November 16, 2012

Lambton Shores wants windmill plans examined by experts

By Heather Wright | Friday, November 16, 2012 |

LAMBTON SHORES – Mitt Romney may have binders of women, but Lambton Shores – his summer vacation spot – has binders of wind turbines.

Suncor Energy has delivered its draft plan for the Cedar Point Wind Energy Project to Lambton Shores. Suncor has a contract with the Ontario Power Authority to provide 100 megawatts of energy from the 62 turbine development. About 24 of the industrial turbines will be in Lambton Shores. There will also be substations, a switching station and a 115 KW transmission line.

The company has to provide extensive documentation about the project to the municipality on everything from the placement of the turbines to studies on bird kills, the environmental impacts and the impact to the natural heritage of the area. The work fills three large binders.

Municipalities are given the documents to review before deciding if they support the project. New rules under the Green Energy Act give more weight to the municipalities’ opinions. Premier Dalton McGuinty recently reiterated when municipalities don’t support wind energy projects, they will move to the back of the line.

But Lambton Shores’ administrators say they are not equipped to evaluate the technical data.

Councilor John Russell was the first to agree Lambton Shores may have to hire consultants to analyse the plan. “I guess they have us in a spot,” he says. “We’re going to have to spend money to make a report. We don’t have the experts…and we really should be assessing those reports.”

Councilor Martin Underwood agrees. “We have to do due diligence on behalf of the people of Lambton Shores,” Underwood told council. “Do I like hiring consultants? No, but were going to be held accountable if we don’t.”

“What is shameful is that a province puts through a Green Energy Act and says now you have to pay to ensure what we’ve imposed is okay,” echoed Councilor Doug Bonesteel. “I think we should send them the bill…because we can’t trust ya.”

Administration will call ask consulting firms for prices to review the documents. Mayor Bill Weber also suggested they consult with other municipalities in the area affected by the same project to see if they wanted to work together on the analysis.

Officials hope to have some information by the Nov. 19 meeting when they discuss a staff report on the municipal policies around wind energy projects.

[rest of article available at source]

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