- National Wind Watch: Wind Energy News - https://www.wind-watch.org/news -

Wind projects inch forward; rural residents divided

LAMBTON SHORES – News that the Liberal government is giving a FIT, or Feed-In Tariff, to two large wind turbine projects near her family farm, has jolted Dona Stewardson out of “activist retirement.”

“This is an injustice to our community,” said the former Bosanquet politician, whose family has farmed in Lambton County since 1870.

“I believe people on both sides of me have signed options (to lease land for turbines),” Stewardson said.

“I have to fight this for my children and my grandchildren. There are not enough health studies yet to know if (turbines) are safe.”

Stewardson lives on Ridge Road near two of 25 green energy projects Ontario approved Monday.

Jericho Wind Energy Centre, owned by NextEra Energy Canada in Burlington, is planning a 150 MW wind farm in the Thedford area.

And Suncor Energy Inc. wants to build a 100 MW farm called Cedar Point Wind Power Project down the road near Forest.

“We will still need environmental approvals, public consultation and to determine if the money is available within the company,” said Suncor spokesman Jason Vaillant.

Receiving FIT approval is an important step that allows companies to get government subsidies for green energy project, but it’s early in the process.

Vaillant said it could be several years before construction begins.

“While the contract is welcome news, it’s by no means a done deal.”

A spokesperson from NextEra could not be reached.

Stewardson is a member of Lambton Shores Concerned Citizens, which attracted about 130 supporters to a meeting in early June.

“We’ve talked to people who have had a lot of health troubles living near these wind farms,” Stewardson said. “And I personally don’t like the look of them. The aesthetics of our rural countryside will be ruined.”

Most people in her group are not necessarily against all wind energy projects, she said.

“We’re against so many in a small area. I’m hoping the municipalities will be given back their power that the Green energy Act took away. Give the power back to our municipalities and they can decide the distance between the turbines.”

She called on the Liberal government to “leave rural Ontario alone to produce food, not be industrial wind farms.”

Jutta Splettstoesser owns a farm in the Kincardine area, where a number of wind farms operate.

She was a proponent at Monday’s announcement with Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs Carol Mitchell.

“I am a friend of wind and I want taxpayers to know there is a lot of benefit to it,” she said.

“There is a quiet majority that like wind energy. I want people to know there are many in the farm community that support it because it diversifies our economy.

“It’s a new industry for us and an opportunity to create jobs and income.”