December 21, 2012

NextEra Energy eyes more Ontario wind farms

By John Miner, The London Free Press | Friday, December 21, 2012 |

With one done, and seven more going through the approval process, renewable energy giant NextEra Energy says it will consider building more wind farms in Ontario if it gets the chance.

“We are definitely looking at additional procurement programs,” said Josie Hernandez, communications specialist with Florida-based NextEra. “We’re committed here.”

NextEra announced Friday that it has completed construction and started operating its first wind farm in Ontario, Conestogo Wind, a 10-turbine project in Wellington County that is projected to generate enough power for 5,700 homes in an average year.

The company has six other wind farms under development in the London region which have sparked protests from wind energy opponents – Adelaide, Goshen, Bluewater, Jericho, Bornish, and East Durham.

When all the current projects on the books are completed, NextEra will have invested $1.5 billion in Ontario wind farms.

“This isn’t a short-term investment for our company. This is a long-term commitment,” said Hernandez.

Nicole Geneau, project director for the Conestogo, Goshen and Bluewater wind farms, said she expects all the Ontario projects will have completed the regulatory approval process by the end of 2013.

Bluewater, in Huron County, is the most advanced.

“We anticipate starting construction around June of 2013,” said Geneau.

Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak has vowed to stop Ontario’s wind energy program if he wins the next election, which could come as early as next spring.

Hernandez declined to comment on what that might mean for NextEra in Ontario.

“I make it a point never to comment on politics,” she said. “We have valid contracts in place and the projects are advanced in terms of their development and permitting

“All we can do is keep moving the ball forward and working as hard as we can to communicate with local stakeholders and let them know what we are doing,” she said.

On Friday, wind energy opponents expressed dismay that the Ontario government has approved a 22.5-megawatt wind power generation project at Ostrander Point in Prince Edward County.

“Our reaction today is one of grief and disbelief,” said a statement released by Wind Conerns Ontario president Jane Wilson.

“The hypocrisy of this provincial government is absolutely stunning. The timing of the approval announcement is another slap in the face for rural Ontario—the government is saying, we don’t care what people want, or what’s right, we’re helping big business push this through.”

[rest of article available at source]

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