Renewable energy developers looking to enter agreements with Prince Edward County will be asked to pay out large sums of cash if they want to break ground on County soil.
During a regular meeting Tuesday night, County council approved two motions, both of which will force future developers to pay the municipality for energy projects as part of Ontario’s Feed in Tariff Program (FIT).
Council’s decision came just two days before the province granted wind developer Gilead Power the green light to construct a nine turbine wind farm along Ostrander Point.
“Once they (energy projects) are built, they produce no long-term employment,” said Mayor Peter Mertens during an interview. “So there is no benefit to us in any way, shape or form unless we make it benefit us.”
The first requires wind developers to dole out $200,000 to ensure large (class 3 and 4) turbines will be decommissioned at the end of their life span.
The same payment is expected of solar farm projects exceeding 500 kilowatts.
The payment will also act as a security deposit for damage to roads and infrastructure during construction.
The second requirement will call upon developers to make an annual payment of $7.00/KW per project as one of the obligations to receive priority points.
Mayor Peter Mertens sees this as a great opportunity to raise some cash he feels the County is entitled to.
“It’s our resource,” said Mertens. “They are using our resource. Everyone else that comes to the County is expected to contribute to the community in one way or another. There is no reason why they should come in (to the County) with any size of development and not be expected to contribute to the community.”
Councillor Barry Turpin didn’t see how charging developers would prove profitable to the municipality.
“We are supposed to be open for business,” said Turpin. “This is going to scare people away. It’s not appropriate. I don’t support this at all. No other municipalities are charging that on an individual basis.”
After researching a number of municipalities in the province, staff concluded profit sharing and tariffs do not exist in: Belleville, Quinte West, Kingston, Durham, Mississauga, London, Cornwall and Peterborough.
Mertens said he didn’t mind being on the leading edge and having others follow the County.
“Other municipalities have in fact offered two points free and clear,” said Mertens. “They were hasty. Many of them are taking another look because they have no say where these things (energy projects) go in their municipalities.”
The new regulations won’t apply to energy projects currently in the works.
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