Phase 3 of the Grand Valley Wind Farms project is impeding on its host municipality’s growth plan, according to Mayor John Oosterhof.
Grand Valley Wind currently operates nine turbines through the first two phases of the project. The latest instalment would see as many as 18 turbines added to the wind farm.
Oosterhof said the municipality asked the company to stay outside of Grand Valley’s projected growth area, which includes areas west of 24 and 25 Sideroad and north of 5 and 6 Sideroad. The mayor said they didn’t listen.
“They went beyond that. I accused them of not paying any attention to us,” Oosterhof said. “They’ve got a couple inside that boundary.”
He added a transformer station is proposed directly across from a residential property.
“That is totally unacceptable,” Oosterhof said. “We have a few things we are not very happy about.”
Grand Valley Wind representatives were invited to special meeting of council in November to discuss the intentions of the project.
“We can talk. We can make our wishes known, but we have no authority,” Oosterhof said. “Will they take any of our concerns into consideration? Time will only tell.”
Hali Zigomanis, environmental manager for the turbine company, said they have discussed turbine placement concerns with the municipality. The current layout of the third phase is not set in stone.
“At the completion of the consultation process for the project, a decision would be made regarding the final project layout,” Zigomanis said in an email.
The latest project expansion would add 14 to 18 wind turbines, ranging from 2.8 to 3 MW each. Renewable Energy Approval (REA) is required before the third phase becomes a reality.
Grand Valley Wind’s Feed-in Tariff (FIT) contract requires the company to generate 40 MW of power.
“Two turbine models are being considered and the different technology would allow for a different number of turbines,” Zigomanis said.
The current layout of the project will be presented through two public meetings. The first will be held Jan. 23 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Township of Amaranth Recreation Hall. The second takes place on Thursday, Jan. 24 from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Grand Valley Community Centre.
“The public meetings will provide the community with the opportunity to meet the project team, learn more about the proposed project and the regulatory process,” Zigomanis said, adding the community is also able to submit comments and questions during the meetings.
Oosterhof feels wind power projects already have the provincial government’s approval, regardless of consultation. “The province is driving this ship, not me,” Oosterhof said. “Basically they have to consult, which means they have to talk to us and at some point tell us what the plan is. That’s about the only requirement there is.”
The mayor added Grand Valley has reached its quota for providing green energy.
“I think we’re doing our fair share for wind generation with what we have,” Oosterhof said.
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