The company developing a massive wind farm in West Niagara has begun a slew of studies that could help it secure necessary provincial approvals to move the project forward.
Niagara Region Wind Corp. spokeswoman Randi Rahamim said the company erected a meteorological tower in the region six months ago to gather data on wind velocity and weather data. Two more towers will soon be built in the region.
“It’s more of a study period, as opposed to a public open house period,” she said. “It will help us with eventual position of the turbines.”
Rahamim said the company, which hopes to build a $550-million wind farm in West Lincoln, Wainfleet, Pelham and Haldimand County, is working on the renewable energy approvals process. If approved, 77 turbines could be built and generate enough electricity for up to 57,000 homes.
The NRWC has optioned more than 80 pieces of land in West Niagara to potentially place turbines.
Last February, it was awarded a feed-in-tariff contract from Ontario Power Authority.
The company is also conducting studies on winter migratory bird patterns.
“We’re doing all the environmental studies that need to be conducted during this season,” Rahamim said.
The company will meet with West Lincoln council in February to provide a project update.
Rahamim said an early turbine layout plan will also be put together to help plan the project. The final layout will be made available 90 days before the final open house which could be scheduled for the summer.
Rahamim said the final project could be submitted for approval by the fall, but it’s too early to know if the company will hit that deadline. It can take up to six months for the province to approve a wind project, she said.
In September, NRWC announced a $400-million deal with ENERCON that will see the German firm supply all 77 3.0-megawatt wind turbines to the company the 230-megawatt project. The turbines will be built at the two facilities to be located somewhere in Niagara.
Site location for both factories will be decided by the spring. Turbine production will start in summer 2013.
Construction of the wind farm could take up to a year, with the company aiming to have the project operational by spring 2014. The company says the wind farm itself will create 770 jobs during the development and construction phases and 110 jobs after its completion.
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