LONDON, Ont. – Construction of the largest wind farm in Ontario is set to start after a victory for the company at the province’s Environmental Review Tribunal.
The K2 Wind Power Project north of Goderich will have a capacity of 270 megawatts, with 140 giant turbines. It’s expected to start providing power by the second half of 2015, enough to meet the energy needs of 100,000 homes.
Earlier this month, the Environmental Review Tribunal rejected the appeal of local opponents who argued the project will lower property values, compromise their health and drive up electricity costs.
“We are now hiring, in the process of filling jobs,” Matt Dallas, spokesperson for Pattern Development, said Thursday. Pattern is developing the project with Samsung Renewable Energy and Capital Power.
According to K2 Wind Power, the project will employ more than 1,000 workers in the manufacture and assembly of the wind turbines and will inject between $5 million and $6 million into the local economy each year once it begins operation.
The company has attempted to blunt opposition in the Goderich area, offering anyone who lives within one kilometre of a turbine $1,500 a year.
Other moves include setting up a $15-million fund to pay for community projects over the next 20 years and donating $25,000 for playground equipment for a local school.
K2 has also promised to hire local workers.
Jane Wilson of Wind Concerns Ontario, the provincial group fighting wind farm development, said local groups are increasingly turning to the courts in an attempt to halt projects.
Opponents have only won one case before the Environmental Review Tribunal – a ruling last year that a nine-turbine project in Prince Edward County posed a serious risk to turtles.
“Now the government is appealing its own decision,” Wilson said.
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