Local anti-wind power group members are hoping to kill a planned turbine project by flooding an upcoming comment period with concerns.
Suncor Energy’s request for provincial environmental approval to build 46 wind turbines for its Cedar Point Wind Power Project in Lambton County is now posted on Ontario’s Environmental Registry for a public comment period that ends Jan. 19.
The residents’ group, We’re Against Industrial Wind Turbines in Plympton-Wyoming (WAIT-PW), has been fighting the project and it’s urging supporters to inundate the registry with comments and concerns.
Spokesperson Ingrid Willemsen said it’s expected Suncor will be required to respond to each comment, and the group’s aim is to prevent the project from meeting the province’s deadlines for it be built.
“The name of the game is to delay the project,” she said.
Willemsen added the group has concerns about the timing of the comment period.
“We’re just a little disappointed that it’s right over the holidays, because it doesn’t lend itself for us to have time for proper feedback,” she said.
Suncor Energy has a contract to sell Ontario electricity from the 100-MW project it is seeking to build in Pympton-Wyoming, Lambton Shores and Warwick Township. The company is working through the province’s environmental approval process for renewable energy projects.
At the same time, the company is suing Plympton-Wyoming over bylaws aimed at wind developments. They call for turbines to be at least 2-km from neighbouring homes, compared to the province’s minimum setback of 550 metres. The bylaw also requires a $200,000 letter of credit per turbine to cover the cost of removing them at the end of their operational life.
Plympton-Wyoming council has hired a lawyer to defend its bylaws.
“I think we’re doing our job, protecting our peoples’ health,” Mayor Lonny Napper said about the 2-km setback.
He added councillors also feel confident about the other provisions Suncor is challenging.
“I still feel very strongly you need that deposit there if you ever need to remove them,” he said.
Suncor spokesperson Jason Vaillant said the posting to the Environmental Registry means “the clock starts on what is supposed to take around six months for the government to do a deeper technical assessment of the project.”
That approval process will dictate the time line for when the project can be built, he said.
“We’ve been at this a couple of years now and we certainly have an understanding of what’s important to the community,” Vaillant said.
The Suncor project will share a connection to the electricity grid with NextEra Canada’s 92-turbine Jericho wind project proposed for Lambton Shores and Warwick Township.
The Jericho project is also posted on the Environmental Registry website, www.ebr.gov.on.ca, and public comments are being accepted until Jan. 3.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding