March 31, 2013

Energy Board flooded with objections to NextEra’s transmission project

Heather Wright | Sarnia-Lambton Independent | March 30, 2013 |

NextEra Energy is facing stiff opposition to its transmission plan.

Dozens of people, organizations, and businesses have filed to be interveners at an Ontario Energy Board Hearing on the transmission line project to serve three of NextEra’s projects including the Jericho Wind Energy project in Lambton Shores.

The company plans to erect 100 foot poles over 30 km along roads in Middlesex County to carry the power generated by the wind projects near Strathroy and Lambton Shores.

But some neighbours are not pleased. The OEB allowed 10 days for people to register to take part in the hearing to approve the plan, at least 15 landowners and nine other organizations want a say in the hearing.

Middlesex County, Adelaide Township and North Middlesex want to be involved in the hearing. So does Hydro One, the Independent Electric System Operator, and Entegrus Transmission Lines.

The Middlesex Lambton Wind Action Group – a citizens group which has been objecting to the industrial wind projects in the area – also wants a say.

Esther Wrightman of the wind action group says the scope of the project surprised her; especially the 100 foot poles which she says will tower above the hydro poles on the other side of the road and make driving more hazardous in icy conditions. “You stick poles on both side of the road, you have double the chance of hitting it,” she says.

Residents John and Suzanne Nuttall also object to the project. They told the OEB in a letter, that not only are the green energy projects costly, they don’t produce a steady flow of energy and they interfere with farming. “Farm land is a valuable resource that is limited in supply,” they wrote. “Land that is dotted with wind turbines is more difficult and costly to cultivate, especially with large modern equipment. Thus the cost of producing food is increased, to the detriment of the consumer.”

The OEB has not set a date for the hearing at press time but Wrightman believes it won’t be the last.

“This is only one wind project, what’s Suncor going to do, what is WPD going to do? …are they each going to do their own projects like this?

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