“We know the wind is good in the area, we’re just in the process of fine-tuning and seeing where the best areas are,” Ben Faiella of NextEra Canada Development & Acquisitions Inc told Frontenac County Council at its regular meeting last week in Glenburnie.
Faiella was at Council touting a proposed windmill project in which about 50 80-metre turbines would be placed in Lennox & Addington and North Frontenac Township, generally within the former Clarendon and Miller Townships.
“We’re in the early stages of development doing wind resource analysis, transmission connection evaluation and landowner discussions/agreements,” he said. “It’s a competitive selection process, the lowest price for electricity will win.”
Many of the towers would be located on Crown Land and there would be some land clearing for roads and the tower sites themselves, but he said NextEra likes to hire local contractors for that sort of thing. Each turbine takes up about two to three acres, he said. He speculated that there could be six-10 permanent local jobs created at the project site.
Coun. John Inglis, who represents North Frontenac, had some concerns.
“I gather through the Green Energy Act that the Province has all the control over this and the municipality has no control,” Inglis said.
“Yes, but there’s a natural incentive to get the blessing of local municipalities because there are discounts in the bidding process for non-municipal support,” Faiella said.
“But if there are three bidders and all get equal negative support, somebody will still get the contract,” said Inglis.
Coun. Tom Dewey asked if there were any sites proposed on land under the Algonquin claim and if they had any plans to mitigate risk to migrating birds.
“No specific areas have as yet been identified,” Faiella said. “And we do do bird studies to determine flight paths.”
Warden Denis Doyle, who is also the Mayor of Frontenac Islands and as such has some experience in the area given the windmill project on Wolfe Island asked about lighting.
“North Frontenac is becoming well known for its Dark Skies designation and one of the biggest complaints I hear is about the navigation lights for planes,” Doyle said. “I understand there is new technology where the lights come on only when there is a plane in the vicinity.”
“The project isn’t slated until late 2018 and we will use whatever technology is available at that time,” said Faiella. “But I’ll look into that for you.”
Coun. Ron Higgins, also the Mayor of North Frontenac, said his Township is already planning to install lights that are remotely activated from within an approaching helicopter at the Dark Skies Observation area on near Fernleig.
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