A city councillor is questioning the $5-million wind turbine project slated for the landfill, saying it’s a “folly” that should be scrapped.
“Not every green energy project is created equal,” said Coun. Pat Lorje following a committee meeting at city hall.
An update on the project was given to the city’s administration and finance committee Tuesday morning, with most councillors showing support for the proposal.
The $5-million turbine is seven months into wind and environmental testing to determine whether to proceed.
Kevin Hudson, an alternative energy engineer with Saskatoon Light and Power, said indications thus far are that the project is viable, with the test results “exceeding expectations.”
The testing to this point shows the project would net a profit of an estimated $4 million over 20 years or $200,000 per year above the city’s $2.65-million investment, Hudson told the committee. Other levels of government are providing $2.35 million toward the turbine project, which has to be operating by the end of March 2013.
“It does meet our goal of providing a net profit to the city,” Hudson said.
The testing on the meteorological tower erected on the site indicates the average wind speed has been 23 km/h, which would equal an annual energy production of 4.9 gigawatt-hours, the report to the committee said.
Hudson said that the project meets the most stringent guidelines in the world for wind turbines, including a setback distance of 700 metres, which exceeds a 550-metre limit enacted in Ontario. Testing for sound and shadow flicker effects show they would be well under permitted levels and public opinion at two open houses was generally “in support” of the project, Hudson said.
Lorje said there remains strong opposition to the proposal from those living in the nearby Montgomery area. At open houses, residents have been concerned primarily with noise and shadow flicker from the turbine.
“We relocated a project from Diefenbaker (Hill in 2008) to put it on a seething mess of garbage,” Lorje said. “To simply put something on the horizon because it’s a symbol of green energy seems to me to be a folly.”
The power utility should focus on other, more profitable green energy projects such as the planned landfill gas recovery system, Lorje said.
The wind turbine is part of a larger project to turn the landfill into a “green energy park” showcasing alternative energy.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding