their area and acknowledged other local projects have revealed “sensitivities” with some people.
Deputy Mayor Eadie asked if he would commit to burying all electrical feeder lines to prevent the possibility of electrical pollution impacting residents.
Edey said they would take it under consideration, but that it would be a huge undertaking that would more than double the cost and would involve Leader and Hydro One.