West Elgin will host a public meeting July 29 to gauge opinion on how it should proceed in response to the latest offer by a wind turbine company.
Renewable Energy Systems Canada is preparing to submit its bid for a 2015 request for proposal for a large renewable procurement contract through the Independent Electricity System Operator Program.
Rebecca Crump, development manager for Renewable Energy Systems Canada was at West Elgin council Thursday presenting an update for its industrial wind turbines proposal.
The company proposes to erect up to 25 turbines which would generate 60 megawatts.
“Three connection line options have been identified but only one will be chosen based on consulting and technical limitations,” Crump said.
RES intends to submit its bid by Sept. 1 and hopes to hear by Dec. 1 which bidder has been selected by the Ontario government.
Crump discussed details of the RES Community Engagement Plan that West Elgin can opt to take advantage of.
She said RES prides itself on working with the community on developing wind turbines projects.
The company had a proven track record on its Talbot Wind Farm, she pointed out.
She described the Community Engagement Plan as a living document which would be continually updated with the municipality, stakeholders and the public.
There are several elements available to West Elgin through the Community Benefits program.
They include a vibrancy fund which would pay $3,000 per megawatt per year or $2.9 million over the life of the project. The stakeholder benefit program would pay $3,000 per megawatt or $150,000 to West Elgin. RES estimates it would also pay approximately $300,000 in building permit fees and as much as $102,480 in yearly property taxes.
In addition, there would be a $160,000 payment for staff oversight of the project and $5,000 per year in administration.
Landowners who signed leases to allow the wind turbines to be erected would receive $5 million and zonal payments.
On that, RES would offer payments to all landowners, participating or not, to share a pool of lease payments, if they are within a specified distance from a turbine.
Crump also discussed its plans to install obstruction lights on turbines as a safety feature for aircraft flying in the area.
“RES was the first and only developer to instal a nighttime light mitigation system at its Talbot wind farm in Chatham-Kent in 2011,” she said. She added the company is working with NAVCan to develop the light mitigation system.
The Glasgow Shores Renewal Energy Co-operative will own 15% of the project. It offers anyone living in West Elgin and the former Orford township in Chatham-Kent a chance to join and invest. There are currently 55 members.
The RES presentation also referred to a reply to the resolution passed by West Elgin declaring itself an unwilling host to industrial wind turbines.
“A lot of negative anecdotal evidence can be found on the Internet and is used by the anti-wind groups to spread information that is not based on fact or scientific evidence,” Crump stressed.
The nine-page document challenges most of the points made by anti-wind turbine groups such as the effect of wind turbines on property values, health issues, noise pollution, adverse effects on animals and wildlife and wind turbine reliability.
Crump asked for a meeting with West Elgin to discuss a vibrancy agreement and said there is the potential for a partnership on a future FIT solar project which would also earn revenue for West Elgin.
Council members agreed there is the need for another public meeting, hosted by West Elgin. Mayor Bernie Wiehle suggested staff analyse what RES submitted and report back to council.
There has been no venue confirmed for the July 29 meeting.
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