Residents of southwest Haldimand will have a front-row seat later this year for construction of an industrial-scale wind turbine operation.
TCI Renewables of Montreal and NextEra Energy Canada of Burlington have teamed up for construction of the 125-megawatt Summerhaven project. A total of 56 giant turbines will be situated in an area southeast of Jarvis over to the Indian Line Road east of Fisherville.
Ben Greenhouse, NextEra’s director of development, hopes construction will begin later this year.
“All land needed is under option,” Greenhouse said. “In terms of turbine land, we have all we need under contract. Every turbine is going on land that is currently being farmed.”
The turbines will be manufactured by Siemens and are among the biggest in the business.
The shaft of the 2.2 megawatt windmills stand 80 metres tall. The rotors have a span of 100 metres. When attached to the towers, the top tip of the rotors will be 130 metres off the ground.
Haldimand residents can expect periodic traffic disruptions as giant turbine parts are driven into the county and set in place.
“Certainly, there will be a spectacle,” Greenhouse said. “We will work with the police and we will work with the county to reduce the impact of that.”
Some in Nanticoke have expressed worries about wind turbines because of reports that they must be anchored in the bedrock. There are concerns that fastening them to bedrock will generate subtle vibrations which may disrupt sleep and cause symptoms similar to sea sickness.
Greenhouse gave assurances Wednesday that the Summerhaven turbines will not touch the bedrock. There is no need for that, he said, adding anchoring the shafts in 10 feet of concrete is sufficient to hold the units in place.
That addresses one concern. But there are many others. Nearly 370 people attended a recent public meeting in Fisherville organized by the group Haldimand Wind Concerns. HWC has collected more than 1,000 signatures on a petition calling for a moratorium on turbine development in the county.
“We have heard that turbines negatively affect the value of your home,” HWC vice president Ernie King, of South Cayuga, said Wednesday. “You can’t even sell your home if you live too close to these things. Are our taxes going to be adjusted appropriately if the value of our homes decreases?
“People are also concerned about what they will have to look at. This is not what you expect to see in rural Ontario. You expect to see farms, not industry. It’s not what we moved to rural Ontario for. It’s not what we expected to see when we bought our homes here.”
NextEra and TCI Renewables have a 20-year contract with the Ontario Power Authority for the provision of wind power. The contract contains an option for a 20-year extension. Along with royalties to participating property owners, the Summerhaven project will generate six to 10 full-time jobs in the local area.
NextEra is the largest producer of wind power in North America. The company manages more than 9,000 turbines at more than 75 installations.
“We’re not just a fly-by-night company,” Greenhouse said. “We are the largest operator of wind turbines in the world. If people are concerned about the company coming in, they should be happy it is NextEra.”
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