While one company recently signaled it has abandoned plans for a wind farm in Lambton County, another continues to pursue a provincial contract to build a large wind energy project in Enniskillen Township and Plympton-Wyoming.
EDF EN Canada has been proposing to build a 100-megawatt to 150-megawatt wind farm between Highway 402 and Oil City in the neighbouring central Lambton municipalities.
Kevin Campbell, the company’s developer with the Churchill Wind project, said in an e-mail that the company “is continuing to assess the feasibility of the project and we are confident, through ongoing and continued engagement with the community, this project can supply cost-competitive clean energy for Ontario taxpayers.”
Campbell added the proposal is still in the “very early stages” of development.
Last month, landowners in Dawn-Euphemia who had signed leases with Mainstream Renewable Power for its proposed Sydenham Energy Centre were informed it wasn’t going ahead because the company didn’t believe it could make a viable application under Ontario’s new rules for awarding contracts to large renewable energy projects.
Just this month, EDF EN Canada was selected as one of the companies qualified to be part of the new procurement process replacing Ontario’s Feed-In Tariff program for wind energy.
“This process was aimed at selecting only those companies with suitable experience and a solid track record of delivering successful renewable energy projects,” Campbell said.
The Ontario Power Authority says 70 wind companies sought qualification and 42 made the list posted on the agency’s website.
They include Mainstream, as well as NextEra and Suncor Energy, two companies already developing wind projects in Lambton.
Draft details on an upcoming request for proposals for large renewable energy projects are expected to be released this month, said John Cannella, a spokesperson for the Ontario Power Authority.
The authority will be able to award new contracts for up to 300 MW of wind energy, as well as 140 MW of solar, and smaller amounts of water and bio-energy generation.
Municipal councils in Plympton-Wyoming and Enniskillen, as with others across Lambton, have passed motions declaring their communities unwilling hosts for wind energy projects.
Suncor Energy recently received provincial environmental approval to build its 46-turbine Cedar Point wind project in Plympton-Wyoming, Lambton Shores and Warwick Township.
An appeal of that approval is to be heard, beginning this week, by Ontario’s Environmental Review Tribunal.
Enniskillen Mayor Kevin Marriott said he’s still waiting to see the province’s new process for engaging communities on wind energy projects.
“A year ago they promised that municipal governments would have a say in this new procurement process, but they’re never announced the details of that,” Marriott said.
“There’s a lot hanging on that process.”
The group Conservation of Rural Enniskillen (CORE) has been holding information meetings, distributing signs opposed to wind projects and urging landowners in the township to not lease land to wind companies.
“I think the opposition is still pretty strong in this township,” said CORE co-chairperson Larry Smale.
But, he added the group is concerned EDF EN Canada continues to develop its Churchill Wind project.
“We want to keep people aware that they still are out there, and they still do have plans,” Smale said.
CORE will be host to a showing on Thursday at 7 p.m. of the wind turbine documentary Down Wind at Victoria Hall in Petrolia.
There will also be speakers that evening and donations will be collected for a legal fund being raised by the group We’re Against Industrial Turbines, Plympton-Wyoming, Smale said.
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