A group of rural Lambton County mayors want to know why Ontario is making plans for more wind projects after Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli’s chief of staff said the province has all the energy it needs.
Lambton Warden Todd Case, who is also mayor of Warwick Township, said the senior official in the energy minister’s office made the comment two months ago in a meeting Case attended, along with officials from Waste Management Canada’s Twin Creeks Landfill near Watford.
Ontario reduced how much it pays for electricity generated from landfill gas, and officials from the township and company were arguing for the rate cut to be reversed to make it more economical for the Warwick project to move ahead.
“And,” Case said, “the chief of staff turned and looked to us and said, ‘We don’t need any more energy in Ontario. We have all the energy we need.'”
Because of that, Case has joined with Plympton-Wyoming Mayor Lonny Napper and Enniskillen Township Mayor Kevin Marriott to request a meeting with Chiarelli to ask him why the province is still making plans for new wind projects.
“If we don’t need any more power, and we’ve got all we need,” Case said, “why would we even think about entertaining any more wind turbine contracts?”
Contracts already approved by the province are expected to bring wind turbines to Warwick Township and Plympton-Wyoming. While there are no contracts to build turbines in Enniskillen Township, wind energy companies have been active in the township in approaching landowners to sign leases for proposed future wind projects.
The province has been developing a new process for awarding contracts for large renewable projects, like wind farms, to replace its Feed-In Tariff program.
“It doesn’t make sense to move forward and to sign more of these contracts, and maybe bring another 1,000 wind turbines or so into the area, if we don’t need the power,” Case said.
“That’s the question we’re going to ask Minister Chiarelli.”
A landfill gas facility at Twin Creeks could generate enough electricity for 7,200 homes, at less cost than wind energy, Case said.
He added the landfill gas will end up being flared to the atmosphere, if it isn’t used to generate electricity.
Case said the three mayors made the request for a meeting with the minister just recently, and hope it can be scheduled before too long.
“We hear a comment like that come from the chief of staff’s lips, we really want the ministry to clarify it for us,” he said.
“If we have all we need, it’s simple. We shouldn’t award any more contracts.”
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