Erecting a 5-kW Evance R9000 wind turbine that would stand 18-metres in height, with a rotor-blade diameter of 5.5 metres at the front of Cochrane High School’s (CHS) property?
What started off as a green energy project for the CHS Sustainability Committee, wound up being a controversial project proposal that prompted the formation of a No Turbines in Town (NTT) coalition (made up of various stakeholders, including Cochrane Heights residents) resulting in the delay of the project until the Town of Cochrane is able to conduct its Renewable Energy Framework research, in a decision earlier this year.
Rocky View Schools’ board has also been involved.
The controversy has made numerous appearances in the media, and the time is fast approaching for the public to step up and speak their mind on government bylaws regarding renewable energy projects and what place they have within the town of Cochrane.
“The (Renewable Energy Framework) project will explore various renewable energy options such as solar, wind, biomass and geothermal, and will explore what is feasible, what is acceptable and where, and then how to provide appropriate policy direction for these types of developments,” explained Kathy Dietrich, senior manager of planning and engineering for the town. “The framework project will likely begin early in 2014, but it has not yet been determined when the public engagement sessions will begin since the research phase will occur in the initial stage.”
As far as NTT is concerned, not enough research is available on the potential impacts that wind turbines have when placed in residential areas.
Their concerns include safety, health, nuisance (noise, visual impact), the potential impact on property values and the cost effectiveness (when compared to other smaller-scale green energy, student-led projects such as solar panels).
“We want people to think about other forms of power generation that are more suited to residential areas and much better ways to generated green energy successfully in an urban environment and we want them to share their ideas and perspectives,” said Brenda Samborski, NTT spokesperson.
NTT is also very concerned about the perceived conflict of interest, as they learned in 2012 that a senior member of Solas Energy Consulting was also the owner of Integrated Sustainability, the seller of the turbines; Solas Energy Consulting submitted a proposal to the town to perform work that would recommend amendments to existing bylaws or draft new bylaws for wind and solar power within the town of Cochrane. The town’s 2014 draft budget includes $85,000 for the renewable energy framework.
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