Patti Kellar, who lives in Bluewater, said a group of residents in the project area are planning to appeal the project’s provincial approval to Ontario’s Environmental Review Tribunal.
The $380-million wind energy project received provincial environmental approval at the end of June.
Each of the two First Nations own 25% of the 40-turbine Grand Bend Wind project being developed by Toronto-based Northland Power.
Kellar said that between the Grand Bend project and NextEra Energy’s proposed Goshen Wind project, nine wind turbines are planned for within two kilometres of her home.
“There’s a lot of negatives and they haven’t proven to me that they’ve done any good,” Kellar said.
“I think that the propaganda that has been used to sell this idea of it being free, clean, green is just hogwash.”
Gordon Potts, director of business development with Northland Power, said the company will wait to see what happens during an appeal period before beginning construction.
While construction is generally allowed to begin on wind projects that have been appealed to the tribunal, that isn’t Northland Power’s practice, Potts said.
“We would typically wait for the appeals to be resolved before we would spend the big bucks,” he said.
The Northland Power wind project is planned for just north of Grand Bend, in the Huron County municipalities of Bluewater and South Huron, with all of the turbine locations east of Highway 21, Potts said.
Construction, once it begins, is expected to take 15 months to complete, he said.
“If we start at the end of this year, we’ll be done by March 2016.”
Kellar said the residents planning the appeal want to hear from anyone in the project area with concerns or sensitivities to sound or motion, “as we can help through the appeal process.”
Kellar said anyone with those concerns can contact her by email at email@example.com.
Planning for the Grand Bend project began in 2003, and it received a Feed-in Tariff contract with the province in 2011.
“It took a long time because the process is thorough and no stone is left unturned, and no natural feature is left unstudied,” Potts said.
The provincial approval says the project must be built and installed within three years.
The First Nations signed on as partners in 2013, making use of provincial programs that guarantee loans for First Nations investing in renewable energy projects and adds an incentive to the price paid for the electricity they generate.
Aamjiwnaang Chief Chris Plain said in March 2013, “We’re expecting a large influx of generated revenue from the project.”
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