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Little local about Dufferin Wind

The Issue: The guise of local ownership Our View: Is Dufferin Wind really acting neighbourly?

Adding “Dufferin” to your corporation’s name doesn’t necessarily make you local.

No matter how many times the wind farm developer claims to be, Dufferin Wind Power Inc. is no champion of the local community. At least that’s the way we see it.

If recent events are any indication, Dufferin Wind isn’t interested in playing nice with those local landowners it has so far been unable to buy out. It appears more interested in prying the land it needs for its 99 MW wind farm in Melancthon and 230 kV transmission line away from private landowners who have refused to sell.

It’s using the threat of expropriation, as permitted under the Green Energy Act, to convince landowners into signing deals. And if they don’t, Dufferin Wind will have the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) buy it by force.

What started as a movement by local farmers – the original Melancthon (Farm Owned) Wind Project – has been eroded by a foreign outfit operating under the guise of community. When farmers first came to Melancthon council with an idea to run a locally owned wind farm, Mayor Bill Hill actually told two former Ontario energy ministers to take note of it as a model of wind power development to follow.

That was then, this is now. When Longyuan Power Group Corporation Limited, the second largest wind power corporation in the world based in China, bought it out and inherited its FIT contact, the local in all that was lost.

It’s difficult to call Dufferin Wind local, especially since the company owned by the North American subsidiary of the Chinese corporation has played the expropriation card.

As well, it appears the local farmers who are still involved with the project are basically leasing their land to Dufferin Wind. Once the wind farm is up and running, they’ll essentially forfeit any stake they have left, according to Hill.

“The minute the project turns the first blade, they’re out,” he said. “There will be no local ownership of the project any longer.”

Let’s set things straight folks. There’s very little local about Dufferin Wind, and its actions speak to that.