The march of wind energy to the Ontario power grid has its twists and turns – and that’s true with both transmission routes, and legal hurdles.
Nextera’s Varna Wind Project application faces both the Renewable Energy Approval (RAE) process under the Green Energy Act, and a hearing at the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) under the Province’s Electrical Act.
The developer is seeking what’s called a Leave to Construct.
It is asking for permission to build a transmission line to connect the Varna Wind Farm to the Seaforth transformer station.
The Energy Board hearing can often be a formality, with an OEB panel reviewing only written submissions.
That won’t be the case if Bluewater has its way.
The municipality has requested Intervener Status, which, if granted would allow it to comment on Nextera’s proposed transmission line routing for the Varna (Bluewater) project, call witnesses and question the proponent’s submissions.
Bluewater wants any transmission lines on Municipal right-of-ways to be buried and the developer hasn’t indicated such a plan.
The Municipality wants an oral hearing where Chief Administrative Officer Steve McAuley and a legal representative would attend in person.
McAuley says Bluewater believes Nextera is jumping the gun on its OEB application and will tell that to the OEB.
He says the pending Renewable Energy Approval for the project under the Green Energy Act may come with its own stipulations that could impact the proposed route, or may not come at all.
Nextera was stymied in its plan to collocate its transmission lines with Hydro One lines in the area.
The public utility says such a proposal is contrary to its safety policy.
The Municipality of Bluewater has delegated power to act to its CAO, as the Ontario Energy Board timelines are often tight.
McAuley notes that Bluewater was advised the day before Christmas of Nextera’s intention to apply for the construction permit– and had to get its response in by January 3rd.