EDP Renewables spokesperson Ken Little attended a recent meeting of South Dundas council seeking approval through a “community support resolution” for phase two in the development of wind farms within the municipality.
Township officials were informed the coming phase of the wind farm development could be four times as large as the initial 10-turbine, 30-megawatt installation constructed by EDP Renewables north of Iroquois at Brinston.
Although a decision on tabling the requested resolution was not made for the time being, members of council are aware of both the contentious issues around the South Branch Wind Farm development and the potential financial injection this massive venture could provide the community. Some neighbours of the present site remain critical of the project suggesting it has ruined rural community life in many ways, including home values. Others have only welcoming eyes for the project and the prosperity it has presented the municipality. The previous council signed a resolution in the fall of 2013 to tell the Ontario government is was a non-willing participant in wind energy, although green apparently does come in a wide variety of shades.
Recently, EDP Renewables presented South Dundas a cheque for more than $800,000 due on completion of the South Branch project and intended to cover any road repairs caused by the machinery and vehicles used in the construction. The company further spent some $60,000 on municipal building permits; made good on a community fund for future projects injecting $30,000 per year over a 20-year period; paid $1.6 million to the united counties on the same road agreement (monies that have been solely earmarked for work in South Dundas); and will pay approximately $50,000 per year in taxes. Added to these figures, Little told St. Lawrence News that a quick estimate of the financial impact on the community of the initial 10-megawatt project at Brinston, construction materials, wages, expenses, etc., was in the area of $4 million.
Little announced the next step in wind farm development could be four times as large as the initial wind farm with as many as 30 turbines in a 100-megawatt proposal, to be constructed north-east of Brinston in a north-easterly direction toward Winchester Springs, adding that area too would be eligible for a community investment fund of $1,000 per megawatt per year over a 20-year agreement. It is understood that a comparable road agreement would be in place, the building permits would be required and the municipal taxes would be a given.
Discussing potential employment, Little said although present operations are supported out of the New York offices, “Should we go ahead with another project in the area we would be discussing our own fully-dedicated operational full-time staff for those projects,” Little said, adding, “We’ll be starting public open houses in May.” He said the meetings are intended to discuss the project and to be a forum for locals to ask questions. Dates and locations have not been finalized but plans include Matilda Hall or the Dixons Corners municipal centre.
Mayor Evonne Delegarde said that although it was heart-breaking to see any areas of South Dundas become divided, referring to the anti- and pro- windmill factions around the initial wind farm construction, “We have to keep in mind the very real nature of this technology, the reality that the chance of new industry locating in South Dundas is historically not great, and the permanent financial injection included with the development of wind farms that goes a long way to offset growing municipal costs.”
Little said that Ontario’s Pickering nuclear plant will be shut down in 2020 and 10 Bruce and Darlington reactors will be cycled off for rebuilds between 2017-2028. He suggested that green energy would continue to grow.
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